Real estate broker Choon James joined Spotlight Hawaii to talk about why she is hoping to pivot from being a community activist working to hold politicians accountable, to holding office herself.
“One of my concerns is that Oahu has an oligarchy that has controlled the power, the money, the land, and the decision making,” the Honolulu mayoral hopeful said, “This is the year for us to take the government back, to huli the system.”
If elected, James says she would work to bring more resources to underserved communities, expand affordable housing, and place a property tax cap for kupuna who have been owner-occupants of their homes for 20 years or more. James also says she would stop the Honolulu rail project at Middle Street, in large part to concerns about climate change.
“From Middle Street to Ala Moana, that route is in what we call the Honolulu sea-level rise inundation zone,” James explained. “We have to stop at Middle Street just for that reason. And also for the fact that it is ugly, it is noisy, and it is going to spend way more billions that what we have.”
A mother of five, and grandmother of 12, says above all, she is running to represent community concerns over those of monied special interests.
“We all live on a tiny island and we’ve got to help each other out. And I want to be that kind of mayor, where we will have open and transparent government, and where we will welcome everybody and just know that the office of the mayor is a public office for public good and and public service, and we can restore that.”
Spotlight Hawaii, which shines a light on issues affecting Hawaii, airs live 10:30 a.m. every Monday and Wednesday on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Facebook page. This month, Yunji de Nies and Ryan Kalei Tsuji conduct one-on-one interviews with Honolulu mayoral candidates. Here is the lineup:
July 6 – Colleen Hanabusa
July 8 – Mufi Hannemann
July 13 – Rick Blangiardi
July 15 – Choon James
July 20 – Keith Amemiya
July 22 – Kym Pine