By Tamara Paltin
As chair of the new Disaster, Resilience, International Affairs and Planning Committee, I look forward to using my experience and interests as a former Ocean Safety Officer to collaborate on disaster preparation and mitigation with the Department of Fire and Public Safety, the Maui Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Police and other departments.
Committee Vice-Chair Nohelani Uʻu-Hodgins and I will concentrate on sea-level rise, shoreline erosion, controlled retreat, shoreline-exit strategies and the resilience-hub network to examine disaster preparedness and community resilience. Review of capital-improvement in the sea-level-rise-exposure area will be critical.
We will do our best to implement this policy in the Countywide Policy Plan:
“Improve efforts to mitigate and plan for the impact of natural disasters, human-influenced emergencies and global warming.”
I feel passionate about personal readiness and providing information on how the community can become more resilient. I plan to discuss things that the average citizen can do by including the community’s voices in discussions every step along the way.
Whatever the disaster may be, our committee will explore ways for agencies and communities to minimize adverse effects of unavoidable disasters.
I also hope to increase awareness of educational initiatives such as the Community Emergency Response Team program, with training provided by the Department of Fire and Public Safety.
I invite the public to learn about becoming a community volunteer by visiting https://mauicounty.gov/CERT. For more information on the Maui County Emergency Management Agency, please go to https://mauicounty.gov/emergency.
In addition, the following publicly available resources provide information on disaster preparation, response and recovery:
• Testing, reporting and information on the warning-siren system:
• Department of Fire and Public Safety:
• Disaster preparation and mitigation from the Department of Homeland Security
• Post-disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency
• First-aid and CPR training and blood donations:
• Fire-prevention tips from the National Fire Protection Association:
• United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction:
I have also been investigating Hawai‘i’s legal status under international law since 2019 and would like to continue my research this term under my committee’s international affairs responsibilities. This work includes research on Sister Cities International, whose mission is citizenship diplomacy—a concept that aims to create a global community through engagement across different cultures.
So far, the council has adopted resolutions for 25 cities and one “Sister Chamber,” via Resolution 97-148. This resolution is an agreement to promote mutual understanding between the Maui Japanese Chamber of Commerce and the Fukuyama Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
For more information on Maui County’s Sister Cities, please see https://www.mauicounty.gov/857/Sister-Cities.
This diverse committee will also address the county’s enforcement efforts, illegal transient accommodations and consider improvements to the community plan update process.
The South Maui Community Plan Update process is underway with regular meetings of the South Maui Community Plan Advisory Committee. After the CPAC finishes its review, the Maui Planning Commission will weigh in before the draft community plan is sent to the council for review and approval.
*Tamara Paltin is the chair of the Disaster, Resilience, International Affairs and Planning Committee. She holds the County Council seat for the West Maui residency area. “Council’s 3 Minutes” is a column to explain the latest news on county legislative and community matters. Go to mauicounty.us for more information.