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EDITORIAL: The ‘Hope’ that never came.

Copyright: John Pritchett
Maui had two fireworks shows to kick off 2017. The first was a traditional fireworks display filling the air with lighted spectacle. When the clock struck midnight on January 1st, Central Maui did its thing. (See our video coverage HERE.)

The second was an epic organizational meeting for the new Maui County Council which began at 2 pm the next day and lasted until after 3 am the next morning. The explosive of choice was the testimony of nearly 70 citizens who showed up to give public testimony. Many spoke in opposition to electing Mike White as the Chair of the Council

We knew from the start where the battle lines were drawn.

Last week I wrote about Mike White’s transition to the dark side in a ‘Rogue One’ editorial. But even earlier, weeks before the meeting, White had announced he had the necessary five votes to be chair: White, Hokama, Crivello, Carroll and Sugimura. This left the other four: Cochran, Guzman, Atay and King, all of whom had been strong vote getters, as the vocal but powerless minority. Loud and sustained public opposition to White at the meeting did not change the outcome, and the protest ultimately fell on deaf ears.

The lesson here was packing the room with opposition testimony might make good political theater, but it doesn’t necessarily work. That’s what we saw on Monday.

We also saw two sides of Bob Carroll (East Maui). Carroll was the minority’s choice as a compromise chair. He was their best hope to be their own ‘Rogue One’ and come over to their side and give them the clout they lacked. He had pole position at the onset of the proceedings. To become Chair all he had to do was vote for himself. But that’s not what happened.

Carroll nominated White to be Chair. ‘Minority members’ made numerous statements in opposition to White, then Council member Don Guzman made the first of many proposed amendments to replace White and first nominated Carroll.

But Carroll absolutely refused to vote for himself, as a matter of principle.

I sort of got it, when Carroll said in response to the amendment, “If I was going to be Chair, I would need the support of all the members of the Council or at least the majority without my vote.” Carroll insisted that he didn’t think voting for himself was “appropriate”. He needed someone from the White faction to break away and vote for him for Chair, be it Hokama, Crivello or Sugimura. Certainly it wouldn’t be White when he already had the votes.

Still hoping they had a shot with Carroll, Council member King called him a person “who can bring us all together, rise above and be fair.” She hoped that Carroll’s nomination would succeed and change the outcome. That hope never materialized.

Eventually,“White’s Gang of Five” majority prevailed and White took his place as Chairman of the Maui County Council.

However, what happened next came as a big surprise. Carroll’s rationale and principles quickly evaporated when the very next item, his own Vice Chairmanship, came to a vote. He proceeded to do the very thing he said wouldn’t do: he voted for himself. A move he deemed inappropriate just minutes before.

The community and some of your colleagues pleaded to you Bob, you were their only hope.

It was a revealing moment. Carroll did an abrupt about face. It was a flip-flop of massive proportions and seemed shocking, especially to those that witnessed it in the gallery. The people deserved better that night, late..that night.

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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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