Sunday, Feb. 05, 2023|
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Follow Maui’s lead
Hawaii County Council needs to take a serious cue from Maui County Council, which has in the past five years morphed from being a voice for the pro-development, pro-growth and pro-tourism sectors, into fostering balanced growth and environmental protection with more focus on the local residents.
Here are some of the very important forward-thinking steps they have taken.
1. Eliminated county funding for tourism promotion and instead allocated funds for small farmers, focusing on those that produce food for local consumption.
2. Created a Maui County Department of Agriculture that is dedicated to supporting local farmers.
3. To stem the overtourism problem, they passed a moratorium on new hotel and short-term rental development, and balanced the economy by investing in other industries and provided more housing for residents.
4. The Maui council passed into law an ordinance prohibiting the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers on all county-owned and managed land. Only compatible methods of organic systems permitted under the USDA National Organic Program will now be used on county property.
5. Maui council also enabled the electorate to amend the charter through a ballot question to dedicate 3% of property tax revenue toward affordable housing. (Voters approved this).
6. The council also passed “Aina Kupuna legislation” which provides tax relief to lineal descendants struggling with high property taxes due to skyrocketing real estate values.
7. A Commission on Healing Solutions for Homelessness was established to provide a safe place for those living in their cars to sleep at night.
I can only hope our Hawaii County Council can feel inspired by Maui County Council and take action on as many of these issues as possible. We are seriously lagging, and where some of our council members were reelected unopposed or with only a token opponent, we expect to be represented with proactive, positive agendas such as this.
Show us what you’ve got and why you deserve a seat on the Hawaii County Council.
Schools are complex organizations that have many different parts. Our parents expect us to be well taken care of and safe, all while getting a proper education. Our teachers rely on getting the proper support from the state to effectively teach us.
With this in mind, why are our schools not being properly funded and maintained? As a student at Hilo High School, I believe that schools that are not properly funded or maintained need to be addressed, because not only does this negatively affect our school quality, but it affects our student body, too.
The maintenance of our school needs to be addressed, because not only is it disgusting, but it takes a toll on our campus and student hygiene. When buildings are in good condition, I believe that we are well taken care of, which boosts school spirit and student morale.
Although, when campuses are not well taken care of, like ours, it does not create a positive school environment and overall it negatively influences students to have a bad mindset about respecting their school grounds.
An example of this is our campus bathrooms. There are not many words to describe how absolutely disgusting our bathrooms are, and personally, I do not use the bathrooms at school unless it’s an emergency. Though, when I do I usually feel very uncomfortable.
In one of our campus bathrooms, we have five stalls, one of which has been broken since the previous school year.
With the proper maintenance and funding for our schools, I believe that we can not only improve Hilo High but also many other public school campuses across Hawaii. As the next generation of Hawaii, it’s our responsibility to ensure we get the proper infrastructure in order for ourselves and the next generations to have a better educational environment.
Emma K. Marsh
Hilo High School student
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