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Tuesday, April 23, 2024 75° Today's Paper


2022 Election: Tyler Dos Santos-Tam

Tyler Dos Santos-Tam
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Name on ballot:

Tyler Dos Santos-Tam

Running for:

Honolulu city council – District 6

Political party:

No answer submitted

Campaign website:


Current occupation:

Business Consultant



Previous job history:

Executive Director, Hawaii Construction Alliance 2012-2018; Self-Employed Business Consultant 2018-2022

Previous elected office, if any:

No answer submitted

Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Oahu.

Having been born and raised in the district, I have seen and understand the challenges that we face as a community first hand. I know it will take a leader with energy, vision, and aloha to take real action and bring about effective solutions to improve our City. I’ve been a visible leader in the community in many roles, most notably in our district as:
● A Liliha Neighborhood Board Member for six years;
● Former Chair of the City’s Neighborhood Commission; and
● Co-founder of HI Good Neighbor, an organization which has taken on monster homes, illegal vacation rentals, and illegal game rooms.
As your City Councilmember, I will take on tough challenges, work with all stakeholders, and help to move our City forward.

What is the most pressing need for the people you seek to represent, and what will you do to address that need?

My top three priorities are addressing crime, homelessness, and affordable housing. Crime has been on the rise in our neighborhoods, and we need to say enough is enough. Lately, it’s taken on more insidious forms beyond property theft and break-ins, and now includes illegal game rooms, drug use in our parks, and violent acts even in broad daylight. To address crime in our district, I will:
● Focus on recruitment and retention to fill officer vacancies at HPD;
● Support and expand our Neighborhood Watch and Community Policing programs; and
● Work with the Prosecutor’s Office to crack down on repeat offenders.
I address my specific proposals for homelessness and affordable housing in a later answer.

Rising inflation has significantly worsened Hawaii’s already high cost of living. What can be done at the county level to help Oahu residents cope with high consumer prices?

We need to immediately take steps to address the rising costs of housing for local residents. In addition to taking concrete steps to expand the supply of housing – in particular rental housing – which I explain in more detail in the next question, I believe we need to look at how we can make our existing property tax structure more fair for local residents. This begins by reviewing the formula for how property assessments are calculated, as many cash-buyer sales and monster home developments have artificially raised valuations for residents – of no fault of their own. We also must look at how we can increase the owner-occupant exemption to reduce the property tax burden on local residents, which could be offset by a surcharge on vacant habitable units.

What specific solutions do you propose to combat homelessness and to make housing more affordable to residents?

As a Councilmember, I will advocate for an “all-of-the-above” approach for homelessness that includes staffed hygiene facilities, safe zones, family-based repatriation programs, mental and healthcare services, and housing-first villages. Specifically, I will work with Mayor Blangiardi to expand the CORE program beyond Chinatown to address encampments throughout the district; secure additional housing-first units; and ensure that the Council is proactive in assisting the administration to receive every federal dollar that we are eligible for.
Of all of the candidates in the race, I have the strongest track record of supporting and creating more affordable housing. I was a supporter of creating housing for those on the edge of homelessness through renovation and expansion of City-owned or -sponsored housing sites in Chinatown and also worked with a coalition of housing stakeholders to expand the requirement for tax-exempt projects to accept Section 8 voucherholders. I was also proud to have been the chief advocate for new legislation to expand the State general excise tax credit and City fee waiver program for affordable rental apartments.
As a Councilmember, I will continue to work diligently to create more affordable housing that is within reach to our local residents and I am ready to introduce legislation that would break down barriers to creating affordable, low-rise apartment units in our existing apartment zones.

What reforms, if any, would you propose to make local government more transparent to the public?

I believe we need to keep working to put City documents, plans, and proposals online so the public can better understand what is going on in our communities. Specifically, I have been calling for departments like DPP to put more of its records online so they are more easily accessible.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, what should city government do to help protect residents’ health?

At the current stage of the pandemic, it’s important for the City to continue to offer testing options for Oahu residents. We also need to continue working with the State and Federal government, as well as subject matter experts, to be prepared for any dangerous variants that may emerge, particularly if variants are taking hold in areas from which we have a lot of incoming visitor traffic.

What should city government do to help residents who have been economically affected by the pandemic?

I am pleased that the City offered a robust rental and utility assistance program to residents in need. If we receive additional federal funding, we should prioritize ways to make sure that funding gets into the hands of residents who need it first and foremost.

Do you support or oppose the current plan to stop construction of the rail project in Kakaako instead of near Ala Moana Center? Please explain.

I believe rail needs to go all the way to Ala Moana Center in order to maximize ridership and reap the long-promised benefits of housing in TOD areas. Stopping short in Kakaako creates additional questions which have not fully been answered, such as the additional operating costs of enhanced bus service to replace the last segment of rail, and what impacts the new interim “end” in Kakaako will have on the surrounding neighborhood.

Do you support or oppose using new city funds to cover any shortfall in HART’s construction or operating costs? Please explain.

HART’s construction costs are derived from the GET and TAT, pursuant to State law. Before utilizing any additional funds, we must continue to push HART to reduce costs through value engineering, thoughtful packaging of contracts, and most importantly, careful scrutiny of the change orders which have driven up costs. We also need to examine how exactly the rail alignment will proceed down the Dillingham Corridor to reduce risk, given the high estimates for utility relocation. Finally, as interest rates continue to climb, we also need to think carefully about how to reduce borrowing and carrying costs.
I am opposed to an increase in property tax rates to pay for rail operations and maintenance, and thus I believe the City needs to be much more diligent in implementing innovative funding models as many mainland jurisdictions have done to have a dedicated source of funding for operations and maintenance.
We also need to revisit pursuing public-private partnerships with developments that are immediately adjacent to the rail guideway to share in the cost of stations, entryways, etc.

Do you support or oppose the plan to dismantle the Stairway to Heaven? Please explain.

I acknowledge that the Stairway to Heaven is in a dangerous state of disrepair but I oppose the current plan, as I believe the it will be much more expensive than originally estimated and budgeted. We need to revisit the current plan so that we approach the issue will all information in hand.

Is there anything more that you would like voters to know about you?

I believe I’m the best qualified to be our next Councilmember because of my experience as an effective grassroots advocate in the community, a caring neighbor, and a proactive problem-solver.
I will be committed to getting results as your councilmember, and throughout this campaign, I have already been hard at work responding to issues and concerns that neighbors have brought to my attention, including working with the departments to fill potholes and cracked sidewalks, fix broken street signs, clear illegal dumping, and repair water and sewer leaks.
I look forward to continuing my community-first approach as your Councilmember with your support.

Do you support or oppose the newly revised city law to combat vacation rentals that violate zoning regulations, and do you think it can be effectively enforced?

I am opposed to the continuing proliferation of illegal vacation rentals in our residential communities and I support the City’s legislative efforts thus far. I have long been a vocal critic of some of the City’s shortcomings when it comes to enforcing zoning, building, and occupancy code issues, and so I am deeply concerned that illegal vacation rentals will continue to proliferate in our communities without additional enforcement efforts. I am committed to working diligently with the administration, and in particular with DPP, to ensure that they have every tool available to be able to enforce our current laws, and any future laws which the City Council may pass.

Do you think more needs to be done at the city level to manage tourism? If so, what would you propose?  

Yes. As part of managing tourism, I support visitor impact fees for City-run attractions. This is a model which has worked well at places like Hanauma Bay, and at other locations like Waimea Valley. The fees as well as reservation systems have helped to manage traffic and also have provided funding for maintenance and preservation of these resources. Additionally, I think the City can do much more to promote TheBus as an attractive choice for visitors to utilize, rather than relying so heavily on rental cars or multi-day carsharing. Lastly, the City should be prepared to allocate additional resources and programs in major resort destination areas and neighborhoods that are frequented by visitors on Oahu to combat rising crime levels that occur as tourism starts to rebound. This would require a collaborative effort with the Administration, HPD, the Prosecutors office, the private sector and community stakeholders in those areas.

What can city government do to mitigate the affects of sea-level rise on Oahu?

Climate change and sea level rise will be a top priority for me as a Councilmember. Over the past two years, I have personally testified in support of the creation and full funding of the City’s Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency. As a Councilmember, I will work diligently to support the office and its mission.
Several immediate actions come to mind, which I would like to push for as a Councilmember:
• Relocation of critical infrastructure (roads, wastewater facilities, underground utilities, etc.) sooner rather than later, as relocating facilities now may be more cost-effective, versus maintaining and repairing them when they become threatened or actually inundated;
• Examining existing building codes to promote and increase flood resiliency in coastal areas, including phasing out seawalls which are known to exacerbate erosion;
• Developing mitigation and managed retreat plans for low-lying or coastal City facilities such as our beach parks; and
• Incorporating climate change and sea level rise analyses into the island’s community development and TOD plans.

View more candidate questionnaires or see more 2022 Hawaii elections coverage.
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