Honolulu City Council
Does not apply/Nonpartisan race
Insurance Broker 1979-Present
Banking Executive 1973-1979
State House of Representatives 1983-1994 State Senate 1994-2010
I believe experience matters. I served in both the State House of Representatives and the State Senate, including six years as Senate President. My service as a member of the Honolulu City Council would be different from my time in the legislature. But the foundation of it all would be my same core values, priorities, and ability to assess complex issues and work collaboratively with a wide variety of people to accomplish positive things for our city. The people of District 2 deserve to have a council member with a proven track record who knows how to get things done and is willing to work hard for the district. I humbly suggest that I am that person.
Most voters in District 2 would agree that traffic, homelessness, and the impact of vacation rentals are top of mind issues.
The North Shore loses some of its appeal when you sit in traffic that goes on forever. Residents who face traffic jams in both directions at Laniakea are justifiably angry by the lack of progress. The only way to provide immediate relief is to reinstall the parking barriers that were shown to be effective until challenged in court. First replace the barriers then proceed with planning on the highway realignment as a long-term solution. Realistically, this could take years and tens of millions of dollars. Already subject to serious erosion, a severe storm or hurricane could impact the oceanfront section of Kamehameha Highway at Laniakea, making it impassable. As a Senator, I worked with the State Dept. of Transportation when the community faced the crisis of a rockfall at Waimea Bay. Working with State and City officials on the eventual realignment, I would also stress the need for a mauka escape route during the interim as part of a disaster preparedness plan.
In many instances, homelessness has become multi-generational. I believe meaningful educational work programs for our keiki could help break the chronic cycle of homelessness within families. I also support a multi-faceted, coordinated effort involving public-private partnership to attack the root causes such as the lack of adequate temporary shelter space and low inventory of affordable housing. Working in partnership with the federal and state government, the city needs to provide rapid re-housing and rental assistance as well as stimulate employment opportunities for working families affected by the growing housing crisis.
Vacation rentals are also a drain on the affordable housing market. The city has known that fact for nearly 30 years. But none of the regulatory and legislative attempts since the 1990s have proven successful at reining in the proliferation of illegal rentals. Solutions will require a multifaceted approach. The City needs to able to quickly deploy responses to complaints about illegal rentals. There should be meaningful resources added in the budget for employee staff, including legal staff, to investigate permitting issues and enforcement of fines. I would advocate for an ordinance that allows advertisements to be used as evidence rather than use current law, which requires officials to actually catch owners or renters in the act. We could also create a hotline to report illegal activity and impose greater fines and penalties for violations.
My highest legislative priority will be to improve the quality of life for the residents of District 2. I would work to implement initiatives that show real progress toward solving the chronic issues addressed as the top three challenges in the prior question. I'd like to offer my thoughts on another priority-public safety. I would work to provide our police, firefighters and emergency medical services with adequate resources to keep our communities safe and secure.
The recent unprovoked attacks on residents and visitors is a wakeup call for us to deal with the problem of homelessness from more than just a humanitarian perspective. It is rapidly becoming a public safety concern as well. This is why I support stricter sit-lie measures to clear our sidewalks and common areas that now pose a risk to the general public. In rural communities, less visible encampments encourage illegal activities, the worst of which is drug-trafficking. Residents were shocked by the brutal murder of a beloved Northshore woman last December. Theft, fueled by heroin addiction, was the motive. No one is safe from the dangers of the illegal activity surrounding drug trafficking. Our community must advocate for zero tolerance of dangerous drugs in our schools and workplaces. We need to support the efforts of law enforcement to contain the problem of drug abuse in our district, on Oahu and across the state. Feeling safe in your own home or in a public place is definitely a quality of life issue for all of us.
The challenges we face in District 2 already identified is just the beginning. There is more I can do to ensure a better life for my constituents in our lifetime and for future generations.
Most of the food we consume on Oahu is imported and if something were to block incoming shipments, local food production would not be nearly enough to sustain us. We rely on local farmland for some of our food but we have a way to go to achieve food security. I will continue moving Oahu in that direction by working to protect agricultural lands and make them more productive. We need to promote small farms and diversified agriculture as well as support more aquaculture and aquaponic ventures.
We're fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. I will work to keep it that way. As a State lawmaker, I created the Ocean and Marine Resources Council that produced Hawaii's first comprehensive Ocean Resources Management Plan. Today it remains the blueprint for a healthy ocean environment. Later, as Senate President, I formed a community task force that led to the expansion of the Pupukea Marine Life Conservation District. I am very proud to have been a part of this environmental milestone of community-based management. I believe there are other areas of our coast line that could benefit from similar conservation efforts.
While I m proud to have served in the State Legislature as a Democrat, my decisions were always guided by what I believed would bring the greatest benefit to my constituents and our State. As a candidate for the non-partisan City Council, I realize that we are a community of many voices and the City Council must represent them all, not just those with a liberal or conservative agenda. Our district has a multitude of issues to contend with and cooperation is key. I believe the best interests of the district suffers when there is unnecessary friction between the councilmember and the administration. Differences on issues will always occur, but with the right leadership we can overcome those differences and emerge with solutions that move us forward.