County Council Dist. 8 Campaign Questionnaire: Karen Eoff

What do you think are the most important issues for your district, and what would you do about them?

PUBLIC ACCESS/OPEN SPACE
As Kona continues to be urbanized, open public access to the shoreline is a very important issue I have worked on for over 30 years. This goal was achieved with the dedication of the Kohanaiki Shoreline Park to the County in June of 2013 and the acquisition of the adjoining 217 acres of shoreline at O’oma with 2% Open Space Funds in December of 2013. The acquisition extends County shoreline park from Kohanaiki to ‘O’oma and ensures all people will have access to shoreline for fishing, surfing, subsistence gathering and recreation.
KONA COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PLAN (KCDP)
Another important issue and goal is to apply the Kona Community Development Plan (KCDP) as a regional planning tool for our future growth. I am currently working to find ways to implement the concurrency policies and objectives of the KCDP to ensure that as development occurs, infrastructure and roads are built and financing is available.
VETERANS
I have committed to helping our Veterans in any way that I can. I was happy to provide $15,000 from District 8 Contingency Funds for the POW/MIA memorial garden at the West Hawai‘i Veterans Cemetery to honor men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the pursuit of peace, and in defense of our freedom. I introduced a Resolution urging the State Legislature to appropriate funds for site selection and planning of the West Hawai‘i Veterans Center. $300,000 was recently released and I will work closely with all parties towards this goal.
KEALAKEHE SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT
The $12 million dollar upgrade to the Kealakehe Sewage Treatment Plant is currently underway and I will work closely with the Administration to make sure that when the sludge removal project is complete we are able to upgrade the R2 water to R1 water quality.

What do you think are the most important issues for the Island of Hawaii and what would you do about them?

SOLID WASTE

In 2007, the Hawai`i County Council passed legislation adopting the mission to reduce our county’s ecological footprint and make Zero Waste a goal. In February 2009, the County received a Zero Waste Implementation Plan to reduce, reuse, or recycle all waste. With the right strategy and appropriate education, we can all begin to see valuable resources in our waste and divert those resources from the landfill to the right place for recovery. If we continue to focus on this goal and work with Recycle Hawai‘i to promote resource awareness and recycling enterprises in Hawai‘i, we can relieve the stress on our landfills. Aside from recycling, and not currently in the county’s Integrated Resources and Solid Waste Management Plan, the administration is looking at waste-to-energy technology.

Energy

1. Do you believe the island should increase its use of geothermal energy?

I believe we need to fully understand what methods are used to harness geothermal energy, the costs involved, and determine if the impacts to the surrounding communities can be mitigated properly. The proposal to expand geothermal production has generated concern among residents, especially in the Puna area. Recent discussions have brought light to the need for better monitoring of air quality and emissions studies, the construction of an emergency shelter in the event of a natural or manmade disaster, as well as what is the best use of the geothermal royalties fund. Before we move forward with expansion of geothermal, we will need to address the safest technology, the monitoring and evacuation plans, and what constitutes an appropriate buffer zone. While new technologies promise safer, more effective production, I believe we should require an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for geothermal exploration to allow for public participation in the process and full disclosure of the impacts. Many advances are being made with regards to alternative energy sources. Solar, wind, hydroelectric, biodiesel, waste-to-energy, and/or wave energy may prove to be safer and more efficient as we begin to seriously explore our alternatives. The best solution will be a combination of different sources of renewable energy.

2. If so, what can be done at the county level to address community concerns about geothermal safety?
While new technologies promise safer, more effective production, I believe we should require an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for geothermal exploration to allow for public participation in the process and full disclosure of the impacts. Many advances are being made with regards to alternative energy sources. Solar, wind, hydroelectric, biodiesel, waste-to-energy, and/or wave energy may prove to be safer and more efficient as we begin to seriously explore our alternatives. The best solution will be a combination of different sources of renewable energy.

3. Do you believe that Big Island farmland should be used to produce biofuels for local power generation and/or transportation?

Producing fuels from agricultural crops, which are inherently renewable would help reduce our dependence on imported oil and reduce emissions / pollution. The downside would be using our limited agricultural lands to meet transportation demands rather than growing crops for food. This may not be wise for and island with limited land.

4. Do you believe that Big Island farmland should be used to produce biofuels for off-island use?

No

5. Do you believe an undersea power cable should be built to transport Big Island-generated energy to O`ahu? Why or why not?

I believe we should take care of our own energy needs first.

6. What can be done to allow the county and its population to use less energy?

Educate at an early age in school. Improve and expand our bus service.

Food

1. What can the county do to encourage more local food production for local markets?

In 2010 the Kohala Center prepared the County of Hawaii Agriculture Development Plan for the Research and Development Department to examine Hawai‘i Island’s agriculture industry. The purpose of this plan is to serve as a guide for County actions intended to revitalize agriculture as a basis for economic development, creation of policies, allocation of resources and advocacy for the stabilization and growth of agriculture on Hawaii Island. The County needs to implement this plan.

2. Do you support the regulation, at the
county level, of genetically modified crops? Why or why not?

I support the regulation of genetically modified crops on Hawai‘i Island. Islands are small and have fragile ecosystems. Some of the farming practices, especially those we see being used on other Hawaiian islands by large companies growing experimental GMO seed corn, could harm our ground water, reef ecosystems and soil.

3. Do you support increased regulation, at the county level, of agricultural pesticides? Why or why not

We do not know enough about the effects of pesticide drift and contamination and the potential harmful effects. Increasing concerns have led to more and more research. So, to be cautious, and to protect our people and agricultural lands, I support increased regulation.

Housing, employment and homelessness

1. How can the county encourage the building of affordable housing?

There are many incentives the county can provide to encourage the building of affordable housing. I would support Accessory Dwelling Units to be allowed with certain limitations in residential zoning districts. This incentive creates an opportunity for affordable rental units to be included within market rate single family developments.

2. For decades, economic debates have centered on creating jobs. But what is really needed are livings: means to support oneself and ones family. Livings can include not only jobs, self-employment and even subsistence fishing and farming. What can the county do to promote more livings on this island?

We can support these concepts within the Community Development Plans and incorporate them for regional planning

3. Historically, planning for housing and jobs on this island has not been conducted with energy sustainability in mind, as evidenced by the long commute between affordable housing in East Hawaii and jobs at the resort nodes in West Hawaii. What can the county do to put people and livings closer together?

Incentives for affordable housing near the resort nodes.

4. How can the county do to get more homeless people into housing without taking their things or putting them in prison?

My staff and I have been participating in the Chronic Homeless Task Force to better understand what we can do as a community to address this very complex problem.
Crime and prison reform

1. Would you favor the building of a privately-owned prison on the Big Island?

Not sure. I would need to look into this further.

2. What can the county do to reduce domestic violence and promote domestic harmony on the island?

Educating our youth by bringing experts to the high schools around the island is one way we can begin to stop the cycle of violence.

3. Do you favor the legalization of marijuana? Why or why not?

While the voter driven initiative passed to make marijuana a low priority enforcement issue for Hawai‘i Island, the legalization is not a County issue.

4. What else can the county do to reduce crime and/or lower the number of incarcerated island residents?

Provide more recreation and activities for our youth to keep them motivated in positive ways.
Transportation

1. What is the biggest transportation need in your district and what can be done to meet it?

We are working with Mass Transit to provide a bus route up Ka’iminani Drive to service residents in Lokahi Makai affordable housing project.

2. How can the county reduce the amount of driving that its citizens must do?

There are many good policies within the Kona Community Development Plan to encourage walkable communities.

Waste and recycling

1. Do you support Mayor Kenoi’s plan to build a waste-to-energy conversion plant in East Hawaii? Why or why not?

While I support Mayor Kenoi’s Waste to Energy Initiative I also support the County’s Zero Waste Initiative and hope to see us prioritize Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
2. What can be done to reduce the amount of solid waste created in Hawaii County?

In 2007, the Hawai`i County Council passed legislation adopting the mission to reduce our county’s ecological footprint and make Zero Waste a goal. In February 2009, the County received a Zero Waste Implementation Plan to reduce, reuse, or recycle all waste. With the right strategy and appropriate education, we can all begin to see valuable resources in our waste and divert those resources from the landfill to the right place for recovery. If we continue to focus on this goal and work with Recycle Hawai‘i to promote resource awareness and recycling enterprises in Hawai‘i, we can relieve the stress on our landfills. Aside from recycling, and not currently in the county’s Integrated Resources and Solid Waste Management Plan, eventually we will need to look at waste-to-energy technology

Politics

1. Do you accept campaign contributions from outside your district?

Yes

2. Do you support publicly funded elections?

Yes, I was a participant in the Public Financing Pilot Project for Hawai’i County Council candidates in the last election. I think it was a very effective tool to level the playing field for Clean Elections and was disappointed that funds were not available for this election cycle.

And finally, is there any issue that you feel strongly about but which is not covered above? If so, tell us about it.

Please visit my website for more information:

www.kareneoff.com
Mahalo!

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