Familiar Maui Faces Resurface on 2010 Campaign Trail

By Wendy Osher

Some familiar names have surfaced on the campaign trail as election season gets underway on Maui.  While as many as 20 people had pulled papers, only two had filed for candidacy so far, according to the last candidate report issued Thursday, February 11, 2010 by the State Office of Elections.

Board of Education Maui Representative Mary Cochran filed papers to run for the Makawao-Haiku-Paia Council seat that will be vacated by Councilmember Mike Molina, whose term limit expires this year.  Others pulling papers for the seat include: Kahekai Nishiki and Leona Nomura, both of Haiku.

Term limits for Councilmember Jo Anne Johnson also leaves the West Maui seat up for grabs this year.  Five people have already pulled papers for the seat, with Lahaina resident, Alan Fukuyama going one step further by filing papers for the post.  Those pulling papers are: Eve Clute, Eleanora Cochran, Jonah Kapu and Paul Laub.

Other Familiar faces include Former East Maui Councilman Robert Carroll who pulled papers for his old seat; and former candidate Don Couch who pulled papers for the South Maui seat he sought in 2008.

The only incumbent Councilmember to pull papers was Michael Victorino, who currently represents Wailuku-Waihee-Waikapu on the County Council.  Those seeking office have until July 20 to file nomination papers.

In the race for Mayor, three people have pulled papers since the Office of Elections opened candidate filing on February 1, 2010.  Those pulling papers include:  Valarie Aquino of Lahaina, Orion Kopelman of Kula and Harold Miller of Kihei.

In the race for the 2nd District U.S. Congressional House seat currently held by Rep. Mazie Hirono, three Maui residents and one Honolulu man have pulled papers.  They are:  Patric Brock (L) of Kihei, Antonio Gimbernat (R) of Makawao, Andrew Von Sonn (N) of Paia, and John Willoughby (R) of Honolulu.

Three Maui residents have pulled papers for House Seats including: Natalie Kama (D) of Wailuku for District 8; Ramon Madden (R) of Lahaina for District 10; and George Fontaine (R) of Kihei for District 11.

The Primary Election is set for September 18 with the General Election on November 2, 2010.

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USE IT OR LOSE IT: HANA LIBRARY GETS REPRIEVE

The State Board of Education voted to remove Hana Library from a list of proposed closures.

State Sen. J. Kalani English.  Photo by Wendy Osher.

State Sen. J. Kalani English. Photo by Wendy Osher.

State Senator J. Kalani English responded to the news after attending last night’s meeting in Honolulu saying, “I’m very pleased with the results tonight.”  English credited his colleague Rep. Mele Carroll, also of East Maui, and BOE Maui Representative Mary Cochran, with working as a team to garner the backing needed to save the facility from closure.

“We also managed to get all five libraries off the list and ask the librarian to reconsider how they’re going to look at saving the money.  One of the big issues of course is that there is very little money, and the librarian is really in a hard place,” said English.

The state library system will now consider other ways of cutting costs to come up with the $20,100 that would have been saved from the Maui closure and the combined $85,100 that would have been saved from the other libraries included on the list.

The state librarian came up with the initial list after analysis of factors that included staff vacancies, low circulation/usage, geographic proximity to neighboring libraries, repair and maintenance costs, and rising operating costs.

“So we have to increase the usage of Hana Library–that’s the message out to East Maui—Use the Library.  The old adage, use it or lose it, really applies here.  They’re looking at the statistics and we have to bump those numbers up,” said English.

The projected deficit for the State Library System in FY2010 is in excess of $3.6 million.  The department is also considering $2.2 million in savings through vacancies, and $1.3 million through a personnel reduction plan.

“So again, I’m very pleased with the outcome tonight, and the library will remain open,” said English.

(By Wendy Osher © 2009)

HANA LIBRARY CONSIDERED FOR CLOSURE

The state board of education will consider today the closure of five public libraries including the public library in the remote East Maui community of Hana.

Hundreds of residents in the remote East Maui Town of Hana are fighting to keep their Public Library open as it faces possible closure under a plan submitted by the state Library system.  Photo by Wendy Osher.

Hundreds of residents in the remote East Maui Town of Hana are fighting to keep their Public Library open as it faces possible closure under a plan submitted by the state Library system. Photo by Wendy Osher.

The proposed closures were raised by the Hawaii State Public Library System as a way of cutting state costs.

Community advocates say Hana’s distance from other resources would put its residents at a disadvantage if the library were to close.

Maui Board of Education Representative Mary Cochran voiced strong opposition against the proposed closure which goes before the board for review today.

Under the reduction plan, the Hawaii State Public Library System projects a savings of $20,100, should the Hana library closure gain approval.

The proposed closure of the 5 public libraries was determined after analysis of factors that included staff vacancies, low circulation/usage, geographical proximity to neighboring libraries, repair and maintenance costs, and rising operating costs.

Library officials say even though the dollar savings for closing the libraries may initially appear low, indirect cost savings would be realized from reduced delivery, postage, employee support, and shared resources.

Should the proposal be approved, library closures would probably not occur until the end of this 2009 calendar year.

The Hana library is the only Maui library included on the list.  Other libraries included in the proposal are Holualoa, Pahala, and Kealakekua on the Big Island of Hawaii, and ‘Ewa Beach Public library on O’ahu.

In the recommendation memo to the Board of Education Chair, State Librarian Richard Burns said, “closing any public library has always been an absolute last resort, but we were forced to take these unprecedented actions in order to preserve the rest of our system.”

The full board meets today at 3:30 p.m. at the Queen Liliuokalani Building on Miller Street in Honolulu.

(By Wendy Osher © 2009)