- Special Projects
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.
1. Are changes needed in how the County Council is run, and if so what are they?
Yes. We need transparency and an “open door” policy. This would provide oversight and accountability where we currently have none. There should be no “closed door” sessions. We need to make it easier for the public to engage by implementing current technology, using video communication and video messages, implementing a website and app for 24/7 public access to government information. One of the main goals of our campaign We The People is developing an app which is a tool for people to directly communicate with the government.
We need to have an oversight management group and a fully transparent budget. All the goings on of the county government should be accessible to the public. We should be able to track every tax dollar coming in, and how every dollar is spent. Full accountability. The power needs to shift from full government power to power of the people. We need to shift the government to working for the people, not the other way around.
2. The Legislature has authorized Maui 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?
I do not think we should increase the GET. If we want an additional surcharge it should be tourist based; nonresident car rentals, resorts, hotels, condominiums, etc. The additional tax money should be used for public welfare for those in need, including mental and physical handicapped, the elderly, the homeless, drug addicted, and poverty stricken. It is clearly stated in the state constitution, article IX section 1, that it is the job of the government to provide for those in need.
3. 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?
Our tourist economy is strong. Visitors are coming to Maui. Our development should focus on agriculture and resident well being before tourism. Once our own are taken care of and we find balance and harmony with our community and environments, we can then look toward the tourist economy. We need to develop and implement a comprehensive soil remediation project focused on increasing soil health, through the use of cover crops, and organic and natural farming practices that are in harmony with nature.
Monocropping is not in harmony with nature. We need to create abundant food sovereignty for Maui county. We need to design and update a housing and community plan that both offers solutions for homeless as well as an example for future development and growth.
4. What would you do, if anything, to strengthen police accountability?
The public should have access to police body cam footage. The police have little to no oversight because so much of what they do is behind closed doors. By opening those doors and giving We The People access, by incorporating police body cam access into the app, We The People now have a tool to keep our police force in check. A transparent government is a good government. A transparent police force is a good police force.
5. What specific steps would you take to strengthen Hawaii’s lax lobbying, ethics and financial disclosure laws?
Again, transparency. Just as the police force are public servants, so are other government employees. The first step in strengthening Hawaii’s laws is to update the laws through a constitutional convention. It has been 40 years since the state constitution was amended and this year, on the 2018 ballot, we have the opportunity to vote for a constitutional convention. We The People need to vote yes for the constitutional convention — leaving that blank on the ballot will be treated as a no vote.
The state constitution is the legal document that out county government and county charter follow.
6. Would you support eliminating Hawaii’s high fees for access to public records when the request is in the public interest?
Fees for access of public information violates our constitutional right of free speech. There should be no fees to access public information. It is the job of the government to provide these and other services for We The People. This is what our tax money is for. We pay taxes to cover access to any public information. To pay a fee is to pay a second tax.
7. Voters complain their elected officials don’t listen to them. What would you do to improve communication?
Communication is like playing catch, someone throws the ball and someone else catches the ball, then that person throws the ball back and the other person catches the ball. It is the same as someone speaking and someone listening, then that person speaks and the other listens.
We have an app for this. By providing an easy-to-use tool we have both accountability of our government, as well as a place for the people to be heard, and a place for people to listen.
8. What more should Maui County be doing to prepare for the effects of climate change, including sea level rise and threats to the reefs?
The state is to protect people and the environment. We need to learn as much as we can, we need to be willing to look at our environmental impact. This includes sea level rise, unusual temperature change, and other climate changes, as well as other environmental changes that include the effects of 5G mobile technologies. Maui has been, and continues to be, used as a testing ground, and once again Maui was one of the first places 5G was rolled out. It is the charge of the state to ensure the protection of the people against threats. We need to be willing to look at the true cost of faster internet, as some research shows that 5G can be harmful.
9. What do you see as the most pressing issue facing your district? What will you do about it?
Say for instance a person works for a day, their output is 1, and another person’s output is 1. So a person who does one day’s work has an output, or value, of 1. We know that if 100 people work together their overall output may be 150, an increase, or profit, of 50. In the old paradigm the CEO of the company would collect 150, pay each person 1, and collect the rest, then likely tax the person on their 1. The new paradigm would have the CEO divide the 150 evenly 101 ways, increasing the value of each person to 1.49.
The problem is we are divided, the answer is work together, the story shows us how.
This is synergy. Synergy leads to abundance.
The biggest issue we face here on Maui is also the biggest issue we face on a global level. That is that we have been conquered and divided. To fix this we must be united. We need to move from philosophy of Me to philosophy of We. By working together we employ the laws of synergy, that is to say, we get more than we would working by our self. Whereas division leads to scarcity, unity or synergy leads to abundance.