Message from Councilmember Kelly Takaya King
The second quarter of 2020 began with emergency rules to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, just as the budget session was starting. Under the leadership of Budget Committee Chair Keani Rawlins-Fernandez, the Council embraced technology without missing a beat, and set the standard for videoconferencing of governmental meetings across the state, as noted in a recent Civil Beat article.

After leading the Council vote to settle the Lahaina Injection Well Case the previous year, I received wonderful news on April 23, 2020 -- the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to uphold environmental protections in the long battled lawsuit. In this environmental victory, the day after the 50 th anniversary of Earth Day, the Court ruled in favor of the Maui organizations that brought the suit, stating that point source discharges to navigable waters through groundwater are regulated under the Clean Water Act. While it was hoped that the County would now focus on solutions rather than spinning the decision as a win and continuing to fight in court, we are disappointed to learn that Mayor Michael Victorino is indeed dragging the County back to court. Stay tuned for more spending if he gets his way.

In addition to the above challenges, the COVID-19 crisis sadly is giving our community a taste of what we are likely to experience again during an impending climate emergency – a delicate and vulnerable food system. Agricultural resilience is key to our survival. As Chair of the Climate Action and Resilience Committee – and a long time supporter of diversified agriculture – I encourage the community to build a more resilient and sustainable county by intensifying our support of local agriculture as well as other industries such as health care, renewable energy, manufacturing, film and technology innovation.

As a virtual extension of this newsletter, we have launched a series of “Stir Crazy” webinars designed to impart information and demonstrate activities we can all do to make our island more resilient. The first webinar on June 7 included a demonstration of a “quick pickle” food preservation recipe and focused on local farm-grown food.

Our second webinar, scheduled for July 12, will bring together experts on backyard gardens and access to locally grown foods. I will host Jenny Pell of Food Security Hawaii, Jennifer Karaca of Common Ground Collective and a representative of Maui Nui Food Alliance, all discussing their efforts to create healthy food systems in Maui County. Please follow our Facebook page for event updates, send pics of your own gardens, and feel free to share your ideas for future webinar topics.

Civic engagement was up this quarter despite transitioning to remote testifying. And for that we'd like to say Mahalo Nui Loa! As a Councilmember, I am here to represent your best interests and I am grateful for your emails, phone calls, social media posts and testimony. We may be separate, but we are still in this together. Have a safe summer and once again, Mahalo for your continued participation in our local government.

Sustainably yours,

Kelly T. King
We invite you to join us Sunday, July 12, 2020, at 1 pm for Backyard Gardens, the second in our series of Food Security webinars.

Join us live on Zoom via this link:

Or watch us live on Facebook at:

Our first webinar, Preserving Local Farm-Grown Food, is available on Facebook and can be watched by following this link .
In the Chambers
Charter Amendments

As part of the effort to facilitate a more effective governmental structure, CM King worked with community professionals to revise the charter amendment (CA) proposal for a professional Managing Director. The CA, which passed second reading of the Council and will be on the November ballot, establishes the Managing Director as the county's chief operating officer. This individual would be contracted for hire through a recruitment and selection process involving the Mayor, the Council Chairperson and a citizen group. Currently, the county's Managing Director is appointed by the Mayor, confirmed by the Council and is a member of the Mayor's cabinet. The proposed new process would allow for a successful Managing Director to remain in position beyond the term of the Mayor and would create continuity in the departments as well. If approved by the voters in November, the amendment would go into effect in January 2022 at the end of the current mayoral four-year term.

Another CA that passed would extend the Affordable Housing Fund beyond its 2021 expiration date and increase it from 2% to 3% of the real property tax revenue.

CM King also introduced charter amendments putting stricter limitations on council and mayoral terms. Both of these are on the agenda for first reading at the July 10 Council meeting, along with proposals from members Mike Molina, Shane Sinenci and Keani Rawlins-Fernandez that would bifurcate the Department of Housing and Human Concerns (into two separate departments); create a new Department of Agriculture; address conflicting interpretations of the Charter; and designate Council appointed members to the next Charter Commission.

Earth Day Resolution

CM King's proposed resolution, "Recognizing Earth Day's 50th Anniversary and Pledging to Continue Maui County's Effort to Build Upon the Paris Climate Agreement," was passed by the Council at the beginning of this quarter, signifying the body's commitment to a clean environment. Earth Day is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement and leading to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, and eventual passage of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act. As a dedicated steward of the `aina, CM King is pleased that the Council continues to demonstrate its commitment to a clean environment.

Single Use Plastic Ban

During the first quarter of the year, a proposed bill to prohibit the use and sale of single-use plastic foodware in Maui County passed out of the Environment, Agriculture and Cultural Preservation Committee, championed by committee chair CM Sinenci. We are happy to report the bill was unanimously passed by the Council during the second quarter. Among its directives, the bill encourages the improvement of waste-disposal practices and systems to assure they are efficient, safe, and as environmentally sound as possible. It also will create policies that provide sustainable waste-disposal systems and recycling programs to reduce the flow of waste into landfills; and will develop strategies to encourage residents to reduce, reuse and recycle waste materials.

Economic Recovery

On June 19, Maui County Councilmembers unanimously voted to approve a resolution Supporting and Urging the Mayor to Support a Feminist Economic Recovery Plan for COVID-19. This resolution supports a plan drafted by the Hawai’i State Commission on the Status of Women, called Building Bridges, Not Walking on Backs: A Feminist Economic Recovery Plan for COVID-19 . Based on evidence that women from the most marginalized groups have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, the plan proposes measures that will aid in recovery from the economic fallout of the virus, and also urges fundamental changes to the way women’s work is valued and compensated.

Working with CAR committee vice chair Sinenci, CM King introduced an economic recovery resolution supporting a transition to a Circular Economy, which is a systemic approach to economic development designed to benefit local businesses, society, and the environment. In contrast to the 'take-make-waste' linear economic model, a circular economy is regenerative by design and aims to gradually decouple growth from the consumption of finite resources. The resolution, “Supporting 'Aina Aloha Economic Futures Initiative and Transition to a Circular Economy,” will be discussed in committee on Wednesday, July 15.


The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, designated $1.2 billion to the State of Hawai`i, $66,598,757 of which was allocated to Maui County to address the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. When the funding was being discussed at the federal level, CM King initiated a meeting with U.S. Senator Brian Schatz so our Councilmembers state-wide would have the most up-to-date information coming out of Washington DC.

After the State Legislator designated funds to the counties, each Councilmember in Maui County was asked to note priorities and make suggestions to the Mayor on how they felt the community would best benefit from CARES Act funding. Our office did extensive work to help determine where help was most needed, including hiring Share Your Mana’s Lisa Darcy to advise on homeless issues.

We prioritized community services including the expansion of homeless resources and services. We suggested the expansion of social and family support, urging an increase of grants to help childcare facilities with health/safety measures, as well as providing direct grants to families needing extra childcare services if schools don’t open on time. CM King’s reccomendations also called for more mental health services, and domestic violence and child abuse treatment and prevention services.

Public safety is a top priority for us all, and we joined the push for an increase in COVID-19 testing and contact tracing. We also recommended the acquisition and construction of resiliency hubs, and the establishment of quarantine hotels.

Another big priority for CM King is increasing grants to small businesses to help with social distancing renovations/health requirements, and the funding of the Kama‘aina program discounts. She also supports Workforce Assistance programs , which include a tree-planting initiative/reforestation project similar to President Roosevelt’s New Deal program after the Great Depression i.e., growing local Christmas trees. CM King also strongly suggested that, rather than paying overtime, additional workload should create new temporary jobs, noting the thousands who have lost tourism related jobs and could also use training for new vocations.

Our suggestions for Maui Recovery Initiatives focused on Food Security. We suggested funding the Maui Nui Food Alliance; creating a professional Economic Recovery Task Force to develop a blueprint for our diversified economic future; and the addition of grants to food security groups including Maui Food Hub, Maui Food Bank, Food Security Hawaii, and Common Ground Collective.

Follow this link to view correspondence from the Councilmembers regarding the CARES Act.
Youth activist Camry Gach is just one of numerous people who utilize BlueJeans to testify at our Council and Committee meetings.
From the comfort of her living room, CM King participates in a Pubic Hearing regarding the Budget for FY '20-'21.
Budget - Fiscal Year 2020-2021

With the emergency COVID-19 rules in place, some wondered how the Council would tackle the important budget issues for the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 session. But this year's budget process was not thwarted by the COVID-19 shutdowns at all; in fact, the Maui County Council lead the state in continuing business online while respecting the emergency rules to slow the spread of COVID-19.

With important park, pavement and wastewater improvements for South Maui already included in the Mayor's budget, CM King’s office focused on three main areas as their priorities: environmental protection, diversifying our economy, and strengthening our mitigation of and emergency response to Climate Change.

Our environmental protection priorities that made the final cut included the continuation of ocean water quality testing, preserving full funding for Maui’s watershed projects, and setting money aside to help purchase 257.7 acres mauka of Maalaea.

For Climate Action and Resiliency, CM King prioritized a $175,000 coastal erosion study for Maalaea and $200,000 for wetland preservation in South Maui. These both got the support from the Economic Development and Budget Committee and passed, as did the proposed expansion in the Coastal Zone Management Division of the Planning Department to help combat the increasing effects of sea level rise.

Another focus of the Council was diversifying our economy. We increased funding for agriculture, including grants for farmer education and food security, while also creating a new $2.5 million micro-grants program for farmers. CM King also added a feasibility study for a zero-waste biochar facility designed to help local farmers accelerate crop growth.

Addressing the shortfalls from the economic impact of COVID-19, the Council worked collaboratively to cut approximately $50 million from the Mayor's original $869.8 million budget proposal, including Administrative, Council and Departmental cuts to travel, new equipment and expansion positions.

Despite strong cuts, we were able to protect the funding for senior housing, nutrition services, kupuna caregivers program and affordable housing for homeless families. The Council also increased the grants and disbursements for the Affordable Rental Housing Program which will go from $1.4 million to $2 million.
South Maui Updates


Although the COVID-19 lock-down unfortunately prevented the usual celebration of the move-ins, South Maui's Kaiwahine Village affordable rentals welcomed its first residents in April. There are still openings in the complex, and because of the rapidly shifting nature of our economy, those who previously did not qualify may now meet financial conditions for this affordable housing. These units are significantly under market rate, and rents vary depending on unit size, income and availability; income limits apply. For qualifying guidelines, call 808-206-9322.

CM King hosted a virtual Town Hall meeting in early July to receive community input on the proposed Kilohana Makai Workforce Housing Project in Kihei. Utilizing the Zoom on-line format, the community received a brief presentation from the developer about the proposed 28 unit workforce housing development, priced from around $400,000 to $600,000+. The project is proposed to be built just above South Kihei Road across from Keawekapu Beach. The issue at hand is a zoning change as the current zoning describes the property as the equivalent of open space. Should the council approve the zoning change, the housing development may proceed with no further council action; however, the Council may issue conditions of zoning which has been done for most other developments.

A newly revised proposal for the downtown Kihei area, Ikena Kea, will be presented to the South Maui Advisory Committee in July. This $5 million, four-story, mixed-use project will feature commercial units on the ground floor, with residential units on the second, third and fourth floors.

Parks and Recreation

Much of the work and activity at our parks and recreation facilities was put on hold this past few months. Despite the closures, we were able to shift the function of some of our facilities. Our new South Maui Gymnasium was utilized as a drive-thru site for COVID-19 antibody testing and diagnostic nasal swab testing, for example. Bathroom closures were an issue for the homeless population across the island, but we are happy to report they are again open and being cleaned several times per day.

Unsheltered in South Maui

CM King took an active role to assure that the most vulnerable in our community did not slip through the cracks during this medical crisis, using her voice as a Councilmember to drive home the importance of funding for services and projects that would benefit the house-less community. She also made several personal donations to local support services including to Share Your Mana (SYM), a Maui non-profit that created a “rapid response” team to help the unsheltered during the pandemic. In addition to legislative and financial support, CM King donated sheets, towels, masks and other essentials to local unsheltered families through the Rapid Response Team that continues its work from their central Maui hub; to make donations, drop-offs can be taken to 355 Hukilike Street, Unit #104 in Kahului.


We continue to focus on the importance of improving our infrastructure in an effort to make our roadways safer for automobiles, bicyclists and foot traffic. One important artery for the South Maui district, the North-South Collector Road, is key to the future of Kihei; CM King continues to push for the expedited completion to help alleviate traffic issues for additional affordable housing projects and provide a safer roadway for bicyclists, while reducing congestion in the community.

An extended closure of a portion of South Kīhei Road this quarter stemmed from infrastructure work for the Maui Bay Villas (Hilton) project, at the old Maui Lu site. South Kīhei Road between Wailana Place and Kaonoulu Street was scheduled to reopened to the public beginning July 1. The temporary closure, which began in May, was needed to complete the construction of road infrastructure improvements associated with project.

The South Kihei Road improvements feature a landscaped median for greater separation between traffic lanes, bike lanes on both sides of the road, and a paved roadway. The completed work includes crosswalks with pedestrian signals, curbs, gutters and a concrete sidewalk on the makai side of the road. The sidewalk on the mauka side of the road remains under construction.

With the reopening of the road, the Kīhei Islander Route #10 began normal service on Thursday, July 2, 2020; the Kīhei Villager Route #15 remains suspended until further notice because of COVID-19 impacts.


With this quarter's primary focus on the FY 20-21 budget, we would like to share some budget items specific to South Maui that were included in the final proposal.

Affordable Housing
  • $4.3 million for the planning, design, and construction for the Liloa Hale Senior Housing project located at Welakahao Road. The 150-unit multi-family senior rental project will include 11 units at or below 30 percent of the AMI, 138 units at or below 60 percent of the AMI, and one unit for an on-site property manager.
  • $1,5 million for the acquisition, planning, and design, and professional services for the Kaiaulu O Halelea project located at Lipoa Parkway. The 64-unit multi-family rental project will include 14 units at or below 40 percent of the AMI, 49 units at or below 60 percent of the AMI, and one unit for an on-site property manager.

Environmental Protections
  • At least $200,000 of funds budgeted for environmental protections are earmarked for an implementation program to maintain and protect South Maui wetlands.

South Maui Economic Development and Cultural Programs
  • $60,000 for the Whale Day Festival and Parade
  • $25,000 for Fourth Friday event in Kihei
  • $100,000 for the Maui Film Festival

Department of planning
  • $25,000 to contract with an entity to create a comprehensive list of all lawfully allowed short-term rental occupancy units. This project will help us protect housing inventory for local residents - island-wide
  • $175,000 to create a study to address coastal erosion at Maalaea
  • $50,000 for South Maui Dune and Shoreline Management project


Parks & Recreation
  • $400,000 for Skate Park Improvements at Kalama Park
  • $500,000 for South Maui beach parks parking lots improvements
  • $100,000 from the general fund for South Maui beach parks parking lots improvements

Department of Environmental Management
  • $1.5 million for sewer bond fund, Kihei in-plant/effluent pump station upgrades
  • $3.6 million for Kihei Makena Sewer expansion
  • $1 million for Liloa Drive Recycled Water Line
  • $300,000 sewer fund for Kihei No. 4 force main replacement

State Revolving Loan Fund
  • $2 million - Kihei No. 16 pump station rehabilitation and force main
  • $1.8 million - Kihei No. 7 force main replacement
  • $2.4 million - Kihei No. 8 force main replacement

Kihei-Makena Community Plan Area
  • $30,000 for South Maui consolidated maintenance operations of government facilities

Department of Public Works
  • $25,000 for Bikeway Fund at the North South Collector Road (Namauu Place to Kulanihakoi Street)
  • $500,000 for the Highway Fund for the North South Collector Road, (Namanu Place to Kulanihakoi Street)

Open Space, Natural Resources, Cultural Resources, and Scenic Views Preservation Fund
  • $750,000 proposed for land acquisition and related costs for lots located at Kaonoulu Road and South Kihei Road, commonly referred to as the Kulanihakoi Greenway Park. Up to $500,000 must be granted to Hawaiian Islands Land Trust (HILT) to negotiate the purchase of 257.7 acres, Maalaea Mauka, with the understanding HILT can request Council approval for the remainder of the asking price.
The Kaiwahine Village affordable housing complex welcomed its first residents in April.
The women of Maui's Council take a minute to reflect on the positive Budget Session .
CM King celebrated Lei Day symbolically, as did many across the state.
In Our Community
CM King participates in a tree-planting memorial in honor of former Representative Joe Bertram .
Award-winning Executive Chef Jeff Scheer shares a quick pickle recipe at our #FoodSecurityHI webinar.
Celebrating the retirement of a well-loved community member,
Gladys C. Basia .
Keeping Up
As a team, we are grateful to all those who continue to support a healthy planet during this challenging time by volunteering and testifying in support of pro-environmental causes. Maui residents truly came together to help one another through this medical and economic crisis. For example, a volunteer Rapid Response Team sprang into action to care for the house-less and distribute essential items that had been donated; Hawaiian Paddle Sports offered complementary surf lessons, and Nalu's South Shore Grill and Mulligan's on the Blue both provided free meals to the community. We applaud these acts and encourage you to share your personal stories of community support on our Facebook page.

We were honored for Kelly, who was featured in a recent article in the Honolulu Star Advertiser about environmental activists who walk the talk. The piece was published following the passage of her resolution “Recognizing Earth Day's 50th Anniversary and Pledging to Continue Maui County's Efforts to Build Upon the Paris Climate Agreement.”

Like many of you, we cried over the senseless killings that were brought to world-wide attention by the Black Lives Matter movement. But we also revel in the hope of change as we see reform happening throughout the country. We are witnessing a time where people are taking action to demand a government "for the people" and true equality which starts with honest dialog. Kelly urges you all to support a major change in our own local government and vote in favor of the Charter Amendment to reform county governance. The proposed professional Managing Director Charter Amendment designs a system to create a more efficient, coherent, transparent administration that works for all Mauians!

Lastly we would like to take the time to mahalo you for your participation in the Council's work. Your Council testimony matters more than ever before and it shows that you truly care about Maui Nui. Public engagement is critical to help keep government accountable and working for the people. Please share this newsletter with friends and family to help keep them abreast of what is happening in their community, and follow us on social media for the latest updates coming out of our office. You can also visit our page on the Council website.

On behalf of Councilmember Kelly Takaya King, we thank you again for remaining dedicated to doing what's best for Maui County.


Michelle, Kate and Suzanne
Learn more about becoming a member of Kihei Community 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 (808-270-7108) or via email during regular business hours.

Kelly Takaya King serves on local, state and national organizations including:
  • Maui Nui Food Alliance Steering Committee
  • NACo’s Environmental Energy and Land Use Steering Committee
  • Hawaii State Association of Counties (HSAC) - Treasurer
  • Hui Malama Learning Center - Emeritus
  • Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance - Founder and immediate past-president
Michelle Del Rosario,
Executive Assistant
Michelle has a strong background in real estate, sustainability, energy, public policy research and advocacy.  
Kate Griffiths,
Executive Assistant
With an honors degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science, Kate has always had a keen interest in how governance shapes our world. With her career in publishing and community advocacy, she continues her mission to support Maui, a place she has called home for over 20 years.
Suzanne Kayian,
Executive Assistant
Suzanne is a journalist with a passion for media and communications. With a dual degree in Sociology and Journalism, her interests in social issues range from environmental concerns to human rights.
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NEWSLETTER - Second Quarter 2020