Editor’s note: For Hawaii’s Aug. 13 Primary 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 Caleb Nazara, nonpartisan candidate for governor. The other nonpartisan candidate is Kelei Taylor.

Go to Civil Beat’s Election Guide for general information, and check out other candidates on the Primary Election Ballot.

Candidate for Governor

Caleb Nazara
Party Nonpartisan
Age 50
Occupation Minister/educator/musician
Residence Kealakekua-Kona, Hawaii Island

Community organizations/prior offices held

Previous past president, Kona Hawaiian Civic Club.

1. What is the biggest issue facing Hawaii and what would you do about it?

Business as usual. Mismanagement and continuing to walk away from God guarantees more of the same. Our state government has turned from its responsibility to govern for the benefit of its citizens to a governing of gain at the expense of its citizens. A sentiment of most citizens.

Like an overgrown coffee tree, there must be pruning or it will never produce its potential. A new governor and more legislative laws will not fix it. Unless our state and especially its government returns to principles, precepts, and statutes set forth by God before our existence nothing will change.

The good news is I’m not talking about religion. God’s laws were set to ensure perfect government. Whoever the new governor is must be willing to take the responsibility of all the errors committed (intentional or not) of past administrations, put it on his/her shoulders, repent, turn 180 degrees, and reinstitute divine principles from the constitution for mankind, the Bible, and the original Constitution of the United States.

The laws are there. They just need to be followed. It’s individual as well as corporate. But as a state it must start with the governor.

2. Many people have talked about diversifying the local economy for many years now, and yet Hawaii is still heavily reliant on tourism.What if anything should be done differently about tourism and the economy?

Again the key is management. Hawaii should no longer be totally reliant on tourism, but it will always be there. We don’t need any more new resorts or hotels statewide. We need to be better stewards of what we already have.

Resorts and hotels must get more creative in marketing to increase capacity over 75% on a year-round basis. Hopefully that gives employees steady year-round employment and maximizes property investment and longevity. How about some better deals for locals? Or are they not good enough still? Consider a small percentage of empty occupancy for employees’ residential housing focusing on singles and couples, relieving some traffic congestion.

State and county officials should look into increasing taxes on tourism and use the proceeds for necessary improvements. Virginia Beach is a good example.

Revisit vacation rental and property building regulations to see how tourism could benefit the families struggling at the same time. More small independent farms. Fruit, veggie, dairy, meat, you-pick farms.

We have the best climate for farming. Get tourists out of resorts and buy into the natural life of our islands and let our people supply our restaurants and grocery stores. Provide for ourselves.

3. The Legislature approved this session spending $600 million for the DHHL plus another $300 million for other housing programs. What specifically would you try to do to create more housing for middle and low income residents?

Management again. The DHHL situation should be more closely monitored. That should be the demographic that is off the no-housing list. Unacceptable! With property taxes out of control, why not tax leadership instead? Let our leaders experience the hardships.

A 20% property tax increase without notice should be revoked. How terrible is that? Rather, incentivize taxpayers with tax reductions for opening rental space and providing for others living space at a fixed rate of $400-$800. Repurpose older facilities into housing for tax benefits as well. The law is called generosity. You want more, give more.

Greed is out of control. Business rental space? Who can survive off those rates? Use the $300 million to build low-income housing that doesn’t look like housing. Cheap doesn’t have to be ugly. Come on! Build some self-esteem and value to our low-income people and restore some decent communal living at the same time.

4. An estimated 60% of Hawaii residents are struggling to get by, a problem that reaches far beyond low income and into the middle class, which is disappearing. What ideas do you have to help the middle class and working families who are finding it hard to continue to live here?

Revamp the educational system.

The first step is re-educating the mind of each person to move from job dependency to finding and developing the gift placed inside each one by our creator. We were not created to permanently depend on a job. The job is simply a tool to develop your gift so you can then release your potential through your gift. Our education system has failed in this area for too long.  This is why we have so many elderly still working after retirement. The middle class will end up in the same place if there is no switch.The middle class need to find their gift and release it to our communities. This creates value and people always pay for value.

Governmental budget cuts.  Stop the greed! Why should taxpayers struggle while government servants get high wages and raises every year? Especially now!

Ease up on taxes and building permits and let people produce for others. Yes, there needs to be control. That’s why governments should be excellent managers and helpers, not dictators.

5. The pandemic was particularly difficult for Hawaii’s public schools.  Should there be a change in the way schools are administered? Would you support more local control including breaking the single school district into subregions?

Absolutely! From top to bottom. Our educational system has done a huge disservice to our children. It’s bombarded them with such pressure to grow up that they have lost the enjoyment and beauty of being children. Yes, our children need intellectual education but not at the expense of their heart. You change an entire nation by manipulating its children. That’s the result we are seeing in the United States and Hawaii has jumped in and followed suit.

The reaction to the pandemic was proof. No one seems to have seriously thought about or researched anything, and I guarantee they got more titles behind their name than I do. They simply bought what “they” said. Children come with greatness built in. Education is supposed to help them find it, develop it, then release it for the benefit of all.

I’d possibly support breaking the single school district into subregions, but with caution. Some district breakups may work in more densely populated areas such as Oahu. However, the problem that already exists which may become an even greater problem is staffing. In addition the finances needed to employ the extra positions that must be created to split the districts could further strain the already tight budget. Plus the extra costs to find office space for each new complex area. I believe each district must be considered separately because not every district is the same.

6. Hawaii has recently experienced a number of prominent corruption scandals, prompting the state House of Representatives to appoint a commission tasked with improving government transparency through ethics and lobbying reforms. What will you do to ensure accountability at the legislature? Are you open to ideas such as requiring the sunshine law and open records laws to apply to the legislature?

Any good parent in tough times will cut from their own benefit for the sake of their children and family. Uncomfortable but necessary. Our government never steps in to take the hit.

Why a commission? So that more tax dollars can be shifted? No. What is the current ethics division doing? All government outside of necessary protocols to keep security from outside forces should be transparent. Governing officials at all levels are public servants.

A step up in any position is a step up in responsibility and accountability because you are being entrusted with other people’s money and lives. A concept that has been quickly forgotten. I would cut all Legislature salaries and put them on an hourly wage. Then see if they really desire to “serve” their communities. Then reexamine all state and county offices and eliminate extra waste. It’s time for budget cuts from leaders, not taxpayers. They won’t like it, but come on, take one for the family.

Absolutely the Sunshine Law should apply to the Legislature. Citizens have a right to know where their hard earned tax dollars are going and whether or not it benefits themselves and their fellow citizens. A thief thinks twice if there is a chance he will get caught. The rail might not exist if we were already doing this.

7. Recently a house on the north shore of Oahu fell into the ocean. Climate change is real and will force us to make tough decisions. What is the first thing Hawaii should do to get in front of climate change rather than just reacting to it?

Make the tough decision now. Stop the sale of and building on oceanfront property across the state! Locals aren’t buying it. This will give time and space to manage better for the future and see if that is even necessary. We humans, we can build anything but never stop to think if we should. We must consider our location and our lifestyle and culture first.

This decision also helps our sustainability in ocean resources, which we all enjoy, including tourists. Someone will say, “What about revenue?” Well, stop spending what we don’t have or cannot afford and manage what we have better. I’ve never managed $15 billion dollars but I’m very sure the principles are the same as $100.

Not a popular decision but we have a responsibility to care for what we have been entrusted with first. Honolulu is an example of going too far. Maui is in danger and the other islands should take serious note of this. Many tourists have said to me, “I want to see the real life.” Let’s keep it real for them and normal for us.

8. Hawaii has seen a growing division when it comes to politics, development, health mandates and other issues.  A governor represents all the people of the state. What would you do to bridge the gap and bring people together in spite of their differences? 

The governor must realize he/she can do nothing of himself. First, he/she has to have the direction and wisdom of God to lead correctly. Of necessity he/she must be submitted to God’s power and authority. Secondly, he/she needs to understand that his/her success is largely dependent on others.

There are a lot of people out there who can run the state better than I. But for me the beauty of it is allowing others to express and utilize their gifts for the benefit of the people. I believe there are many positions that need to be removed. Unless of course, they choose to renew their mind and get back to serving the people.

Finding true hearts, I have found, is one of the hardest things to do. But it’s necessary to change and restore the Hawaii we love.

9. Historically, governors and lieutenant governors have sometimes publicly clashed.  How do you envision the relationship between the state’s top elected officials?

First of all, both positions have to have solid control of  their own attitudes and egos. It’s called maturity. Then realize that the position is not about themselves and what they can obtain through it but rather who they can help and build up by it. Now come to an agreement that arguing (not fighting) is one of the best ways to find the right solution. The key to arguing is the maturity to not make it personal like typical politics.

It is a guarantee that both positions will not agree at all times. However, the foundation should be what’s right in God’s eyes and what is best for the citizens. Disagreements should be ironed out privately. Public clashing is very easily interpreted as disorder and lack of unity. Which creates potential to spread within the general populous. A few good cups of coffee and conversation in order to discover one another’s passion and heart is also good.

10. The coronavirus pandemic has exposed numerous flaws in Hawaii’s structure and systems, from outdated technology to economic disparity. If you could take this moment to reinvent Hawaii,to build on what we’ve learned and create a better state, a better way of doing things, what would you do? Share one big idea you have for Hawaii. Be innovative but be specific.

Return to the beauty of law. Prosperity, relationships, business, the earth, our bodies, the universe all operate off law. Designed that way! All the disease, money laundering, child trafficking, crime, homelessness, greed, oppression, etc., can all be tied to violation of law. First divine, then natural, then legislative. Invention of something new is unnecessary. You simply must go back to what’s already set and written in our hearts and obey it. We really know what to do. That’s why those that do wrong are always trying not to get found out.

I would keep special attention on our legislative process because when you change law, make new law, or legislate law against divine and natural laws set by God, you actually change culture and value almost always in the wrong direction. And as I always say, I’m not talking about religion. Mahalo.

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