Primary election to feature a mix of local candidates

Correction: The names of Stacy Helm Crivello and Manuwai Peters, both vying for positions on the Maui County Council, do not appear on the Aug. 11 primary ballots. Both names, plus Walter Ritte, the at-large OHA candidate, will only appear on the general election ballot on Nov. 6.

This Saturday, Aug. 11, Maui County voters will have four Molokai candidates on the primary ballots to choose between.

Add in Walter Ritte of Ho’olehua, running for the at-large seat for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and you have five Molokai locals who have thrown their candidate hat into the ring. For an island known for its low voter turnout and political apathy (outside of the sign-waving activists and protesters), this represents a real change in local involvement.

Competing for the non-partisan seat on the Maui County Council being vacated by Danny Mateo will be Stacy Helm Crivello and Manuwai Peters, both Kalamaula homestead residents. Mateo leaves the council as the current chairman who has served five consecutive terms going back to 2002. Although Mateo represents Molokai on the council, he has not lived here full time in over 10 years.

The other two Molokai candidates are Barbara Haliniak and Kanohowailuku Helm, both attempting to unseat the incumbent state senator from District 7, J. Kalani English. Haliniak will face English in the Democratic primary. Helm, running as an Independent, needs to receive 10 percent of the ballots cast in order to advance to the general election November 6.

For those who wish to support Helm and also vote in the Democratic primary on Saturday, Helm encourages those people to leave blank the box for State Senate District 7. By doing this, it will lower the total vote count, making it easier for Helm to reach the 10 percent figure. The alternative is to only vote for non-
partisan candidates in the primary election.

Stacy Helm Crivello

Stacy Helm Crivello

Born and bred on Molokai as a member of the Helm ohana (Kanoho Helm’s aunt), Stacy Helm Crivello calls herself a “keiki o ka aina o Molokai.” She has played an active role in various Molokai groups for many years, serving as president of the non-profit group Ke ‘Aupuni Lokahi, also known as the Molokai Enterprise Community. This group administered the USDA Rural Enterprise Community Grant that Molokai received in 1998 and lasted 10 years. One of the controversial local projects of this group was a Community-Based Master Plan developed in partnership with Molokai Properties Limited. The plan would have donated 26,400 acres to the Molokai community in exchange for Molokai Ranch rights to develop La’au Point.

Helm Crivello now serves on the Maui County Charter Commission and is executive director of Hale Ho’okupa’a Substance Abuse Treatment Center in Kaunakakai. Other groups she has served for include boards of Na Pu`uwai Hawaiian Health System as well as Hawaii Alliance for Community-Based Economic Development (HACBED). She was a founding member of both the Molokai Land Trust and Molokai Affordable Homes Community Development Corporation (MAHCDC).

Helm Crivello helped develop the Molokai Land Trust through her work on the Molokai EC. This effort has helped preserve the pristine Mokio Point, Kawaikapu in Kainalu and the East Molokai Watershed.

In an interview with, Helm Crivello commented on the issue of job creation on Molokai: “I would think, first of all, government would try our best to retain and support existing businesses so that our employees on Molokai can be assured of employment. I also feel that economic prosperity is interdependent on the social and cultural aspects of our people.”

Manuwai Peters

Manuwai Peters

Manuwai Peters is perhaps best known on Molokai as an educator of Hawaiian language and culture at Molokai High School. His father is from Maui and his mother was born in Kalamaula. He has lived on Molokai since 1992 when he helped start the Hawaiian Language Immersion Program at Kualapu’u Elementary School. He has worked to expand the program into Molokai Middle School and the high school.

Over the past few years, Peters has spent considerable time in New York City attending Columbia University where he earned a master’s degree in public administration. He attended University of Hawaii for his undergraduate degree.

Regarding the question of job creation on Molokai, Peters told “Molokai does have a very high unemployment rate, but it certainly doesn’t mean that people are not doing things. People are very busy surviving and thriving on Molokai. The high unemployment rate stems from a lack of public and private jobs in our community, and people chose to want to live a subsistence lifestyle. For me, as your future council member, I would want to encourage small economic development projects on the island, such as supporting small existing businesses, and providing training and grants to new entrepreneurs on the island who have good ideas, who want to use local products and knowledge to create things for retail or wholesale sale, and items like that.”

The polling places will be open Saturday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call the Maui County Clerk’s office at 270-7749 for more information on polling locations.


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