Perhaps it was an early Christmas gift or a mean message, but all 19 House lawmakers who voted no on same sex marriage got an unusual delivery in the mail Thursday. We know because we got a box too with a note saying they sent it to the lawmakers. The package got mixed reactions at the capitol.
The black box has green tissue paper and a red pouch with a hard black substance. At first it was thought to be a lava rock and the person was sending bad luck as the superstition goes. But upon further review it looks like a lump of coal.
The typed message on the card says, "You left a piece of your heart at the State Building when you voted on SB-1..... Your lifestyle choice of judging others and ignorance is very unfortunate. Good luck in the next election."
"Yeah I think the message is that I have not been a good boy this year, I have been naughty, not nice. Well I'm afraid some people feel that way about me right now," said Rep. Marcus Oshiro, (D) representing Wahiawa, Whitmore Village, and voted against same sex marriage.
The whole coal in your stocking theme was lost on Rep. Richard Fale who says he grew up poor in Tonga.
"We got lickins when we weren't doing what we were supposed to be doing. I guess kids on the mainland that's actually a better thing. I would rather get a piece of coal in my stockings then lickins," said Rep. Richard Fale, (R) representing Oahu's North Shore, and voted against same sex marriage.
Some of the 19 lawmakers returned it to the House Sgt. At Arms for them to dispose of.
"It's not the right way to go and unfortunately it happens more often then not," said Kevin Kuroda, House Sergeant at Arms, referring to negative mail sent to lawmakers.
The Hilo Medical Center also got lumped in on it. The sender put the hospital's return address on the box.
"Hilo Medical Center categorically denies any involvement in this matter and does not condone this type of behavior," said Howard Ainsley, East Hawaii Regional CEO of Hawaii Health Systems Corporation. "Over the years, we have enjoyed a positive relationship with members of the legislature. It is extremely unfortunate that our good hospital was brought into a such bad act. We want to assure our legislators that we will fully cooperate with the investigative process to bring the perpetrators of these acts to justice."
There was a tracking number that shows the boxes were sent from Hilo on Tuesday at 12:19 in the afternoon. The person actually went to the counter to mail it. But since it's not illegal to send a lawmaker coal, authorities won't go to the expense of looking at surveillance to see who it was.
"I feel sad for this person. That's what it tells me. This individual I hope gets some kind of help or assistance. There is something missing in their life," said Rep. Fale.
Lawmakers didn't take it as a threat. Rep. Oshiro answered sarcasm with sarcasm.
"It is very unusual. It made its point and for me its a keepsake that I will hold onto for a long time," said Rep. Oshiro. "I just want to thank the person who sent it to me anonymously, Merry Christmas, mele kalikimaka, hauoli makahiki hou."
The boxes were not sent to the four State Senators who voted no or at least they haven’t arrived yet if they were.