During this election process I would like for us as a community to discuss possible solutions and to help the executive administration, whomever it may be, prioritize what is important to the people and focus administrative capacities in that direction. As a society we are deep into the transition from the Industrial Age to the Digital Age and in order to excel in these rapidly evolving times we can not continue business as usual. We need leadership for the 21st century that is community based and community directed.
I support the people’s ballot initiative for a moratorium on open air experimental tests which employ large amounts of poisonous chemical combinations until these procedures can be proven safe. Large agricultural interests have been responsible in the past for contaminating our groundwater, most notably upcountry wells. Maui’s ecosystems are so precious and vital to all of us, we need to ensure that our natural resources and the public health will not be adversely affected by such experimentation. I also believe people have the right to know what is in the food they are eating and, since genetically engineered foods fundamentally differ from foods that are farmed using traditional methods, GMO products should be labeled.
We are facing an affordable housing crisis in our county. We need developers who have been issued permits that are contingent upon developing affordable housing as a percentage of their projects to honor their commitments. We need affordable housing in perpetuity and we need to define what “affordable” truly means in Maui County.
The state and county have many resources that can be managed more efficiently to get families into shelters and affordable rentals based on income. We should also look into transitional campsites and tiny houses as options to get people better access to help and shelter.
We need to invest in community based economic development (CBED). CBED encourages using local resources in ways that enhance economic opportunities while improving social conditions in a sustainable manner. We need to address the problems we face as a county using a holistic and participatory approach, by creating community-centered processes that blend social and economic development to foster the ecological and cultural well-being of our communities. We must also emphasize community re-investment and develop opportunities tin which we work together and leverage our resources to produce collective solutions to community problems.
As elected officials transition out of office we have seen too many projects and funding opportunities fall through the cracks. Our County needs improved continuity so I propose we start a discussion about transitioning from an appointed managing director to having a having a professionally hired city manager (as our county auditor is hired) that who will be responsible for guiding and tracking our progress following our General Plan and Community Plans as well as assisting in managing the County.
Effective leadership is impossible unless residents and frontline county workers are welcomed as true partners in the effort to shape the direction of our county’s future as we move forward. We have the technology that makes mass collaboration possible, practical, and wise. If we do not take advantage of these communication tools available at our fingertips, we will not be able to move forward, and Maui County will not be as successful as we can be.