No one else pulled papers for Council Chair Danny Mateo’s Molokai seat, but that doesn’t mean he’s running unopposed. Last week, Nellie Laird-Woods of Lahaina filed a petition with the Second Circuit Court, arguing Mateo can’t run again because of term limits. According to the County Charter, no Councilmember can serve “more than five consecutive full terms in office.” Mateo was first appointed to the Council in 2002, after the death of Councilmember Pat Kawano. Mateo was elected to a full term later that year and was reelected three more times, most recently in 2008. So the question boils down to: do five consecutive full terms (the four Mateo has already served, plus the one he’s seeking) and a partial term equal “more than five consecutive full terms”? It’ll be up to the court to decide.
Meanwhile, three other Council contenders have had their right to run called into question over the always-contentious issue of residency. Riki Hokama, who is trying to reclaim his old Lanai seat, had a challenge against him dismissed on August 25 (the challengers have 10 days to appeal). And, County Clerk Jeff Kuwada confirmed, as of this writing residency challenges against Zeke Kalua and Alan Fukuyama, who are both running for the West Maui seat, remain under investigation. Asked if any other challenges have come in, Kuwada responded, with an audible sigh, “No–thank goodness.”