Two Faces of Mike Victorino

Of Mike Molina now joining Kelly King and Keani Rawlins Fernandez in their efforts to the settle injection well case, Victorino says. “This is highly irresponsible, and he was warned not to interfere.”

If Mike Victorino acted at all responsibly to the best interests of the people of Maui, he never would have allowed Corporation Counsel, backed by major polluting corporations, to take the Injection well case to the Supreme Court at all.

Victorino and Director Moana Lutey created an ongoing “constitutional crisis” by cherry-picking between Corp Counsel’s two “clients” without first asking a lower court to rule on whether any Mayor has the authority to completely ignore the Council’s legitimate vote to settle litigation.

Victorino and Lutey’s inappropriate act undercuts the People’s Will, which we elect Council Members to assert.

Setting a very dangerous precedent, their malfeasance will surely rear its ugly head again the very next time any Mayor disagrees with an important Council Vote.

Victorino’s statement about how Committee Chair Molina “was warned not to interfere” is a direct acknowledgment of the intimidation tactics that Corporation Counsel routinely asserts to maintain their stranglehold on every aspect of Maui County governance.

Corporation Counsel and Department Directors routinely invite costly litigation.

Anyone, be they elected, hired as staff, or a citizen, who even begins to question the Administration is immediately classified as a Potential Litigant and all official communication is intercepted by Corporation Counsel.

With all communication blocked, what choice is left to anyone seeking to resolve any issue?

“If you don’t like our determinations, sue us” is what past Directors David Goode and Will Spence told everyone.

Goode and Spence’s abuse of authority was fundamental to why the County Council voted to reject them both after Victorino broke his campaign promises to “clean house” and nominated them to continue as Directors.

In private meetings where Victorino was courting election support and even as Mayor-Elect, Mike recounted directly the intimidation he suffered as a Council Member at the hands of Patrick Wong.

Other past Council Members and staff members report being threatened that if they did anything to counter Corporation Counsel’s control they would be personally held liable for any financial costs incurred should Corporation Counsel lose any of the many frivolous lawsuits they unreasonably pursue at the public’s expense.

Moana Lutey’s unreasonable control over all aspects of County Governance is exactly why the County Council has progressively sought ways to secure legal representation that is independent of Corporation Counsel, something that Corp Counsel has managed to block at every turn.

Ending the intimidation and the long-standing abuse of authority perpetrated by Corporation Counsel in service to political and financial forces is exactly why the County Council voted to put on the ballot a Professional County Manager proposal that we citizens get to vote for in November.

No system of government is perfect, but changing to a Professional County Manager Structure will, hopefully, fill the long-standing gaps in oversight and accountability that for decades has allowed a parade of Directors of Corporation Counsel to manipulate cases like the Injection Wells.

Especially with regard to Land Development practices, a Professional County Manager is a chance at least to end the decades-long abuse by Directors of Public Works and Planning to secretly shift Developer’s financial obligations onto us taxpayers and continue the destruction of our precious and delicate ocean shoreline.