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Vote ‘no’ for all 7 charter amendments

Viewpoint

I write this as a counterviewpoint to a letter to the editor that recently appeared in The Maui News regarding proposed charter amendments. I stand by my previous votes on these items and am asking you to vote “no” on all 7 proposed charter amendments on the November 2020 General Election Ballot. Some charter amendments will expand county government which will cost more in taxes and fees, placing greater burden on our community at a time when the financial situation for many has changed.

The COVID 19 pandemic is devastating, and now Maui has 62,000 of our neighbors who have filed for unemployment and depend on the generosity of businesses and individuals who donate food. One out of three working people in our community have no jobs, limited money and are struggling to meet basic necessities like having a roof over their heads and food on the table. I stand for people and with people who are struggling to find a job, pay their rent, keep up with mortgages and provide the basics for their families.

We are entering the seventh month of this pandemic and there is no clear end in sight yet. Quite frankly for the sake of humanity and survival of our neighbors, focus should be on getting our community through this pandemic — and then through what will undoubtedly be the recovery stage. First and foremost, during this unprecedented pandemic we must not add to the burdens of people trying to survive. This is not the time for charter amendments.

I voted “no” during these deliberations for these 7 charter amendments. I stand by the 62,000 people who are looking for a job, depending on that next pay check, looking for a way to pay rent and mortgages and health insurance and feeding their ohana.

Our neighbors are suffering. So please consider helping your neighbors and vote “no” on all 7 charter amendments. This is not the time to expand government. This is not the time to financially burden the community by establishing a new form of governance by a county manager as the leader, not the mayor, or by creating an additional new County Department of Agriculture to add to the already existing 17 county departments.

Every 10 years, the Charter Commission meets as mandated by our County of Maui Constitution — the Charter. The Charter Commission convenes in 2021. Let this commission take up changes to our governance, vet the issues in the context of a community impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic. Vote “no” on all 7 proposed Charter Amendments.

* Yuki Lei Sugimura holds the County Council seat for the Upcountry residency area.

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