City Council District 6 Questionnaire
1. What is your plan for the Natatorium?
I would support any use that maintains a memorial that continues to honor the more than 10,000 veterans from Hawai’i who served in World War I.
2. How should the city address its problem with houselessness? And do you support the privatization of public housing? Please explain your position.
The city and state should begin a closer collaboration with each other and with non-profits to provide a broader and more coordinated approach to helping the homeless. We need more focused strategies and programs to address stemming the tide of the newly homeless. Secondly, we need other strategies to address the needs and concerns of the long-term homeless. These strategies could include creating public-private partnerships that would utilize a range of incentives to create job training and job opportunities; explore the use of internship-like programs to get un- or underemployed people into jobs where they can receive training and demonstrate their capabilities; and we must address the needs of each individual like childcare, medical and mental problems as part of this strategic approach.
I support privatization of public housing only if low and fixed income affordable rentals are guaranteed. I do not support privatization if people are displaced because of economic reasons. Privatization often comes with promises of renovation and upgrade, and I would make sure these promises are kept.
3. What actions should the city take to respond to climate change?
We need to look at long term implications of current shoreline management laws.
4. Would you support the Honolulu City Council joining the neighbor island Councils in opposing the Public Land Development Corporation? Please explain your position.
Yes. I believe the PLDC threatens homerule. I do not support shortcuts in the entitlement process. I am well acquainted with the Hawaii State Association of Counties (HSAC), and served as its president. I worked with councilmembers from four counties to create Hawaii’s first statewide restaurant smoking ban. While I was City Council Chair, Honolulu became the first county to pass a restaurant smoking ban. I would work with my colleagues to develop a thoughtful and unified position in opposition to the PLDC.
5. Do you support a new public process to evaluate the full range of rail alternatives? Please explain your position.
No, because I believe that process has already occurred. I understand that many are opposed to heavy rail, but that is the proposal after years of public input. However, if financial and legal issues necessitate a reevaluation of the project, I will work with my colleagues to untangle the mess and develop a new strategy to address long term transportation and smart growth opportunities.
6. Oahu has a major sewer infrastructure problem. How would you address this?
I would make it a budget priority. I would support a lean overall budget; ask each city department to look for savings; and assign those savings to sewer system upgrades required by the federal consent decree. Additionally, there may be an opportunity to create electricity from methane which is a by-product of sewage. We should take advantage of these types of public-private partnerships. Finally, if an increase in sewer fees is necessary, I would insist that the increases are gradual over a period of time, and that there be a process to help those who are on fixed or low income.
7. Do you support an emergency services merger? Please explain your position.
It is an idea that has worked in other jurisdictions. However, I would like to learn more from the fire fighters and the emergency service technicians and hear their opinions before making a final judgment.
8. Do you support changes to our property tax structure? Please explain your position.
I support a review of property tax exemptions. Our focus should be whether the original need or justification continues to exist. I do not support eliminating the standard homeowner’s exemption. The homeowner’s exemption helped me afford my mortgage as a first time homeowner, and I do not want to prevent someone from having the same opportunity.
9. You are running in a crowded field. What makes you a better choice than your competitors?
Experience and accomplishments. I am the only candidate who has been a city councilmember, worked on Capitol Hill, and in the private sector as a solar energy executive. I served as Honolulu City Councilmember from District 6 for two full terms, from January 1995 to December 2002, and presided as Chair of the Council from 1999 to 2002, my experience in Washington, DC will benefit the city as we compete for federal dollars and as a businessman, I know how government can help and hurt business.
I have an intimate knowledge of the entire district, and all of its unique island communities. During my two terms on the City Council, I worked with stakeholders to improve Chinatown for residents and businesses, tackled drug dealing and other criminal activity notably along Pua and Akepo Lanes, and fulfilled a promise made before I was elected to build a park for residents downtown. I enhanced government accountability by authoring two Charter Amendments, one to create the Office of the City Auditor, the other to establish renewable five year terms for the Honolulu Police Chief. As an aide to Senator Daniel Akaka, I worked to get 1000 veterans and their families to travel to Hawaii for the VA’s Golden Age Games last year, and recently, I helped put together a $40 million solar project on Kauai that will reduce our foreign oil consumption by 42,000 barrels a year.