Ask The Mayor

Q: When Tropic Care Maui County begins in June, will the program give me free health insurance?

A: No, it will not provide insurance. However, Tropic Care Maui County will offer free health care services by military personnel participating in a rapid deployment exercise. The free services will be performed at six locations throughout Maui County by approximately 400 uniformed personnel including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, ophthalmologists, dentists and others from active and reserved ranks of the armed forces around the United States. The free health care services will include physical examinations, vision checks (and single-lens glasses), basic dental care and nutrition counseling, among others. The clinics will not accept advance appointments, and participants will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis. Identification will not be required, and no fees will be charged. Noncitizens, individuals with no local address and those with no health insurance are welcome to attend. Please keep in mind that participants will probably need to wait in line, so come prepared with your own water, snacks, supplies and other comforts in case seating and shade are not available at a particular clinic. For more information on locations, dates and times, visit or call 270-7855 and ask for the Tropic Care hotline.

Q: My question pertains to the maintenance of the roadway near the entrance to Lahaina. Who is responsible for maintaining the landscaping of the median of the highway and the 1-foot-wide grass band between the sidewalk and road curb? And why are they doing such a terrible job? The ground cover is overgrown and trees require trimming. The grass band between sidewalk and curb is overgrown and full of weeds, with sections dead due to irrigation problems. Surely government planners knew that with this design, the area would require maintenance every week or two and made arrangements for this, correct?

A: The portion of Honoapiilani Highway you refer to belongs to, and is maintained by, the state Department of Transportation. DOT Highways has indicated that a contract will be finalized soon to provide improved maintenance in the area.

Q: When will the Sakamoto Pool reopen?

A: The Coach Soichi Sakamoto Pool is scheduled to reopen at the end of June. An exact date will be announced next month.

Ask The Mayor

Q: What are the laws regarding noise pollution coming from loud vehicles on our increasingly crowded island? Our once-quiet neighborhood is bombarded all day, all night, every day with jacked-up trucks, some with oversized tires (monster trucks), cars, motorcycles and other types of vehicles with loud mufflers and motors. These vehicles are so noisy that they can literally wake the dead and be heard a mile away. Where is the enforcement to combat this daily assault (noise pollution) to our eardrums and sanity?

A: The law requires all motor vehicles to have mufflers. The purpose of a muffler is to help control exhaust noise from the motor of a motor vehicle. Maui County Code, Title 10, Article 1, Chapter.10.20.440 prohibits a motor vehicle on a public highway or street unless the motor and/or exhaust system of the motor vehicle is properly equipped and adjusted to prevent the escape of excessive or unusual noise. The ordinance also states that no person shall operate a motor vehicle on a public highway or street with a motor and/or exhaust system that has been altered or modified to such an extent that the noise of the motor and/or exhaust system is excessive or unusual because of a dummy muffler, cutout, bypass or other similar device. In layman’s terms, anything louder than a stock muffler is a violation. After-market mufflers that are advertised as being legal in all 50 states only meet emission control requirements, not noise requirements. The fine for having a loud muffler is $72. Maui Police Department officers enforce the loud muffler ordinance. The Traffic Section conducted two separate operations last year to address this issue and have plans to address the noise problem again this year. Moped modifications are prohibited by Hawaii Revised Statutes, which state that no moped shall be modified in any manner except as authorized by the motor manufacturer, and any modification shall not increase the power capacity of the motor above 2 horsepower. For more info, visit “”> and select “Maui County Code.”

Q: Last week, I received a plastic bag in my mailbox, asking me to donate to a food drive sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service. I thought plastic bags were banned in Maui County. How come the federal government is exempt?

A: The quick answer to your question is that, in this case, the U.S. Post Office is not selling you anything. The more detailed answer refers back to the county ordinance that went into effect Jan. 11, 2011, which restricts the use of nonreusable plastic bags at the point of sale by any commercial enterprise or establishment, including sole proprietorships, joint ventures, partnerships and corporations, whether for profit or nonprofit. This includes all employees of businesses, or any independent contractors associated with the businesses, that provide bags to their customers at the point of sale for the purpose of transporting groceries or other goods. The “Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance” enacted in Maui County was designed to help protect the environment by drastically reducing the number of plastic bags used on a daily basis by local retailers and consumers. For more information on the ordinance, enforcement and violations, visit

Q: Regarding the free health care being offered during the Tropic Care Maui event next month, I know that people are saying that all we have to do to receive free medical, dental and vision services is to show up and stand in line, but what if I need a doctor’s note or a signed form saying that yes, my son did get a physical exam. Will those forms be offered there?

A: No. You are responsible for bringing any forms and records that you need signed by medical personnel. The members of the U.S. military that are providing these free clinics do not have these forms on hand. However, they have said that they will sign any appropriate forms that people have with them that apply to the services received. These include Dental Health Certificates, DOE Students Health Record-Form 14 Sports/Athletic Physical Examination Form, College Entry Physical Examination Form, Physical Examination form for children and adults to enter foster care homes. If you have any questions about forms, call the Mayor’s Office at 270-7855 and ask to be transferred to the Tropic Care hotline, which is manned by Tropic Care Coordinator and longtime former council Vice Chairman Joe Pontanilla. He can get your answers or refer you to someone who can.

Ask The Mayor

Q: How can we request for one of those radar feedback signs to be placed in our neighborhood? I live off of High Street near Wailuku Elementary School and although there are 20-mph signs, people still drive faster than that. What’s worse, motorists drive fast as kids are getting out of school. Please help.

A: I understand your concern. You can contact the Maui Police Department at 244-6400 regarding motorist safety concerns so that the issue can be researched and analyzed. If a hazard is identified, the appropriate treatment may be applied, which may include enforcement and/or a speed display sign. Also, for state highways and roads, the state Department of Transportation has speed display signs available. Like the Maui Police Department, the Transportation Department studies traffic accident data and measures traffic speed flow charts before implementing a speed display sign.

Q: Does the County of Maui receive any of the registration fees for rental cars? If not, why not?

A: The County of Maui receives registration fees for rental cars that are initially titled and registered on Maui. They are issued license plates that begin with the letter “L” (for example, LDP 550). According to HRS 286-41, if a vehicle is moved to another county, the existing certificate of registration will be valid until it expires. At that point, the registration must be renewed with the county the car is being driven in, unless the car is only being temporarily transferred to another county for less than three months.

Q: I walk from Sugar Beach in Kihei to the fishpond on the beach. At high tide there are two places where the beach is under water, thus pushing the high tide line up against some condos’ rock walls. How are we supposed to get by? There are guest-only signs on the condo property.

A: The state has jurisdiction of coastal land up to the high-water mark (also referred to as the vegetation line or the “high wash of the waves”). In this case, it sounds like private property (the condos) butts up against state property. Unless permission is given by the private property owners, crossing their property could be considered trespassing. Our Planning Department works to ensure both lateral and perpendicular access to private property, which can sometimes be a condition of a permit, subdivision or change in zoning. Often, there is a dedicated easement or parcel through or right next to a property specifically for access. It’s important to remember that along some natural, undeveloped coastlines, the beach is impassible during high tide. Since beach access at high tide is not necessarily guaranteed, it’s a good idea to check the tide chart before planning a beach walk.

Ask The Mayor

Q: Are all the lunch wagons along Maui roads doing business legally? I enjoy the variety and convenience of them, however my concern is regarding the safety of the food. Is there a county department that inspects them for cleanliness, ensuring that the food is being prepared properly, in an appropriate environment? Restaurants need to comply with safety rules and regulations, just was wondering if this applies to lunch wagons and if someone is monitoring this?

A: The county does not have a health department; that function is carried out by the state. Lunch wagons are considered mobile food establishments and are permitted, monitored and regulated by the state Department of Health. Inspections are conducted on a regular basis by DOH inspectors who check the lunch wagons’ commissary, sanitizing of equipment and utensils, lavatory, garbage, cleanliness of physical facilities and water and wastewater systems. The permits issued to lunch wagons also regulate vermin and animals on the premises, poisonous or toxic materials, personnel, and food supplies, protection, storage, preparation, display, service and transportation. To report unsanitary conditions or a lunch wagon that cannot produce a valid permit, call the Sanitation section of the Maui District Health Office, state Department of Health, at 984-8230.

Q: I get so many phone books that I don’t need, and feel it is a waste of trees and energy to print and deliver the books. Is there a way I can choose to not receive phone books that I don’t want or need?

A: Yes – to opt out of any of the three phone books currently published in Maui County, visit and remove your name from the delivery list(s). The county Recycling Section of the Department of Environmental Management receives many calls from residents who do not want all three books.

Q: I want to tell you how nice the roundabout in Kihei looks. I see the landscapers there often. How much longer does the subcontractor have to maintain it? What is the county’s plan for upkeep of the bikeway and roundabout – trimming, watering, etc., once the contract expires? It looks so good now, I would like for the county to maintain the present high standards. Many thanks.

A: Since the Kihei bikeway and roundabout were opened last year, the landscaping has been maintained under a county contract with Ka Lima O Maui. The annual landscaping maintenance contract, managed by the Department of Parks & Recreation, is in the process of being renewed. The Department of Public Works is responsible for maintaining the road and related facilities such as signage and pedestrian crossing lights. There are no plans to change the way the areas are maintained.