Message from Councilmember Kelly Takaya King

Aloha kākou,

I'd like to first express my appreciation for my staff and the County's Office of Council Services. While we're currently in the political season of waxing on about individual accomplishments, the truth is that without our team of analysts, clerks, secretaries, assistants, and attorneys, I would not be able to carry out the work I’ve been elected to do and which you will read about below.

It may not be obvious to the public, who typically sees just nine councilmembers on camera, but our work on the Council is a huge team effort. It includes the dedicated and responsive staff in my South Maui Council Office as well as our District Office.

We have many challenges facing Maui County, and this election season you have probably heard more ideas than ever before about creating affordable housing, sustainable tourism, economic diversity, and food security. But most conversations at the county level have not included womens’ and civil rights issues, social services, or ethics and transparency in government. We also have not had a hearty discussion of climate change or comprehensive climate disaster preparedness. 

It’s difficult to focus on long-range planning when the immediate needs of food, water, and housing have not been met. In some respects, we seem to be on overload when it comes to discussing our priorities, and we can all only hope that the needs of the general public override special interest campaign donors when our new and returning elected officials take office. But it will be important for all of us–the public, government and private sectors–to not lose sight of preparing for the future, addressing climate change, planning for health care needs as we age, fighting for human rights, and investing in strategic planning to accomplish the goals in our Countywide Policy Plan. It will take a collective effort to hold our government accountable at all levels and to demand transparency so we know what is happening within our tax-funded departments.

This is a year when voters will consider various transformative charter amendments. It’s worth highlighting how changes to our County constitution can have lasting changes on the operations of government. In 2016, the Charter was amended to allow the Office of Council Services to also serve as legal advisors to councilmembers, in addition to Corporation Counsel attorneys. A charter amendment last year gave us our new County Department of Agriculture!

It takes the work of many hands and minds to make Maui County no ka `oi–and the more we are able to work together and collaborate in good faith, the more our County benefits. The more people who vote, the more confidence we can have that the majority of our citizens will be better served. And when voting, please remember that Sustainability consists of fulfilling the needs of current generations without compromising the needs of future generations, while ensuring a balance between economic growth, environmental care, and social well-being.

I urge all voters to learn about the candidates who will be on your general ballot, as well as the many important charter amendments, and cast your vote in the best interests of Maui Nui! 

Sustainably yours,


Virtual Community Meetings

We invite you to join us for our virtual Webinars and Town Halls. These meetings address community concerns like affordable housing, upcoming legislation, and sustainable tourism.

To join the conversation, 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 axel.beers@mauicounty.us.

In The Virtual Chambers

Protecting Our Wetlands

Legislation to map wetlands and expand County protections of these important areas is moving forward! On August 17, Bill 91 was passed unanimously by the CARE Committee. Mahalo! Wetlands in South Maui have been lost to development, but the result of developing over nature's drainage systems is flooding and runoff (pictured, courtesy of Save Kihei). The proposal was introduced by CM King and drafted with the support of environmental professionals. Bill 91 now heads to the full County Council for first reading. Stay tuned!

In addition to following the wetlands legislation, join the South Maui Save the Wetlands Hui for a more hands-on experience. The organization and its volunteers regularly hold clean-up days (photo right) to restore the natural habitat of these important areas. Two other important wetland projects, Rooted Kekahi Me Ka Aina and‘Āinakūko’a O Waiohuli Kai, are also seeking volunteers!

Follow the Save the Wetlands Hui on Facebook for updates.

Seabird Protections And Lighting Pollution Limits

Bill 21 would update the County's Outdoor Lighting Ordinance to add new lighting regulations to result in less seabird fallout (deaths from confused birds following bright and upward-shining lights). Native seabirds are rare species, important to Hawaiian culture, and critical in cycling nutrients in our island ecosystem. The bill was recently recommitted to the CARE Committee for further discussion, which is expected to proceed at the end of August. Follow the CARE Committee for updates!

Read the latest bill version here.

This bill was drafted in consultation with Maui Nui Seabird Recovery Project. Click to learn about their work.

We All Deserve A Safe, Good Night's Rest

Councilmember King introduced Bill 108 to enable the County to establish safe zones for houseless people to sleep in their cars overnight. Under state law, human habitation in vehicles is illegal. Legalizing this in specific, regulated spaces is one piece in the puzzle of addressing our housing crisis. Ensuring the safety of those living in cars (often working people and families) is a small but needed step toward health and dignity. After hearing moving testimony in the Affordable Housing Committee from individuals experiencing houselessness, Bill 108 earned committee approval and passed first reading by the Council. Second and final reading of the bill is expected at the August 23 Council meeting. (Photo: Individuals with first-hand experience with houselessness provide expertise to the Affordable Housing Committee).

Read the bill and committee report.

Read about it in Civil Beat.

Budget Amendments Take Effect

The Fiscal Year 2023 County Budget went into effect on July 1, 2022, with CM King's amendments including $9.5M for a wastewater solution for Ma`alaea, a grant to establish safe zones for our houseless residents, grants including $600,000 for wetlands and $600,000 for watersheds to more than double environmental protection funding proposed by the Mayor, creation of an actionable plan to diversify our economy, and engineering and design to restore Kanaio stream to its natural course. To learn more about these projects and funding sources, contact our office or the appropriate County department.

Read the FY2023 Budget.

Legislation In Action

Bill 23 was passed by the Maui County Council on March 7 and sets a requirement for all County facilities to begin annual reporting on energy use and performance benchmarks. The information must be available to the public beginning on December 30, 2022 for buildings over 50,000 square feet, and June 1, 2023 for smaller facilities. This ordinance is already having an impact. Pictured to the right are workers collecting energy usage data in our office at the Kalana O Maui Building.

Read the ordinance.

Reviewing County Environmental Grants

Programs like the Maui Farmers Training Network, Living Pono Community Foods Project, and The Permaculture Group's Biochar Production use County funding to grow our community's resilience and enhance our environment. Learn more about their programs by watching these presentations to the CARE Committee.

Congratulating Mana`o Radio On Its 20th Anniversary

Volunteer-run and listener-supported Mana`o Radio has been an important part of the community, sharing "music that makes you feel alive," since 2002. Congratulations and mahalo for all you do! Photo: CM King presents Michael Elam, Mana`o board president and development director, with a lei after the ceremonial resolution is read in Council Chambers.

Visit Mana`o Radio or tune in at 91.7 FM.

Committing To A Transition From Fossil Fuels

While the County of Maui pursues a lawsuit against fossil fuel companies for the industry's misleading business practices, we continue to look forward and commit to an equitable and green future. With Resolution 22-133, the County Council once again committed to the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and endorsed the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. 

Read more about the SAFE Cities campaign to connect local efforts to limit fossil fuels.

Read Resolution 22-133. 

Preview: Upcoming In CARE Committee

The CARE Committee has a full agenda and will be moving ahead on initiatives to bolster the County's climate action, resilience, and environmental efforts. To view the list of items currently on the CARE Committee's master agenda and to see upcoming meeting agendas, click here. You can always contact us with your input and feedback on these issues! In the coming weeks, CM King hopes to pass lighting regulations to protect dark skies, seabirds, and wildlife out of CARE Committee. We will also schedule updates to the County's energy conservation building code, and a review of the forthcoming County Climate Action and Resilience Plan. Come testify!

Proposed Charter Amendments

The Maui County Council has proposed amendments to the Maui County Charter, our County's constitutional document. The Charter amendments will be on the General Election ballot for voters to approve or disapprove. Take the time to learn about these amendments to make an informed decision on Election Day!

Read the Charter Commission's proposals.

Read about an additional proposal for County workers to telework.

Read about an additional proposal for County Community Water Authorities.

Community Updates

CM King and staff continue outreach to South Maui residents despite the limitations of the pandemic. We utilize videoconferencing technology to regularly meet with stakeholders, nonprofit organizations, and constituents. CM King presents webinars, hosts panel discussions, and facilitates multiple public meetings. Public input is important to the decision-making process!


The first draft of the South Maui Community Plan Update will be released at an open house event on Tuesday, August 23 from 4-7 p.m. at the Kihei Community Center.

What do you envision for South Maui? Get involved and share your thoughts! Visit Southmaui.wearemaui.org for more information. 

Transition to Mineral Only Sunscreen

Starting October 1, only mineral-based sunscreens with the active ingredients zinc oxide or titanium dioxide will be allowed for sale, use, or distribution in Maui County. Eliminating the use of chemical sunscreen helps to preserve our ocean ecosystem. Read more online.

Rental and Utility Assistance

Monthly rent and utility assistance is available for Maui residents! Support for up to 12 months can be provided, up to $2,000/month for rent and $500 for utilities. To learn more, visit Mauicounty.gov/MauiRentHelp or call the helpline at 808-873-4673

Sign Up for Maui County Emergency Alerts

Stay safe and sign up for MEMA Alerts! Get automated alerts from the National Weather Service in over 60 different selectable languages. A new myAlerts app provides alerts and notifications for areas where users are located.

For more information or to register to receive MEMA Alerts, visit Mauicounty.gov/983/MEMA-Alerts

Planning Goes Digital

The Planning Department has gone digital. Check in on the status of projects using the online project status viewer (click for link). The Permitting Division now has a new automated system, which you can access by clicking here.

Office of Climate Change, Resilience, and Sustainability Launches Website

As part of efforts to create plans to address Maui's GHG emissions and track resilience, the Office of Climate Change, Resilience, and Sustainability has launched a new website. Visit Resilientmauinui.org to learn more, including about County grant opportunities!

Ban on Styrofoam Boogie Boards Takes Effect

Don't go for a bad ride! Disposable foam bodyboards are now banned for sale, rent, or distribution in the County as of August 1, 2022. Learn more. 

Kihei 4th Friday Town Party Is Back!

After a long hiatus due to the pandemic, Kihei 4th Friday town parties are back! Come for food, music, entertainment, family fun, and community. See you there!

Visit a Council District Office Near You

Civic engagement is important, so the Maui County Council has established six offices throughout the County where the public can go to learn about pending legislation and upcoming meetings. You may also visit the sites to provide live testimony at Council or committee meetings. Learn more.

Affordable Housing

In July 2021, the Council received 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 in the next five years. With this blueprint in hand, the Affordable Housing Committee has been trying to implement the recommendations as soon as possible to address the housing crisis. Learn about the plan at Mauihousingplan.org. Follow along at Mauicounty.us/agendas and by monitoring the Affordable Housing Committee.

In The Community

CM King was overjoyed to attend the lottery for Kaiāulu O Halele`a, an affordable rental development in South Maui for those earning 30% to 60% of the area median income (AMI). Winners were selected for 118 units. Congratulations to all who will be moving in. More affordable developments are coming for residents--so stay tuned! Photos: Families and buildings get ready for move-in day!

The Maui County Kākou: Civic Engagement Video Series (click for video) series is online now! Get a crash course in County civics from local personalities like George Kahumoku Jr. and Kathy Collins. Share with your family and friends, learn about the process, and get involved!

𝗖𝗼𝗱𝘆 “𝗞𝗼𝗸𝗼” 𝗡𝗲𝗺𝗲𝘁 𝗧𝘂𝗶𝘃𝗮𝗶𝘁𝗶 treated our office and staff from the County’s parks and planning departments to a site visit to the Waiohuli Kai Wetland, a coastal wetland with permanent spring-water in South Maui that was once part of a much larger coastal lagoon complex. Cody is the founder of ‘Āinakūko’a O Waiohuli Kai, a hui dedicated to the restoration and rehabilitation of Waiohuli Kai, and which received funding from the County's South Maui District Funds.

Councilmember King hosted a virtual town hall with the Birds, Not Mosquitoes partnership including Jin Prugsawan Harlow, Dr. Hannah Mounce, Dr. Jonathan Likeke Scheuer, and  Luka Zavas. The panelists answered questions from the public and explained the project, which uses a form of mosquito birth control to reduce mosquito populations and end the spread of bird illnesses which threaten populations of rare and endangered native birds.

Learn about the project online.

Re-watch the event on Facebook.

The Maui County Youth Council is actively convening! Youth councilmembers will draft, deliberate upon, and adopt a Youth Legislative Package expressing their policy priorities to the County Council. Please contact Axel Beers at axel.beers@mauicounty.us or 808-270-8018 with any questions or to discuss partnership opportunities.

The Kalama Skate Park has reopened! CM King and staff attended the grand reopening while youth patrons waited for their turn on the new ramps. Photo (L-R): Aloha Skateboards Founder and Kihei Community Association member Andrew Beerer, South Maui District Office Aide Daniel Kanahele, CM Kelly King, and Parks Director Karla Peters.

In Case You Missed It: Councilmember King spoke on the Green Sense Radio Podcast about the potential for Maui and Hawai`i to lead environmental innovation while drawing on our history of respecting the interconnectedness of nature.

Mahalo to the Kihei Charter School students who have helped to support our reefs and spread the word about mineral sunscreens. We have shared these on our Facebook page, and encourage you to view them as well! Watch PSAs "Love Our Reefs", "Find What's Right", and "Reef Justice" online.

Councilmember King presented Gintong Pamana Leadership and Scholarship Awards at an event hosted by the Maui Filipino Chamber of Commerce. Congratulations to the students for their achievements and to Judge Lance Collins for the recognition of all his community contributions. Mabuhay!

ICLEI World Congress

Councilmember King attended the ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability World Congress in Sweden this May, where she was able to represent the concerns and opportunities facing island communities like Maui County. In this photo, Councilmember King presents on a panel about sustainable urban growth with Katja Dorner, Mayor of the City of Bonn, Germany.

From Our Inbox

Dear Kelly King,

On behalf of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and the City of Malmö, we would like to express our sincere gratitude for your valuable contribution as a high-level speaker at the ICLEI World Congress 2021 – 2022: The Malmö Summit that took place from 11-13 May 2022 in Malmö, Sweden.

The ICLEI World Congress 2021-2022: The Malmö Summit featured 26 interactive in-person workshops, 10 virtual sessions, 6 high-level dialogues and 13 mobile workshops. Over 625 in-person and just below 200 virtual participants from more than 55 countries from around the world have attended the event.

We hope that your expectations and goals were met and that you had an enriching experience at The Malmö Summit.

Thank you once again for your active engagement. We were truly honored by your presence and look forward to collaborating with you again soon!

Yours sincerely,

Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, ICLEI First Vice President and Mayor, City of Malmö, Sweden

Frank Cownie, ICLEI President and Mayor, City of Des Moines, USA

Gino Van Begin, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability Secretary General 

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

Visit our website
Our office can be found on the 8th floor of the County Building, suites 819 and 820.
Our district office is located in Suite 9 of the Maui Economic Development Board Building at the Maui Research and Technology Park at 1305 North Holopono Street, Kihei.

Our staff may be working remotely but we are available by phone at (808) 270-7108 (County Building), (808) 793-0012 (district office), 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 currently sits on the board of ICLEI USA, the leading global network of cities, towns and regions committed to building a sustainable future. She is Vice President of the Hawai`i State Association of Counties and a member of the Environmental Protection Agency's Local Government Advisory Committee.
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.
Ellen McKinley
Executive Assistant
Ellen is passionate about policy, sustainability, and environmental issues. She received recognition as a Volunteer Hero by the County of Maui in 2021. She is licensed as an attorney in California and Washington.
Sarah Sexton
Executive Assistant 
Sarah has spent much of her adult life building community through a cultural arts lens as a live event producer. Since graduating from UC Berkeley, where she studied politics in pop culture, she has shifted her focus to local government, and volunteer work as an exotic animal caregiver.
Daniel Kanahele
District Office Staff
Daniel is a South Maui resident who has served his community as a citizen volunteer for the past two decades. Aloha ʻāina, or love of the land, love of the people, and love of the nation, is his core value.

County Building
200 South High Street
Wailuku, HI 96793


South Maui District Office
1305 N Holopono Street, Suite 9
Kihei, HI 96753


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NEWSLETTER - Second Quarter 2022