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 Dennis Nakasato, candidate for Honolulu City Council District 6, which includes portions of Kakaako, Downtown Honolulu, Punchbowl, Papakolea, Pauoa Valley, Nuuanu, Iwilei, Liliha, Alewa Heights, Kalihi and Kalihi Valley. The other candidates are Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, Ikaika Hussey, Nalani Jenkins, Chance Na’auao-Ota, Traci Toguchi and Chad Wolke.

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

Candidate for Honolulu City Council District 6

Dennis Nakasato
Party Nonpartisan
Age 74
Occupation Retired
Residence Kalihi Valley

Community organizations/prior offices held

Former state legislator, Neighborhood Board.

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

Several concerns: Crime, homelessness, the rail, government corruption, education, monster homes.

2. The Honolulu rail project: What should be done?

Make over the rail board members, this time not political appointments, but people who know about construction/costs.

3. In recent years, serious problems have surfaced within the Honolulu Police Department. At the same time, there has been a significant push to beef up oversight of police and reform some practices. What would you do specifically to improve accountability of local law enforcement? Are you satisfied with the Honolulu Police Department? How about the Honolulu Police Commission?

There needs to be more transparency from the top down so that the line officers can respect their leaders. Make the leaders accountable. Overall the department is OK, just the leadership is lacking credibility.

The commission needs people who understand real life in society and are not political appointees who lead sheltered lives and have never been exposed to everyday people and street life. Have any of them ever walked the streets, caught the bus, sat down with everyday people?

4. Honolulu has some of the lowest property taxes in the country. Is it time to raise those rates to help meet city obligations? Tax vacant homes at a higher rate?

The TAT tax was supposed to help cover the county expenses. As the chairman who pushed/guided the room tax, I’m disgusted with how the money is being spent.

Tax the vacant/investment homes. Our local families cannot outbid those who are buying homes by their wilingness to spend big and build big only to turn these homes into investor rentals.

5. Is Honolulu a safe place to live? What can be done to improve the quality of life on the island?

Hawaii is still a safe place to live, but crime/criminals are on the rise. Cut off the excuses criminals make as to why they commit crimes. We all have problems but don’t commit crimes.

6. Hawaii has seen a growing division when it comes to politics, development, health mandates and other issues. Protests are getting angrier. What would you do to bridge those gaps and bring people together in spite of their differences?

We need to be more tolerant of each other’s society. I flew for 35 years as a flight attendant for a major airline and have visited many places not once but many times on my layovers. Countries with homogeneous populations don’t have as much problem with their general populations.

Here in America (especially Hawaii) we have people from a wide variety of places trying to live together — very hard when we have different lifestyles/values, customs, religions and sometimes physical appearances. With time, tolerance and aid to help them assimilate we will get together.

Let’s just be civil and respect each other.

7. Like the state, the City and County has had its share of corruption cases – from the police department and prosecutor’s office to the mayor’s office and the planning department. What would you do to restore public confidence in our public officials? What if anything needs to change about how the City Council operates?

Currently the council seems to be OK, a lot of new people who need time to prove their worth.

8. Homelessness has been an issue for decades yet we don’t seem to be making much progress. What new ideas would you suggest to control this ongoing problem?

Time to get tough on them. True, there are those who need help like the physically handicapped and mentally ill, but there are a lot of others out there who are not. My other senior walking partner and I walk from Kam shopping center to the Ala Moana area four days a week, early in the morning before the advocates for the homeless go to work. Come see what goes on before 6 a.m. After that, the police and streetcleaners/store owners clean up the streets.

Put those who need help in supervised facilities where they and the general public can be safe from them. Sometimes the civil liberties of a few need to be sacrificed for the good of the majority, the rest of the other half cannot keep receiving everything from food, shelter, medical and housing for free. Have these able-bodied ones help keep the streets clean, grass cut and other maintenance jobs to receive free food and things.

The families who need help should be helped with job opportunities/education so that they can move on.

We middle/lower-class people donate the most (time/money), volunteer the most and help those less fortunate than us. People can say that I’m against the poor — so tell me where the food bank came from.

9. No one wants the island’s landfill in its backyard. Should it stay on the West Side and Waimanalo Gulch be expanded? Or are there other solutions?

We need to convert our waste into energy. Other nations, the ocean, our existing land can only take so much. We have enough bright people who can find ways to create clean energy if given the resources to do so.

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 Oahu. Be innovative, but be specific.

Get more high-technology to relocate to Hawaii with tax incentives.

It all starts with the base family. Stop telling the little kids that the other kids are different. When I grew up in Kalihi, the toughest district in the state at that time, we were all poor to lower middle income families of all nationalities, yet we all got along. We as small kids knew that our classmates were of different ethnic backgrounds/religions but to us they were  just another playmate/classmate. Second- and third-generation families, but the mothers treated us kids all the same. We ate, played, bathed and slept over at each other’s homes. From our parents down, we all respected each other.

My current friends/classmates are all of mixed races and economic standing but we still love/respect each other and our families. No one told us that the other kids were different. We were all one big family/community.

Now the kids are told that the other kids are different. What a shame. Stop telling our young ones that their peers are different in their ways/lives. Some of us know-it-all adults are hurting all of us — their kids must have attitude problems.

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