Editor’s note: For Hawaii’s Nov. 8 General 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 Makua Rothman, candidate for Honolulu City Council District 2, which includes Waikele, Village Park, Royal Kunia, Wahiawa, Mokuleia, Waialua, Haleiwa, Pupukea, Sunset Beach, Kahuku, Laie, Hauula, Punaluu, Kahana, Kaawa, Kualoa, Waiahole and Kahaluu. His opponent is Matt Weyer.

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

Candidate for Honolulu City Council District 2

Makua Rothman
Party Nonpartisan
Age 38
Occupation Business owner
Residence North Shore


Community organizations/prior offices held

None provided.

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

The biggest issue facing Oahu is that we are not self-reliant and we are too dependent on imported goods. Our whole economy is based on tourism and imported goods, which heavily affected us during the pandemic.

We should be taking strides toward self-reliance as a county, community and even in individual families.

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

We are currently waiting to hear back from the Federal Transit Authority to see if they will accept the proposed recovery plan that includes the elimination of the parking garage in Pearl Highlands and the truncation of the project by two stops.

The determination by the FTA will give Honolulu insight on whether the $744 million will be released, which is a major component of the funding for the project.

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 the accountability of local law enforcement? Are you satisfied with the Honolulu Police Department? How about the Honolulu Police Commission?

There are people capable of doing bad things and we shouldn’t scrutinize the whole because of the actions of a few. There has been a multitude of corruption not just in HPD but also in the prosecutor’s office and many of those individuals are facing repercussions for their actions.

As a council member, I want to understand why there is such a large vacancy of officers in the Honolulu Police Department. We need law enforcement to keep our communities safe and the officers also need to feel safe while serving in their capacity.

As a council, we need to question the chief and the assistant chiefs on the use of allocated funds and make sure that every initiative put forward by the council is executed for the effectiveness of the department. We also have the ability to place qualifications and minimal requirements on the Police Commission and I look forward to working with the council on that initiative.

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?

I do not think we should raise property taxes for residents. I definitely think we should raise property taxes for nonresidents for vacation homes.

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

Honolulu is a safe place to live. The way to improve the quality of life is to elect new leaders and vote for change.

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 should follow the constitutional law which we are sworn to uphold. We should allow people the freedom of speech and peaceful protests.

Violence is not welcomed or allowed. However, community input is what builds the fabric of our society and increases community ownership and involvement.

7. Like the state, the City and County has had their 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?

Career politicians seem to turn corrupt. Once someone learns how to work the system and navigate it for their benefit, problems arise.

I believe new ideas being proposed to hold career politicians accountable should be explored. We’re supposed to be public servants and not professional politicians.

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?

I was homeless at one point in my life and this issue is very personal for me. I know that solving the underlying causes of various mental illnesses and addiction can alleviate homelessness. The high cost of living is a driving factor of homelessness in Hawaii.

Leaning on the work done by Partners in Care and sharing my insight, as well as advocating for resources for my community, are very important.

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 use trash more as a resource and be aware of our own personal waste production. Separating our trash and reducing our waste footprint will decrease the need for any landfill expansion.

We need to take the efforts of groups like Aloha Harvest who are working with business food waste and work with businesses on how to recycle every other material waste they produce.

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.

Food sustainability and security in Hawaii needs to be a priority to help us become self-sustaining and be better prepared for natural disasters.

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