May 28th – Live Candidate Interviews
MAUI COUNCILMEMBER (South Maui)
Implement a vigorous interview process to select the best Ohana Candidates, who serve the Aina and the people. We enthusiastically promote the Maui County Candidates we are endorsing.
Provide a range of direct support to the Ohana Candidates, subject to community gathering restrictions, including workshops, coaching, promotion events, canvassing, social media, sign waving, meet and greets, video, TV and flyers.
Educate the Community about hot issues affecting Maui County and what the Ohana Candidates can do to resolve them.
Amplify financial donations to the candidates through volunteers and an effective strategy of grassroots organizing and implementation.
for Maui County
Now is the Time for Progressives to Unite through the Internet
We are utilizing technology in creative ways to support civic engagement. The solution must be innovative at this time. Come join us during this transformative time to protect the future of Maui County by getting a majority of Progressive candidates elected who serve the ‘Aina and the people.
RUSSELL SIMON for Maui's State Rep.District 12
Meet & Greet ~ Watch the interview here opens in new tab.
Tuesday, April 21 ~ 6:00 pm
on Facebook Live, Maui Pono Network
Simon Russell was raised in Hawaii, works as a farmer, and lives in Upcountry Maui (Makawao) with his wife, Kiki (an organic farm and processing inspector), and their children. He helps farmers through Hui ‘O Mālama ‘Āina LLC, an agricultural consulting company, and Farm Maui LLC, a licensed contracting company focused on farm operations and management. Simon Russell is a staunch advocate for Hawaii farmers, Hawaii families, and Hawaii’s natural environment.
On January 16, 2020, Simon Russell spoke about Maui’s watersheds at the Mauna Kahalawai Chapter meeting of the Hawaii Farmers Union United (HFUU) at Maui Tropical Plantation in Wailuku. His presentation, “Restoration, Maintenance and Management of Maui’s Watersheds,” focused on the recent Maui Board of Water Supply Temporary Investigative Group’s report on the feasibility of purchasing and maintaining the East Maui Irrigation (EMI) water-delivery system. He also discussed an upcoming legislative bill to create watershed councils modeled on the ʻAha Moku Council to restore, maintain, and manage the watersheds.
Simon Russell serves on various local, state and federal boards, working groups and committees, including:
• USDA Farm Service Agency – State Committee Member
• Makawao Elementary School Parent Teachers Assoc. – Co-President
• Upcountry Agriculture Working Group – Member
• Affordable Agriculture Worker Housing Working Group – Founder
• Upcountry Rotary Club – Member
Simon Russell has also served on the following boards and committees:
• Hawaii Board of Agriculture – Maui County Representative (2015-2017)
• Hawaii Farmers Union Foundation (HFUF) – Founding President (2015-2017)
• Hawaii Farmers Union United (HFUU) – Haleakala Chapter President (2016-2018)
• Hawaii Farmers Union United (HFUU) – State Vice President (2012-2015)
• Hawaii Farmers Union United (HFUU) – State Legislative Committee Chairman (2012–2017)
• GMO-Free Maui – Founding member, grant writer, secretary (2004-2007)
Maui's State Rep.District 12
Ulupalakua, Keokea, Kula, Pukalani, Makawao, Kahului Airport, Sprecklesville
“From the Mountain to the Ocean”
Ka'apuni Aiwohi for Maui's State House District 8 ~ Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Wailuku, Waikapu
Candidate Interview April 7th
Get to Know Progressive Candidates
Coming soon: List of all registered Candidates for Maui County who are declared progressives, with pictures and links to their sites. This is not an endorsement but an opportunity to get know the declared Progressives in Maui County.
The Maui Pono Network is a grassroots organization of volunteers, dedicated to eliminating major blocks to affordable housing, raising the minimum wage, sustainable development, producing abundant nutritious food, and reclaiming and restoring the land. Join us
Maui’s Hottest Issues
Ohana Candidates Are Dedicated to Maui Values and Resolving Maui County’s Longstanding Issues.
Affordable Housing for Residents
The way it is
- Average Home Sale in 2018 = $925,000 (requires income of $225,000)
- The average household income is = $56,000/year (can afford only a $220,000 house)
- There are several thousand illegal vacation rentals averaging $200/night, greatly impacting affordable housing stock.
- The rental market for local residents is on average $900/month for a room with shared bathroom. With the minimum wage of $10.20/hr, for a single person this means up to 60% of income goes to rental. The family rentals are on average $2,200/month.
- Housing needs project an estimated an additional 13,949 housing units by 2025
- Many long term residents are experiencing their ‘Ohana break up as their children cannot afford to live in Maui County. We can stop this and turn it around.
What we can do about it
- Hire a professional with housing experience to be the Director of Housing, focused only on housing, with a separate Deputy Director in charge of Human Services.
- Use county money and bonds to acquire and develop the affordable housing stock, the county can manage it effectively with the right hires.
- Make taxation pono by reflecting a tax rate closer to that of Oahu on resort condos and hotels of $12.90/1,000 versus the Maui rate of $9.30/1,000. The adjusted rate could add $35,000,000 to the budget per year that could fund the county’s involvement.
- Enforce short term illegal housing/rental vacation regulations. Collected fines can further support affordable housing.
- Allow larger and more ‘ohanas in urban zoned parcels for affordable housing permitted only for long term residential housing.
- Allow tiny home pods and zero footprint homes in certain locations. Support communal farms.
- Provide incentives for providing affordable rental units (ie. breaks to second home and investment home owners who rent long term to residents)
Local Farming and Food Production
The Way It Is
- 85-90% of food is imported to Hawaii—food security a serious hazard if air transit is disrupted
- 1500 agriculture jobs in 2009 (A&B had 900 jobs)
- 225,568 acres of ag land on Maui (26% prime, 45% productive, 28% low)
- A&B has 27,000 acres designated as agricultural land 9,000 acres for development
- 87% of Maui farms less than 50 acres (75% have revenue less than $25k, 2002)
- Maui leads state in vegetable production with great capacity to improve
- Maui’s highest profit yielding agriculture is GMO seed corn from Monsanto
- Since 1996, 2,600 acres converted from ag use to development
What we can do about it
- Promote the Hawaii State Constitution “The State shall conserve and protect agricultural lands, promote diversified agriculture, increase agricultural self-sufficiency, and assure the availability of agriculturally suitable lands” Article X1, Section 3. Create a Maui County Department of Agriculture to enforce.
- Provide grants and subsidies to restore the soil destroyed by sugar cane and pineapple production, provide infrastructure, education programs, and insurance support.
- Protect Important Prime, and Productive ag land from commercial development
- Permanent protection of water rights for Prime, and Productive ag land
- Expand Agricultural Parks program to provide low cost farmland; review process for renting ag land to local farmers
- Strategically invest in infrastructure development and energy crops
- Develop processing, packaging, and distribution “food hubs”
- Support farmers to get food certifications for School Lunch
Shift from Tourism Marketing to Tourism Management
The Way It Is
- Tourism is 80% of island economy, 75% of private jobs, $3 Billon spending.
- Maui Island Plan (2012): Daily visitors not to exceed 33% of residents.
- As of 2015, was over 37%…..Current estimates may be over 39%.
- Visitor counts rising 10% faster than residents since 2003.
- Visitor daily expenditures trending lower since 1989.
- Tourism strategic plan is to attract more visitors, more car rentals, more rooms.
- Visitors want “real Hawaii”, authentic culture, and are getting less of it and they dislike traffic.
- Residents see the poor conditions of roads, mounting traffic and less access to Maui’s nature.
What we can do about it
- Elect Maui County Representatives who understand this growing crisis.
- Promote County Council actions to identify and support carrying capacity limit with further studies that account for roads, water, rooms and other factors to determine if 33% is ideal.
- Favor the Maui Island Plan (created by Mauians) over the Tourism Strategic Plan (created by the tourism industry).
- Have tourists pay a small culture tax to help preserve and educate visitors about Hawaiian Culture
- Reallocate tourism marketing dollars ($4million) to tourism management, traffic remediation and fixing local roads. Or proviso tourism dollars for support for environmental infrastructure, traffic solutions and tourist environmental and illegal lodging education.
- Diversify the economy through small business development not dependent on tourism and agriculture
Balance Water Distribution from Mauka to Makai
The Way it is
- The state owns all the water. It leases water rights to A&B, the County, and other water users. The watersheds themselves, in E. Maui, are 2/3 state land (leased to A&B in part) and 1/3 A&B owned. State and County are not working together.
- A&B owns all the stream diversions and the ditch/flume/tunnel system that transports water from E Maui to Upcountry and the Central Valley.
- The present water distribution is ineffective. (1) The open ditch system spills a lot and evaporation from the open ditches wastes a lot of water. (2) The diversion dams are 19th century technology, without any kind of automatic controls and sensors. (3) The old diversion dams will be washed away whenever a locally heavy storm dumps record rain in any one watershed, as happened twice on Maui in the last two years, and just last month on Kauai. 30 to 40% of our precious resource is lost.
- There is a contested case hearing about how much water must be left in each of the main twenty-two E Maui streams that is ready for decision after 15 years of litigation.
- How much of the “excess” water A&B can divert in the future, now how much more the County can take as upcountry develops. The question of how much A&B and the County can use with that system is in limbo.
- The distribution system is not being maintained properly now, and really needs modernization.
- Right now A&B gets a windfall, paying only a fraction of the price all the other users of that water pay.
What we can do
- Find out our daily sustainable usage of water with requirements to restore the aquifer and keep within this balance.
- Test our water for poisons and other chemicals sprayed by Monsanto, A&B, and other large chemical based farming. Monsanto/Bayer needs to be regulated.
- Set a fair price for use of the state water, no matter who uses it. Enforce laws to protect well heads, a county right.
- Fair and equitable solution regarding water rights for the betterment of Maui including restoring our streams and fresh water ecosystems.
- Explore county and public ownership of the watershed and distribution system.
- Fix the leaky distribution system and send the sacred water to support the common good instead of A&B development.
- Ensure Native Hawaiian’s rights of 30% compensation for profits from water diversion – as provided in the State Constitution.
Enact the Managing Director Charter Amendment to Improve County Operations
The Way it is
- Maui County will soon have billion-dollar and the demands of a population approaching 200,000. The present hiring system was adopted 50 years ago in the Charter.
- It is important to note that the political skills required to be elected mayor probably do not translate into the skills needed to administer a billion-dollar budget.
- The present system of political appointment encourages mismanagement and ineffectiveness. Examples abound of appointments of high paying department heads with no experience in that field. It is estimated that 1.5 year lost of effectiveness from department heads with each election cycle
- The majority of dysfunction within county operations can be traced back to upper management who lack the skills and insight to prevent problems and resolve issues.
- Many high paid assistants hired as aides to the mayor are redundant positions that can be eliminated with professional, qualified department directors.
What We Can do
- Advocate for a charter amendment to the revised County charter of (1983), as amended, to recognize the executive branch to establish an office of the managing director, provide for the appointment of the managing director, and define duties and responsibilities.
- Kelly King is the champion of this Charter Amendment and the old boy network is opposing it. The selection of a professional managing director involves three citizens and is developed to get the most competent person and give more autonomy to that position to do their job regardless of who is mayor.
- Vote out the old boy network and elect the progressive, service oriented candidates who will demand this cronyism ends.
- It is more important than ever that professionals be hired and retained to run the county and its departments. The professional managing director would have the power to hire and fire department heads. The county would run more effectively and efficiently.
Stop County Corruption and Demand Transparency
The Way it is
- Maui County looses millions each year because of rigged bidding. The process involves finding out something unique about the contractor and then writing the request for the proposal that demands that uniqueness be the main criteria for selection.
- County contracts get rewarded by donations that are in violation of the State of Hawaii Elections Commission
- The illegal injection wells has cost the county nearly $8 million in fines by the EPA and millions has been spent in the litigation process with the fourth appeal to the Supreme Court underway.
- The Sunshine law was violated in this last budget cycle when developed the budget was developed independently from the County Council omitting progressive items so they would not be considered in budget discussions.
- Property tax evaluation for big hotels are much lower compared to the 20% increase for houses owned by people struggling to get by.
What We Can Do
- Elect County representatives who will serve the Common Good and not special interests. Cast you vote for Ohana Candidates.
- Investigate suspect projects that have exorbitant price tags
- Support greater transparency in all aspects of county government.
- Allow greater access to County information and the process of past decisions
ICE and Opioid Epidemic ~Approaches that Work
The Way it is
- An estimated 90 percent of property crime in Hawaii is believed to be drug-related. In addition, many homicides and other violent crimes, including hostage situations, have been associated with crystal methamphetamine. In 2002, U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo stated that crystal methamphetamine had been associated with over 90 percent of confirmed child abuse cases.
- Some 37.4 percent of men jailed in Honolulu tested positive for methamphetamine in 2001, higher than any other major U.S. city
- There’s no precise count of Hawaii’s ice users. Estimates range from 8,000 to 120,000 out of a state population of 1.2 million,
- Maui County averaged the highest annual rate of opioid overdose deaths per 100,000 at 17.5.
- Opioid abuse is an epidemic manufactured by the pharmaceutical industry and they get double profits by supplying treatment centers with drugs.
- Youth under 20 years old that frequently use these drugs before their frontal lobe fully develops often have great difficulty to maintain sobriety.
What We Can Do
- Education, Prevention, and Treatment is where the resources should focus. Incarceration and increased police activity has not worked well, except for the prison industrial complex.
- An innovative drug court program enables select pre-trial inmates, sentenced felons, and parole violators to participate in in-facility treatment services, which is followed by another 9 months of treatment in the community.
- Treat drug addiction as a mental illness and have sufficient long term residential programs so people can get back their lives.
- Fund local treatment facilities like the Family Life Center and Aloha House.
Increase Minimum Wage
Repair the Deplorable State of the School System
Fix the Roads and End Traffic Jams
Stop The Poisoning of Maui through Experimental Agriculture Chemicals