As a PhD candidate in New Mexico, I considered myself to be a progressive liberal. Worked on many gender political issues to strengthen women’s rights. Directed a research lab staffed heavily by female employees. Was pro-choice, as I supported a woman’s right to privacy in her medical decisions.
However, I’ve learned women are extremely selfish, self-righteous and hypocritical on this issue. The women of Hawai’i denied my equal right to privacy with medical decisions. As they are anti-choice for me, I now stand against their demand for choice for themselves.
In the 1999s, I volunteered for Clinton and Gore campaigns. As a Democratic strategist, partnered with Rep. Governor Gary Johnson to legalize cannabis. Wasn’t popular at the time. We were ridiculed.
However, NM Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed legalization legislation this past year and the state authorized recreational cannabis April 2022. Gary and I were right — just ahead of our time.
My first position post-grad school was teaching special ed working with students who suffered behavioral developmental issues. One student, Jane, was 15 and attempted suicide the previous year after both parents were killed in an auto accident. She was smart, capable, but terribly fragile. I was a strong male presence in her life and we connected. She was making excellent progress.
Late October, I was summoned to the office and asked to bring one of my male students. Jane was slumped over in a chair crying profusely. She was cornered by three male administrators. Including myself and the additional student, she was alone in this small office with five males. The optics horrified me. What had she done to be treated this way?
The adult men continued speaking harshly to her. They repeatedly called her a “ho” and tramp. WTF??? Soon learned they had seen her holding hands at lunch with the male student I brought to the room. They teased with him, “boys will be boys” kind of nonsense.
The administrators beat her down emotionally; shamed her; humiliated and embarrassed her. I was beside myself. I felt guilty for not speaking up and challenging their behavior, but as a new teacher, felt I needed to remain in my lane until I learned more.
When the session ended, I ran to see her counselor. Immediately reported the alarming and disgusting behavior. As she wasn’t a witness, she asked me to report the incident. Did the next morning. Female principal Becky Altmeter, and Marianne from APS central office, fired me two weeks later.
Struggled to find work after this. Bounced around in some temp jobs. Landed an economist position in 2006. A few months into my new role, the union rep approached me seeking help with financial issues. He was assisting about two dozen women who were being bullied and underpaid.
After witnessing their conditions, I joined union leadership. He transferred to a new agency and I took up their fight. We were successful. Conditions improved, and after three years of struggle, we were able to get these ladies paid fairly.
The cost to my career had been high. HR director Pricilla Pena-Johnson and Executive Director Laura Feight demanded I end union activities. Told them I would not abandon these ladies, so they stripped me of a promotion. After defending another female worker around September 2011, the agency director fired me.
Again, many odd jobs and temp positions for a number of years. Landed an excellent position in 2017. My supervisor was the only female in our IT group of ten other men. She informed me that one male was harassing her. I witnessed the hostile behavior and asked her to report him to HR. She said no; claimed she was afraid of getting in trouble.
Around the 4th of July when most of our group was on vacation, she packed up her computer and belongings, and relocated to a new cubicle near the HR office and other women. Our male manager demanded she return. She was forlorn, withdrawn and visible upset — cried many days at her desk.
She asked me again for help. We met privately. My workstation was in an overflow room, not a great space, but there was another desk. Advised her to join me. She didn’t want that option. Wanted to return to the HR area around the other women.
I urged her to ask our manager. Said I would go with her and support her request. She initially agreed; then changed her mind at the last minute.
She became angry with me. Told me I needed to help her: “Hey, sister, I don’t want to get in trouble either!” If she wasn’t going to speak up on her behalf, I wasn’t. Had been a union rep. Wasn’t her rep now and knew the pitfalls of employee advocacy.
She became furious with me. Demanded that I lie to our manager by telling him I wanted to sit in her cubicle. I didn’t. Wasn’t going to lie for her. Her fury increased.
I asked her to stop emotionally blackmailing me. Requested we meet with HR and scheduled a meeting. She didn’t show. Thus, I informed the female HR director of the issues. Two weeks later, the company fired me!
At that point, I frankly gave up. I lost three major jobs due to office politics related to women’s issues. My performance had never been an concern. I was top rated at every position.
In my darkest moments, a miracle occurred. Received an offer to join Hawaiian Electric on O’ahu. Was a perfect fit. They needed me; and I truly needed this group and opportunity. They rescued me from the pits of hell.
My manager, Lori Yafuso, was kind, compassionate and extremely talented. She nurtured and had groomed a top notch team of IT professionals. We had a major mission to complete in a short time — and we were succeeding. We were on the way to win the IT Super Bowl championship in Hawai’i.
My performance had been outstanding and the department offered me a full time position. Lori’s review listed below:
YOU have been a great asset to our team and it is your personality and humble nature that makes all of us so comfortable working together. We have had contractors on the DBA team before, but never with the synergy and positive energy that you bring with you. I believe you have had the greatest influence in our success and glad that we selected the right contractor. You have definitely made your mark here at HECO and have set the bar very high for future contractors!
Thank you for being you…keep doing what you do…keep that good karma flowing!Lori Yafuso, 90-Day Review
They rushed the paperwork. Company wanted to save money, and my contractor salary was costing them a fortune. Upper management however forgot to inform me of corporate policies.
I am a medical cannabis patient due to a number of injuries and disability. Checked with HR to be sure there would be no conflict. Female rep, Liz Dear, said I would be fine. She didn’t warn me of a prohibition or suggest I speak with anyone else. Thought I would be fine as well. As an IT and non-safety sensitive employee, never had a problem with other companies about my medication.
Wasn’t fine. Women of Hawaiian Electric fired me two weeks later. While I’ll wager most of these ladies stand for Roe and their right to privacy in medical decisions, they denied me similar protections. I never medicate before or during work hours — only at night prior to bed to reduce my pain so I can sleep.
No privacy or choice for this man. Somehow it was the business of these women what I did legally in the privacy of my home. My manager and some 100 HECO staff had observed me for over six months. They knew I was always “fit for duty.” My manager considered me one of the most important contributors to our group’s success; other staff claimed I was exceptionally bright and talented.
There was no justification for the termination. Just selfish, self-righteous and hypocritical senior managers demanding control over my medical decisions and denying me privacy, as they seek for themselves.
Well, ladies, if you want choice, then you have to allow men to have choice as well. There are some 35,000 medical cannabis patients in Hawai’i — men and women, but more males than females.
Medical cannabis likely is a male issue, as our pain can be deeper due to years of physical bodily abuse. We lift the rocks, poor the cement, repair the roads, build the foundations and walls that sustain our lifestyle. After 30-40 years, our bodies are a broken mess.
Women have pain — lots! However, it seems over-the-counter options work effectively. Not for me. I was prescribed dangerous, addictive opioids or medical cannabis. Only fools choose opioids!
And, only fools support women and their demand for medical privacy when they refuse to extend such rights to others. This hypocrisy defines America at this time. Various groups are demanding rights and benefits for their supporters, but can’t compromise to provide similar rights to others.
Nobody is going to care until we care about everybody!
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Ko’olau of Kaua’i. I am the Defiant One
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