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 Desmon Haumea, candidate for Hawaii County Council District 5, which includes the western portion of Puna. The other candidate is Matt Kaneali’i-Kleinfelder.

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

Candidate for Hawaii County Council District 5

Desmon Haumea
Party Nonpartisan
Age 70
Occupation Education specialist, cognitive behavioral therapist, chef, indigenous healer, event coordinator
Resdience Orchidland Estates, Puna District


Community organizations/prior offices held

Polynesian Voyaging Society, ʻOhana Waʻa, Royal Order of Kamehameha-Puna Chapter, Kipuka Healing Gardens, Hale Mua Cultural Group, Sustainable Energy Hawaii, Halau Mauliʻola Medical, Hawaiian Foundation of Healing Arts, Hawaiian Self Defense – Moku o Keawe, SHPD – Hawaii Island Burial Council, East Hawaii Kupuna Council, Na Waʻa Hanakahi ECO, co-founder Aloha Aina Party.

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

Cost of living, jobs, housing, agriculture, sustainability, food security and waste management.

The current political environment requires all government officials to remove personal agendas and represent our people with passion and aloha. I possess the skills to bring cohesiveness within our county council with the kuleana of working for the community at large.

2. Overtourism can degrade the environment, threaten biodiversity, contribute to wear and tear on infrastructure, generate traffic and disrupt neighborhoods. What do you think about the amount of tourism on the Big Island and how it’s managed?

1959 Statehood replaced agriculture with tourism. Management is failing.

We have a premier educational system and resource, namely the Department of Education and UH-Hawaii. A culture-based education is the foundation of resource management at numerous levels, from our keiki to our visitors.

3. What needs to happen to relieve traffic congestion in and around Kailua-Kona and along the Puna-Keaau-Hilo corridor?

In Kailua-Kona, Aliʻi Drive-controlled vehicular traffic. Allow nonmotorized vessels to dock at Kailua pier, all other motorized vessels move to Honokahau. Allow schools to start 30 minutes later, add mauka alternative routes, increase police visibility.

In Puna-Keaau-Hilo, open Railroad Avenue. Improve eruption emergency routes. Adjust school hours. Increase police visibility.

4. The cost of living on Hawaii Island is rising rapidly. How are working and middle-class people expected to buy a house or pay the rent as well as take care of other expenses? And how can the county government help?

De-centralize government control, correct resource management, prevent foreign investments. We need controlled development, tax incentives, increased taxation on tourism, restructuring of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and the Department of Land and Natural Resources, expansion of local fisheries and reducing 4% sales tax for local residents for food purchases and fuel cost.

5. What is your view on Mauna Kea? Is there a way to support astronomy but also respect cultural concerns and be environmentally sound?

UH-Hawaii has failed as management, Hawaii’s premier educational system has failed to educate the populace of the cultural and scientific value of Mauna a Wakea, thus creating a colonialistic approach to management of all sacred cultural sites of responsibility.

The result of their management has divided Hawaii’s people. I assume this question is referring to TMT, it is science vs. business, caught between the cultural value of Mauna a Wakea and the ancestral realm and kupuna pathways.

6. Do you feel the governor and Legislature appreciate the issues of Hawaii County, or are they too focused on Honolulu and Oahu? What would you do to change that?

De-centralizing government control. Hawaii County has the success to be totally sustainable. Hawaii County is and should be our last opportunity for a global view of sustainability. Hawaii County is our laboratory for sustainability.

7. Half of Hawaii’s cesspools are on the Big Island, some 49,300. Seepage from cesspools can make people sick, harm coral reefs and lead to a variety of ecological damage. By law, cesspools must be upgraded to septic systems by 2050. What can be done to help people who may not be able to afford the conversion?

Increase taxation on foreign investors, visitor industry and uncontrolled foreign developers.

8. Climate change is real and will force us to make tough decisions. What is the first thing Hawaii County should do to get in front of climate change rather than just reacting to it?

As a director of Sustainable Energy Hawaii, we possess numerous solutions at all levels.

9. Should the Hu Honua biomass energy plant be allowed to start operating? Why or why not?

Yes, with a controlled health and safety audit and compliance oversight, and an educational program to inform the populace as to the value of biomass.

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? Please share One Big Idea you have for Hawaii County. Be innovative, but be specific.

Lets start with addressing the illegal occupation of Hawaii. In addition remember:

— Hawaii as the laboratory of sustainability.

— Maritime opportunity.

— Culture-based education at all levels.

— Offshore casino revenue for educational and medical services.

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