Councilwoman Tamara Paltin wants to continue working on solutions
WEST MAUI – West Maui County Councilwoman Tamara Paltin said she is seeking reelection “because with the wisdom, experience and relationships I have built up over this first term in office, I will be able to do more to help our residents and continue to focus on county level solutions together.”
Paltin also said she is running for a second term on the council because she loves Maui County and all of our communities.
With residents voting by mail for the Aug. 8 Primary Election, Paltin faces two opponents – Rick Nava and Sne Patel – in the nonpartisan race for the West Side council seat.
Paltin said the top three issues this election season are unemployment/COVID-19, economic diversification and sustainability/resilience, and affordable housing and homelessness.
Maui County will need a COVID-19 testing and quarantine program for travelers.
“We need to ensure Maui County is a safe place for residents, families, students and visitors by creating a program for all of those coming into Maui County, to ensure they are COVID-free, and that quarantine is being uniformly enforced without any loopholes. We can then utilize this system to begin to host visitors again in a more respectful way,” Paltin explained.
“We also need to ensure testing is readily available, create public-private partnerships for tracking apps, pursue ‘aina-based outdoor learning opportunities and promote best hygiene practices, so that should there be an illness – it can be COVID or any other communicable disease – we are able to address it quickly and efficiently.”
Paltin believes Maui County needs to invest in industries that will allow us to build a resilient, diverse economy and ensure sustainability.
“For example, we can invest in the many different types of agriculture and promote the value-added agricultural products. This is why I voted to put the Department of Agriculture proposal on the ballot for voters to decide,” she added.
Federal funds can be utilized to retrain laid-off resident workers for free to fulfill current county needs in industries such as healthcare, eldercare, childcare, innovative ‘aina-based education, engineering, planning, law enforcement, social services, managed retreat and many more.
The free training would have guarantees built in that the residents will stay here, utilize these new skills and help Maui recover.
To help provide affordable housing, Paltin noted that this past term, the council approved two low-income rental projects for Lahaina: a 201H in Makila, and the Land Use Commission approved Pulelehua’s amended plans.
“These will provide a wide range of needed housing, but the county needs to ensure these projects come to fruition and are built to provide the workforce housing we desperately need,” she said.
The county also needs to work with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to ensure Lahaina’s DHHL lands are built to provide affordable housing in perpetuity for Native Hawaiians, Paltin added.
“Housing first is a priority of the county; however, we are having some trouble with providing this to our unsheltered due to the lack of space and service providers to meet the volume of needs. Our Department of Housing and Human Concerns is working very hard to keep those on the brink of homelessness in their current homes as well,” she said.
In her first two-year term, Paltin was able to open up a District Office in West Maui. The pre-COVID-19 goal was to let community members be able to testify from West Maui, like Lanai, Molokai and Hana residents can testify from their districts. Now that meetings are online, everyone can easily testify from their own phones or computers.
Councilwoman Paltin also secured funding to right-size Ocean Safety and proposed and passed legislation to relocate Commercial Ocean Recreational Activity permits from Hanakao’o Beach Park (Canoe Beach) to other county parks.
“Prior to COVID, I was also able to host many evening Land Use meetings in the communities directly affected by the decisions we made, so that we came to residents in their community to hear directly from them before making decisions,” she explained.
If she is reelected, Paltin would like to continue as chair of the Planning and Sustainable Land Use Committee and remain a voting member of each committee.
She pledged to continue to advocate for West Maui’s infrastructure needs, work through the Maui Metropolitan Planning Organization to advocate that Highway 30 be moved away from sea-level rise and shoreline erosion inundation, as well as work on partnerships to develop West Maui DHHL housing for beneficiaries on the waiting list, which will open up more housing opportunities for the general population.
Paltin, 42, is a retired Maui County Ocean Safety lieutenant.
She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hilo High School in 1995, then earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics/Education with Cum Laude honors from Northern Arizona University in 1998.
Councilwoman Paltin completed Emergency Medical (First) Responder training in 2001, graduated as a Ka Ipu Kukui Leadership Fellow in 2009 and was a Kuleana Academy graduate in 2017.
She served in the community as president of the Save Honolua Coalition, a Junior Lifeguard/Lifeguard/CPR/First Aid instructor, Kahana Canoe Club member, HGEA union steward, United States Lifesaving Association member and West Maui Preservation Association president.
Her endorsements include the Hawaii Government Employees Association, Local 3; Operating Engineers Industry Stabilization Fund; Sierra Club; AFL-CIO; Maui Pono Network; Hawaii Fire Fighters Association; and Our Revolution Hawaii.
To learn more, visit TamaraPaltin.com or “like” her on Facebook (@Tamara Paltin for Maui Council).
Paltin said the council is starting efforts to update the county’s Residential Workforce Housing Policy, and she would like to see the West Maui Community Plan adopted and some of the action items implemented.
She wants to continue to work on tax reform and create incentives to keep commercial real estate properties from sitting vacant, in the hope that many more commercial landlords will work with their tenants to help businesses – especially during the current pandemic – thereby helping the state and county as a whole.
Paltin said it has been an honor and privilege to serve Maui County, and she takes her job very seriously.
“This job is not easy, and there is a steep learning curve. My previous career as a county employee and my tenacious work ethic has helped, but there is a lot to learn about how to best affect positive change,” she said.
“I strive every day to find the balance between land use, culture, controversial issues and people. I approach all meetings in an open and fair manner – this is critically important when working with eight other members and such a diverse county,” Paltin continued.
“I invite you to check out my voting record. I have voted in favor of affordable housing when appropriate and against it when I felt it was not appropriate (sprawl), taken a stand for our environment and worked together towards county-level solutions, and will continue to do so.”