Although we citizens find ourselves out-spent by special interests, when we act together, we often do succeed.
Respected friend and colleague Mark Sheehan told me some years ago that in the realm of environmental activism, successes are few and far between. Sheehan, long-time community advocate and current President of Maui Tomorrow, said that we're lucky to win 15-20% of the battles we wage to preserve and protect our natural environment and quality of life.
Yet, every effort bears fruit, and even delays in troublesome development proposals are valuable. Greater discussion takes place over time, and we take slow steps forward to incorporating community input and values into decisions that will affect generations to come.
I have been fortunate to help lead efforts that have resulted in measurable successes. Among them are:
- Rejection of A&B proposal to develop 25-30 beachfront homes along coastline between Spreckelsville
and Baldwin Beach Park (Kapuka`ulua), 2001, by a narrow 5-4 vote.
Note: My County Council campaign in 2000 helped bring greater awareness to this issue, and helped elect Mike Molina, who voted against the Spreckelsville Sprawl, in contrast to his predecessor, John Wayne Enriques.
- Stopping Haiku Minit Stop. As Haiku Community Association president, we walked door-to-door within
500 feet of a proposed Minit Stop outlet, which could have impacted long-time Haiku businesses, especially
Toma's Service Station and Fukushima Store. The majority of residents signed a petition to prohibit
selling alcohol, and the developers got the message that their chain store was not desired, and withdrew their building proposal.
- My 2002 run for Mayor brought greater awareness to environmental issues and incumbent Mayor Kimo Apana's huge warchest of campaign funds, mostly from off-island donors. Alan Arakawa, overcame Apana's Primary Election lead to win the office, and appointed me as his Executive Assistant for Environmental Concerns, ushering in a spirit of inclusiveness that is much-needed in County government.