Ask The Mayor

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.

Q: I hear a lot of police officers complaining about the police DUI checkpoint websites. Personally, I look at those to see where the latest checkpoints are around Maui. Isn’t it my right to read whatever I want and for people to write whatever they want on Facebook? I’m not driving around stinking drunk, but if I have a few drinks I don’t want to go through all the grief of getting pulled over and all that.

A: You may need to rethink your strategy, as “a few drinks” might easily be enough to impair your driving, not to mention earn you a DUI charge. The reason police take issue with any website or social media page that posts DUI checkpoints is that instead of promoting better choices — like not drinking and driving and getting sober rides home — these websites are enabling you and others to continue your dangerous and illegal actions. Remember that the reasons there are fines, penalties and jail time for driving under the influence is because people have lost loved ones to drunken drivers, especially now, during the holidays. You’re right, freedom of speech is alive and well in this country and that includes posting questionable things online, but you are ultimately responsible for your own actions. For your sake and for the safety of others this holiday season, please drive responsibly and find alternate transportation if needed. If you drink, please don’t drive.

 

Q: Where can I find information about recycling my Christmas tree? I’d like it to get the tree composted instead of just throwing it away, but am not sure how that works.

A: There are a number of options for recycling your tree, but the main thing to remember is that you’ll need to remove any and all decorations, including tinsel, from the tree before recycling it. If you’re able to drop the tree off yourself, you can take it to the following locations: EKO Compost, Central Maui Landfill (572-8844); Olowalu Convenience Center (242-7999); Hana Landfill (264-6313); Kihei Compost, (call for fees 874-0899); Lanai Landfill (559-0689); Pawn’s Tree & Trimming, Molokai Landfill (553-8073). If you’d prefer to have your tree picked up, there are a few nonprofits that will do so for a donation, including curbside Christmas tree pickups by the Rotary Club of Upcountry Maui. Pickup service will be available for Paia, Haiku, Makawao, Pukalani and Kula residents from 8 a.m. to noon Jan. 2. Call 878-2177 to schedule a pickup. A $10 donation is requested for small and medium trees, and a minimum donation of $20 per large tree is requested to help support the club’s community projects. Additionally, Boy Scout Troop 22 will be picking up trees Saturday for a $10 donation for any size tree. Text your name, address and phone number to 283-5622; deadline to reserve pickup is Friday.

Q: A recent article in The Maui News mentioned charging a fee to access beach parks, specifically mentioning Hookipa. What is the justification for doing this? The only people who should have to pay a fee to access our beach parks are guided/organized tour groups that are making money from exploiting our beach parks. Their vehicles (buses/coaches) are large, their group impact to the natural resources as well as county facilities/parking lots are more significant. If a fee were charged for larger tour groups, would that money go to maintaining/improving our parks?

A. I don’t think you read the entire article, which specifically stated that any park entrance fees would not be charged for residents, only for visitors and businesses. In the article, parks Director Ka’ala Buenconsejo also mentioned that a possible first location for such a program would be Kanaha Beach Park. Park fees would be deposited in the county’s general fund and earmarked specifically for maintenance and repairs at the specific park from where the fees came. It should be noted that while the issue of charging entrance fees to county parks has been an ongoing consideration for many years, the recent proposal was made by a member of the Cost of Government Commission, not our parks department or administration. It’s an idea that worth evaluating further, but fees should not impact residents who already help pay for our county parks through taxes.

• Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Alan Arakawa by email at askthemayor@mauicounty.gov, by phone at 270-7855 or by mail at 200 S. High St., ninth floor, Wailuku 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column; to request a personal response to a concern, email mayors.office@mauicounty.gov.

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