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 Rosemarie Jauch, candidate for Kauai County Council. The other candidates for seven positions are Addison Bulosan, Bernard Carvalho, Felicia Cowden, Billy DeCosta, Luke Evslin, Fern Holland, Ross Kagawa, KipuKai Kuali’i, James Langtad, Jeffrey Lindner, Lila Metzger, Nelson Mukai, Jakki Nelson, Mel Rapozo, Roy Saito, Rachel Secretario, Shirley Simbre-Medeiros and Clint Yago.

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

Candidate for Kauai County Council

Rosemarie Jauch
Party Nonpartisan
Age 65
Occupation Retired from telecommunications industry
Residence Kalaheo

Website

Community organizations/prior offices held

Volunteer, Phoenix Boys and Girls Club; member, Children’s Action Alliance; founder, White Mountain Support Group for kinship caregivers and adoptive parents; volunteer, Kauai Project Kindness.

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

Lack of affordable, sustainable, eco-friendly energy.

Deep beneath the waves there’s a source of power quite unlike any other. To tap into it, Japanese engineers have constructed a true leviathan, a beast capable of withstanding the strongest of ocean currents to transform its flow into a virtually limitless supply of electricity.

2. In the last four years, Kauai’s north shore has endured two major weather events that have severed entire communities from jobs, schools, pharmacies, banks, doctors and other essential services for many months. Should this change the county’s approach to disaster preparedness, and if so, how?

It looks like the state Department of Transportation just announced that Hanalei Bridge repair and slope stabilization of Waikoloa and Hanalei Hill will be included in its upcoming 26-month project from Hanalei to Wainiha.

It has been suggested that rocks can be used to stabilize riverbanks and encourage a community effort to eradicate the out-of-control hau bush on private lands that is choking the river and causing highway erosion. In May 2022 a widening of the roadway was done to move traffic away from the erosion.

3. There are nearly 14,000 cesspools on Kauai that must be removed by 2050. With an average cost of $15,000 to $30,000 to convert to septic, many homeowners say making the transition is not affordable. How can the county help to jump-start cesspool replacements?

Sewer treatment is superior to replacing cesspools with septic systems. Reference Lake Havasu. Reference micro sewer systems. Using CIP for funding would provide Kauai the modern standards that will protect the island from polluting our waters for hundreds of years to come.

4. Traffic is getting worse on the island of Kauai, and different regions face different challenges. What would be your approach to improve Kauai’s transportation problems?

Park-and-rides would help promote the use of public transportation, but once-an-hour routes in density areas and peak usage times is not enough. Build mid-rise parking in high-density areas.

Encourage resorts to provide shuttles to popular destinations to cut down on private rental cars. HIDOT has traffic-calming measures in place for Hanalei.

5. Do you feel the governor and Legislature appreciate the issues of your county, or are they too focused on Honolulu and Oahu? 

I followed both the 2021 and 2022 legislative sessions. After being killed in committee in 2021 this session saw the passing of SB3089, Emergency Management. At least for this session, the focus on this very important matter was in the best interest of the entire state.

6. For more than a year the median price for a single-family home on Kauai has topped $1 million. What would you do to help address the deficit of low-income, affordable and middle-class housing?

End the cycle of analysis paralysis and start building the necessary infrastructure. The last report I saw was from 2018 which projected a housing deficit of over 5,000 units on Kauai by 2035.

Last year Managing Director Michael Dahilig mentioned that 11 units were just made available. End the buyback tactics of affordable units that has transpired in the early days of their release. I support Hawaiian Home Lands. This year marks 51 parcels being made available in Anahola.

7. Even as the Covid-19 pandemic winds down, local businesses are struggling to hire and retain workers, which has led to shortages of everything from grocery store cashiers and restaurant workers to teachers and school bus drivers. What, if anything, would you do to address this economic instability?

Two years of proclamations, mandates triggering workplace instability. The pandemic brought with it the departure of 16,000 workers statewide. Closing the schools forced earners to stay home and implement distance learning and now returning to the workforce is a difficult choice for many to make for a variety of reasons.

I am not familiar with this program but Rise To Work was established to help address the problem.

This is a complex matter and will require the private sector’s time-tested ability to incentivize labor to participate in the staffing recovery. In some cases temporary employees, i.e. visiting nurses, should be utilized until the deficit can be diminished. Perhaps recently retired employees would be interested in helping short term by returning to the job market?

8. Kauai’s landfill in Kekaha will soon run out of capacity and there’s still no timely plan in place to build a new one. What can the county council do to address what could become a garbage crisis for the island?

The life expectancy of Kekaha is five years, plus or minus. Once work begins, landfills take about 10 years to complete.

The Maalo site has the capacity to handle solid waste for over 250 years but has been abandoned due to FAA and DOT opposition. The only other choice is the Kekaha Mauka. Kauai has to commit and start construction or face the possibility of having to ship our solid waste to Oahu.

In any event we must increase efforts to reduce the 91 tons of solid waste per year sent to the landfill. The polystyrene ban in 2021 is a step in the right direction. Perhaps requiring the big box stores to at least help with plastics and ship them back to a mainland facility. Introduce liquidless laundry detergent products and eliminate the traditional plastic packaging. Educate, advocate, enable and assist government and residents to transition to a zero-waste society.

9. Overtourism can degrade the environment, threaten biodiversity, contribute to wear and tear on infrastructure, generate traffic and disrupt neighborhoods. What more can be done to better manage the island’s tourism sector?

Hawaii is married to tourism like Las Vegas is married to gambling. The key is to manage it effectively. One very good proposed idea is to cap the number of visitors each day at lifeguarded beaches.

Implement and charge air carriers in a lottery for staggered arrival and departure times, as is the existing construct elsewhere.

The island has already embraced the concept of managing the impact proactively. The Kauai Tourism Strategic Plan was announced in 2019. New airport shuttle service was added in 2021

The Kauai Destination Management Action Plan 2021-2023 is a 24-page report by the HTA designed to rebuild, redefine and reset the direction of the industry that brings in approximately $18 billion in total per annum spending and supports approximately 216,000 jobs.

The 2018 Kauai General Plan calls for limiting new resort development and says that any permitted growth in the visitor industry needs to consider the negative impact it can have on our infrastructure and our communities.

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 Kauai County. Be innovative, but be specific.

While 2020-2021 brought some very dark days to our shores, the positive impact of experiencing life as it was decades ago taught those who were in tune that we depend on each other in times of adversity. Even though our government offices shuttered and the community experienced a decide-and-announce series of disturbing proclamations and mandates that classified us as essential and nonessential, we learned that we are all essential.

Hopefully the next time a health care crisis presents, Kauai will be better prepared in handling it. The main concern was that adequate ICU support would not be available. All the CARES funding that was provided — how much went to ICU capacity for disaster planning? I wonder if a natural disaster of crisis proportions should occur, who will get the nine ICU beds available? If I were the decision-maker I would have directed funds to improve medical emergency preparedness.

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