Elle Cochran is no friend of affordable housing

Mayoral candidate Elle Cochran told the Kula forum that “you can’t build your way out of a housing shortage.”

I first heard this particular piece of wisdom from the NIMBY organization Maui Tomorrow. The housing shortage results from a lack of affordable homes. Simple supply and demand. If you don’t build new homes, where do they come from? Do they fall from the sky?

Given her anti-housing record, expect more of the same from a Mayor Cochran. She has rarely seen a housing development she could support. Despite a severe affordable housing shortage in West Maui, she spent years resisting a 70-unit Kahoma affordable housing project that included Habitat for Humanity and Na Hale O Maui. Wisely, the County Council didn’t follow her lead and the project is now being built.

A sadder case is Dave Spee’s 50-unit affordable senior housing project in Paia. Spee — a local businessman — proposed the much-needed project on Baldwin Avenue in accordance with the county’s plan for Paia. But continuous, dubious NIMBY opposition led by Tiare Lawrence and Cochran turned the council’s mood negative and stalled it. Meanwhile, the county is spending $20 million to build a similar but smaller project at Kulamalu. Spee’s project would have added to our affordable housing inventory at no cost to the taxpayers.

If we don’t start seriously building housing, our housing disaster will only get worse. If affordable housing is an issue for you, you should not expect any help from Mayor Cochran.

Enough already.

Dave DeLeon

Haiku

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