The top of mind issue for those who follow policy and politics nationally is the pending impeachment of the President of the United States.
Locally, the issue most are talking about is the indictment and forthcoming trial of Councilmember Arthur Brun.
While the impeachment of the “leader of the free world” could literally rock the planet both domestically and internationally, a potential felony conviction for a Kaua’i councilmember impacts only the affairs of tiny Kaua’i County.
Depending on what action or inaction is taken or not taken by the Kaua’i County Council, a local impeachment action could also develop here.
On one hand there is no comparison, on the other and in a very sad way there are many similarities.
Neither individual has been convicted of any crime but both clearly have conducted themselves in a manner that is at the minimum unseemly and in clear violation of the public trust.
Neither has publicly denied the actions they have been accused of.
Trump has admitted to withholding funding from the Ukraine government while at the same time pressing them to investigate his political rival. His “defense” seems to boil down to “attacking the process” – accusing the majority in Congress of picking on him unfairly (a witch-hunt).
While Brun has not publicly admitted fleeing from law enforcement and striking a police officer with his car, he also has not denied the crimes for which he has been accused. It appears his “defense” at least accordingly to newspaper reports, will also be based on “attacking the process” – technicalities surrounding alleged conflicts with the prosecutors office.
Attack the accuser and ignore their own misdeeds, seems to be a popular strategy among politicians who run afoul of the law.
Neither Trump nor Brun appear willing to resign from their seats. Neither has made a public apology or expressed any regrets or remorse for their actions.
Both deserve their day in court but neither deserve the public’s sympathy.
Trump has admitted his actions and believes they were “perfect” and that he has done nothing wrong.
Kaua’i residents deserve to hear from Brun. If he is innocent of the charges and did not flee from the police, striking an officer in the process – then he should state this publicly. If he intends to plead not guilty and claim he didn’t do it, then he should say so.
However if Councilmember Brun is unable to deny the fundamental accusations and his intent is to “beat the charges on a technicality”, (which he is perfectly entitled to do) then he should resign his seat on the Kaua’i Council.
While some may claim differently, Bruns colleagues on the Council have a responsibility to take action. As Vice-Chair of the Public Safety Committee, Brun holds a position of legislative and budgetary authority over the Kaua’i Police Department and the Prosecutors Office. At the minimum he should not be serving on this committee.
The political awkwardness of taking action to acknowledge and deal with this situation is not sufficient reason for the Council to ignore it.
A majority of Councilmembers led by the Council Chair need to confront this issue and have a public discussion that includes Councilmember Brun.
It is in the public’s interest that they do so.
If he states publicly that he is not guilty of the actions for which he is being charged, then perhaps simply stepping off the Public Safety Committee is sufficient action at the present to preserve the public trust.
However if the Councilmember is unable to state that he did not flee from the Kaua’i police striking one officer in the process, his resignation from the Council is necessary and appropriate.
As to Trump. Unfortunately, he also will not resign. Everyone knows that he was literally attempting to bribe a foreign country to get them to interfere in our election for his own personal benefit- yet far too many make excuses to look the other way.