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“Level the Playing Field’

Another reason to worry about crushing cars at Kanaha Mike Kitagawa’s proposal to put a car crushing and storage facility next to the Kanaha Pond State Wildlife Sanctuary is fast becoming an explosive issue. Literally. Officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of Land and Natural Resources Division, among other state and federal agencies, have already gone on record saying that crushing cars could harm the sensitive Kanaha Pond (see “The Big Squeeze,” Apr. 7). Now add the Maui County Department of Fire and Safety to that list. The fire department’s mission is to protect life, environment and property. According to official comments filed with the county on the Kitagawa proposal, the site presents a potential threat to all three. “A fire is a very real possibility at this location, even with most/all vehicle fluids

Cruise Control Vessel: Infinity Operator: Celebrity Cruises Complement: 2032 Last Maui Visit: April 9-10, 2005 Last Center for Disease Control Inspection: Dec. 11, 2004 Score: 96 out of 100 Go to the Celebrity Cruises website ( and you’ll find that their 91,000 ton Infinity “is steeped in prestige and elegance”; “consistently makes a long-lasting, luxurious impression” and “resonates with rich marble and wood accents and signature Celebrity style.” She certainly made an impression with CDC inspectors last December. While they did award her a handsome score, they also found a few blemishes on that signature Celebrity style. Like the way staff was storing serving tongs in a glass of water over at the Deck 10 pool bar. The pool bar pantry dishwasher also hadn’t been using water that was hot enough since mid-November. Then there was the way the Ocean Bar staff would stow open bottles of wine with the beer kegs in the undercounter refrigerator. And who could forget the “moldy flat of mushrooms” noted in the vegetable refrigeration room. Very luxurious indeed.

-Anthony Pignataro




LC Watch


What fire officials are afraid of removed,” wrote Captain Val Martin. One of Martin’s biggest concerns is that the fuel load of upholstery and interior plastics are more than enough to maintain and spread a fire throughout the stored vehicles. “Brake fluid is a major concern due to its characteristics and its ability to spontaneously ignite when mixed with certain oxidizers,” Martin added. While Kitagawa plans on draining the fluids before crushing, residual fluids could be trapped in the lines and cavities when crushing begins. Kitagawa has said he wants to do whatever it takes to address these and other environmental concerns about his application. He’s noted that there are two fire hydrants on an adjoining property and the equipment on-site will carry a fire extinguisher. But if a fire occurs, Martin is also worried about contaminating the Kanaha Wildlife Sanctuary. “All water used to fight a fire at this facility may eventually runoff into the protected wildlife area,” he wrote. “This runoff water may include residual contaminants such as motor oil, coolant, brake fluid, etc.” Martin also worries that in the event of a fire, the prevailing trade winds will allow the smoke to travel to populated areas in the Kahului area. “This is a serious health hazard and the smoke content will be more harmful to residents as compared to organic matter,” he wrote. Fire Chief Carl Kaupalolo explains that we have to look carefully at the site’s proposed location. “Not only is this property next to a pristine Wildlife Sanctuary,” he said, “it is in a high occupancy area.” High occupancy, to say the least: neighboring properties include The Gas Company storage facility, the Maui Oil Company office building and fuel dispensing facility, VIP Foods and an office building. The Gas Company manager Mustafa





Demirbag told me that while he cannot control what happens around his facility, he’s also concerned about a possible explosion. Currently, The Gas Company facility has two 210,000-gallon liquid propane tanks and four 30,000 gallon horizontal or bullet tanks on their property. They’re also planning to add six more 30,000-gallon bullet tanks. “Kitagawa’s U-shaped property surrounds our storage tanks and building,” Demirbag told me. “The possibility of a fire is a great concern for our company.” Some of the occupants of the office building fronting Kitagawa’s property are uneasy about their new neighbor as well. Ralph Sifford, who owns Second Wind Sail Surf and Kite, told me he’s nervous about having the crushing facility in such close proximity to his business and the neighboring retail space. “This is my livelihood,” he said. “This building holds my inventory, my employees, and our future. Exposing the neighboring business owners and their employees to the risk of a fire is not right.” While Maui desperately needs a facility to deal with abandoned cars and appliances, it’s becoming clear that the lot directly adjacent to the Kanaha Wildlife Sanctuary and many local businesses is a bad choice. “I would like to suggest that a different site be found that would limit the exposure of a fire to less populated areas,” Fire Captain Martin wrote. “I would also like to suggest that a site be found that does not border a wildlife refuge or sanctuary.” MTW




Spend just a few hours behind a bar—or a few minutes talking to someone who has—and you’ll get an earful of how arbitrary and even draconian the Maui County Liquor Rules can be. Performers can’t say naughty words on stage; customers can only dance inside the specially taped-off dancing zone; employee names on timesheets must be spelled out exactly as they appear on official county Liquor Control paperwork. A violation of any of those laws could bring thousands of dollars in fines or worse on the establishment. For the last couple of months, the LC has been working on revising those rules. The extent won’t be known until they begin holding public hearings, but local liquor licensees and manufacturers wasted no time getting into the act. Enter year-old Makawao-based Haleakala Distillers, which makes the GMOfree and vegan-friendly Mo’ Bettah Rum. On Mar. 14, 2005, company manager Harrison “Jim” Sargent wrote two letters to the Maui County Liquor Commission asking for a couple rule changes. For a company that boasts on its website ( that it employs no attorneys, accountants or consultants—“Why have a bunch of ‘suits’ sucking resources out of the company when they have no impact whatsoever on its actual products?”—Sargent sure crafted a couple fine legal arguments that two provisions of the Maui County Liquor Rules—08-10111 and 08-101-22—are arbitrary and unfairly penalize locally owned spirits distillers. Rule 101-11 makes it far easier and economical for “Fortune 500 companies, such as Anheuser Busch” to deliver booze than smaller, locally owned labels like Haleakala. Rule 101-22 prohibits spirits distillers from selling their products in “tasting rooms,” though it’s completely legal for beer and wine manufacturers to do so. Being helpful, Sargent even included possible rule change language in his letters. “All that is ought here is a ‘level playing field,’” wrote Sargent. “The local economic playing field should not benefit one product class at the expense of another, nor should it handicap any local product from competing with imports.” There’s a certain logic to his requests, which is why Sargent is going to need all the luck he can get.

—Anthony Pignataro


APRIL 14, 2005


08.42 Fashion Issue, April 14, 2005, Volume 8, Issue 42, MauiTime  
08.42 Fashion Issue, April 14, 2005, Volume 8, Issue 42, MauiTime  

MauiTime showcases the latest fashions created by local designers in the annual Fashion Issue. Bamboo Chi is reviewed in the Maui Restaurant...