Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa’s opponents are dropping like flies. Is there more to this?
Folks have been concerned with Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa’s Planning Department and what has been characterized as their “scofflaw,” laisser-faire attitude to rules governing development. For instance they gave a permit to a Kihei Outlet Mall which bore no relation to the project that had been approved by the Land Use Commission during the rezoning. Community groups had to intervene with the LUC and the illegality of the development was upheld.
Mayor Arakawa will most likely sail to re-election for a number of reasons. He’s bankrolled and supported by developers and construction unions. He’s appointed almost every potential viable challenger to his administration. He’s likeable and along with his “go along get along” attitude towards development he has improved service to residents. And he’s doing some big things like taking care of our landfill (albeit by skipping the public input and preliminary step usual in a project of this magnitude) and acquiring park land. So even those who know of the illegalities of his Planning Department still tend to like him.
He’s even got the Sierra Club helping him buy the A&B property for the county service center – at the same time they’re involved in several legal actions against the county’s actions!
So the candidates who filed against them are a mixture of those who wanted to at least air these issues with the perennial vanity candidates…and our performance artist.
But let’s back up. First the County filed charges against part-time County Council staffer and Liquor Commission member, Neldon Mamuad, for his Facebook page entitled TegumaWatch. Officer Teguma of the Maui Police Department has been a long time public figure on Maui for his zealous ticketing of Wailuku town parking violations. At one time bumperstickers with “Taguma Got Me” were distributed which Teguma sued to stop.
Apparently Taguma filed a county harassment complaint against Mamuad and Mamuad was disciplined and told to take down TegumaWatch. Mamuad agreed to rename it MauiWatch but that did not satisfy the county. So the ACLU and Mauad sued for infringing on his free speech.
The County settled for $25,000.
Fast forward to the election. Mamaud filed to oppose Mayor Arakawa. With the popularity of MauiWatch, he might just have had a chance. Telling the County Clerk he had a financial disclosure on file already, he turned in his papers. But it turns out that a financial disclosure filed for the Liquor Commission is not public and thus Mamaud was required to submit another disclosure.
At this point the story gets muddy and was subject to more legal action. In the end Mamaud’s name appeared on the ballot but a judge ruled that the county clerk was right in disqualifying him.
One down and 4 more challengers to Mayor Arakawa left standing.
Mayoral candidates spoke at a forum held at Seabury High School. As candidate Nelson Waikiki exited the debate, he was arrested. According to police (as reported by Maui Time) it was because “he failed to comply with conditions of his release” from prison after “pleading guilty to four felony securities fraud charges connected to an investment scheme involving Opunui Water Co. and Opunui Land and Water Co.” Whoa! Failed to comply?
Two down and 3 more challengers left.
Yesterday, according to MauiNow, mayoral candidate Beau Hawkes was stopped on his way to testifying at the County Council for having no license plate, no licence, no insurance card, no safety check and talking on his cellphone while driving. This isn’t actually such a rare occurance on Maui where a significant number of Kingdom of Hawaii folks don’t license their vehicles through the County of Maui.
MauiNow continues with Hawkes explanation of events:
“I happened to be pulled over while talking to my ex-wife about where I will be picking my children up,” said Hawkes in an exclusive telephone interview this morning.
Hawkes said the officer indicated that the traffic stop was because he was driving a vehicle that did not have a license plate, and he was observed talking on his cell phone.
“I explained to the officer that I actually don’t need a license plate–that I’m a private individual here. I’m actually late for a meeting… I also told him that I had a right to use my cell phone if I’d like. That anti-cell phone law was enacted without the consent of we the people,” said Hawkes.
According to Hawkes, the officer asked him to turn off his vehicle, but Hawkes said he told the officer, “I’m late for a meeting. I have to go, at which point I drove off.”
So Hawkes cheerfully tells the officer he’ll be at the County Council meeting and leaves (!?)
Next thing we know, police caught up with him outside the County Building and tasered him! All this started with a vehicle violation, escalated by leaving during a traffic stop. Certainly police knew where this guy lived as his address and phone number a public records on his candidate filing report.
Here’s a bystander (?) video of the event (stay tuned for why there is ? by “bystander”):
Three down, three to go.
Now here’s our theory of what is going on. First off, challengers to Mayor Arakawa are dropping like flies and the few remaining candidates better watch their backs!
Secondly, was this, in fact, inspired performance art by Beau Hawkes? Was his calm statement saying that he didn’t need to obey the law a campaign commentary on Mayor Arakawa’s Planning Director?
Readers, weigh in.