- Special Projects
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 Mike Molina, a candidate for Maui County Council (Makawao-Haiku-Paia). The other candidate is Trinette Furtado.
1. Are changes needed in how the County Council is run, and if so what are they?
I believe the current process of how the council operates is acceptable; however, there is a level of tension that has created divisiveness between members, and their staff members. If elected, I would work toward bringing my colleagues together so all of us can spend our time efficiently to do the peoples work.
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 support implementing a 0.5 percent GET surcharge.
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?
There is a need to provide affordable housing for our young families and workforce. We also need to minimize impacts to our environment. I would hold developers accountable to insure they do projects that implement “smart growth” principles. I would consider conditions for zoning approvals to mitigate impacts to the environment.
4. What would you do, if anything, to strengthen police accountability?
There should not be any special treatment for police officers who violate the law. I would be open to considering tougher penalties for those in law enforcement who are guilty of breaking the law.
5. What specific steps would you take to strengthen Hawaii’s lax lobbying, ethics and financial disclosure laws?
I would support stronger penalties to include banning lobbyist who have been found guilty of multiple violations.
6. Would you support eliminating Hawaii’s high fees for access to public records when the request is in the public interest?
I would support eliminating or reducing fees for access to public records when the request is in the public interest
7. Voters complain their elected officials don’t listen to them. What would you do to improve communication?
I would keep my doors open to meet with all citizens and find out what’s on their mind. I believe it is important to empower our citizens to make sure their voices are heard.
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?
Over the last several years, Maui County has done a lot to protect the environment. As a former council member, I introduced and got the support of my former council colleagues to pass the plastic bag reduction ordinance, the banning of the taking of tropical fish from our reefs, and the outdoor lighting bill which protects our night skies.
9. What do you see as the most pressing issue facing your district? What will you do about it?
One of the most pressing issues in my district is the proliferation of illegal vacation rentals. I will work with the administration to insure we have an adequate number of inspectors to enforce the law and cite violators.