3-19-16 UPDATE– Professional  report by Maui News Editor on Council Meeting. 

Community activist de Naie confirmed to water board

Concerns about possible conflicts of interest raised

March 19, 2016
By BRIAN PERRY – City Editor , The Maui News

Maui community activist Lucienne de Naie was confirmed Friday as a member of the Board of Water Supply, but the Maui County Council’s vote wasn’t unanimous.

Council Members Don Couch and Riki Hokama voted against her appointment to the advisory panel after expressing concerns about potential conflicts of interest with her being president of Maui Tomorrow Foundation and a board member of the Sierra Club.

Both environmental advocacy groups have a track record of tangling legally with Maui County. The Sierra Club has an ongoing case involving drilling for water in East Maui.

Article Photos

Lucienne de Naie

De Naie told council members she had not served on the Maui Tomorrow board for 10 years before she was elected to its board and made president Jan. 13. She served as vice chairwoman of the Sierra Club Hawaii until December. Now, she’s a Sierra Club board member and does not hold a position as an officer with the group, she said.

When asked to comment on de Naie’s appointment to the water board, Corporation Counsel Patrick Wong said he was concerned about her being in leadership positions in which she could take part in deciding whether the groups would file a lawsuit against the county.

“You should have heightened scrutiny” of de Naie’s appointment to the board, he said.

Earlier in a council committee meeting, First Deputy Corporation Counsel Edward Kushi advised council members that de Naie’s nomination did not present a conflict of interest because she could recuse herself when, and if, conflicts arise.

That has been the standard practice for members of all county boards and commissions.

De Naie told council members she would recuse herself if she had a conflict of interest.

When Wong was pressed for specific concerns, he said one stemmed from an East Maui consent decree case that involved one of the groups.

After the meeting, de Naie said that, decades ago, the Sierra Club had challenged the Department of Water Supply’s environmental review of its plans to drill 10 wells in East Maui for water development for use Upcountry and in Central Maui. The county lost the case, but later the administration of Mayor Alan Arakawa tried to do test drilling, maintaining that drilling wells was not moving forward with the project, she said.

That issue remains in active litigation, she said.

“It’s been a cat-and-mouse game ever since Arakawa came back in office,” she said, referring to the East Maui water issue.

In any case, even though it would be unlikely for the East Maui water drilling issue to come before the water board, she pledged to recuse herself if it did.

The matter involves the Sierra Club and not Maui Tomorrow, she said.

She said she understands a board member’s responsibility to keep certain matters confidential.

Council Members Bob Carroll, Elle Cochran and Don Guzman expressed support for de Naie, saying that she’s knowledgeable about water issues and would be an asset to the water board. Also voting in favor of her nomination were Council Members Mike Victorino, Gladys Baisa and Stacy Crivello. (Council Chairman Mike White was absent and excused from the meeting.)

Shay Chan Hodges was confirmed to the Board of Water Supply without controversy.

Other nominations approved by the council included:

* Joaquin Freitas and Travis Tancayo to the Fire and Public Safety Commission.

* Linda Clark to the Hana Advisory Committee.

* Faraz Azizsoltani and Cranston Kapoi to the Maui County Commission on Persons with Disabilities.

* Michael Drew and Robert Stephenson to the Molokai Planning Commission.

* May Fujiwara and Eugene Santiago to the Police Commission.

* Scott Innes to the Real Property Tax Review Board.

* Kirstin Hamman and Lucy Feinberg to the Commission on Children and Youth.

The appointees’ terms run from April 1 to March 31, 2021.

* Brian Perry can be reached at bperry@mauinews.com.


KCA again testifies in favor of Lucienne De Naie

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This morning, 3/18/16, the Council took on a long list of items from its various committees, and while we had interest in many, we were limited to just testify on one, to express our Association’s and Community’s support for adopting PIA committee number 16-48, 10 of the appointment of Antoinette Lucienne De Naie to the Board of Water Supply beginning next month. Just before noon, by a vote of 6 to 2 in favor, the Council agreed. Council members Hokama and Couch dissented.

As we had expressed to that committee, most everyone already knows Lucienne and has seen countless examples of her extensive knowledge on a wide variety of topics, including water. Beyond that, she has an outstanding manner of working collaboratively whether in agreement on a topic or not, and is an individual of impeccable integrity. And while this ability to work collaboratively with a group is a strong asset, we have never observed that she has let her desire to “get along” with others impede stating the facts, even if someone may not like them.

When she is going to examine or discuss a topic, she does extensive research of the matter before taking action, and coupled with her sharp mind and marvelous memory & her extraordinary concern for the natural environment, she would be an outstanding member for the Board of Water Supply.

So in summation, extensive knowledge, strong concern & impeccable integrity combine to make her an outstanding individual for this volunteer position. Please approve her appointment .

KCA was the first to testify on this item, but were followed by a handful of individuals who unanimously agreed.

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