Voter Registration is Important

There are about 150,000 people living in Maui County. The majority of candidates win with 22,000-26,000 votes. That is approximately 15% of the population. That 15% is who the current politicians have catered to. I would like to reach out to the 60% of residents who have not voted yet and are not happy with the status quo.

Please make sure everyone you know is registered to vote. The primary on August 9, 2014, is the first hurdle. The deadline to register for the primary is July 10, 2014. Get involved, get empowered and get engaged. E ala e!

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Mayor’s Proposed Budget for County of Maui Fiscal Year 2015

I attended the County Council’s West Maui budget hearing last night and today I reviewed the Mayor’s FY 2015 proposed budget ordnance online.

Nonprofit Grants
Last night I heard many worthy and inspiring organizations asking for county funds and I also heard residents and timeshare owners speak out against the proposed 6.5% increase in property taxes. It made me consider how the county could continue to help these worthy organizations within our county without overburdening property owners.

As the Executive Director of a 501c3 nonprofit, I became familiar with the process of searching for funding sources and applying for grants – it is not an easy process but I was lucky to have had encouragement and guidance of experienced friends along the way. I obtained approximately $35,000 in grant funding (not from the County of Maui) for the Save Honolua Coalition over the past five years.

Reflecting on this really made me think how effective it would be if the County had someone to function as a resource for nonprofit organizations to connect and support them, to leverage outside sources of funding and assist in the developing of local grant writers.

There are nonprofit, government, small business, individual,foundation and corporate grant sources out there which could take some of the burden off the Maui County tax payers.

If we created a small department to educate and empower nonprofits to go after those funds first and then turn to the county as a last resort, I’m convinced it would be a win-win and actually reduce the County’s need for funds.

More Transparency in Department Budgets
I would also encourage more transparency and internal feedback within each department in regards to details of submitted budgets. County workers are not only tax paying residents and affected by rate and fee increases but they may well be able to offer a different perspective on ways to reduce spending if given the chance.

These are my initial thoughts on the matter and I welcome your mana’o and further discussion of these matters as the county budget process progresses.

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Constituent Issues – Private construction landfill

The Maui Construction and Demolition Landfill (“Landfill”) is located at the intersection of Honoapi`ilani Highway and North Kihei Road. It is a private, not a County, facility operated by and for construction contractors and trucking firms on land leased from A&B Properties. This location was originally the site of Pu`u Hele, a natural cinder cone. During WWII, the Navy quarried the area for materials to use in the construction of roads and airfields for military use, turning it into a large puka.

Around 1995 it was proposed as a private construction and demolition landfill, which was welcomed by the then Lingle administration since at that time already, the Central Maui Landfill was filling up. From the late 1990s through around 2005, the “pit” as it was then known routinely caught fire and smoldered underground as a result of poor management and the acceptance of readily combustible materials, including old rubber tires. Depending on wind conditions, both Ma`alaea and Kihei were frequently subjected to nauseating stench from the fires, contributing to the site’s notoriety.

Amendments to the landfill’s permit when it was extended for another 10 years in 2006 alleviated the combustion problems.  Meanwhile, however, the pit began to fill up until today it is more than full and is turning back into a Pu`u, this time a Pu`u Opala.  Now all of us, locals and visitors alike, are treated to the visual blight of this mountain of debris as it rises ever higher above the two highways at their intersection.  The only problem is that there were apparently no height restrictions imposed in the original permit or any of its extensions, so the operators can technically keep piling debris on it until 2016 when the current permit expires, and they may well argue successfully to continue operations due to the lack of height restrictions.

Mayor Arakawa’s office says it’s a private facility. The Planning Department says the permit is legitimate and will take no action. Planning Director Spence was the original planner who shepherded the landfill through its original permitting process nearly 20 years ago.  The State Department of Health, ostensibly with jurisdiction, will do nothing.  If you live in West Maui and drive to and from Central Maui you cannot help but observe the landfill in operation with its earthmoving equipment, dump trucks and clouds of dust, as the mountain of trash grows ever higher by the day.

The landfill problem is an island-wide problem.  It is not confined to the Ma`alaea/Kihei area.  There are also numerous environmental issues, such as polluted rainwater runoff into adjacent Pohakea Gulch and thence into Ma`alaea Bay. The main issue is that for the past 15 years one administration after the other has known that someday the pit would be full, and yet absolutely no plans for an alternate site have ever been made. Today the pit is more than full and still no effort has been made to find an alternative site, public or private.  Worse, accepted environmental impact statements for upcoming projects, such as the Pu`unene Heavy Industrial Subdivision, state that construction debris will be deposited in the Maui Construction and Demolition Landfill, as though there is no tomorrow.

Various community and environmental groups have gotten absolutely nowhere with the administration, the council and the state.  Perhaps you could campaign on this issue, among others, and, if elected, maybe you can actually do something about it.  If nothing else, get some height restrictions and make sure they are enforced.

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Tamara Paltin shows that ‘one person really can make a huge difference’

Here’s a writeup in the Lahaina News.

Excerpt:

John Carty shared the “People Who Made a Difference Award” with Paltin in 2007. He also serves on the SHC executive committee as secretary.

Carty speaks highly of Paltin’s qualities and skills.

“Her ego is out of the picture,” he said.

“One of Tamara’s defining traits is her humility. It is amazing what she accomplishes while not taking credit for it. She understands clearly that the mission is more important than any individual recognition.

“Tamara also has an amazing positivity,” Carty continued, “that I think you see more of in our young leaders. Instead of concentrating on conflicts or disappointing news, she keeps our canoe pointed towards our goal.”

Posted in Events

Welcome to My Campaign Website

Over the next months leading up to the primary for the position of Maui County Mayor, I’ll be talking to you about a new vision for our islands. One that is respectful of our land and water.

How do we create liveable communities?

We do it by following a plan. Keep our agricultural land for food. We build smart towns that are walkable instead of suburban sprawl. We protect our precious beaches and ocean access.

We plan our development to create a steady stream of jobs instead of boom and bust with wildly out of control building followed by hardship and unemployment.

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