It’s not often that voters get to play around with even one wide-open County Council race in the primary. This year, they get two: the East Maui seat is open because Bob Carroll is retiring and the Wailuku seat’s open because Dain Kane thinks he can be mayor (Charmaine Tavares is also leaving her Upcountry seat to run for mayor, but because there are just two candidates in that race it will wait until the general election).
The stakes—rampant growth, exploding traffic, an uncertain water future, skyrocketing property taxes—are considerable. Should no candidate in either race win an outright majority, the top two finishers will go on to the general election in November. Anyway, here are my snapshots of the candidates, arranged exactly as they appear on the ballot:
DE NAIE, Lucienne (Luci)
Since moving to Maui in 1972, de Naie has researched, written about and agitated for smarter growth, better water management, more affordable housing and more thoughtful preservation of ancient Hawaiian archaeological sites. For land developers like Everett Dowling, who wants to build luxury condos in Makena, de Naie is pretty much the antichrist. (For more on de Naie, see Better Know a Candidate in our Sept. 7, 2006 issue)
A 25-year county employee, Kalalau is currently a Highway Supervisor and chairman of the Maui County Cultural Resources Commission. He’s also a “part time farmer,” Vietnam Vet and past member of the Maui County Board of Variances and Appeals. (For more on Kalalau, see Better Know a Candidate in our Aug. 24, 2006 issue)
MEDEIROS, Bill (Kauakea)
Endorsed by organized labor and Bob Carroll himself, Medeiros is a nice guy who, if elected, will probably be a lot like Carroll: someone eminently gracious and agreeable, but who will ultimately follow the land developers’ lead. (For more on Medeiros, see Better Know a Candidate in our July 6, 2006 issue)
No longer sporting his trademark moustache, Nikhilananda is a Green Party activist and host of the Akaku program Maui Talks-TV. He’s also run unsuccessfully for office on Maui six previous times, but you shouldn’t hold that against him.
CABEBE, Rogelio Sr. (Rudy)
Rudy is a t-shirt screener, golfer and guitarist who has no prior political experience. He wants to bring a “Chinatown atmosphere” to Wailuku Town and affordable housing to working families.
This junior high P.E. teacher voted for George W. Bush twice—TWICE!—doesn’t care for the proposed Superferry and said when Maui Time reporter Gena Gammie asked about his platform, “I don’t have a platform. No, this is my platform: I’m going to go around to community associations and have them tell me what the problems are.” And yes, his first name really is Blitz. (For more on Harry, see Better Know a Candidate in our June 15, 2006 issue)
Chairman of the county’s Board of Water Supply, Victorino recently went on the radio and said without any irony that the county needed “accountability” where water was concerned. Blessed with the gift of gab, Victorino nonetheless grabbed endorsements from the good government Ohana Coalition and the Sierra Club. MTW