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EDITORIAL: Maui County Council’s ‘Rogue One’

Note: Star Wars references abound within. Use the Force to continue reading.

Mike White’s transformation to the dark side was solidified this week after spreading his version of Holiday Cheer to those around him at the Office of Council Services where White holds the title of Chief Administrative Officer which happens when you are also the Council’s Chairman. The Maui Time reported that White has, “declared war on the Office of Council Services.” The chairman wielded his lightsaber by dumping Director David Raatz, and dismissing staffers Sharon Brooks and Ross Izumigawa without prior notice. Adding insult to injury they were escorted out of the building “like criminals.”

It’s a story of power gone mad and juicy enough that there is likely to be a long line to testify against the new leadership scheme of things at the Council’s January 2nd Organizational Meeting. Those not inclined to watch the drama unfold live can skip the whole inauguration festivities in the morning and put the org meeting on their TV big screen beginning at 2 pm.

A ground swell of vocal naysayers objecting to Mike White’s Chairmanship is building and I have a feeling public testimony for this meeting will be overwhelmingly negative. However, what Mike White said in his Maui News (Nov. 27) rebuttal via the “Chair’s 3 Minutes” is correct:

  1. Announcing leadership positions prior to the start a term is nothing new. However it is only informational until the actual confirmation vote takes place.
  2. The Office of Information Practices, in Opinion Letter 02-11, confirmed that incoming council members aren’t subject to the state Sunshine Law until taking office.
  3. The Maui County Department of the Corporation Counsel has also opined that no council members are subject to the Sunshine Law for matters relating to the next council term prior to the term’s start.

But that’s not the point. People are missing the fact that it takes FIVE to tango.The Force only comes to him by having four others behind him. In case you are living under a rock, those four are:

  • Bob Carroll (Proposed Vice-Chairman)
  • Riki Hokama (Proposed Budget Chairman)
  • Stacey Crivello
  • Yuki Lei Sugimura

This leaves the remaining members: Alika Atay, Elle Cochran, Don Guzman, and Kelly King at the children’s table waiting for directions of the “majority” on committee assignments, if any, in the new term. This Chair has been known to be very inclusive, but his recent actions have left those that know him stunned. Someone or something seduced him to the Dark Side and as yet we don’t know who or what it was.

Before the ‘New Hope’ in Star Wars, we just learned of the ‘Rogue One.’ What the rebel forces (those against the Mike White leadership structure) need is a Rogue councilmember to break ranks and join the new alliance. Who will it be? All eyes are focused on Bob, Stacey, or Yuki. If the present minority focused some energy on these before the meeting, they may be able to change the outcome and destroy the Death Star.

What’s wrong with this picture?
While the majority does rule, consider this election math:
Members of the new leadership were the laggards at the polls

Majority Votes
#3 Mike White – Chair 25,771
#4 Robert Carroll 25,273
#7 Riki Hokama 23,272
#8 Yuki Sugimura 23,264
#9 Stacey Crivello 22,763
Total votes 120,343 divided by 5 = 24,068 average

While the higher vote getters were cut out of the leadership

Minority Votes
#1 Elle Cochran 31,970
#2 Don Guzman 30,764
#5 Kelly King 23,641
#6 Alika Atay 23,322
Total votes 109,697 divided by 4 = 27,424 average

The people have spoken? Or have they? Go figure? For Cochran and Guzman it must seem particularly disheartening to run #1 & #2 respective and get nothing when the council organizes. If you follow local politics don’t miss the vote on Mon. Jan 2, beginning at 2 pm in Council Chambers on the 8th floor. It’s your chance testify about your reaction to this turn of events. No vote will be taken until all testimony is heard, and that might be quite a few.



About Neldon "AZD" Mamuad

Neldon "AZD" Mamuad
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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