Here’s a riddle for you: when is a coup not a coup? When friends of the coup plotters say it isn’t!
On Nov. 11, The Maui News quoted Gladys Baisa, who had been Maui County Council Chairwoman until the day before, as saying that the circumstances of her removal from power constituted a “coup.”
“Of course, I objected violently to the plan,” she told the paper of the new leadership, in which Mike White will be Chairman and Don Guzman Vice Chairman. “I am very unhappy. I’m concerned.”
Hmm… Person formerly in charge is now not in charge, and isn’t happy about it. Sounds like a coup to me. But friends of White and Guzman have gone on the record to dispute that, though they haven’t been completely open about their biases.
“The council has reorganization meetings after every election to decide who leadership should be,” Thomas Fairbanks of Wailuku writes in today’s Maui News Letters section. “This is normal… Mike White has been the leader of the independent council and has fought a hard election because he sticks to his principles. There should be no question why he should lead the council for the next two years.”
Missing from Fairbanks’ letter is any indication that he, in fact, works for White at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel (Fairbanks is the hotel’s Food and Beverage Director; White is General Manager).
On Sunday, Nov. 16, Neldon “AZD” Mamuad wrote an editorial on his Mauiwatch.com page titled “Elections Have Consequences.” The editorial, based largely on a “source,” flat out rejects the notion that Baisa’s toppling was a coup.
“The Maui News recently reported that the change in the Maui County Council’s leadership was a ‘coup,'” Mamuad wrote. “Council insiders however, have suggested that this was not the case at all. ‘If you asked the members at the primary election, they probably would have supported the current leadership, but through the actions within the last few months, especially as the election neared, this prospect began to quickly fade,’ the source said.”
Of course, nowhere in Mamuad’s editorial is any indication that he (1) used to work as a part-time aide to Councilman Don Guzman or (2) tried to run against Mayor Alan Arakawa (but failed to file his paperwork correctly before the deadline).
With small town political machinations like this, it’s almost enough to make you forget about the fight over the county GMO Initiative.
Photo of Gladys Baisa courtesy County of Maui