CANDIDATE SPOTLIGHT: Elle Cochran – Council, West Maui
By Maui Now Staff
Eleanora “Elle” Cochran is a candidate for the County Council, West Maui seat. She is among a list of three individuals identified as candidates on the 2014 ballot.
The complete list of candidates (in alphabetical order) includes: Kaʻala Buenconsejo; Elle Cochran; and Rick Nava.
Full Name: Eleanora “Elle” Kellett Cochran
Date and Location of Birth: December, 1964 – Lahaina
Current Residence: Honolua Valley
Occupation: Council member
Elected offices held, if any: Council member 2010-2012; and Council member 2013-2014
Education: High school
Community Involvement: Founder of the Save Honolua Coalition; A founding member of Faith Action for Community Equity (FACE- Maui) ; A past president of Maui Unite!; Board Member at Akaku; Member of Na Kia I o‘ Waine`e.
Family Status: (blank)
Maui Council Candidate Questionnaire:
1. What is the number one issue facing the district you plan to represent? Why do you feel it warrants special attention and what will you do to resolve the issue? If you have more than one item, please elaborate.
Answer: I would like to see the return of our solid waste recycling facilities & wastewater recycling system expansion in West Maui. In Budget deliberations I was able to successfully allocate funding to maintain Maui County’s existing solid waste recycling programs; as well as, for recycled wastewater system expansion; to support the long-term goal of phasing out the use of injection wells countywide. I would like to continue this use of county funding. We have so much room for improvement in these two areas.
I find it extremely disappointing that both the Napili and the Lahaina dropbox recycling sites were closed down this year by the Administration, even with adequate funding from the Council that should have supported their continuance.
As a result, I am setting my sites on stringent recycling legislation that aims to focus the Council’s clear intentions on maintaining and even increasing recycling programs countywide.
Currently, West Maui residents must travel to Olowalu to recycle. I am concerned that if we, as a county do not make recycling convenient, the incentive to recycle will dissipate.
I would also like to focus more County resources on reaching the very attainable goal of 100% recycled (R1) wastewater for agricultural use. I believe that this is a wasted, valuable resource that should be utilized rather than dumped into our near shore waters, wreaking havoc on our beloved marine life.
My fellow West Maui residents and I are painfully aware that there have been far too many recent examples of runoff from land clearing and development that is smothering our reefs and dumping dangerous debris into our ocean coves. This makes ocean recreation activities very dangerous for our locals and visitors alike, not to mention the irreparable harm it does to the reef. I intend to seek improved inspection & enforcement for land development protocol.
I would also like to see our infrastructure needs met. There have been so many West Maui development projects approved lately, I am very concerned about traffic and safety. The schools are over-crowded as is and if we don’t focus on maintaining a safe balance between infrastructure improvements and housing development we will find ourselves in a very unsafe environment.
Affordable housing is also a huge concern for my district. So often we see affordable housing projects proposed and approved- but never built; and if they are built they are not affordable in perpetuity- meaning after so many years they become market value homes. If we don’t do something to keep affordable homes- affordable for good, we will continuously find ourselves with this type of shortage issue. I am currently working towards a solution to this problem with community groups that have taken the initiative to help.
2. What are your thoughts on Genetically Modified Organisms and do you foresee a compromise in the longstanding debate between agricultural use of GMOs and environmental concerns?
Answer: I don’t think there is any question that I feel strongly that all residents have an inherent ‘right to know’ about their surrounding environment; which is why I have turned my focus to important community disclosure issues such as: GMO labeling and notification requirements for restricted use pesticides that are being sprayed in close vicinity to schools, parks and residential neighborhoods.
As far as a compromise goes, I feel that it is not unreasonable to require a completed, peer-reviewed scientific study by a non-affiliated third party. In fact I am not sure how these products made it to market without doing so in the first place. We need a clear indication that GMOs are safe for human consumption. The world needs this; it is not just about us. We have been compromised for decades.
Public health and safety is paramount; as is, the revitalization of our local economy through diversified jobs and smart growth development. I feel passionately that Maui County residents should not have to rely on only one job source to sustain a livable income and support their families. That’s why I support working towards solutions to create job diversification for our local families.
I appreciate the community taking the initiative to find job alternatives for the local families that may be impacted by this issue.
With all of the recent advancements in renewable energy resources, as well as, an up-and-coming generation with fresh ideas about food security & natural soil remediation; there is a renewed awareness and interest in local farming methods, family farms, school gardens etc.
It is an inspiring time for our County and I would like to nurture and support this movement; and propel our islands into the forefront, as a shining example of what being sustainable can really mean.
***Candidate spotlight segments were compiled as a public service to further educate and inform Maui voters about the upcoming primary election on August 9, 2014, and the general election on November 4, 2014. The questionnaires were distributed via mail following the primary election candidate filing deadline for select races affecting Maui County. The responses do not reflect the opinion or position of Maui Now or Pacific Media Group.