From Apathy to Advocacy

Our Mission Statement: From Apathy to Advocacy.
For those not new to this, think: from Resignation to Richness.

If you take just a short time to learn about how things work on Maui, you’ll find out they don’t work very well. Or they leave us scratching our heads at the unsettling lunacy.  Ever wonder why? Let’s find out together and see what we can do to change it. Expect More, Maui.

The irony of our logo being a hand painted sign is intended. You should Expect More of us.

Scroll down to find out what’s on our mind.
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Open Letter to Douglas Gray, Eclipse Development re: Piilani Promenade

I am writing to you as a concerned citizen of Kihei, Maui. There are a lot of people here – and many of them were at a Kihei Community Association meeting this week – that have grave concerns about the Piilani Promenade project your company has planned for our community.

We have been informed that you have all your entitlements in place and that unless the County of Maui shows the courage to make further demands upon your company, that you will be moving ahead with the project. And my understanding is that if their legal department had bigger balls, you’d already have heard from them.

I have strong feelings about this being the wrong project for our community, but as a former real estate agent, I respect your right to develop land that you own and it is the local jurisdiction’s job to put demands upon you and enforce them. Our county is notoriously not very good at that. So I’m asking you to be pono, or do the right thing, for our community.

I don’t think my letter suggesting that you consider doing something else with your land would be an effective approach, but I’m going to offer you something that I hope you will hear. You will be having a lot of dealings with the South Maui community during the time your project is being built and leased. Right now we are feeling totally alienated by your company and your local rep, Charlie Jencks, bringing a really nasty attitude to the table. Actually refusing to come to the table for the most part.

I have lived here for six years. People that are new either fit in with the community or don’t. They are respected and accepted or they aren’t. And it is pretty much up to the person to decide how they are viewed. Of course my analogy is that since corporations have become citizens, I’m suggesting that you consider improving your company’s attitude with the people that live here. Please be good citizens. Respect our community and listen to us.

Get to know the local people. Sit down with the Kihei Community Assoc. Stand in the fire with the people that live here. Watch the words you and your local rep use with the people that live here and in your marketing materials. Connect with some Hawaiians and be sure to do things in a culturally acceptable manner. Do the right thing. We don’t like phrases like ‘monetizing the assets’ around here. We care about the place we live and want to continue with a quality of life that we feel we have some say in.

You are bringing a huge project to a small community. It will change the face of South Maui forever. I hope you feel that getting to know us and getting in sync will make your project flow more smoothly and also have a better chance of finding tenants and shoppers if the community likes you.

Wouldn’t you like us telling our friends to open stores in your project and having us shopping there instead of standing on the highway with signs protesting your project and writing letters to the Maui News telling people what jerks are moving into the neighborhood?

Also, a new traffic study would really be in order. If not, don’t blame me if you miss your plane trying to get from the fancy end of South Maui to the airport when you come to visit.

Maury King
Founder, Expect More Maui

Malama Makena. ‘nuf already.

Why does County Council think it a good idea to take land that is currently zoned ‘agricultural’ in Makena and rezone it to ‘urban’ so more homes can be built?

There are already lots there that can be built on. This looks like a greedy landowner wanting to just put more homes on smaller lots in a very sacred and popular area that we should be striving to keep as undeveloped as possible. Why does County Council need to support someone’s greed? What is wrong with just the few homes that current zoning would already allow?

The matter of the much larger Makena Resort development is coming up for consideration, and this is a troubling sign of what is to come.

What is the compulsion on Maui to keep rezoning to allow more development? And it is troubling that some plans for rezoning don’t take into account the recommendations of the General Plan Advisory Committee that worked so hard to present intelligent ideas and with the feedback of the community involved in the entire process. 

I don’t understand what the County’s mandate is. They have proven that they don’t feel the need to respect the public testimony they get. Just where do they get the additional information outside of the testimony they hear that sways their votes? And always for more development.

Thanks to Maui Tomorrow & SaveMakena.org for paying attention to these matters so people like me can learn enough to make our feelings known.

Maury King

A great country?

Were we ever a great country? We look back on early America as the place people came for religious freedom and to have a new and better life.  All of us immigrants when we arrived. Of course we had our way with the Native American population, believing the place was ours for the taking. What’s so great about that? (sound familiar Hawaii?) Later, people were killed for trying to start unions. Or just for having a different skin color. Was that a great country? Oh yeah, we were able to grow and grow and make some people very rich. (while plundering the planet)

It has been said that democracy is the greatest political system. I suspect that it has just taken longer to show its true colors. It does look good on paper. Maybe if everyone involved in this system operated with integrity and with the greater good of all in mind it would be groovy. But look where we have ended up. Everything is so much about greed and power. Sensibility, health, safety and quality of life are out the window in the face of corporations.

And our stuck with gears forever grinding political system can’t even begin to tackle the large, systemic problems like Social Security and Medicare that need addressing. Oops. I just felt a little bile in my throat. Oh editor, pray tell the nastiest words thou wouldst allow me to defile the do nothing while still blood sucking leeches gaming the political system for less than honorable reason?

We are at the point where future generations won’t have it as good as their parents (the experts say). What does that even mean? What will it look like? We are failing to educate our children in a meaningful way. We are failing to feed the children and ourselves healthily. Congress is considering a bill that would put huge corporations in charge of food and practically ban using your own seeds, having a backyard garden and hamstringing organic food production in the name of safety. Just the opposite direction we should be going in.

And to get personal for a moment, Hawaii has been talking renewable energy – Hawaii brags about being the model for the planet – while we have egg on our face for talking it while other places are walking it. And we speak about the importance of sustainable agriculture for our health and to provide a measure of food security and keeping money local. But can we ever do that with the power structure in place that has to put corporate profit over what is best for all residents? And they do that by controlling the land and the water. Let’s face it. This is not a can do state. The system we have in place will further stratify the rich and poor, leave us an unhealthy population, cause incredible environmental degradation, and overdevelop profoundly in anticipation of more (mostly rich) people coming. It doesn’t have to be that way. We could have a vastly different future by making better choices now. Why don’t we?

I don’t think we are a great country. If we ever were. Sure, we’ve been able to get things done. And depending on how you define better, we’ve done it better than anyone. We’ve made amazing advances in a lifestyle of bigger and faster things in it. (did I mention that thing about while plundering the planet?) We’ve made amazing weapons and used them to kill lots of people. (in the name of what, actually?) We’ve created a Wall Street that not only extends to all a deliciously dangerous debit lifestyle but thinks the citizenry is simply theirs for finding the best way to suck money out of. (and the citizenry goes along) And those leeches I referred to above facilitate it all by being bribed into submission by our whole political system and the way it is financed with wastefully ginormous amounts of money and favors owed.

Isn’t it about time we started paying attention to the fact that greed isn’t good, but ruinous? To our quality of life and quality of a possible future? Is there a chance for US to become a truly great country that looks as good in reality as it does on paper? Where to begin?

Maury King

Founder, ExpectMoreMaui.org

 

Two Angry Moms

I just watched Two Angry Moms. It’s a film about mothers that got angry when they found out about the unhealthy school food served to their children. And how it adversely affects their attention span and learning ability. Though I have no children I’m sad and angry.

Feeding our children healthily at school, and teaching them about healthy eating is one of the most important things we can do for our country’s future. Do we want them to be the best and most alert learners possible? Have you heard the figures about how many of today’s children are going to become tomorrow’s diabetics? Wouldn’t it be better to have them become the first generation of healthy eaters? And the next generation of better students?

The beginning is disturbingly informative about the poor food choices, and also discusses the big corporations that provide the food and related services and the huge influence they have. Needless to say these companies would like to keep things as they are.

Nonetheless, action is being taken. The rest of the film is mostly about things that are being done around the country to impact this system. There are examples of schools with food gardening as curriculum and food brought right into the school kitchen. Of healthy meals being served to the kids. And though it takes a few weeks, the kids started liking the new, healthy food they were being served.

That part was very heartening.

Can we please get with the program, Hawaii?

 

Businesses, county should be involved in Watershed process and decisions

I have attended three meetings of the Southwest Maui Watershed Project Advisory Group. This is a two-year project funded by the federal government and the state Department of Health through the Clean Water Act. The stated purpose of this process is to plan for protection of water quality by reducing land-based pollution.The project will estimate pollutant loads, set reduction goals and identify best management practices for each land use in the watershed.

There is a lot to learn, many great questions are being asked and we are helping map out Maui’s future with regard to protecting our watershed.

I’ve noticed something in these meetings that is troubling to me. I’ve noticed the people that aren’t in the room. There are a lot of citizen volunteers but there is hardly any representation from the business community or the county. We get the occasional representative from Water and Wastewater, but what about Planning, Public Works, Parks and Recreation, County Council? I have been assured these people are being notified about the meetings.

It occurs to me that if these people aren’t at the table during this process, they won’t be very likely to buy into any recommendations this group has for taking care of the watershed.

Please come to our meetings, give us your input and feedback and be our partner in protecting this most important natural resource. If you want to receive meeting notices, contact Robin Knox at wqcinc@hawaii.rr.com.

Maury King

Could water ‘offsets’ solve a couple of problems?

Maui has two problems with water that might have a symbiotic solution. One problem is that construction is affected by the “Show Me the Water” law, which requires developers to prove a new source of water to develop new projects. That is difficult to do. The other problem is the millions of gallons of wastewater (treated sewage) going down injection wells every day.

Injection wells are deep holes in the ground, near shoreline areas like Kahului Harbor, and there is no doubt that the water in the wells seeps its way into the ocean. Reefs near the wells are more damaged than elsewhere and swimmers report high levels of MRSA (staph infections). Our wastewater is treated before putting it down the wells, but not to the highest levels possible. Besides, even having something called “wastewater” on an island with a water shortage is contradictory.

If we could purify the water better and lay some new pipe, we could get this precious resource to where we could put it to good use. The idea is being discussed that if developers would foot the bill to help us make better use of our “wastedwater,” they would have essentially “shown new water” and they could be entitled to an equivalent quantity of potable water to develop new projects.

Mayor Charmaine Tavares has stated her intent to phase out injection wells. Unlike many seeming tree-hugger issues, there really isn’t an opposing side here.

Nobody really believes that if money were no object there aren’t better ways to make use of “wastedwater.”

Many details would need to be worked out. This would require community support, political will and county departments working together creatively on how they would debit and credit each other for these “water offsets.”

I don’t mean to imply that these are the only two problems Maui has with water. Just that these two problems might help solve each other.

Maury King

What’s up with US?

The whole world is watching America bicker and argue its way to a politically partisan future where the rest of the First World will overtake us in many ways. While we also make bad decisions and financially bankrupt our future and that of our children. There are big issues we need to tackle and solve, otherwise we will fade from glory as every once great empire has before us.

Why don’t we put the energy we use criticizing into solving problems? The politicians are surely serving other masters than the constituents they represent. What’s up with that? I guess power does corrupt. Too bad, because our nation just can’t afford that at this time. Or ever. And thank you Rush and Glenn for adding fuel to the fire. (doesn’t it just make your skin crawl watching politicians kowtow to those guys and apologize to them?)

Is anyone paying attention while other countries move to a renewable energy future and we continue to talk about it? Other countries are way ahead of us on manufacturing solar panels and wind turbines. So, someday we won’t have to import oil, but will have to import the tools of creating the new energy instead of being the manufacturer of the tools.

Why do so many politicians end up as whiners and fear mongers, clearly afraid themselves? And why, when some of us say we’re not proud of this America, we get lambasted?

Are you proud of this America? Please help to improve it.