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Jan Dapitan’s dedication to public service can inspire a new generation

Our County

The passing of former parks director and longtime community advocate Jan Dapitan was a great loss for Maui County, but my hope is that Jan’s life of dedicated public service will inspire a new generation to do what is pono for our environment.

Jan had a heart of gold, and she was able to rally community support for innovative programs like Adopt-a-Park, the Maui Youth Theatre (now the Maui Academy of Performing Arts), Community Work Day (now Malama Maui Nui), Keep America Beautiful and the creation of Hawaii’s Environmental Court.

Jan’s passing late last month reminded us how someone can make a difference in our community. We can celebrate her life by rededicating ourselves to make Maui a litter-free, beautiful place to live and play.

One way to make a difference is to be more mindful of how we handle solid waste. No one likes the eyesore of abandoned vehicles in fields or on the side of roadways. Remember, dumping cars is a crime. Owners are charged and fined. To report an abandoned vehicle, call police at 244-6400 and select “0.” Remember, when you transfer ownership of a vehicle, make sure you do so, in person, at the County Division of Motor Vehicles and Licensing. That way, you know you’re no longer legally responsible for a sold vehicle.

To learn more about how to properly dispose of a vehicle, visit the County Office of Abandoned Vehicles & Metals website at mauicounty.gov/avm.

Another way to care for our aina is to reduce the amount of waste that we need to throw away. One way is to buy in bulk rather than in single-serving bags. Reusable containers can replace zip-type plastic bags. We can reuse jars, containers and packing materials, just to cite a few examples.

It is important that we recycle right as well as reduce our waste. When nonrecyclable material is thrown in recycling bins, that “wish-cycling” needs to be sorted out. Examples of “wish-cycling” would be office paper and plastic dairy cups, which are not recyclable. Recyclable items include No. 1 and No. 2 plastic bottles with necks, cardboard, newspaper, aluminum and bi-metal cans, and glass bottles and jars.

For more information about recycling, go to mauicounty.gov/recycle or call the Recycling Hotline at 270-7880.

Meanwhile, the 30th Hawaii State Legislature reconvened on Wednesday. My legislative initiatives include improving axis deer management to protect our watershed areas; seeking funds for the planning and design of a new Central Maui middle school; supporting long-term care of our kupuna; and obtaining rental housing assistance for people with very low incomes.

We need funds to pay for Maui County’s long-range transportation plans for roadways and bridges and for improvements to the Maui Bus system. To generate needed funding, I am proposing lawmakers extend the deadline for implementing a county general excise tax surcharge to June 30, 2021.

I’m asking legislators to support a bill to authorize the counties to regulate transient accommodations hosting platforms as a business practice and a measure to require the state Department of Taxation to collect information that identifies the physical location of a transient accommodation. I’m backing legislation to get funding for a strategic plan to consider the impacts of rising sea levels and coastal erosion along portions of Honoapiilani Highway in West Maui, especially from Olowalu to Ukumehame.

I look forward to working with Maui County’s fine team of legislators: state Sens. Roz Baker, J. Kalani English and Gilbert Keith-Agaran; and state Reps. Lynn DeCoite, Troy Hashimoto, Angus McKelvey, Tina Wildberger, Justin Woodson and Kyle Yamashita. My administration will work with Gov. David Ige and his administration, the Maui County Council and the private sector to advocate for our community’s needs at the state Capitol.

I’m confident that, working together, we can accomplish great things for the people of Maui County.

Aloha!

* “Our County,” a column from Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino, discusses county issues and activities of county government. The column usually appears on the first and third Saturdays of the month.