Editor’s note: For Hawaii’s Aug. 9 primary, Civil Beat asked candidates to answer some questions.
The following came from Dave Burlew, one of three candidates for the Honolulu City Council District 2 seat, which is nonpartisan. The others are Dan Hara and Ernie Martin.
District 2 includes Mililani Mauka, Wahiawa, North Shore and Windward Coast
The city can increase revenue, increase the tax base and create new jobs by promoting agriculturally based economic growth. Statewide, Hawaii spends well over $300 billion in offshore food purchases a year. That’s a lot of market share for farmers, food artisans and food manufacturers on Oahu to capture. Promoting agricultural expansion will protect and conserve our precious island resources.
Importing less food will reduce our oil consumption and protect the environment. Agriculturally based economic expansion will set the city and county of Honolulu on a course of sustainability. Increasing agriculture will not only benefit farmers, but businesses that support agriculture, such as cars dealerships selling tractors, hardware stores selling farming equipment, pet food stores catering to the animal industry, etc. The time is now to act.
I’m an advocate for urban growth. Kakaako was in the planning stages for quite some time and is now moving forward at a rapid pace. Although building plans can be amended to suit the needs of the current conditions, I do not agree with changing the rules to suit developers’ desires. Many lawmakers have worked very hard to put restrictions on certain types of development to benefit all residents. Adjusting height variances and expanding growth in areas such as Kakaako Makai is unacceptable. Affordable housing needs to be included and supported in Kakaako without compromises. Green space in Kakaako is just as important as buildings.
Transit-oriented development must give preference to local small businesses. Locally based small business owners should be the ones to benefit from transit-oriented development. Business proposals for transit-oriented development can be ranked and approved by their benefits to the communities they intend to serve. Affordable housing can be concentrated adjacent to transit stations, which would help workers and increase ridership for the trains.
Envision Laie is a hot topic in my district. I do not support changing the Koolauloa Sustainable Community Plan that will inevitably pave the way for massive development of rural Oahu. Pre-approved development plans should be honored but it is unacceptable to encroach development in Malaekahana agricultural lands. Keep the country country!