County of Maui, Hawaii (image:




The Kihei Community Association had two compelling questions for our 2020 County Council Candidates. Those questions and answers from candidates are listed here. Candidates who did not  respond by the requested deadline may still offer their answers, and this table will be updated accordingly.

Candidates were queried via email and responded via email. All candidate responses are printed ‘verbatim’ or word-for-word, with no corrections for spelling or grammar to ensure meaning was unaltered, and also since the lack of a live interview prevents further explanations. Where needed, insertions were made for clarity.

Candidates are listed here, in the same order, essentially, as an earlier KCA article, with incumbents, if existing, being listed first.

The deadline to register online to vote in the primary elections is today, Thursday, July 9th, by 4:30 PM. Here is the link.

East Maui

How would you steer funds toward the Kihei North-South collector road completion?

What ideas do you have for addressing the homeless situation?

Shane Sinenci (image:

As one of 3 councilmembers who sits on the Maui Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), I voted for the approval of an Accelerated TIP Amendment Schedule, for incoming Federal Stimulus funding (6/26/20). In this amendment, we added Maui County Public Works project MC-7, the Kihei North-South Collector Road, Phase 1 from Kulanihako’i Street to Waipuilani Street, for fiscal year 2022. The amendment allocates $3.8 million of Federal funds and $19 million of local funds toward the project. According to the project status report, the design is 40% complete and the Environmental permitting documents are currently being prepared (MPO,6/2020).

I am also supporting House Bill No. 1930 and Senate Bill No. 2687 at the State Legislature, relating to a rental car surcharge tax. The purpose of the Bill(s) is to increase the rental motor vehicle surcharge tax for counties like ours that are experiencing high numbers of vehicular rentals. The funds accrued by such a tax will go towards County projects that mitigate high highway capacity and reduce traffic congestion. I am hoping that the Bills pass, favorably.

First of all, I am highly supportive of the formation of a County Commission on Healing Solutions for the Homelessness, that is being currently proposed by Councilwoman Keani Rawlins-Fernandez. The purpose of the Commission is to promote public health, safety and welfare for our houseless population, and to help combat and eliminate homelessness and poverty in Maui County (Ch.2.31.030). I believe this is the first step to allocating funding and creating policies that address this very important social issue.

I was given the opportunity to visit one of our homeless camps 2 weeks ago, where we were able to hand out personal care products and healthy nutritional food items. Many of the residents were homeless for many different reasons, and it was very interesting to hear their personal stories and their challenges of being homeless. Many of their basic requests was having access to clean water and bathroom facilities. If a Commission were to be formed, I would support collecting data on homeless issues and an inventory of the reasons why people are outside. By doing this, the Commission would have an easier time to connect people with the appropriate agencies for support, like medical services, mental health services, food hub services, childcare services, veteran services and supports from public charities. Now that the Covid-19 has ceased many different operations and activities in our communities, I think we have a great opportunity to address our homelessness issues, at this time.

Claire K. Carroll (image: Honolulu Civil Beat)

I’ve been hearing numerous complaints about roadway issues in South Maui. In particular, the conditions of South Kihei Road continue to deteriorate. Due to sea level rise and frequent flooding, this busy shoreline road continues to erode and collapse in places. It is dangerous and not acceptable that the only option for drivers and cyclists is to travel along the very busy Piilani Highway.

The South Maui community needs driving options; and I believe the North-South collector road is key for connectivity in the area. The County needs to dedicate monies from our highways funds to complete the project. If elected, I would advocate for funding to continue the North-South collector road.

The homeless situation is complicated. There are many who choose to live on the streets, they choose the homeless lifestyle. But there are also many who have faced unfortunate hardship in their lives who end up on the streets. These are the ones who will help to get off the streets and into homes.

Maui County understands that the needs of the homeless are unique; and we are fortunate to have a Homeless Division to focus on these issues. We also have great partners in the non-profit world who – with compassion – provide much needed services to our vulnerable homeless population. They are Ka Hale A Ke Ola, Family Life Center and the many faith-based organizations who – on a daily basis – serve our Maui’s homeless population. The County, in conjunction with our homeless providers work together to get people and families off the streets. Continuation of these funds is essential.

In addition to providing funding to these very worthy non-profit agencies, County funds are needed for social service & financial counseling, drug rehabilitation, medical & mental health services, job skills training and child care. These types of services are necessary to help this vulnerable population to get back on their feet and stay off the streets.

Also, key to addressing homelessness is the need to increase the availability of housing. County’s continued support of low income rental housing is critical to help our homeless population who are at the lower AMI levels. Also, critical to addressing homelessness is the rental assistance program – I support an increase to this program. As we see more residents who are financially impacted by COVID19 issues, this program will be critical to keep residents in their homes.

West Maui

How would you steer funds toward the Kihei North-South collector road completion?

What ideas do you have for addressing the homeless situation?

Tamara Paltin (image:

I am working on an initiative with council services staff to increase the revenue that Maui County can receive from rental cars while also using the increase in cost to lower the number of rental cars straining our infrastructure.  We all see the excess of rental cars that were clogging our roads now that they are parked in one place. I’m working on legislation that would require rental car companies to have surface parking area for a certain percentage of the cars they bring on to the island at all times as well as for a tiered registration rate that would go up the more cars an entity has to register.  The county has jurisdiction over vehicle registration and for example, 5 or less cars can get one rate, a couple hundred cars would get another rate and anything above a couple hundred would pay the highest rate and the county could use the revenue generated to address our county road needs.
I am a proponent of Housing First type solutions.  In Hawaii, many of us grew up loving to camp, sometimes all summer long and during every school break.  I think we should designate safe campground type areas and provide for basic hygiene and safety needs (compostable toilets, showers, lockers) with Kauhale type management structures in partnership with individuals and non-profit agencies that are already working in the houseless arena.  Also, where appropriate for working poor, areas for them to park overnight and get services to help them get back on their feet.  Ideally, we would simultaneously be working with non-profit developers to develop more LIHTC projects to transition those who desire into low income rentals.  I also support the idea of a commission for Healing Solutions for Houslessness as proposed by Council Vice Chair Rawlins-Fernandez.

Rick Nava (image: Honolulu Civil Beat)

To have a Kihei North-South collector road is critical to the vitality of Kihei/Wailea. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, steering any type of funding for the completion of this very important project difficult be difficult. Jobs and our economy will be the priority.

Once the state’s economy is stable, I will want to see the state, county and the major resorts of Wailea along with Kihei Community Association work together to ensure the completion of the connector be completed much sooner than later.

Homelessness is a problem not only on Maui but the entire State of Hawaii. There are several reasons why we have a lot of homeless people. Though we try to build “affordable homes” or “workforce housing”, they’re not affordable to local families. For these homes to be affordable, the County of Maui must become a partner of the home builders. I would like to see the County of Maui investing in the impact fees of new home projects.

I believe that if the County takes on the impact fees, it will help decrease the cost of the homes being built. With this in mind, we will have homes that are far cheaper and hopefully more affordable for local families that they will not have to work two jobs to make ends meet.

Further, the County will have it’s investment back from the property taxes that will be paid by homeowners, that will be a lot more than just property tax for the raw land. I see the partnership and subsidizing the cost of the impact fees as an investment to the future of Maui County.

We also have people with mental disability, drug and alcohol addition that would rather be on the streets. They’ve become an eyesore and we definitely need to do something to help these people. Unfortunately, we do not have enough facilities and professionals to take care of these people.

Once again, the pandemic and the decrease of revenue from both the State and the County will make it very difficult to fund any new ideas/projects that will help the people with mental disability as well as people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol.

We have an abundance of empty shops, warehouses as well as big box stores. I will reach out to the owners of these buildings to see if it’s possible to rent these structures to be used as shelters for the people who are living on the streets.

I also understand that some of these people prefer to be on the streets and can’t comply to structures or requirements to be admitted to shelters. These people need the help the most from mental health professionals as well as counselors to help them get back on their feet. I will work diligently with these professionals to ensure that these people receive the assistance they require to be productive citizens

Sne Patel, Council candidate (image:

Kihei, like Lahaina, is a growing area that will be better served by an updated transportation system that allows its residents a safe and multi-modal way to travel – whether by vehicle, bike or foot. MPO’s inclusion of the project in its Transportation Improvement Program is a step in the right direction to have federal, state and county monies working together to complete this project. I would like the opportunity to further research what funds may be available in the county capital improvement program budget for such measures, as well as examine possible sources of revenue that may be generated to create more funding, e.g. the proposed $2 rental car tax; or a possible transit fee assessed to visitors, akin to Japan’s, which would allow for upfront revenue generation that offsets decreased visitor spending. I think we must look to a comprehensive understanding of the causes of homelessness to find holistic solutions that will generate long-term, positive impact for our community.  We can look at community-based, housing first models, such as the Kahauiki Village on Oahu, to best serve our most vulnerable. Through providing shelter, mental health, medical health and access to employment/training in the facility or nearby, as well as space to grow food for the community, we can most effectively work toward rehabilitation and eventual transition of residents into society. I think such efforts could be done in both urban, micro-units and rural, larger units to offer a solution that works best for the specific community assets and needs of the resident. This can be accomplished through public-private partnerships


How would you steer funds toward the Kihei North-South collector road completion?

What ideas do you have for addressing the homeless situation?

Alice Lee, County Councilmember


Currently Phase 1 of the NSCR from Waipuilani St. to Kulanihakoi is programmed in the Maui Transportation Improvement Program County funds. The cost is estimated to be $23M.

Due to the COVID19 pandemic and its devastating effects on our economy, Maui County will experience a substantial loss in real property revenues for at least the next two to three years. We are trying to quickly support and advance economic diversification on a number of fronts, such as farming and ranching, health care, construction of infrastructure and housing and other promising industries and businesses.

The state has approved $500 million in CIP on Maui, we just approved the county’s new budget of $822 million and Cares Act federal funding of $66 million.

I will try my best to ensure that planning, design and other requirements continue on the proposed NSCR so that funding for non shovel ready projects can be redirected to the NSCR project. I will also try to appropriate additional funding in the county’s next fiscal year budget, cash, bond or other financing.

The homeless population consists of several sub groups: (1) mentally ill, (2)  those afflicted with addiction (illegal substances, alcohol, prescription drugs), (3) those in true transition, such as between jobs, homes,.etc. and those who choose to be houseless for a variety of reasons , such as sovereignty issues and a preference to be independent.. Each group has their own set of challenges.  To me, government’s role should be to provide a progression of shelter and housing opportunities for all of the groups.  Some will require wrap around services, most will require affordable units , some will require institutionalization. Thus, it is essential to grow capacity (beds and units) every year. It’s also important to understand the different service or program needs of each group. Identifying and coordinating the current non profit service providers and supporting their funding and resource requirements as well as ensuring non duplication of services would be a huge step forward toward reducing and managing homelessness.


How would you steer funds toward the Kihei North-South collector road completion?

What ideas do you have for addressing the homeless situation?

Tasha Kama (image: maui

In a 2017 letter, the “ Maui MPO Policy Board brought to the attention of County Council the possibility of implementing a County GET surcharge. A preliminary estimate is that the surcharge would generate about $37M per year, or about $450M over the 12 years allowed under HRS Act 001.  It is through these types of mechanisms that funding can be secured.  But, the Council did not take action and that opportunity was lost.  One to steer funds to the North South Collector Road co(u)ld be generated from the car rentals. My ideas for addressing those who are unsheltered i(s) to delineate the unsheltered into categories, such as:

  1. Those who are willing to accept help
  2. Those who don’t want help
  3. Those who don’t know they need help

For those who are willing to accept help we should support their move to self-sufficiency.

For those who don’t want help and just want to live free on the street or in the parks should be ticketed for vagrancy and have them attend classes to learn. 

For those who don’t know they need help, we should go to court and get an order to treat them so their mental health can be restored. 

Deb Kaiwai, Council Candidate (image:


The Paia relief route, Kihei collector road and Hana Highway bridges was reportedly going to cost $160 (million dollars) over a four year period while the county approved $124 (million dollars) for these projects. These projects were underfunded from the beginning.

I would lobby Kihei’s State House of  Representative, Tina Wildberger and Senator Roz Baker for state funds and have them lobby our federal representatives for federal funds to complete the project.

I have patrolled the Kihei area in the evening to learn more about the homeless situation in Kihei, Kahului, and Wailuku over a period of one year.

In Kihei, there is a company that rents Volkswagen vans and informs their customers that they can park and sleep in their van where ever they want. Many of them would consistently park at the end of Lipoa and were kindly asked to move their vehicle and informed that they can’t sleep there.

* Companies who instruct their customers to make unlawful choices should be severely fined.

* The county should be having a conversation with the owners of the Pu’unene Sugar Mill and negotiate that site as being the Self-Sustainable Living community that provides a continuum of care for all homeless.

Carol Lee Kamakona (image: Facebook)

With all the construction currently happening and slated to happen in the K?hei, Wailea, Makena area, South Maui residents need an alternate route besides Pi?ilani Hwy. To achieve the continuation of the North-South collector road, I would look for Federal funding for Public roadways or possibly look into a surcharge assessed onto rental cars for Highway maintenance. I would also work with the Community for their input to determine how to handle areas where subdivisions currently exist. To address the homeless situation, I would look at all the possible reasonings first: mental illness, substance abuse/addiction, choice, job loss etc. I would then look to forming a task force with representatives from these agencies
> to speak amongst the homeless populace. Second, I would work with people like Lisa Darcy who has been “boots on the ground” and see what needs the homeless would want and what kind of help they would accept. Another avenue I would take to address the situation would be looking into repurposing or rezoning some of the empty storefronts or office spaces into temporary housing or renovating them into another homeless shelter. Or possibly looking at what inventory of vacant land the County has or could acquire to build a tiny home community or commune.

South Maui

How would you steer funds toward the Kihei North-South collector road completion?

What ideas do you have for addressing the homeless situation?

Kelly King (image:

I have been working with an administrative assistant in the Mayor’s office to keep the NSCR project on track and pushing for federal funding to expedite this important road. I also have testified at the MPO on the importance of this throughway to the additional affordable housing projects currently on the books for Kihei. We need to keep relating the importance of the completion of the NSCR to approval of additional development in our area. I hope to work with the KCA to invite our Dept. of Public Works to a virtual meeting to update our community on the status. After I became the district councilmember, I held public meetings to discuss the matter and get the local community on board with finding solutions within our community. This resulted in the creation of a volunteer working group that supported a Mobile Hygiene Unit for South Maui to address immediate needs of the homeless here. A smaller unit recently ordered will complete the ADA requirements and we should see both units on the ground in action within a month (unless delayed by the pandemic). I also hired Lisa Darcy of Share Your Mana as temporary staff for the past 6 weeks to write up recommendations (forwarded to the Mayor’s office for CARES Act funding expenditures) and to complete a report with recommendations for solutions. Lisa has been on the ground, sometimes living among the homeless, providing direct aid and care to the unsheltered, and she has insights not often expressed by department employees. I hope to continue holding community meetings in Kihei to further develop the tiny homes idea. I also still want to pursue the safe parking lot idea for families and individuals who need a legal place to sleep overnight. After our community meetings, there was an experimental project started by one of the meeting participants that seemed to work well, but I agree with that individual that this should be a county-sponsored effort. Solutions should be developed with compassion and understanding of the various reasons for houselessness.

Thomas Cook (image:

No response by publication date. No response by publication date.


How would you steer funds toward the Kihei North-South collector road completion?

What ideas do you have for addressing the homeless situation?

Mike Molina (image:

I would be open to securing county taxing authority to apply a rental car surcharge. Funds can be used to pay for North South Collector Road improvements. We also need to work with elected officials, the Maui Metropolitan Planning Organization, Maui Department of Transportation and State Department of Transportation to obtain Federal funding. Funding from sources like the County of Maui’s Affordable Housing Fund and State Funds can be used to purchase land for creating transitional and/or permanent supportive housing with the appropriate services on site to help reduce the number of homeless. The County of Maui needs to maintain and strengthen partnerships with nonprofits and faith based groups who provide assistance to the homeless.

I would support funding for job education programs to help reintegrate our homeless into our mainstream community.

Aja Eyre, Council Candidate (image:

It is my belief that the completion and expansion of Kihei North-South collector road is long overdue, and that funds need to be steered to the project to complete it at least by its 20 year anniversary of announcement. While we are going to see a decrease of road funding with the drop in fuel taxes on a local level, it is predicted that the federal government will be releasing funds for capital road improvements beyond the “safety and repairing existing infrastructure and bridges” prioritization. The MPO and TIP need to quickly ensure that our county’s main bypass and traffic alleviation projects are shovel-ready so that we can quickly apply for and receive the federal grants when they are made available.  Our current decreased traffic is a great time to get moving on these projects, and the Kihei collector road should be prioritized.

As we continue through and past the pandemic, I would like to finally see an increase in the county’s rental vehicle surcharge tax to provide more funding to these traffic projects, as well as demanding that our state-collected and devoured Transit Accomodation Tax be more justly portioned back to the counties to be used for tourism impact mitigation projects, including traffic planning and alleviation. Historically a bearer of a full third of Hawai’i’s tourists, Maui is continually short-changed by the state, who jealously guards its taxing power. I do not support raising county property taxes, but do believe in fighting for more rights in taxing power of our visitors if the state is not going to provide more funding to address our shouldering of tourism effects.

In addition, I believe that the advent of empowered community planning boards should be prioritized as well. With community-based boards who direct the planning of their own communities, we should see more accurate attention and funding provided to the projects that are most efficiently beneficial to the communities. And by empowered, I believe that these boards should have actual power to approve and disapprove projects and direct planning, and not just be advisory boards. I support a full dispersal of power in the county, so that we can attain a higher level of civic involvement and a more just dispersal of budget. I am in strong favor of the county managing director amendment to the county charter that is going to be on our upcoming ballot, and I am in favor of shorter term limits for councilmembers, as well as districting for councilmembers. Our population has grown too large, and the impacts of tourism on our economy and environment are too great for us to treat ourselves like a small, old-boys’ club county any longer. The North-South Kihei Road Collector is a prime example of why we need to clean up our local government and seek a higher level of representation, efficacy, and efficiency.

Kihei experiences a considerable amount of unsheltered homelessness, so I would like to first concede that I do not have the first-hand knowledge of what would work most specifically for Kihei’s at-risk or currently experiencing homelessness. I believe that community planning boards would be able to give excellent insight to the county in addressing the needs of their community’s homeless. But, my ideas for Maui County’s homeless citizens overall look to three areas:

First, we need to get more creative and less slothful as it pertains to affordable housing. I think we also need to change our mindset to addressing affordable rentals before we address affordable purchasable housing, because my research suggests that affordable rentals is the foundational step to the other. Besides many of the initiatives just recently passed and those just getting going, affordable rentals could be increased by looking at our “empty center” commercial areas and considering rezoning vacant and derelict commercial areas for affordable rentals and workforce housing. We could also do more to allow our resident property owners to remodel and restructure their properties to be able to provide more legal and affordable rentals, with the profits directly benefiting our residents. I’m also interested in a vacancy tax, which would encourage offshore property owners to rent their empty homes out, driving up the inventory of rentals and decreasing the cost. I also support the recent completion of senior housing and homeless resource centers in our county, and expect these will help out tremendously.

Second, I believe that we need to increase our attention to the health, and specifically the mental health of our islands’ residents. Our funding and attention to increasing access to health services and resources positively affects all layers of the population. And when our at-risk for homelessness populations are provided stable, affordable housing, it is also a means by which we can lead them to better health care, so we cannot have one without the other.  We have very well-meaning, well-staffed, and well-informed non-profits here in the county that also would like to see more cooperation from the county in addressing the needs and alleviation of the suffering of the homeless population. With the coming economic recession, my concern for the health and mental health of our at-risk and homeless population is more pressing than ever, and we need to ensure our leadership is on board with focusing attention to these vulnerable citizens.

And third, we need to focus attention on education in our county for the betterment of the citizens and the economy. We need to open the doors to allow our hospital and college to provide more educational opportunities to both train and educate our population, and to raise up trained workers in the sectors that will be able to address extreme poverty and mental health crises. We need to seek more local control of our public schools so that we can address Maui County’s education and career training needs. We also need to become a small-agriculture-friendly county and state, whereas we have only been a corporate-agriculture-friendly county and state in the past. A more diversified economy will provide more economic opportunity to the disadvantaged.

We have bright minds and creative solutions available, but we need to act more furiously and efficiently to address them. We are a tight-knit community and could potentially be a national-leader in caring for our most vulnerable and needy citizens. Instead of seeing homelessness as a blight, we need to see it’s alleviation as an opportunity to make our county a better place for all of its residents. If you would like to see a more specific list of my ideas to empower our economy, environment, and health in our county, please visit

Laurent Zahnd (image: PBS Hawaii)

I am not aware of the situation and would need to collect more info about this project.
The current “Housing First” strategy doesn’t work, both in terms of success rate and budget efficiency. After extensive talks with homeless people, I find most of them dream to work! They just aren’t offered the opportunity to serve, and there’s a lot of stigmas that keep them in a vicious cycle, mostly due to judgments that homeless people are either disgusting, lazy, criminal, drug addicts, mentally ill or simply not to be trusted.
Starting with a “job first” approach can yield greater results, huge savings on social assistance funding, and restoration of the broken mutual trust. With providing homeless people the opportunity to do some simple paid work like farming or weed whacking three to four days per week, we could give them access to housing after a month of commitment, knowing that they are already making efforts and generating income, which would generate more support from the community for providing them affordable housing, and most of all; boost the homeless people’s self-worth, which is ultimately the fuel of their self-reliance.

Upcountry: Kula-Pukalani

How would you steer funds toward the Kihei North-South collector road completion?

What ideas do you have for addressing the homeless situation?

MPO Chair, Council Member Yuki Lei Sugimura (image:

No response by publication date. No response by publication date.


How would you steer funds toward the Kihei North-South collector road completion?

What ideas do you have for addressing the homeless situation?

Alberta de Jetley, candidate for Lanai council seat (

 Connector road- apply for federal or state funding to designate this road as part of Kihei’s emergency evacuation an essential route for tsunami warnings and brush fires.  Kihei has experienced huge population growth over the past two decades. Presently in the event of a disaster, Kihei’s main oceanside roads will be grid-locked. (P)ut a homeless task force onto the streets to identify homeless individuals with mental health issues first.  Set up safety zones where families with young children can safely stay in their cars or tents and provide toilets and hygiene stations – showers, laundry facilities.  Get homeless people off the sidewalks and parks. There are dozens of empty buildings in the Kahului area.  Set some of these up as transitional accommodations. Provide additional funding to non-profit organizations that are already working with the homeless.Work more closely with Lt. Gov. Josh Green to see how his task force is dealing with the homeless on Oahu.

Gabe Johnson, candidate for Lanai council seat (image:

We can do it with capital improvement funds. Also as long as we are receiving federal COVID CARE Relief funds we can steer some towards if the County can justify spending federal money on the project.
First, build more affordable homes! Secondly we must address the root causes of homelessness. When people are overworked, living check to check and struggling to make ends meet we see a rise in the “diseases of despair”. To prevent trauma we must create a healthy economy where people work with dignity for a livable wage. When we have a large middle class we see homelessness and the trauma of living in a winner take all capitalistic system lessen greatly.

Matt Mano (image:

No response at press time but Mr. Mano did contact KCA to confirm email. No response at press time but Mr. Mano did contact KCA to confirm email.


How would you steer funds toward the Kihei North-South collector road completion?

What ideas do you have for addressing the homeless situation?

Keani Rawlins Fernandez (image:

No response by publication date. No response by publication date.

Stacy Helm Crivello (image:

Needless to say, during these unsettling times,availability of funds will be challenging. The county will need to seek federal funds to assist with completion of the NSCR. The funds may not be in full assignment; but, there are initial funds to start construction.
It is my understanding in addition to highway funds, it will be necessary to seek federal funds to do the North Collector Road Completion. The north segment from Waipuilani to Kaonoulu St., if I recall, the construction cost is at $43m. $23M is for the first half of this remaining segment from Waipuilani. As the segments of construction runs from 2023 to 2024; 2025 to 2026 and 2027, funds may be available at this later time. The southern segment will cost $30 to $40 million dollars. I recognize that the cost is high and the start and completion will be based on revenues received to expend.
The efforts that the department of human concerns are addressing towards our homeless situation are in step to provide housing first for the homeless. I support the concept of housing first with case management to recognize the homeless families and homeless individuals various needs. Construction of homes for the homeless is a consideration that the county can provide. Strong partnerships with the private sectors will help the situation.