Q&A Candidate: Maui County Mayor – Cullan Bell

Editor’s note: For the August 13 primary elections in Hawaii, Civil Beat asked candidates to answer a few questions about where they stand on various issues and what their priorities would be if elected.

The following came from Maui County mayoral candidate Cullan Bell. The other candidates are Richard Bissen, Kim Brown, Alana Kay, Jonah Lion, Mike Molina, Kelly King and Mike Victorino.

See Civil Beat’s election guide for general information and learn about the other candidates in the primary ballot.

1. What is the biggest problem facing Maui County and what would you do to fix it?

Maui County is plagued with many issues such as unaffordable housing, lack of food security, and poor water management. The most concerning issue for me is how our children are still being abused by the Department of Education in schools. When I am mayor, I will still fight for children as I have for three years, but with a bigger platform.

2. In the past two years alone, the median selling price of a home on Maui has soared nearly $400,000, driven by a surge of out-of-state buyers during the pandemic. What can the county do to ensure families are not overrated?

Our housing market and politicians who sell to developers and real estate investors are unacceptable. I will clean our house. We need to make sure we have affordable housing and rentals for us, the locals, and not for foreign or out-of-state buyers and investors.

3. In recent years, considerable efforts have been made to reform law enforcement and strengthen police oversight. What would you do specifically to increase oversight of local law enforcement? Are you satisfied with the Maui Police Department and the Maui Police Commission?

I’m not happy with the direction of the Maui Police Department. The problems that the ministry is going through have a direct correlation with bad leadership.

The Police Commission must be reorganized and elected. With good, honest and moral leadership, everything else will begin to fall into place. We must support our law enforcement, they support us!

4. The Maui County Council recently passed a temporary moratorium on the construction of new hotels and other visitor accommodations and will decide in the coming months whether to make it permanent. Do you support capping the number of hotels and visitor accommodations on Maui? Why or why not?

Yes, I support the moratorium on hotels and visitor accommodation. If you look at the Maui map, we are supposed to be at a maximum ratio of 1:3 tourist to local. We are at least the opposite right now. They are everywhere. We cannot get dining reservations. You can’t go to the beach without getting stepped on. Our wildlife is overrun. They go where they shouldn’t.

We have to focus on ourselves. We need to put Maui County in a good place before we start worrying about others. We are suffering.

5. Do you think the Governor and Legislature appreciate Maui County’s issues, or are they too focused on Honolulu and Oahu? How would you change that?

If we don’t get the right people as governors and legislators this election, it will make my job much more difficult. I am a fighter. I will fight for my home until my last breath. It’s our home. We take it back.

6. Do you think Maui County should do more to manage water resources long controlled by plantations? Why or why not?

Our water has been illegally taken and sold from us for far too long. Mismanagement and outright disregard for our culture and our people are coming to an end. I will fight for our water as I will fight for our people. The recovery is now!

7. Climate change is real and will force us to make tough decisions. What is the first thing Maui County should do to address climate change rather than just react to it?

Climate change is a decoy. Global warming is a decoy. I’m not saying the climate doesn’t change over time, but the “climate change” you talk about is rubbish.

If the sea level was indeed rising, ask Obama why his two multi-million dollar mansions are literally on the water? Ask Jon Kerry (climate czar) why he decided a house on the water at Martha’s Vineyard was a good idea? Ask all those “elites” pushing climate change how they move?

We need to take care of our environment, but people also need to get their heads out of the sand.

8. It is estimated that up to a thousand people could be homeless on Maui every day. What do you think needs to change to help people get and stay in housing?

Homelessness is a big problem on Maui. We need a facility to house the homeless. Somewhere where they can shower and sleep. This facility will have resources to help them get back on their feet and become functional parts of society again. It has to be done yesterday.

We also need to stop allowing other states to ship their homeless here. We have to take care of ours. Period.

9. Traffic is getting worse on the island of Maui and different areas are facing different challenges. What would be your approach to improving Maui’s transportation issues?

We are outnumbered here on Maui at all times about 10-1 tourist to local. We need to diversify our economy so that we are not too dependent on tourism. Reducing tourism will not just give our infrastructure a break, it will give our entire ecosystem a break.

We must let our islands and our people breathe. It’s time to put Maui County first!

ten. The coronavirus pandemic has exposed many flaws in Hawaii’s structure and systems, from outdated technology to economic disparity. If you could take this moment to reinvent Hawaii, to build on what we’ve learned and create a better state, a better way of doing things, what would you do? Please share a great idea you have for Maui County. Be innovative, but be specific.

The “pandemic” has blown the lid off the neglect and corruption that has ruled our county and state for far too long. When I come in, we’ll clean up. Transparency and accountability will be two things we will ensure at all levels of the board.

We must work together to make our home food safe again. For the next round of “pandemics”, we need to have real doctors with a moral to find all possible solutions, and not rely on two things that don’t work. We’ll walk you through all the options and information so you and your families can make an informed decision. We won’t shut anyone down. We are all essential.