BY BUCK QUAYLE
Maui Mayor Elmer Cravalho "is probably the most effective mayor in Hawaii today", according to an article in the August issue of Hawaii Business.
Although the lead article in the respected business monthly reads in part like a piece of campaign promotional material, the statement is backed up with a solid amount of fact.
According to the article, "Maui's unemployment rate is the lowest (in Hawaii), its construction record the finest, its tourism the steadiest, and its growth rate the highest."
Hawaii Business gives Cravalho's administration credit for garnering millions of dollars in federal and state funds for sewage systems, getting public housing projects underway and moving on such projects as the new County stadium, Lahaina gymnasium and County building.
"Whatever they say about him-his critics are many and vocal-Elmer Cravalho gets things done," the article said.
"Brusque, high-powered, intense, impatient-they are all parts of the image," it said. "Cravalho is a man with a goal and with little patience for anything that gets in the way....
"It is true that Maui's progress in the past few years has been substantial, and it is also true that the reasons are many and varied. But there is little question that one of the big reasons is that under Elmer Cravalho Maui has the most effective County government in Hawaii today."
Maui Mayor Elmer Cravalho returned from an unannounced 12-day absense Aug. 30 and would not say where he had been.
When asked, he said, "I took my vacation time. You know we've been working at a breakneck pace here and the time was appropriate for a vacation.
"In an emergency situation I was available. Everything was in good hands. My staff contacted me a few times."
When asked if he had been off the island, the mayor replied, "It's really not relevant."
The mayor's absence first became apparent Aug. 19 when he failed to show for the dedication ceremonies of the new Kuihelani Hwy. At that time, the crowd was told he was "called away by an emergency".
Maui Mayor Elmer Cravalho usually is a very dependable man.
Normally, you can count on his being in the office and working. If not, his staff knows where he is and what he's doing.
However, when Shigeto (Mustard) Murayama, acting Mayor in Cravalho's absence, returned to Maui from National Guard training in Honolulu Aug. 21, he found the mayor had not been seen around his office since the previous Wednesday.
At the official opening of Kuihelani Hwy., where the Mayor was due to speak on Thursday, the gathering was told Cravalho was called away on an emergency.
Murayama said last Friday he still did not know the mayor's whereabouts. He said Cravalho's sister reported that the mayor was expected to return to work this week.
"If he wants to let me know, he will tell me," Murayama said.
The acting mayor said he believed Cravalho was off the island.
Previously, Murayama had told reporters the mayor was resting from work on the orders of a doctor.
Buck Quayle at the Maui Lahaina Sun bureau circa 1970
Reporter/Photographer Buck Quayle in 1971 in Maui with the Cartagenian in the background
Another Day At The Office Haleakala National Park