“In a press release dated August 5, 2020, Mayor Victorino responded to the transmission of a proposed resolution I sent to the Governance, Ethics, and Transparency Committee that would seek a settlement to the Hawaii Wildlife Fund, ET AL, v. County of Maui.
The Mayor noted that my actions are “highly irresponsible” and I am using the Platform to garner “votes.” I believe the Mayor’s comments are an over reaction and ill advised. The transmission of the resolution for settlement has no impact on mediation and was not submitted with the intention to interfere with on-going negotiations.
I support continued mediation to resolve this matter once and for all. The proposed resolution for settlement I transmitted will be available to the Council if mediation fails. It’s important to recognize that if the past is any indication for how the county fairs in this litigation matter, settlement or negotiations, the county has been on the short end of the stick.
Over the last 8 years, numerous courts have rejected the County’s defense; past settlements have resulted in an additional 5 years of litigation at a cost of over $4 million dollars to county taxpayers in legal fees. Based on past history, I’m not holding a lot of faith that mediation will be constructive, however, I am hopeful.
Relative to the Mayor’s comments that my actions are “highly irresponsible” and a “platform to garner votes,” these comments are mean spirited and seek to drive a wedge in collaborative government. Dragging the injection well case over 8 years costing county residents over $4 million dollars is “highly irresponsible.”
As far as using the “platform to garner votes,” I am Chair of the Governance, Ethics, and Transparency” Committee, it is my job as the Committee Chair, to address settlements and litigation of the County of Maui. Am I using this “platform to garner votes”, NO, I’m using this platform to do my job as assigned to me by the County Council.
My intention in transmitting the proposed resolution for settlement is to provide the Council with an option to end an 8-year nightmare. My focus is to preserve the environment for our future families; reduce impacts to our reef systems, maintain marine life and lessen the dependency on the use of injection wells.
Over the past few months, the county has been hit with a pandemic, the likes of which we have not seen in decades. People are sick, businesses are closing, residents have lost their jobs and people cannot afford to pay rent or mortgages. Our priorities should be to help address these concerns, not spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on attorney’s fees.
During these past months, the Mayor has focused his energies on attacking the Council on charter amendments, legislative initiatives and this litigation matter. With all due respect Mr. Mayor, your priorities are wrong. Your focus should be on providing shelter, economic recovery and the health and safety of our community. You are no longer a Councilmember, you are the Mayor, your job is to administer and now is the time to show some leadership.
In May, the Mayor asked for recommendations on how to spend federal assistance for COVID-19. The Council provided excellent recommendations for assistance to our community, however, it took over 3 months for the Mayor to act on the recommendations.
Mr. Mayor, please stop the constant attacking, stop the anger, stop the talk, show some leadership and focus on the real needs of our community.”
Mike Molina holds the County Council seat for the Makawao-Ha‘ikū-Pā‘ia residency area.