VIDEO: Mike White – Candidate Profile 2012
[flashvideo file=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITUrD7eU-4M /] Interview and transcription by Wendy Osher
INTRO: Tell us about yourself and your campaign.
Aloha. I’m Mike White. I’m running for the Maui County Council Makawao, Paia and Haiku seat. As a sixth generation kamaaina, and a business person, and someone who has been involved int he community of Maui for many, many years, I have a keen perspective on what’s important to Maui. I feel that jobs and the economy are very important to us, but in many ways, our environment is our economy–so we have to have a wonderful balance of taking care of business to create jobs, and at the same time, realizing that protecting our environment and keeping Maui absolutely beautiful is really a very, very big priority.
What are your top priorities for the Makawao/Haiku/Paia district in this upcoming term and how do you plan to implement action to accomplish these goals?
The top priorities for my district are going to continue to be jobs and the economy. At the same time, we’re going to have to focus on maintaining the rural feel and protecting our natural resources. Through the Maui Island Plan, I hope to work to enforce a greater focus on keeping park areas very well maintained, and for expanding our parks and open space. Our environment is very much a part of our economy, and when I look at parks like Kanaha and Hookipa, these are parks that provide a wonderful, wonderful place for our residents to recreate, and they are also very heavily used by our visitors. For me, it’s a big priority to upgrade those parks and maintain them in a way that’s a very good reflection on Maui, so that we take care of our visitors and our residents alike. Our district has some of the most beautiful open areas in our island county, and we’re going to work very hard to make use of the natural resource, open space, and preservation funds that are available, and simply have not been well utilized in the past.
Do you think the ice epidemic is under control or remains an issue of concern for Maui? What can the council do to better address this and other social ills?
Ice will continue to be a problem in our community. I say that because drugs have been a part of our community for a long time. Unfortunately, we seem to be accepting or tolerant of a certain level of drug use in our community. Ice is very destructive. Cocaine used to be the most readily addictive drug, and heroine was the most difficult one to shake; but now ice has taken over first place in both counts. So whatever we can do to encourage people to stay away from ice, and stay away from drugs totally, is really for the betterment of our community. Every parent has a responsibility to do their part. The county is doing its part by funding social service agencies that have drug prevention programs like DARE and GREAT, but this is just part of what we need to do. Parents need to be taking the lead responsibility and watching their kids and being aware of where they’re going and what they’re doing. We really need to focus on taking down the drug users and getting them out of our community. Ice is a particularly bad drug in that it just simply eats away at you over time, makes you a liar, makes you a cheat, and makes you do things that your family simply would not accept, and would have a horrible time getting away from. Unfortunately, the state has some ability to do things to further reduce the availability of drugs, but they’re not taking as many steps as I believe they should. The county will continue to do as much as we can, but again, the county can only do so much. It’s really us parents that have to watch out for our kids. We’ve taken great lengths to make sure that our kids understand the impacts of drugs; and knock on wood, they’ve been successful in staying away from it. Let’s all do our part.
Being an uncontested candidate, can you speak to some of your accomplishments during your previous term and what you are most proud of.
One of the accomplishments that I am proud of is that I have brought a level of respect and aloha to the council, as have others; and all nine members are working very well together to do the business, and make the policies for Maui County. We’ve taken a look at the initiative from the Cost of Government Commission, to limit the number of vehicles available to county employees. We’ve withheld approval on many vehicles in this year’s budget and last year’s. I’ve also drafted legislation to create the Office of the County Auditor–that’s been picked up by the Charter Commission, and will be on this year’s ballot. We’ve also taken a look at the homeowners exemption and tightened up the rules pertaining to them so that only valid homeowners can take advantage of that. We’re getting rid of the guys that are taking advantage of it that don’t live here or have houses on O’ahu and live there. I’m also proud of the work that we’ve done in the economic development, agriculture, and recreation committee. We’ve increased the funding for the Maui Visitor’s Bureau; and we’ve established an economic development revolving fund to provide a source of funds for new activities like the film industry that may provide new diversification in our economy, and provide great jobs for our residents. We’ve also take a look at what we can do to upkeep parks in a better fashion, and to provide a safer environment there. We’ve passed a ban on alcohol for Kalama Park and Cove Park, and we have another piece of legislation coming up that I drafted to ban drinking within a certain distance of our youth centers that are near and in many of our parks.
Mahalo for your consideration, and I humbly ask for your continued support. If you’d like more information, and follow some of the things that I’m working on, please go to mikewhiteforcouncil.com. Thank you again. Aloha.