Mayor Alan Arakawa and members of his staff visited the Lipoa Street Farmers' Market in Kihei on Saturday, March 9, as part of the monthly County on Your Corner series. He arrived about 9:30 a.m. and spoke one-on-one with a variety of residents who had particular concerns.
The event was part of an ongoing series that brings local government to Maui's neighborhoods. The event resembles a kind of public policy speed dating where individuals can each get a few minutes of face time with the county's highest official.
Among those who turned out was Kihei resident Patty Domingo. She expressed concerned about the recent fatality on Pi'ilani Highway and wanted to talk about the slow progress of the South Maui connector road and other road safety issues.
In a quick encounter of the political kind, Kihei resident Fred Spanjaard spoke with Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa about the recent land-use decision. Spanjaard is disappointed that the mayor supported the proposed Pi‘ilani Promenade and Maui Outlets shopping centers. But others who spoke to Arakawa had the opposite point of view and thought his support wasn’t strong enough.
There were others waiting to discuss both sides of the recent Pi'ilani Promenade and Maui Outlets shopping center decision.
This topic was a quick encounter of the political kind for Fred Spanjaard. The Kihei resident said he would tell the mayor he was disappointed that he supported the proposed Pi'ilani Promenade and Maui Outlets shopping centers and also disappointed in the county's decision to back "the unions and immediate votes instead of taking the longer vision."
A few places farther back in the queue to speak to his honor was an advocate for the opposite point of view. Contractor Thomas Cook, a Kihei resident for 40 years, was waiting to tell the mayor that he supports Arakawa's position. Cook is disappointed "that the state isn't listening to the county."
It is Cook's opinion that the state Land Use Commission was "oblivious." He urged the mayor "to get past this so the infrastructure and road can move forward."
In total, about a half-dozen people in support of the shopping center projects talked to the mayor at the event.
One resident brought her son, who has applied for about 40 jobs so far but is still looking for work.
One woman even followed the mayor to his car to express her support for the project and for jobs.
The mayor also received 250 signed project-supporter cards.
Not quite as passionate but equally interested in talking directly to the mayor was Steve Phillips of Napili, a vendor at the market. He wanted the mayor to help young farmers on the West Side get started in agriculture.
In addition to these residents, there was no shortage of those who wanted a personal word, and some of them were directed to other members of the executive team--Maui County Managing Director Keith Regan, Planning Director Will Spence, Chief of Staff Herman Andaya and Executive Assistant John Buck.
In the background--but keeping an eye on the clock--was Ann Arakawa, the mayor's wife, who took a stroll around the market while she waited. She was gifted with a nice assortment of produce and made sure that the mayor and his team kept to the schedule for "a busy day ahead."