Ask The Mayor

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

Q: I recently read in a Maui News story that your parks director said that he sometimes has to shut down pools for a day because of a lack of lifeguards. What’s wrong with these kids nowadays? When I was growing up the most popular teenagers in town were the pool lifeguards. Is the county actively recruiting them?

A: Yes, we are constantly looking for new lifeguards. This isn’t an issue impacting only Maui County; there is a national pool lifeguard shortage that’s been affecting almost every state for the last several years. To combat this shortage, our Personnel Services Department has been recruiting through our county website and on social media. Meanwhile, the Parks and Recreation Department began our Junior Lifeguard program for 12- to 17-year-olds, which gives kids the skills they need to become a lifeguard. Also, the county is going to hold a one-day program to qualify and hire new lifeguards in late July.

Q: I was walking the beach near the old Suda Store and saw someone had little flags put up outside the condos there that said “Beach gear! Snorkels! Call . . .” and listed a phone number and email address. This seems creative but worrisome. What’s to stop someone else from placing large signs or billboards on our beaches saying the same thing?

A: There are rules against this sort of thing, and if you contact my office we can pass the information along to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources so officials can contact this particular business and get them to cease and desist. Mahalo for pointing this out.

Q: I went to go pay my water bill recently and saw someone in the lobby of the county building with their candidate’s name on their T-shirt waiting for the elevator. Isn’t that sort of campaigning in the county building banned during election years? I find it offensive personally.

A: According to the Office of the County Clerk, the “no campaigning” rule you’re talking about doesn’t go into effect until absentee walk-in voting begins, which usually takes place about two weeks prior to the primary election on Aug. 11 and the general election on Nov. 6. However, keep in mind that this year the location for absentee voting has moved to the Velma McWayne Santos Community Center (Wailuku Community Center) so it doesn’t apply to the county building any longer, except for actual dates of the primary and general election that I just mentioned. Those rules state that no campaigning or campaign gear should be visible on the property of the voting locations, so please respect your fellow voters and leave your candidate’s T-shirt at home on those days. On June 14, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Minnesota law that banned gear expressing political views, but it said that messages supporting a particular candidate or ballot measure could be barred.

* 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