Message from Councilmember Kelly Takaya King
Aloha community,

While the pandemic has taken a major toll on our daily lives, our sense of safety, and our economy, the Maui community has come together in extraordinary ways. People are showing more concern for others -- helping neighbors and giving back. The branches of our agriculture community are working hard to flourish; our office's new webinar series launched with three successful episodes on food security (link to episodes – webinar) to shine a light on what can be done to support and expand our local food sources.

All change requires continued effort, and we are happy to say that the Council has passed seven Charter Amendments which will allow the voters to have a say on how our County is governed. The fourth in our series of monthly webinars provided the public an in-depth look at the amendments on the November ballot, presented by the Councilmembers who proposed them.

My commitment to a diversified economy has centered around a circular economic recovery, working to rebuild a more sustainable and contributive rather than extractive economy. The Council passed the Aina Aloha Economic Futures Imitative and Transition to a Circular Economy resolution [link to reso], prioritizing our commitment to a regenerative and equitable economic system. And we've encouraged the managed return of tourism along with the growth of other industries including agriculture, construction, technology, film, health and renewable energy.

Change has always been inevitable, but it has never been so scary, as evidenced by worldwide protests and the divide about the pandemic response, racial injustices and voter suppression tactics. But change is happening and we need to find a way to not only embrace it, but direct it for the greater good. The decisions we make today should be based on the community we want our children to grow up in. If we can hold on to our democratic ideals and work to resolve our differences while lifting up those who truly need a helping hand, we will make the choices that reflect our hopes, not our fears.

There is nothing more American than rising up and questioning the status quo; and then working to find solutions. I am grateful that the residents of Maui Nui continue to voice their opinions through testimony at our Council and Committee meetings, letter writing campaigns and constructive conversations on social media. I will continue to keep my ears open and work diligently to meet our community's needs, wants and desires. We as a community can celebrate the fact that we continue to use our voices in our own local governance, to help build a strong and sustainable Maui County.

Sustainably yours,

Kelly T. King
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
Earlier in the year, Climate Action and Resilience committee Chair King and Vice Chair Shane Sinenci introduced an economic recovery resolution: Supporting 'Aina Aloha Economic Futures Initiative and Transition to a Circular Economy. We are happy to announce that the resolution passed during the third quarter of 2020.

In contrast to the 'take-make-dispose' linear economic model, a circular economy is regenerative by design, keeping products and resources in the economy for as long as possible. It aims to help us gradually transition from the consumption of finite resources, opening the door to a “use and reuse economy.”

This systemic approach to economic development is designed to benefit local business, society and the environment. We believe it will aid in the economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis while preserving natural resources and combating climate change.

In September, CM King introduced a bill to include an environmentalist/climate change expert as a member of the planning commissions and community advisory committees; the bill exempts the Lana`i Planning Commission due to difficulty with the small participation pool of the island. CM King introduced the matter in the CAR committee and passed it on to the full council. The bill states that the County's commissions and advisory committees must have a member with a background in conservation, natural resources or climate change. This is an amendment to a bill that already requires at least one member of each planning commission and the Hana advisory committee to have expertise in native Hawaiian traditional and customary practices.

The online meeting format has enabled our CAR Committee outreach to include specialists from around the country to share their insights and innovations. This summer, we brought together experts from various municipalities around the country to discuss climate action plans, policies, and initiatives that are benefiting their individual communities as well as the global climate change situation.

This nationwide exploration of climate action initiatives featured presentations about environmental justice, climate change policies, sustainable development, energy laws and building codes, sea level rise and inspiring solutions-based climate action initiatives. Experts from communities as diverse as California's San Mateo County and New York City provided ideas and inspiration for policies our committee can consider to help Maui County thrive and to make our contribution to greenhouse gas reduction. The meeting can be viewed by clicking here. All of the Climate Action and Resilience committee meetings can be viewed by following this link.

Charter Amendments

CM King's mission of improving local government was advanced this year when the Council approved seven Charter Amendment proposals to be placed on the General Election ballot in November.

CM King proposed four of the seven amendments, and voted in favor of putting all on the ballot. Maui voters finally have the option to decide how they want their county government to operate.

CM King proposed the Charter Amendment to reorganize the Executive Branch to establish an Office of the Managing Director, with the Managing Director as the County’s Chief Operating Officer, and the Mayor to function as the County’s Chief Executive Officer. Contrary to some of the negative messaging being paid for by a super PAC, the Managing Director proposal is designed to make our county administration more efficient and professional so we can get more done with less waste.

She also proposed the establishment of stricter term limits for Councilmembers and the Mayor. In addition, CM King proposed the extension of the Affordable Housing Fund which is set to expire at the end of 2021. This proposal would also increase the amount going into the fund from 2% of the property tax revenue to 3%.

The Charter Amendments will appear on the upcoming ballot in this order:

Affordable Housing Fund
Establishing a Managing Director
Stricter Term Limits for Council Members
Interpretation Conflicts in the Charter
Charter Commission Changes
Stricter Term Limits for the Mayor
Establishing a Department of Agriculture

An easy-to-read summery sheet of the 2020 proposed Maui County Charter Amendments is available online. This document lists each amendment as it will appear on the ballot and includes information on what it means if the proposal DOES pass, and what it means if the proposal DOES NOT pass. If approved by the electorate, the Charter Amendments are effective January 2, 2021, with the exception of the CA establishing a Department of Agriculture, which is effective July 1, 2022. Additional information on all of the Charter Amendments can be found by watching CM King's “We the People” webinar with Councilmemebers Shane Sinenci and Keani Rawlins-Fernandez discussing what a vote on these amendments means to Maui County.
The "We the People" webinar featured host Kelly King and guests -- Councilmembers Shane Sinenci and Keani Rawlins-Fernandez to discuss the implications of voting for or against the seven charter amendments on the November ballot.
The CAR Committee welcomed Leslee Matthews, Co-founder of the Climate Reality Project, Hawai‘i Chapter; and Dr. Charles “Chip” Fletcher, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor, Department of Earth Sciences, at University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
South Maui Updates


We are happy to announce that a new ADA compliant mobile hygiene unit has begun serving South Maui's unsheltered community. Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centers' ADA compliant Ka La Hiki Ola Jr. is available at St. Theresa's church weekly on Tuesday and Thursdays. KHAKO recommends calling in advance to confirm if possible (808) 633-6201. The KHAKO team has assured us they have strict COVID-19 precautionary measures in place to keep staff and clients safe.

The original, larger Ka La Hiki Ola Mobile Hygiene unit was loaned to the Department of Health in March for anticipated use at a County quarantine center. It was later borrowed by the Mayor's office to be used at the Pallet Shelter (Waiale Park) in Wailuku, the temporary emergency shelter for homeless individuals during the COVID 19 crisis.

Affordable Housing

The Hale Kaiola project passed the full Council in September. This 100 percent affordable work force housing project in North Kihei, which will offer two-bedroom homes beginning at $290,000 for qualified residents, is located on approximately three acres at the corner of Ohukai Street and Kaiola Place. The project will consist of a 40-unit duplex complex; all 40 units will be sold to individuals ranging between the 80 and 139 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), providing much needed residential workforce housing.

The budget for Fiscal Year 2020-2021 provides $4.3 million for the planning, design, and construction of 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.

The FY21 Affordable Housing Fund also includes $1.5 million for the acquisition, planning and design, and professional services for the Kaiaulu O Halelea rental project located at Lipoa Parkway. The proposed 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. The Kaiaulu O Halelea project is being developed by Ikaika Ohana/Doug Bigley, who is also responsible for the Kawaihine Village affordable housing rental development.

The Council's Planning and Sustainable Land Use committee voted to approve a list of conditions for the Kilohana Makai workforce housing project -- 28 single-family homes on about 7 acres fronting South Kihei Road, across from Keawakapu Beach. The item next goes to the full council for approval.

A proposal for the multi-use Hale O Piikea downtown Kihei project has been presented to the South Maui Advisory Committee and is now headed to the Council. This four-story project will feature a combination of commercial and residential units.

Parks and Recreation

The Kihei Aquatic Center training pool is scheduled to temporarily close this month for repair and maintenance work. The Department of Parks and Recreation confirmed that the training pool will close on October 14, and is scheduled to reopen Oct. 17. The aquatic center’s 50-meter pool will remain open for lap swimming (with a reservation) during the closure of the training pool.

The South Maui Community Park Playground Shade Structure is completed and in use. Though the Kalama Park playground shade structure is complete, severe corrosion was discovered at the playground when the fall surfacing was removed. An invitation for bid is being prepared for replacement playground equipment. The new equipment and new fall surfacing will then be installed. This project is expected to be completed early next year.

COVID-19 Updates for South Maui Parks. The South Maui Community Park Gymnasium, community centers and pavilions remain closed due to the Public Health emergency rules. Parks are open from 7 am to 7 pm.


In an effort to make our roadways safer for automobiles, bicyclists and foot traffic, our office remains dedicated to the improvement of the County's infrastructure. CM King continues to push for the expedited completion of the North-South Collector Road, an important artery for the South Maui community. The completion of this project will provide a safer roadway for bicyclists, while reducing congestion in the community. It will also help alleviate traffic issues for additional affordable housing projects. The budget for FY 2021 provides $25,000 for the Bikeway Fund and $500,000 for the Highway Fund for the North South Collector Road.

The growth of Kihei over the last few years has created an increased demand on South Maui's transportation infrastructure. A Kihei Sub-Area Transportation Plan has been designed to optimize a multi-modal Kihei transportation system for all users, whether traveling by car, foot, bike, or bus. The Plan seeks to address: all modes of transportation; a balanced system of regional and local roads; capacity concerns; safety for all transportation users; and transportation options, land use, and smart growth. A public informational meeting scheduled for earlier this year was canceled due to recent public health concerns, but the presentation can be viewed online and the draft plan is available for review.

Construction funding for the South Kihei Rd. and Ohukai Rd. sidewalks was approved in FY2020. The project must be bid out and a construction contract executed by the end of calendar year 2020 to avoid lapsing the construction funding.
Engaging our young people remains a top priority of CM King.
Artist rendering of the Hale Kaiola affordable housing project.
Maui Food Bank's Rich Yust connects with the community during our Access to Food webinar.
In the Community
The general manager of the Andaz Resort, Michael Jockovich, welcomes CM King for a tour of the facility and a chat about COVID protocols
We lost one of our most important leaders in the fight for equality and justice last month, but we will always keep RBG's voice alive.
The new Ka La Hiki Ola Jr. mobile hygiene unit now accessible twice per week in Kihei - Tuesdays and Thursdays at St. Theresa Church.
Keeping Up
CM King continues her community outreach and engagement in the time of COVID-19 in a variety of arenas, including our new webinar series which shares solutions-oriented efforts that can improve our lives. Our first three webinars focused on Food Security. This quarter, July's webinar explored backyard gardens and growing your own food. In August, our guests included leaders from the Maui Food Bank and Maui Food Hub discussing access to food. In September, we shifted focus to Community Engagement, welcoming Councilmembers Shane Sinenci and Keani Rawlins-Fernandez to discuss the Charter Amendments on the upcoming ballot. Our webinars are hosted on Zoom, which is open to the first 100 people who sign on. They are also streamed live – and archived – on our Facebook page.

Inspired by the positive response, our office has used the Zoom platform to host socially distanced Town Hall meetings. This quarter, we reached out to the South Maui community to hear their concerns about a new workforce housing development, Kilohana Makai. The project, by developer Aina Lani Pacific LLC and its president Howard Kihune Jr., aims to build 28 single-family homes on about 7 acres fronting South Kihei Road, across from Keawakapu Beach. This webinar was “standing room only” with more than 100 residents getting answers to their questions from the developer. The PSLU committee voted to approve a list of conditions based on community concerns and the item will now go to the full council for a zoning change approval.

When community concern arose over the upcoming filming of Temptation Island at the Andaz in Wailea, our office fielded many questions about how and why this project would be allowed to happen. CM King hosted a Town Hall so the community could get information on the proposed Covid-19 protocols directly from the show’s producers, medical consultants and our own Film Commissioners. Following the Town Hall meeting, Kelly met with the General Manager at the Andaz for an on-site walk through of the resort and its grounds. Though we are very concerned about the impact to the community, our office is cautiously keeping an eye on the production; we also have learned that a local West Maui resident Leonard “Junya” Nakoa has agreed to oversee the project on-site to be the eyes and ears of the community. Mahalo, Junya!

Youth civic engagement has always been a priority for our office, so CM King joined with her fellow Councilmembers to support a contest for middle and high school students, Imi Pono: the Greatest Challenge. The Council will be awarding prizes to students for bold, innovative ideas that would help us build a sustainable and diverse economy. The idea can be a new invention, service or product presented in a variety of creative ways -- film, photography, oral presentations, etc. Councilmembers demonstrated their dedication to engaging students with creative outreach in the County Council's new music video.

CM King is passionate about engaging our youth and will be discussing the Imi Pono Challenge with students at Kihei Charter School; our office has Zoom meetings with the students in the works and everyone on our team is looking forward to learning more about their ideas and priorities for Maui.

Our office continues to work closely with State House Representatives Tina Wildberger and Angus McKelvey, Senator Rosalyn Baker, and the South Maui liaison from the Mayor's office Bill Snipes to address the needs of our residents in a collaborative manner. We always appreciate your involvement and we encourage you to stay engaged by attending our webinars, testifying at Council and Committee meetings, engaging in social media, reaching out through email and phone calls -- and voting!

In remembrance of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, we want to share one of Kelly's favorite quotes: "To make life a little better for people less fortunate than you, that’s what I think a meaningful life is. One lives not just for oneself but for one’s community.”
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.

In addition to contributing to many non-profits, including the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, Kelly King has served Hawaii 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
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.  
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.
png county logo

200 South High Street
Wailuku, HI 96793


NEWSLETTER - Third Quarter 2020