Friday, May 22, 2020
Disappeared News part of media group seeking to open Maui Planning Commission deliberations to public scrutiny
by Larry Geller
A media group (including Disappeared News) has petitioned the Hawaii Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus to order the Maui Planning Commission to open its deliberations to the public in a contested case hearing. A writ of mandamus is an order from a court to a government official ordering the government official to properly fulfill their official duties or correct an abuse of discretion.
The Commission has ignored a written demand by the group that contested case proceedings related to the Grand Wailea Resorts proposed expansion be reopened to the public.“
Petitioners seek a writ of mandamus directing the MAUI PLANNING COMMISSION and its HEARING OFFICER to open its proceedings in In the Matter of the Application for: BRE ICONIC GWR OWNER, LLC, Docket No. SM1 2018/0011 and to otherwise comply with the constitutional standards set forth in Oahu Publications Inc. v. Ahn before closing any contested case proceedings to the public...
A downside of the current coronavirus crisis is that it gives government boards and commissions the opportunity to feel they can flout constitutional or statutory requirements to conduct their business in the open.
The Maui Planning Commission is moving forward with a contested case hearing closed to the public.
The issue before the Maui Planning Commission is the request by the Grand Wailea Resort to remodel and expand its operations within the Special Management Area.
The public has a right to observe the discussion, the decision-making process, and any vote. To cloak actions of a board or commission in secrecy means that they do not want to be accountable to the public for their actions.