What is their economic vision?

We often write about our concerns with the ability of working citizens on Maui to make ends meet.

In particular, we wonder about the discourse lately from groups like the ‘Ohana Coalition and SHAKA Movement. They have a vision for Maui County — sustainable and organic ag with no pesticide/GMO use, protection of our natural resources and open government.

But, in creating their vision, it doesn’t seem like the Average Maui Joe fits easily into their vision. How do we all make a living? How do we survive in their vision of Maui given the high cost of everything and the limited housing?

A lot of very good-paying jobs in agriculture have disappeared. What is SHAKA’s and the ‘Ohana Coalition’s sustainable economic vision for Maui? What business or industry do they envision replacing the hundreds of positions that disappeared with the demise of sugar?

In short, what will Maui workers do to support their families?

Leaders in the past, like Elmer Cravalho, had a vision too, but they worked to build industries — specifically the visitor industry — to provide jobs for residents. Now that much of large-scale agriculture has been displaced, we are left with tourism alone as the engine for our economy. Is that a good thing?

Past leaders’ visions looked to the welfare of the vast majority of residents. A diverse economy seems to be an essential part of ensuring our citizens’ economic well-being.

It’s easy to focus on one issue, one vision, but they need to be filled in to win the support of a greater consensus of Maui County residents. Even if the greater vision is laudable, the majority of residents here are focused more on micro needs like working their two jobs, paying the mortgage or rent, buying food, paying for child care or fixing the family vehicle.

Groups like SHAKA and the ‘Ohana Coalition could help break the divide in our community by putting forth credible economic proposals to complement their sustainable and nonpesticide and non-GMO agriculture vision. It is not enough to preach to a supporting crowd; winning the day means winning over a greater consensus of the community.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.

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