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Council candidates agree on fixing infrastructure

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Infrastructure is the focus for two Harvard graduates vying for the City Council seat representing Waikiki, mostly affluent neighborhoods and a scenic coastline.

Candidates Richard Turbin, 65, and Stanley Chang, 28, are running for the 4th District seat that covers Waikiki, Kaimuki and Hawaii Kai. The seat was vacated by Charles Djou, now in Congress.

The Council selected former Honolulu Police Chief Lee Donohue to finish Djou’s council term, but Donohue is not seeking election.

Turbin, an attorney and former president of the Hawaii State Bar Association, said maintenance has been neglected for too long.

"If I’m on the City Council, I’m going to be very certain that the infrastructure schedule is maintained and complied with, not just for our roads and sidewalks, but for our sewers and water mains. We can’t afford to have another water main rupture that we had in Waikiki several years ago," he said.

Conservation of the Ka Iwi shoreline is also a priority for Turbin. In June the state Land Use Commission reclassified the makai region from urban to conservation zoning. But the mauka area remains open to development.

"It’s supremely important to preserve it," said Turbin, a former longtime chairman of the Waialae-Kahala Neighborhood Board,

Of the transit issue, Turbin said trams should link Waikiki with the proposed rail system, planned to run from Kapolei to Ala Moana Center.

Turbin unsuccessfully ran for City Council against the late Duke Bainum in 1994.

Groups and organizations that have endorsed Turbin include the Sierra Club-Hawaii Chapter, State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, the Hawaii Firefighters Association and Unite Here Local 5.

"I think we’re facing a budgetary crisis, infrastructure crisis, an economic crisis and a really tough homeless problem," said Turbin. "My goal as a City Council member is to handle those problems, solve those problems and find creative solutions in a fiscally responsible manner."

A 36-year resident of Waialae-Kahala, Turbin is married to attorney Rai Saint Chu. They have two children, Laurel, 28, and Derek, 26.

Chang, also an attorney, argues that repaving work and repairs to water mains should be coordinated.

"There’s never been that master plan where all the engineers, where all the schedules are aligned to make the repairs as efficient as possible," he said.

Chang also recommended that the city emulate Portland, Ore., which responds to potholes photographed by residents.

He supports the urban growth boundary of the East Honolulu Sustainable Communities Plan and preserving Ka Iwi.

"For me, what smart growth and planned growth means is preserving our natural treasures like the Ka Iwi coast … keeping the country country and town town," he added.

Chang said he supports plans to link Waikiki with the proposed rail transit system, but is opposed to a fixed guideway for Kuhio Avenue, which he says would only increase noise.

If elected, Chang said he plans to promote fiscal responsibility.

"To avoid failures like the recent Furlough Friday fiasco, governments must first prioritize what matters most. For the city these are public safety and basic infrastructure," said Chang on his website. "To identify how the city can do more with less, a general services audit would identify efficiencies and waste. To hold the line on taxes, the city needs to live within its means, just as every business and every family must."

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Hawaii Government Employees Association, United Public Workers and the Operating Engineers Local 3 are among the groups endorsing Chang.

Chang was born and raised in Kahala, where he lives today. An Iolani alumnus, he is running for public office for the first time.


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