Columns

No major hurricane this time, but stay prepared, vigilant

A week ago, Maui County could have experienced a severe hurricane. At one point, Hawaii was bracing for the possibility of a Category 4 or 5 storm. Fortunately, wind shear ripped apart Hurricane Lane, leaving us with mostly a wind and rain event. Most areas were spared from any damage, but ...

Sharing Mana‘o

My face is Copper Hide. Not literally, of course. I’m talking skin tone. That’s tone as in color, not physical condition. I should explain. The other night, while scrolling through Facebook, my attention was caught by an African-American comedian declaring, “I’m not black.” Sam ...

Raising taxes means decreasing prices?

I’ve often heard the argument that taxes on Hawaii real property are too low. Because the taxes are low, the argument goes, prices are driven sky high, leading to economic pandemonium. But is that really true? Maybe it’s just a question of semantics. Suppose I agree to sell you a ...

Maui Connections

Hats off to Maui first responders and emergency crews who faced the winds, water and other forces of nature — not to mention the flames — that wreaked havoc with our normally best weather on the planet last weekend. And our deepest sympathies to families who suffered losses in the series ...

The State of Aloha

The word hurricane seems to stick out as one of the more exotic words in the English language. And for good reason. Ancient Mayan peoples who lived in what is now southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras worshiped a creator god named Hurakan. This god blew across ...

Persistent callers waste limited resources

In the March 2017 column, I wrote about a woman, Ann (not her real name), who lived at the airport. The story is sad. The police and outreach workers were persistently being called and asked to take care of her. Despite addressing the calls, there was little anyone could do because Ann did not ...

Sharing Mana‘o

As I write this, Hurricane Lane is heading our way. Hopefully by the time you read this, the good fortune we Mauians have enjoyed in recent years will hold out, and Lane will have veered away or petered out. Just in case, I joined dozens of shoppers in stocking up on emergency supplies and ...

Cashing in on production credits

In this space, I often have unflattering things to say about tax credits. Every year, legislators propose tax credits for some little-noticed niche in an industry. Sometimes the credit is well thought out, and sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes the desired effect can be accomplished more cheaply ...

Maui Connections

Some of us still remember a Maui where you couldn’t go anywhere without running into someone you knew. More like everyone you knew. Last Saturday the Maui Arts & Cultural Center felt like that place. It was Maui Calls, the MACC’s annual gala fundraiser, featuring scrumptious ...

Ask The Mayor

Q: Why are drivers allowed to have Kingdom of Hawaii license plates? Isn’t this the same as having an unregistered vehicle but blatantly advertising it? A: We have answered this question several times before, and the answer is still the same. Vehicles with these plates, along with several ...

Bills to satisfy sand moratorium pending before council committee

In an effort to mitigate the destruction and displacement of ancestral remains and Hawaiian cultural artifacts, the County Council passed a moratorium halting the drilling, extracting, tunneling, dredging, grading and stockpiling of inland sand in Central Maui on Jan. 5. On June 6, the ...

For the love of animals

When Judy Aikawa pays a visit to the Maui Humane Society, she rarely leaves empty-handed. On some days, she departs with an armful of grant forms and documents. And on other days, she drives away with a (meowing) pet carrier in the back seat of her car. Aikawa is the Maui Humane ...

Sharing Mana‘o

From my home in Kahului’s 12th increment, I can hear the Maui High Sabers Marching Band whenever they practice outdoors. In recent years, under Kerry Wasano’s direction, the MHS Band has built a reputation as one of the state’s top marching units and even participated in the 2015 Rose ...

Weekends are safe once again, maybe

Back in 2014, we wrote in this space about a nasty Honolulu City & County rule involving real property tax appeals. That rule said that if you as a property owner didn’t like your real property tax assessment and you wanted to appeal it, the appeal had better be in by Jan. 15. It didn’t ...

Maui Connections

Singer/songwriter Brooks Maguire shares this story that began in Lahaina in the ‘90s when he was playing weekly gigs at Cheeseburger in Paradise. “Nearly 20 years ago, a dad and his daughter were sitting in the audience,” he recalls. Brooks mostly did covers, but he threw an original ...

Resolve state pension woes to ease Maui budget

The Employees’ Retirement System of the State of Hawaii has unfunded liabilities of almost $13 billion — a dangerous amount that threatens the retirement benefits of state and county employees and the pocketbooks of Hawaii taxpayers. But there are ways Maui legislators can help prevent ...

Ask The Mayor

Q: My spouse and I both own and live on our property with each owning 50 percent held in our individual trusts. The property tax bill only lists my name, making it look like I am the only owner even though the online assessment lists both our trust names on separate lines, mine first. We ...

Greenprinting offers solution to protecting, managing lands

At its meeting of July 31, the County Council’s Parks, Recreation, Energy and Legal Affairs Committee, which I chair, recommended passage of a proposed bill to establish a new chapter in the Maui County Code to guide decision-making for purchasing or acquiring open space and preservation ...

The State of Aloha

These eight islands make up the State of Hawaii: Hawaii, Maui, Kahoolawe, Lanai, Molokai, Oahu, Kauai and Niihau. That’s the easy part. But it wasn’t always this way. There used to be more. Next week we commemorate our entrance into the Union on Admissions Day — the day Congress passed ...

Sharing Mana‘o

As primary election day nears Saturday, I find myself increasingly anxious, even a bit fearful. My political preferences, which I choose not to share publicly, are only part of the reason. What concerns me most is our community’s dubious distinction of having the lowest voter turnout in the ...