Editor’s Note: In July 2012, Civil Beat sent six questions to each of the candidates registered to run in the Aug. 11 primary for Hawaii State Representative District 26. All four responded, including Scott Saiki. The questions and answers are reproduced below in full. Read responses by Ryan Kapuniai, Lei Ahu Isa, and Tiffany Au to see how Saiki’s positions compare to those of his competitors. Click on each topic listed below to read Civil Beat’s question and Saiki’s response.

Preferred Candidate Name: Scott K. Saiki

Senate/House District Number: House District 26

Date of Birth: 07/17/1964

Place of Birth/Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii

Current Profession/Employer: Attorney, Galiher DeRobertis Ono

Education/Alma Mater(s): University of Hawaii (B.A., J.D.)

1. With the exception for Honolulu rail, the state has not raised the general excise tax in decades. Would you consider increasing the GET to help the state meet its budget demands?

I do not support an increase in the GET. The pyramiding effect of the GET upon individuals and businesses is significant. The public should be aware of future efforts to make permanent the GET increase for rail. ↩ back to top

2. Lawmakers proposed relaxing environmental regulatory review to spur development and job growth in the 2012 session, and the issue is expected to resurface next year. Where do you stand?

I opposed the House Democratic Leadership’s efforts to enact broad exemptions from our environmental laws. The proposals would have created exemptions for development along the shoreline, coastline, and public land, and would have eliminated the public’s constitutional right to challenge such development activity. If the public and private sectors believe that development is hindered by duplicative regulations, then they should come forward with specific examples that can be addressed. ↩ back to top

3. Gambling — are you for it or against it? If not, why not? If so, what type of gambling and with what kind of restrictions?

I am opposed to gambling. The social cost of gambling far exceeds its purported economic benefit. ↩ back to top

4. The Sunshine Law is a hallmark of an open democracy accountable to its citizens. Yet, the Legislature exempts itself from this requirement. Do you support more transparency in government operations, or are there legitimate reasons to conduct some of the people’s business behind closed doors?

There is legitimate justification for private legislative “deliberation”, but it should not extend to legislation that only benefits narrow interests. The decision-making process in the House of Representatives has become more closed over the years. The public, public interest organizations and the media need to be more vigilant in monitoring legislative actions. ↩ back to top

5. What is the best legislation — and worst legislation — that the Legislature has approved in recent years? Please explain.

In 2012, the worst legislation included proposals to exempt development activity from long-standing environmental laws, such as Senate Bill 755. In 2011, the worst legislation was the creation of the Public Land Development Corporation (PLDC). The PLDC has the potential to be one of the most dangerous entities in state government.

The best legislation occurred a few years ago when, under pressure from its members, the House of Representatives created an ethics committee to oversee conflicts of interests involving state representatives. Previously, conflicts were adjudged solely by the Speaker. This arrangement created an additional conflict in situations where the Speaker may have had a conflict of interest on a particular legislative issue. ↩ back to top

6. What is an issue that you would champion at the Legislature — one that perhaps has not received much attention, or an issue that is important to your district?

Repeal of the Public Land Development Corporation. ↩ back to top