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Ask The Mayor

Mayor Michael Victorino answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.

Q: There’s been quite an increase in flags flying from vehicles recently. At best they’re distracting and at worst many of them appear to be illegal — blocking taillights for example. What are Maui police doing to stop this practice? What are the laws exactly? I have nothing against political expression or sports team enthusiasm but many of these flags appear to me to be illegal.

A: To answer you simply: There are no state statutes or county ordinances that restrict the flying of flags from automobiles. The Maui Police Department always monitors our roadways for safety, but they do not have any rules to enforce in regard to flags flying from vehicles. I support our community members’ First Amendment rights and their political expression, and I continue to ask our residents to also be mindful of the safety of themselves and others.

Q: After a power failure and restoration, the traffic signals in West Maui flash either yellow or red. They stay in this state until a state Department of Transportation technician drives to each one and resets them. This can take hours. Meanwhile, a number of Maui Police Department officers are tied up at major intersections directing traffic. Can the traffic signal equipment be upgraded or the MPD officers be trained in doing the reset?

A: I understand your concern because I also see this on our highways periodically throughout the year. I instructed my staff to reach out to the state Department of Transportation about your question and they were told, unfortunately, that the issue is a little more complex.

Traffic signals can go into flash mode for several reasons aside from a power outage. A state DOT technician is required to look at the error code and then make a determination on what is needed to have the traffic signal operational again.

I know our state partners have worked very hard to improve and maintain our highways, and we’ll continue to support them in making Maui County a better and safer place to commute. You can contact the state Highways Division Maui District Office at (808) 873-3538.

Q: Thanks for all the interesting letter answering, a real help. I too have a question. My wife and I moved to a place on South Kihei Road a few months ago and across the road is Mai Poina Park and its restrooms. About once or twice a week a group of people will show up there and party anywhere from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., waking us up with loud music and voices. Any ideas about a solution to this ongoing problem would be greatly appreciated.

A: Mahalo for your question and I understand your frustration. I can tell you that there are penalties for this group’s actions but it could be classified as disorderly conduct, which is at most a petty misdemeanor. If police officers are to take stronger enforcement action, police would need a victim or a complainant willing to press charges or file a complaint. Police cannot be the complainants in this type of offense and without that complainant, they can only remove them from the premises.

Please call the Maui Police Department’s nonemergency phone number at 244-6400.

* Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Michael Victorino 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.