Ask the Mayor: Kihei Stench; Paia Graffiti; Noisy Trash Pickup

March 15, 2013, 5:32 PM HST · Updated March 19, 8:56 AM
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By Mayor Alan Arakawa

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.

Dear Mayor,

Q: My question concerns the county’s graffiti control and removal program, particularly in Paia. Having lived in Los Angeles for 30 years before moving to Maui 11 years ago, I have seen the adverse impact of graffiti on communities and property values. My immediate concern is the increase in graffiti I have observed in Paia; there has recently been an increase in the size and scope of graffiti along Baldwin Avenue and the Hana Highway.

Welcome sign to Paia. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Welcome sign to Paia. File photo by Wendy Osher.

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A: First off, any graffiti vandalizing county property will be cleaned up by county staff.

Private property owners are responsible for taking care of their own facilities. After being forwarded your inquiry, MPD officers drove through Paia, up along Baldwin Avenue and out to Haiku to assess the level of graffiti on both public and private property.

They observed limited graffiti in alleyways in Paia town, a more conspicuous site at the former sugar mill, and some graffiti on one side of the second concrete revetment along Hana Highway.

The officers also checked reports from 2012 and found there were a total of three cases reported in the Upcountry district, which includes the north shore area. There were seven cases of graffiti reported in Kahului in 2012, and three cases in Wailuku. No arrests were made, due to reports citing “unknown responsibles.”

While it is often difficult to catch perpetrators at work, a unique MPD program targeting juvenile first-time offenders helps clean up the graffiti. Project POI (“Positive Outreach Interventions”) is a program co-funded by county and federal funds, and offers young first-time offenders the opportunity to voluntarily write a letter of apology and an essay about their involvement in the offense, attend a “second-chance” class with their parents, and participate in four Saturdays of supervised community service including graffiti cleanup, taro patch restoration in Iao Valley, rock wall rebuilding at the ancient Hawaiian fishpond in Kihei, and yardwork for senior citizens. Their final class includes observing real-world court proceedings of adult offenders, followed by a graduation ceremony.

After one MPD officer created an anti-graffiti project many years ago, the idea was folded into Project POI, which saw its first class of seven graduate in 2000; there have been 735 graduates to date with 17 more graduating this Wednesday. I’m proud that our police personnel make it a high priority to steer our youth in the right direction, and grateful that graffiti gets wiped out in the process— truly a win-win for our community.

Dear Mayor,

Q: The county sewer pumping station #6, located on South Kihei Road next to the Kihei Fire Station, has a distinctly unpleasant odor emitting from it and has for years. What’s up with that?

A: This problem is being addressed as we speak: After an odor-control study was completed, funding was allocated for the recommended modifications to the pump station. A contract in the amount of $784,625 was awarded in late 2012 for the installation of a Granulated Activated Carbon (GAC) air filtration unit, the rehabilitation of the wet well, and other architectural and mechanical improvements to the station. Construction is expected to begin on April 1, with targeted completion in August 2013.

Dear Mayor,

Q: I was wondering if the trash pickup personnel could arrive and pick up a little later than they do now? Here in Kihei, they show up in my neighborhood anywhere from 5:45 – 6:30 a.m. and it’s a heck of a wake-up call.

File Image Courtesy County of Maui.

File Image Courtesy County of Maui.

A: The Department of Environmental Management, Solid Waste Division, handles residential refuse collection, which includes about 44,880 pickups every week in South Maui, Central Maui, West Maui, and all of Upcountry including Kula, Pukalani, Makawao, Paia, Haiku and beyond.

Unfortunately, the time your trash gets picked up cannot be changed without impacting the efficiency of refuse collection along your route, as this would involve re-routing the entire route. The change would also impact the length of time it takes to pick up your route, and cause increased fuel consumption. Each route is designed so that the trucks can collect trash, travel to the landfill to dump the trash, return to the route, continue collection and finally return to the landfill to dump the final load within their 10-hour workday. Each route is designed to handle a maximum of 1,000 pickups in a day.

Want to Ask the Mayor?

[email protected], phone: 270-7855 or mail: 200 S. High Street, 9th Floor, Wailuku, Hawaii 96793.

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