Special election will fill Apo's City Council seat
Hawaii News

Special election will fill Apo’s City Council seat

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In addition to the usual holiday cards and mail-order catalogs filling mailboxes this time of year, Leeward Oahu voters also will be finding ballots for the special election to fill the City Council seat vacated last month by Todd Apo.

How to vote

» By mail: Ballots were mailed last week and must be returned to the City Clerk’s office by 6 p.m. Dec. 29.
» Walk-in voting: Vote at City Hall and Kapolei Hale, today through Dec. 27. There is no voting on Friday (a furlough day) or Sundays.

THE SEAT

The special election fills a vacancy created when City Council Chairman Todd Apo resigned to become public affairs manager in Hawaii for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

THE DISTRICT

City Council District 1 comprises Ewa, Ewa Beach, Honouliuli, West Loch, Kapolei, Kalaeloa (Barbers Point), Honokai Hale and Nanakai Gardens, Ko Olina, Nanakuli, Waianae, Makaha, Keaau and Makua.
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The race features 14 candidates running for a truncated term of just two years. "This is American democracy at its best," said political scientist Neal Milner.

Ballots were mailed to about 47,000 voters last week, and walk-in voting begins today at City Hall and Kapolei Hale. The deadline to return ballots to the City Clerk’s office is 6 p.m. Dec. 29, when results are expected to be known.

After the election is certified, the winner would be sworn in next month.

Names appearing on the ballot are Tom Berg, Kioni Dudley, Jason T. Espero, Mel Kahele, Celeste (Lacaden) Lacuesta, Chris Lewis, Matthew LoPresti, James K. Manaku, Rose Martinez, Bob McDermott, John P. Roco, Patty Kahanamoku Teruya, Gary Kahinano Velleses and Victoria (Cissy) Yuen.

Although she says she is not running in the race, Teruya’s name appears on the ballot. City Clerk Bernice Mau said Teruya did not withdraw prior to the Nov. 19 filing deadline.

Like many races of this sort, the result is likely to come down to name recognition, Milner said.

Only McDermott has elected legislative experience, having served three terms in the state House until 2002, when he ran for Congress. He lost to U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink, who died after the primary but still won in the general election. Ed Case won a special election to fill the term.

McDermott is touting his experience and qualifications in the race.

The rest of the field includes first-time and former candidates, along with various neighborhood board members, community activists and organizers.

Dudley and Kahele have already faced charges of carpetbagging by another first-time candidate, LoPresti, who at a recent Hawaii Public Radio forum said he moved into the district on Sept. 10. LoPresti filed a challenge to their residency with the City Clerk’s office, claiming they do not live at the addresses listed with the nomination papers. He also has visited his rivals’ residences with a camera to document his claims.

Mau said her office is investigating, but she could not comment on any timetable.

"It is a time-consuming process, and we are doing the best we can to make sure that we do a thorough job," she said.

Dudley, an agriculture advocate from Makakilo and former Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, said he spent a month searching for a candidate who would represent many of his own concerns. Finding none, he moved into the district.

Kahele said he also has represented the concerns in the area through community involvement, even though as a resident of Makakilo he lives outside District 1. He changed his voter registration to Ewa Beach in time to file for the vacancy.

Both noted Makakilo was carved out of Council District 1 in the last reapportionment. LoPresti called their defenses disingenuous to voters.

Moving into a district is common in elections, but politics expert Milner said it "smacks of ambition."

"There’s nothing wrong with it," Milner added, "but it doesn’t exactly pass the smell test for voters, so you’ve got to work real hard to convince them that there’s some reason why they should choose you, even though you just moved into the district."

TOM BERG

Age: 46

Profession: Administrative services manager, state Rep. Kymberly Pine

Other experience: Ewa Neighborhood Board vice chair/chair Legislative Committee; Oahu Resource and Conservation Development Council Ewa director

What qualifies you to be on the City Council?

For 11 years I worked at the state Capitol to bring people and their positions on various issues to the table to formulate win-win solutions; from strengthening homeowners’ rights in community associations to expanding options for transportation solutions, serving the public and protecting their assets are my accomplishments.

What do you feel is the biggest problem facing District 1, and what would you do about it?

Goods and services are trapped on the H-1. We plan our lives around traffic. The city should apply for the tax-exempt bonds offered by the federal government to transform unused easements into drivable lanes without the need to raise taxes. Let’s get back into the road-building business. 

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

I will hold the line and not raise any taxes — vote no to property tax increases. The private sector hasn’t been getting raises for years and is often faced with taking pay cuts. It is time government live within its means and freeze all pay hikes for itself.

What do you see as the biggest obstacle facing the city in implementing the consent decree to upgrade city sewers and waste-water treatment systems, and how would you address it?

The desalination plant slated for Kalaeloa has been put off and should be completed. Since Ewa is the site for treating sewage well beyond its own borders, the Ewa community should get compensated for having to cope with the Honouliuli Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion. Water quality must be protected.

What attempts should be made to help the city’s homeless population?

Prefabricated modular housing units are the most affordable and can be constructed to withstand hurricane winds. Land designated for step-up type housing to include mobile park type operations will offer many working homeless families affordable housing. Revisit utilizing decommissioned ships and safe zones for emergency shelter.

What solutions would you offer to relieve traffic congestion?

Lobby the state to pass legislation for Special Purpose Revenue Bonds so real estate developers can build the roads first and pay off the bonds with revenue from homes eventually sold. For H-1, the managed lanes concept that competed with the rail can still be built. Finish the Leeward Bikeway and expand it.

What more could the city do to reduce solid waste and lessen the need for a landfill?

I favored shipping waste that was unable to be burned for energy to the mainland and would perfect that operation to get the best contract possible for the taxpayers. Waimanalo Gulch resembles a broken treaty for the surrounding residents and this must be brought to a conclusion.

KIONI DUDLEY

Age: 71

Profession: Retired educator (high school and university)

Other experience: Founded Friends of Makakilo; organized Save Oahu Farmland Alliance; Named "Hero of Agriculture, Food, and the Environment" by Hawaii Ag Conference 2010.

What qualifies you to be on the City Council?

Knowing the problems. Forty years of involvement in government decision making, testifying, writing books and newspaper commentaries, doing television programs, organizing citizens. Twelve years on Kapolei Neighborhood Board, serving District 1. Intervenor for the people before the Land Use Commission; temporarily saving the Ewa farmlands. Doctorate in pre-contact Hawaiian culture. 

What do you feel is the biggest problem facing District 1, and what would you do about it?

Our greatest threat is losing the Ewa agricultural land now farmed by Aloun. Future generations cannot survive without it. The planned Hoopili development would bring freeway traffic to gridlock, with more than a two-hour commute each way.

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

I would hold off raising property taxes until the economy has recovered and people feel it less. User fees can transfer a good part of the burden to tourists. Carefully selecting fees that least affect local people can raise money while causing the least stress to our people.

What do you see as the biggest obstacle facing the city in implementing the consent decree to upgrade city sewers and waste-water treatment systems, and how would you address it?

An unrecognized obstacle: Besides costing billions, sewer and street work will create 40,000 jobs. Rail will create 87,500. New green jobs, housing construction, etc. will create tens of thousands more. This month, we have 28,000 jobless. We will import 130,000 workers; 350,000 people, 260,000 cars just to fill the jobs.

What attempts should be made to help the city’s homeless population?

The city must stop trying to sell its affordable rental projects to for-profit entities. At the same time, families in housing that can afford mainstream homes should be "encouraged" to move on up, freeing the rentals for others. More help should be found for people one check away from homelessness.

What solutions would you offer to relieve traffic congestion?

Double the 1,000 park-and-ride stalls at UH-West Oahu serving H-1 traffic. No parking whatsoever is planned for Ewa and Ewa Beach traffic coming up Fort Weaver Road. Start Rail at UH-WO and head makai to join the OR&L line, with a station and park-and-ride in Ewa.

What more could the city do to reduce solid waste and lessen the need for a landfill?

Herhof GMBH treats solid waste using a Mechanical Biological Treatment that recovers high purity recyclable products and produces an alternative fuel for power plants. It could consume all current trash, and over decades could swallow all of the material in landfills. The city is studying it.

JASON T. ESPERO

Age: 25

Profession: Waikiki Health Center, shelter coordinator

What qualifies you to be on the City Council?

I come from a family who is involved in public service. I bring passion, enthusiasm and a desire to serve and better our community. Currently, I work with the homeless and I believe that my direct experience working with the homeless and knowledge of the issue will help to find viable solutions.

What do you feel is the biggest problem facing District 1, and what would you do about it?

Job creation and ending homelessness are top issues in our district. I will support smart development in Ewa, Kapolei and Koolina and ensure that permits and zoning decisions for new businesses are approved in a timely manner. With homelessness, I will work with the city, state and developers to build more low-income housing.

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

With the high cost of living in Hawaii and many families and residents living paycheck-to-paycheck, I understand that every dollar in our bank account is valuable. The last thing I would want to do is raise property taxes and fees to balance the budget. We must prioritize our expenses and work collaboratively as a community to find viable solutions.

What do you see as the biggest obstacle facing the city in implementing the consent decree to upgrade city sewers and waste-water treatment systems, and how would you address it?

Improving and fixing our sewers and waste-water treatment systems are something we have to do. The biggest challenge that we will face will be the cost. Turning to the state and federal government for assistance is a way we can address this issue.

What attempts should be made to help the city’s homeless population?

Homelessness is a very complex issue that needs to be dealt with on a case by case basis. Many of our homeless have a fixed and limited income. We need to build more low-income housing. I also support the "Housing First" model to house our most at-risked homeless. Lastly, we need more support for mental health and substance abuse services. In the short-term, I am open to the idea of a tent city or safe zones.

What solutions would you offer to relieve traffic congestion?

I am a supporter of a rail-transit system on Oahu. I believe rail will help alleviate traffic and also provide a lot of opportunities for residents. The benefits of building rail outweigh the costs. Another idea that I believe will help relieve traffic congestion is having a ferry that runs from Ewa Beach to downtown.

What could the city do to reduce solid waste and lessen the need for a landfill?

It’s important that we manage our waste correctly. Investing in recycling is a great way we can divert our waste away from the landfill. I support setting up recycling containers around downtown and shopping centers. Also, with a third boiler being built at H-POWER, it will help to reduce our waste into our ‘aina.

MEL KAHELE

Age: 56

Profession or current employment: Legislative Lobbyist for the Ironworkers Union Stabilization Fund

What qualifies you to be on the City Council?

Leadership skills and a deep understanding of how government works are the result of my job experiences. Living in Leeward Oahu for more than 37 years has given me a deep understanding of our challenges and opportunities, and love and respect for the people of our community.

What do you feel is the biggest problem facing District 1, and what would you do about it?

Traffic congestion is clearly the biggest problem facing District 1. The planned rail system will help to reduce the traffic problem, but we must also look at other solutions such as increasing and improving our already effective bus system.

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

Raising real property taxes should be the absolute last resort. A comprehensive review of user fees is necessary. The main focus should be to make all city programs more fiscally efficient and effective. The challenge is, "How can we do more with less?"

What do you see as the biggest obstacle facing the city in implementing the consent decree to upgrade city sewers and waste-water treatment systems, and how would you address it?

The biggest obstacle by far is the astronomical cost of the required upgrade. Special revenue bonds should be issued to pay for the upgrade. A step-up increase in sewer fees is unavoidable to pay down the new debt service. Any delay will cost us more in the future.

What attempts should be made to help the city’s homeless population?

We must take a two-pronged approach. First, better organize our response to the current problem. This would include a more coordinated effort working with state and federal authorities. Second, the long-term solution will be to find ways to encourage job creation and economic development.

What solutions would you offer to relieve traffic congestion?

Besides the rail, the city should encourage greater job creation in the Leeward area to get more cars off the highways in the morning and afternoon. And, where possible, city workers should be given telecommuting opportunities.

What more could the city do to reduce solid waste and lessen the need for a landfill?

The city should seriously investigate alternative technologies to recycle or convert waste into energy. In addition, there are numerous businesses and technologies that are recycling waste into fertilizers and building materials. Eliminating landfills would decrease the potential of long-term health effects of nearby residents.

CELESTE (LACADEN) LACUESTA

Age: 53

Profession: Semiretired

Other experience: Ewa Beach Neighborhood Board member

What qualifies you to be on the City Council?

Over the years I have been a part of, or am apart of, many different issues and am capable of seeing these issues get resolved.

What do you feel is the biggest problem facing District 1, and what would you do about it?

The biggest problem facing District 1 is the increase in taxes. I would find solutions that could compromise all issues relating to the tax increase.

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

I feel that raising the taxes would not resolve anything. In fact, I feel that it would make the economical problems that we have today worse.

What do you see as the biggest obstacle facing the city in implementing the consent decree to upgrade city sewers and waste-water treatment systems, and how would you address it?

Lack of money. We need to think outside of the box. No more tax increase. A city-controlled or state lottery for only taxpaying workers and retirees that live in Hawaii.

What attempts should be made to help the city’s homeless population?

We need more steady jobs and self-help homes.

What solutions would you offer to relieve traffic congestion?

One solution would be to move some business to the west side so that the flow of traffic is not all in one direction. Another solution would be to have lane dedicated to the buses during traffic so that people will be more inclined to ride the bus to work than use their car.

What more could the city do to reduce solid waste and lessen the need for a landfill?

Invest in an eco-safety incinerator.

CHRIS LEWIS

Age: 54

Profession: Recreation director, Villages of Kapolei

What qualifies you to be on the City Council?

I have spent the last 20 years working in the Nanakuli, Waianae and Kapolei communities and I have lived in Ewa Beach since 1999. I fully participate in my residential community and have a strong track record of successfully delivering quality programs to each of the communities I have served.

What do you feel is the biggest problem facing District 1, and what would you do about it?

The development of quality jobs in the community will serve District 1 well. Jobs, and job-training support would allow district residents to work closer to home and be a part of the community at all times. Tax support for entrepreneurial zones, and incentives for business are a must.

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

The city needs to determine which parts of the budget can be serviced using grants, which parts could be developed into revenue generating services, then finally, determine which parts are vital to us all and for which we must all share the cost of maintaining. We should then act accordingly.

What do you see as the biggest obstacle facing the city in implementing the consent decree to upgrade city sewers and waste-water treatment systems, and how would you address it?

The biggest obstacle to implementing the waste-water consent decree is a lack of financial preparation for such an expensive task. Fees on products and services, that while convenient cause environmental sins, would allow us to raise revenues while promoting environmental stewardship.

What attempts should be made to help the city’s homeless population?

Addressing the issue of homelessness requires an understanding that there is no single cause for it, and therefore no single solution. Developing affordable workforce housing will assist our working families, while supporting mental health and drug rehabilitation efforts can add another level of impact to the issue.

What solutions would you offer to relieve traffic congestion?

Rail, in conjunction with enhancements of TheBus, and Transit Oriented Development (TOD) are necessary for relieving traffic congestion. Providing jobs on the west side, especially those in walkable communities, will reduce the need to drive into town and make better use of the rail as it rolls out as planned.

What more could the city do to reduce solid waste and lessen the need for a landfill?

Curbside recycling is a good first step towards lessening our landfill needs. I also believe that H-POWER should be expanded and other waste reducing technologies like plasma gasification be considered. Dis-incentivizing the use of non-biodegradable, non-reusables such as single serving plastic containers and plastic bags should also be explored.

MATTHEW LoPRESTI

Age: 36

Profession: Assistant professor of philosophy and humanities at Hawaii Pacific University 

What qualifies you to be on the City Council?

I am a highly educated, commonsense problem solver with the type of can-do attitude needed in our community. I care about our problems because I am a working man with a working family who understands that what we need in Leeward Oahu are fresh ideas and not repeat candidates or career politicians.

What do you feel is the biggest problem facing District 1, and what would you do about it?

Traffic, but a long-neglected problem is that most of my district lives in a "food desert." The Ewa Plain has only one store that sells fresh produce, yet there are plenty of fast food and liquor stores. The Leeward Coast also faces this problem, resulting in increased childhood obesity and diabetes. I would ensure health-oriented community planning.

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

For an economy so dependent on tourism there’s little we can do except weather the storm. This means reducing expenses, not raising taxes — which should always be a last resort. Streamlining departments, such as merging EMS and the Fire Department can save money. Consolidations should occur only if proven to be cost effective without compromising the quality of service.

What do you see as the biggest obstacle facing the city in implementing the consent decree to upgrade city sewers and waste-water treatment systems, and how would you address it?

Cost. I support responsible use of our precious water resources, such as xeriscaping and bringing the same incentives to bear for water catchments and low-flush toilets currently offered for solar-powered hot water heaters.

What attempts should be made to help the city’s homeless population?

Women and children are the largest homeless demographic, and kicking them from place to place is not only inhuman and degrading, it does nothing to address homelessness. I would ensure that the city partners with non-governmental (including faith-based) programs to provide them with training and oversight through coordinating outreach programs lead by professional social workers.

What solutions would you offer to relieve traffic congestion?

I’m 100 percent in favor of mass transit and TOD. Any new transit corridor must be elevated, otherwise all we’ll get is more gridlock. Long-term operating and maintenance costs haven’t been adequately factored into selecting which technology gives us the best rail for the best price. I’ll ensure a fair evaluation of all technology and costs.

What more could the city do to reduce solid waste and lessen the need for a landfill?

Reduce solid waste by phasing out single-use items and increasing recycling. Our limited land and financial resources are not wisely spent on buying and burying (or shipping) bulky Styrofoam containers and plastic grocery bags. Incentives to phase out such solid waste will reduce environmental damages and our long-term cost of living.

JAMES K. MANAKU

Age: 64

Profession: Full-time neighborhood member, N.B. No. 36.

Other experience: Transportation chair for Neighborhood Board 36, member of the Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization, Honolulu Community Action Program’s Leeward council chair.

What qualifies you to be on the City Council?

My willingness to make a difference in our communities. My public service as a neighborhood board member and a concerned parent and grandparent addressing the many issues and concerns within my community for the past 25 years. I would welcome the opportunity to work hard as a District 1 council member.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing District 1, and what would you do about it?

My first concern is regarding the lack of oversight on curbing of uncontrolled development in Council District 1. Second would be homelessness and third would be to preserve farming.

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

I believe there are other means regarding the city’s budget shortfall and would welcome to share it with the rest of the counsel.

What do you see as the biggest obstacle facing the city in implementing the consent decree to upgrade city sewers and waste-water treatment systems, and how would you address it?

The biggest obstacle the city is facing is due to uncontrolled development that overload our systems that in turn creates sewage spills, hence, the many lawsuits that take away needed tax revenues.

What attempts should be made to help the city’s homeless population?

After working with various groups and organizations, I found that zoning plays a role. Such as rezoning and spot zoning and would welcome the opportunity to address this issue.

What solutions would you offer to relieve traffic congestion?

First is to curb the uncontrolled development. Development shouldn’t be allowed or accepted until the traffic that they create will not create congestion.

What more could the city do to reduce solid waste and lessen the need for a landfill in Honolulu?

As I’ve testified many times: Recycling, compositing and trash-to-electricity would reduce the need for large landfills.

ROSE MARTINEZ

Age: Not provided

Profession: Medical technologist; legislative aide/community liaison, state House of Representatives

Other experience: Health care professional; public health advocate; school teacher

What qualifies you to be on the City Council?

My diverse work experience, educational background and direct involvement with the community provided me with the passion for public service and the commitment to serve the community. …

What do you feel is the biggest problem facing District 1, and what would you do about it?

Residents have expressed so many concerns regarding traffic and congestion, water and sewage fees, neglected parks, waste management, homelessness etc. All of these concerns direct to economy, if there is a stable economy, all these issues can be addressed, so my priority will concentrate on building the economy. West Oahu being the fastest growing community in the state right now is home to future developments that can strengthen the economy.

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

I am against raising property taxes, but would be open to opening the dialogue of reducing waste such as duplicate services between the state and the city as well as explore potential for increased user fees for increased revenue generation.

What do you see as the biggest obstacle facing the city in implementing the consent decree to upgrade city sewers and waste-water treatment systems, and how would you address it?

We must start talking about an overhaul of our current system, as transit-oriented development will require greater capacity in order to allow high density residential growth. We must look for a feasible way to do this by seeking private-public partnerships that will share the cost of upgrade.

What attempts should be made to help the city’s homeless population?

I will support the establishment of the new City Housing Authority and will work to ensure that the office is adequately staffed and maintained to work together to bring ideas and solutions to the table to provide more affordable housing, more rental unit developments, and integration of existing programs like emergency safe zones and Housing First project to provide transitional programs.

What solutions would you offer to relieve traffic congestion?

I will support the mass transit project that would alleviate traffic congestion, since Honolulu rail transit project has been voted by the community I will support the construction that is fiscally responsible and believe that this is a long-term solution to alleviate congestion and traffic particularly in my district where commuters wait the most in traffic.

What more could the city do to reduce solid waste and lessen the need for a landfill?

Recycling is a must. I would work to completely phase curbside recycling to the whole county, find incentives to encourage the establishment of more local recycling companies, and work with businesses and condominium associations to try and encourage them to recycle as well. …

BOB MCDERMOTT

Age: 47

Profession: Executive director, U.S. Navy League, Honolulu Council

Other experience: State legislator, Honolulu Civil Service commissioner, USMC officer, distribution manager, Royal Kona Coffee; and educator

What qualifies you to be on the City Council?

I served three terms in the state House of Representatives and thoroughly understand the legislative process. As a Civil Service commissioner, executive, author and former Marine Corps officer I am experienced and qualified. I’ve lived in Ewa Beach for eight years and know my district’s issues and the priorities of our community.

What do you feel is the biggest problem facing District 1, and what would you do about it?

District 1 and Leeward Oahu have not had the kind of infrastructure improvements enjoyed by the rest of the island. This has led to disproportionate problems with traffic congestion and park maintenance. The lack of commuter options has made rail transit and an emergency bypass road the leading issues in our district.

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

Our people cannot afford increases in taxes and fees. Property taxes should be tied to the consumer price index and not be allowed to fluctuate wildly with boom and bust of the real estate market.

What do you see as the biggest obstacle facing the city in implementing the consent decree to upgrade city sewers and waste-water treatment systems, and how would you address it?

The obstacle is cost. The city has reached an agreement … to stretch the process of complying with the consent decree over a relatively long time. This will mitigate the financial impact and give us time to development positive communications with the EPA. Repairing collection systems should be the priority over enhanced treatment.

What attempts should be made to help the city’s homeless population?

I support consistent enforcement of the laws while providing assistance to those who need it. We should focus on supporting families with children displaced by the lack of affordable housing, and by partnering with private sector to incentivize the building of truly affordable, entry-level homes.

What solutions would you offer to relieve traffic congestion?

We must start building the rail system. Not only will this provide the long-term alternative for our daily commuters, but also the economic stimulus for the construction industry to get our people back to work. Secondly, we need a fully functional Leeward bypass road with community approval.

What more could the city do to reduce solid waste and lessen the need for a landfill?

We must continue to increase the diversion rate to the landfill. We can do this with more efficient recycling, expediting the expansion of H-POWER and considering new technologies and strategies. Ideas like recycling plastics into fuel, ash from H-POWER used in concrete and asphalt as aggregate and solid municipal waste exported as refuse derived fuel pellets are among things we should investigate.

JOHN P. ROCO

Age: 45

Profession: Self-employed counselor

Other experience: Former hotel worker and produce (of Waianae) sales on the mainland

What qualifies you to be on the City Council?

I know traffic. Many times, I stared at the old OR&L (Oahu Railway and Land Co.), wondering why not use available resources. "I do the legwork." I look for the "best bang for the buck," finding solutions helping more people, for much less — looking beyond the "facade" for better ways for all of us.

What do you feel is the biggest problem facing District 1, and what would you do about it?

The biggest problem is "disconnect" of lawmakers. So many oppose the fireworks ban, which only recognizes exceptions of the Chinese culture. But aren’t there many people of other cultures who have responsibly used fireworks while hurting no one? Blanket laws penalizing everybody are wrong — we need focus and better differentiation.

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

Do not spend $5.5 billion, hiring out-of-state (as new head of "elevated" "heavy rail" transit authority). Instead: "at grade" "light rail" with Hawaii workers’ know-how, combined with Oahu Bike Plan. Save 4/5 of $5.5 billion, balancing the budget with no tax increases, and employing people from Hawaii.

What do you see as the biggest obstacle facing the city in implementing the consent decree to upgrade city sewers and waste-water treatment systems and how would you address it?

Biggest problem is a "beyond budget" rail system and raising taxes for it becomes more of a priority than taking care of basic sewer and wastewater treatment. Buying a $250,000 Ferrari when your budget affords a $50,000 Ford leads to ignoring city sewer problems. We need to spend responsibly and budget accordingly.

What attempts should be made to help the city’s homeless population?

Frank Fasi’s "safe zones" became drug and alcohol mayhem. Out-of-state homeless increases are skyrocketing. We need safe zones, but anticipatory of all wrongs before, while partnering with many groups active with the homeless. Then in humanitarian and dignified manner, require processing the homeless into these "safe zones."

What solutions would you offer to relieve traffic congestion?

The OR&L to Nanakuli with "at grade" "light" rail would be 30 miles (beyond 20 of "elevated" "heavy" rail), combined with the Oahu Bike Plan would cost 1/5 of $5.5 billion while reaching more people — traffic decreased for those who live furthest, decreases traffic for ALL OF US.

What more could the city do to reduce solid waste and lessen the need for a landfill?

At a Japanese school and also in Taiwan, food scraps are collected and immediately transported to farm fields for fertilizer — an excellent process of using nutrients to make better produce. Such innovation and problem-solving needs to be researched and executed with Honolulu city good will and partnership.

VICTORIA (CISSY) YUEN

Age: 54.

Profession: Unemployed

Other experience: kumu hula for Halau Te Haa Lehua; Former aide at state Legislature and City Council with more than 20 years of experience.

What qualifies you to be on the City Council?

Four generations of my family have resided in District 1 for many years. I have a deep and sincere Aloha for this district’s communities and families. It is important that even while we are faced with challenges during a tough economy, that we continue to strive to build a strong foundation for our families. I hope to be able to help in planning it’s future, while embracing the legislative process as a Council member.

What do you feel is the biggest problem facing District 1 and what would you do about it?

Unemployment. The state of Hawaii and City & County of Honolulu governments need to work in partnership with private sector businesses to on-the-job training programs and job placement opportunities.

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

Against increasing property taxes and city fees.

What do you see as the biggest obstacle facing the city in implementing the consent decree to upgrade city sewers and wastewater treatment systems and how would you address it?

Financing the consent decree. Remedy: International businesses need to invest in Hawaii to infuse new money into Honolulu.

What attempts should be made to help the city’s homeless population?

Provide job opportunities and coordinate health and social services provided by government agencies and non-profit organizations.

What solutions would you offer to relieve traffic congestion?

Promote current use of carpooling, city bus service and other mass transportation services. Plan for future mass transportation means.

What more could the city do to reduce solid waste and lessen the need for a landfill?

City government and business community need to promote and encourage consumer recycling. City needs to review technologies to lessen the need for landfill.

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