By Wendy Osher
The Maui Policy Committee today recommended the disapproval of two nominees–Ralph Black, and James Clemens–to the Lanai Planning Commission.
After spending the last two weekends at home, Policy Chair and Lanai Council Member, Riki Hokama said he’s had a lot of input from community members who voiced concerns.
“Basic comments from the community have been they would like people that have a little bit more historical understanding of where we are currently, and how we’ve gotten there,” said Hokama.
The recommendation for disapproval was supported by 8 votes in favor and one member excused (Molokai Council Member Danny Mateo).
“I’m going to ask the mayor’s office to work with our community,” said Hokama, who noted that the mayor has the opportunity to renominate the same names or put forth additional names to be considered for the vacancies.
The decision comes on the heels of similar action taken two weeks ago against the nominees to the Molokai Planning Commission. During that discussion, members expressed concerns over the individuals’ limited knowledge of the island, involvement in the community, and experience.
The two nominees to the Lanai Planning Commission did not testify today before the Policy Committee.
The committee also recommended the disapproval of Patrick De Ponte to the Liquor Control Adjudication Board. De Ponte currently serves as the Kahului representative on the Board of Variances and Appeals, with his term set to expire on March 31, 2016.
De Ponte has since expressed a preference to remain with his current assignment. Chair Hokama had indicated throughout the process that multiple nominations would only be recommend one assignment.
In another action, Todd Sherman, who was nominated to both the Board of Code & Appeals and the Maui County Outdoor Lighting Standards Committee, expressed a preference for the latter.
The committee, therefore approved of the nomination to the Lighting Standards Committee, and disapproved Sherman’s nomination to the Board of Code & Appeals.
Sherman has been a resident of Maui since 1991, and is currently working out of the Makena Beach & Golf Resort.
“My interest is really illuminating those areas that need it for safety; and also changing lights that can be much more effective, yet less harmful to everybody else,” said Sherman in testimony today.
Other approvals included Randol Leach to the Board of Ethics, Jon Santos to the Civil Service Commission (reappointment), and Clayton Carvalho Jr. to the Hana Advisory Committee.
Leach was unable to attend the February 15 meeting, and requested an opportunity to appear before the committee at another time.
Leach, who is a financial advisor, served a previous five-year term with the Board of Ethics. He also is an active volunteer with multiple community organizations including the Rotary, and past president and member of the Aloha House.
“It’s similar to being a member of the council–you’re not doing it for the pay, and you enjoy the work to give back to the community. When you find something that you like, sometimes you stay with it,” said Leach.
Santos, who has 25 years of experience as a contractor, got an initial nod of approval for a reappointment to the Civil Service Commission; and Carvalho, who is employed with the hotel in Hana and is a retail manager for Hana Gas, received an initial OK for his nomination to the Hana Advisory Committee.
Also on the committee agenda, members unanimously recommended for approval Andrew Carson and Robert Bowlus to the Urban Design and Review Board; and Wendy Fujinaka and Gerard Steiner as alternates to the board.
Initial approval was also given to Melanie Stephens and John Okamura to the Kula Agriculutral Park Committee.
Members deferred action though on Warren Watanabe to the committee saying they were still exploring his eligibility to serve, and needed to do further research with corporation counsel before making a decision.
Two weeks ago, 40 nominees gained initial approval before the committee. The council has a March 31 deadline to approve or disapprove of nominees.