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...]

Maui County Council Sends Out Ironically Titled Press Release On Water Rates Hearing


Maui County Councilman Mike Victorino, who chairs the Water Resources Committee, would like you to attend his hearing tomorrow morning on multi-family water service rates. Specifically, to discuss the new rate increase on multi-family dwellings. That increase, 15 cents per 1,000 gallons to $4.95–assuming the dwelling consumes more than 15,000 gallons per month. “The rate for 15,000 gallons is easily attained within a couple of days for most of … [Read more...]

Maui County Council Planning Committee Discusses Prohibiting Future Timeshare Construction

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Not sure if you noticed this, but on Thursday, Aug. 15, the Maui County Council Planning Committee (like the PIA committee, it’s just made up of the Maui County Councilmembers) took up a bill (click here to get a copy–scroll down to item PC-18) that would prohibit future timeshares on Maui. Yes, you read that right. Granted, the bill only dealt with new timeshares–those already in existence would be given a pass. But the bill would make clear … [Read more...]

‘Maui News’ Fumbles Hawaii Supreme Court Ruling On Maui County Council Open Meeting Violation


Not sure if you’ve noticed, but on Aug. 1 The Maui News finally erected a paywall on its website ( From now on, visitors to the paper’s website will have to pay to read articles that, for the last dozen or so years, the paper has saw fit to give away to readers for free (and news organizations like this publication, and official County of Maui emailed notifications still offer for free). But don’t think the News isn’t … [Read more...]