Ask The Mayor

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

Q: I kindly ask your help in dealing with the homeless invasion we have been experiencing at the Salvation Army, Coach Spencer Shiraishi Memorial Pool and Kahului Union Church area. I do know that they need a place to stay and I do have compassion for them. There have been a few that have been there awhile and never bothered anyone, but the camp has increased to the point where they block the sidewalk, and shopping wagons are lined up and even block the road. I wish I could distinguish the ones that are under control, but we have been experiencing individuals with issues. We have been experiencing those who definitely have mental problems. We listen to a couple fight to the point where he is abusing her. We listen at night when they climb the swimming pool fence and cause a ruckus. We have been experiencing the use of inexcusable language being screamed where it embarrassed my family when visitors were intimidated and had to be escorted to their cars. I haven’t complained about this for several years, and I have had no problems about it until recently. Like I said, the new increases have become a problem for our neighborhood. With upcoming increase of children during the next month, please help us keep it safe. Thank you, Mr. Mayor.

A: I am glad to provide an update from our Department of Housing and Human Services regarding this area. A cleanup was conducted last week with the help of our homeless program staff, Maui Community Police Officers and a nonprofit that assists with this type of cleanup as well as with refuse removal. A follow-up site visit was conducted the next day to check for any residual issues.

 Q: I am a constituent and voter asking that you oppose the County Council’s Bill 92, which seeks to move condominiums from actual use to a higher tax classification at the discretion of the finance director. This bill will potentially eliminate hundreds of long-term rentals from condominiums and/or will cause rents to be raised by thousands of dollars on our hardworking local families. As you know, we are in a housing crisis right now and can ill afford to lose any more long-term rentals to vacationers. Realistically, no landlord will agree to record every lease at the bureau and petition real property tax every year for 10 years. They will just raise the rent or move their unit to short-term rentals, further burdening our struggling Maui families. Bill 92 has some dire unintended consequences that need to be addressed.

A: Thank you for sharing your concerns. While I do believe this bill in its current state is flawed and could negatively impact our housing supply for residents, I intend to let the council members do their due diligence as the bill makes its way through the legislative process. If the council passes the bill and it finds its way to my desk, at that time I will assess the final version before making a decision on signing or vetoing it.

Q: The parking in Lahaina town is always a problem. There are usually three vehicles taking up the space of five or six with 6 feet between them. The area around the Banyan Tree has painted spaces that seem to work for maximum parking. Why not try it throughout the rest of town? Mahalo.

A: You raise an interesting question, which I have forwarded to our county Public Works Department for review. It’s common to not mark individual stalls due to the fact that vehicles vary in length, so drivers would park in a manner to accommodate potentially more vehicles than if standard length stalls were marked. However, our engineers will consider your suggestion at the specific location indicated.

* 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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