You have no idea how much I love this election. Not the national races or the four-way race to be governor–those are dull beyond belief. No, I’m talking about the Maui County Council elections–specifically, Mayor Alan Arakawa’s and Councilman Mike White’s reelection fights. The best part is that Arakawa and White (who’s running a tough campaign against former Councilman Mike Molina, who’s currently an aide to Arakawa) have been sparring so much you’d think they were running against each other.
Their latest flash point is over–what else?–trash. Put simply, Arakawa says the budget the Council approved appropriated too little money for landfill operations, so he cut trash pickup times and landfill operating hours. In response, the council says the administration has enough money and should just make everything the way it was.
In fact, things got so testy during yesterday’s Maui County Council Budget & Finance Committee hearing that Arakawa reportedly walked out during deliberations. Here’s how today’s Maui News called it:
“I’m leaving . . . You could be talking to me directly to find a solution but obviously you don’t want to find a solution,” Arakawa told members as he stood up and exited Council Chambers in the middle of the committee’s deliberations. The mayor interrupted Council Member Elle Cochran, leading to a short recess.
Not to be outdone by Arakawa’s passive-aggressive behavior, White then bitched to The Maui News:
“This has nothing to do with the budget. This has everything to do with it being campaign season… They (the administration) have put out word, ‘Blame it on the council. Blame it on the council.’ I’m sorry, but I’m not going to accept the blame. The administration made the decision they’re going to cut the services. It’s not us that initiated the lack of service. It’s not us that can fix it. We provide the money. They operate it.”
Though in its story The Maui News referenced a news release Arakawa’s office sent out after the little hearing disagreement that said Arakawa would submit a special budget amendment for additional landfill money, the paper didn’t report Arakawa’s juiciest dig yet at White:
“If Mike White wanted to win the Primary Election he should have paid more attention to the needs of constituents instead of pontificating on Akaku.”
Seriously, this is the best Maui election ever.
Photo of Bantar Gebang trash mountain: Wikimedia Commons