Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most recently asked questions submitted to his office staff.
Q: With new infestations of the Little Fire Ants, and with Maui Invasive Species Committee Manager Teya Penniman being quoted as saying they “clearly don’t have enough resources to stop it,” is the County having any immediate success getting more funds? This is clearly a situation where we can’t come back at a later time to solve the problem. If funds cannot be found now, it will be too late for our island: the economy will be hurt and eventually everyone’s life will become a whole lot less pleasant. What is the County doing right now – and can the public do anything to help get Federal or State money for more eradication efforts? How can we help you become the administration that rose to the challenge and didn’t fail the community with inaction?
A: Thank you for your questions and concerns. The presence of Little Fire Ants on our island is indeed something we must take very seriously as this introduced pest could dramatically impact our quality of life on Maui for years to come. This year I addressed the State Legislature and again asked them to provide immediate funding for education, outreach and control of invasive species here in Maui County, specifically the Little Fire Ant (LFA). My legislative liaison, Jock Yamaguchi, has spoken with our Maui legislators, including Speaker Joe Souki and Rep. Justin Woodson to support measures that will adequately fund the DLNR (SB 1046 and SB 544). This funding will be distributed by the Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council (HISC) to the individual counties. For many years the County has supported and helped fund the work of the Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC), and in fact asked for additional funds this year for rapid response to LFA. To answer your question about what can the public do to get more money for these efforts, you can supply testimony for the State bills online at www.capitol.hawaii.gov. It will also be helpful for concerned individuals like yourself to provide testimony requesting funding for eradication during the County Council’s upcoming budget deliberations.
Q: Safety check is here again. My question is regarding stickers on front and rear windshields. If it’s illegal for stickers on the front or rear windshield, why isn’t it an issue for those vehicles with SHOPO (Police Officers’ Union) and IAFF (Firefighter’ Union) stickers? Most of those vehicles with these stickers have them on the front and rear windshield.
A: You’re partially correct, in that stickers are illegal on the rear window/windshield. However, stickers on the lower right hand corner of the front windshield are illegal only if they exceed 24 square inches in total area. So the front windshield stickers you are referring to fall within the legal limit, as do stickers used by the PUC and Federal and State vehicles. Here is the language of the Maui County Code 10.20.420 – Windshields—Requirements: A. No person shall operate a motor vehicle upon any highway while same has attached to the windshield thereof, stickers or posters or opaque signs of any description exceeding twenty-four square inches in total area, or while it has attached to the rear window or windows thereof any sticker, poster or opaque sign of any description whatsoever. Signs or stickers when placed on the windshield shall be placed only in the lower right-hand corner.
Aloha Mayor Arakawa:
Q: I’ve heard that Maui County gives out water-saving devices for free. If that’s the case how come they don’t give some to their own parks department? I always use the showers at the beach and there is a lot of water wasted there. It seems like you could save a lot of water if the county took advantage of their own advice.
A: Actually, we have installed low-flow shower heads at our County beach parks. We’ve done this again and again. The trouble is that these shower heads are removed time and time again. Apparently many beach-goers prefer the heavy stream of water to wash themselves off, along with any surfboards or other beach gear. Also, some people take the shower heads from pool and beach showers for what I can only assume is for personal use. This is ironic seeing as how the thieves didn’t have to steal anything. They could have just walked into the Department of Water Supply and asked for a low-flow shower head for free. Replacing your old shower head with a low-flow one can save as much as 7.2 gallons per person per day. For more information on the free shower heads, call the Department of Water Supply at 463-3110.
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, 9thFloor, Wailuku, Hawaii 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the Ask the Mayor column.