Editor’s note: For Hawaii’s Aug. 11 primary, Civil Beat asked candidates to answer some questions about where they stand on various issues and what their priorities will be if elected.
The following came from Karen S. Eoff, a candidate for Hawaii County Council District 8, which covers Kailua View Estates, Malulani Gardens, Hualalai Farms, Keopu Mauka, Kailua Heights, Kealakehe, Honokohau, Kaloko, Kohanaiki, Kalaoa, Keāhole, Makalei, Makalawena, Puuanahulu and Waikoooa Beach Resort. She is the only candidate.
1. The latest volcanic eruption demonstrates that some homes and infrastructure are particularly vulnerable to lava flow. Should this change Hawaii County’s approach to development, and if so, how?
Yes. We need to reconsider allowing building permits in Lava Zone 1.
2. Are changes needed in how the County Council is run, and if so what are they?
The legislative branch and the County Council currently run well.
3. The Legislature has authorized Hawaii County to implement a 0.5 percent GET surcharge. Should the county do it, and if so, what should the additional revenue be spent on?
The Hawaii County Council approved a 0.25 percent GET surcharge. Additional revenue will be used to improve our bus system and implement the Mass Transit Master Plan, as well as repair and maintain roads and eventually construct some new roads. It will be helpful if a portion of these funds are allowed to be used for other purposes as well.
4. 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?
New development should be required to implement water-saving measures, solar and energy saving devices. The Kona Community Development Plans outlines the means for protecting our natural and cultural resources and pinpoints areas for growth and development.
5. What would you do, if anything, to strengthen police accountability?
All government needs to be accountable, including the police department. Per the Hawaii County Charter, the Police Commission oversees charges brought against the department or any of its members. As a council member I can help ensure the commission carries out its duties.
6. What specific steps would you take to strengthen Hawaii’s lax lobbying, ethics and financial disclosure laws?
Stronger oversight would help strengthen already existing requirements regarding lobbying, ethics and financial disclosure. This may require changes to the County Charter.
7. Would you support eliminating Hawaii’s high fees for access to public records when the request is in the public interest?
Yes, the public should have easy and affordable access to public records.
8. Voters complain their elected officials don’t listen to them. What would you do to improve communication?
My office staff and I always return emails and phone calls promptly, attend community meetings and meet one-on-one with constituents. Hosting more community “talk story” meetings would be one way to further improve communication.
9. What more should Hawaii County be doing to prepare for the effects of climate change, including sea level rise and threats to the reefs?
Shoreline preservation projects, restoring strand vegetation and planting trees with roots to hold the sand along the shoreline are a few ways to prepare for sea level rise. Recycling and reusing water would help prevent so much water runoff and help to protect our reef ecosystems.
10. What do you see as the most pressing issue facing your district? What will you do about it?
Upgrades to the Kealakehe Waste Water Treatment are underway with the goal of producing R-1 reusable water by 2020. This is one of the most important projects in Kona and will help protect the near-shore ocean water quality. I have pushed funding for this project since the beginning of my first term in 2012 and the project will be completed in 2020.
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