Maui's mice have been preparing for the hurricanes for more than a month.
The little pests have been creeping into houses through any hole a little larger than their noses. Once inside, they scamper across floors and countertops, leaving behind little droppings and tiny pools of, uh, liquid which can turn dust into mud.
Blame a moist winter that encouraged abundant procreation. Bring out the traps, spring-loaded killers, sticky stuff and, for the faint of heart, some kind of humane trap. The latter requires the homeowner to head outside and give the little buggahs flying lessons. That can mean a repeat foray into the house, but, only if na iole li'illi'i are more akamai than most think.
Of course, the connection between mice and hurricanes is fanciful. A very real concern is the timing of the expected storms. There could be a direct connection with how many voters turn out for the primary election this Saturday, just when it is hoped more than 40 percent or so of registered voters would turn out. Hawaii ranked dead last in the nation's balloting last time around. Disgraceful!
Maui voters have become lazy and cynical. "My vote won't make a difference." But, when a few hundred votes often determine the margin between election and also-ran, multiplying a few single votes this year can determine who carries the public's banner into the state Legislature and, most importantly, the mayor's office and the County Council. While voting for local officials, you might as well cast a ballot for governor. Maui's congressional delegate is a shoo-in. Second District Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has no opposition.
Another reason given for not voting is we live in a "one-party" state, as if all Democrats march in lock step. They don't. Plus, Maui County officials are elected on a nonpartisan basis. No political parties involved. It is true that most of the state's elected officials are Democrats.
Sixty years ago, a newly invigorated Democratic Party took control of the Territorial Legislature. The 1954 elections are usually referred to as a political revolution - the working man versus corporate-backed Republicans.
The revolt had its roots in the unionization of the plantations. In 1944, the International Longshoremen and Warehouse Workers Union set up political action committees in the plantations. With the support of the ILWU, Maui elected its first non-Republican Territorial representatives, Joseph A. Kaholokua, Hal F. Hanna and Isabelle N. Thompson. Maui voters sent Democrats Harold W. Rice, a former Republican, and Clarence A. Crozier to the Territorial Senate.
On the county level, the buildup to "revolution" had its first successes in 1944, electing three Democrats to the Board of Supervisors, the predecessor to the County Council - John Bulgo, Alfred C. Franco and Eddie Tam. The County Council and mayoral races were approved as nonpartisan races in 1998, and the first county nonpartisan election was in 2000. Political change takes time and effort.
In 1954, the chairman of the Maui Democratic Party was Elmer Franklin Cravalho, a Kula schoolteacher. Three decades later, Cravalho told The Maui News he joined the Democratic Party because "that was where the action was."
John "Jack" Burns, a one-time Honolulu police officer, was a prime mover in engineering the Democratic Party's revolution. A "local haole" from Kalihi, Burns showed the way for applying to politics the hard-won pride of returning war veterans - most of them the sons of plantation workers.
The Maui Democratic Party, supported by the ILWU, fielded a slate for the Territorial Legislature: Cravalho, Nadao Yoshinaga, Clarence "Buster" Seong, Robert "Buddy" Kimura, Pedro Dela Cruz of Lanai and David Trask. All but incumbent Seong were elected.
"We had more guts than brains," Cravalho said. Being aligned with the union was considered tantamount to joining the Communist Party. "We had massive rallies, ending up in Wailuku with a rally that drew 4,000-5,000 people. The rallies were colorful and unrestrained."
Once upon a time, Hawaii had the highest percentage of voter turnout in the nation. It can be that way again. All it will take is voting absentee ahead of time or going to the polls Saturday - hurricanes, unions and mice notwithstanding.
* Ron Youngblood is a retired editor and staff writer for The Maui News. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.