Maui’s Hottest Issues

Ohana Candidates Are Dedicated to Maui Values and Resolving Maui County’s Longstanding Issues.

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

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

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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 end Cronyism and 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.

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Stop 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.
Additional Issues

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