County Policy Plan Review Under Way
Confusing information renders little public turnout.
By Léo Azambuja
After putting together a County Policy Plan for several months, in conjunction with Maui County Long Range Division planners, the Molokai General Plan Advisory Committee (GPAC) finally began to review the Plan on August 22.
The Plan contains broad policy objectives applying to the whole Maui County. It will set forth the general direction residents want the County to take in the next 20 years.
But the work is far from being completed. The GPAC will have 120 days to review the Plan. There will be at least five more sessions, and the GPAC is tentatively trying to add two more sessions.
Each session is supposed to include a review of two sections of the Plan. GPAC chairperson DeGray Vanderbilt was upset that the Maui GPAC was allowed three hours, while the Molokai GPAC was given only one hour to review the same sections.
Participants in last week’s meeting, held at Kaunakakai School cafeteria, reviewed educational and health care issues. But those issues are not closed yet. Anyone who wishes to add or comment on them is encouraged to review the Plan online and come forward in future meetings.
Resident Greta Martinez pointed out to the food pyramid chart at Kaunanakai School, showing that protein and fat should amount to a small percentage in the children’s diet. However, about half the children’s lunch is made of meat. “No learning takes place after lunch,” she said. The children get too tired and fall asleep.
Martinez also said Molokai schools are lacking in physical activities. Out of four schools, only two receive physical education. And even those schools are lacking – the activities are held once a week, and for 45 minutes only.
Vanderbilt said island residents take their participation in public matters very seriously. However, despite important comments made by some residents in the first review session, public turnout was minimal.
The County issued a press release a day earlier containing wrong hours for the meeting. The County also published a public notice on local newspapers a month earlier stating that information was already available for public review. But the information only made it to the County’s Web site a few days before last week’s review session.
Vanderbilt asked the Long Range Division planners to hold the meetings during evening hours. That way Molokai residents would have a better chance to attend and participate in the process. However, the next meeting is scheduled at 12:30 p.m.
In mid-December Molokai GPAC will have finished fine-tuning the Plan. It will be sent to Maui County Council, which in turn will have one year to approve a final Plan.
Information about the Plan is available online, but it’s tricky to find it. On the Maui County Web site, click on “departments,” then on “ planning department,” then on “general plan 2030,” and finally on “full director’s report.” A copy of the Plan is also available at the Molokai Library.
The next Molokai GPAC meeting is scheduled for September 12, at Mitchell Pauole Center at 12:30 p.m.