Editor’s note: For Hawaii’s Nov. 4 general election, Civil Beat asked candidates to answer some questions.

The following came from Richard Pohle, Republican candidate for state representative for District 12. Democrat Kyle Yamashita, who did not respond to the questionnaire, is also running.

District 12 covers Sprecklesville, Pukalani, Makawao, Kula, Keokea, Ulupalakua and Kahului in Maui County.

Go to Civil Beat’s Elections Guide for general information, and check out other candidates on the General Election Ballot.

Name: Richard H. Pohle

Office: State House District 12 (Upcountry Maui)

Party: Republican

Profession: Scientist (retired)

Education: BS, Brown University: PhD, University of Maryland (Physics)

Age: 73

Community organizations: Upcountry Meter List Association (founder); American Cancer Society (driver), Kula Community Association.

 Richard Pohle

Richard Pohle

1.  Why are you running for the Hawaii Legislature?

• Hawaii has become a one-party state. Even good candidates must run as Democrats to stand a chance. As Democrats, they must stand together to protect their party, hide mistakes, and propagate the Democrat philosophy which differs from mine and is harmful to the state and country.

• Hawaii ratified same sex marriage. The process was correct – it was political not judicial — but the answer was wrong. Contrast this law to the overturn of the voter-approved amendment in California where Federal District Court Judge Walker said, “The evidence shows conclusively the Proposition 8 enacts, without reason, a private moral view that same sex couples are inferior to opposite-sex couples.” He continues to say that many supporters of Proposition 8 were motivated by their religious convictions which should not be allowed to govern public law. If the opinions of the religious have no place in the law, we have established secular humanism as the actual law of the land and freedom of religion is in effect no more. I have no objection to civil unions: If groups of people want to group themselves as a union for legal purposes, fine. We all need someone to talk to and support us in this life. But the word marriage also has religious meanings. When the Democrat Legislature redefined the word away from one man and one woman (as we gave them the power to do by constitutional amendment), they changed existing law in many unforeseeable ways and offended a large number of people. I ran to give those people a chance to voice their indignation.

• As a legislator, I will vote on laws which are made up of words. If someone can later change the meaning of those words, that law can be changed to mean anything. Carbon dioxide can be redefined as a pollutant (as it has been but it is not) and so we lose the right to use coal for electricity. Seasonal mud holes can be redefined to be rivers and so we lose the right to use our land. I have lived in Hawaii for 45 years and married a local Oahu girl: I could be redefined as a Hawaiian – but I am not. This is not a civil rights issue. It is not even a religious freedom issue — yet, but if marriage is a civil right, it will not be long before a lawsuit forces churches to perform the marriage rite. This is a word meaning issue. If we lose our words, our Constitution becomes meaningless. When we lost “marriage,” our country changed. We all have a vote. When I filed for office, I gave House District 12 a choice. Now, they have a voice. It is up to them to make it count.

• The Upcountry water system needs ground water sources (wells) and other infrastructure to avoid collapse and contamination during a long drought and to provide water for those on the Upcountry Meter List for many years.  My website, www.umla.ws, has monitored this issue and made numerous policy suggestions. Since the state of Hawaii policy is that water belongs to all the people (not just those fortunate and lucky enough to be able to drill wells), I will try to obtain state funding to improve the Upcountry system.

2. Are you satisfied with the current plans to pay for the state’s unfunded liabilities? If not, how would you propose to meet pension and health obligations for public workers?

The state has no realistic plan to meet its unfunded liabilities. If it did, these liabilities would already be fully funded. Democrat politicians always promise more than they can deliver without borrowing and the voters accept their lies and the debts they incur so long as they both can “Kick the Can Down the Road.” These are not hard times. These unfunded liabilities are not bonds for tangible existing assets. There is no excuse for incurring future debt for current salaries and benefits. Eventually, the problem will be solved either by: 1) a crash that lowers the liabilities by fiat (as in the bankruptcy of major Democrat cities); or, 2) by high inflation — an especially cruel tax on the poor and the old. Don’t you ever wonder why prices always rise? This is the result of government (mostly Democrat) policies of excessive regulation, taxation, and spending. Good governance would produce stable prices.

3. Local officials and advocates have worked to address homelessness for years, yet the crisis is growing. What proposals do you have for this complicated issue?

If those who are mentally ill agree to give up some rights of citizenship and agree to live with rules, take care of them at public expense or give them over to charities (yes, even religious) for their reformation.

Those who just can’t get a job in this overtaxed and over-regulated economy to earn sufficient income to house themselves, should be treated with compassion and housed while they find their footing. Again, charities are a good approach because they are made up of caring people – not bureaucrats doing a job. Charities differ from welfare agencies because they can make individual judgments about how to treat clients whereas government bureaucracies must treat everyone the same regardless of their attitude.

Those who are able to work and are free loaders should be treated accordingly. Throwing money at the problem will not solve the problem. As we sweeten the pot, we attract more non-resident homeless. Unlike, the federal government, we can not control our borders.

4. Where do you stand on labeling genetically engineered food and pesticide regulation? Are these public safety issues, or are the dangers exaggerated?

As a scientist, I understand GMO methods and goals and I support them overall. If GMO products did not provide a benefit, no one would buy the seeds. GMO survives because it is a way to provide safer, more attractive, less expensive food. If safety issues arise, I will examine the data objectively but so far, I have seen nothing that indicates they are unsafe. Personally, I do not spend extra for organic foods. Like GMO, organic foods should survive in the marketplace on their own. I am aware of the cross-pollination issue but I am against restrictive government rules (and the SHAKA petition) that would eliminate GMO products by making them uneconomic or unfeasible to produce. I would consider labeling GMO products. The consumer should know what he buys, but ubiquitous labels like California’s “This product is known to cause cancer.. ” are useless and ridiculous – like crying “wolf.”

5. Hawaii’s cost of living is the highest in the country by many indicators. What can really be done to make things like housing, food and transportation less expensive?

I support an exemption from the Jones Act as recommended by the Hawaii Shipper’s Council (e.g., Mr. Hansen) that would reduce shipping costs. This is a federal issue and I would support Republican efforts for the exemption or repeal. Other obvious answers are: less regulation, lower taxes. reduction of government size and scope. I would treat government workers the same as private industry workers – not promise them more than I can deliver. Unions served a useful purpose when there was a great surplus of workers and lack of capital. But now, some unions have become like other special interest groups — coddling their members without regard to the overall productivity of their businesses.

6. Would you support using liquified natural gas as part of the state’s energy sources? And how can we improve the electrical distribution system so more renewable energy can be utilized to bring costs down?

Yes, I favor LNG and anything that reduces the cost of base power (the type of power available 24/7, – coal, oil, gas, and nuclear power plants). That is the only real way to bring energy costs down. Those favoring alternative or renewable energy always favor government subsidies that hide the real cost of their pet projects. They favor regulations making base power more expensive so their project looks good. A country run by renewable energy is a utopian dream. RE can only survive if base power is made expensive. President Obama has said as much and done his best to make it expensive by eliminating coal plants, not approving the Keystone pipeline, and other ways too numerous to mention. Our  economy needs inexpensive power to thrive. Higher base energy prices are like an unseen un-sponsored tax on all of us but especially hurtful for the poorest and most vulnerable. Wind, solar, geothermal energy have their place as niche energy sources but not as realistic solutions to our energy needs. I would end subsidies and let REs survive on their own if they can. Our efforts and resources should be expended in ways that could solve the problem – not feel-good solutions and businesses like First Solar and Solindra. Unlike idealists, technologists actually have to solve problems. As to the last question, renewable energy does benefit from inter island distribution (cables) since that system averages the periodic fluctuations inherent in renewable energy. Question: Why place PV cells on housing mostly under clouds rather than group them all together in a more sunny local? Answer: stupid and inefficient government policies: Credit for PV electricity can be given to to the PV owners regardless of where they and their PV systems are located.

7. Hawaii’s public records law mandates that public records be made available whenever possible. Yet many citizens are unable to afford the costs that state and local government agencies impose. Would you support eliminating search and redaction charges and making records free to the  public except for basic copying costs?

Yes so long as the requests are not frivolous. People do need to know the facts.

8. Are you satisfied with the way Hawaii’s public school system is run? How can it be run better?

No. I favor local school boards. The massive state bureaucracy is inefficient, unresponsive, overpaid, and responsible for programs like Pono Choices wherein a secular humanist philosophy of life is imposed on children with or without parental consent. Parents should be responsible for their children and what they are taught. Parents have a vested interest in a good outcome for their children and one that fits into their own cultures. The state school system teaches a uniform culture. I see no reason why teachers should have tenure. They cannot teach their learned opinions since they cannot depart from the prescribed program: hence, arguments about freedom of thought are senseless. Let them be evaluated by their bosses like those of us in the private sector. Pay teachers more to compensate for this inconvenience. Lengthen the school year. Teach real subjects like reading, math, and science with less emphasis on diversity, sex education, and self esteem. We have to compete with the world. In principle, I like Core Standards (CCSS) for uniform testing and evaluation (advocated by M. Rhee, J. Bush and others) throughout the U.S. but I fear that the program might be hijacked into a way to impose a specific philosophy in all U.S. schools — so I reserve judgment there.

9. There is a desire to grow the economy through new development yet also a need to protect our limited environmental resources. How would you balance these competing interests?

Zoning should control development not rationing by bureaucratic red tape. In Upcountry, development is rationed by the Department of Water Supply – not zoning. DWS does not issue meters because of a lack of wells needed during drought. But the county refuses to drill more and has refused for 30 years leading to an Upcountry water policy that is one fine mess. Hence, no affordable housing, jobs, tax revenue, and society.  County Council should realize that housing can afford to pay more for water than farming if given the chance, and use these private funds to develop Upcountry infrastructure.

10. What other important issue would you like to discuss here?

I fear for our country. Our society is slowly degrading . People don’t seem to object to change as long as it happens slowly (e.g., the same sex marriage issue which is now considered passe’). Under President Obama, we have seen how big government is everywhere and how regulation can limit individual liberty. The IRS scandal shows how the government can target its enemies. Bengazi shows how a coverup can survive if Big Media is not interested and how the media can be subverted. The NSA scandal shows the extent of surveillance currently possible. World events show what happens when we withdraw from the world and yet we are disarming. As a scientist, I predict that in 30 years, everyone will be inextricably tied into the net. All of us will be under surveillance and will accept it as a part of life. Government will know where we are if they choose to look. As soon as a terrorist attack is successful (and some terribly disruptive attacks will succeed since we are leaving large parts in the world to develop their hatred of our way of life – just like the Taliban did in Afghanistan in 2001), any nominal rules protecting our privacy will vanish. With this new government capability, we will slowly become a society composed of a ruling class of government workers and those dependent on government, and the rest, the working class. Rebellion will be impossible since we will all be monitored with total recall of data on those who rebel. The only solution to this nightmare is to keep our government small and focused on its primary responsibilities. If we don’t drastically reduce the power and scope of the IRS, they will become the domestic arm of government enforcement getting their data from the NSA. Regardless of which party you belong to, this is not the country you want. Republicans are the party of small government, low taxes and low regulation, fiscal responsibility, strong national defense, and individual responsibility. Democrats are the party of large government, high taxes and high regulation, high debt, weak national defense, and government care for all. For these reasons, I am a Republican. In our society, the voters get what they want. Eventually, they get what they deserve.