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City Council District 3 candidates


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POSTED: Sunday, April 05, 2009

;PAUL AKAU

Age: 45

Profession or current employment: Pastor/educator/self-employed

Other pertinent experience: Various leadership positions in the community, churches, and schools. Hawaiian culture resource and curriculum specialist.

What qualifies you to be a City Council member?

I believe that the Lord has called me to run for this office. I've worked with a variety of people and organizations in the community to plan, organize, and implement action plans, strategic plans, and activities. I listen well and work well with people. I've taught in Hawaii's public schools for over 21 years.

What do you feel is the biggest problem facing District 3 and what would you do about it?

The biggest problem is land use. We need to plan for the future with our youth and elders in mind and the challenges that they will face such as sustainability, residential and business zoning, entrepreneurship and safe and healthy environments. I would support projects that would create new jobs.

How do you feel about raising property taxes and other fees to balance the city budget?

What would happen if we don't raise property taxes or other fees? Right now, the raising of taxes is the consequence of speculation based on projections. I don't believe that we listened well to the kupuna who saw this economic crash coming. What we need to do is to find those who are retired to advise us on our next steps.

What is your stance on the city's planned rail transit project and how would you work to advance that position?

I told the unions that I would support the rail, but I have one issue about the displacement of families and businesses affected by the rail's route.

What should the city do about homelessness?

Homelessness for those born and raised in the islands should be our first priority. We need to have a homeless identification system that would help to track the services provided to ensure that something is being done to address the homeless clients' need. This Homeless Identification Center would be an address to receive mail, receive health advice or services, education support, and meals if needed. The city would solicit support from community organizations to unify their efforts to address homelessness.

 

;J. IKAIKA ANDERSON

Age: 31

Profession or current employment: Senior legislative assistant for Councilwoman Barbara Marshall

Other pertinent experience: Vice president, Hali'ipua Flowers; budget analyst, state House of Representatives Finance Committee; administrative assistant, Senate minority leader; lead researcher, state Senate minority staff office; director, Community Health Center board of directors; president, Community Health Center board of directors; director, Wastewater Treatment Plant board of directors

What qualifies you to be a City Council member?

I have actively participated in current Council matters since 2002 and have more than 10 years of county and state government experience. I worked on the drafting and introduction of many pieces of legislation currently before the Council and am involved in them during the legislative process. Because I worked side-by-side with Councilmember Marshall since her first term on the City Council, I am the candidate most capable of continuing her initiatives on behalf of our district.

What do you feel is the biggest problem facing District 3 and what would you do about it?

The most pressing issue facing District 3 is delivering city services at an appropriate level, while maintaining their affordability. The City Council of the 1990s neglected regular routine maintenance of Honolulu's infrastructure, especially roads and sewers. The higher sewer fees and road maintenance costs from which we now suffer are the direct result of the past negligence of the 1990s City Council. I will work to return the city to an ongoing regular maintenance schedule, which will reduce the annual budget for infrastructure expenditures and negate the need to raise real property taxes and fees so sharply going forward.

How do you feel about raising property taxes and other fees to balance the city budget?

I am very reluctant to raising taxes and fees to balance the city's budget. We must take care of basic services first. The City Councils of the 1990s neglected our city's infrastructure that's resulted in catastrophe. The current Council is still working to clean up that disaster.

What is your stance on the city's planned rail transit project and how would you work to advance that position?

The voters of the City and County of Honolulu elected to make mass transit part of the City Charter — the constitution of the City and County. The City Council should not attempt to reverse the will of the people. Instead, we must exercise vigilance and oversight on the project and ask tough questions to ensure that our tax dollars are used efficiently and effectively to provide the best mass transit system possible.

What should the city do about homelessness?

I propose the city consider designating one city facility in each district to provide shelter to those who have fallen on hard times and want help. This would allow these members of our community a safe place to sleep, a place to maintain their health and practice the hygiene necessary for employment.

 

;TRACY NAKANO BEAN

Age: 46

Profession or current employment: Hawaiian Airlines Inc. (In-Flight Department)

What qualifies you to be a City Council member?

As a lifelong resident of Kaneohe, sitting on various boards and councils, I am a leader committed to serving this community. We are at a critical point economically. There is no time for “;business as usual.”; This crisis can be an engine that drives us to change. Solutions do exist. We must begin to act today to fend off the future crisis of tomorrow. I will bring a fresh perspective and renewed energy into developing these solutions.

What do you feel is the biggest problem facing District 3 and what would you do about it?

The biggest problem facing District 3 is our economic crisis. We are currently at a $45 million deficit. We need to increase revenues. Renewable energy technologies offer opportunities to produce new jobs, decrease dependence upon fossil fuels, and reduce emissions. Preserving and protecting our agriculturally zoned lands in order to create industries of diversified crops, much like we would diversify our financial portfolios, is essential to becoming self-sufficient, and increasing the sustainability of our islands.

How do you feel about raising property taxes and other fees to balance the city budget?

In times of economic crisis, the solution is not to raise taxes, but to increase revenue. We must be sensitive to the people of this city who are already far too burdened under a mountain of growing taxes and fees. It's imperative to cut out unnecessary expenditures, eliminate government waste, and prioritize our improvements projects.

What is your stance on the city's planned rail transit project and how would you work to advance that position?

The decision to do rail has already been made. Our job now is to get it done as quickly as possible. The longer we wait to move on this, the more the project will cost. Once the contracts have been awarded, we must also hold the contractors responsible to keeping to cost projections and completion schedules.

What should the city do about homelessness?

Differentiating between those who can and want to be helped, and those who cannot or will not, is the first priority. Governance with compassion should be our standard. Before going out and clearing our beaches of the homeless, social workers, e.g., HCAP, should be sent to make assessments and direct those who are looking for housing to transitional or emergency facilities.

 

;JOHN HENRY FELIX

Age: 78

Profession or current employment: Chairman, president and CEO of HMAA

Other pertinent experience: CEO of Abilities Unlimited; CEO of Eagle Investments, a local investment firm

What qualifies you to be a City Council member?

I have deep experience — in public service, community volunteering and business — which is well-suited for service on the City Council. I've led businesses through tough times. In fact, today, as the CEO of health insurer HMAA, I'm managing the company through the current turbulent economy. I've worked as a volunteer — and a leader — for the Red Cross, the March of Dimes and the Boy Scouts. I've worked in federal, state and city government — in responsible positions. I chaired the Police Commission, Parks and Recreation, and the Board of Water Supply to name a few. In addition, I have been elected to the City Council four times, and I've chaired each of the Council's committees.

What do you feel is the biggest problem facing District 3 and what would you do about it?

Kailua, Kaneohe and Waimanalo are unique and each has critical challenges. However, ensuring public safety in all three communities is a big challenge. Violent crime is growing, and it's got people worried. But safety goes beyond fighting crime. We need to look at better street lighting and traffic signals at certain intersections. I'll work hard to make Windward Oahu safer. This is why I was recently endorsed by SHOPO, the Fire Fighters and UPW, which represents Emergency Medical Services.

How do you feel about raising property taxes and other fees to balance the city budget?

During previous terms on the City Council, I have fought hard to prevent and/or minimize increases. People are struggling right now, making it an extremely difficult time to increase user fees and property taxes. Yet, the city finds itself in dire economic times, so the council can't ignore the reality that it may have to increase user fees and taxes to continue providing residents with the level of services they expect and deserve. That said, I think the Council should explore ways to give relief to retirees on fixed incomes, the unemployed and underemployed, and those with medical challenges.

What is your stance on the city's planned rail transit project and how would you work to advance that position?

I questioned the rail's proposed technology, route, and funding. However, in principle, the voters have spoken and we need to honor the majority vote. My job as a Council member would be to ensure fiscal prudence so that tax dollars are spent wisely and efficiently and that there's no government waste. I also believe that any rail project should be developed with environmental sensitivity.

What should the city do about homelessness?

I believe a task force — comprised of representatives from the city, the state, faith groups and nonprofits — should be formed to address this serious issue. It needs to be a coordinated community effort with everyone coming together, and it will require strong leadership. We need to look at root causes; treatments for addiction, mental illness and other medical conditions; job training; and housing solutions.

 

;WILSON KEKOA HO

Age: 66

Profession: Retired

What qualifies you to be a City Council member?

Eighteen years of service on the Waimanalo Neighborhood Board; 14 consecutive years as chairman of the neighborhood board; 32 years in retail banking, financial management and residential lending.

What do you feel is the biggest problem facing District 3 and what would you do about it?

The protection of our natural resources: The beaches with sand eroding on Kailua and Waimanalo Beaches, the traffic problems on Kaneohe Bay Drive, Oneawa Street in Kailua and Nakini Street in Waimanalo and the slow destruction of our wetlands, i.e., the Heeia Kea wetlands that are drying up. I am researching the use of the sand replacement barge previously used in Waikiki Beach to replenish their shores. I am working with Bill Sager and Roy Yanagihara on the Kaneohe Neighborhood Board for their traffic calming ideas to resolve the traffic problems.

How do you feel about raising property taxes and other fees to balance the city budget?

I am against the increase in taxes when residents are already suffering work furloughs, job layoffs and unemployment. I propose that we research all avenues to save money, i.e., not shipping our garbage out at a cost of millions. We need to trim the fat, work to prioritize our needs and discard our wants and special interests.

What is your stance on the city's planned rail transit project and how would you work to advance that position?

The constituents have voted to approve the rail transit project. I support the need for mass transit, having traveled to work from Waimanalo to Kapolei. I would like to have the bidding process transparent and open, that the costs not be open-ended, that the environment be protected and that the studies, evaluations and discussions be shortened so there is no delay to further increase the cost of the expensive rail transit project.

What should the city do about homelessness?

I would like the city offer on-site assistance from social work to medical attention to provide a transition from homeless to a stable, long-term housing solution. I propose we implement a five-year plan and commitment that will unify a collaboration of all city services and non-profit groups to include low-cost housing, job training, assistance with addictions and other services. We should partner with community-based organizations to evaluate the progress of our homeless so services can be made available on an as-needed and timely basis.

 

;STEVE HOLMES

Age: 57

Profession or current employment: Retired

Other pertinent experience: I have chaired most of the committees of the City Council and can step into the middle of a challenging budget. I was the energy and sustainability coordinator for Honolulu and bring a wealth of knowledge on saving the city money.

What qualifies you to be a City Council member?

I served Windward Oahu for 12 years on the Honolulu City Council.

What do you feel is the biggest problem facing District 3 and what would you do about it?

The economy. Upgrading the city's infrastructure would create new jobs and benefit taxpayers because prices are lower in a slowdown and interest rates are very low now. In as much as these are public buildings, residents see the benefits directly. Our failed waste-water system is a good place to start along with energy efficiency improvements to our buildings. These are projects that self-finance.

How do you feel about raising property taxes and other fees to balance the city budget?

The proposal made by Mayor Hannemann shifts the burden to residential. This is not equitable and should be discarded. I chaired the Budget Committee before and know how to find additional cuts to avoid increases. Cuts now create rollover savings needed for an even tougher budget expected next year.

What is your stance on the city's planned rail transit project and how would you work to advance that position?

I oppose Mufi's elevated guideway rail project as too expensive. A full alternatives analysis is needed to meet legal requirements. I supported Bus Rapid Transit and an expansion of our award winning bus system as more cost effective alternatives. A real push for teleworking is needed with targeted goals and implementation schedules. Good urban planning keeps jobs and housing together and should always be the first transit option. A possible third urban center should be considered.

What should the city do about homelessness?

I have supported additional shelters, but many homeless have drug and mental health problems that don't allow them to enter shelters. More needs to be done to use federal funds to deal with intervention into the source of these problems and bring the homeless back to functioning capacity. Additionally, shelters need to be part of a ladder of housing options. CDBG projects need to reflect a mix of rentals and low income for sale units.

 

;LEONA MAPUANA KALIMA

Age: 56

Profession or current employment: Cultural specialist, Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

Other pertinent experience: My resume speaks to a variety of experience: social services, housing and homelessness, disaster relief, community coordinator, culture and mediation.

What qualifies you to be a City Council member?

Excellent conflict resolution skills, great to work with, public service, smarts, common sense, relates well with people, caring for community, promotes education and self-sufficiency.

What do you feel is the biggest problem facing District 3 and what would you do about it?

The common equalizer for Council District 3 is the economic recession. Sobering reality is that all will feel the effects, some way or another. Keep people working, in their homes and food on the table. We have become very comfortable, but now we have to get back to the basics. I would promote: alternative work weeks, create jobs, fiscal accountability, leverage assets, seek grants, no tax increases, no un-necessary spending, the city's share of the stimulus.

How do you feel about raising property taxes and other fees to balance the city budget?

Absolutely NO. Our people are in financial crisis, and for government to burden them anymore, with the possibility of taxing people out of their homes, NO.

What is your stance on the city's planned rail transit project and how would you work to advance that position?

Although I am familiar with the subject, and supportive of the jobs it will create, as a council member, I would need to review the options.

What should the city do about homelessness?

More public, affordable, subsidized housing and programs for chronics. Revisit the Waihee administration homeless plan, review, alter to meet today's need and implement. I support one-way tickets back to whence many came.

 

;KEOKI LEONG

Age: 29

Profession or current employment: Director of research in the Senate Minority Office at the state Legislature.

Other pertinent experience: Chief of staff for Sen. Bob Hogue; chief of staff for Rep. Kika Bukoski; bachelor of arts in justice administration from Hawaii Pacific University; Metropolitan Police Reserve Office Program; International Association of Lions; Kaneohe Neighborhood Board; Kaneohe Bay Regional Council; American Cancer Society; Hawaii Foodbank; Damien Memorial School football

What qualifies you to be a City Council member?

I believe my continued community involvement through service organizations and leadership roles in the Lions Club as Windward Zone chairman, Kaneohe Neighborhood Board as Haiku Task Force chairman, Kaneohe Bay Regional Council, American Cancer Society as the Windward Community coordinator, and Honolulu Police Department as a Metropolitan Police Recruit demonstrate my commitment.

What do you feel is the biggest problem facing District 3 and what would you do about it?

The biggest problem facing the constituents in District 3 is the economy. Many small business owners have been forced to close operations and larger businesses are reducing the size of their workforce. Employee benefits and services are being cut, with more to come as the state looks for ways to balance the budget. As councilman, I would push legislation to expedite processing shovel-ready projects that allow local labor to return to work. I would move forward initiatives that alleviate the barriers posed before small business owners. Finally, I would dispute tax increases that weigh on the everyday lives of constituents.

How do you feel about raising property taxes and other fees to balance the city budget?

I am opposed to raising property taxes to balance the city budget. In today's economy, many of our neighbors are struggling to make ends meet. As councilman, I would utilize current technologies and improved systems allowing the city to operate more efficiently and lead to cost savings. I would go on to encourage partnerships with community organizations and volunteer programs to augment city projects, such as Honolulu Police Department's volunteer reserve program.

What is your stance on the city's planned rail transit project and how would you work to advance that position?

In the 2008 election, I personally voted against rail, but supported letting the people of Honolulu decide the fate of this issue. If elected, I will respect the results of the 2008 election and continue moving the rail project forward, but in the process, I will work tirelessly to address concerns including funding, if it would effectively address traffic concerns, and utilizing local labor. I will also actively pursue alternative sources of funding.

What should the city do about homelessness?

As councilman, I would collaborate with state departments and private organizations to develop community-driven shelters that offer educational and skill-training opportunities. I would investigate ways of integrating cultural ideologies that encourage and impress upon residents the importance of being productive individuals. Funding for these shelters may be supplemented by federal and cultural grants, potentially rent, where these facilities would act as a stepping stone towards a more average standard of living.

 

;SOL NALUA'I

Age: not provided

Profession or current employment: Retired

Other pertinent experience: U.S. Air Force architectural and cartographic drafting engineer; bioresearch scientist, University of Utah; health inspector, Utah; family medicine-surgery; health plan consultant; Ministry Commission; mortgage financing.

What qualifies you to be a City Council member?

1) U.S. citizen; 2) Hawaii resident in District 3; 3) Registered voter over age 18.

What do you feel is the biggest problem facing District 3 and what would you do about it?

City government focuses time and money on the second city of Kapolei with little attention to us. I seek Windward community-wide dialogue and input to petition for our new municipal government, the “;Windward County,”; whose economic foundation is farming, fishing and ranching, to become the “;breadbasket”; for Hawaii.

How do you feel about raising property taxes and other fees to balance the city budget?

City government must be streamlined and consolidated to reduce unnecessary overlap, duplication and top heavy administration from 17 departments down to 12 departments or less, saving millions of tax dollars to balance the budget for infrastructure, public safety and community services, thus eliminating the need to raise property taxes.

What is your stance on the city's planned rail transit project and how would you work to advance that position?

The majority of Oahu voters, City Council and city administration already voted in November 2008 to support rail transit.

What should the city do about homelessness?

City government needs to be proactive in partnerships with federal and state governments and private industry to collaborate in solutions to the different social segments and various categories of homelessness, to provide job training skills and affordable housing, so that they can become self-sufficient.

 

;TOM PICO Jr.

Age: 65

Profession/current employment: Health insurance regulation attorney, Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs

Other pertinent experience: Windward resident for over 35 years. Kailua High School graduate, current chairman of Kailua High Alumni Endowment Fund. Former member and chairman of the Kailua Neighborhood Board. Former city deputy prosecutor.

What qualifies you to be a City Council member?

Long-term commitment to our community and a record of public service qualify me to serve on the City Council. My family first moved to the Windward side in 1960 and we have been involved in our community for many years. I've served in city government for eight years as a deputy city prosecutor and also in state government as a deputy attorney general and presently as the health insurance regulation attorney for the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. I've served on the Kailua Neighborhood Board as a member and chairman and in the Kailua Community Association before there were neighborhood boards.

What do you feel is the biggest problem facing District 3 and what would you do about it?

Jobs and the economy are issue No. 1. The city must make every effort to secure federal and state funding to balance its budget and invest in infrastructure improvements to create jobs and reduce unemployment in our city. Oppose further expansion in residential neighborhoods and support enforcement of the law against unlicensed B&Bs and TVUs. Traffic is also a huge problem. Improvements to our traffic control system are a must. There is no reason why traffic through Kaneohe Town and Kailua Town gets stopped at four out of five traffic lights. We can computerize and coordinate traffic control to significantly reduce travel time and wasted fuel.

How do you feel about raising property taxes and other fees to balance the city budget?

There's never a good time to raise taxes, but now is the worst possible time to raise taxes. Economy and jobs and taxes are all parts of the same problem — the budget before the council calls for a nearly 10 percent property tax increase and raises numerous fees. Instead, the City Council should focus on reducing the cost of government. For those who think we have no other alternative, it's noteworthy that on the Big Island the proposed county budget actually lowers homeowner's property taxes.

What is your stance on the city's planned rail transit project and how would you work to advance that position?

I signed the petition opposing rail transit and voted against it. But now that the majority of voters have approved it, I will work to make sure that it is economically as cost effective as possible and as environmentally friendly as possible.

What should the city do about homelessness?

Work with the state to provide shelters for those who need and want shelter and ensure that those who prefer to live and sleep in the streets and parks do not deprive others of the right to use the streets and parks.

 

;POHAI RYAN

Age: 46

Profession or current employment: Office manager to Sen. Brickwood Galuteria

Other pertinent experience: Former executive director of the Kailua Chamber of Commerce; former executive director of the Democratic Party of Hawaii; former Kailua Neighborhood Board member (two terms); former commissioner, Neighborhood Board Commission, City & County of Honolulu; 12 years in nonprofit work, community volunteer, and experienced working with low income and government housing residents.

What qualifies you to be a City Council member?

I have worked in the community, I am from the community and I care about Windward Oahu's future and my varied background provide me with the tools I need to make practical decisions and the ability to work with other council members and constituents, while always keeping community as my purpose for service.

What do you feel is the biggest problem facing District 3 and what would you do about it?

Though I support improvements to West Oahu, as a councilnember representing District 3, I will need to monitor and advocate for District 3's share of improvements such as: completing the roof repair of Kailua District Park Gym, sewage treatment plant improvements and updating, affordable housing for Windward Oahu, the designation of a “;dog friendly”; park, and more. Also, remaining true to the Hawaiian cultural values of ho'okipa (hospitality and inclusiveness) and aloha (tolerance), I support the continued work towards finding an amicable solution for owner operated B&Bs with clear restrictions and criteria. Before approval to open licensing can be considered, the issues of enforcement and control and limitations need to be clearly resolved.

How do you feel about raising property taxes and other fees to balance the city budget?

The Council needs to be sure that all current revenue sources have been evaluated, including current usage fees and efficiency of department management systems. I am opposed to raising property taxes but I also understand that this is the main source of revenue for the city. Until all means of revenue have been evaluated and improved we should not rush to the well because the well is getting dry in the current challenging economic climate.

What is your stance on the city's planned rail transit project and how would you work to advance that position?

The Oahu voters have approved the rail transit system. As a responsible councilmember, I will work to assure that the process will move forward with transparency and fairness. I will also work to assure that labor to build the project is not imported from out of state but that our trades workers, local residents, will benefit from the majority of the work and will be performed at all levels of expertise and pay scales. I will advocate for improvements and enhancements to existing transportation services currently available to our residents, thus rail transit not creating sacrifices for Windward residents.

What should the city do about homelessness?

We need to assist our residents who are down on their luck. We cannot simply shut them out of one park just so they can move on to another park. The parks are meant for recreational enjoyment for the public so working together with state agencies and nonprofit organizations to provide services and support to get people back on their feet is paramount. It will take leadership to bring all parties together to handle the issue with dignity and compassion but it can be done.