The outcome wasn’t what Dustin Barca or (from the looks of social media and island-wide demonstrations) the people necessarily wanted — but, with 34 percent of the votes, was more than many expected. And the strides that the Barca 4 Mayor campaign made, including their “disappointing” primary results, make for a promising sign of things to come. Kauai is ready for change, and the grass roots activist is raring to go.
Barca squared off with incumbent Bernard Carvalho on the issues of GMO testing and local-versus-multi-national-corporate control. The mayoral race was always an uphill battle for the surfer and MMA fighter, but his efforts in environmentalism have been lauded for the past few years and he overcame severe disadvantages (specifically in the way of funding) to put up a good and ultimately encouraging fight. And while Carvalho walked away with 61 percent of the votes, it was a lot less than the 77 percent the incumbent collected back in 2010 with his closest challenger raking in a mere 16 percent.
Ever the graceful combatant, he took his loss on the chin and immediately turned his attention back to the people on both campaign…
Big Mahalo to EVERYONE WORLDWIDE!! Truly humbled by the support in Dustin’s first bid for mayor of Kaua’i and Ni’ihau! Mahalo to all who helped in any way with this campaign! The fight for a better future for our keiki is still on! Please visit our website, subscribe to stay updated and donations for future endeavors are greatly appreciated! #HealingKauaiandNiihauMaukaToMakaiForThePeopleFromTheHeart #ohanaOKauai #whatwelovewewillprotect
…and personal Instagram posts:
Just Want to Mahalo Everybody Worldwide for the Support!! From those who donated money , who held signs , Who gave encouraging words , to those who cooked for the party’s, who got people registered to Vote and Most of all the ones who got out there and Voted!!Humbled by the support WE ended up with 40% of Kaua’i’s Votes against a Machine Driven Full Administration of People working all day everyday to Win backed by the Largest Chemical Corporations in the world and the largest land owners on Kaua’i Grove Farm Robinsons , A&B, Kikiaula Princeville corp. Pierre Omydiar. The list goes on. It was truly the People vs. Corporations. I guess WE did pretty good……….. I did it with a Goal to wake people up ,to pay attention and Get involved. And Bring the Most important issues to the front lines. The Mayor promised to do all those in his last commercials…. We’ll see! If WE keep on him, he will do it! If we expect them to do the right thing without pressure, they won’t do [shit]! The last day everybody else was out shaking hands and kissing baby’s, I felt like I would praise #haloa and pound Pa’i’ai on the side of the road for my party. Felt empowering and gave me clarity in the moment. I am right where I’m supposed to be! Mahalo Ke Akua = #alohakeakua #iamhaloa #alohaaina #alohaohana #alohaainawarriors #riseup #shine #bethechange
In a report on the Honolulu Star Advertiser, Carvalho quickly articulated that “he always supported disclosure and buffer zones in the debate over pesticide use but sought further community discussion on the issue.” Whether he has or has not, Barca and the people are going to take him to the bank on that world — in any ways they already have.
Additionally, is this the end for the mayor?
“This is my last four years,” he told The Garden Island. “I’m not going to be one lame duck mayor. We going to be one action with aloha mayor, administration, to get things done. And that’s a commitment.”
Whatever that means, this is only the beginning for Barca. As the activist wrote in his essay on The Inertia explaining why he was fighting for Kauai, we are “one island world”:
On Kaua‘i we are fighting global chemical companies, but a lot of our challenges are the same as other places — corporations and profit being put before people, wealth being put before health, people not being able to afford to even eat while the wealthiest banksters and gangsters steal from us all and control our government, destruction of all of our lands and waters. It’s a crazy time to be living, but it’s also an exciting time because we have the opportunity to work together for something totally different based on both ancient wisdom and all of our new knowledge.
Together we are unstoppable.
For anyone who thinks losing this mayoral race stopped Barca, you don’t know him at all.