Ask the Mayor

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

Mayor Alan Arakawa

answers some of the most-asked questions submitted

to his office staff.

Q: Whoever OK’d the removal of the monkeypod trees on Piilani Highway in Kihei should be fired. Apparently, they were destroyed because the county and adjacent homeowners association did not want to pay for watering them.

A: I’m not sure where you are getting your information, but that statement is definitely not correct. These trees are not county-owned or maintained, and the county did not have anything to do with their removal. The legal team for the Piilani Villages Home Owners Association has determined that the monkeypod trees are located on private property in a landscape easement recorded in favor of the association. Since the association does not own the trees it cannot take definitive action to trim or remove them without the individual lot owners’ cooperation and permission. It is unfortunate that, when the trees were planted, they were planted improperly without a root barrier to contain the roots as the trees grew. Hence, some of the trees have been causing structural damage to homes and threatening damage at other properties. So it is up to the individual homeowners to decide whether to 1) remove the monkeypod trees affecting their property; 2) perform landscape maintenance only (trim); or 3) leave the trees alone. That being said, I would hope that the association and homeowners would consider replanting the area with trees that would not cause damage to neighboring homes.

Q: Is it possible for the county to install defibrillators at the tennis courts around the island? If the county can’t buy them, can private citizens or groups buy them and have them placed at the courts for public use? Anything legal stopping that from happening? I hear there is one at Wells Park, but I also hear it is in the office so if someone needs it when no one is there with keys, they are out of luck. Mahalo for looking into this.

A: Thank you for asking. If a group or individual wanted to purchase and donate a defibrillator to be placed at a county facility, that could be arranged. However, the county cannot be responsible for ensuring the unit is not stolen or vandalized. The county also would not replace units that were stolen or vandalized. While they can be very helpful in saving a life, these defibrillator units cost over a thousand dollars apiece and are often stolen or vandalized, even at facilities that we are able to secure. Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that the units would last for long in any open park space without growing legs and walking away or getting destroyed.

Q: In Lahaina at Wainee Street and Papalaua Street intersection, there is a malfunctioning sensor that changes the light. On Wainee Street facing south, if you are a vehicle waiting at the light to cross through Papalaua Street, the sensor doesn’t recognize you there, and the light doesn’t change. I have seen this multiple times where people end up running a red light there, or it will finally change when traffic in the other direction happens to appear. My question is, who do we contact about this to have repaired?

A: To report traffic signal problem at a county intersection, contact the traffic signal office at 270-7910 during normal operating hours of 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. During off-duty hours, call the Maui Police Department at 244-6400. To see a list of county-maintained traffic signals, visit and click on “County Maintained Traffic Signals.”

* Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Alan Arakawa by email at, 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