Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.
Aloha e Mayor Arakawa:
Q: I am wheelchair-bound and utilize the Maui Bus ADA paratransit system. Unfortunately, someone stole our street sign, which makes it difficult for first-time bus drivers to find my house. My question is, how do I report a missing street sign and request a replacement? Mahalo nui for your assistance.
A: You can report the missing street sign, as well as any traffic sign or pavement marking problems, by contacting the Dept. of Public Works’ Traffic Signs and Markings Office at (808) 270-7455. The office is open from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday-Friday.
Dear Mayor Arakawa:
Q: After voting in the recent primary election, I felt confused and heard that many other people were confused about the ballot too. Is it possible for the County Clerk’s office to publish a copy of the ballot in advance of the election as a “sample ballot” so that voters will know what the ballot is going to look like before we step into the voting booth? It helps voters to know what to expect.
A: You’re right, it’s wise to be prepared before casting your vote. Since many races are different for each precinct, it would not be feasible to publish each ballot separately. However, according to our County Clerk’s office, the ballots for every precinct are available online at www.hawaii.gov/elections; click on “Polling Place Locator and Sample Ballots.” You can scroll down to the lower left to “Select a specific precinct to see its Polling Place information,” then on the right click on “View Ballot.” If you’re not sure where you should go to vote, the site can help find your polling place when you type in your first and last name and date of birth. If you are a registered voter, your specific polling place will appear along with the address and photo of the location. Maui residents can choose to view ballots and the Polling Place Locator in English or Ilocano.
Q: I heard that when the full moon is out I should go to Hookipa Beach Park so my kids could see the turtles that come up onshore to rest. I went recently and this girl with a jacket that said “Honu Police” told me to turn off my flashlight and to not take flash pictures. I wasn’t expecting people to be policing the beach at night and didn’t think we were doing anything wrong. I didn’t question who she was or which organization she was with, but I was pretty ticked off. We waited for a couple of minutes just staring at dark shapes that were supposed to be honu then finally left. I assumed this Honu Police group was part of the state DLNR or Fish and Wildlife but friends of mine said they aren’t with anyone, they’re just wanna be eco-terrorists. We didn’t mean any harm, we weren’t going to touch the turtles, just take a couple of photos with the kids and leave. Who are these guys and what gives them the right to regulate?
A: According to the National Ocean Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), turtles at Hookipa are usually “basking” or sleeping on the beach. There are no official “Honu Police” that operate under NOAA, DLNR or other agency, but they are likely members of a conservation organization that watches out for turtles. They are not authorized to enforce regulations, but I am told they inform the public on safe viewing guidelines. Lights and flash photography can indeed disturb turtles, especially nesting turtles, a turtle looking for a place to rest, or hatchlings trying to find their way to the sea. A flashlight shined on a turtle (at night) for a long period of time could undoubtedly harass an animal back into the water. For consistency, it’s better to maintain the practice of no lights around turtles on the beach. It’s best to maintain a 6-10 foot buffer from turtles, regardless of what time of day or night but for best viewing of the turtles at Hookipa, I would recommend visiting after 1 p.m. so you can take photos without having to use a flash. With regard to the well-meaning “Honu Police,” these conservation volunteers work hard to protect the honu but may sometimes become over-enthusiastic. While it is illegal to impersonate a law-enforcement officer, we do appreciate the volunteers’ protection efforts and those of wildlife officers and staff from state and Federal agencies who monitor the turtles’ presence at Hookipa and at other locations throughout Maui County.
Want to Ask the Mayor?
Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email: AskTheMayor@mauicounty.gov, phone: 270-7855 or mail: 200 S. High Street, 9th Floor, Wailuku, Hawaii 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the Ask the Mayor column.