Editor’s Note: In June 2012, Civil Beat sent 10 questions to each of the candidates registered to run for Honolulu City Council District 1. All five responded, including recent high school graduate E.J. Delacruz. The questions and answers are reproduced below in full, and will serve as a resource both to voters deciding whom to vote for at the Aug. 11 primary but also to constituents so they can hold Delacruz to his words should he be elected. To see how Delacruz’s responses compare to those from his competitors, click here. Click on each topic listed below to read Civil Beat’s question and Delacruz’s response.
Preferred Candidate Name: E.J. Delacruz
Date of Birth (MM/DD/YYYY): 04/25/1993
Place of Birth/Hometown: Ft. Hood, TX
Current Profession/Employer: Full-time Candidate
Education/Alma Mater(s): High School Diploma
1. Do you believe that Honolulu should proceed with the 20-mile elevated rail project from East Kapolei to Ala Moana Shopping Center? Why or why not?
No, I do not believe that Honolulu should proceed with the 20-mile elevated rail project from East Kapolei to Ala Moana Shopping Center. I feel that the state can’t afford such a project at this time and to push through with it would only further our economic struggle. Our roads are crumbling, water mains are breaking everyday, sewer systems are failing — we need to have our priorities in order and rail is simply not the solution to our traffic problem. It is a traffic problem, not a transit problem; rail won’t make enough of a difference for the price it costs. ↩ back to top
2. Should the city continue to send municipal solid waste to Waimanalo Gulch Landfill until it reaches capacity, should it site a new landfill elsewhere as soon as possible, or should it pursue a different path? Why?
I think the City should fervently search for a new landfill elsewhere to be constructed as soon as possible; at the same time, we should pursue the different path of finding more renewable forms of energy through recycling of the solid waste. Unfortunately, for the time being, we must accommodate for the need now instead of waiting for a “savior” form of renewable energy to come. ↩ back to top
3. Has the sidewalk ban on stored property, in effect for six months, been a success? What should the city be doing to help Honolulu’s homeless population?
First of all, I want to state that I am very passionate about the issue of homelessness and poverty. I do not think it has been a success but has at least offered some form of alleviation to the problem, and that’s better than not doing anything. My main concern for the bill is that it merely “punishes” the homeless for being where they are, and offers the homeless no incentives or alternatives to change their way of life. I think the City should allow more faith-based organizations to do what they do best and reach out to the homeless population as human beings. Being that the City Council deals mainly with spending and infrastructure, I feel that they don’t always look at the homeless issue from a human perspective. Homeless individuals are, in fact, people with lives and ambitions like everyone else and should be treated as such; not as just another “fiscal” burden to the City and County that needs to be relocated. Faith-based organization see them from a human perspective and want to fix them, not just move them. ↩ back to top
4. Should the city consider eliminating property tax exemptions for homeowners, nonprofits and other special interest groups if it means lowering rates? What other steps should the council take to improve Honolulu Hale’s financial picture?
I think the stipulations on what qualifies homeowners, nonprofits and other special interest groups should be reevaluated. I believe that is, in fact, the common ground that can be found with this issue. Some people and organizations need and qualify for tax exemptions and that’s why it shouldn’t be eliminated all together. Some are taking advantage and manipulating the system; I think that the City should crack down on those individuals instead of overlooking them because they are significant contributors to the problem. ↩ back to top
5. Relations between the mayor and the City Council have been at times contentious. How would you work to improve those relations?
Depending on where the next Mayor stands on different issues will play a major part in how contentious relations get, because not everyone can agree on all issues. However, if a problem occurs where I disagree with him on an issue, I will strive to work with him and look for a common ground if it is at all possible. At the same time, there are some issues where a compromise point cannot be found and in those cases I will stand for what I believe. ↩ back to top
6. Should the city wait until July 2015 for the recently approved plastic checkout bag ban to take effect, implement something sooner or go a different route? Why?
Being that the decision was already made, I think that the scheduled ban should take place on time. I am in support of this bill, and as long as the proper public service announcements are done as the date approaches, and that it is made clear that the responsibility of adhering to the law is on the stores that are distributing the bags and not the consumer. I don’t think there should be a fine to the consumer if they accept a bag following the enactment date. Overall, from my understanding of the bill, I hold no objection to the current plan. ↩ back to top
7. Do the Oahu General Plan and regional planning documents as currently written need to be overhauled to protect agricultural resources and manage growth or are they sufficient as is? What other steps should the city take to control or promote development?
As stated in Objective C: Policy 6 of the Oahu General Plan, which deals with agriculture, “Encourage the more intensive use of productive agricultural land.” I believe that the General Plan is sufficient as is, but should be adhered to more heavily. Which is the stance I would take with most Hawaii laws: that they need to be enforced on a more consistent basis. ↩ back to top
8. What do you see as the largest long-term challenge facing the city — sewers, water, roads, traffic or something else? What immediate steps will you take to put Honolulu in a stronger position to deal with its largest long-term challenge?
As important as I think sewers, roads, water, and traffic are — in my opinion as a Candidate running for City Council in District 1, I believe that the homeless issue is the largest long-term challenge facing the city. I feel so, because they are the one of the only issues that the City Council deals with that are actually people and not just an inconvenience and I am here to both represent and help the people of this island. Also, as the island continues to expand it’s population I truly believe that this problem will do nothing but get worse as time goes on unless something is done. I have several different ideas on what to do regarding this issue and plan on implementing something different than what has been done as soon as I get into office. ↩ back to top
9. What would you want to be remembered for as a member of the City Council?
If elected, I hope to be remembered as the most involved and caring councilman that the City and County has ever seen. I want people to always be able to feel like they could talk to me about city issues and know that what they said never fell on deaf ears and that I did, in fact, listen to them. I don’t merely want to only be remembered because I was the youngest in the history of the state. Hopefully the fact that I am the youngest will come up after they talk of all of the good that I will have accomplished. ↩ back to top
10. If you could change one city decision of the last two years, what would it be and why?
Although this happened a little more than 2 years ago, I believe that the decision to have furlough fridays for our public school system was a decision that never should have been made. The reason behind my choice is that, the fact that furlough fridays was able to be passed, set the precedent that it is acceptable to sacrifice the education of our children in order to settle a fiscal deficit. I believe there could have been other means of settling the deficit without sacrificing the education of our children because they are the future of this State and Nation as a whole. ↩ back to top