Kauai County Council
Kaua`i Island (At-Large)
Director of Operations; YWCA of Kaua`i
County of Kaua`i
Kaua`i County Council (both 2011-2012 & 2014-2016)
I have over thirty years experience working and volunteering in Government, Labor, Non-Profit and Community Organizations. I served on the Kaua`i County Council in 2011-2012 and in 2014-2016. I’m currently employed as the Director of Operations at the YWCA of Kaua`i. I serve on numerous boards including the Anahola Hawaiian Homes Association, the Homestead Community Development Corporation, the Homestead Housing Authority, the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, Hawaiian Community Assets and the Kaua`i North Shore Community Foundation; as well as the Governor's Policy Advisory Board on Elder Affairs, the Mayor’s Elderly Affairs Advisory Council and the County Council’s Affordable Housing Advisory Committee.
A top challenge is the lack of Affordable Housing. With a lot more affordable homes and rentals we will be able to bring down prices and rents to help our growing families. Addressing this one challenge will also help with other challenges like Creating Jobs, Supporting Local Business, Traffic Congestion, Diaspora, Drug Abuse, Homelessness, Invisible Homeless (Overcrowding) and the High Cost of Living. Having a safe, clean, affordable place to live is the foundation upon which our people are able to build a good quality of life and to be able to face most of these challenges head on.
My highest legislative priority will be Budgeting Responsibly and Limiting Taxes. The County’s annual budget is by far the Council’s largest and most important responsibility. Also, being a numbers person, I really enjoy this work!
As before on the Council, I will push for and be a leader holding our Mayor, Council and County Administration accountable. I will again ask the tough questions and carefully scrutinize expenditures; especially salaries and salary-related expenses which is by far the County’s largest expenditure.
I will track the work of the Vacancy Review Committee which I pushed the Mayor to form after persistent questioning of longstanding vacant positions. I will review and update the several budget provisos I introduced and got passed to provide more detailed expenditure reporting to the Council so we all could do a better job of fighting for our citizens’ hard-earned tax dollars.
And, I will push for the following improvements in the budgeting process...
1) That the Council receives semi-annual confidential reports (written & presented) from the Vacancy Review Committee with recommendations for budget savings and cost cutting.
2) That the Council receives an annual report (written & presented) from the Cost Control Commission with recommendations for budget savings and cost cutting.
3) That the Council receives from the Mayor’s Administration an accurate, audited version of our labor force numbers (i.e. # of employees, salaries & wages for those employees, etc.) for operating our County by divisions and departments instead of broad functions as showing in the unaudited section of the CAFR.
What I can do is tackle the Affordable Housing crisis by working with the Mayor, our County Housing Agency, landowners and other partners to build and support the building of a lot more affordable housing a lot more quickly.
I will also support and work to build support for…
• putting forward tax and land use incentives
• dedicating portions of existing County lands
• purchasing additional County lands
• partnering with land owners; public & private
• partnering with non-profit developers
• strengthening laws to ensure developers complete requirements timely
• amending existing laws to allow for more density and height in town centers
• prioritizing affordable housing projects for expedited review and permitting
• integrating affordable housing with market-price housing
• negotiating lease agreements that assure permanent County-ownership of affordable housing rental projects
Since I was there, I believe the Council has been working to increase affordable housing supply by approving ADU’s/ARU’s in high density town center areas like Lihu`e. Rather than only starting with a pilot in Lihu`e, I support doing the same simultaneously in both Kapa`a and Waimea as well.
I’d like voters to know that I come from a family of Saltmakers. The Corr-Makanui `Ohana of Hanapepe Valley is my father’s mother’s `ohana. My siblings and I were just there at the pans a few days ago cleaning and preparing our beds starting our saltmaking season. We’ve only been taking advantage of this opportunity and honor for around fifteen years now. Over that time, it’s been very clear to me that salt production has been steadily declining because of a what appears to be a deteriorating environment and excessive flooding. Our Hanapepe Salt Pans is an incredible, cultural treasure that must be protected. While on the Council, I pushed for funding for a hydrology study to determine what was causing the deterioration and flooding; and, how best to protect the Salt Pans. I also met with Mayor Carvalho and the Office of Economic Development to hear about the plans they had for developing the Salt Pans as one of their Holo Holo 2020 stewardship projects. There is so much left to be done. The Hanapepe Salt Pans is being inundated by the overuse of the recreational areas immediately adjacent. Vehicles are even driving and parking on the sand dunes directly above the aquifers that bring the sea water to the pans! It’s critical that the County works with Hui Hana Pa`akai o Hanapepe (saltmaking families) and the State to figure out what can and needs to be done. The Hanapepe Salt Pans must be protected at all cost!
I’d also like voters to know I grew up in a subsistence-living household with my father being an excellent gardener, paniolo (cowboy), hunter and fisherman. I’ve always believed that we must do whatever we can to support our people’s reliance on locally-grown, locally-gathered and locally-caught foods; by protecting all our lands, waterways, reefs and ocean; and, ensuring access as much as possible. On the next Council, I’ll work on measures like the ones I introduced protecting overnight fishing and reef eco-systems and increasing planning violation fines. And, I’ll also work to update our beach access inventory and establish a monitoring and maintenance system. I’m committed to protecting our agricultural lands, natural resources and public access for future generations to rely on as we did.