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 Calvin Say, the Democratic candidate for state House of Representatives District 20, which covers St. Louis Heights, Palolo, Maunalani Heights, Wilhelmina Rise and Kaimuki. There is one other candidate, Republican Julia Allen.
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?
Yes. We have made tremendous progress from the 1990s till present. Will do my best to speak up at the committee hearings, legislature sessions and at community meetings. I do support policies for sexual harassment, lobbyist regulations reforms, fundraising after session,and archiving the hearings.
2. Hawaii is the only Western state without a statewide citizens initiative process. Do you support such a process?
Will be open for further discussion.
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?
There is open exchange of ideas in the committee hearings and session floor debates.
Go back to a multi-member district where there are two elected representatives from a state House district.
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?
Yes. Supporting campaign laws that address Citizens United, a U.S. Supreme Court decision.
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?
Support paperless technology and appropriate more funds to the Office of Information Practices.
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?
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?
Yes. Through future proposed legislation.
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?
Yes. Have the Department of Planning and Permitting document these illegal dwellings, have the tax department check if they have a general excise tax license, and finally a business registration license from the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs.
9. Do you support or oppose holding a state constitutional convention? Why or why not?
I support. The community, state, nation and world have evolved during the past 40 years to a new era of technology. For example, artificial intelligence, driverless cars, smart phones with more apps and cyber security.
10. What should Hawaii be doing to prepare for the effects of climate change, including sea level rise and threats to the reefs?
Banning of sunscreen, carbon–credit trading (growing more trees), having minimum setbacks from the ocean shoreline for all developments. Replacing cesspools close to the ocean with septic tanks or sewer systems.
11. What do you see as the most pressing issue facing your district? What will you do about it?
Monster homes, homelessness, abandoned vehicles and infrastructure for public and private landowners. Senior scams. Propose legislation to address these concerns and work with the departments at the state and county levels.
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