Focus 2010: A Gubernatorial Conversation will be held on October 6, 2010 and you are invited you to participate in this important forum!
The event is presented by Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) and Hawaii Public Radio (HPR) with support from Akaku Maui Community Television, the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, and the UH-Maui College. This forum will be a dynamic discussion between gubernatorial candidates of the two major parties.
MEDB will focus on topics that matter to our community, and will align those questions with the strategies developed through the Focus Maui Nui process:
- Improve education
- Protect the natural environment and address water needs
- Address infrastructure challenges, particularly housing and transportation
- Adopt targeted economic development strategies
- Preserve local culture and traditions, and address human needs
The 90-minute forum will begin at 6:30 pm and will be moderated by Kayla Rosenfeld, News Director for Hawaii Public Radio. The program will be broadcast live on Akaku Channels 52, 53, 54; the HPR stations of KHPR (88.1 FM), KKUA (90.7 FM) and KANO (91.1 FM); Skype via www.medb.org and www.akaku.org; with live audio streaming on www.hawaiipublicradio.org.
We encourage you to submit a question to the candidates by leaving a comment on this blog post or through one of the channels listed below. Video or written questions are welcome. Deadline for questions is September 24. Every effort will be made to ask the candidates the full range of questions received, in addition, all questions will be submitted to the candidates for their own follow-up.
Exercise your voice. It’s your future.
All the ways people can submit their questions:
Twitter: @FocusMauiNui (http://twitter.com/focusmauinui)
Fax: (808) 879-0011
Mail: Focus Maui Nui, c/o Maui Economic Development Board; 1305 N. Holopono Street, Suite 1; Kihei, Maui, HI 96753
Although this question is exceptionally long, I respectfully ask that you read the entire statement before posing the question to candidates so that the framework for this question is clearly laid out for listeners (voters). Sincerest thanks.
Congratulations on making the decision to serve our island state. Please listen carefully to the following material before responding, as there are several quantitative figures that are easily overlooked. Mahalo in advance, and good luck in your election campaign.
In 1973, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that all freshwater resources are held in trust by the State for the common good of its citizens. This ruling was confirmed by the constitutional amendments of 1978 and State Water Code of 1987 that water in Hawai’i is a public trust resource, protected under the State constitution and Water Code, Hawai’i Revised Statutes chapter 174C. These rulings, collectively referred to as the “public trust doctrine”, govern the use of all water in the State of Hawaii. The public trust doctrine appointed the state as the trustee of this resource and endowed the CWRM with the responsibility of ensuring that it is only used for purposes that are ‘reasonable and beneficial’ to the public well being.
US Geological Survey water resource records indicate that the island of Maui has an available fresh water supply amounting to exactly one-half of the entire state’s fresh water resources.
Out of 312.82 million gallons per day (mgd) available on Maui, the county’s municipal water supply (including all residents and commercial businesses that do not have a private water source) amounts to roughly 36.93 mgd, only 11.80 percent of the island’s total water usage. In contrast, for merely $5 per million gallons, East Maui Irrigation (EMI) Company, a subsidiary of A&B, diverts roughly 200 million gallons per day (mgd) for irrigation of its crops. Hawaii Commercial and Sugar (HC&S) takes roughly 6 mgd, Maui Land and Pineapple Company (MLP) takes about 2 mgd, and the left over 6 mgd goes to the County of Maui to supply all of the upcountry areas with potable water. Very little water (insufficient quantities) remains for local taro production.
In summary, CWRM findings report that 88 percent of all of Maui’s fresh groundwater supply and 97 percent of the entire island’s surface water supply is diverted and controlled by a handful of agricultural companies – namely, A&B, HC&S, and their subsidiaries. Due to their grandfathered water rights and despite their lack of need, these entities still control the majority of Maui’s water, even while the island experiences increasingly frequent droughts and residents are faced with tightening water restrictions.
As governor, what are you going to do about this situation?
Environment, sustainability and culture. For the last 8 years the DLNR has been woefully underfunded and the staff has had to endure furloughs, and a lack of support to the neighbor islands. The DLNR is increasingly Oahu-centric in it’s administration and management. What is the priority for the administration on Oahu is often not the priority for Maui Nui and the Neighbor Islands. How will your administrations change this and bring back faith and moral to the hardworking and dedicated members of DOECARE and the DLNR who want to protect, preserve and restore our natural and cultural-historical resources. After all the environment is our economy and Hawaii’s iconic beauty the best brand in the world.
Basic macroeconomic theory dictates that economic wealth is generated when economic entities (nations, states, counties, etc.) export more than they import. Therefore, a critical step to increasing Hawaii’s wealth is reducing its imports. But without a manufacturing industry, many things must be imported – computers, televisions, vehicles, refrigerators, etc. In considering what can be manufactured on Maui, it becomes quickly evident that the most efficient and effective way to reduce net imports is by growing our own food. However, when local farmers are forced to compete in a global market in a place with some of the costliest real estate in the world, turning a profit it is nearly impossible. The only way to sell undifferentiated agricultural commodities on a global market is to reduce variable cost (i.e. suppress labor wages to third-world levels). As governor, how will you protect our local farmers by reducing agricultural imports? Would you consider erecting trade barriers (tariffs) on agricultural imports? If not trade barriers, what solutions do you propose? Would you consider overseeing the execution of school lunch contracts for local farmers? If so, how soon can you commit to orchestrating such a contract?
Since Hawaii lacks an industrial economy, our only viable export commodity is tourism.
Currently, however, a majority of the wealth that is created through Hawaii’s hotel industry is “skimmed off the top” by offshore multinational hotel corporations. In order to grow Hawaii’s economy and increase its wealth, profit generated by the visitor accommodations industry must stay in our communities. As governor, how will you create opportunities for Hawaii’s local residents to gain entry into the visitor industry in a significant and meaningful way? How will you ensure that returns on investment in the visitor industry goes to our people? What is your position regarding tax-exempt bonds that would allow Hawaii residents to invest in real estate development projects and thus retain ownership (and recoup returns) on investments that are currently being siphoned out of our state’s economy?
Given that our state possesses the greatest number of endangered species in the country, why aren’t agricultural inspections required for inbound flights? What is the cost of such inspections compared to the cost of invasive species eradication and control in Hawaii (much of which is conducted by private nonprofits that are funded by the state)?
Is it possible that somebody might not declare an invasive or pest species they bring in because they are unaware that it is in their possession? Could this not be prevented with a simple agricultural screening upon arrival?
Would the perceived value of these endemic and endangered species not increase with requisite inspections?
Hawaii complies with USDA regulations to protect the US mainland’s agricultural industry by requiring agricultural inspections for outbound flights. What about protective measures for Hawaii’s agricultural industry? If such inspections fall within the purview of the US Department of Agriculture, as governor, what will you do to ensure that this federal agency does its job to protect Hawaii’s agricultural industry in the same way that it protects the mainland’s?