* EDITOR'S NOTE - This is the fourth in a series of stories covering contested legislative and County Council seats and County Charter and state constitutional amendments leading up to the Nov. 6 general election.
Both political newcomers running for Maui County Council's Molokai residency seat tout their ability to collaborate and understand other as part of their personal strengths they would bring to the council if elected.
"I can feel the pulse of Molokai," said Stacy Helm Crivello, a retired longtime Verizon manager for Molokai and Lanai. "I feel I have the collaborative leadership that can work with the other councilors that can benefit all of our county."
Meanwhile, candidate Wilson "Manuwai" Peters, a Hawaiian language immersion teacher at Molokai High School, said he's a "voice of moderation."
"I consider myself a thinker, one open to understanding (there are) more sides to an issue."
Peters said everyone wants the best for Maui County, and sometimes it's a matter of give-and-take and compromise to make things work.
Maui County Council
(Molokai residency seat)
Stacy Helm Crivello
Born: Nov. 29, 1945; Hoolehua, Molokai
Residence: Kalamaula, Molokai
Occupation: Executive director of Hale Hookupaa
Education: Business, College of Commerce, 1964, Honolulu
Community involvement: Board of directors of Na Puuwai Hawaiian Health; board of directors of Molokai Land Trust; board of directors of Molokai Affordable Homes Community Development Corp.; board of directors of the Hawai'i Alliance for Community-based Economic Development; member of the Maui County Charter Commission
Family: Divorced, four children, six grandchildren, one great-grandchild
Wilson 'Manuwai' Peters
Born: Dec. 24, 1965; Honolulu
Residence: Kalamaula, Molokai
Education: Master of public administration, Columbia University, 2011; master of arts, Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1997; state teaching certificate - secondary education, Chaminade University, 1999; bachelor of arts -- political science, UH-Manoa, 1987
Community involvement: Board member, Kalama'ula Homestead Association; Earth Day Committee, The Nature Conservancy Moloka'i; volunteer coordinator - Molokai Airport Greeters Program; secretary, Kalaiakamanu Hou Church; teacher rep - 'Aha Kauleo, Statewide Hawaiian Language Immersion Program Advisory Council
Family: Single, two hanai children
The two are vying for the seat being vacated by longtime council member and Council Chairman Danny Mateo of Molokai, who is leaving because of term limits.
Peters said he recognizes that, if elected, he has "big shoes" to fill.
"He's a strong voice," Peters said of Mateo. "I'm going to try and maintain his advocacy in Molokai."
Peters also noted the strong representation the Friendly Isle got from the late and longtime Council Member Pat Kawano, who preceded Mateo.
"It's going to be a big challenge," he said. "I want to continue their strong advocacy to Molokai that they brought to the council."
The 46-year-old Kalamaula resident said he would continue to be a voice for Molokai by working collaboratively with the other council members as well as "learn the process of give-and-take."
Crivello said that she would be able to maintain a strong presence, again reiterating her strong ties to the community, something she respectfully says she has over Peters.
"I understand, feel and hear the pulse of our community. I live it every day," said the 66-year-old Kalamaula resident. "There's many voices, even the silent voices that we hear and listen to."
She added that her job would be done by listening, learning and collaboration.
If elected to the council, some of the issues Crivello would bring to the table include making sure that the county's core services are being taken care of and there is enough money for enforcement agencies, public safety personnel and nonprofits.
Crivello admitted that she may be "biased" as far as for providing funding for recovery services because she works part time as the executive director of Hale Hookupaa, a substance abuse treatment center.
But she added that there must be "strict oversights" to most nonprofits that receive county funding.
Crivello said that many times people take the core services the county provides for granted such as landfills, refuse collection and parks.
Asked if she would raise taxes to pay for many of the county services that are underfunded, Crivello said it was something that she "couldn't answer right now" and that she wasn't dodging the question. But she needed to do more research because there are many issues she feels that she would need to look into such as labor contracts, costs for fuel and other issues that affect the county's bottom line.
Crivello said the "mantra of economics" is frequently heard and especially tied to her island. But she, like many other Molokai residents, said she would be in support of job creation as along as it is compatible with the island's resources such as water and land.
Like Crivello, Peters said that overall, it is important to maintain the islands' natural resources, especially when growing economically.
He gave an example of a Molokai resident wanting a portable slaughterhouse so he could grow his business, which Peters said is an idea he favors.
"People on Molokai have economic visions for their own business," he said.
Peters added that although he knows specific county departments oversee different permitting processes, as a council member, he would try to see if he could help make the permitting process smoother and more predictable.
He said he often gets approached by people who are trying to repair their homes and businesses and are concerned about what stage their permits are at with the county.
Peters said jobs cannot come to fruition until the permitting process can be finished. He would like to see the permitting process become more "predictable" so people know when to expect their permits.
Another issue Peters said he would like to address if elected, would be "what role does our county play in our allocation of water?"
Peters said he is running because he decided it was time to move out of the classroom after 20 years in education and have a positive impact on the community.
If elected, he said, he could reach people via policy and issues.
Peters recently completed his master's degree in public administration from Columbia University.
"I got this fire in me to practice the skills I learned," he said.
For Crivello, she said, "I'm running (because) people on Molokai have asked me to run."
* Melissa Tanji can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.