In all fairness, here is what I hope will be considered a thoughtful, positive response to anyone offended by my recent column item concerning LahainaTown Action Committee.
I wrote the item because I care about the community and believe if LAC does better, all will benefit. I have no interest in fighting with anyone or any organization or naming names.
Even in a close-knit community, I believe that a journalist has an obligation to write about topics that deserve attention. Sometimes without that, nothing will change. A minister in Kaanapali the other Sunday said "most people try to blend in," but people of conviction are willing to stand out from the crowd and take a different approach. My intent was to start a community conversation, and that is what has occurred.
Since the column, no member of the board has reached out to me to complain, nor to respond to a letter I sent five people containing suggestions on good board practices recommended by the HANO nonprofit support group.
When I called two people associated with LAC after a letter writer complained, both were contentious and seemed to have no interest in what I had to say.
I then reached out to some 20 community leaders, who turned out to be generally sympathetic toward my point of view, offering opinions similar to mine, and presenting ideas, which I incorporated in a new column. The editor and I have come to agree that the proper place for further discussion would be this commentary.
The purpose of the earlier column item was two-fold: 1) To encourage the business community (quoting from the column) "to step up" with contributions; and 2) Offer constructive criticism to encourage LAC to become better. The words may have been too harsh, but the heart was in the right place.
Years ago, Old Lahaina Luau received heavy criticism in print and took offense. But then it decided to re-examine what it was doing. This led to significant changes, which helped build one of the most successful, profit-generating businesses on Maui.
The effective organization re-examines itself, sets clear goals, listens to people with knowledge and experience who have good ideas, looks at the makeup of its board and makes sure it has the right people in the right slots
This columnist has sent eight suggestions for improvement to LAC, including writing a new vision statement, increasing board membership, passing the torch to a new generations and recognizing that a community organization belongs to the community and not any individual.
It is difficult to see how anyone could quarrel with any of these ideas, but some board members already have in their meetings.
The columnist tries to live aloha, which comes from deep within. It is my hope that everyone - including the board of directors and friends of LAC - live aloha as well and treat everyone with respect. Some have fallen short over time and recently. The columnist sometimes falls short, too, but all of us - including me - need to try a little harder.