Message from Councilmember Kelly Takaya King
Aloha Kākou,

What a year 2021 is shaping out to be! While we entered this year grateful to have 2020 in the rear view mirror, the start to 2021 shows that there is still much work to be done for our people, planet, and island community. As I send out this newsletter, I am busy with my council office staff reviewing the latest budget proposal from our mayor and prioritizing needs for county funding over the next fiscal year. The upcoming County Council budget deliberations begin on April 5 and are currently planned to run until May 14. During this time, committee meetings will be paused so the Council can focus on the budget decisions which can have a tremendous impact on our community.

Your participation and voice is especially important now. I would like to extend a heartfelt mahalo to all the community members who got involved and showed up on March 30 for my virtual Town Hall to share your funding priorities for South Maui. It's always great to hear what matters most to you, and your suggestions will help to put together an equitable budget that meets the needs of our community during this critical time. Please continue to reach out to my office with any funding requests or suggestions. You can also follow our budget deliberations and learn about ways to get involved and submit your testimony at
In my opening remarks (click to watch) at the Mar. 19 County Council meeting, I mentioned that I am hopeful for an equitable recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Vaccinations are ramping up and have become available statewide to kupuna, essential workers, and people with high-risk medical conditions. President Biden's American Recovery Plan is providing much needed relief to families, small businesses, and those impacted by COVID-19. The federal bill has bipartisan popularity across the country and as we enter the county’s budget process, it is a good reminder that people want funding for bold solutions that deliver real improvement to their lives.
As your South Maui Councilmember, it’s my goal to similarly bring together people to provide real solutions that improve our community. I hope that during this budget session the Council will continue to support the broad goals of affordable housing, environmental protection, social services, and food security. With your continued participation and advocacy, we can ensure these priorities are addressed with effective legislation and funding.

In addition to testifying on county budget priorities, I encourage you to follow State legislation. Important measures like SB1034 SD1 HD1, which would allow virtual testimony and meetings to continue even after the COVID-19 emergency orders are lifted, are up for decision making. The passage of this bill could lift the voices of many who are disconnected from the political process by their schedule, location, or physical capabilities. This is just one of the important issues at stake in 2021. It is also one of many opportunities to collaborate and seize this historic moment to create meaningful, positive change. 

Yours in sustainability,
Virtual Community Meetings

We invite you to join us for our virtual Webinars and Town Hall meetings. Our webinars are a digital extension of this quarterly newsletter and our town hall meetings address topical community concerns.

Sign up for this newsletter and follow us on Facebook for announcements of upcoming virtual events. Our webinars and town halls are also archived on our Facebook page.

If you have an idea for a webinar or town hall
that will benefit our community, please email our office via
In the Virtual Chambers

The year kicked off with the inauguration of the 2021-2023 Maui County Council on January 2, 2021. This term, Gabe Johnson from Lana’i joined the Council. CM King is eager to work together with him and his staff, as well as all councilmembers, on issues that affect Maui County. On January 2, the Council also organized its committees. CM King is excited to chair the Climate Action, Resilience, and Environment (CARE) Committee with Vice Chair Councilmember Shane Sinenci. This new committee takes elements from last term’s Climate Action and Resilience (CAR) Committee with kuleana related to the environment. CM King is grateful to supporters for this opportunity to help lead Maui’s fight against the existential threat of climate change. Follow the CARE Committee online at Photo: CM King attends virtual inauguration with husband Bob.

Social Host Liability Ordinance

With CM King’s support, the Council passed Bill 142, the “Social Host Liability” Bill. Now an ordinance, this law protects public health and safety by imposing a fine on anyone who hosts a gathering where underage drinking occurs. The intent of this law is to deter underage drinking and keep keiki and our roads and communities safe. The law will take effect September 1, 2021. To ensure the law has the intended impact, Maui Coalition for Drug-Free Youth will be conducting public education leading up to the effective date and in two years the Council is required to review the effectiveness of the new law.

Commission on Healing Solutions for Homelessness

This quarter was a busy quarter for nominations, as the Council reviewed more than 40 applicants to 20 Boards and Commissions! CM King holds deep appreciation to the community members who extend their time and service to participate in these volunteer groups. Especially significant this year has been the Council’s appointment of eight members to the newly formed Commission on Healing Solutions for Homelessness. As we have seen, the issue of homelessness is systemic, deep, and multifaceted, requiring a holistic and healing response. Hopefully, this newly formed committee, with representatives from across the island and from different backgrounds, will present innovative and progressive solutions to assist the less fortunate. Congratulations to CM King’s nominee, Dr. Mary Trotto, for her appointment to this Commission. With extensive involvement in the Kihei Community Association and years of service to the homeless population through St. Theresa Church, we know Dr. Trotto will be a force for good! 
Supporting Sustainable Tourism

On February 5, the Council voted unanimously to adopt Councilmember King’s Resolution 21-18, Expressing Support for Sustainable Tourism, Emphasizing Quality Over Quantity. The Resolution recognizes what many have realized in the past year: That pre-pandemic tourism was unsustainable. Noting the stress visitors can have on our natural ecosystems, culture, quality of life, Resolution 21-18 values sustainable and strategically managed tourism over an increasing quantity of tourists, encourages the visitor industry to expand efforts to address environmental challenges and work with the community, and to resolves to build upon policies to protect Maui County’s natural and cultural resources. The Resolution also urges the Planning Commission to recognize the need to limit additional visitor accommodations. With your support, this will be the foundation for further efforts toward a sustainable and beneficial tourism industry. Image of visitors at Kahului Airport courtesy Maui COVID Facts Facebook Page.
Charter Commission

The Charter Commission is also underway reviewing the County’s Charter, or constitutional document, and identifying any areas where amendments may foster a fairer and more efficient system of government. This is a once-in-a-decade Commission of great importance. Mahalo and good luck to Commission Chair Lance Collins, Vice Chair Grant Chun, and CM King’s nominee Paul Deslauriers.

Planning Commission Advisory Committees

Over the last year, Councilmember King and Councilmember Molina have supported the creation of a bill that establishes South Maui and Pa`ia-Ha`iku advisory committees to the Maui Planning Commission. A volunteer working group which included our office’s own Michelle Del Rosario crafted this legislation which CM King believes will increase South Maui’s voice and power over development decisions impacting the South Maui area. The bill passed a vote in the GREAT Committee by a 6-2 vote and now heads to the Council on April 6 for first reading.

Resolution Opposing State House Bill 1286

The State Legislature is also hard at work this time of year, and the Council lent their voice to adopt two Resolutions introduced by CM King to address State legislation. County Resolution 21-21 opposed HB1286, which would have established a mandatory statewide policy exempting travelers who test negative before their flight from having to quarantine upon arrival. The Resolution pointed out that the County’s authority to establish its own specialized rules for COVID-19 restrictions serves the needs of local residents. HB1286 was defeated in the State Legislature! However, the language in the bill has been moved into SB266. CM King is following this legislation and submitting testimony to continue to support the power of counties to respond to the crisis facing their communities.

ICLEI USA Circle Cities

ICLEI USA - Local Governments for Sustainability, of which CM King is a Board of Directors member, presented at the March 3 CARE Committee meeting. Program officer Calyn Hart shared some of the tools Maui County can access as a member of this global network of more than 1,750 local governments. These utilities include the Circle City Scan Tool, which could help us identify ways to transition to a circular economy, and the ClearPath Tool, which can assist with the creation of a greenhouse gas inventory for the County. 

CM King’s persistent advocacy for climate action, resilience, and the environment has led to the selection of Maui County as one of a small group of “Circle Cities” which will be a part of ICLEI USA’s Circle City Scan Pilot Program. The program will grant Maui access to ICLEI’s resources with the goal of transitioning to a circular economy. With a long history of supporting reuse and recycling, and having introduced the Āina Aloha Economic Futures Resolution last year, CM King is enthusiastic about this partnership and excited about the possibilities it will open for Maui County to be a global leader in sustainability. On April 6, CM King will propose a resolution for the County to accept the invitation into the Circle City Scan Pilot Program. Please attend virtually and voice your support!
Purchasing Ma`alaea Mauka

On February 3, the CARE Committee received presentations on the status of Ma’alaea Bay as an impaired water body. Water quality consultant Robin Knox showed how standards are not being attained for water bodies in the area, with excessive nitrates, nitrates, and turbidity which could be attributed to a combination of groundwater, injection wells, and runoff. To address the injection wells in Ma’alaea, Stuart Coleman of Wastewater Alternatives & Innovations presented plans to service Ma’alaea Village’s wastewater treatment offsite through the use of a Cambrian Innovation system which will treat and recycle the water without it being injected into underground wells. Maui Nui Marine Resource Council gave an overview of the problems facing the Ma’alaea area and the solutions the organization has enacted, like establishing fire breaks, planting erosion control mauka of the Bay, and clearing drainage systems. MNMRC found that after the rains on January 18, 32 tons of soil were washed from headcuts near the drains and into the ocean! These photos from MNMRC show stormwater draining into Ma`alaea Bay. In addition to MNMRC’s project to use oysters to filter the bay as well as their diligent water quality testing, MNMRC worked with Michael Reyes to complete a stormwater management plan for the Pohakea Watershed of Ma’alaea Mauka.

Last year, CM King worked to earmark funds from the County’s Open Space Fund to secure the purchase of “Ma’alaea Mauka,” the 257.7-acre area upslope of Ma’alaea, and transfer it into public ownership. Support is growing for this proposal which would ensure that the area is not used for development, and instead managed to minimize stormwater runoff and erosion to protect Ma’alaea Bay. Department of Land and Natural Resources has expressed support for this idea and is interested in maintaining the land, and CM King is working on moving the funding to the Trust for Public Land, an entity with expertise transferring private land to the public which can help mediate the protection of this ecologically and culturally important area.
Mobile Medical Educational Unit
Councilmember King attended a blessing of Maui Police Department's Mobile Medical Educational Unit. The converted 40-foot bus was was originally donated by the Department of Transportation, and now will offer mental health and noncritical medical services to homeless residents. Photo courtesy MPD.
South Maui Updates

CM King and staff continued outreach to South Maui residents despite the limitations of the pandemic. We utilized videoconferencing technology to regularly meet with stakeholders, colleagues, and constituents. CM King presented webinars, hosted panel discussions, and facilitated multiple public meeting about COVID-19. Public input is important to CM King’s decision-making process!

Virtual COVID Town Halls

As the pandemic surged this winter, CM King responded to community concerns by convening two virtual Town Halls to bring together experts and the public in the interest of greater transparency, communication, and effectiveness in our response to COVID-19. Mahalo to former UN disaster response team leader Steve O’Neal, Maui Health’s Chief Medical Director Dr. Michael Shea, CM Gabe Johnson, CM Shane Sinenci, CM Keani Rawlins-Fernandez, advocate for the houseless Lisa Darcy, Managing Director Sandy Baz, and State Rep. Tina Wildberger for participating in the January Town Hall. Mahalo to Deputy Managing Director Josiah Nishita and Lt. Governor Dr. Josh Green for being on the panel for the February Town Hall. And, of course, mahalo to the public for being a part of the dialogue. If you ever feel there is a topic that needs to be explored in a public forum, please don’t hesitate to reach out with a suggestion. You can view the Town Halls on Akaku Maui Community Media’s YouTube channel. Learn more about getting vaccinated by clicking here and/or talking to your doctor, health care provider, or local pharmacy.

South Maui Community Plan

What do you envision for South Maui in the decades to come? Get involved and share your thoughts by becoming a part of the South Maui Community Plan process and visiting Currently, the vision process is in Phase II, where you can provide feedback until April 30 on four potential vision statements which will guide South Maui in the upcoming planning process and in decades to come. Keiki can get involved too by participating in the Dream Big Project, which collects the vision of those under the age of 18. After all, the keiki are the future!

Maui Coast Hotel Expansion

CM King has heard many concerns from constituents about the approval of the expansion of the Maui Coast Hotel, which conflicts with the principles in the new County Resolution expressing support for sustainable tourism. CM King is continuing to explore avenues to address the expansion of visitor accommodations which can negatively impact our community.

Affordable Housing

Funding for the 90-unit Hale O Pi`ikea multifamily project is up for second reading at the April 6 County Council meeting along with a Resolution approving funding for the 63-unit phase one of the Kaiaulu O Halele`a apartment project. Both projects will be for families earning 60 percent area median income and below, and are required to remain affordable for periods longer than 60 years. This is just a start to the work that needs to be done to provide affordable housing to local families! In March, the Council also received a draft of the Comprehensive Affordable Housing Plan created by Jeff Gilbreath and his team at Hawaiian Community Assets. CM King has long been a proponent of this kind of a comprehensive plan to put 5,000 affordable homes online. With this blueprint in hand, CM King is looking to implement some of the suggestions as soon as this upcoming fiscal year. Learn about the plan and how you can contribute to it at

North-South Collector Road

The construction of the North-South Collector Road, extending Liloa Drive all the way from Waipuilani Rd. to Kaonoulu Rd., remains a top priority for CM King as she anticipates the further impacts of sea level rise on South Kihei Road and the need to relieve traffic in the growing South Maui Community. The Department of Public Works has slated this project for completion by the end of 2022. A virtual meeting hosted by the Department Public Works for residents along the N-S Collector Road corridor will take place on April 8 at 5:30pm. CM King will be attending, and you can register by clicking here.

Police New Recruit Training

On March 19, CM King attended the police recruit training at the Kihei Police Station. Recruits were training to recognize impaired drivers. At the training, the family of Hannah Brown, a 19-year-old who was killed by a drunk driver speeding in the wrong direction of traffic, shared their heart-wrenching story. Lt. William Hankins, who leads the DUI task force, also spoke of the horrific scenes he has witnessed and tragic home visits he has had to make as a result of deadly driving under the influence. The stories highlight the importance of responsible driving. As establishments start to open and you get vaccinated, please remember to drive safely and always be sure you have a designated driver, ride share service, or taxi if you will be drinking.
Reef Guardians plant native species to restore a coastal ecosystem in South Maui. The project is supported by South Maui District Funds. Photo: Reef Guardians
CM King visits the Maui Police Department during new recruit training. Recruits were learning to recognize and respond to impaired driving. Mahalo to MPD for keeping us and our roadways safe, especially now as more establishments open!

Blended image of Kīhei, then and now. Photo from We are South Maui website. What will South Maui be in 20 years to come? Join the Community Plan process to share your vision by clicking here to learn more.
In the Community
CM King hosts a COVID-19 Town Hall with Lt. Gov. Dr. Josh Green and County Deputy Managing Director Josiah Nishita. The discussion facilitated dialogue and led to solutions such as the County's ordering of more N95 masks. The acquisition date for the masks is pending.
A look inside the new Mobile Medical Educational Unit. It will rotate monthly between Kahului, Kihei, and Lahaina. In Kihei it will be stationed at St. Theresa Church where it can provide assistance to unsheltered residents receiving services. Photos: MPD
Learn more about becoming a member of Kihei Community Association here.
Learn more about becoming a member of Ma`alaea Village Association here.
Office of Kelly Takaya King
Our office can be found on the 8th floor of the County Building, suites 819 and 820.

Our staff is working remotely but we are available by phone at (808) 270-7108 or via email during regular business hours.

In addition to contributing to many non-profits, including the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust and Hale KauKau, Kelly King has served Hawai`i as an active Leader or Board Member in the following organizations:
  • Kihei Community Association
  • Decisions Maui
  • Kihei Neighborhood Playgroup
  • Maui High School/Community-Based Management
  • Girl Scouts Hawaii
  • Hawaii State Board of Education, Maui Representative
  • Hui Malama Learning Center
  • AKAKU: Maui Community TV
  • Hawaii Energy Policy Forum
  • Hawaii Renewable Energy Alliance
  • Maui Farmers Union
  • High Tech Development Corporation
  • Climate Reality Project Maui
  • 100 Women Who Care
Kelly also sits on the board of ICLEI USA, the leading global network of cities, towns and regions committed to building a sustainable future.
Michelle Del Rosario
Executive Assistant
Michelle has a strong background in real estate, sustainability, energy, public policy research and advocacy.  
Axel Beers
Executive Assistant
Axel is a born-and-raised Maui boy now raising a young family of his own. He has experience in education and journalism, and a strong interest in politics and policy.
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200 South High Street
Wailuku, HI 96793


NEWSLETTER - First Quarter 2021