Decorum, dignity needed in Council Chambers

In the interest of keeping our community informed, County Council Member Yuki Lei Sugimura asked Alexander & Baldwin to make a presentation on its diversified agriculture progress to the Policy, Economic Development and Agriculture Committee, which she chairs. There was no action to be taken or any approvals required; it was simply her effort to keep the public informed. This was purely an informational meeting, an update.

Many people turned out to testify, apparently incited by misinformation spread on social media. When Yuki tried to keep order in the meeting and provide everyone a chance to speak, Yuki was rudely sworn at and chided.

The shame really belonged to those who chanted these words in Council Chambers. They refused to respect the Committee Chair Sugimura and the rules of the council all in the name of free speech and their own agenda.

In Hawaii, we have long practiced tolerance for others, even if they disagree with us. In my 10 years on the County Council, I never experienced anything like the spectacle we witnessed last week.

Maui County’s strength is our aloha and respect for diverse viewpoints. Those who behave like this don’t represent the many people in this community who believe in the values of humility and honoring the dignity of others.

Alice L. Lee