It hasn’t even been a week since we laid down the first of our 2016 minefields (otherwise known as election endorsement issues), and we’ve taken about as much incoming fire as I expected. Whenever you pick a side in a political fight, you’re going to get heat–especially when your criteria for endorsing candidates doesn’t follow strict ideological lines. But we thought it might be fun and instructive to share some of that criticism with our readers.
Here’s one letter we got from former Maui County Planning Director Mike Foley:
“Your Council recommendations are very strange. Don Couch supported developing Olowalu & Makena & the mega mall. Couch & Mike White removed GREAT maps from the Maui Island Plan. Couch is still trying to amend County laws to promote the mega mall. How can you support Couch when he favors EVERY development? Kelly King would be a MUCH better South Maui representative.
“Why no recommendations for the Hana, Lanai & Molokai seats? All Maui voters need to vote for these 3 seats & deserve your recommendations. You should support Shane Sinenci for Hana, Gabe Johnson for Lanai & Keani Fenandez for Molokai.
“Napua Greig Nakasone should be the Upcountry Council member, not Yuki Lei Sugimura…. Napua opposed developing Olowalu, & Yuki Lei is very likely to support too much construction.
“Kaniela Ing’s vehicle insurance problem started with an anonymous email? Ing has done good work & deserves your support instead of the developers’ candidate, Deidre Tegarden….. At several forums she wouldn’t answer questions about supporting developments & the legislation giving A&B three more years of the public’s water.
“Congratulations for supporting Tiare Lawrence & Richard Abbett & Alex Haller & Trinette Furtado.”
We appreciate Foley’s previous work for the county, and have relied on his expertise in the past, and while he’s certainly entitled to his opinions, he gets a few things wrong in his comments. First, we endorsed both Couch AND Kelly King in the issue, for a variety of reasons that I don’t want to repeat (but you can click here to read the issue again for yourself). Second, we didn’t include recommendations for the Council seats representing Hana, Lanai and Molokai because they’re not on the ballot–they come up in the General Election in November (and we’ll certainly have another endorsement issue around that time which will include those races).
Lastly, we did NOT endorse Tegarden in the South Maui Legislative race, but rather declined to endorse any of the candidates. Also, the whole thing about Ing’s problems allegedly starting with an “anonymous email” that was politically motivated baffles me. Jon Woodhouse, who writes entertainment stories for The Maui News, echoed this belief in a Aug. 4 email to me blasting last week’s Coconut Wireless column, which detailed our reporting on Ing (click here and here for our online stories on Ing).
“Did you really have to waste a whole page dissecting Ing’s car troubles,” Woodhouse wrote. “Way to go in contributing to the smear campaign against Ing that seems to be flourishing as the establishment does all they can to get Tegarden to replace him. Who do you think the emails came from?”
Of course, I can’t help but wonder if Woodhouse sent the same criticism to his bosses at The Maui News after they approved numerous stories on Ing’s troubles, but I’m getting off track. To be clear, Ing’s troubles began when back in February, when he missed a court hearing on his auto insurance citation, which prompted a judge to issue a bench warrant against him. Ing also didn’t help matters when The Maui News (Woodhouse’s employer, I must once again point out) reported inconsistencies in Ing’s story about why he got the auto insurance citation in the first place. Yes, the anonymous email sent to the press (which we reported) was most likely politically motivated. But the underlying crime mentioned in the email was most certainly news.
Of course, not everyone was so critical. “I was waiting on completing my absentee ballot (great way to get it at home in advance and not worry about polling stations), and am thankful the paper printed its endorsements and why,” said Jeffrey Friedman.
You’re welcome, Jeffrey. Now everyone else: get out and vote!