October 19, 2004: Headlines: COS - Tunisia: Politics: Election2004 - Holter: Maui News: Incumbent Council Member Mike Molina squares off against community activist, Realtor and former Peace Corps member Lance Holter.

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Tunisia: Peace Corps Tunisia : The Peace Corps in Tunisia: October 19, 2004: Headlines: COS - Tunisia: Politics: Election2004 - Holter: Maui News: Incumbent Council Member Mike Molina squares off against community activist, Realtor and former Peace Corps member Lance Holter.

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Incumbent Council Member Mike Molina squares off against community activist, Realtor and former Peace Corps member Lance Holter.

Incumbent Council Member Mike Molina squares off against community activist, Realtor and former Peace Corps member Lance Holter.

Incumbent Council Member Mike Molina squares off against community activist, Realtor and former Peace Corps member Lance Holter.

It’s Molina vs. Holter, part II
By MELISSA TANJI, Staff Writer

WAILUKU ­ The faces are the same in the race for the Maui County Council’s Makawao-Haiku-Paia residency seat. Again, incumbent Council Member Mike Molina squares off against community activist, Realtor and former Peace Corps member Lance Holter. In 2002, Molina beat Holter by 12,770 votes.

Holter, 54, obviously hopes the votes fall his way Nov. 2, but he’s realistic in knowing how tough it is to unseat an incumbent.

“I’ll be the most surprised and honored person in Maui County if I win,” he said.

Nevertheless, Holter said he’s compelled to run because he’s disappointed with the council’s decision to prioritize the Makena Resort rezoning issue over other issues, including tax relief, affordable housing and water allocation.

For his part, the 44-year-old Molina isn’t taking anything for granted, despite his decisive victory two years ago.

“I expect a tough challenge,” Molina said, “and I will work hard to retain my seat.”

Seeking a third two-year term, the incumbent says a key issue for him is maintaining a sustainable economy in Maui County, and related issues are affordable housing, traffic, jobs, water and population growth.

Molina said more affordable housing could be made available if government were to “ease up on restrictions” and expedite the permit process. Also, affordable housing projects stuck in the council’s Planning and Land Use Committee need to be advanced, he said.

“I think that’s the first thing we got to work on,” he said.

Molina, a Makawao resident, said government should establish partnerships with developers and nonprofits and have developers pay possibly a greater share of infrastructure costs.

“Government doesn’t have all the resources,” he said.

He also suggested that 1 percent of the county’s property tax could go to ward purchasing land for affordable housing.

“Why not put it to the voters?” he asked. . . “I think it’s only fair we take care of the people.”

Holter, a Paia resident, said his top priority involves “quality-of-life” issues.

In Maui County, Holter said, things are still following the old 1970s economic model, where investment goes toward development in Wailea and Kaanapali and tourism is seen as the island’s main economic engine.

“What we thought was going to be the economic panacea . . now it’s the devil’s bargain,” Holter said.

Outside investors are pouring money into the islands without appreciating island people and their society, he said.

Holter said a “growth coalition” of landowners, developers, planners, consultants and others is able to influence politics by giving small donations to government officials, mostly incumbent officeholders.

Rapid real estate development has led to Maui’s high cost of housing and a lack of housing, factors that erode the island’s social foundation – leading to, among other things, crime.

We “have to help local families first,” Holter said. “You need somebody on the council that is not dominated by the 1970s economic model.”

He said he’s free of influence from special interests and can bring “fresh ideas” to the council.

For example, Holter proposes requiring developers to provide more affordable homes in conjunction with projects.

Now, he said, only a small fraction of homes that come on the market is affordable.

“That has to be changed,” he said.

Holter said he’d also like to see property tax reform, specifically taxing time-share units at 10 percent to 12 percent.

“I don’t like time shares,” he said, adding that people who reside part time in time-share units cook in kitchens in the units and don’t support Maui’s restaurant industry.

“It’s not good for our economy,” he said.

Holter also maintained that property taxes are often too high, particularly for retirees living on pensions and for old Hawaiian and local families.

Molina said water is a big issue on Maui, especially with the problems over water-meter distribution.

“I guess right now, we have to work with the water department and the administration to ensure the people on the waiting list (for water meters) are not being set back by others going in front of them,” Molina said.

He added there are a lot of young families on the waiting list for meters, but they cannot begin building their homes.

While the water-meter issue is “mostly Upcountry,” Molina said eventually water distribution for the whole island needs to be assessed.

Molina said he’s also concerned about water testing Upcountry.

“We need to maintain an open and collaborative environment between the state, county and federal government,” Molina said. “I think in general we need to come together. All parties need to put aside personal differences and work together to address our water-quality concerns and do it in an open process.”

Molina said he can rally the community to come out on water issues.

“They need to make their voices heard.”

Holter said he also has concerns about the Upcountry water storage and said Maui also needs to get alternative water systems.

Holter was involved in the Peace Corps, under which he built water wells in North Africa.

He said he would rather be known for his activism in the community and his Peace Corps service than for being a Realtor.

But he said as a Realtor, he’s found young families homes. He also understands the hardships of finding an affordable home.

“I had people crying over the phone,” Holter said.

He said he has people with $100,000 in cash who cannot find a home.

“We’re in an obscene housing crisis,” Holter said. “People are desperate. Maybe it will take someone with real estate experience to help create a solution.”

Molina cited traffic as another problem and said transportation corridors need to be purchased to make way for new roads.

“I think with Maui, we need to plan ahead,” he said.

Molina suggested a “meeting of the minds” on traffic.

“We need to get the ball rolling,” he said.

Holter agreed with Molina on the traffic issue that something needs to be done and transportation corridors need to be purchased.

Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.

WEDNESDAY: The Maui County Council contest for the Wailuku residency seat between incumbent Dain Kane and challenger Socrates Buenger.

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Story Source: Maui News

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Tunisia; Politics; Election2004 - Holter



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