Mauna Kea Trask will be the new Kauai County Attorney if the County Council agrees on Dec. 1.
County Attorney Al Castillo, who has held the post for the past six years, will be returning to his private criminal defense and family law practice.
Though Mauna Kea is young — he graduated UH Richardson Law School in 2004 — he's earned some solid stripes via baptism by fire and innovation, along with plain hard work.
The innovation, which also reflects his Native Hawaiian heritage, includes creating stewardship agreements with kanaka and community organizations and using ho’oponopono to complete the county's Section 106 obligations (a federal consultation process to identify historic and culturally significant sites) for Ke Ala Hele Makalae, the coastal path.
The baptism by fire involves the wrath he incurred for his controversial opinion that Bill 2491, the GMO/pesticide regulatory measure, was legally flawed. His opinion was vindicated when a federal judge overturned the law on the grounds that it was pre-empted by the state's authority.
And as I reported previously, he's used his volunteer position on the Kauai-Niihau Burial Council to identify and record known burial sites so as to avoid inadvertent discoveries of iwi kupuna during construction. It was a proactive and creative approach to protecting burials and minimizing the emotional distress that so often accompany such disturbances.
Though I took a few cracks at Mauna Kea in his early years with the county, I've developed a lot of respect for him over the years. He's a dedicated public servant, and a man of integrity and high intelligence, so he should be able to learn whatever he needs to succeed at the position. I've also found him to be a deep and thoughtful guy who cares about Kauai — his ancestral home — and looks at the big picture. He has a sound grasp of the intertwined complexities of politics, society and culture.
He'll be a good replacement for Al, who has earned the enmity of some powerful Councilmembers, most notably top vote-getter Mel Rapozo. The County Attorney must represent both the Administration and the Council, so it's good those Al and Mel won't be banging heads anymore. Mauna Kea's smooth diplomacy should help the mayor and the new Council get off on the right foot.
Excellent news , Mauna Kea is an excellent choice.
Mauna Kea is a good guy. Quitting the Prosecutors was a good move. Mahalo to Al Castillo for serving during of 6 years of divisiveness including GMO and plots to get the Mayor and Bynum and a Council that hated on each other at every chance. Tough job.
"baptism by fire" Great words Joan! And so true! I've known Mauna Kea since he was a child and this is no surprise. Mauna Kea is such a great choice! His youth is only to his advantage, not to his detriment and he's not even the youngest county attorney ever to become county attorney. Mike Belles was 33, Kathleen Watanabe was 34 when JoAnne Yukimura appointed her, JoAnne Yukimura was in her 20s when she started in council in the 1970s, Council member elect Kaneshiro is 32 ( I think), and Mike Dahilig was 29 when he was confirmed Planning Directer. Anyone who raises concerns about age is just looking for an excuse. We should support Mauna Kea and all the upcoming leaders from the next generation. If we cant trust our youth to take our place, lead and contribute then what have we done? IMUA!!!
Mauna Kea should celebrate with a beer with Dickie Chang, Ian Jung, Mike Dahilig and Imai Aiu (oops maybe a tea party for the run away).
If Mauna Kea is such a good guy then why can't he tell what is right from what is wrong?
He's a dedicated public servant, and a man of integrity and high intelligence, so he should be able to learn whatever he needs to succeed at the position. I've also found him to be a deep and thoughtful guy who cares about Kauai — his ancestral home — and looks at the big picture. He has a sound grasp of the intertwined complexities of politics, society and culture.
Sounds like the sort of man whose presence will set higher standards of leadership than the government of Kauai has seen in some time.
The kind of man who understands power and can be trusted to use it well.
Power isn’t control at all — power is strength, and giving that strength to others. A leader isn’t someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to others that they may have the strength to stand on their own.
- Beth Revis, Across the Universe
Mauna Kea good man. This is a difficult job. A good Council Chair can make it easier, Thank you Mauna Kea.
Al did have a tough job. His clients included Bernard, Shaylene, Mel, Tim, Gary, Daryl, Sheila and a host of other stellar individuals. Now he can leave the cesspool and go back to representing criminals. Free at last.
To what specifically are you referring 8:58 pm?
8:56 Mauna Kea was Not part of the beer fest.
*8:58, as far as his knowing right from wrong, as a lawyer his advice was right on 2491. If the council had listened to his advice and changed some of the illegal language and then passed the bill, we may have avoided the legal challenge. So whether you are for or against 2491, his advice was right and blame JoAnn and her friends for thinking she knows better by passing the bill after her legal council advised the words needed change.
A legal council that has shown it is not swayed by mob rule shows lots of integrity.
Mauna Kea will be much more pleasing to the eye on TV than Castillo.
7:39am. Who are you kidding? The chemco's would have sued regardless of the language. It is what they do.
8:01. Maybe. But they wouldn't have won!
The federal judge said the County was preempted from regulating pesticides and gmos. His ruling didn't address the changes made to the bill.
Maunakea's diplomatic style will serve Kauai well. Excellent choice.
8:01am. Of course they would have won. It's what they do. They always win in court. It helps when you have more money than God.
Mauna Kea is awesome. It is good toi see that you all support youth on the council. Admit, our handsome native son will be awesome.
I have a great feeling about this, congratulate him, and wish him all of the best.
The Trask Ohana, has an amazing history, full of all sorts of people who bucked ther system, did things their own way, and also were quite rabid protestors. They certainly didn't tow the line, and I think some of the commentators on here, would think that some of the Trask Ohana was not to your way of doing things.
The Trasks are an enigma, and part of our important Hawaii heritage. I for one am proud to see yet another branch of the tree getting into the fray.
Don't put it past him to not look at a political career in the future.
Who knows, maybe governor!
9:26. They've lost a number of times. Why do you think there's no commercial GMO wheat or GMO crops in wildlife refuges? But then, believing they always win and even the courts are stacked against the citizens feeds the victim mentality and David vs Goliath myth that keeps Hooser, Earthjustice and CFS in business.
You move up the ladder quickly if you follow orders and be a "Yes" man.
You move up the ladder quickly if you follow orders and be a "Yes" man.
Unless the ladder is rickety with rotten wood, and teetering under the weight of too many people who are out to grab power for themselves.
In which case, sooner or later, your ultimate direction is going to be down.
A good honest young man who will not vary from facts or truth. Steady hand on the wheel Mauna. Uncle Pat
HIP~HIP~HURRAY!!! ... AND CONGRATULATIONS!!!
HIS DESTINY WAS PREORDAINED ...
HE IS THE 4TH GENERATION OF ATTORNEYS ...
THE 1ST SUN, OF THE 1ST SUN, OF THE 1ST SUN, OF THE 1ST SUN ....
HE WAS BORN WITH A WOODEN SPOON IN HIS MOUTH ...
HE DOTTED HIS TEES & CROSSED HIS EYES ...
HE PAID ALL HIS DUES + SUM ...
HE SMILED AT THE CLERKS ...
BUTTS~HE~NEVA POLISHED HIS SHOES ...
AND WITH A KNOWING SIGH OF RELIEF HE PREVAILED ...
MANY A LESSER MAN SUCCUMBED TO HIS MANY TESTS ....
HIS FATHER, TUTU, GREAT GRAND FATHER, AND ALL HIS AUMAKUA FROM THE BEGINNING OF TIME ... ARE SMILING, HONOR HIM, AND CELEBRATE HIS COMING OF AGE ...
HOE WA'A IMUA KE ALA KA'I O KOU MAR KUPUNA ...
PADDLY YOUR CANOE FORWARD IN THE PATHWAY OF YOUR ANCESTORS ...
DOWN PERISCOPE .. FIRE ..<>?~!@#$%^&*()_+...!!!
4:38 Right on....Pepe was good. I had the opportunity to work with Arthur several times....a fine person and he fought for what he believed. Hawaii forgets the great ones quickly.
Mauna Kea will stick to the law, facts and keep a level head. Imagine having to deal with the "smartest man in the world" AKA Gary Hooser. Gary will put Mauna Kea to the test. Gary don't got no rice cooker, but he got the HAPA thing, which should stop him from voting on many Council bills. Hopefully, some one in the Council will throw HAPA on the Ethics Board and County Attorney's desk this month. Gary is serving 2 masters, HAPA is one and the desire to git hose "national headlines" is the other. I don't think Gary gives two goat turds for the future of the island. He sure doesn't have time for local people.
Promising start! He was right on one of the most important issues in this County the past few years. And he took a lot of unfair criticism for doing a good job. I hope the bs doesn't drive him from the job.
Mauna Kea a rising star and will be a falling star soon if he bucks heads with the mayor who is an emperor with no clothes. He will follow the fate of Marc Guyot. We hope not. Mauna Kea is too smart to be just a licking puppy. The real brains in the county is not the mayor but his campaign manager and soon to be the HR Director. Mark my word people. There will be more employment lawsuits coming our way.
Melvin Rapozo will be banging heads because Shaylene is Mauna Kea's enemy former boss.
ShayMel will retaliate against Mauna Kea. If you don't believe that then ask Marc Guyot (who has lawsuit against the county of Kauai).
1059 No way, Jose. A new day for the island. Mel and MK are way above and beyond that. As far as lawsuits and the County, there will be many more, many more.....the Tim Bynum Rule....if He can sue, so can you.
@8:57 and 10:59 your garbage predictions are just that, garbage! Maunakea is no puppet. Mayors campaign manager, Mel, shay, blah blahblah.... These are people, Not boogie men. Stop projecting your own anxiety onto others. Mauna Kea is strong. And you have no idea what the future holds. And also, He could never be compared to Mark Guayot. Marc was a total incompetent idiot. Like 6:09 said, Mel and MK are way above and beyond your tabloid trash predictions. But like the saying goes, haters gonna hate.
7:47am..I love Mauna Kea. He is handsome and charismatic, but he answers to the mayor. We are in for many political dramas. I also welcome Shay returning to the fold.
If you love Mauna you wouldn't want him to have problems like Shay.
@6:26 I don't know what you mean by "answers to the mayor" but he is legally obligated to represent the mayor and the council. A lot of the comments on this blog just shows that you commenters don't know what the county charter says or understand the government structure.
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