How often do you wonder what other people are thinking?

If you’re like me, the answer is a lot. There’s the stranger waiting in line with eyes fixed on their phone, the curious person who passes like clockwork on the way to some unseen job, the worker jamming away in the office down the hall, kids lugging their backpacks home from school, the neighbor who keeps odd hours of the night doing God-knows-what – these fellow humans, and countless other faces, make up our community and I wonder endlessly about them.

So I suppose it makes sense that I work here, in a job where I get to watch, ask questions, and write about people. In fact, when I took over as editor of MauiTime, one of my first resolutions was to have more interactions with readers like you. As goes with most resolutions (‘tis the season after all), I regret to admit that I’ve accomplished that goal with varied levels of success… but I’m not giving up. One way that MauiTime hopes to connect with you and listen to the community is by re-launching our weekly Coconut Poll.

The poll takes news and stories from the week and forms a question for you, dear reader, to weigh-in on. At MauiTime we pride ourselves in being independent, alternative, and community-oriented. We also know that as a media outlet, our platform has a distinct reach and ability to curate viewpoints and discussions from our cross section of readers on the island.

In short, We need to hear from you! We know that your experiences, opinions, and viewpoints matter, and are an important part of the discussion that will guide Maui into the future. We want to learn about your lives, experiences, history, fears, thoughts, hopes, and dreams.

Make yourself heard in our Coconut Poll, available online at and in our print edition. Get involved in a discussion. We’ll run a new question every week and present the results along with any answers that were especially eye-opening or head-scratching.

In the meantime, take some inspiration from your neighbors and view these results from the last round of Coconut Poll surveys. Here were some of the most provocative questions and answers from the last year.

Is white privilege something real that affects us on a daily basis, or is it overblown?

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-White privilege is non-existent in modern society and is completely sensationalized by the media. Privilege is earned by generations of hard-working individuals to make the lives of their progeny easier.

-Call it Majority Privilege if you want to address the problem head on instead of just being lazy and race baiting. The privilege isn’t the skin color, it’s the numbers. Hope that pisses you off and f–-ks up your narrative.

-I have done a lot of reading over the past 18 months to try to better understand white privilege (I am white) and to fill the gaps in my education. I would like to recommend to your readers Robin DiAngelo who has written extensively about White Fragility – that white people’s expectations for racial comfort are so high, they have an extremely low ability to tolerate racial stress – such as participating in discussions about privilege. Also, I read a book by Ronald Takaki A History of Multicultural America where he states “A history that leaves out minorities reinforces separation, but a history that includes everyone bridges the divide between groups.”

-Being white, I recognize my white privilege and the opportunities it has afforded me career-wise and socially. When I walk down the street, no one is wondering about my heritage, worth, reliability, or honesty. It is only through recognition of the countless benefits of white privilege that we can aspire to equality and equity. We are a long way off but there’s been some progress since the ‘60s. Racism is, devastatingly, alive and flourishing.

-Until white people accept that there is a systemic advantage to their skin color, and until we atone for the atrocious treatment of minorities and Indigenous peoples both historically and currently, we will never heal the divide in our society. Resentment, misunderstanding, and unfortunately racism will be ever present, and those in a position of power will go out of their way to oppress those considered “beneath” them. I am a white woman, and while I am aware of the existence of white privilege, I don’t think I could fully comprehend the daily challenges people of color face. It’s nuanced and blatant all at the same time; an ugly system we have created.

Do you think there should be a “three strikes” policy for councilmembers regarding unexcused absences?

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-This is their job. I can’t think of any company or job where you can “no show no call” three times and keep your job. I think meeting attendance should be publicly communicated… often. If they are unable to do their job, they should not have it.

-Yes! If they’re not attending, they’re not committed to the work and therefore they don’t deserve to hold the position.

Do you think Tulsi Gabbard is a viable presidential candidate?

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-She’s the only Democrat who had the courage to stand up to the Clinton machine and call out the DNC for the way it was treating Bernie.

-I am a registered independent, and as of right now, Tulsi is the only Democratic candidate that I would vote for! If she’s still in the running leading up to my state’s primary, I may re-register as a Democrat just to vote for her. I especially like her opposition to regime change wars and hope that she stays firm on that.

-I feel as though she is not being given proper credit because she does not fully align with the standard congressional democrat, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. Her policies and ideals can benefit a lot of people and she deserves a fair chance.

-No, past comments toward the LGBTQ community.

-She’s not really a Democrat and her cult affiliation is scary.

-She’s already waffling on the government shutdown by playing the “both sides” game to appear as a somewhat enlightened centrist. No, Tulsi. Just no. Go home.

-There was a time that I felt Tulsi would have been a great candidate, however there have been events that make me think twice about Tulsi leading our country. We need someone strong and vocal about things and she has been anything but vocal in her dissatisfaction of current affairs. Make a stand and do something!

Do you support the Wailuku Civic Complex as planned?

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-Over $80 million is ludicrous when we need affordable housing, climate change mitigation, local food, education, and other community-minded projects being funded. I live three blocks from the proposed development and was never notified once. Bed and breakfast permit and you get letters in the mail, large-scale multi-year project not a peep!

-Downtown Wailuku NEEDS more parking, and a fresh breath of life. I think mixing modern with traditional is a fantastic idea.

-Wailuku should be preserved for the local people. Right now as is, Wailuku is turning into a place that is filled with law offices, political bases, and less and less about mom and pop stores, play areas, children, and seniors going about their way to connect to everyone in the community. It is vital that this area be seen as a central location of where the waters run free and the purity of the area restored with farming and abundant respect for land and nature. We need community gathering not with new buildings but with greater connection to place and people.

-Years of planning have gone into it. True that county has other needs like affordable housing and rentals. It shouldn’t be either/or. We can do both. This revitalization will have a positive ripple effect.

Should the county raise the hotel/resort real property tax rate?

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-We own five weeks timeshare in Maui so we visit often. If there is need for revenue to improve infrastructure and more affordable housing for locals then I think we, as visitors, should help pay for them. I would add that I hope local politicians would allocate the funds efficiently so as to not waste the extra revenue.

-With rooms from $200-$1000 per night, I believe money collected to improve county parks and beaches is desperately needed

-This tax increase is necessary to fund and maintain the island’s infrastructure, which is being strained by the ever-increasing number of tourists, as well as do everything possible to secure the sensitive ecosystem we call home.

-You may have a spending problem not a revenue problem.

-It would be hard to overstate the impact of tourism on the ‘aina, ocean, and quality of life of kama’aina. Additional revenue as close to the source as possible is appropriate if used to protect the above.

Do you think Hawai‘i’s children of today will have a better or worse standard of living when they are your age?

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-When I went to Kihei Charter School we focused a lot on the environment and what we can do to lessen our footprint. I feel like schools in Hawai‘i are way more environmentally inclined. I believe if we have this in the curriculum K-12, the kids will have a better world to live in or at least a cleaner, healthier, island. And the way to do that is getting out of the four walls of a classroom and spending time with the ‘aina.

-Children will grow up in a community much more starkly divided in terms of economic inequality and cultural differences. Climate change is already hitting our communities and will have a lasting impact.

-We can hardly afford living here now… Imagine what it’ll be like in 10-20 years. It’s scary and horribly sad.

Got an opinion? Share it with or comment on @MauiTime social media: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Our latest Coconut Poll is at Take the survey and leave a comment to have your voice heard and for a chance to appear in print!

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