Running for: 11th District Representative
Occupation: President, Greenways Maui
MAUI TIME WEEKLY: Why should people vote for you?
JOE BERTRAM III: I’ve lived
and been active in the South Maui community for 40 years. I’ve been
involved in many of South Kihei’s issues, such as the Kihei Greenway
and South Maui heritage corridor. I’ve been South Maui’s representative
on the Maui planning commission. Basically, I’ve been “at it.” I’m
looking forward to taking my communities’ issues to the state level.
What’s the biggest problem facing your district?
Transitioning from an auto-centric community plan to a walking plan.
We need more paths and trails to reconnect us to the natural
experience. And we have a great opportunity with all our open space.
With regards to that space, do you think it is time for a moratorium on land development?
Not so much a moratorium as a redirection. It’s more a matter of
managing development and bringing in more compact, high-density,
transit-oriented development. Plan A is “Stop Everything,” and that’s
not gonna happen. So plan B is to create healthy, sustainable
communities. We don’t want to be sprawled. Let’s accommodate people in
a way that’s beautiful and compact, like we used to live. We’ll also
need a better bus system, and likely a light rail system as well.
What are your feelings on Hawaiian Sovereignty?
I think it’s great! We need more of that. I hope and pray for them
to pull it together. Our coastal trail—we call it the Eddie Foo
project—is being developed as a Hawaiian walking trail. We’re
replanting native plants. The Hawaiian culture was a walking culture,
and this will be an opportunity for them to reconnect to the `aina.
Okay, how about the proposed Superferry?
George W. Bush?
What’s the most difficult thing that ever happened to you?
Running for office. I’ve had to overcome my fear of being in the
public eye. It can be hard having a public persona of who you are.
And what’s the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?
Gosh, there’s so many. I try to forget, but probably getting kicked
out of Seabury Hall. It wasn’t my fault—I was accused of dealing
marijuana. I hadn’t been, but it was out of my control.
What’s the last book you read?
I don’t really read books. I guess the Hawai`i 2060 Manifesto, the state manifesto plan.
What’s your favorite thing about Maui?
Well, it’s Maui! Even driving here, which can be tiring, is
enjoyable because of the beautiful scenery. I never get tired of the
mana. It keeps me alive. I couldn’t give it up for anything. MTW