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

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

Candidate for Kauai County Council

Bernard Carvalho
Party Nonpartisan
Age 61
Occupation County Council member
Residence Kapaa

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

Affordable housing is the main issue facing Kauai today. We have land for current housing projects like our Lima Ola project in Eleele that needs additional “secured funding” to move forward to complete these projects sooner rather than later.

We also need to look into more tax relief initiatives for future housing projects as we work at all levels to secure future funding opportunities.

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?

I believe that our county’s disaster preparedness team has done a tremendous job in addressing the entire north shore disaster situation.

However, we need to address and support a solid river and stream maintenance program and to work closely with the state to secure support for our roadways and hillsides.

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?

Cesspool conversion is a very serious issue that needs to be addressed now. Although this project will address the environmental concerns in the future, the cost to our homeowners is a major concern.

This is truly a team effort from the federal, state and county levels to offer tax break incentives and programs to homeowners along with detailed discussion on the immediate process and policies that need to be created now at all levels of government.

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?

Traffic is definitely a serious concern on our island and in addition to the current construction work that is happening on the bypass road in Kapaa and additional lanes being installed within the Wailea corridor area, we need long-term solutions that take us mauka like the old power line road that could take you from Hanalei to Lihue.

In addition, we need to continue our discussions at all levels to secure a well-developed and planned-out shuttle service that would reduce the need for more cars on our roadways.

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

I believe that the leadership that represents each one of our islands has the responsibility to assure that our island homes are well balanced in resources and provide opportunities for our people.

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?

We all share this tremendous responsibility to assure that our people have every opportunity to afford a home for themselves and for their families. As a council member, I will continue to support our current housing projects and assure that they are completed.

I will also continue to advocate for incentive programs that will assure that the voices of our local families are heard and continue to secure and advocate for affordable housing as a top priority for our island.

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?

We have done a great job in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic on our island. We have all endured and overcome some of the major challenges that this pandemic has caused and now we need to move forward.

I believe that we as leaders in our community need to work closely with our business and community organizations on creating incentive programs that will provide more opportunities for employment. The option to gather and create solutions is very critical now.

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?

We need to site a new landfill now! Several studies were done that provided options on landfill locations on our island, which most recently was the Maalo site in Hanamaulu.

Our County Council has been in numerous discussions on the siting of a new landfill and I will continue to ask the questions and seek solutions that can assure that there is a solid plan in place that will address details and the options we have for our community.

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?

Tourism is a big part of our community and it does contribute to our island economy in a very big way. Many of our people and family members work in the tourism industry and depend on these employment opportunities to take care of their families.

However, there needs to be a balance and better management of our tourism industry. I will work with our Kauai Visitors Bureau team and also seek updates from the current Kauai Tourism Strategic Plan and the Kauai Destination Management Action plan.

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.

I believe that we as an island have come a long way with technology opportunities, namely internet service. The Big Idea would be to support and offer broadband opportunities for our entire island home.

Technology has risen to the level of our kupuna being able to visit with their doctor on line and the hosting of zoom meetings at all levels from business to education, recreation and of course being able to reach out to all people regarding emergency and disaster situations.

Counties play an instrumental role as conveners, partners and funders to promote high speed internet among under-served households. Broadband for all! We need to assure that broadband opportunities reach all areas of our island.

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