Our Islands, Our Future

MEDB Focus 2010Mahalo to those who submitted questions for the “Focus 2010: A Gubernatorial Conversation” forum on Wednesday, October 6. Here’s the latest questions we’ve received from you:

Water is a key issue on Maui.  Our bread basket farming region has been Upcountry Maui which depends on surface water diverted from East Maui streams.  Kuleana users in both East, Central and West Maui rely on surface and spring water delivered through diversion works or directly from streams.  HC&S, the last remaining sugar plantation also diverts surface water from streams in both East and West Maui. Central Maui groundwater sources provide potable and nonpotable water to arid South Maui.  Do you agree with the current process for determining and allocating the reasonable beneficial uses of available water for all the competing uses?

The State of Hawaii has many buildings/properties that are slowly dilapidating in place due to low or none maintenance, age, usage, etc… Would you consider establishing a high priority maintenance education for those occupying these buildings and establishing more maintenance programs instead of constantly pouring millions of dollars into emergency funding? An example is the airport here in Maui which has received lots of funding in the last ten years to do repairs to items that could be taken care if the proper maintenance was in place.

The State Water Code requires balancing various needs when making decisions regarding water. Development of new water sources has lagged in recent years while recent Commission decisions restore water to streams. How will you address the balance that is supposed to happen? How do you interpret the public trust?

Hawaii counts with many energy efficiency programs addressing the low hanging fruits per say and also there are tax incentives on energy systems (Photovoltaic, wind, bio, etc…) knowing that, what you would do to increase the direction of Hawaii’s households into energy systems and decrease Hawaii’s love for oil?

Aside from “balancing” the number of hotel rooms vs. time share to obtain the optimal mix, how would your administration assist the Hospitality industry in its recovery?

One of the few economic bright spots in the current recession has been the continued growth of technology jobs in Maui County.  What steps will each of you be taking to stimulate and sustain additional high tech jobs in Maui County and throughout Hawaii?

What is the role of taxation in growing the economy?

The federal government has a large number of programs not reaching Hawaii because of the limited involvement at the State level. In many occasions Hawaii’s nonprofits have been told “No” to funding because the State of Hawaii hasn’t appoint a contact person in the specific depts. (i.e. DOE, ENERGY, DHS, etc…), would you consider developing a clearinghouse at the State level to reach out to most of the federal grants and be the mediator (grantor) to Hawaii’s nonprofits or appoint a contact person on each dept. so he/she can be reach by the nonprofits that are after particular federal funds?

What are your plans for reaching out to neighbor islands to involve them in your administration, listen to their concerns and address pressing needs?

What role do you see the State playing in supporting social and human service non-profit organizations during these tough economic times?

What will you do to clean up the polluted water that Maui is putting into the ocean via its injection wells?

Do you feel the benefits of the Akaka Bill is as good or exceeds the benefits currently received by the Native Americans by the US Government?

Small business carry the local economy. With all the payroll taxes, unemployment tax and medical benefits provided by the employer, what type of incentives would you propose to help Small Businesses owners survive and succeed?

What are 3 specific improvements you would make to help farmers thrive?

Lots of schools are eliminating or downsizing their Agriculture Departments due to cut backs, what do you plan to do to beef up Ag education in the schools along with supporting school gardens?

We’ve extended the deadline! If you have a question for Hawaii’s gubernatorial candidates, please send them to MEDB no later than September 30. Every effort will be made to include your question in this important forum. Don’t forget to tune in for live coverage of this event on October 6th!