Name on ballot:
Hawaii county council – District 2
No answer submitted
Food and Beverage Consultant/Industrial Technician
Previous job history:
Plant Manager for food manufacturing, Quality Engineer at Ford, Vice President of Operations for a logistics company that loaded 12 rail cars and 100+ trucks a day, Superintendent for a unionized bricklaying company, Director of Operations for a demographics group. Also, lifeguard, swim instructor, nonprofit fund raiser, waiter, bartender, roofer, carpenter, plumber, electrician and extra.
Previous elected office, if any:
No answer submitted
Please describe your qualifications to represent the voters of your county.
I recognize our issues, namely that food security, housing, health and the happiness of our people are at stake. The success of a company or a government depends on the flow of information up and down the chain. It is because of my focus on this flow of information that I have been successful in managing large workforces, leading companies to make the right decisions resulting in both company profitability and employee satisfaction. I am a natural, hard working and dynamic problem solver with a proven track record, however, I know that most people know the solutions to their own problems. I’m here to listen and to serve our people first. I will encourage our people’s participation in their government and use my vast skill set to aid them. I am also honest and loyal and there is no other employer that I would be willing to have than the people.
What is the most pressing need for the people you seek to represent, and what will you do to address that need?
I know in district 2 we need a revitalized downtown area and I will address this by working with building owners to create more vibrant spaces, creating homes and space for the houseless, creating more seating in public spaces and sidewalk gardens, as well as creating more safe parking options. However, I recognize that each council member represents the entire island and our island MUST transition towards an agricultural based economy, not only to ensure our food supply is stable, but to ensure our food is more healthy and to build a strong and vibrant local economy.
Do you support or oppose the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope and why?
As a council member, I would have no more power or say over this project than as a citizen. However, as a citizen, I am very frustrated with the government’s shortsightedness in breaking promises and not involving the people in the decision process to the degree they should have. I’m also very surprised and less than impressed that both the government and local astronomy companies haven’t seized the opportunity available to them, or should I say that could have been available to all our students at every grade level for decades. World class astronomers travel here to use the telescopes and some of the world’s biggest breakthroughs in astronomy have happened here. Why isn’t there a widespread program that steers these amazing minds towards guest teaching courses for our students here at every level? Big Island should be turning out more local astronomers than anywhere in the world. Instead, we have built great opportunities for many others, but have largely neglected our own people. There is no doubt the world needs this telescope. There is no doubt that Hawaii should host it. There is a way to make it right.
Rising inflation has significantly worsened Hawaii’s already high cost of living. What can be done at the county level to help residents cope with high consumer prices?
The county can put pressure on the State to more readily release land to farmers who will grow staples for our island. We can give tax incentives to land owners to give low cost leases to local staple growers and tax incentives to farmers who own their own land to commit sizeable portions of their lands to growing staples. We can create community gardens and encourage private gardens. We also need to change affordable housing codes to include our minimum wage earners and incentivize builders to build homes specifically for these wage earners so that people can have homes closer to their work. This will help decrease gas consumption and free up our roadways.
What specific solutions do you propose to combat homelessness and to make housing more affordable to residents?
It’s the elephant in the room, but I’m not hiding from the statistical fact that as home prices rise, so does houselessness. We absolutely need to create homes for the houseless, but these need to be homes that they want to live in without over restrictive rules. Most of these homes need to be in proximity to the downtown area with good reliable public transportation between the two. I would also propose a one time 3% property tax on all new transplants to the island that would go towards creating affordable housing and housing the houseless. Non-resident vacation home owners should also face significantly higher taxes. Again, I also would change affordable housing code to include large incentives for developers to build and or rent to those making 25%-59% of the island’s median income. Affordable housing is about $525 a month for a minimum wage earner (30% of their income). I will make sure we keep that in perspective as we address this growing crisis.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, what more should the county government do to protect residents’ health?
We are very fortunate that most of our people have recognized and practiced their kuleana in wearing masks, distancing and getting vaccinated. These actions slowed the spread and ensured that our hospitals were never over capacity. This is not to say that our medical staff wasn’t overburdened, overworked, underpaid and underappreciated. I have the greatest appreciation for our medical workers and all of our essential workers who are seldom mentioned these days. We need to take a good look at how can support these workers because there is a high degree of probability that the world will face another pandemic in our lifetime. The covid-19 pandemic is now endemic and so far, even though transmission is high, hospitalization and death are very low comparatively. If this changes, we would have to consider re-instituting the measures that were in place that kept transmission low. We absolutely need to do more at the county level to attract more medical professionals as well as do more to grow our own. Incentives could come in the form of scholarships, ultra low property taxes and or subsidized housing.
What should county government do to help residents who have been economically affected by the pandemic?
Allocate additional funding for existing underfunded programs that do vocational training and job placement. Ultimately, we need to listen to these residents and ask them what they need. Long term, moving to an agricultural based economy will help insulate our residents from future economic downturn caused by a pandemic.
What reforms, if any, would you propose to make local government more transparent to the public?
Currently it is very difficult to find out what’s going on in our local government because our representatives have been terrible at communicating. I will end this by sending out an email or regular mail, to anyone who signs up for my news letter, and it will be posted on all my social media and websites each week detailing what was done in council that week and what is scheduled to be done the next week. I will hold evening hours once a week and expand that as needed to serve our people and I will hold monthly town hall meetings so people can come out and talk story to find out how others feel and to voice their concerns and be heard. Through effective communication we will have transparency and encourage participation.
Do you think more needs to be done at the county level to manage tourism? If so, what would you propose?
The county absolutely has the power and capacity to manage tourism and I know more can be done to mitigate and reduce the environmental impact of our visitors. I would propose a $5 county tax per day per car rental (residents would be excluded) and yes, this is on top of the state tax. I would also propose a $50 per person fee for each visitor who comes to the island via boat or plane (traveling professionals would be excluded).
What would you propose to help diversify the island’s economy beyond tourism?
We need to transition to a more agriculturally based economy. We have the capacity to grow enough food for the entire state and still export food. When we grow our own food, the money we spend for food stays on our island and the money visitors spend for food stays on our island. This creates a very strong and stable local economy, creates more nutritious food, and gives us food security. With food production there will be an increased need for food packing and processing. In other words, there will be an abundance of jobs in food manufacturing.
What can county government do to mitigate the affects of sea-level rise?
We need to begin planning for managed retreat now. This means we need to have discussions with residents and businesses in low lying areas and plan for where they will move to as sea level rises. We need to prevent toxic substances from buildings and or contaminated grounds from being swallowed by the ocean. Even though it’s not thought likely, it is possible for the ocean to rise as much as ten feet and not over decades, but over a matter of days. We must take this into consideration as we plan. We absolutely should start with moving our storage areas for building supplies, food and pharmaceuticals away from low lying areas. We need to form an emergency action plan that involves using all truckers and trucking services to load up predetermined needed stores and relocating them in a day’s time. This level of planning could take a decade or more which is why it’s imperative to start now.
Is there anything more that you would like voters to know about you?
I am first generation born in the US on my Filipino biological father’s side and through my mother’s side I am related to President George Washington’s Godmother’s husband and we have ancestors that have been in the United States since the 1600’s. My adopted family is pretty much 100% Irish, though my sister is half Cambodian and half Mexican. However, I identify as a service based metropolitan. What’s most relevant is that I am ready to use my knowledge and the love I have for our land and community to serve you. If I am elected, this position will have my full and undivided attention. I will not be running another company and I will not be beholden to any group or network. I also will not compromise. What’s good for the people will always come first!
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