WAILUKU - Inauguration ceremonies for the 2013-15 County Council were held last week Wednesday in Wailuku.
Council members Chair Gladys Baisa, Vice Chair Robert Carroll, Elle Cochran, Don Couch, Stacy Crivello, Don Guzman, Riki Hokama, Michael Victorino and Mike White were sworn in by state 2nd Circuit Court Judge Richard T. Bissen Jr.
Kumu Hula Cody Pueo Pata offered the opening oli and ceremonial blessing.
Joined by her husband, Wayne, West Maui County Councilwoman Elle Cochran was sworn in for her second two-year term during a ceremony last week Wednesday. PHOTO BY LOUISE ROCKETT.
Two-time Grammy Award nominee and eight-time Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner Raiatea Helm serenaded the standing-room-only crowd with her sweet, hypnotic crooning.
Keynote speaker was Kalbert K. Young, state director of budget and finance.
Before his appointment in 2011 to the state office, Young served as the director of finance for the County of Maui for six years. In the private sector, he previously worked for Kamehameha Schools and Kapalua Land Company.
"Although the world did not end as the Mayans may have predicted on Dec. 21, they were not entirely incorrect," Young said.
"Look how much our world has changed in the last two months, especially for Hawaii," he continued.
"We no longer have our beloved Senators Inouye and Akaka in Congress. In fact, Hawaii's congressional team went from having one with the most seniority amongst states to one of the least, literally overnight."
"Hawaii's local-level government is in a state of flux as well," he added.
"As we start 2013 with optimism and a brand new landscape consider how many of these changes may present opportunities for Maui," including the potential of a strong partnership, collaboration and coordination between the state and the county
Newly appointed Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui also spoke at the event.
Elected to the State Senate in 2002 (District 5), Tsutsui was the first Senate president from Maui as well as the youngest. His previous leadership positions included vice chair of the Ways and Means Committee and Majority Caucus leader.
"When I ask myself why it is again that I do what I do, I think the answer is the same answer you'd want to hear from the nine members in here this morning; and, that is, that we want to serve the community the best way possible."
Councilwoman Cochran is serving her second term representing West Maui. She is chair of the Infrastructure and Environmental Management Committee and vice chair of the Housing, Human Services and Transportation Committee.
With "a lot of concerns from the community," she told the Lahaina News in an interview last weekend, "I am definitely addressing Moku'ula. I want to see how we can move it forward, and how we can see some kind of progress."
"Their license to occupy the parking lot (at the corner of Shaw and Front Street) is coming up and is one of the agenda items in Mike White's (Budget and Finance) committee," Cochran noted.
The West Side official has a mixed plate of priorities.
"I want to start talking to people in the community about participating in the writing of the West Maui Community Plan. I want to continue to protect and preserve the Honolua area - the Bay and Lipoa Point.
"Improvements to the roads and waste water facility; those are ongoing.
"The county issues grants. They need to be monitored, and non-profits made accountable," she continued.
"The land that has been entitled and rezoned should be paying the highest and best tax use, like Kapalua Mauka," she said.
Cochran can be reached at 270-5504 or by e-mail at email@example.com.