UPDATED: Seven People Want To Be Maui County Mayor For Some Reason


Yesterday the Hawaii Office of Elections released the official roster of official political candidates. The primary election isn’t until Aug. 9, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun with them now. Here are the candidates for Maui County Mayor, in alphabetical order, exactly as they appear on the ballot:

ARAWAKA, Alan M.: The incumbent Maui County Mayor.

HAWKES, Beau E.: Owner/proprietor of The Maui Wowie, which sells bamboo bongs.

KAY, Alana: Currently “embarking a new endeavor with Office Support Hawaii/psychic*

KOPELMAN, Orion (Ori): Author of Creating Mauitopia, published in 2009.

MAMUAD, Neldon E (AZD): Founder of MAUIWatch Facebook page/Maui County Liquor Commissioner.

PALTIN, Tamara (Tam): Maui County lifeguard.

WAIKIKI, Nelson Nahinu Jr.: Convicted felon/con artist

It’s a fascinating crop of candidates, and not merely because Waikiki–should he somehow win–would most likely be barred from actually taking office (pleading guilty to defrauding investors in a water company that is supposedly in business with President Barack Obama will do that to a guy).

Including Arakawa, four of the candidates have run for office before–Kay lost trying to unseat Councilman Don Couch in 2012 and Kopelman and Waikiki lost badly in previous mayoral runs in 2010 and 2006, respectively.

Of the seven candidates, AZD probably has the biggest recognition because of his previous radio career, current Facebook page (29,000 likes!) and his recent $25,000 settlement with the County of Maui over his earlier “TAGUMAWatch” Facebook page, which apparently pissed off Maui Police Officer Keith Taguma so much that the county accused AZD of “cyber-bullying.” But Facebook likes aren’t the same thing as votes, and other candidates like Paltin–a longtime Save Honolua activist–can draw on more established grass roots support.

That leaves Arakawa, who’s now served nearly two (non-consecutive) terms as mayor and has been in local politics for decades, and the bamboo bong guy who doesn’t seem to run for anything before.

Oh yeah, this is gonna be fun.

* I’ve changed the part of this post describing Kay’s employment. When I first posted this item, I listed her occupation as owner of a cleaning company, but Kay later emailed to say she was “phasing out” that company and directed me to her mayoral website. She also objected to my calling her a psychic: “I don’t call myself a psychic. I am a spiritual intuitive which means that I read subtle energies of many types.” Since I consider a “spiritual intuitive” to be a “psychic,” that descriptor remains.

Photo of Mayor McCheese: Jack Bunny


Anthony Pignataro

About Anthony Pignataro

Anthony Pignataro has been a journalist since 1996. He started work as MauiTime's Editor in 2003, took a couple years off starting in 2008, then returned to the staff in 2011. He's the author of "Stealing Cars With The Pros," a 2013 collection of his journalism and the Maui novels "Small Island" (2011) and "The Dead Season" (2012)–all of which were published by Event Horizon Press. In 2014, his one-act play "War Stories" won second place in the Maui Fringe Festival.