We are often asked how many we expect will attend a public meeting, and the answer is we don’t know, as numerous factors can determine turnout. Certainly the guests and topic are some part of that. So announcing we would hear from our two wahine legislative reps for the County and State, Member Kelly King and Senator Roz Baker, we set out in our usual manner.
Boom! We were unable to access the usual Kihei Charter Middle School room, and scrambled to make a quick recovery thirty minutes before start time. Through quick actions of our volunteer team, and outstanding cooperation of St Theresa Church, we moved down Lipoa to set up the hall room, while redirecting arrivals.
Senator Baker made the extraordinary effort to leave the capital and fly to Maui just for this meeting, and then flying back the same night, and she was up first to advise those attending with an update about the High School. In addition to other legislative matters, she discussed bill HB2601 – the bill to add a tax/fee each day on cars rented at our airport to help pay for road improvements on Maui, but which was modified to expand to all islands, with all $ going into a general state transportation fund. As the next hearing is set for this afternoon, and Roz is chair of one of the one of the two committees in the hearing, she would have direct input. She advised on two proposals concerning caring for the kai, prohibiting Styrofoam products and sunscreen products containing oxybenzone, and the “death with dignity” issue.
Then she took some hard questions concerning safeguarding the community, particularity schools, from agriculture chemical spray drift.
Next Kelly King alerted us with a comprehensive list of County concerns like the community plan update process and progress, proposed “County Manager” plans, and county land purchase in Kihei.
She also emphasized the upcoming Council Budget & Finance Committee meeting right up Lipoa at the Community Center on Thursday, 3/29 at 6:00 PM, encouraging the South Maui community to be there and speak up on our needs in the coming (2019) fiscal year’s budget. This will be the first of the district meetings on that budget.
Questioned about the administration’s continued plan for the Kulanihakoi River Gulch crossing on South Kihei Road, for which the Public Works department has long proposed construction of a series of three box culverts, two temporary, and then ultimately to be replaced with a raised bridge, which has been challenged by KCA since first proposed nearly five years ago, she advised it is never too late. Since our plan saves all the time, effort, and MONEY, by just building the bridge now, we will continue to advocate for that.
Next meeting is on May 15, expected to be back at the Kihei Charter Middle School. Stay tuned for details.