Before Rob Parsons became a columnist for Maui Time, and before he spent four years as the County of Maui’s first Environmental Coordinator, he ran for Maui County Mayor. Here’s the story of how he and his wife first came to contact us:
ROB PARSONS: We first contacted Maui Time Weekly in 2002 when we made the decision to shake things up by running for Mayor on an environmental platform.
HEATHER PARSONS: As Rob’s Campaign Manager and Advertising Coordinator, I knew we would need to capture a new niche of Maui county voters—the ones that would rather be at the beach than work to save it.
ROB: Our goal was to educate and inspire the young voters to care enough to at least show up at the polls.
HEATHER: We knew we had nothing to lose by telling it like it is. We brainstormed one afternoon with photographer Robie Price about a photo-journalistic ad campaign, with Rob posing in sprawl crawl traffic, in front of a new beach mansion, and by the fake volcano at the Ma‘alaea golf and water park.
ROB: Right. We invested in a great print ad campaign. Our goal was to have a big impact with hard-hitting headlines, strong messages and with aloha and some humor. We noticed that no other candidates were utilizing Maui Time Weekly.
HEATHER: Tommy Russo really supported the tone of the ads we were running. Maui Time was just beginning to distinguish themselves as a strong political and environmental voice in the younger, surfer communities.
ROB: Remember the picture in front of the fake volcano, with the caption, “Madame Pele Is Not Pleased?” I had a person come up to me and say they were voting for me because we ran that ad in MTW. Maui Time ran a cartoon cover of the Mayoral candidates that was over the top. It showed Kimo Apana dressed up like Rambo, blasting Alan Arakawa and I with a bazooka loaded with cash. Kimo’s huge campaign war chest of off-island money became the straw that broke the camel’s back.
HEATHER: I loved our grand finale ad, a few days before the Primary Election. It was modeled after a classic local bumper sticker: “Eddie Would Vote.” We knew it was meant for Maui Time!
ROB: Unfortunately, the day of the primary election was the best surfing day in all of 2002. The South Shore and North Shore were both breaking. I think I said, “Oh no, we’re screwed, there goes the surf vote.”
HEATHER: At least we gave it our best shot. We went into the campaign on a wing and a prayer, committed to changing Maui’s future for the better, and Tommy totally supported where we were coming from. He still does!
ROB: I’m loving that four years later, we’re able to provide a strong, environmental voice to thousands of readers on a weekly basis. It’s a real privilege to write the Rob Report column.
HEATHER: Happy Anniversary, Maui Time Weekly!
ROB: Awesome. Happy Anniversary, Tommy, Anthony, Jen, Samantha and everybody! MTW