VIDEO: Norman Vares, South Maui Council, Candidate Profile, Decision 2010 MauiNOW.com
Norman Vares, 2010 candidate for South Maui Council, Transcript:
Introduction: Aloha, my name is Norman Vares. I’m a life-time resident of Kihei. I’m a retired self-employer. I had a business on Maui that employed over 100 people at times. The key issues in my race would be jobs–we need jobs, and it’s not going to be an easy task to turn around very quickly, but it’s a world-wide situation that we are in financially. There’s opportunities to create some jobs. I think if we lean on the state and Honolulu, through the Hawaii Visitor’s Bureau, we can pick up some of the tourists that are just stopping in Honolulu now, and bring them to Maui. We have other little businesses that would like to try to open
business on Maui–we should give them support. We just had a wedding facility that applied for a permit in Maalaea, and our council turned it down–that was 15 jobs we lost in the past year. The person now has the place up for sale. So, I think jobs. The critical thing will be the budget. There’s a shortfall in revenue. There’s a lot of little issues, capital improvement projects that, etc. that need to be addressed.
Budget: What is your experience and understanding of the county budget; and your priorities for funding? Answer: I’ve been watching Akaku for years, and see how the budget system works. I think the mayors come up with pretty good budgets. The council needs to adjust it so that there’s a little bit of cushion for areas. Like this new budget, they cut it by $6 million. Now, we find that there’s a lot of amendments to the budget. Extra money that the council set aside is really helping the government and county at this stage. I was self-employed, so I had a budget. And I had 100 employees, so that’s quite a big budget. I was also the estimator. I worked for a company, which eventually I bought, and the last position I held before I bought it was the estimator, and I continued to do that when I bought the company. Being an estimator is similar to doing a budget, but we do it reverse, because we don’t quote–have money. But we had to understand all phases of it to make money, or to break even at least. Budget is something that I always did. Working with the council on a new budget, I don’t think will be much of a problem for me.
Hawaiian rights: New developments often have a provision that allows access for Native Hawaiians to participate in traditional and customary practices, yet it is sometimes viewed as a compromise where permission must be sought to do what some believe is an inherent right. How can the council navigate the delicate balance between development and cultural preservation. Answer: I think when a developer comes in, right up front, we should have a very strong memorandum of understanding that the developer understand those rights should be adhered to. I’ve been in business a long time on Maui and I’ve gone to projects that were built in phase 1–and when they find these sites, it’s secured and a monument is placed. In 10 years later, when I go back to do phase 4, it disappears and there’s iron fences, fencing the property with no rights at all. So I think like in any government, regulations put on projects, conditions, monitoring–there’s no monitoring that’s going on. So we need a better monitoring system of these sites, maybe even another commission created–something like the Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission. We should have a Maui Island Reserve Commission maybe to monitor the sites through the years not only on day one or day 10.
South Maui Park: What are your thoughts about the construction of the new South Maui Park? Do you think it will help meet community needs, or was it poor planning given its proximity to the already established Kihei Community Center and the extra costs associated with blue rock removal? Answer: The Kihei Community Park could be at a better location. But since the land was donated by a contractor on Maui, when you get something for free, you just can’t throw it away. I think next to a school is a good idea because the school can use it. If we ever get Piikea roadway completed–which is our collector road that goes north and south, it’s been on the books for about 30 years and the only section that ‘s done is the one that Mr. Spencer did near Safeway. The rock situation, I was just working on a project about six months ago for the state, and one of the conditions when you bid a project, is it is mandatory that you show up on the project before bidding so that you can understand all of the conditions. If that was a private job, the contractor wouldn’t be able to go back and ask the private developer for more money, so I think the county should look at some of these rules and some of the people who design projects to take more liability for them. I don’t think we should dig in our pockets after we award somebody a contract, for change orders. It’s not basically done in the private sector.
Shark Tours: The current council discussed possible county regulations to restrict shark tours in Maui waters. What are your thoughts on the shark tour industry? Answer: The shark tour industry, I think it was a good start–the council brought it up. But we have to remember that all the ocean waters is governed by state law. They are the trustee for the ocean around the islands of Hawaii, and the trustees for our fresh water. I would like to see the ordinance maybe changed a little bit to address that. No licenses were issued within the limits of Maui County for shark tours, and no advertisement both on-line or on the island of Maui would be allowed, and the penalties should be very severe rather than just a slap on the wrist in penalty. I think we should have a very large penalty on it.
Closing thoughts: As far as my district, Kihei, they’ve been working on that new park, and they have 2 more phases to go, and hopefully we can find money for that. I always thought a regional park should be above where the High Tech Park is, because between Kalama Park and the High Tech Park, there’s a 6-7 degree temperature change, and when my last son played little league, the temperature would be like 90 degrees at Kalama Park. I would drive up to the High Tech Park, it’s like 82-83 degrees. So, I think we should plan another park, and we should plan what we are going to do with Kalama Park cause it’s just all mixed up. It’s a beach park, but only 10% is used for the beach. We should see what we are going to do with the sea wall in Kihei.
(Residents can contact me online at [email protected].) Thank you to Pacific Radio Group for this opportunity.