Hana Steel is one of five individuals running for the Maui County Council seat representing Wailuku, Waihee and Waikapu, which is currently held by Mike Victorino (who can’t run again because of term limits). She is/was the County’s Recycling Coordinator, but has been on paid leave for the last two years (click here to see our most recent reporting on the matter, which includes her vague comment on the reasons behind her paid leave; county officials won’t comment on Steel’s leave because it’s a personnel issue).
In any case, here are Steel’s responses to our 2016 Election questionnaire.
MAUITIME: What is your top priority if elected?
HANA STEEL: The SILVER TSUNAMI! 46,000 PEOPLE OVER 65 BY 2030!* THE MAJORITY? WOMEN! Our community lacks enough appropriate housing and care facilities for our aging population. We need to address this important area of affordable housing, alongside our need for more work force housing.
The Plan: Establish multi-sector focus groups, including developers, and envision humane, progressive care, affordable housing options and a fantastic lifestyle for our healthy and slightly incapacitated and in-firmed, increasing polulation of elders. Then build. Four hundred people are on the waiting list for assisted senior housing in Kihei alone, and the waiting list could be as long as four years. Many elderly want to stay in their homes. This will require homes be retrofitted to accommodate inevitable handicaps. *Maui County Data Book
MT: What event in your life best prepared you for public office?
HS: For over 20 years I have served as Maui’s representative (Recycling Coordinator) to State committees drafting landmark legislation that has cleaned up our islands. These include (but are not all): used motor oil funding; tire take-back legislation; vehicle battery take-back legislation; the HI 5 Bottle Bill. On the County level the Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance became law. Our gulches and roadsides are not littered with these items any more. I am proud to have been a part of the solutions and ending many problems along with other dedicated community members and legislators.
One of the main duties of Council members is to set policy and make laws. Our community will benefit if we have Council Members who are well-versed in drafting laws and who have experience working as a team to create policy.
MT: Who should be the next President of the United States?
HS: Hillary Clinton. As Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg stated at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, “Men still run the world and I’m not sure it’s going that well.”
MT: Which person who previously held the office you’re seeking do you hold up as a model? Why?
HS: Linda Lingle. She challenged the good ol’ boy network, the Gang of Five and she involved the community. She was true to her values and left a legacy of good for our community. When she became Mayor, she coalesced the best management team I’ve worked for as Recycling Coordinator.
MT: What’s your opinion on changing the County Charter to a county manager form of government? Why?
HS: I SUPPORT AN UPGRADE TO THE COUNTY MANAGER SYSTEM as recommended by the Council’s committee. Our current County government operating system (GOS) is comparable to the first version of DOS. What our community needs is a GOS that operates and runs at the speed of Windows 10. Increasing efficiency of Maui’s GOS cannot happen until we upgrade to a more stable, dependable, and modern system.
We need experienced, progressive thinking to have a better, more efficient, cost-effective GOS, worthy of Maui No Ka Oi. The mayor system certainly hasn’t been able to improve upon our outdated County government. Also, the Council should upgrade to a bi-annual budget process to save money and increase efficiency.
I know from 26 years of County employment that good people work for the County. They cannot perform at their highest level when department heads are appointees, often possessing little or no experience in the departments they are expected to supervise and manage. This places a burden on civil servants, hinders long-term planning, and stalls projects.
The first order of business for the County Manager is to follow the community plans, return to recycling as delineated in the community’s Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan and also re-vamp the entire building permit process. It’s broken; let’s fix it, and let’s fix the West Maui injection well environmental disaster. I fix things. I am the Red Tape Specialist and I am running with scissors. All it will cost you is your vote.
MT: Do you support changing the County Charter to allow the mayor, as opposed to the Liquor Commission, appoint the Liquor Control Director?
HS: At this time, from my understanding of the situation, no.
MT: What should the county do that it isn’t already doing to alleviate homelessness?
HS: From what I understand, the current administration’s plan is good and should be funded so it can be implemented.
MT: HC&S is closing at the end of this year–what do you think A&B should do with the 37,000 acres that were used for growing sugar?
HS: Since about 27,000 acres is designated agriculture, increasing local food production is a good idea, be it cattle or fruits and vegetables.
We can learn from Oahu’s mess and the County should immediately negotiate for a light rail corridor through the cane fields connecting our communities. This should be done first, before any other use for this land is set in stone. Perhaps farmers could farm the corridor until the transportation system is developed. By the time our grandkids build the transportation system, it may even run on solar.
Photo courtesy Hana Steel