January 2021


While this new year has gotten off to a turbulent start, I am prayerfully positive that as a community and a nation we can bind together in unity for the benefit of our people.

I watched with mixed emotions the recordings of the overtaking of the Capitol of the United States of America. I cried for another nation whose overtaking was successful and to this day has yet to be brought to justice. And now, that nation is being overthrown by their own and led by the current president of the United States. What’s going on that a sitting president can provoke, incite and encourage mob violence against the people of America by attacking the people’s house? Only time will tell of the impacts this event will have on the American people.

My thoughts and prayers are centered on Ashli Babbitt and Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick’s families’ whose loved ones-- along with America-- mourn the events of January 6, 2021.

Here at home, I am grateful to begin my new term as chair of the Human Concerns and Parks committee with an open mind and humble heart working alongside my fellow councilmembers to serve our community. Soon we will take on the complex Budget process, which gives the public, nonprofits and other agencies the opportunity to provide comment on priorities for how County dollars are spent. Please join the virtual hearings as you are able, so your voice can be heard while gaining insights on how the County of Maui allocates funds each fiscal year.

If there is any way we can be of assistance, please leave a voicemail at my office at 270-5501 or send me an email at tasha.kama@mauicounty.us. I would be glad to hear from you, and I hope this year is a productive and healthy one for you and yours.

Me ke aloha pumehana,
Looking Ahead to the 2021-2023 Council Term
Our first-ever virtual Council Inauguration was held last Saturday, January 2nd, with Councilmember Alice L. Lee (Wailuku-Waihe'e-Waikapu residency area) being re-elected Council Chair and Councilmember Keani N.W. Rawlins-Fernandez of Moloka'i being re-elected Council Vice-Chair. I was honored to be re-seated as the Council's presiding officer pro tempore.

I look forward to serving this term as Chair of the Human Concerns and Parks (HCP) Committee.

The remaining standing committees and their chairs, established by Resolution 21-4, are as follows:

Affordable Housing Committee, chaired by Councilmember Johnson

Agriculture and Public Trust Committee, chaired by Councilmember Shane M. Sinenci of East Maui

Budget, Finance and Economic Development Committee, chaired by Council Vice-Chair Rawlins-Fernandez

Climate Action, Resilience and Environment Committee, chaired by Councilmember Kelly Takaya King of South Maui

Government Relations, Ethics and Transparency Committee, chaired by Councilmember Michael J. Molina of Makawao-Haiku-Paia

Infrastructure and Transportation Committee, chaired by Councilmember Yuki Lei K. Sugimura of Upcountry Maui

Planning and Sustainable Land Use Committee, chaired by Councilmember Tamara Paltin of West Maui

The Council also approved the appointment of Director of Council Services Traci Fujita, County Clerk Kathy Kaohu, Deputy County Clerk James Krueger and the staff the Office of Council Services and adopted the Rules of the Council. At the inauguration ceremony earlier in the day, councilmembers were sworn in by Judge Kirstin M. Hamman. For more information on the Maui County Council and its standing committees, please visit MauiCounty.us.
E Komo Mai, Member Johnson
Please join me in welcoming our incoming Lāna'i Councilmember, Gabe Johnson, who will serve as Chair of the Affordable Housing Committee this term.

Member Johnson, who is an organic farmer, believes in Aloha 'Aina practices including healthy lands to ensure healthy people.

"Maui County must ensure that local people are able to grow local," Gabe states on his website. "Specifically, Lāna'i needs an agricultural park, County funds need to be available to small farms, and invasive species need to be culled.

"The County can (also) assist by helping working people. Affordable housing projects funded by local credit unions and built by nonprofits such as Americorp and Habitat for humanity can cut the costs significantly and keep our money on island."

Best wishes, Member Johnson, as you embark upon this new chapter. I look forward to serving alongside you as we seek to empower our residents and work toward building a resilient economy.
Around Town: Ahupua'a Sign Dedication
After designating funding in my Kahului District budget proposal for this project this fiscal year, I was honored to give the blessing in late December for the installment of the new Wailuku Ahupua'a sign on the campus of UH-Maui.

The Maui Nui Ahupua‘a Project is a collaborative signage program created to educate residents and visitors about Hawai‘i’s ancient land division system, their boundaries, stories and sense of place, and to encourage and support the concept of sustainability.

Project coordinator/designer Vernon Kalanikau has been working with community stakeholders, Hawaiian cultural practitioners, kumu and people from their respective ahupuaʻa to review land divisions, boundaries, and to gather moʻolelo (stories, legend, history) to help design signs for the ahupuaʻa on Maui.

The first ahupua‘a signage project Kula Kai (Kihei area in the Moku ʻO Kula) was completed in October 2019. Signs for the Moku ʻO Wailuku (Central Maui area) will be installed starting December 2020. Currently, Vernon is working with the community on the signage for Kula Uka (Upcountry area in the Moku ʻO Kula).

Place names often reflect the intimate knowledge Hawaiians have of the weather, animals, plants, land features, historical events, beloved ancestors, and legends of their gods. When Westerners re-named land features in the islands, roughly 1,500 years of context and meaning were temporarily hidden from public view.

More info: click here.

Please join me this Sunday, Jan. 10th, at The Maui Sunday Market. I'll be there to talk story and learn more about the needs and priorities for our Kahului District.

Click here for more Info: Maui Sunday Market
Staff Highlight: Evan Dust
Evan Dust
Senior Executive Assistant

As we start the second term of office for Presiding Officer Pro Tempore Kama, I start my third year employed by Maui County and my 14th year working in government.

For most of those years, I led long-range transportation planning for Clark County, Washington in the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area.

I bring that experience of public engagement and involvement to assisting Councilmember Kama with office management, public involvement and the development of legislation.

I also bring the personal experience of having lived and worked in both Canada and the continental United States. I obtained my Master’s in Civil Engineering (Transportation) from University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada in 1985. When not working in government, I was a transportation planning consultant in Toronto, Ottawa, Pasadena California, Bellevue Washington, and Portland Oregon.

I was a minor team member for the Ontario Government Committee that recommended the location of the SkyDome stadium (now called Rogers Stadium) in Toronto. My role was the technical calculations of travel distance and time for the 17 candidate locations.

A resident of Wailuku since 2012, I have worked in several local businesses. Outside of my time working for Maui County, I assist in the management of a local video production, social media, and information technology company.

I have been married for 17 years to my spouse, Davelyn. I have two adult sons from a prior marriage. Both of my sons live in Washington State.

In my spare time, I am an avid follower of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team, and enjoy playing Xbox hockey. I am definitely looking forward to a shortened National Hockey League season that may start this month.
From the Kama Kitchen: Crunchy Kama'aina Coleslaw
A healthy and tasty addition to any meal!


1 head (green) cabbage, rinsed &
very thinly sliced (can substitute
1 large pkg. coleslaw mix)

1 Cup fresh pineapple, chopped
(can substitute 1 15-oz. can crushed
pineapple, drained)

1 large carrot, peeled and shredded

1/4 Cup golden raisins or dried cranberries

1 Cup mayonnaise or Vegenaise

1 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or more, to taste)

Optional add-ins:
1/4 Cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
1/2 Cup chopped macadamia nuts or slivered almonds
1 Cup fresh apple, peeled and grated
Mandarin oranges, drained
Red or black grapes, sliced in half
Grated yellow or red onion, to taste
Coleman's mustard powder or smoked paprika, to taste
Black pepper, to taste


Mix all ingredients together and chill for at least one hour in the refrigerator before serving. Garnish with a pinch of coconut and chopped mac nuts if desired. Enjoy!