What do you think are the most important issues for your district, and what would you do about them?
? Protection of Puna’s precious natural resources: people, land, water, air
? Conscious, controlled development creating green jobs and businesses
? Non-GMO agriculture and safe food laws
? Alternative, safe, renewable, cheap energy
? Priority community services, recreational areas
? Planned infrastructure and roads
What do you think are the most important issues for the Island of Hawaii and what would you do about them?
Same for both.
If not covered above, what are your views on:
1. Do you believe the island should increase its use of geothermal energy?
Absolutely Not! Geothermal power is not-safe, it is not reliable, and certainly not environmentally friendly as pro-geothermal factions want us to believe. Toxins, hazard waste (Hydrogen Sulfide, Benzene, Mercury vapor, ammonia, and more) filled steam released into the atmosphere is causing potential respiratory and other ill health concerns to humans and animals within a close radius of the GT-Plant and down wind. Contaminates are also seeping into our aquifers and coastal waters as well. There needs to be independent Health Study paid for by the Federal and State on the residents in close proximity to the Geothermal plant. The method used for geothermal energy is the issue. The toxins are the issue. Until there is a proven, safe method to extract geothermal energy from the ground, it is not safe.
We need to invest in safer alternatives, such as solar and wind sources.
2. If so, what can be done at the county level to address community concerns about geothermal safety?
It’s not safe and the truth needs to be known! Since we currently have a geothermal plant in Puna, we need an independent regulatory agency to monitor the emissions and chemicals injected into the land to produce the energy. We need an alert system to notify residents when the toxicity levels are reaching unsafe proportions. And when I say unsafe, I mean unsafe as designated by the community, not by Ormat.
Lastly, we need a plan to phase out geothermal energy for this island.
3. Do you believe that Big Island farmland should be used to produce biofuels for local power generation and/or transportation?
It’s unfortunate that we have not started to build solar power energy plants, as it’s the most environmental friendly and efficient system to incorporate on all islands in comparison to all other sources of fuel as oil or geothermal.
However, some Big Island Farmlands could be used to produce biofuels possibly from various assortments of waste material from agriculture, as perennial grasses, sugar cane, and GMO papayas. I would see this biofuel providing energy for transportation more than local electric power generation.
Do you believe that Big Island farmland should be used to produce biofuels for off-island use?
I’m a strong believer that each island should be able to support their own energy needs and usage. Each island has equal share to the sun source and should provide land to grow crops for food and biofuels. It is time that each island develops plans to harness our “safe” natural energy sources to the max of solar, and wind. If one island is capable of producing more than another island, its Council may decide to share the overage with another island.
4. Do you believe an undersea power cable should be built to transport Big Island-generated energy to O’ahu? Why or why not?
I do not support outer islands producing energy solely for the purpose of keeping Oahu fully powered. O’ahu must have its own self-sufficient plan.
There are many reasons for this stand. It takes approximately 100 mega watts of power just to run power through it. That alone makes it inefficient and will have negative effects to the sea life environment. This would also be costly and potentially unsafe.
What can be done to allow the county and its population to use less energy?
Well we know from the Average Home Energy Use Report http://www.eia.gov/state/?sid=HI, that over 39 percent of energy is to heat water, that’s water heaters. We need solar energy use incentive programs from the federal/state/county.
We need special grants to promote and provide alternative energy sources made available at a truly affordable price or at no cost for families in extreme economic hardships.
Currently, building codes requires all new houses now to have solar hot water, which is a good start. We also need to have all government buildings and housing to be the role-models of this type of low-energy usage by changing over to this solar alternative.
1. What can the county do to encourage more local food production for local markets?
We have thousands of acres of what used to be sugar plantation land, that the county owns that could provide long-term leases at a very low rent as long as food products are grown on the land.
We may look into the reduction of imported food products or a “Fair Trade” type pricing policy to encourage local farmers to grow food and create a sustainable livelihood for themselves and their families.
2. Do you support the regulation, at the county level, of genetically modified crops? Why or why not?
Yes, I support strict regulations at the county level on all GMO crops. I also support strict regulations at the state level and labeling at the federal level.
Independent health studies of the long term effects of the use of GMO products on humans and animals as yet need to be conducted. We do know that the GMO companies’ toxic pesticides are causing neurobehavioral effects on children. These include autism, attention-deficit disorder, dyslexia, and other cognitive disorders. We are also aware of harmful chemical agent like atrazine seeping into our water table, causing de-masculinizing effects on male gonads in reptiles, fish, amphibians, and mammals. There is also growing evidence of the effects of atrazine in reduced testosterone production in adult males.
“Genetically modified foods have been linked to toxic and allergic reactions, sick, sterile, and dead livestock, and damage to virtually every organ studied in lab animals. The effects on humans of consuming these new combinations of proteins produced in GMOs are unknown and have not been studied.” We should not put this risk on our people!
There are many cities and states which have banned GMO crops and fish. You can “Google” it to find them. Also, many countries in Europe have banned GMO products from the US and other countries. “The European Union (EU) may have the most stringent GMO regulations in the world. All GMOs, along with irradiated food, are considered “new food” and are subject to extensive, case-by-case, science-based food evaluation by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The EFSA reports to the European Commission, which then drafts proposals for granting or refusing authorization.
Each proposal is submitted to the Section on GM Food and Feed of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health. If accepted, it is either adopted by the EC or passed on to the Council of Agricultural Ministers. The Council has three months to reach a qualified majority for or against the proposal. If no majority is reached, the proposal is passed back to the EC, which then adopts the proposal.” This is not being overly cautious, it’s a measure of responsibility in keeping food as a continued safe product to consume. What do they know that we do not seem to know?
3. Do you support increased regulation, at the county level, of agricultural pesticides? Why or why not
There is no safe pesticide. Pesticide is a poison. Absolutely strict regulations need to be applied and enforced in its use. Pesticides should not be used around schools, hospitals, rivers, canals, any waterways, or coastal shores. Signs of the pesticide usage, needs to be plainly posted for 7 days.
We do know that the GMO companies’ toxic pesticides are causing neurobehavioral effects on children. These include autism, attention-deficit disorder, dyslexia, and other cognitive disorders. We are also aware of harmful chemical agent like atrazine seeping into our water table, causing de-masculinizing effects on male gonads in reptiles, fish, amphibians, and mammals. There is also growing evidence of the effects of atrazine in reduced testosterone production in adult males.
Housing, employment and homelessness
1. How can the county encourage the building of affordable housing?
Re affordable housing: “First, the building code must be changed. Hawaii County boasts of the most complex building code in the US…. It has regulations that are costly and unnecessary for the tropics. She also wants the county to apply for federal and state grants to build affordable housing, and to relax regulations on where that housing can be built. And, more long-term, she thinks the county should grow its own: instead of importing building materials, reforest with rot-resistant timber such as redwood and cedar.
First, the building code must be changed. Hawaii County boasts of the most complex building code in the US. Not only has the County adopted international building code which does not much apply to a tropical environment; it has regulations that are costly and unnecessary for the tropics.
Second, Hawai’i County needs to apply for housing money grants from the State and Federal level for funds to build the affordable housing. It also should look into relaxing rules on where these affordable housing units can be built.
Third, the importation of building materials adds significantly to the cost of a finish house. Why not use some of our natural resources, such as Ohia and bamboo for building materials. Why not reforest our land with trees that are inexpensive building materials. Planting Redwoods /Cedar trees for future building material should be considered, although slow growers, these woods especially Cedar are naturally resistant to rot, mildew and termites.
2. For decades, economic debates have centered on creating jobs. But what is really needed are livings: means to support oneself and one’s 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?
This island is so abundant that livings and multiple income streams are available if we look for the opportunities. We have food rotting on the ground because we don’t have people to pick it. We sell raw food produce cheaply to companies that make products from this produce when we could easily take raw materials and produce products ourselves. Having the facilities available at a reasonable cost is important to making a profit.
Entrepreneurship should be valued and encouraged with training and support.
Products from Hawaii have an inherent value because they are grown or made in Hawaii. There are many countries that put a premium on Hawaiian products. We have an advantage here. Why not promote that value and support more industry and agriculture? If there were mentorship programs for people to take their talents and put them to use creatively we could have an abundance of small businesses all over the island. The County, working with the State, could develop external markets for our products. In the long-term, the County and State would reduce their social service expense due to having more people creating their own living rather than depend on social welfare programs.
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?
There are several options:
a. For those who want to work on the other side of the island, affordable, efficient public transportation is critical. I do not consider the current bus system as efficient and it is not timely for those of various work schedules.
b. People who utilize the bus to work, should be able to obtain a free pass.
c. For those who need to live and work in close proximity on this side of the island, again, the County needs to encourage entrepreneurship, small business development, mentorship programs and incentives for creating products and services that not only contribute to the economy but also contribute to the long-term development of the community.
d. The current educational system encourages and develops people to be workers in jobs. When there are no jobs, our people go to the mainland or elsewhere to earn a living. Why not have programs that encourage and develops people to be successful, creative, productive and abundant entrepreneurs who will then create jobs for others? This is how this country was built—through individual craftsmen and craftswomen creating quality products for their community.
e. In order to have sustainable businesses, our people must passionately create products and services they love for people who want and need them, using local resources and materials, employing local labor and leaving little or no footprint. We can do this.
4. How can the county do to get more homeless people into housing without taking their things or putting them in prison?
The demographics of the homeless are varied: some are families, some are veterans needing medical care, some are mentally ill not knowing how to acquire services, some are substance abusers and addicts, and some are habitually street people now preferring to live on the sidewalks, in allies, on beaches, or in front of businesses rather than live in shelters or government provided housing.
Unfortunately the number of homeless has greatly increased, and the complexity of one solution fits all has failed because not all “homeless” want to live in any form of official housing.
Then we have the homeless who want to be responsible and through circumstance find themselves, and in many cases, their families homeless due to loss of jobs, increase in rental fees, or rising prices for necessities, or many economic related issues. I interviewed a family living on the beach in Waianae (years ago), and both husband and wife were working and making sure their children went to school. They said, their rental was sold and they could not find another they could afford and that would also accept their pet. These are people who want to be responsible and through circumstance are homeless and living on the beach.
Most programs do not address the root causes of the homeless issues and therefore see the issues as one problem. Most programs attempt to “count” the number of homeless and try to reduce that number without the understanding that it takes to implementation a long-lasting solution.
So what do we do? We need to treat the homeless as precious souls that need individual mentor(s) to help solve the reasons/issues they are homeless. Each demographic would require a different solution.
If we unite all the churches and other non-profit agencies that are presently working with the homeless with government housing and other government agencies, we would have the resources for better solutions. For example, for the homeless Veterans, let’s get those individuals identified as such so we can get the federal government involved medical/psyche/medication benefits and get them rehabilitated to then function as a contributing member of the community. Then the Veterans could apply for jobs and federally funded housing loans.
For the mentally ill – We need to identify who they are and why they have become homeless. With the cuts in social services many mentally and emotionally ill people are living on the streets not even knowing how to get the services they need. The questions are many….were they abandoned by family? Were they not able to afford their psyche-medication which is now a cause for their unstable mental condition? The cost of the medical treatment for these individuals could be far less that the cost of having them live on the streets creating unhealthy or unsafe conditions for everyone.
It is unacceptable for any person to be defecating and urinating on sidewalks or anyplace other than in a bathroom facility. In other countries, public portable restroom cubicles are made accessible, this is something we should have available as well.
Homelessness is a systemic problem and must be treated as such. The programs I would support would be those which would (a) get people off the street into temporary housing specifically designed to determine the causes of homelessness for that individual and/or family; (b) when the cause has been identified, put those individuals and/or families into another program specific to their need. This would be a transitional program, rehabilitation program, or medical care to address the issues of that particular demographic.
For those who do want to work, there needs to be jobs that offer a decent living wage. So to focus on helping people move from homelessness to moving into a new home without a healthy economy and well-paying jobs in growing industries, seems to be a setup for failure. This is focusing on the symptom rather than cause and cure. And that bring us to the next question about tourism and developing a healthy economy.
Crime and prison reform
1. Would you favor the building of a privately-owned prison on the Big Island?
No, the privatization of prisons have proved to be a disaster with such cost cutting methods that leave those imprisoned at risk. There needs to be better methods to rehabilitate the prisoners and government needs to take responsibility rather than to off-shore the prisoners. Additionally, minority defendants are charged with crimes requiring a mandatory minimum prison sentence more often, leading to large racial disparities in incarceration. This needs to be investigated and fixed. This will not occur if private corporations run the prison system. What incentive would they have to reduce the prison population?
2. What can the county do to reduce domestic violence and promote domestic harmony on the island?
There needs to be education and intervention. Domestic violence is a deep seated issue that can solved. However, imprisoning people is not the answer. Education in the school system, counseling for pre-marital residents and relationship education and counseling for couples can be provided. Lack of communication skills and negotiating skills seem to be the root of most relationship issues whether the relationships are business or personal.
When people are not understood, when they feel they do not have control of a situation or when they feel helpless or at risk, the fight response kicks in. Giving people the skills to handle difficult situations is key to empowering them to solve their own problems and make better choices.
The practice of Ho’o ponopono is a useful practice and has shown to be successful when applied to clear conflict and to restore and maintain relationships through verbal communication. This should be incorporated in our school system as well.
3. Do you favor the legalization of marijuana? Why or why not?
Someday it maybe the voter’s decision on the ballot box whether to legalize marijuana or not. I favor the legalization of marijuana and hemp production, but with reservations. Although I do not use marijuana, I understand its medical value and its economic value. Currently, much of the State and County resources are spent on marijuana patrolling. Why not legalize it, tax it and regulate it. It is an underground industry so why not make it a legal industry and provide it for citizens who need it and create an economy around it?
It’s extremely important to be cautious and review carefully the success and failures of legalization of marijuana in, Colorado, Washington, California, and countries like Denmark. We do not need to make their same mistakes with the legalization of the use of marijuana in our State.
4. What else can the county do to reduce crime and/or lower the number of incarcerated island residents?
The school systems in the state are atrocious. Education and opportunity would go a long way to reduce crime. If people have a vision for their lives and an opportunity to fulfill that vision, they are more likely to be productive citizens in pursuit of their dream. When a person feels they have no opportunities or choices for livelihood, they will turn to whatever they can to survive. We can help all our citizens be productive, creative, contributing members of the community and the economy with some focused education early on. And as previously stated, mentorship programs, entrepreneurship encouragement and other types of support to give people hope for the future will reduce their turning to illegal activities.
We should also consider the use of dogs and other animals in prison programs. Animal bonding benefits are that inmates learn responsibility, calmness, respect, kindness, and patience. These are useful lessons that the inmate could apply in coping in our society today.
1. What is the biggest transportation need in your district and what can be done to meet it?
Better Disaster Evacuation Road Plan is needed.- Presently, if the communities like Volcano, Glenwood, Eden Rock, Fern Acres, Mountain View had to evacuate, they would be converging on the same Highway 11 as the only emergency road to do so. A likelihood of people driving in panic to escape from the oncoming lava flows, or massive fires will cause accidents. We need alternative road escape routes accessibility and we need to have a well sort out plan if an evacuation becomes a reality.
Puna area is growing and predicted to continue to grow. Connecting the subdivisions and increasing access to the growing community of Pahoa is needed. Railroad Avenue needs to be completed to Hwy 130.
A coastal road from Hilo to Kalapana needs to be made. This boulevard would be an economic help to Puna, bike paths and jogging paths, along the beautiful coast, will increase tourism. At the very least, a wide paved surface can be used by emergency vehicles and for evacuation purposes.
2. How can the county reduce the amount of driving that its citizens must do?
We must first identify the need of the citizen to drive as: commute to work, for food, water, trash, or other needs as appointments? Car pooling is ideal.
1. How can the county reduce the amount of driving that its citizens must do?
We must first identify the need of the citizen to drive as: commute to work, for food, water, trash, or other needs as appointments? Car pooling is ideal. More scheduled buses to subdivisions, and we need our roads widen and marked accordingly for bikeway/jogging use.
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?
No. It’s flawed; it will be a constant hungry monster to feed because it needs high amount of tonnage -material to generate energy. It does not have the capacity to do small tonnage, and the disadvantages are many:
a. Air Pollution although filtered, small amounts of Nitrogen Oxide, Mercury & Dioxin, Acid Gas, and Co2 (green house gas) will be released into our air space.
b. Ash generated is hazardous and requiring special environmental permit disposal. Although the ash from the combustion process and the flume, has been suggested as an ingredient in road building and foundations, further study is needed on the possible leaching into our water supply.
c. Demands a large continued quantity of waste to be generated.
d. Directly competes with compost recyclables (yard waste, papers, lumber, etc.,) that could be used to re-soil our lava land for potential farming, and reforesting.
e. We also need to realize that we will need to depend on the electric company to purchase this generated energy.
f. We would need strict outside agencies to monitor this Plant. Relying only on self-monitoring is a no-no!
2. What can be done to reduce the amount of solid waste created in Hawaii County?
Changing our human behavior of wastefulness is the first step. Sorting our trash is important as it keeps most of it out of the landfill, this is a commitment to re-cycling and re-use.
1. Do you accept campaign contributions from outside your district?
I welcome anyone who wants to contribute to my campaign. But it is important for complete open disclosure of records.
2. Do you support publicly funded elections?
Yes, this is an aid to open the field of candidates who otherwise could not afford to run.
And finally, is there any issue that you feel strongly about but which is not covered above? If so, tell us about it.
Yes, animal abuse, animal abandonment and ongoing animal cruelty.
I am very familiar with animal issues, and it is big part of my history. I volunteer daily with a local 501c3 animal nonprofit.
1. Presently, in the county contract with Hawaii Island Humane Society, only dogs have a 24 hour mandated holding time. For cats, there is none and can be immediately euthanized. Because of this, people knowingly abandon cats rather than taking them to HIHS. Since the county contributes close to 2 million of our county tax dollars to HIHS, both animal species should be treated equally and fairly with holding time, and kennel space. Just disposing of problems (excess dogs & cats) does not show foresight and a humane Mindset.
2. We need to have in the new county contract for a Humane Society (whoever wins the bid) to be able to expand the present facility or relocate to a larger area so it can accept and hold more animals on a daily basis. Our human population is expanding and so is their need to adopt animals. So both populations somewhat coincides. Just disposing of problems (excess dogs & cats) does not show foresight and a humane mindset.
3. I’d like to see a special agency possibly united with the K-9 unit that investigates and gathers evidence for prosecution for animal abuse/cruelty. The cruelty of animals can be an indication of human abuse.
4. Possibly this same agency can also provide humane animal welfare treatment education classes in our schools and communities.
5. Low cost prevention, including spay and neuter of animal, is available and needs to be strongly encouraged and financially supported