The five leading candidates for Honolulu mayor sat down for separate interviews last month with reporters from Civil Beat and Hawaii News Now to delve into why voters should hire them for the city’s top job.

We’ll be publishing all five 60-minute interviews over the next week, along with complete transcripts and post-interview discussions with political analyst Colin Moore of the University of Hawaii’s Public Policy Center.

The Job Interview series continues with Keith Amemiya. Here’s the full video.

Here’s what Moore and the reporters had to say about how the interview went.

Read the full transcript of the interview below.

Mahealani Richardson, Hawaii News Now:

Keith Amemiya, thank you so much for coming here today. We just wanted to launch into the questions for this job interview. What makes you the leader that voters should trust to lead Oahu out of this pandemic crisis?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Well, I’m running for mayor because we need change. We need new leadership. We need a fresh perspective. We need to restore trust in government. Everywhere I go, people say that we need change. I care deeply about the community, and I want to create a better Hawaii and a better Oahu for all of us.

When I was in charge of the (HHSAA), I had the opportunity to visit every community on this island. I got to meet a lot of people. I got to meet a lot of working-class people, and I got to learn about their issues and their challenges first-hand.

Many of them were struggling. Many of them had to make hard choices, whether it’s to pay the rent or pay their car bill, whether it’s pay their medical bill or food on the table or even choose to stay here and struggle or move away from family and friends to the mainland to find lower cost of living. And to me, that’s unacceptable. I feel that people who have the power to affect change should do so, and we need to do what we can to make life better for them. And that’s why I’m running.

Christina Jedra, Honolulu Civil Beat:

You say that you want to restore trust in government. So what specific steps would you take to do that?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Well, I’d like to think that my hallmark, my background, is based on trust and integrity. I think my career has shown that. You need to lead by example. You need to surround yourself with honorable, decent people who always do the right thing. And I think you also need to have a zero tolerance for corruption. And that’s what I intend to do as mayor.

I also think we need to enforce and make a stronger ethics commission. The ethics commission should have more enforcement powers. They should have more ability to investigate wrongdoing in city government. And that’s one of the first priorities that I want to take.

Collin Moore, Hawaii News Now Political Analyst:

Is there one or two big ideas that voters should connect with your candidacy?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Well, one issue I want to undertake and start from day one is to increase the affordable housing inventory in Hawaii. We’re currently 22,000 units short on Oahu. That’s a huge amount. That is a big reason we have a higher cost of living.

High cost of living is the number one concern I hear from working class families across Oahu, and I was the first, and I’m the only candidate to have a housing-for-all plan. It’s a comprehensive plan that seeks to aggressively reduce the housing vacancy or housing inventory shortage that we have right now. It’s focused on three areas: number one, focus on housing for Oahu residents and not out-of-state residents; number two, eliminating the variables that increase the cost of housing in Hawaii, like about 8,000 illegal vacation rentals that are still in existence on the island; and then third, we need to take steps to make it easier to develop affordable housing in the urban core, whether that’s the city creating more sewage infrastructure, more water infrastructure, allowing more density, you know, speeding up the building permit process.

We need to do all of that, because housing is in short supply on the island.

Daryl Huff, Hawaii News Now:

I’m having a hard time figuring out where the experience in your career… Where did you get experience to deal with these issues? Because from what I see, you’ve been a director of a non-profit and you work at an insurance company, but you’ve got no direct experience in government, no direct experience in a for-profit business. So are you even qualified to be mayor, and can you do these things you’re trying to do if you haven’t had an experience in this area?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

I view my lack of direct experience in politics as a plus. Too many of our candidates, too many of our politicians have been entrenched. They tout the wrong kind of experience. They’re experienced in being involved in politics their whole career, they’re experienced in running for different offices every election cycle. They’re experienced in leaving their office to run for another office during the term that they’re sitting in office.

Daryl Huff, Hawaii News Now:

Keith, nobody puts “no experience” on their resume.

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Right, well, I have a lot of broad-based experience, especially for the job of mayor. I’ve been an executive in several areas in the private sector, the public sector, the non-profit sector. I’ve led large statewide organizations. I’ve led organizations that have many challenges that are similar to running city government. You deal with broad constituencies, you deal with every community. I’ve done that. I’ve worked directly with communities on Oahu on an every-day basis. I know their issues. I know there are challenges. I’ve been able to bring people together, I’ve been able to collaborate, and I’ve been able to find solutions through team work.

Mahealani Richardson, Hawaii News Now:

At least two of your competitors say that they don’t need training wheels to be mayor. How does that comment make you feel?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

I have no opinion on that. They’re entitled to what they say. Again, when it comes to experience, there’s different types of experience, and they have the wrong kind of experience. I have the experience to lead organizations. I have the experience to bring solutions to problems. They’re part of the problem. They’ve been involved in politics. They’ve had their chance. Everywhere I go around this island, people tell me they want change. They don’t want people with long-time experience in politics. They want someone different, and they want someone new.

Chad Blair, Honolulu Civil Beat:

If I could follow up, both on Mahea and Daryl’s point, some people said, ‘Where’s this guy coming from?’ Yeah, we know you from high school, we know about Island Holdings, and you left that company, you’re no longer with that company. But people say, ‘Who told you to run? Who’s really behind your campaign?’ And the names you hear are Kirk Caldwell, the current mayor, or people with the last name Amemiya working for the administration, or former Attorney General, Colbert Matsumoto, Duane Kurisu. It’s pretty powerful people that are very well connected, and very entrenched, you might even say, Are you really your own man, or are other people pushing you to take this job?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

I’m clearly my own man, and I do know all those people, but none of them asked me to run for office. If anything, people on the community level, in the working class level, they’ve asked me to run up for office for years and years, and I resisted for various reasons. But now we’re at a critical point in our city’s history, and it’s time to step up. And I have a lot of support on the grassroots.

Stewart Yerton, Honolulu Civil Beat:

One of the things about working class people we hear, with the hotel workers, for example, one job should be enough, and calling for better wages. Would you impose a minimum wage of, say, $20 an hour for across-the-board, or for the hospitality industry, or something like that?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Well, it’s clear that the higher the wage for hotel workers and the like, the better their quality of life. They’re more productive, they’re healthier, they have more time for their families, so any time you can raise the wage, I’m in favor of it. Now, of course, we have to balance it with the needs and the capability of the employer, and especially with COVID hitting us, we need to look at what’s fair.

It wouldn’t make sense to force a $20 an hour minimum wage when companies will shut down because they can’t afford to pay their workers, but I do favor a serious look at increasing wages for our front line workers.

Stewart Yerton, Honolulu Civil Beat:

Speaking of fairness, what about for the hotels that have been essentially not able to operate for months ― what about giving them a tax break on property taxes?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

That’s something that the city should consider. Obviously, I can’t speak for the current administration, and what they’re gonna do from now to the end of the year, but we need to have a balance, like in all things in life, and if the hotels need a tax break, and the city can make it work on their end, and we should look at it.

I’m also in favor of looking at maybe real property tax deferral, where they don’t have to pay it now, but they can pay it later. But I wouldn’t rule anything off the table at this point. We’re facing an unprecedented situation. There’s no road map or playbook as to how to deal with this, so I’m open to any and all ideas, and I don’t wanna be so steadfast to say that we absolutely won’t work with the hotels. We need them to succeed. We need their workers back on the payroll. So I’ll do what I can. That’s what mayors do, that’s what leaders do, is find solutions to very difficult situations.

Daryl Huff, Hawaii News Now:

You know, you bringing up now, talking about tourism, a lot of people are coming off of our 10 million tourist year and then actually having a sort of vacation from the tourists right now. Most people, most politicians are saying they want to bring back a lower level of tourism. Do you support that, given what you just said about the hotel industry, and what mechanisms do you think there is there within the power of a mayor to actually control the flow, the number and the type of tourists?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

I support resuming tourism, but not at the 10 million visitors a year amount. I think that was clear to everyone that that’s too many tourists. And as the mayor, you can control a couple of things in that regard. Number one is crack down on the illegal vacation rentals; there’s too many out there. Our neighborhoods were being altered, the character of them and the nature of them, and a lot of my friends who lived in areas from Kaimuki to Pearl City to Kailua complained about the proliferation of tourists living right next door to them in residential neighborhoods.

So I think if you cut down on that, it’ll help the over-tourism that we all felt. But I also think we can do things like focusing on higher end tourists, higher quality tourists, tourists that spend more money, as opposed to the bargain basement tourists that we’ve had that haven’t really added to our bottom line, so to speak, in terms of quality of life and revenue to our hotel workers.

Daryl Huff, Hawaii News Now:

How do you do that?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Again, you need to enforce the vacation rental laws.

Daryl Huff, Hawaii News Now:

No, not the law, so much. How do you get a change in the economic type of person coming to Hawaii?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Well, Airbnb’s were primarily used by people who were trying to avoid…

Daryl Huff, Hawaii News Now:

Everybody says the same thing. Give us something different, something that would bring down the number of tourists, other than Airbnb’s and get you this “high spending tourist” you keep talking about it.

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Well, there’s a couple of other ways. You can impose a tourist passport tax, to levy against tourists, and it’ll be used to help provide or pay down infrastructure. It’ll help to maintain our tourist attractions, like our natural tourist attractions, whether it’s the Koko Head stairs or other natural hikes.

Chad Blair, Honolulu Civil Beat:

Is this the green visitor fuel you’re talking about?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

The green passport, I believe I’ve heard that term used. And I think the Galapagos Islands and other tourist locals (use them). So I’m in support of that. And again, I know you said we can’t keep mentioning illegal vacation rentals, but that will play a huge role in limiting the type and quality of tourists that we have.

Mahealani Richardson, Hawaii News Now:

Keith, you know, whenever we mention illegal vacation rentals, we always have people call us and say whether they’re illegal or not, they need that income from that house or from that room in their house to supplement their income because our cost of living is so bad. So what do you say to those folks who have some sort of vacation rental, what even to you do to them if you’re mayor?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Well, first, they were breaking the law, and that’s not right. That’s not fair to people who follow the law. Vacation rentals were never intended for residential neighborhoods. I’m not against all vacation rentals. I’m in support of vacation rentals in resort areas like Waikiki and Ko Olina. Anyone who lives in those areas have an expectation that there will be tourist as their neighbors. But in regular neighborhoods, quote unquote, clearly I’m against them.

Christina Jedra, Honolulu Civil Beat:

Keith, part of short-term rental enforcement is obviously the Department of Planning and Permitting, which has been bogged down on both the planning and permitting sides for years. What would you do differently than current and previous mayors?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Well, we need to look at overhauling through the department. I hear from everyone in the construction industry, the development industry, even the home improvement industry, people who wanna build an extension to their house. They’re frustrated with the length of time it takes to approve permits in that department. We need to look at it top to bottom, we need to look at creative ways that have been done successfully on the mainland.

We need to automate, first and foremost. Everyone tells me that the system in the Department of Planning and Permitting is outdated. So that, number one, will create more efficiency. We need to look at if we have to pay the workers in DPP more ― I’ve been told that the turnover rate is high because the pay is low, and once they get the commensurate experience, they move on to the private sector.

We also need to look at more third-party review. If there’s a shortage of workers at DPP, let’s look at outsourcing even more and focus more on compliance and enforcement on the back end. There’s enough checks and balances in DPP and the permitting process, where if you approve a permit, as long as you have the enforcement and compliance mechanism after, I think we’ll be okay, because there are professionals like architects and engineers looking at the plans as submitted. And if they submit shoddy plans, they’re gonna be held accountable in the long run and they won’t be allowed to do business with the city.

Mahealani Richardson, Hawaii News Now:

Keith, if you’re augmenting one department, like the Planning Department, what department or other initiatives would you be willing to take away from to help balance the budget?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

I don’t think we’re gonna take away necessarily from any other department, I’ve heard from the construction industry, and the development industry, they’re willing to help pay for increased pay for workers or whatever it takes to retain workers in DPP so that they don’t leave after six months or a year and start the turnover churn over and over. So I don’t think we need to cut any other departments while we’re improving the quality of service at DPP.

Colin Moore, Hawaii News Now Political Analyst:

But speaking of cutting, whoever wins this election is going to take charge of the city at a time of financial crisis. There’s no debate about that, in probably some things will have to be cut. What would you look at cutting, what city services?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Well, I think we have to wait and see. This is an economic situation changing by the week, changing by the month, it’s unprecedented. We have no road map, like I said before, and people have to remember… Prior to this pandemic crisis, the city was in pretty good financial shape. The city had approximately $200,000,000 in reserve in the prior fiscal year. We have to wait and see. The real property tax assessments in the upcoming year, we can’t assume or shouldn’t assume that they’re gonna go down significantly. They might, but we don’t know. So I don’t wanna speculate. I don’t wanna say something’s gonna be cut until we know the true situation in terms of the city’s finances a year from now.

Colin Moore, Hawaii News Now Political Analyst:

But if you did have to cut, what would you look at? Would you be willing to freeze or reduce city worker salaries, for example?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Well, one area to look at is the city has approximately 1,000 vacancies right now, and they’ve had that out of their 10,000-employee workforce for several years. I’d rather look at cutting those positions, then positions held by live bodies, so to speak. Those people need revenue, their lack of having gainful employment affects all of us, affects the city’s revenue, affects the state’s revenue, the federal revenue. So I prefer looking at that area first, and I also wanna look at technology and being more efficient.

Daryl Huff, Hawaii News Now:

You got two plum endorsements recently: HGEA, the white collar public workers union, and UPW, the blue collar public workers unions. Both have lots of bodies, both have lots of money. A huge shot in the arm for your campaign, but also it seems to it also comes with strings attached. And I’m wondering two things: One, when you make an answer to Colin, ‘Oh i don’t really want to look at that. I wanna look at vacant positions.’ Does that influence you that, ‘Oh, I’ve gotta make sure UPW and HGEA are happy?’ And number two, when you talk about change, those are probably two (of) the biggest organizations resistant to change. How do you answer those two questions?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

I’ll answer the resistance to change part first. There’s a lot of city employees that are retiring in the coming years. I think that’s a great opportunity to look at retooling the jobs that they did, modernizing the jobs that they did and making it more efficient. Younger people in general are more open to change and new technology, so I think it’s a great opportunity to utilize that. And the unions are aware, I’ve spoken to HGEA in particular and they know that change needs to be made. They know that the job functions of many of their employees in HGEA need to be retooled, and so I look forward to working with both unions to make their workers jobs better and more efficient and beneficial to the taxpayers,

Christina Jedra, Honolulu Civil Beat:

Keith, Mayor (Kirk) Caldwell just signed the latest city budget. Given that you’re a first time candidate, have you read through it and familiarized yourself with city finances?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

I read through it, but to be honest, I can’t memorize it line by line. I do know that it was a little higher than the prior year, it’s an ambitious budget, it’s an aggressive budget, and time will tell whether they can fulfill all the mandates in that budget.

Mahealani Richardson, Hawaii News Now:

We wanted to move along to some questions about police. Chad, why don’t you go ahead and start.

Chad Blair, Honolulu Civil Beat:

Okay, you’re from the police commission. Commissioner, right, you actually ran that back under Mayor Hannemann, if I remember correctly, Hannemann. Well, you’ve seen what’s happened to that commission lately. We just lost Loretta Sheehan, we just lost… Steve Levinson, highly critical about the commission not really having oversight over (the Honolulu Police Department). The mayor has appointed some two new people, and we’ll see whether they do a good job. I believe you’ve actually considered amending our city charter to give the commission more teeth. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Well, I share the concern and frustration, if you will, of the two most recent departing commissioners Levinson and Sheehan. And the police commission has less power, duties and responsibilities than one would think, and given all the attention on police reform nationwide and here locally, I think it’s a great time to revisit that situation and see if the Commission can have more oversight and authority. I’m a firm believer, when I was on the commission 10 years ago, I’m a firm believer now, that any effective oversight body, especially one involving the police and law enforcement, needs transparency and accountability. And I don’t know if those two are fully being utilized under the current constraints of the commission.

Chad Blair, Honolulu Civil Beat:

So let me follow up on this too. We’re also coming out of a remarkable situation, the police chief convicted, his wife, the former deputy prosecutor, there’s a loss of confidence in the part of the citizens, the City and County of Honolulu, whether they can trust an HPD officer. And by the way, Civil Beat has reported over the years on a lot of bad cops. And as you know, there’s a rule in place, it gives those cops some anonymity when it comes to disclosing what they did wrong. That may change by the time this interview airs, but I think people are crying out for restoring trust, for seeing in the George Floyd marches across the country. What are you gonna do about this very fundamental problem?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Well, to the point we discussed earlier, giving more teeth to the police commission may help, and that in turn will give more confidence in the public. But there’s three other areas that I think should be, or know should be, reviewed as part of police reform, if you will. Number one, the police chief is already doing it, looking into whether chokeholds should be altered or eliminated altogether. Number two, requiring an affirmative duty of an officer to intervene if a fellow officer is engaged in wrongdoing, especially in the use of physical force. And number three, implicit bias training. I think that’s something that should be done, not only in the police department, but in all city departments throughout the city government.

Chad Blair, Honolulu Civil Beat:

Chief Ballard said that HPD can’t be compared to police departments on the mainland, that she doesn’t believe there’s a systemic problem particularly involving racism, perhaps violence and misconduct. Do you have that same confidence?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

I don’t know if it’s the same degree or not, but I’m a firm believer in “you can always be better, you should always try to be better.” I agree with her that the vast majority of our officers in Honolulu are honorable law-abiding people who care about our community, but there’s always room for improvement. There’s no perfect police department, there’s no perfect organization, so anything we can do to further instill trust in the public, is something that I’m in favor of.

Daryl Huff, Hawaii News Now:

Let me ask one more question, and along those lines, you were on the commission, there were problems with the police department when you were on the commission too. What did you change when you were on the commission? Or did you change anything? It seems like the commission was the same culture that it had back when you were there, that led to Kealoha, that led to the payoff to Kealoha. Weren’t you part of that same culture, and how are you different from the commission that basically screwed it up?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

When I served on the commission, Chief Kealoha wasn’t the chief and I wasn’t involved in the selection of Chief Kealoha. And unless you provide specifics, I don’t remember any major controversies at the time involving the police chief or the police department. Sure, there were issues, there always are, but none to the magnitude that occurred during Chief Kealoha’s tenure.

Daryl Huff, Hawaii News Now:

There were cell block beatings, the scandal where they were selling food out of the police station’s kitchen that was meant for prisoners, things like that were happening. And there was certainly cultures of looking the other way for domestic violence, there was favoritism among police officers. Did you see all that, and did you try and take action on it?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

So, none of those incidents that you mentioned were brought to our attention. Again, I’m not saying nothing happened, but the meals and the cell block interactions, those happened before my tenure on the police commission.

Mahealani Richardson, Hawaii News Now:

Keith, I wanted to talk about the movement at Mauna Kea, because it has sparked a movement on every island, especially here on Oahu. When you look at the Mauna Kea movement and how it has sparked conflicts over projects, what do you tell the nervous developers who have already received the green light by government, and what do you tell the police who have to enforce the law, and native Hawaiians who are willing to protest and put their lives at risk for their causes?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

That’s a function of poor communication between government and our citizenry, and that’s something that I wanna emphasize as mayor. We’ve somehow lost our way. We have lost trust with the public. Government in general, whether it’s federal, state or city, fair or not. And one of the initiatives I wanna undertake as mayor is to create an Office of Community Engagement, and that office’s job is to go out in the community and speak to people way ahead of any project that’s gonna be proposed.

Colin Moore, Hawaii News Now Political Analyst:

How would that work? Would that supersede the role of neighborhood boards, or what’s the added value there? Particularly at a time when you’re trying to maybe cut bureaucracy, which I know is another thing that you have proposed

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

It won’t supersede the neighborhood boards, it’ll supplement the neighborhood boards. But clearly the current system’s not working, and when I ran high school sports in Hawaii, and it was obviously a state-wide organization, it sounds simple, but it worked, in my opinion very well. You need to be proactive and you need to get out there constantly. You can’t announce a proposal and expect everyone to like it. You need to get input, and when you get input early on from everybody, you hear the different viewpoints, you modify the proposal. You basically make it easier to get past, eventually. Sometimes you’re not gonna come to an agreement, but when the public feels that at least they’ve had a say in the matter, it makes life a lot easier now to add to that.

Mahealani Richardson, Hawaii News Now:

I am sure that you heard from those developers though, that, “Yes, we were reaching out to neighborhood boards, we were following the process, we were communicating with communities.” But all of a sudden the conflict rises. So as mayor, if you find yourself in the middle of it, what do you say to each of those factions, when people are putting themselves on the line?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

So every situation is different, and in some cases, my sense is that the developers checked every box that they were supposed to check. Like they went to a neighborhood board, had it on the agenda, three people showed up, it got approved and they moved on. That’s not genuine. Reaching out to the public, you need to make sure the public knows. “Hey, we’re gonna possibly redevelop Sherwood Forest. Waimanalo, we’re telling you, you you need to show up at Pope Elementary cafeteria this Thursday night. We’re gonna talk about it, we wanna hear your view points. If you don’t show up, don’t complain later.”

We need to do more proactive engagement with the community. We can do other things, and maybe we’re gonna talk about Sunshine Law before this hour is over, but we need to get more meaningful engagement from the community, not just neighborhood board commission meetings. We need to allow to submit testimony on line, whether it be a Skype or FaceTime or Zoom. It’s unfair for a mother of two who has a job to expect to be able to take four hours off from work, sit in the gallery at City Council, waiting to testify, not knowing if she’s gonna be able to testify, being whether she’s number two on the list or number 142 on the list.

Why can’t we have online submittal, or registering for testimony? Why can’t we testify via Skype, like I said, or Facetime?

Stewart Yerton, Honolulu Civil Beat:

Would you require something like that as part of the permitting process, some kind of online forum for people that developers would have to go through, reach out to people really let people engage?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

I would need to think about it through, but I’m inclined to say yes. I mean, why not? The more dialogue, the more feedback, the better for everyone. I’m for open communication, transparency, we need to make it easier for people to have their say, and technology has proven that you can do it. This pandemic has been horrible for many, many reasons, but if there’s any by-product of it, it’s proven we can communicate pretty effectively without being face-to-face.

Chad Blair, Honolulu Civil Beat:

Well, to stay on this topic for just a minute, because it’s so big, not just from TMT, but here on Oahu alone, you mentioned Sherwoods. There’s a case where that issue, the development put in the ball field and the parking lot and tear down all the trees had actually been in the works for years and years and years. And people only started to protest when they actually saw the bulldozers come in, and at that time, the mayor, perhaps expressing some tone deafness on his part, did not want to stop the project.

We know how it worked out, now Sherwoods is finally off the table, but it seemed like people were listening and reaching out in the community. Now, contrast that with the windmills, the wind farms in Kahuku, what I heard from those communities was, “You’re not listening to us, we have been showing up in those neighborhood boards, we have been submitting testimony, but the developer wasn’t even gonna listen in the first place.” Of course, we saw how that was settled. The police were sent in, and now those windmills are going up, those wind farms. So, hearing you say a lot about communication, that I’m seeing two examples, all very fresh with very different outcomes and a lot of different interpretations of what actually happened.

Stewart Yerton, Honolulu Civil Beat:

If a developer, for instance, followed the law, they did reach out to people such as the Kahuku windfarm. They had a lot of engagement in the community that said, “We don’t want it.” And the developer said, “Well, too bad. It’s legal. Everything’s okay, we’ve heard you, you’ve had a chance to voice your concerns, but we’re moving ahead.” Would you support that project?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

So if there’s a project where the developer engaged in honest, meaningful communication, followed the process and got approval, then yes, there’s a point, government needs to enforce the law, of course. And I’m in favor of that.

Daryl Huff, Hawaii News Now:

Can I ask, you talk about this failure of government. In one of your flyers, you said: “Political leaders have failed our people, that leadership of the past did not work.” You’re talking about the failure to communicate with communities. Whose failure is that? Is that Kirk Caldwell and David Ige?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

It’s government’s failure in general. It’s everyone’s failure. I mean, I can’t blame it all on government. The public needs to pay attention more, too. I sympathize with the public. It’s hard to make ends meet. We have many people working second and third jobs, but they need to pay attention. And I think with all the controversies that have gone on nationally and locally, and the uprisings, nationally and locally, this is the election, I hope, people speak up and vote.

Colin Moore, Hawaii News Now Political Analyst:

Keith, speaking about Governor Ige, obviously, one of the things the mayor will have to do is work closely with the governor and with the legislature, particularly now, in the recovery from COVID. What’s your relationship like with Governor Ige, and how would you approach working with the state on our recovery?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

I have a good relationship with Governor Ige. We’re not extremely close, but we know each other. We met, we first met when I was running high school sports, and we’ve kept in contact since. He’s appointed me to a couple of state boards and commissions. I know his wife, Dawn Ige, because she was a former public school vice principal. She’s engaged me to help run various projects, including increasing breakfast participation by low-income students in our public school state-wide. So my relationship with Governor and Mrs. Ige is strong.

I also have a strong relationship with the legislature. I know the state Senate and House leadership. I know them well, personally and professionally, so I look forward to the opportunity to work with all of them. And it’s important to work well with state government; we have a small state, where everyone knows each other. We have limited resources, so it’s imperative that the next mayor have a good relationship with our federal delegation, our state delegation and the City Council, and I intend to have a good relationship with all three. And the general public as well.

Mahealani Richardson, Hawaii News Now:

Keith, in your latest television commercial, you talk about your family, and you also remind viewers that you’re a Democrat. Why did you do that, when the office of mayor is non-partisan?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

I felt it was important to take a stand to show what party I belong to. Yes, it’s a non-partisan race, but almost everybody I come across asks me what party I belong to. I’m not afraid to say ‘I’m a Democrat and I stand for the democratic ideals.’ Now, of course, I’m willing to work with everyone, whether they be Republican, Independent, Aloha Aina party or whatever other party that’s out there. And as mayor, I will work with everyone.

I’m not just gonna work with Democrats because I’m a Democrat, but I do believe and stand by Democratic ideals.

Chad Blair, Honolulu Civil Beat:

You showed your cards there. Remember, one-third of the people in this state actually voted for President Trump. Hillary Clinton got the other two-thirds, but you basically told one-third of the voters out there, Republican who did not vote Democrat, you know, ‘These are the guys I’m going with,‘ ‘cause by the way, David Ige and Scott Saiki and Ron Kouchi, and all of the members of the delegation in Congress, are Democrats too.

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Well, again, I stand by my party affiliation, but I wanna assure everyone I’ll work across the aisle, I’ll work with everyone, but my foundation is Democratic Party base.

Colin Moore, Hawaii News Now Political Analyst:

Are you the most liberal candidate running from mayor?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

To be honest, there’s 15 candidates, I know some better than others, but I view myself in terms of the candidates I know, to be the most liberal.

Christina Jedra, Honolulu Civil Beat:

I’d like to talk about homelessness a little bit, because it was cited as the number one issue of concern among residents in the latest National Community Survey, and the recent Point In Time count shows that numbers are virtually unchanged from last year. Are you the candidate that’s going to end homelessness on Oahu once and for all?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

That’s my goal. That’s my intent. Homelessness is a complicated problem, as we all know. It’s the number one issue here as well, based on my feedback from constituents. Well, I take that back, it’s homelessness and the high cost of living, high-cost housing. I mean, they’re all lumped together and it’s huge, huge concerns, and they’re lumped together and they both have the same solution. We need to build more affordable housing.

Christina Jedra, Honolulu Civil Beat:

Where do the previous administrations fail, though… ‘cause everyone says, we need more affordable housing. What have they done wrong?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Lack of political will. Lack of collaboration, partisan divide, pettiness, you name it. And we need to end that. We need to have someone who will bring people together to find solutions to it and just build more affordable housing.

Stewart Yerton, Honolulu Civil Beat:

At a time when we could face a financial struggle in the city government, you mentioned building more infrastructure and allowing more density in the urban core for affordable housing? Is the money gonna be there for that, for a lot of infrastructure, for the city to pay for it? And if the developer pays for it, it gets passed on to the buyer of the house, and it won’t be as affordable. Is that doable, given the financial situation of the city right now?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

It’s doable, but let me add that another area where we can greatly increase housing inventory is through public-private partnerships. Kahauiki Village is a perfect, perfect example. I was heavily involved in that project, it was a project involving the state, the city, the non-profit sector, and we were able to build, in rather short order, 150 homes housing 600 people, 150 families that were previously homeless, and there are plans in the works to build more of those.

Now, in terms of the project, you are talking about, transit-oriented development is one area where we can utilize to build more housing. Yes, it’s gonna cost money to the city in terms of more sewage and more water infrastructure and the like, but I like to tell people, they ask me, “How can we afford to?” And I say, “How can we afford not to?” The longer we delay these tough decisions, the harder it’s gonna get to build more housing. We can look at financing, interest rates are still relatively low, we can look at partnerships with the private sector. In the long run, when we fully build out transit-oriented development at every rail station, it will result in millions and millions of dollars in real property tax revenue for the city, so we can’t wait any longer, and we need to do what we can. We need to be creative.

Daryl Huff, Hawaii News Now:

Can I ask, what was your involvement with the 801 South project? And in particular, because after that project was completed, many units changed hands and at higher prices. And also Governor Ige came out and said that was a failed policy. It was done under the Abercrombie administration. What was your connection to that project?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

So my wife and I built, bought a unit in 801 South Street, and to be clear, there was a certain percentage of units made available through the open public or general public. And there were a certain amount of units for working-class or middle-class and below families. We bought a unit in the open market, we bought it for our son, we paid market rate in the hopes, he’s in college now, we bought it in the hopes that when he’s done with college, he comes back home and has a place to stay.

We’re fortunate. A lot of families don’t have that opportunity, but we took that opportunity, and we didn’t do two things that I wanted. A clear, number one, we didn’t flip it for a profit even though we could have done so. And number two, we didn’t rent it out as a vacation rental or Airbnb unit. We still own the unit, we’re renting it out to a local family who can’t afford to buy a unit of their own in town, but wanted to live in town and are renting from us.

Mahealani Richardson, Hawaii News Now:

Keith, what would you propose to do about the homeless situation, specifically in Chinatown, because (the Institute for Human Services) tried to create a facility there that failed because of push back by the business community. But the homeless situation continues to be terrible in Chinatown.

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Well, there’s no good place for homeless people to stay, but Chinatown is not one of the places we should focus on. We should get homeless out of Chinatown. We need to find a different place for them. There are far more resources available to the homeless in the Iwilei area, which is fairly close by, and we need to do what we can to divert them to that area. There are hardly any services in Chinatown. It’s a dangerous mix. I had an office in the downtown area and it just wasn’t a good environment for the homeless or the Chinatown merchants and shop-goers.

Christina Jedra, Honolulu Civil Beat:

Keith, the so-called ‘sweeping’ of homeless encampments has been a pretty controversial element of Mayor Caldwell’s response to un-sheltered homelessness. Would you continue that practice.

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Let me say this: When I see homeless on the sidewalk, I feel sad. I wonder, ‘What got them to that point.’ I think of my own mom, who has mental illness and was on the brink of homelessness many times, if not for her family and friends. But on the other hand, I also think of a mom and her child on a stroller walking along a sidewalk and being afraid or having to navigate around a homeless person. Both situations, they’re not good. It’s not good to have a homeless person living on the sidewalk, but the solution to that is more affordable housing, more mental health treatment, more drug abuse treatment.

Christina Jedra, Honolulu Civil Beat:

Those things do take time, though. So in the meantime, would you continue sweeps?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

We need to find more alternative housing options for homeless people. There are shelter beds available, we need to get the homeless people to the shelter.

Christina Jedra, Honolulu Civil Beat:

There are shelters available, but not enough for the 2,000-some un-sheltered folks that are on the street right now. There’s only a few hundred shelter beds available at any one time, so in the meantime, when there is this immediate situation, would you continue enforcement?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

I will continue enforcement as long as we find more shelter beds.

Mahealani Richardson, Hawaii News Now:

I wanted to switch gears over to rail, and I know Daryl, you wanted, you had several questions on the rail project,

Daryl Huff, Hawaii News Now:

So the rail project right now, it’s a major step. They’re trying to find a contract with a group of companies that would not only build the last stage of the rail, but also will maintain it and run it for the next 30 years at a price that is affordable to the city. It sounds a little bit like unicorns and rainbows to me, but what happens if that doesn’t work? What’s your Plan B for the rail system?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Well, Plan A is what I hope happens, that we have a viable option that works out for the city. But if not, we’re gonna have to look at making changes, whether it’s alterations to the rail station or the like. We need to sharpen our pencil. We need to look at maybe elongating the financing of the rail project, but we need to finish the rail project. Like it or not, it’s almost finished. We’ve gone too far.

Yes, I’m frustrated like everyone else at the rail progress thus far. It’s been disastrous from before construction. It was rushed, it was ill-planned, and it’s been a source of frustration for everyone, but we’re almost done, as I said. It’s a important viable alternative means of transportation for us on this island. We need to pivot towards a more multi-modal transportation system. We can’t afford to pay back over $800,000,000 in federal subsidies that we’ve already received for the rail project, and we also need to ensure that rail is completed, so that we can proceed with transit oriented development.

Daryl Huff, Hawaii News Now:

But is it really almost done? The project has a least another five or six years, I think, to completion. It keeps getting pushed back, and as you know, HART was hoping to open up that first segment this year. That’s no longer gonna happen. Yeah, maybe because of COVID and less revenue and so forth, but they haven’t even found that (public-private partnership), that P3 person to take on or company to take on those last couple of miles to Ala Moana, as well as the 30-year operating. Is it really almost done?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Well, to me, we’re at the point where we need to do what we can to finish the project. Stopping it actually makes a situation worse again. I go back to just the federal subsidy, we received a loan that’s $800,000,000. We don’t have the money to pay that back.

Daryl Huff, Hawaii News Now:

Let me ask though, other candidates in the race have been making a lot of accusations about fraud, corruption, contractor, even theft from the system. Do you think that it was incompetence or criminality that got us where we are?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Well, it was clearly incompetence. Now, criminality, I don’t know, I’m not willing to say that. I know there’s a federal investigation ongoing, and let’s see where it takes us.

Christina Jedra, Honolulu Civil Beat:

When you say that rail was ‘ill-planned,‘ who do you blame for that? Who planned it badly?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Whoever was involved in the beginning of the project before construction.

Christina Jedra, Honolulu Civil Beat:

Are you talking about Mufi Hanneman?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Whoever was involved in the project before the construction started.

Daryl Huff, Hawaii News Now:

What did they do wrong?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Well, by all accounts, they rushed it. The contracts were not as airtight as they could have been with the various developers and suppliers of the project, and it just was a mess from the beginning. I mean, that’s clear, given the overruns that rail has shown us from the start.

Mahealani Richardson, Hawaii News Now:

Keith we wanted to change a little bit of direction and get to know a little bit more personal side, a side that a lot of people don’t know about. What’s one of the more difficult periods of your life and how did you lift yourself out of it?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

One of the more difficult parts was during my high school years. My family was having some problems and I was taken in by my best friend’s family. So prior to that I was getting shuttled from relative to relative, and I was very close to the Kobayashi family. Their oldest son, Chris, was my best friend. I used to spend weekends with them often, and one day they asked me, or told me like, ‘Hey, why don’t you live with us?’ They provided a lifeline to me, they provided love, compassion, they provided structure to me, they proved to me that all it takes is one family or one person or set of people to show they care and it can uplift you and change your life trajectory.

I’m very indebted to them for helping me. They didn’t have to, we weren’t blood relatives. They treated me like one of their own children. They had four children of their own, and I was a fifth child, so to speak to them, and I learned a lot about giving back, compassion, selflessness, and just doing good when you don’t expect anything in return.

Daryl Huff, Hawaii News Now:

Can I ask, you do talk openly about your mom’s mental illness, and I know that must have been very difficult for you. What did that experience teach you about mental illness that other people could learn from, and how will it affect your ability to deal with the terrible mental illness problems we have in this city?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

It taught me that it’s a difficult problem, there are not enough services for mentally ill people. It’s a problem that’s often swept under the rug, whether family members or society is embarrassed by it and doesn’t wanna deal with it, but it’s a thing, it’s a problem, and we need to address it. And it’s more prevalent than people who think or want admit. Everyone has some relative or friend who has mental illness, and it’s it’s like any other illness. That’s the way I look, when you have a cold, you go to the doctor. You have a heart condition, you go to the doctor. Mental illness is a problem that no one wished upon themselves, they can’t help it, and I was frustrated… I’m still frustrated at the lack of services, the lack of awareness, the lack of priority by government to address that concern. It’s a big, pervasive problem in our society. You know it is what it is, you know. I’m not complaining about it, but it’s stressful to have to care and worry about someone in your family that’s mentally ill. It’s on your mind numerous times a day, everyday.

Daryl Huff, Hawaii News Now:

As a teenager, it must have been particularly difficult, you know, ‘cause we all have difficult relationships with our moms, and I just wondered, did it take a long time to forgive her?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

You know, I never held it against her. I just, I knew she wasn’t acting like that on purpose, I knew something was wrong, so if anything, I felt compassion for her. I felt concerned for her. And it’s something that never goes away. I worry about her today, she’s in a care home now, but still, I think about her constantly. More so when she was living on her own, and that’s another thing people don’t realize, there’s different levels of mental illness. She was living independently, but clearly needed help. It wasn’t evident if you saw her and spoke to her maybe one or two times. Over time, yes, you realized something was amiss with her. So, I empathize with other families who have to deal with that, and I think we need to do more as a society to address it and not just sweep it under the rug.

Colin Moore, Hawaii News Now Political Analyst:

Keith, when was the last time you changed your mind about something important?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Hmmmmmmm. I don’t know, I have to think about it.

Daryl Huff, Hawaii News Now:

You must have a lot of shirts.

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Umm, there must be some issue I changed my mind on, and I need to think about it a little more. Give me some hints, or…

Colin Moore, Hawaii News Now Political Analyst:

It could be it could be a policy position or even just a personal philosophy.

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

I can’t think of one off hand. I’m sorry.

Colin Moore, Hawaii News Now Political Analyst:

Sure.

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Yeah.

Mahealani Richardson, Hawaii News Now:

Keith, what’s your favorite song and why?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

You know for some reason, I thought I might be asked that today, and I have the answer. Right now, my favorite song is ‘Mama Mia’, ‘cause…. Like it or not, I’m forewarning you, we have a campaign song that is sung to that tune.

Christina Jedra, Honolulu Civil Beat:

Do you wanna give us a few bars?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

So I won’t even try.

Mahealani Richardson, Hawaii News Now:

Did you change the words? Or…

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

We changed it a bit, and we have people dancing and singing to it. Not me. I would lose votes if I do that.

Chad Blair, Honolulu Civil Beat:

You cleared this with Abba, then?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

We have attorneys that are working with them, but it’s funny, we’re almost finished with the final cut, and so for now, that’s my favorite song, and you’re gonna hear it way more than you ever wanted to in the next couple…

Daryl Huff, Hawaii News Now:

When you type ‘Amemiya’ into an iPhone, it comes out, ‘Mama Mia.‘

Chad Blair, Honolulu Civil Beat:

Yes, I do, it’s happened to me many times.

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Yeah, it happens to me all the time.

Mahealani Richardson, Hawaii News Now:

Keith, I wanted to go back on the mental health issue. We have heard in the middle of this pandemic from behavioral health specialists that they are deeply concerned that depression will get worse, domestic violence, all of these other issues will get worse because of the pandemic. What would you do as mayor to try to curb that?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

We need to provide more services. I know that costs money, but one organization that I feel strongly about, that I know can help domestic violence in particular is the Domestic Violence Action Center. I was on their board for many years when I was a practicing attorney. During this pandemic, my campaign pivoted from campaigning for a while and provided meals to low income elementary school students, healthcare workers and domestic violence survivors, and their children. And we saw first-hand that the incidences of domestic violence were already increasing. It’s increasing even more as a pandemic lasts, so we need to do more partnerships, collaborations with non-profit agencies that are equipped to handle those kinds of situations.

Stewart Yerton, Honolulu Civil Beat:

With the pandemic, we have a lot of people unemployed, and it’s not just housing that’s a problem. People need jobs, they’re gonna need money when the federal money starts running out. What would you do to help them, either by creating jobs or otherwise helping people who are really vulnerable right now, in very big numbers?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Well, to be blunt, we need to do what we can to get money into their hands, whether it’s federal money, state money, or county money, CARES Act money, in particular. I’m hoping there’s another infusion, but in the interim, we need to use our resources in the non-profit industry. I know the Hawaii Community Foundation has been helping a lot, Aloha United Way has helped a lot, the Hawaii Foodbank, and just us as a citizenry, we always come through for each other. That’s the aloha spirit at work, and those who are fortunate need to help those who are less fortunate. That’s the way we can get out of this. That’s the only way we can get out of this, that we have to help each other. And put all hands on deck.

Daryl Huff, Hawaii News Now:

You know Keith, I was looking back, you place so much importance on your role running the high school athletic programs. In 2018, the ACLU had to sue the state of Hawaii to get equal treatment for women, for girl athletes. What did you do about that issue when you were actually there? I mean, it sounds like it’s been a chronic problem for many years. Did you ever stand up for a young female athletes while you were there?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Yes, I did, and that’s one of my proudest achievements. When I joined the HHSAA, I saw glaring inequity that our female student athletes were having less opportunities to compete in sports. I added several female sports that didn’t exist before, whether it’s girls golf ― prior to that, the girls have to compete with the boys for the championship, that was unfair. I created a separate girls golf as a sport. I created girls water polo, I created girls judo, I created girls wrestling. And I’m proud to say that we’ve had multiple Olympians from Hawaii because of girls wrestling being a high school sport. And we exponentially increased the amount of college scholarship opportunities for girls. I basically doubled the amount of female sports opportunities during my tenure. Now granted, I had a lot of help with that, but it was through my initiative to do that, and I’m proud of giving girls more opportunities.

Chad Blair, Honolulu Civil Beat:

Keith, but some of the complaints that have come out of that, I think of Campbell High School in particular, where there may be a sports team for the girls, but they may not have locker rooms like the boys do ― that would be very fundamentally unfair.

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

So to be clear, I wasn’t there in 2018, and I don’t think any of you are suggesting I was, so during my tenure, there were a lot of improvements to female athlete facilities. Clearly that wasn’t enough, and that’s an ongoing issue, and I’m glad that steps are being finally made to level the playing field for girls in terms of the sports facilities that they need and deserve.

Mahealani Richardson, Hawaii News Now:

We wanted to get to climate change and its impact on infrastructure, Chad, did you wanna start off with that?

Chad Blair, Honolulu Civil Beat:

Well actually, looking over your Q-and-A for Civil Beat, thank you very much, you said COVID ― you know that’s the problem of today, but climate change is really gonna be the problem for all of us for the near future, and much further down the line. We’re on an island. I don’t have to point that out. I don’t have to point out that most of our infrastructure, including the tourism sector and Waikiki, including the downtown business area, the Honolulu International Airport, these sewage treatments plants, the power plants ― all of that is on the coast. We’re looking at in just a few decades or less, with even just a few feet of sea level rise, those being inundated, and that means roads are gonna be falling to the sea. They already are in Kaaawa and places like that. Homes on the North Shore, when the tide is up, what are you gonna do about this? All our focus is on COVID right now, we’re taking a hit budget-wise, but this is the biggest problem of our lifetime.

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

It clearly is, and we need to take action now. Again, this is another example of why we need new leadership. We’ve known about this problem for a long time, and nothing’s really been done. The next mayor needs to do something about it. The next mayor needs to work with the state, the City Council, the legislature, the federal government to attack climate change. The current administration, the city is undergoing a climate action plan. My understanding is that they’re nearly finished with it, and it is a road map, a guide map on how to address climate change in the next several decades.

Chad Blair, Honolulu Civil Beat:

Are you gonna tell a hotel, “Hey, you gotta move a mile inland, or 500 feet.” What are you gonna do about that?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

You know, I don’t know if it’s the city’s role to tell them what to do, but I do know the hotels are already planning for climate change and sea level rise. And we as a government need to do what we can to facilitate it. Tourism is one of our economic life-bloods, and we need to do what we can to work with these hotels to address the rising sea levels.

Daryl Huff, Hawaii News Now:

You know, not all residential areas that are on the seashore are high-end residential areas. Some of them are quiet, working-class. They started that way, and they don’t have the resources to pick up and move. What happens with someone like that, who’s got a residential property on the makai side of Kam Highway on the windward side or down in Ewa Beach, right up against, you know, near Hau Bush and stuff. What do you for them?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Well, we need to do what we can to find them alternative places to live. We need to do what we can to help them economically. I don’t know, I’m just thinking out loud, and maybe the city will acquire that property for them, or the state, and that in turn will help find them a new house and pay for it. We need to just be creative, we need to be innovative. It’s a tough situation, it’s like the pandemic, we haven’t really faced that in our lifetime or even before, and we need to just work together.

Stewart Yerton, Honolulu Civil Beat:

Keith, one of the major contributors here to the carbon, to our carbon footprint, is road transportation. If you have any, ideas on how to deal with that, all the cars on the road, buses, other things?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

We need to change our mindset. Everyone on Oahu thinks they need their own car, and that everyone else should ride the bus or walk, and we need to all do our part. I think I saw a recent study that showed that most people in Hawaii lived within several miles of their place of work. Well, we need to get out of our cars and car pool. bike to work, walk to work, catch the bus to work. That’s why I’m big on rail, that’s why I wanna emphasize multi-modal transportation. It’s worked in other cities, and I can;t see why it won’t work in urban Honolulu.

Daryl Huff, Hawaii News Now:

Can you place penalties for people who have way more cars than they need? Like, “Here’s what your registration is for car one, and your second car is $200 more, and your third car is $300 more?”

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

I’m open to that, and I know cities like Singapore place a huge fee or surcharge to even have the right to buy a car. And they have a lottery system, if I’m not mistaken, where not everyone can get a car even if they want to. I mean, we don’t need to go to that point yet, but again we need to change the mindset that everyone does not have to own a car and that we need to explore other modes of transportation.

Now if I can add to that, the pandemic has taught us that maybe everyone doesn’t have to go to downtown to work, that maybe you can work from home, maybe we can have four-day work weeks across the board with rotating days off, so that traffic is spread out over the week. We need to look at all those options, and COVID has kinda taught us that maybe not everyone has to work in the office everyday.

Mahealani Richardson, Hawaii News Now:

Keith, this election is about future generations, our keiki. What would a future generation of Hawaii say about you in three words?

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Wow. That I care about the community, That’s four. that’s the closest I can get. That I’m running for them. Our future generations have been overlooked for far too long, and we need to build our future for them. Many people before me have helped me. Many people have made my life possible the way it is today, I feel fortunate, and we need to all pay it forward and we need to make the next generation better than we had it.

Mahealani Richardson, Hawaii News Now:

Well, that was a lot more than three words.

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

I know.

Mahealani Richardson, Hawaii News Now:

Keith Amemiya, thank you so much for your time

Keith Amemiya, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate:

Thank you.

 

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