VIDEO: Gladys Baisa – Candidate Profile 2012

July 20, 2012, 2:33 PM HST · Updated July 23, 12:41 PM
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Gladys Baisa. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Interview by Wendy Osher

INTRO: Tell us about yourself and your campaign.

Aloha. My name is Gladys Coelho Baisa seeking reelection to the Upcountry seat on the Maui County Council.  I am often called the “voice of reason and common sense” on the council.  Maui is my home and I have no plans to move.  I know my job is to represent all of you, not just Upcountry.  I am not a single issue candidate.  As the retired director of MEO, I am very familiar with all of our communities.  My record will show you that I have voted for solutions to our water problems, to create jobs, to provide public safety, recreation, transportation, affordable housing, upgrade our infrastructure, and protect our environment.  I support business, work well with my colleagues, and the administration.  I keep an open door policy in my office.  I have worked hard to get vacation rental bills passed. I strongly support our agricultural community.  My name will not be on the primary election ballot on August 11, but I humbly ask you to please vote for me in the general election on November 6.  Thank you.

Question 1:  What is the biggest problem facing Maui today, and what can you do as a council member to address this issue.

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This is a very hard question because the answer varies from district to district, person to person, and day to day.  Because we are elected to represent all of Maui County although we run from a district, I need to know and understand all of the various current issues in each community.  As a council member, I try to attend as many community meetings as I can to be familiar with the concerns of people in all of Maui County.  I also watch Akaku, read the papers, and pay close attention to the media.  I meet with as many people as I can squeeze into my days.  I listen and read all the testimony I receive.  I make my decisions on trying to find a balanced win-win for the greater good.  If you asked people in South Maui what their most important issue is today, they might say the coming Outlet Mall or protecting our environment.  If you asked the people in Kula they would probably say water and deer affecting agriculture.  If you ask people in Lahaina you will hear about the odor from the sewer facilities, traffic concerns due to work being done on sewer lines in town, or the need for a hospital.  While all of these issues are very important, I am most concerned with the loss of aloha and kindness in handling differences of opinion that has become prevalent lately.  We can disagree but still maintain civility and respect.  As I attend and listen to some community meetings, I am taken aback by the hostility I witness and the desire to win at all costs without ever trying to truly understand another perspective and find compromise.  The Hawaiian process of ho’oponopono needs to be used.  We must learn to solve our problems as we have done in the past. 

Question 2:  Axis deer has become a real issue for farmers and the agricultural sector on Maui. What can be done at the council level to address this problem.

The proliferation of axis deer is a real problem for ranchers, farmers, and everyone else.  The loss of crops, grazing pastures, traffic hazards, and other problems are serious.  As a council member I keep informed of the work of the Axis Deer Working Group and follow their discussions on proposals.  Once they have come to agreement on what to do, and what is needed, as a council member I can support those needs.  If funding is needed I can consider that, however, there are many issues being discussed with the culling program that will require the agreement of ranchers, education of hunters, and much more groundwork to result in reducing the number of deer and use of the venison either by the food bank or general public before funding can be allocated.  It is imperative that these issues be addressed sooner than later to prevent more losses.  Funding for the installation of fences is also an issue for farmers.  

Question 3:  Do you support or oppose an absorption of lifeguards from the County Parks Department into the Maui Fire Department? Why or why not?

I believe that lifeguards should become part of the Fire Department because their function is a much better fit with emergency response than with Parks & Recreation.  However, I have paid close attention to the Charter Commission process and agree that perhaps a much more detailed transition plan needs to be completed before the actual transfer happens.  Chief Murray has clearly stated that he would like to complete his department’s accreditation before the move.  Lifeguards have also asked functional and logistical questions that should be answered prior to a move.  Perhaps the move can be approved with an effective date mutually agreed upon by key players so there is commitment to a date for the transfer to actually happen so delays are minimized. 

Closing Thoughts:

I’m Gladys Coelho Baisa, and I’m candidate for the Upcountry seat on the Maui County Council.  I hope you’ll vote for me.  I won’t be on the Primary ballot, but I will be on the General Election ballot on November 6.  I’d appreciate your support.  If you’d like to get in touch with me, you can find me on Facebook or send me an email at [email protected]  I’d love to hear from you.  Aloha.

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