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 3. All four responded, including Fred Fogel. The questions and answers are reproduced below in full. Read responses by Richard Onishi, Brittany Smart, and Marlene Hapai to see how Fogel’s positions compare to those of is hcompetitors. Click on each topic listed below to read Civil Beat’s question and Fogel’s response.

Preferred Candidate Name: Fred Fogel

Senate/House District Number: State House District 3

Date of Birth: 12/07/1949

Place of Birth/Hometown: Born: Buffalo, New York/Hometown: Volcano

Current Profession/Employer: Retired, Advisor to the Head, State of Hawaii Department of Defense (Adjutant General) in the areas of Quality, Process Improvement and Strategic Planning

Education/Alma Mater(s): BS Industrial Engineering, Penn State; MS Systems Management, USC

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?

No. The GET is sufficient (along with the present increased rate for Oahu to support rail.) However, while we are on the issue of taxes, there should be no GET on food or medicine. State Income Tax for individuals should also be simplified to a flat rate with no exemptions and no tax for people under the poverty level. Budget demands are a matter of priority. If you ain’t got it, don’t spend it (or borrow it.) Reducing the size of government would free up funds for pressing priorities. Existing unfunded liabilities (pensions and the like) should be fully funded. ↩ 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 stand in the middle. One size definitely doesn’t fit all and environmental reviews are often used by special interest groups to unjustly burden budding businesses in the hope that nothing will happen. Environmental statements, which carry a lesser burden of proof than assessments, should be allowed in some situations. ↩ 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?

Allow voters of each county to determine if they desire gambling and the form(s) it will take. The individual county oversees all gambling endeavors and keeps all revenue generated. Let counties band together on this issue if they so desire. ↩ 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?

Laws passed by the Legislature must be applicable to everyone, and that includes the politicians! If the present law is too cumbersome, change it. Government should be as “transparent” and open as possible, but there are and always will be legitimate reasons for closed-door meetings. Nothing is absolute. ↩ back to top

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

Best: Rail. Oahu definitely needs a mass transit system. (Sure would have been nice if the politicians didn’t play politics with Fasi. We’d have it already.) Worst: Rail. The present train-in-the-sky approach does not embrace proven technology which would move us into the future instead of the past. ↩ 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?

The issue I would champion is actually a group of issues pertaining to the reformation of the way government operates, which would include, but not be limited to, the following: [1] Term limits for all elected officials. (Say eight years max, with ten years service required for retirement.) [2] Put pay raises for all politicians on the ballot for voter approval. (Same approval standards as for ballot initiatives.) [3] Extend state legislative session from five months to ten months (with a 5% increase in the base salaries of State Representatives and Senators.) [4] A legislative committee head should not have the power to table a bill. All proposed bills get a hearing by at least one committee. [5] Align fiscal year with calendar year. [6] Encourage the carryover of unspent money from one year to the next, with no impact on future funding for that government entity. [7] Do not allow the raiding of funds designated for something else entirely (e.g. geothermal fund and hurricane fund.) [8] Get the government out of the insurance business. [9] Implementation of new laws only after reviewing economic impact. If additional effort required by government, the legislature must provide appropriate resources and specify the cost in the bill. [10] Legislation can only contain line items that relate to the title/purpose of the bill. No add-ons. No riders. [11] Line item veto by governor, with vetoed item(s) returning to legislature for override (say two-third majority) if they so desire prior to passage of the law. ↩ back to top