VIDEO: Richard Pohle – Candidate Profile 2012

August 1, 2012, 4:27 PM HST · Updated August 2, 10:02 AM
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Richard Pohle. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Interview and transcription by Wendy Osher

INTRO: Tell us about yourself and your campaign.

Aloha. I’m Richard Pohle, candidate for County Council, Upcountry residency.  I moved to Maui in 1969 with a PhD in Physics to work at the top at Haleakala.  I married an O’ahu girl. During my career, I have been the chief engineer in the space program–you would know that as Star Wars.  I brought the first program–the research and technology part–to Maui.  On Haleakala, I installed the MSSS system.  I’ve spent my career finding innovative solutions to complicated technical problems.  I retired in 2005 and as a hobby, devoted my time to looking into the Upcountry Water Meter priority list issues–the laws that are written, and I became convinced that they were complicated.  I’m running today to try to bring these issues to your attention, and show how simple solutions can be used to solve the whole problem.

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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The biggest problem facing Maui today is laws–there are too many of them; they are poorly written, many of them; many of them should be regulations. The Council should set policies, not write regulations.  For example, in August of 2011, Director Taylor went to the Council, and he asked them to set policy on Upcountry water issues.  He asked, for example, how fast should growth be, who should fund it–should the people that have meters fund it, or should the newcomers fund it.  After he asked those kinds of questions, he answered the questions. He said, this is what I think you will say, and he answered the questions.  All the way to January, nothing happened.  In January, Chair Victorino introduced the resolutions asking the county administration to buy Piiholo South Well.  He expected it to go to his committee, but it was hijacked by the budget and finance committee.  Once again, the council did not set a policy.  Another issue is putting numbers into laws–that’s usually a sign of a bad law.  For example, 1,000 gallons per minute is a nice round number to the council, but to an engineer, it means the difference between a six inch line and an eight inch line.  If it were 900 gallons per minute, a six inch line would have sufficed.  So, immediately, all the Upcountry six inch lines are obsolete, and so we have a $200 million infrastructure problem that shouldn’t be there.  It is there because of a bad law.  Thank you.

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?

Axis deer area a problem on Maui.  Well, I found this question last night.  There are 12,000 axis deer on Maui.  They run in herds of up to 200.  They are plaguing the farmers, causing millions of dollars in damage.  They are rapidly multiplying.  I would treat them as pests.  I would let the farmers do what farmers do–they are a professional group of people.  I would allow them to treat them as livestock and hunt them. I disapprove of poison because it spoils the meat and could kill innocent carnivores that happen to feed on the bodies–plus it’s not humane.  Now, axis deer on the road are another matter.  I know personally of a person whose car was totaled by a collision with an axis deer. That is not an axis deer problem–that is a public safety problem.  If that happens too many times, then I would take a look at it again.  Then there might be the person in his 10,000-square-foot lot in Kahului that raises lettuce and has a problem with axis deer–I would treat that also not as a deer problem. It is a nut problem–it is a nut case.  Thank you very much.

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

I support the relocation of the lifeguards into the fire department.  Lifeguards are in charge with saving people’s lives, as are fire department personnel.  When they pull someone out of this Earth, and he’s lying gray and lifeless on the sand, you don’t call a groundskeeper, you call a fire engine.  If I’m going to that, speed is of the essence.  I want to be friends with the person on the other end of the phone; I want to know their procedures.  In other words, I want to be as closely connected with the source of aid as possible.  The final argument I would have there is that many of these young people that are lifeguards–they might in fact find that training with the fire department people provides incentiveto be firemen, and that’s a nice graduation–they would already be in the department.  I doubt very much that they would want to be groundskeepers.  So, it seems like a no-brainer.  Put them in the fire department and let them enjoy the parties with their buddies in the fire stations.

Closing Thoughts:

I’m Richard Pohle.  I’m running for the Upcountry residency seat of the Maui County Council.  I’m running because of the Upcountry meter priority list that has been so mismanaged over the last 30 years–and caused great suffering to the small people on Maui that have a parcel and can’t do anything with it–and they pay taxes as though they could.  This is not just.  It does real damage–that’s why I’m running.  Should you be interested in researching more about my studies, please go to www.umla.ws.  I’m the founder of the Upcountry Meter Association, and that is our website.  Thank you. 

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