Stanley Chang represents District 4 on the Honolulu City Council. The district covers Hawaii Kai, Kuliouou, Niu Valley, Aina Haina, Wailupe, Waialae-Iki, Kalani Valley, Kahala, Wilhemina Rise, a portion of Kapahulu, a portion of Kaimuki, Diamond Head, Waikiki and a portion of Ala Moana.
In April 2013, after Rep. Colleen Hanabusa announced her plans to challenge Sen. Brian Schatz in the Senate, Chang announced he’s running for Hanabusa’s seat.
Chang replaced Lee Donohue on the council, who temporarily filled Charles Djou‘s former seat.
He defeated opponent Rich Turbin in the 2010 general election to win the post.
He was one of seven candidates in the nonpartisan race. In the primary, Chang faced off against five other contenders, not including Turbin. Shari Berinobis, Jeremy Low, Makani Christensen, Frank De Giacomo and Carl Higashi all fell to the 27 year-old. He and Turbin finished first and second, respectively, in the Sept. 18 race and both advanced to the general.
Chang won the Nov. 2 general election handily. He took in 18,921 votes, or 48 percent. Turbin finished with 16,805 votes, or about 43 percent.
Chang spent $201,827 on his campaign, or an average of $10.67 for each of his 18,921 votes. Turbin spent more — $363,518 total, or an average of $21.63 for each of his 16,805 votes.
Civil Beat Questionnaire
For the 2010 Honolulu City Council elections, Civil Beat sent out a questionnaire to each candidate to help voters get a better understanding of their positions and ideas. Here are our questions followed by the candidate’s responses. They are posted exactly as they were sent to Civil Beat.
Chang’s responses are below:
1. What should Oahu do with its trash?
With the construction of a third boiler at HPOWER and technological improvements, Honolulu will be a national leader in diverting 80 percent of our solid waste from landfills. Pursuant to the City’s 25 year master plan for solid waste management, we must continue to find fresh ideas to divert waste, including plasma arc gasification, responsible shipment, recycling, and in-vessel conversion.
2. How would you address the bed-and-breakfast permitting issue? Is this a viable industry that benefits Oahu?
Anything that disrupts the residential character of our neighborhoods by increasing traffic, noise, and congestion, should be of great concern to the City. Transient rentals have fundamentally transformed neighborhoods that once housed families affordably, and the City should protect the character of our neighborhoods. That’s why the City must first look to better enforcement mechanisms of existing laws before any discussion can take place on permitting.
3. Where do you stand on the city’s planned rail-transit project? Are its funding mechanisms sufficient? Will it really attract riders and ease traffic congestion?
I support rail transit and TOD. The fact that Honolulu has the highest home prices and residential rents in the country has ripple effects across society. It’s a major reason for the brain drain that affects so many in my generation. It also contributes to homelessness. At the same time, I believe that in East Honolulu we have an extraordinary quality of life due to the low density. To preserve our quality of life, the decision was made a long time ago to direct development to the central and leeward sides. Rail is essential to make that possible–ultimately to keep the country country by making the town town.
I believe the funding mechanisms for the rail are sufficient, as the Business Roundtable has demonstrated. While collections are down, so are bids for the construction, so the City should take advantage of the low prices.
The rail will attract riders, including families who will be able to downsize from two cars to one car, senior citizens, students, tourists, and young professionals for whom the rail will be a fast, reliable, convenient means of travel. It will reduce traffic congestion but more importantly, it will give its riders the option to escape the traffic altogether.
4. How would you deal with the growing problem of homelessness?
Unfortunately, East Honolulu is Oahu’s fastest growing area for homelessness, and there are so many factors that contribute to it. We have the least affordable housing in the country–and the city should be doing more to promote affordable housing. As a board member of Family Promise, which helps working families that are drug-free, alcohol-free, and domestic violence-free, I see how expensive and lengthy the process is to re-house the homeless. Hawaii is also the only state without a mental hospital for non-criminals. If you break the law, you go to the state hospital. If you don’t, there’s nowhere to go, which is why so many of them end up on the street. Ultimately, unless there is somewhere for the homeless to go, enforcement-based bills like the bans on shopping carts and tents will be ineffective. That’s why I’m encouraged by the recent discussion of “safe zones” that could be an alternative to traditional shelters for people who are unwilling or unable to be served by them. We should continue to explore fresh ideas, like voluntary plane tickets and work shuttles.
5. Should Oahu restrict and enforce the use of fireworks? Why or why not?
I’m very concerned about the widespread use of dangerous, polluting, and noisy fireworks in Hawaii, so I’d support measures to mitigate those risks that are enforceable and respect the cultural, religious, and public enjoyment interests of everyone. If the current bill can be tailored to meet those needs, it should pass.
6. How can Honolulu best clean up its troubled Liquor Commission?
The Liquor Commission has a great opportunity today to hire a chief administrator with the savvy to police liquor serving establishments, the public relations skills to communicate more effectively with the people, and the integrity and stature to command universal respect. Monitoring corruption means constant vigilance from above, and the City should also seriously consider improving compensation for liquor inspectors to better insulate them from bribery.
7. Residents have seen property taxes and fees increase to meet budget shortfalls. What’s your big idea for improving the city’s revenue picture?
Spending wisely means we can spend less and keep taxes down. I will go through each year’s budget, line item by line item, with a red pen to ensure that the city budget is completely lean and to ensure that items like last year’s $525,000 budgeted for renovations to City Council offices are de-prioritized. Ultimately, the City will continue to face very difficult choices in paying for its $3.4 billion sewer settlement and $5.5 billion rail project, which is why I also advocate ways of generating revenue without raising taxes and fees. For example, successful rail systems around the Pacific, like Hong Kong, generate up to $200 million a year in renting out retail space inside transit stations.
8. Where do you stand when it comes to the use of agricultural land on Oahu? Should the council tighten zoning regulations, or loosen them?
Our food security and our environmental sustainability depends on the conservation of agricultural land. East Honolulu’s remaining agricultural lands, like the back of Kamilo Nui Valley, should be preserved in their current use. The Council should uphold past decisions to restrict growth in East Honolulu and instead direct growth to central and leeward Oahu. In general, development should be dense and transit oriented–“up, not out”–to reduce the pressure of sprawl on agricultural land.
9. Relations between the mayor and the Council have usually been contentious. How would you work to improve those relations?
I’ve never thought that leadership consisted of standing on a box and saying, “I’m right, and it’s all their fault.” Getting things done takes dialogue, negotiation, and compromise. That’s why fostering good working relationships with the other councilmembers and the administration will be central to me. I’ve spoken with several of the other councilmembers and candidates, and I believe I can work with them on issues important to East Honolulu and to all of Oahu.
10. Name one or two issues the Council should be giving more attention to, and explain why.
Infrastructure is the top priority for the city today. We have the second worst roads in the country–72% are poor or mediocre condition. The city recently settled over ten years of litigation with the state and federal governments over wastewater, and the resulting $3.4 billion settlement will require maintenance of 640 miles of sewers and upgrading of two major treatment plants. The wastewater settlement gives us a great opportunity to initiate a master plan covering roads, sewers, water pipes, and other infrastructure. If we’re going to rip up the roads to perform sewer maintenance, let’s coordinate with road resurfacing and water pipe maintenance. Let’s take the politicians out of the maintenance decisions and put the engineers in charge of a comprehensive and well thought out plan.
637 Ulumaika St.
Honolulu, HI 96816