County Of Maui Thinking About Banning Styrofoam Containers


  The ubiquitous plate lunch has found a home in large polystyrene (known commercially as Styrofoam) containers since the dawn of time (or perhaps a bit later). But for those of you who largely subsist on large quantities of chicken katsu and loco moco, be warned that we may be living in the final days of the Great Styrofoam Era on Maui. On Monday, July 28, the Maui County Council's Infrastructure and Environmental Management … [Read more...]

Maui County Council primary elections are normally bland, but this year’s four-way race over Mike White’s Makawao-Haiku-Paia district is different

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He says it used to happen a lot more, but the last time was at about four or five years ago. Mike Molina was still a Maui County Councilmember then, and he’d just walked into the Burger King on Dairy Road in Kahului. Immediately, he says, the woman behind the counter began giggling. He says she then got her manager. “They thought I was Rick Moranis,” Molina is telling me at Wailuku Coffee Co. one recent Thursday morning. As he’s telling me … [Read more...]

Will The County of Maui Overreach As It Tries To Regulate Downhill Bike Tours?


West Maui Cycles in Lahaina is like a lot of bike shops. It’s relatively small, offers a nice selection of road and mountain bikes for sale and has a maintenance and repair shop. It also rents bikes–even offers maps so visitors can find a few local sites and, more importantly, not get lost. “I do not offer tours,” said owner James Boote. “Never have.” But under proposed new regulations currently pending before a Maui County Council committee, … [Read more...]

This Friday, Apr. 4: Maui County Council To Vote On MAUIWatch Lawsuit Special Counsel


I’m afraid this is becoming an all-ACLU column. But this Friday, Apr. 4, the Maui County Council is supposed to approve the Corporation Counsel’s request to hire the Honolulu law firm Marr Jones & Wang in Neldon Mamuad’s lawsuit against the county over his MAUIWatch Facebook page. Long story short, Mamuad–a part-time aide to Councilman Don Guzman and a volunteer Liquor Commissioner–started a Facebook page called TAGUMAWatch (named for the … [Read more...]

Test Your Knowledge Of Oprah’s New Tea and What’s Next For The Giggle Hill Playground

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1. This week Starbucks, Teavana and sometime-Maui resident Oprah Winfrey announced that all three would partner on a new tea, known as Oprah Chai Tea. Which of the following ingredients is NOT in the new tea? A. Mint B. Cloves C. Cardamom D. Ginger E. Cinnamon   2. On Mar. 25, the Maui County Council voted on the First Reading of an appropriation for the Department of Parks to give to the Haiku Community Association for … [Read more...]

For Sunshine Week, we shed light on the Maui County Council’s eternal war against the Hawaii Sunshine Law


This is a story about power. Since 1975, the State of Hawaii has lived under something called Chapter 92 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes. Sometimes called the state’s “ppen meetings law” or more colloquially the “Sunshine Law,” the first sentences of that legal framework that govern those who govern us is surprisingly clear about who (ideally) runs the show. “In a democracy, the people are vested with the ultimate decision-making power,” … [Read more...]

This Week In High-Roller Election Fundraisers: Joe Pontanilla


That's right, kids–here's your chance to shake hands with former Maui County Councilman Joe Pontanilla, who would really like to remove the word "former" from that title. He's taking on incumbent Don Guzman, and it's looking to be a really bruising battle. To fund that battle, Joe needs money–YOUR money. And he's not asking for much, either: just $100 gets you into the Maui Lani Golf Course to see Joe, according to a new filing released by the … [Read more...]

Who Will Step Forward And Run Against Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa?


Four years ago this month, Alan Arakawa was in a tough spot. He had been Maui County’s mayor once before, but that was all in the past. Since Charmaine Tavares had defeated his 2006 reelection bid, he’d been out of power, and out of the news. But Tavares had grown seriously unpopular during her term, and by the beginning of 2010, had about $89,000 in her campaign coffers and was looking very vulnerable. Eventually, 10 challengers publicly … [Read more...]

Maui County Council Sues State In Never-Ending War Against Sunshine Law


The Maui County Council's eternal, righteous war against the state law that requires them to meet and come to decisions in open, public and properly noticed meetings took another stupid step today. "While the Maui County Council refuses to turn over minutes of a closed session to discuss an investigation into the demolition of the old Wailuku Post Office, the county has gone to court to try to keep the state Office of Information Practices … [Read more...]

Talking Story With New County Auditor Lance Taguchi About His Plans, Resources and Why It’s Taking So Long For Him To Get Started


One of the little observed results of the 2012 election on Maui was the decisive approval of a Charter Commission proposal calling for a County Auditor. While not the sexiest job around, a decisive majority of voters (54 percent to 29 percent) voted to bring Maui County into the 20th century and hire an independent auditor–a person whose sole job is to investigate county departments and make sure they’re working honestly and efficiently. Of … [Read more...]