The future of South Maui Election 2020
Maintaining our quality of life: The waves of change
All Council members vote on issues that affect all of Maui Nui and I am dedicated to looking after the well being of all residents. As the South Maui Residency Councilmember, however, my first responsibility must be to ensure the well being of my constituents.
To that end, working closely with the South Maui Community Associations, I've worked toward achieving budget allocations commensurate with the revenue we provide to the County balanced by the needs of all communities within Maui Nui.
Our local concerns mirror the needs of all communities in Maui County. It's important that we maintain a sense of community. These aspects of our quality of life here are the very things that matter to all of us, most of all.
Given the growth in our area, it's important to maintain the small town atmosphere of our community. That means bike paths, open areas, adequate wastewater treatment and maximizing irrigation with recycled water appropriate for that purpose and more.
One policy change that could help effect this change in approach would be to create more Community Advisory Committees, not just for South Maui, for all communities island-wide. This would enable residents to have conversations directly with their local Council representative even before proposals get to the Planning Commission or the Council. I have a proposal to the Council to create a South Maui Advisory Committee along with the goal of establishing this for all County districts. I believe residents must have a say in what happens in their own community.
I've worked closely with the Kihei Community Association for many years and in fact, am a former Board Member prior to taking office. Under the leadership of Mike Moran for almost 30 years, KCA has been one of the most knowledgeable and effective Community Associations in the County, advocating for the quality of life in South Maui. I completely support the work that KCA does. I'm grateful that such an organization exists in my District, so knowledgeable and informed about just about everything that affects the quality of our lives. I fully support their overall objectives. This represents a second policy change.
According to the US Census, the median income per capita on Maui was $33,792. Currently, the median cost of a home on Maui is close to $800,000. The disparity between the two makes absolutely no sense. If Maui is to be one of the most sought after destinations in the world by people at the highest income levels, surely it is reasonable that residents should be able to afford to live here with an appropriate quality of life.
A healthy balance between the two can only be fair. Many of those who permanently reside in Maui nui essentially support the ability of others to maintain an otherwise unaffordable standard of living. They should be able to afford a reasonable standard of living, commensurate with their income. Economic diversity should provide the opportunity to increase that opportunity.
My focus on community involvement has shown that we can develop affordable rental projects with community support if we address local concerns. The Kaiwahine Village project is the best example of how we can all work together to get this done quickly without protests and legal challenges.
Kaiwahine Village is an affordable rental project in North Kihei that was completed earlier this year and houses folks at 60% and under AMI levels. I have worked with this same developer to support two additional projects, one in West Maui and another one in Central Kihei. In addition, I am supporting three new workforce development projects and a senior affordable housing project in my district.
I’ve been working on another policy change that provides a tax credit for landlords who rent affordable units long-term to residents.