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Copyright: John Pritchett

EDITORIAL: No confidence, No Kim.

The Council meeting on February 18, 2015 attempted to fulfill the obligations of the County Charter; approve the mayor’s appointment for Prosecuting Attorney. That isn’t quite what happened. John D. (JD) Kim weathered his first confirmation storm in committee when issues of favoritism and mismanagement first surfaced. Now, JD sits in council confirmation purgatory. Neither in nor out due to the odd voting that transpired at the last meeting. Councilmember Don Guzman, a former deputy prosecutor himself led the charge in committee then after executive session seem to have been satisfied with whatever was said behind closed doors.

So what happened exactly two weeks later, from committee to the full Council where Kim supporters had to put retired Judge Artemio Baxa in play? Baxa, a prosecutor himself, but for all intents and purposes spoke as a retired judge/private citizen- in that order. Councilmember Baisa and others put a lot of weight into Baxa’s “vouching” of Kim but what seemed to be a “cross examination” of Baxa by Guzman, Baxa’s sails lost wind. Guzman referenced a court case that is part of the public record that notes JD in a negative light that he was not forthright with. That didn’t deter Baxa. With the chambers filled with office co-workers, Baxa held the line. Guzman’s case seems to be enough to sway other members to kill the resolution, but not enough to disapprove JD completely.

Not long ago, corporation counsel Pat Wong’s confirmation hearing was just as if not more heated with anti-GMO supporters showing up in droves to testify against him. The Charter dictates that its attorney’s all must be confirmed by the Council, both the Corporation Counsel and the Prosecuting Attorney. JD’s allegations of mismanagement, hostile work environment, and favoritism make it ripe for regime change.

These Council confirmation hearings are supposed to offer an opportunity for oversight into the activities of the nominee’s department in a public forum.

This is an opportunity for the public to weigh in on the Mayor’s nominee because the Prosecuting Attorney is the people’s attorney.

While the vast majority of confirmation hearings are routine, some are controversial. When a council members request for information is replied to by the Mayor’s nominee to first put his request in writing and is not forthright with his information, it should give all the remaining members of the Council, pause.

One thing keeps becoming clear; the Charter is a broken document that a commission or the Council must have the political wherewithal to change. The Charter is the foundational document that guides all other County action. We want to build a modern and robust structure on it, but the foundation laid out by our current Charter only gives us enough to build a grass hut.

Kim’s purgatory ends on March 6th at the 11th hour, where the Council will vote to approve or disapprove him. However, being in the 11th hour if another stalemate occurs, JD automatically will be deemed confirmed as per the Charter.

This Kim confirmation reminds me of the recent Super Bowl where the Seahawks thought they had a sure win. My word of advice to this Council is to run the ball, don’t pass it.

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About Neldon "AZD" Mamuad

Neldon

Neldon “AZD” Mamuad is a pioneering social media entrepreneur who created MAUIWatch to solve the problem of breaking news on Maui. He has a 10-year pedigree running successful broadcast properties on Maui. He created KJMD-FM (Da Jam 98.3) in 2002 and hosted the widely popular “Big Phat Morning Show”. Neldon is a local politco, event technologist, and involved with various community organizations. He was formerly Chairman of the Maui County Liquor Control Commission in 2014.

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