Council Member Mike White twice rippled the political pond last month.
First, White embarrassed Mayor Alan Arakawa by demanding that the mayor's parks director - not his assistant - present the mayor's budget to the Budget and Finance Committee. The flustered Arakawa could only hint at impeachment for such impertinence. As committee chairman sitting in session, White certainly had this power, but why would he bother to so harass the mayor?
Second, White presented his $23 million smaller alternative to the mayor's proposed budget. White's zero growth proposal seems reasonable since, just last year, the council raised taxes by reducing each homeowner's exemption by $100,000. Predictably, given her resume, Council Chairwoman Gladys Baisa (supported by Member Mike Victorino) said that elimination of the 4 percent increase over last year's budget was "too Draconian" for nonprofits and for upgrades needed for county services and programs.
When politicians - excuse me, public servants - make waves, the voters of Maui should notice. Positions are being taken.
Reduction of Maui's regulatory burden is never mentioned in budget discussions. To free up some workers, let department heads suggest rules and regulations for council modification or repeal.
Example: 20 years ago, a hold harmless letter satisfied the Fire Department for a new water meter. Now, rural applicants must replace perfectly good county 6-inch waterlines with 8-inch lines. Worse yet, the county must reimburse 50 percent of this potential $200 million expense - an unfunded mandate according to the Department of Water Supply director.
For details, see www.umla.ws.
Richard H. Pohle