Message from Councilmember Kelly Takaya King
Aloha Kākou,

With COVID-19 infections on the decline as summer comes to a close, I am reminded this harvest season of the bounty we share as a community and how the pandemic especially highlighted that our community is rich with an abundance of heroes. It's said that not all heroes wear capes, and I agree: Heroic actions of service can take many forms, such as choosing to get vaccinated, making everyday choices for the environment, or lending your voice and time to planning efforts.

While the pandemic cloud continues to cast a daunting shadow, I would like to take this opportunity to shine brightly on the amazing accomplishments that continue to lift up our community and give us hope. With unity and purpose, our community has made great strides in fighting climate change, protecting the environment, promoting food security, and providing affordable housing.

Fighting climate change takes a collective effort. Mahalo for making choices that make a difference, like minimizing the consumption of fossil fuels and prioritizing multimodal transportation options such as riding the Maui Bus, biking, or walking. Thank you to everyone who supported last year’s establishment of Chapter 20.26, Maui County Code, and this year’s amendments, which prohibit the sale, use, and distribution of disposable plastic foodware as of Jan. 1.

I extend my appreciation to all those taking on important environmental issues, such as those continuing work on wetlands protection and restoration. You have inspired further efforts to protect all of our County’s wetlands.

Mahalo to Maui County’s electorate for supporting the creation of our own Department of Agriculture. The new agency will begin operations July 1 and will be dedicated to assisting local farmers — thus creating a more economically viable, environmentally friendly agricultural industry that will improve residents’ access to healthy food.

Special thanks to everyone committed to supporting local farmers and other Maui County businesses. Buying local increases community health and safety, protects farmlands, keeps money circulating in the local economy and, perhaps most importantly, supports community cohesion.

Affordable housing continues to be one of the most critical issues facing our islands. Kudos to those community-minded developers, civic-minded residents, and state and county officials who collaborate to offer truly affordable housing in Maui County.

I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who supported Bill 60, the proposed moratorium on building permits for new visitor accommodations. We must continue to work toward a new vision of tourism — for the health of our fragile island ecosystem, to address the climate emergency, and to protect the quality of life for residents. To all, if you would like to get more involved, please consider participating in the South Maui Community Plan process or send my office an email to stay in touch.

A huge mahalo also to the healthcare workers and other essential workers who have carried us through this pandemic. Your work on the frontline, putting your health at risk to ensure we are cared for, vaccinated, and able to access essential services will not be forgotten and is nothing short of heroic.

Finally, I would like to dedicate this edition of my newsletter to my cousin John Nakamura, who is battling cancer and to whom I am grateful for spending part of his family vacation years ago sign-waving to get me into office. Love and best wishes for a successful recovery, Cuz, and I hope you take personal satisfaction in the work my office has accomplished since then.

Mahalo to all who make Maui County no ka ‘oi!

Yours in sustainability,


P.S. Read my full reflection on the things we have accomplished together by clicking here. 
Virtual Community Meetings

We invite you to join us for our virtual Webinars and Town Halls. These meetings address community concerns, and our most recent event on Sustainable and Regenerative Tourism (click for video) drew more than 1,600 unique viewers on Zoom and Facebook!

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
In the Virtual Chambers
Mayor Vetoes Moratorium on New Hotel Building Permits

On July 2nd, the County Council passed Councilmember King's historic moratorium on building permits for visitor accommodations. Unfortunately, the Mayor chose to veto the bill. Facing threats of litigation from special interest groups, the Council failed to garner the votes needed to override the Mayor's veto. Mahalo to Councilmembers Johnson, Molina, and Sinenci for supporting this popular bill until the end and for standing up to protect South Maui.
In the Hawai`i Tourism Authority’s most recent Resident Sentiment Survey, it asked, “Using a 10-point scale where 10 means Extremely Important and 1 means Not Important at All, how important is it that the state not allow building of additional hotel/condo/timeshare units on my island to help better manage tourism?” Maui County residents gave an average score of 7.90, the highest of any county in the state, indicating that stopping the building of additional accommodations is an important priority for the community. I will continue to fight for the sustainable tourism that our community deserves.
Protecting Our Wetlands

The CARE Committee recently advanced legislation introduced by CM King to map wetlands and expand County protections of these sensitive and important areas. In recent decades, significant amounts of wetlands in South Maui have been lost to development. One result of developing over nature's drainage systems is flooding (photo left). The bill requires Planning Commission review and Council readings before passage. Stay tuned! Click here to read about the proposal.

In addition to following this legislation, join the South Maui Save the Wetlands Hui for a hands-on experience protecting our wetlands. The organization and its volunteers regularly hold clean-up days (photo right) to restore the natural habitat of these important areas.
Recognizing Climate Change and Resilience in the Countywide Policy Plan

When the Countywide Policy Plan was adopted in 2010, the public concern about climate change did not yet match the severity of the issue. Now, the environmental crisis has been recognized by the County and State. It is time that Maui's Countywide Policy Plan, a statement of our County's over-arching values and policy framework set in ordinance, reflect what we now know about the climate emergency. On Sep. 17, Council passed Bill 95 to add a section to the Plan: "L. Mitigate Climate Change and Work Toward Resilience." This addition lays the groundwork for the County to prioritize policies that address emissions, sea level rise, the use of green technologies.
Bill Requiring New, Large Homes to Be Net-Zero Homes Advances

A bill introduced by CM King requiring new homes larger than 5,000 square feet to be net-zero energy homes passed first reading by the County Council. It will head back for second and final reading later this month. The bill has the support of State Chief Energy Officer Scott Glenn, who wrote in testimony, "measures such as this spark conversation and creative thought, as we recognize the importance and lasting impact of the facilities and systems that are built today, and hear about the potential interactions between home design, energy resources, and our natural environment."
New Pesticide Restrictions at County Parks

Bill 72, which was passed through the CARE Committee and introduced by CM Sinenci, prohibits the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers on county property. The bill does not impact farmers or private property, and it is based on scientific evidence which shows the harm of runoff on wildlife and chronic low-level exposure to pesticides on the health of children. The bill goes into effect next year, with the exception of the War Memorial Stadium Complex, Ichiro "Iron" Maehara Baseball Stadium, and Waiehu Municipal Golf Course, which have extended timelines. Read more at Hawai`i Public Radio. Read at Maui Now.
3% County Transient Accommodations Tax to Start Nov. 1

Following recent State legislation, Counties have been enabled to establish a 3% tax on transient accommodations. The Council voted on October 1 to implement the tax starting on November 1. The County estimates it will receive $15,000,000 in additional revenue over the 2022 Fiscal Year, which will be distributed among open space, affordable housing, and tourism management efforts.

Climate Change, Resilience, and Sustainability Contracts Commence

A series of contracted studies and plans to evaluate Maui County's resilience and carbon footprint are being executed by the County's Climate Change, Sustainability, and Resilience Office. These efforts, supported by CM King and Council funding, will help to set a roadmap and goals to reducing Maui's emissions, protecting our environment, and enhancing our resilience. Click here to learn more about the plans and how they interact and review the Sep. 1 CARE Committee meeting which featured an update and presentations from the Office.
Addressing Plastic Pollution

Plastic pollution is a global problem of great proportions. However, as with the plastic bag ban, Maui County can still be a leader in addressing issues of this magnitude. This summer, the Council passed three pieces of CARE Committee legislation related to plastic pollution. The first is a resolution urging our State's Congressional Delegation to support the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act, which shifts the burden of waste management and recycling to the manufacturers and distributors of plastics, rather than the consumer or underdeveloped nations. The two bills prohibit the sale and rental of disposable body boards ("boogie boards") and the sale and use of disposable styrofoam coolers.
Photo of Hawai`i Wildlife Fund Discovery Center art made from recovered plastic pollution.

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 months, CM King plans to look at reef-toxic sunscreen prohibition, opportunities to advance renewable energy goals, carbon sequestration, and refrigerant management. Come testify!
United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26)
Councilmember King has been invited to attend the UN Climate Change Conference, or COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland, this November. With recent climate publications sounding a "code red for humanity," this conference of world leaders is an historic opportunity to unite for climate action. CM King is honored to be one of two ICLEI USA-Local Governments for Sustainability delegates to the Conference and looks forward to representing the concerns of Hawai`i and bringing back ideas for the CARE Committee to work on.
South Maui 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, colleagues, and constituents. CM King presents webinars, hosts panel discussions, and facilitates multiple public meetings. Public input is important to the decision-making process!

What do you envision for South Maui? Get involved and share your thoughts by becoming a part of the South Maui Community Plan process and visiting The South Maui Community Design Workshop is running through October 17 and is available online (click here). Use markers to add pins for areas you want to stay the same or change. Leave remarks and comment on other pins. The Department of Planning is also hosting Talk Story events every Tuesday through October 26. You can invite the Planning Department to speak to your community group about the Plan by emailing

Rental and Utility Assistance
Rental 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 or call the helpline at 808-873-4673

Affordable Housing
In July, 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, CM King is looking to implement some of the suggestions as soon as possible to address the housing crisis. Learn about the plan at A recent proposal from the plan to create a centralized affordable housing interest list for all Maui County residents and upcoming affordable housing projects recently passed first reading at the council. Follow along at and by monitoring the Affordable Housing Committee.

New Fire Department and Police Department Chiefs
Congratulations to newly selected Fire Chief Brad Ventura and Police Chief John Pelletier. Additional congratulations and mahalo nui to the retired Fire Chief David Thyne and Police Chief Tivoli Faaumu for your years of service. We look forward to working with Chiefs Ventura and Pelletier on making South Maui a safer community for all.
CM King presented to the Kaua`i Climate Action Forum, on sustainable tourism. There are many hidden impacts of tourism such as wastewater loads and aviation emissions. It's time to talk about it and come up with solutions!
The Maui County Council supports CM King's initiative to form a youth leadership program. With the help of our office's interns Abseydee and Nikki, we are putting together a plan to create a Youth Council. Details to come! Please email us if you have ideas or recommendations for high school-aged participants.
We're moving in! South Maui is getting a new County District Office at the Maui Research and Technology Park. It is expected to open in November. Daniel Kanahele, a familiar face and voice in South Maui, has been hired to staff the office. The District Office is a location for South Maui to connect to the business of the County Council without having to travel to Central Maui. Stay tuned for updates!
In the Community
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!
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently appointed Councilmember King to serve on the EPA's Local Government Advisory Committee. This is an opportunity to provide guidance to the EPA on environmental and climate change impacts to local governments. As the only member from Hawai`i, CM King is proud to be able to provide our islands a voice at the table.
CM King attended the August blessing for Ikaika Ohanaʻs Kaiāulu O Haleleʻa Apartments, a 100% affordable rental housing development in Kihei which will provide homes to residents earning up to 60% of the area median income. Stay tuned for updates on the housing waitlist and lottery! Pictured: The location of the development, which features gorgeous ocean views from the slopes of Haleakala.
CM King continues to represent her community in media appearances for news outlets big and small. She recently was on a PBS Kākou Town Hall panel to discuss how tourism is impacting South Maui residents. Before that, she appeared on Japanese NHK News to share the impacts of tourism on Hawai`i with an international audience.
From Our Inbox
Aloha CM King,
I finally had an opportunity to watch the Kākou Town Hall meeting.  

Mahina’s transition of the Kūleana State was a highlight of discussion. Your input of having the community at the table for discussion meant a lot to me.  
Although everyone had shared input of where we need to be in moving forward. I felt that You, Mahina and John had contributed much to the discussion for our state to move forward.  
Mahalo for representing Maui and for your dedication to the people of Maui.
Ke Akua’s Blessings,
Aunty Mopsy
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 may be 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.
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.
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NEWSLETTER - Third Quarter 2021