Last week, a "group of Maui residents" (as the Maui News described them) initiated a petition to have county council member Wayne Nishiki impeached, based on the late filing of his financial disclosure.
Really, color me shocked. I never thought it would get this far. I have to admit that I have a hard time understanding where all of the moral outrage is coming from here. Are people angry about the perceived deception, or about the possibility that one of our council members could "owe" something to the biggest, baddest development company on the island?
Whether it's the former or the latter, I'd be really dumbfounded to discover that people on Maui are somehow ridiculously naive, as compared to the rest of the country. Do you really think politicians never deceive, never use smoke and mirrors, never fudge the truth? And what is politics if not deal-making and compromises done behind closed doors? Honestly, you'd think the island of Maui had never seen a political scandal before.
Maybe I'm just a cynic. But I don't think what Nishiki did was all that bad. And I certainly don't think it's worth an impeachment. A reprimand, certainly, but impeachment? Seems a touch dramatic to me.
At any rate, I was feeling a little suspicious of the motivations of the people leading the impeachment charge. The Maui News did not identify the group, and listed their leader only as "Dave Mackwell," without any explanation of who he is or how he's associated with the situation.
So I followed the newspaper's link to the impeachment group's website. (Sorry, no link; I don't care attach it to my blog.) They also fail to identify themselves as anything other than "angry Maui residents." They make no mention of Dave Mackwell. However, they do take great pains to note that they are "in no way affiliated" with Don Couch, Nishiki's opponent in the hotly contested battle for the council seat that Nishiki won.
Hmmm, I thought to myself, methinks they doth protest too much.
So I started doing a little digging around on the Internet, and here's what I discovered. Dave Mackwell is a former board president of the Kihei Community Association. Don Couch currently serves on the board of the Kihei Community Association. How interesting.
Now, I don't have any conclusive evidence at this point which would prove that they served on the board at the same time, but it appears as though they did. They both seem to have been on the board within the last few years, and I gather that they may have overlapped for at least one of those years. It's a small board. I find it hard to believe - if they did serve at the same time - that they didn't get to know one another.
Which leads me to ponder: Does the Mackwell group's drive to impeachment really have nothing to do with Don Couch? And if these two men do in fact know one another, isn't this just as deceptive as what Nishiki did?
And, seriously, what's up Maui News? I found out this info by using Google. You might want to try it. Scandal sells papers, you know!
Will update when and if I find out more on this topic.