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 Emil Svrcina, a Republican candidate for the state Senate in District 18, which covers Mililani Town, portions of Waipi‘o Gentry, Waikele, Village Park and Royal Kunia. There is one other Republican candidate, Anthony Solis.
1. Should the Legislature be more transparent and accountable? What would you do, given how tough it can be for individual lawmakers to go against leadership, to bring about needed reform in areas like sexual harassment policies, lobbyist regulation, fundraising during session and televising and archiving all hearings?
Absolutely, the Legislature shall be transparent and accountable. Unlike the incumbent, I’m not a professional politician obligated to prop up the self-dealing status quo at the state Capitol. I am a state employee who knows that unless we undertake massive reforms of our state government soon, the entire house of cards will collapse due to overtaxation of island residents who are now fleeing the state, overregulation of employers which limits job creation to low-paying jobs, and endless creation of debt and liabilities in the form of pay raises, pensions, and costly perks which cannot be sustained by taxpayers.
This necessary change essential for survivor of our state will only be possible with a fighter in the state Senate who takes on the greedy special interests who are only interested in keeping things the way they are so they can keep helping themselves to more wealth by rigging the system against us.
2. Hawaii is the only Western state without a statewide citizens initiative process. Do you support such a process?
I’m definitely supporting such a process. When I ran for City Council District 9 in 2016 I was using a similar process myself here in Hawaii. However, we didn’t collect 70000 required signatures on time.
3. Hawaii has the most lopsided Legislature in the country, with no Republicans in the Senate and only five in the House. How would you ensure there is an open exchange of ideas, transparency and accountability for decisions? What do you see as the consequences of one-party control, and how would you address that?
As I said already, unlike the incumbent, representing this 64-year-old one-party monopoly in power, I’m not a professional politician obligated to prop up the self-dealing status quo at the state Capitol. I know that unless we undertake massive reforms of our state government soon, the entire house of cards will collapse due to overtaxation of island residents who are now fleeing the state, overregulation of employers which limits job creation to low-paying jobs, and endless creation of debt and liabilities in the form of pay raises, pensions, and costly perks which cannot be sustained by taxpayers.
This necessary change essential for survival of our state will only be possible with a fighter in the state Senate who takes on the greedy special interests who are only interested in keeping things the way they are so they can keep helping themselves to more wealth by rigging the system against all of us and future generations.
4. Would you support more frequent campaign finance reporting during election years, particularly before the primary? What other steps would you take to improve lobbying and financial disclosures?
I personally have no problem with the frequency of campaign finance reporting the way it is now.
5. Hawaii’s public records law requires that records be made available whenever possible. Yet state agencies often resist release through delays and imposing excessive fees. What would you do to ensure the public has access to government records?
Sixty-four years of one-party monopoly abusing its power, that’s what we have here. This state is so corrupt. I believe we deserve better.
Government records will be available for the general public over the internet, televised and stored as videos available on government websites. Government officials and agencies will have to realize again they are our elected employees.
6. 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?
State unfunded liabilities is just another example of this increasingly less trustworthy and more dysfunctional 64-year-old one-party monopoly in Hawaii. Current plans will have to take in consideration the reality of the economical disaster these Democrats in power for so many decades prepared for our residents.
As in socialism I had to escape from, also here these socialists are naturally running out of other people’s money. Public workers shall be seriously instructed that they will have to now also take at least partially their own responsibility for their retirement savings if they want to have any available in the end. This state owes more than it owns right now.
7. Do you support changing the state constitution to allow taxing investment properties to fund the public schools? How would you implement it if it passes?
I oppose changing the state constitution. I will oppose any more taxation to feed this big wasteful government in Hawaii. State of Hawaii is the No. landowner in the islands. Most of the land lies unused. This makes no sense because this artificially drives up the cost of housing, as does the deliberate slow-moving process for land use decisions, zoning, and permitting.
The unacceptable political bottlenecks to competition in housing among homebuilders necessitates that obstacles to supplying the bottled-up demand must be eliminated. The answer is not for government to put people in housing projects designed to make politicians look like they care. The solution is to unleash the power of a truly free market — with competitive labor sources, competitive land, competitive contractors and building materials — so that supply can finally meet or exceed demand.
8. Illegal vacation rentals have proliferated throughout Hawaii. The state is not collecting tax revenue on many of these properties and residents worry about overcrowded neighborhoods and other problems. Do you see this as a problem given Hawaii’s booming visitor industry and what would you propose to do about it?
Many have turned to renting rooms or renting their homes as a means to make ends meet, since failed Democrat policies have caused the cost of living to skyrocket. I believe that once we fix our rigged economy for the benefit of residents rather than the political class, many people would stop running their own mini-hotels and reclaim their residential privacy again.
For those who continue to practice this form of business after we fix our economy and bring down the cost of living, it is only fair that the appropriate business taxes are collected. But greed by government employees for more money via tax collections as well as greed by the hotel industry which hates the competition are the main reasons why this issue has become so heated. Rather than criminalizing survival by going after folks trying to make ends meet, let’s get the cost of living back down to where it was before so many people felt the financial pinch and had to start renting rooms to tourists just to pay for groceries.
9. Do you support or oppose holding a state constitutional convention? Why or why not?
I do not support constitutional convention in Hawaii, because there are not enough people in general voting or participating currently in our political process and also not enough properly educated, truthfully informed, honest people who do participate. After 1978, when people voted for a con con and we did end up with unions of government workers, OHA. That is very troubling especially for me as a legal political refugee coming to America form socialistic regime, now wondering why entities like this can even exist and be legal in America?
How can “we the people” allow government workers – our elected servants, employees – to organize themselves into unions and still believe that we have government of the people, by the people, for the people? Such government union is only holding people hostage. There is a big difference between regular justifiable workers protecting unions in various industries outside of the government and legal extortionists.
10. What should Hawaii be doing to prepare for the effects of climate change, including sea level rise and threats to the reefs?
I have a master’s degree in Nuclear Science and Physical Engineering and don’t like when some so-called expert “scientists” promoting this movement, first global warming now climate change were caught manipulating the data and programming of the climate modeling software. Well they did get results needed, however fake results in my opinion.
Climate is changing and I don’t believe it is man-made change. I don’t see sea levels rising either. Climate has been, and always will be changing. So I see Climate Change activism as dishonest greedy struggle for political power and money.
11. What do you see as the most pressing issue facing your district? What will you do about it?
The top priorities are high taxes, high prices, and unaffordable housing. As someone who fled from a socialist country 30 years ago to come to Hawaii, I know that our high-taxing, big-spending politicians are leading us into the same over-reliance on big government. Taxpayers get poorer while the political class gets richer in pretending they are trying to serve us. Only a competitive free market which limits the size and power of government and keeps taxes and regulations to a minimum can drive down prices for everything.
In particular, our housing shortages are mostly caused by sweetheart deals between politicians and the politically connected construction industry. In order to keep profits high and competition scarce, very little housing is approved for building at any one time through slow-rolling land use, zoning, and permitting. In addition, there are too few choices in the variety and sizes of homes.
I will fight to cut taxes, shrink government, and expedite privately built housing which serves all income levels. I will fight to increase competition in the shipping of goods to and from Hawaii so that consumer prices are lowered and so local business can compete globally with products and produce made in Hawaii.