Mike Moran, the new president of the Kihei Community Association (KCA), has been a permanent Maui resident since 2000. He freely admits that when he first visited Maui back in the 1980s, "It was love at first sight." When he finally moved, he recalled, "I thought I was living in paradise. I was the typical newcomer. I didn't think there was anything I needed to do."
But as time went by, Moran said his attitude began to evolve.
"I could see there were places I could make a contribution, and I tried to lend a hand," he said.
Mike Moran, the new president of the Kīhei Community Association (KCA), has a long history of involvement with issues on Maui. His interests are wide and varied, including the problems of the homeless, animal welfare and walkable streets and bike paths, to name a few.
Moran first came to wider public attention in 2006-08, when he was one of the moving forces in the "Pump Don't Dump" movement. That happened when he and others learned it was common practice for tour boats to dump human waste in Maui's inshore waters. The group felt there was a better way to handle the problem. It turned out that there was.
Though his name is often mentioned in connection with that issue, Moran stressed that he was just one of many people who gave freely of their time to find a solution. Though it is not as much in the news as in past years, "Pump Don't Dump" is still an ongoing organization concerned with the marine environment (www.pumpdontdump.com).
That effort was just one of many areas in which Moran has been involved. His interests are wide and varied, including the problems of the homeless, animal welfare and walkable streets and bike paths, to name a few.
He's been an advocate for the North-South collector road in South Maui--long discussed, a few segments existing, but as yet, not a reality. To be perfectly frank, he'd be willing to start with a North-South trail, walk or even a path "Anything continuous to get pedestrians and bicycles off the busy Pi'ilani Highway and South Kihei Road."
He's also working for better coordination between the many different community associations, because, he observed, "The politicians listen to us, they hear our testimony and then they do what they want."
The KCA is one group that has benefited from his involvement. Moran said he's been on the board for "six or seven years--all as a volunteer."
During that time, he's worked in a variety of capacities, including environmental chair, public relations outreach and heading the Street Trees Committee. "I like to call it urban forests," he said.
The New Jersey native had a long career in truck and rail transportation, starting with the Port of Newark and later in the Los Angeles area before moving here. Now he calls himself "semi-retired" but continues to work part-time as a medical courier.
With his long white hair pulled back into a ponytail, his glasses a little tilted, his very casual attire, he projects the image of an "old rock and roller."
"Yes, I guess you could say that's my musical preference," he said, though he sees himself more as "more Jimmy Buffet than ZZ Top."
Like Buffet, Moran thinks of himself as a beach person, and that means finding the time to take his three dogs (Blue Heeler, Black Lab-mix, and Australian Shepherd and Border Collie cross) walking and to the beach frequently.
"I used to swim every day," he said, noting that Charley Young's is his favorite spot, "but I don't do that as much as I used to. I guess I'm slowing down."
Moran's philosophy when it comes to community involvement is "to suggest rather than direct. Tell me what you want to do and I'll see if I can find a way to help."
"I don't tell people they should join the KCA, but I do mention that we meet the third Tuesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. at the Kihei Charter Middle School campus in the Lipoa Center. If you call it the old Hapa's, most people will know what you mean."
KCA meetings are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.gokihei.org.