SuperPac targets Maui Council for takeover

Heads Up! This is important – regardless of whether you live on Maui, or not. Please read through until the end, and help if you can.

A new SuperPac based in Reno, Nevada has launched a $120,000 effort to elect a pro-development/pro-corporate slate of new candidates, essentially attempting to take over the Maui County Council. The “Hui O Maui Citizens for Change” SuperPac chairperson and treasurer is Grant David Gillham, who registered the organization using a Reno, Nevada address.

You can read the names of those candidates, and see the exact SuperPac budget breakdown by reviewing the recent “Electioneering Report.”

Soon Maui will be flooded with social media, radio, newspaper, and direct mail support for this effort to take over the Council.

It is interesting that the largest company being paid by this SuperPac is a public relations communications company by the name of COMMPAC. One of their prominently featured clients is A&B. And for what it’s worth, the president of COMMPAC is married to the president of the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce. And of course, A&B is on the Board of the Chamber…Ahhh what a tangled web indeed…

So, just who is the man leading the charge trying to change the face and actions of the Maui County Council? Who is Grant David Gillham?

According to an article in the Sacramento Bee: “Grant Gillham is a special kind of consultant, the sort chemical company executives would hire to kill legislation that seeks to ban the profitable but toxic substances they produce.

A former Air Force AWACS pilot, Gillham worked for Republicans in the (California) Capitol in the 1990s, left in 1998 to campaign against a tobacco tax initiative, and later represented Lorillard Tobacco in California and other Western states.

Gillham flies below the radar but has relationships with the most effective lobbyists in this town and in virtually every other capital city in the country. If you need bills killed here, or in Carson City, or Helena, or Albany, Gillham is a one-stop hitman…”.

A description from his own speaker bio: “Mr. Gillham provides clients with deliberate advice on political timing, overcoming regulatory hurdles, swaying public perception, and how to develop relationships with the right persons and agencies in government.”

In addition, to “Hui O Maui Citizens for Change” Mr. Gillham was/is also a key player in the Maui Timeshare Ohana Political Action Committee (now One Ohana Political Action Committee). In the past, this committee received $125,000 each from the Ocean Resort Villas PAC and Ocean Resort Villa North PAC, which are affiliated with owners of timeshares at The Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas. They also received funding from the American Resort Association and are presently sitting on over half a million dollars of PAC money. This is not the first time big money SuperPacs have attempted similar efforts to influence the Maui Council – Maui News Article.

This all begs the real question:
Who exactly does Mr. Gillham work for?
What is their ultimate agenda?

The candidates being targeted by the pro-development forces on Maui are, of course, the best of the best. They are driven by doing right by the community, first and foremost. Unlike far too many others, they do not live and breathe based on the beck and call of the big corporations.

Why are these exceptional community leaders being targeted? Well for starters, the existing majority on the Maui County Council actually had the audacity to increase taxes on the resort industry. They also have taken strong steps to protect the environment and they insist that affordable housing be truly affordable and developed in a manner that respects the residents and their community.

Further angering the corporate forces who historically have always called the shots, is the fact that the Maui County Council is attempting to elevate the importance of sustainable agriculture, and they are willing to discuss the possibility of limits on the visitor industry.

All are reasons why we need to collectively step up and help these candidates who are in fact willing to do the right thing, for the right reasons, and thus have drawn the ire of big money.

Regardless of where you live, please if you can, offer the champions listed below whatever help you can. Each and every one of them is an exceptional human being who wakes up every morning wanting to do good for their community. They work hard and they are working hard now, but they need our help and support. Whether it be $20, $200, or $2,000 – all are welcome and greatly needed. Ballots will be mailed out very soon, so fundraising help is needed NOW.

Where Maui goes, all Hawaii will follow – of this I am sure.

Please help with an online contribution, today if you can.

Keani Rawlins-Fernandez
Maui County Council Vice-Chair, and Chair Economic Development and Budget Committee

Kelly Takaya King
Maui County Council – Chair of Climate Action and Resilience Committee

Shane Sinenci
Maui County Council – Chair of Environmental, Agricultural, Cultural Preservation Committee

Tamara Paltin
Maui County Council – Chair of Planning and Sustainable Land Use Committee

Gabriel (Gabe) Johnson
Candidate for Maui County Council
Gabe is solid and his election together with the reelection of the 4 listed above, would provide assurance that the Maui County Council would continue moving forward and implementing public policy that is good for people and the planet.
We really, really need Gabe to win – so help him please if you can.

Last but certainly not least for Maui County residents only:
Please consider voting YES to all 7 proposed charter amendments!


Gary Hooser –
Pono Hawaii Initiative (PHI)

Full Disclosure: Pono Hawaii Initiative has a dog or two or five…in this fight. You can see our complete statewide endorsement list here.

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About garyhooser

This blog represents my thoughts as an individual person and does not represent the official position of any organization I may be affiliated with. I presently serve as volunteer President of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (H.A.P.A.) I am the former Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. In another past life, I was an elected member of the Kauai County Council, a Hawaii State Senator, and Majority Leader, and the Director of Environmental Quality Control for the State of Hawaii - in an even earlier incarnation I was an entrepreneur and small business owner. Yes, I am one of the luckiest guys on the planet. Please visit my website AND sign up for my newsletter (unlike any email newsletter you have ever gotten, of that I am sure) - “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We’re afraid.” “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We will fall!” “Come to the edge.” And they came. And he pushed them. And they flew. - Christopher Logue (b.1926)
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