Power of the people sealed the deal for Launiupoko

The unanimous decision of the County Council to buy 2.5 miles of coastal parkland (The Maui News, Dec. 21) was such a surprise because the deal looked dead. Six votes were needed and only five could be found. When the council minority, which had been effectively blocking the acquisition, relented at the last moment, their shift was such a surprise that their decision felt like a holiday gift.

What happened? The West Maui community finally showed up and took possession of this proposal. The tipping point was the presence of about 30 members of the Lahaina-Honolua Seniors Club in matching T-shirts. About a half dozen of these distinguished, lifelong West Maui residents came to the podium and spoke in terms of making this purchase on behalf of their grandchildren. They gave their sincere mana’o on the need to seize such rare opportunities when they are before us. No council member in their right mind would vote against the strength of such a recommendation. The seniors showed us all that democracy, power of the people actually does work when properly applied.

My hat is off to Mayor Alan Arakawa for pursuing this parkway vision, and to Council Members Gladys Baisa, Bob Carroll, Don Couch, Mike Victorino, Stacy Crivello and Don Guzman for continuously supporting the mayor’s proposal.

Dave DeLeon