Ask The Mayor

Q: There was a great deal of confusion when trash pickups were disrupted by both the storm and by the county holiday recently. How are we supposed to know when our trash will be picked up after a county holiday, and how are we supposed to know the days and dates of county holidays? Also, because I live in Maui Meadows and participate in the county’s pilot “3-Can Plan” program, several neighbors and I are confused about our missed green-waste pickup. As a result of the missed pickup, my can (and lots of others) are still next to the driveway. A lot of folks put out both blue and green cans. Can you please help explain how the missed pickups will be handled, to help reduce the volumes of giant plastic containers along the roads and byways of Maui Meadows? Thanks.

A: Certainly. For residential refuse accounts on Maui, the makeup collection following a county holiday will depend on the type of collection route you are on. For your “3-Can Plan” route in Maui Meadows, any missed green-waste and recyclable pickups due to a holiday will be made on the next regularly scheduled pickup day for that color cart. For routes that have only one trash pickup per week (manual routes and “3-Can Plan” trash bins), the missed pickup will be made up on the next county workday. For automated accounts (brown trash cart) with two pickups per week, your trash will be picked up on the next regularly scheduled pickup day. A flier with details and a calendar of county holidays will be mailed soon to all residential refuse customers on Maui, Molokai and Lanai to help clear up any remaining confusion. The information will also be available online at While most people don’t make the connection, the closure of landfills on county holidays means that we cannot collect trash or green waste on those days because the trucks need somewhere to empty the waste and drop off compostable materials. (The county’s green-waste processing contractor, EKO Composting, is located at the Central Maui Landfill and is also closed on holidays.) It is unfortunate that the Solid Waste Division positions we requested were not funded during the recent budget cycle for the coming year. However, we will continue to offer the best service we can with the staffing levels we were provided. Since our community budget meetings will be starting up soon in all areas of Maui County, I would encourage you to voice your comments on holiday landfill closures and no holiday trash pickups. Input from the public will be instrumental in informing the Maui County Council on the importance of these and many other funding decisions that are made.

Q: I ride a motorcycle that weighs approximately 700 pounds with me aboard. I have noticed several times in various locations that this combined weight is insufficient to cause the signal to change in my favor. I am faced with a wait until another vehicle comes behind me or going through a red light when it is safe to do so. Why can’t the sensor be set so that the combined weight works in all locations? Mahalo.

A: You bring up an issue that is sometimes difficult to solve. Detectors looped in the roadway lanes at intersections detect metal, not weight, and since motorcycles have less metal than most cars and a smaller footprint for the sensors to detect, they may go unnoticed. We can adjust the sensitivity of the detector loops, but if they are set too high they can actually start detecting vehicles in the adjoining traffic lane. It is recommended that motorcycles ride directly over the detector loop (which generally can be seen in the asphalt as small cuts filled with an asphalt sealant), and not in the middle of the loop where it is more difficult to detect motorcycles. Also, stop the motorcycle at the stop bar and do not pull past the stop bar or into the crosswalk because the loop detector is in the pavement behind the stop bar. If the above recommendations do not work well at a specific intersection, please let our Department of Public Works know and we can evaluate whether increasing the sensitivity would be effective. If it is a state-controlled intersection, DPW will let them know.

Q: Is it legal to jaywalk in Paia?

A: No. It is illegal to jaywalk if you are crossing Baldwin Avenue or Hana Highway between two traffic signals. According to the Hawaii Revised Statutes, if there is a traffic control signal in operation, pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk. If crosswalks are not available, pedestrians may cross a roadway at any point; however, they shall yield the right of way to all vehicles. The fine for jaywalking is $100.

Ask The Mayor

Q: I read the story in the paper about the woman who collapsed at Costco and was saved. My husband had a similar experience at San Jose airport. He was saved by quick-thinking passengers and airport staff who used CPR and the AED (automated external defibrillator) equipment at the airport. How can we get more of these installed in schools, shopping centers, offices, restaurants, at the beach, stadiums and other places? Someone experiencing sudden cardiac arrest or another life-threatening situation needs immediate help. AEDs can save lives.

A: I agree, using an AED can help save a life when someone experiences sudden cardiac arrest. The county has installed these easy-to-use devices in all Maui Police Department patrol cars and at many other county facilities such as fire stations and on every floor of the county building. County employees are offered free CPR and AED training and certification, and an annual training is conducted for MPD. When a person has collapsed and their heart has stopped, they have a 50 percent chance of surviving if CPR is applied; they have a 70 percent chance of surviving if an AED is used. I urge all private businesses, agencies, churches and organizations to learn more about obtaining an AED, as it is possibly one of the best investments that can be made. The American Heart Association of Hawaii Maui Division can help answer questions you may have about the lifesaving devices, and about related training you can offer your employees or members. Visit or call 244-7185. Please don’t wait until you lose a loved one to take CPR or AED training – the time to learn how to help is now, not during an emergency.

Q: I am a visitor to Maui and have enjoyed my stay here for a month. During my stay I was a frequent visitor to Baldwin Beach. Although I enjoyed my outings, there was one aspect that was not enjoyable – all the dogs running around on the beach. Although there were some signs posted that require dogs to be leashed, this county ordinance is obviously ignored.

A: First off, to report a leash law violation, please call the Maui Humane Society at 877-3680, ext. 29. You can also document the violation if you have a cellphone or other camera handy. Maui County regulations are intended to ensure the humane treatment of Maui’s pets and the safety of our community, and restraint regulations such as leash laws protect public safety as well as your pet from any number of unpredictable dangers. Maui Humane Society’s humane officers are tasked with enforcement of these laws. They also serve as educators and facilitators to pet owners all over the island. Under county and state statutes, MHS officers have the same authority and powers as a police officer to issue citations in the event that animal regulations or laws are violated, such as in the case of the dogs you observed running loose at the beach. This presents a dangerous situation for both animals and humans, as dogs that are allowed to run loose are at great risk of becoming lost, injured or killed. In addition, a loose dog can be a nuisance or threat to people and other animals. For this reason, the county has opened a dog park in Central Maui where pet owners can allow their dog to run leash-free in a controlled environment, rather than at the beach. We are also working on a second dog park in Makawao, where the community has worked hard to help make that a reality. Maui County Code 6.04.040 requires that dogs be under restraint at all times on the owner’s property, or on property other than the owner’s a dog must be secured on a leash of not more than 10 feet in length and a responsible person must hold the leash. This includes all beaches and parks in Maui County except leash-free dog parks. Leash-law violations bring a fine of not more than $500. The minimum fine is not less than $50 for a first violation; a fine of not less than $100 for a second violation within five years after a prior violation; and a fine of not less than $200 for a third violation within five years after two prior violations.

Q: I received my real property tax bill in the mail and need to pay it in time for the deadline this week (Aug. 20). Can I pay my bill online?

A: Yes, you can pay your real property tax bill online at; click on “Tax Payment Methods” then “Electronic Payment Options.” You can pay online or by phone using your Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit card, as well as with a debit card or electronic check drawn on a U.S. bank account in U.S. dollars. Credit cards or debit cards are not accepted for payment of real property tax at the counter at the service center at Maui Mall. Keep in mind that an administrative fee is charged by the service provider for the convenience of paying online. The County of Maui does not receive this fee, which is applied to each property tax payment processed. The service fee is 2.35 percent of the total amount being paid for with a credit card. Fees for debit card payments are a flat rate of $3.95. Fees for electronic check payments are $1.49.

Ask The Mayor

Q: Last time we had a big storm pass through, I lost part of my roof. This time, with Iselle, I was worried my home might have more damage. What’s the process for reporting storm damage?

A: Our Maui County Civil Defense Agency coordinates storm damage reports. This information ensures that the county has a complete picture of the scope of damage. The data collected will allow county officials to determine if our jurisdiction qualifies for any state or federal assistance, as well as to assist with flood plain mapping. However, please note that completion of a damage assessment survey does not constitute an application for assistance. If your home or property sustained damage, you will still need to file a claim with your insurance company. To report damage caused by Tropical Storm Iselle, visit and click on the link to the online form. For more information or to request help with completing the form, call Civil Defense at 270-7285.

Q: Even before we had the recent storms, there were a lot of trees falling at Kanaha and Baldwin beach parks. Do you know why they were falling? Have they been maintained properly or were they just old?

A: There are several reasons as to why trees have fallen at north shore parks, but it all comes down to the site, the health of the tree and the forces that are placed on the tree including wind, waves, gravity, soil conditions and activities in the area. Kanaha Beach Park is exposed to the trade winds that Maui is famous for with windsurfers and kiteboarders, and these trade winds are accelerated by the valley formation of the West Maui Mountains and Haleakala. The majority of trees that fell during the previous rains were located on the east end of Kanaha, which bears the brunt of the salt spray and gusty trade winds. Shoreline erosion weakens the soil that anchors the trees, which then become unstable and hazardous to people. Additionally, the moon phases during July, August and September are known as “super full moon” phases that cause tides to rise higher than at other times of the year. Kanaha Park itself is located in a wetland area, and saturated soils are significantly less able to anchor trees than drier soil. Our county arborist informed me that when we have heavy rains, this area becomes saturated due to the very low water table. Further, the sandy soil makes it more difficult for the trees’ root systems to remain stable, while the sand is less able to provide a stable anchoring than clay. A tree’s history also influences its risk of falling, such as when people dump hot coals at the base of the trunk, which kills the live vascular tissue and causes open wounds for rot to enter. Poor pruning in the past can also leave open wounds that may never completely heal, which causes the wood to rot internally. Past construction activities may impact root systems or scar a tree, causing wounds and allowing rot to enter. Trees are living organisms, and they are susceptible to injury and activities that take place around them. Caring for trees is an ongoing process that we must be mindful of to retain the trees that provide shade and natural habitat at our parks while ensuring the safety of park users.

Ask The Mayor

Q: I drove through the intersection in Kahului with the new flashing yellow arrow, and it was easy to navigate. Does the flashing yellow arrow light cost more than regular traffic signals, and will there be more installed in the future?

A: The flashing yellow arrow traffic signals do not cost more than standard signals. Yes, we will retrofit the signals as funding is available. It’s been helpful to receive feedback from drivers like yourself who feel the signals are efficient and easy to understand.

Q: Now that the sidewalk from King Kekaulike High School to the Makawao Avenue intersection in Pukalani is out to bid, what is the status of the section from there to Pukalani Street? Also, are there any plans for Loha Street from the Makawao Avenue intersection to Iolani Street in Pukalani Terrace subdivision? That area has a lot of student and pedestrian traffic and the shoulders are very narrow.

A: For the sidewalk section from Makawao Avenue down to Pukalani Street, preliminary layouts have been completed; however, due to the anticipated costs to build this section, further progress has been placed on hold. Initial figures point to costs of more than $2 million due to the electrical utilities, limited right-of-way and unfavorable shoulder grades. For Loha Street, we currently have no plans for a sidewalk, but that is a logical next step given that we did install sidewalks on Iolani Street a few years back. I would encourage you to make this suggestion at the community budget meetings my office will be holding this fall so that funds can be appropriated next fiscal year to initiate design work.

Q: What is preventing Maui from having any strip clubs? Someone told me that the Liquor Department won’t allow it.

A: Maui County Code Chapter 19.85, which sets the parameters for “Adult Entertainment Activity,” states that liquor shall not be sold, served or consumed in the premises where live adult entertainment activity occurs. The ordinance requires a conditional permit from the Maui County Council for this type of business. Based on public testimony received through public hearings conducted by Maui County’s three planning commissions and by testimony received by the County Council, the council states it finds that the County of Maui has “high community standards regarding adult entertainment activity, particularly when nudity occurs as a form of adult entertainment.” The code was written with the intention of regulating adult entertainment activity to promote the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the citizens of Maui County, and to establish reasonable and uniform regulations to prevent “adverse secondary effects that the location and concentration of adult entertainment activities will have within the County.” To read the code online, visit and click on “Maui County Code.”