On Saturday, Sept.17, Mayor Alan Arakawa met with members of the Kula community as one of the regular stops for the "County on Your Corner" program of contact with Maui communities. He voiced support for the Kula Ridge project. When asked why a city needs to be built 4,000 feet up the side of Haleakala, he came up with the political slogan of "affordable housing." Affordable housing is the basis for approval of this project making Kula into a city.
Mayor Arakawa has moved from Upcountry to the city of Kahului and apparently likes city life so well, he wants to make Upcountry into city.
Then Arakawa was presented with the fact that Kula now leads Hawai'i in home foreclosures, and presently, there are more foreclosed homes available for purchase in Kula than the total affordable houses that would be provided by the Kula Ridge project-and the foreclosed houses are offered at lower prices than the Kula Ridge "affordable" houses.
Arakawa had no answer. He said the Maui County Council had heard testimony and decided.
His attitude seemed the typical, "Don't bother me with the facts. My mind is made up!"
The fact that virtually everyone in Kula opposes Kula Ridge seemed of zero importance to the mayor. In the "County on Your Corner" program, evidently the "You" in "Your Corner" is not the community residents, but perhaps only Arakawa's supporters.
This Kula Ridge project I would re-name the "Arakawa Invasion." His political supporters got this piece of land in Kula 4,000 feet up on a very, very steep slope of Haleakala cheaper than flatter land below that would have been more suitable for multiple unit development. They apparently plan to profit on it, regardless.
If Kula Ridge is built, those of you in other rural and suburban communities on Maui should get concerned, because if a project so destructive of environment and ecology and community, and so wasteful and so just plain absurd and corrupt, can be successfully promoted politically, no "Corner in Maui County" is safe.