White retains position; Carroll new Vice Chair
JAN 2 – 3, 2017 Wow! We expect we were not the only ones who anticipated a huge public testimony today. Turns out the first five hours of the meeting were consumed by witness statements by the public. How many? Almost 70. As one speaker commented, it is unusual for there to be more than three members of the public witnessing at a Council meeting. How many attended? Hard to say with movement , but maybe 200. On a holiday.
We were unclear why the meeting is required to start at 2:00 PM, but it sure seemed with so much to cover, and discussion set to commence at 8:00 PM, this was going to be a late night. Beginning with a “late” one hour ceremonial meeting at 10:00 AM this morning, an elongated day one for the Council was assured. The meeting concluded just before 4:00 AM Tuesday
So our volunteers gave it a best shot, but no way we could offer a valid meeting report, so we’ll simply concentrate on the five hours of public testimony.
KCA had several directors attending, as well numerous members, but unless we missed it, we were the only Community Association that testified. Our testimony concentrated on the terms of decisiveness, unbalanced, rigged, equity, fairness, equality, balance, aloha and pono.
It is safe to say that the vast majority who spoke opposed the first item, which stated “Electing Mike White as the Chair of the Council.” The flaw we observed was announcing the election results two months before the elections – which told voters who they were electing!! Does this not more sound like an appointment or affirming a decision rather than an open election among nine candidates? The next two items followed suit, stating the individuals who were to be appointed – whoops we mean elected – and the other hot button item number 5, addressing the predetermined standing committees, naming the chairs and the members of each one. The raucous crowd was not happy.
What else did we observe? At times the meeting seemed to be under the control of Corp Council Patrick Wong, rather than the mayor who serves as meeting chair, since there is no Council Chair until after the election. Wong threatened to throw out the public and only allow one speaker at a time into the chambers.
Mike White did not sit with the other eight elected members. Was this because he had been last session’s Council Chair, or perhaps because the agenda indicated he was going to be the 2017-18 chair? What we did observe during public testimony, he appeared to be texting on his phone frequently. As he was on complete opposite side of chamber from each testifier, this may not have been apparent to those addressing the mayor and council, but it was to a large segment in the gallery.
Bottom line: White Chair, Carroll Vice Chair were elected, but as for our major concern, the committee structure (item 5) was changed to be closer to the past structure in numbers. However each committee is populated such that White’s supporters have a majority. See http://mauicounty.us/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Committee.pdf for the structure at end of the meeting early Tuesday morning. The complete meeting will be shown on Akaku.