Council chairman’s actions warrant investigation

I believe a special counsel should be appointed to look into Maui County Council Chairman Mike White. His recent attempts to block democracy and freedom of information represent a smoking gun. Voters deserve to know what is going on.

White has banned all of Native Hawaiian Council Member Alika Atay’s executive assistants, including Brian Bardellini, from the Office of Council Services. He has even threatened to ban Atay himself.

Atay’s statement in Maui Time reads, “We believe Mike White’s threats are likely related to millions of dollars of mishandled tax money that Mr. Bardellini has become aware of and is investigating.” Mishandled money may have led to the recent property tax increase.

In 2016, White replaced OCS Director David Raatz, who was reported as an “honest stickler for ethics.” Now he introduced a bill to give the majority in the council the right to fire any of the staff of council members who investigate.

I believe White also has a conflict of interest regarding his hotel general manager position. For instance, White opposed Elle Cochran’s proposed minimum wage increase because he was “concerned it would put a damper on summer hires (The Maui News).”

I work as a therapist with local families and I know how Maui families struggle to get by with low wages and high housing costs. Maui’s people deserve honesty and accountability. If they have nothing to hide, I would think the council would welcome a thorough independent investigation.

Charlotte “Chandrika” McLaughlin