Earlier this week, Maui County Clerk Kathy Kaohu rejected all five Voter Challenges submitted including the Voter Challenge based on violation of the Council Term Limit in Maui County Charter Section 3-2.5. Here’s a pdf of the letter portion of the rejection – with the Clerk’s attached Exhibits – the entire ruling is 1303 pages.6.20.22 Clerk Ruling on Term Limit Challenge
The essence of the ruling is based on prior case law that “No law has any retrospective operation, unless otherwise expressed or obviously intended.”
Clerk Kaohu’s ruling does not acknowledge or address the June 2018 Maui County Clerk ruling which clearly stated that the removal of the word “consecutive” creates a lifetime term limit of no more than five full terms, regardless of when served.
Clerk Kaohu’s ruling also does not acknowledge or address what appears to be at least four separate instances in which the Council falsely asserts that they approved a “revised” version of Resolution #20-98 at the 6.23.20 GET Committee meeting. Per the official records of that meeting, no such approval ever happened!
The Clerk’s ruling also does not explain why the term limit ballot questions were the only questions that did not include an effective date.
In summary, the Clerk’s ruling does not acknowledge or address what appears to be the deliberate failure on the part of the Council members to clearly indicate “their” self-interested intent that the new stricter term limit would only apply to future Council members.
In other words, under the Council’s “intent” only future Council members would be limited to no more than five full terms. All current and past Council Members would be entitled to an additional five terms on top of any full terms they have already served! If this were the Council’s intent, it should have been clearly indicated to the voters in the ballot question and the change to the Charter language but it was not!
If the Council members only intended to apply the new stricter no more than “five full terms of office” limit, then the new language of Charter Section 3-2.5 should have read “No FUTURE NEW member of the county council may serve more than five full terms of office. All current and former members may serve an additional five full terms of office on top of any full terms they have already served prior to January 2, 2021.” That would have been a complete, truthful and non-misleading statement of the Council’s intent but that was not how they chose to present this issue to the voters.
The only remaining option appears to be pursuing this issue in the Second Circuit Court or the State Supreme Court and soon! But we need a resident or multiple resident voters willing to file a lawsuit. A fantastic, Oahu-based attorney has tentatively agreed to take the case but not on a pro bono basis.
If anyone out there is willing to pursue this and/or take the lead on a crowdfunding campaign to cover the $25,000 fee, please reach Anmarie Mabbutt at email@example.com