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Editor’s note: For Hawaii’s Nov. 6 General Election, 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 Terrence Teruya, a nonpartisan candidate for governor. There are three other candidates, including Republican Andria Tupola, Green Party candidate Jim Brewer and Democrat David Ige.
1. Homelessness continues to be a major problem in Hawaii. What specific proposals do you have to help reduce homelessness?
Homelessness is a very large problem that needs to be broken up then restructured into a priority type of list. Once this is done multiple solutions may be applied, then close monitoring to measure any forward progress. I would contact state homeless coordinatyor Scott Morishige and various agencies to work together to prioritize what is needed to reduce this problem we are experiencing.
2. What should be done to increase affordable housing, especially for the middle class? What could you as governor do specifically?
Again all problems for me need to be structured on what are we trying to accomplish. There may be issues with regulations that may be causing this or because the value of land here is so high, there are very few landowners who would want affordable housing on their land if the return on investment would be so low. Now the definition of affordable housing varies from each person/family.
We have been so focused on building and building we forget to consider what our infrastructure can safely handle. Overuse of water and sewage systems as well as additional load on our power grid are all things to think about, which is more than just saying, “yeah lets build a lot of homes.” So my answer requires data that has to be structured in a priority format so various solutions can be suggested and implemented.
3. Do you support or oppose holding a state constitutional convention? Why or why not?
I support and oppose because we can gain a lot, but if not careful we may lose even more. I am leaning more toward not.
4. Do you support or oppose allowing citizens to put issues directly on the statewide ballot through an initiative process? Why or why not?
I would support this since we as politicians are supposed to represent the people, I want to see if the issues are the feeling of the majority of the public. Then that to me is an indication of what needs to be done.
5. 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?
Being a current member of HGEA and a former member of UPW and Local 996 Teamsters, these unfunded liabilities did not occur due to the negligence of union leadership. Collective bargaining agreements made between the state and unions were broken. The monies that were promised to go toward our retirement went somewhere. I don’t know where the state put it, but because of compound interest the money they took ballooned into what we see today, which is around $30 billion to $40 billion. The solution needs to be looked at further.
6. 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?
This is absolutely ridiculous, if you have nothing to hide and the citizens have the right since they pay taxes, for me, “All Records To Be Available For Public Viewing.” Well, whenever possible, but I do not see why such walls are needed.
7. 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 do you propose to do about it?
Everything that raises a red flag will be halted immediately until further investigation is conducted, failure to cease and desist will enable the state to seize all assets connected with the party responsible and if found in violation, the property will be seized by the state.
8. Is Hawaii managing its tourism industry properly? What should be handled differently?
This needs to be discussed in committee but if I had to answer now, it would be no. With crime, safety issues and infrastructure damage we need to talk about how we address these important issues, intra-agency cooperation will need to work together to have solutions to address what I stated above.
9. Do you support amending the state Constitution to allow taxing investment properties to fund the public education system? How would you implement it if it passes?
At this time my answer is no.
10. Would you support using liquefied natural gas to generate electricity as the state transitions to renewable resources to supply power?
Of course, anything to progress forward during a transitional period as long as no harm comes to parties involved.
11. What should Hawaii be doing to prepare for the effects of climate change, including sea level rise and threats to coral reefs?
I would need to have a committee to have open discussions on these issues.
12. What other important issue would you like to discuss here?
I want to address the 27,000 gallons of jet fuel that leaked into Red Hill above our water aquifier. This needs to be addressed since traces of fuel have already been detected. We don’t want to have another Flint, Michigan, fiasco on our hands. This will affect approximately 20 percent of the water we currently use for human consumption.
Rail is pushing us to the brink of bankruptcy; this monstrosity is paralyzing our state. I say we need to stop this right now before we all go bankrupt.
Taxes in Hawaii are getting out of hand. I want a bill to rescind taxes on unprepared food and prescription drugs to help relieve the burden the Jones Act has placed on our entire state.
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