RUNNING FOR: Maui County Mayor
CURRENT OCCUPATION: President of the Vietnam Veterans of Maui County
MAUI TIME WEEKLY: Why should people vote for you?
BILL STROUD: I’m not a politician, for one thing, and that should actually be enough. In Hawai’i politicians have been leading us for 50 years, and what good have they done us? Everybody admits that there is something wrong with our society. The cause of our demise is our political system. Our leaders are supposed to represent us, not lead us. Instead we are led by special interests.
I’m a war vet; I’ve been in combat. One of the things that I learned in combat is to learn how to get something done with common sense, practical approaches. So I have the strength, the experience and the leadership to be a good mayor. If people want to get together and institute their dream, I’m their guy.
When it comes to land development, what is your number one priority?
The first thing I would do in relation to that is to get the county attorney to figure out why the developers still owe us 3,200 affordable housing units. The developers don’t want to put out; they just want to take their profits and run away.
The biggest plan I have is to get the input of the united group of Hawaiians to work with the county to help us find agreements on what’s to be done to protect our land based on their knowledge of being on this land for thousands of years. We can learn how to reinstitute stream flow, clean up the coasts and get the ecosystem rebalanced.
What are your feelings on Hawaiian sovereignty?
I think it’s a battle that may or may not be won by them, but I do agree that they have titles to lands that have been stolen from under them that need to be redressed. As mayor I will work with six or eight thousand acres to help Hawaiians live a lifestyle of their choice. I will lease them county land to build houses or little communities on. I can’t redress all the wrongs of the past, but I can do what I can as mayor to start treating them equally.
Tell me the first thing that comes to your mind when I say Governor Linda Lingle.
A bloody mess.
A natural resource that is being exploited by the rich.
What is the most difficult thing that you’ve ever had to do?
[Laughing] Well, in my youth, my girlfriend ended up sleeping with another guy. I wanted to jump out a window—I had to really root myself and get my energy right to get through that.
But being in combat—I was in combat during the Tet Offensive—was the hardest in a way. I had to really look at myself and at my character. There were things I really didn’t like and had to change. That was the most difficult and the most rewarding experience in a way. Nothing can prepare you for combat.
What was the last book you read?
1417. It’s about the Chinese discovering the world before Columbus in the West, and how Columbus really used Chinese charts [NOTE: the book is actually called 1421].
If you could meet anyone in the world, who would it be?
Because I live here, I would like to meet the oldest, most knowledgeable living Hawaiian. I don’t even know who that would be, but it would be someone who has not yet been lost to the ills of society. No second stringers, though, just straight to the top person, male or female.
What is your favorite thing about Maui?
That I’m here raising my son, and I think Maui offers me the hope of an opportunity to leave him a better world. MTW