Outbursts at a neighborhood board meeting have the Neighborhood Commission investigating whether sanctions will be imposed on board member Kimo Keli'i.
Concerned residents called it a case of an elected official behaving badly during the monthly meeting in March at the Nanakuli-Maili Neighborhood Board meeting. "Keli'i got very belligerent. It was tragic what happened," said Lucy Gay.
According to a Neighborhood Commission review, Keli'i "denied the public the right to testify" with his outbursts and claimed his actions repeatedly violated the neighborhood plan as well as the state's sunshine law.
But Keli'i countered that the outbursts were the result of a long-simmering dispute that finally boiled over into personal attacks. "They were not focusing on the issue. They were making personal attacks against me. I had addressed the chair and he needed to take control of the meeting, but he had already lost control of the meeting," said Keli'i.
Keli'i claimed he has been the target of upset residents for years, because of his support to turn agricultural land in Nanaikuli into an industrial park. "When you had this kind of controversy and then when they lost -- they decided to pursue a smear campaign," he said.
So after the outbursts, Keli'i fired back with a letter of complaint against Gay's employer.
The commission members found that letter looked a lot like "an effort of intimidation and retaliation."
Even facing sanctions, Keli'i defended his outbursts and his actions during the meeting. "I don't regret anything. That is why people voted for me," said Keli'i.
But some concerned residents felt outbursts are not how elected official should act. "If he can't function in that arena, then he aught not to be there. His behavior showed he can't function in that arena with us," said Gay.
There was concern the incidents will stop residents from participating in government decisions. The Commission's Executive Secretary felt sanctions may have been the only way to prevent future outbursts.
Keli'i has until Sept. 7 to officially respond to the complaints.