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Side-By-Side Responses
Senate District 22


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What policies would you pursue to improve public K-12 education in Hawaii?

First of all I would propose an audit of the Department of Education, which is years overdue. Decentralizing the Board of Education will allow an efficient method to financially support schools. The Department of Education has approximately 22,000 employees of which only 9,000 are teachers. Support staff and administration is excessive and needs to be reevaluated and reduced, emulating charter and private schools.

- AKI

Funding and resources are limited and provide challenges to our educational system. We need to look at other funding mechanisms to sustain our programs and provide competitive salaries for teachers to stay in Hawaii. In addition, we need to redevelop our campuses with state-of-the-art facilities and technology. I will continue to support 21st Century Schools. This model provides opportunities to engage in public-private partnerships that will seek private funding to pay for much needed upgrades. Furthermore, it will provide a new source and revenue stream for our educational system instead of increasing fees and tuitions when our local families already are enduring high living expenses.

- DELA CRUZ


What policies would you pursue to address the growing problem of homelessness in Hawaii?

We need to define the different categories of homelessness and address each accordingly. Those that are homeless due to the lack of employment or financial reasons require assistance in becoming employed and self sufficient. Those that have addictive behaviors need intervention and treatment for the substance abuse. Medical intervention is needed for those that have mental disorders or impairment. The priority is serving the unique needs of all the homeless. Displacing the homeless periodically is counter productive and does not address the underlying problems. I do not believe most if not all of the homeless community wants to be homeless or invisible.

- AKI

While on the Honolulu City Council, I drafted the charter question that created the City’s Office of Housing. We need to increase our inventory of rentals and affordable housing and it needs to be near or along our public transit corridors. By integrating mixed use, retail, light commercial and public services within the community, we can begin to spread the costs associated with affordable housing development. The model of addressing the homeless issue in King County/Seattle is one we can and should emulate. Addressing the issues with service providers, funders and policy makers committed to a comprehensive solution with accountability is paramount. Ensuring services are accessible, providing job training programs and life skills training programs are all components of the King County/Seattle program to end homelessness.

- DELA CRUZ


If revenues fell short of budget needs, how would you balance the budget?

Currently government seeks to increase taxes as the first option to the solution. We need to eliminate wasteful spending and reduce nonessential expenditures first. Do we really need every street light on statewide? We can reduce our energy expense by 50% by turning half the lights off. For every dollar saved, it is one less dollar in revenue required. I would propose a budget cut, excluding essential services. I would also propose privatization of inefficient departments. I would eliminate redundant special funds that serve no purpose. I would also increase the amount of self-serve internet programs for government services.

- AKI

In addition to cutting unnecessary spending, we need to look at public-private partnerships like other states and cities have done across the nation. Our state agencies are designed to implement regulatory policies. However, there are many state corporations such as ADC, ATDC, HTDC, HPHA, HSDC, and PLDC that are designed to engage in revenue generating activities for their sister agencies. Many of the departments face challenges such as limited staff and cannot sufficiently fulfill their missions. By engaging in public-private partnerships, the state has an opportunity to generate revenue as well as have the private sector operate and maintain the asset , relieving our hamstrung agencies.

- DELA CRUZ


What steps, if any, do you think Hawaii must take to manage traffic and make reliable, timely transportation available to all?

The proposed Bus Rapid Transit(BRT)model best suits our needs for the future, including hot-lanes, flyovers and underpass thoroughfares, which would be affordable. A tunnel between Ewa Beach (Iroquois Point) to Downtown (Aloha Tower)will divert much of the west-side congestion. Additional zipper lanes and synchronized longer timed traffic lights on major corridors during peak commuting time also will relieve congestion in the short term.

- AKI

Land-use policies need to change to ensure that smart-growth policies are immediately implemented. NOAA, EPA, US Department of Health, Urban Land Institute and many other independent organizations have adopted and promote smart-growth policies that include public spaces, amenities, and job creation for residents within walking distance to and from public transportation hubs or their homes. Current land-use ordinances continue to perpetuate a one-size-fits-all approach that increases traffic, and consumes agricultural land and open space. We need to change current policies that continuously result in urban sprawl. Smart-growth and redevelopment will increase small business opportunities and activities within rural communities and main streets. In addition, I will continue to support policies that focus growth along public transportation routes and within our urban core which will deter development of agricultural lands and open spaces.

- DELA CRUZ


What steps, if any, would you take to limit the influence of money and special interests on politics and policy?

Repeal Act 55 and the Public Land Development Corporation. Limit total campaign contributions and spending. Increase transparency in policy creation and increased penalties for violation. Enforcement of violations.

- AKI

I support publicly funded elections.

- DELA CRUZ


Do you make an effort to "eat local", and if so do you have any suggestions for others on where to get locally grown food?

Yes, We frequent the local farmers market in our area and supermarkets that support local farmers. We need to protect and preserve our prime agricultural land so locally grown food would continue to be available for future generations.

- AKI

I strongly advocate supporting our local farmers and buying local. With the support of my colleagues, we have focused on revitalizing the agricultural industry for Central Oahu. The Whitmore Village Agricultural Development Plan will provide opportunities for dozens of local small farmers to collaboratively work together in growing local foods, creating local jobs, and growing the local agricultural industry. Please visit the following link to review a short summary about the Whitmore Village Agricultural Development Plan: http://www.midweek.com/whitmore-village-site-a-boon-for-agri-business/

- DELA CRUZ


What actions, if any, do you take at home or at work to conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gas pollution?

We have installed a 40 panel photo-voltaic system on our home which is significantly reducing our electrical use. We have also installed energy star efficient appliances and a hot water heater timer. We also utilize battery operated garden tools, a weed eater and blower.

- AKI

I recently donated my SUV that had a 6-cylinder engine and purchased a used vehicle with a 4-cylinder engine. I regularly buy clothing and household items second hand at both Savers and Goodwill which promotes “reuse and recycle.” I also carry with me a ceramic mug instead of using paper or styrofoam products.

- DELA CRUZ


Do you think Hawaii should use its agricultural land for housing, or keep it for farming?

keep it for farming

- AKI

keep it for farming

- DELA CRUZ


Do you support or oppose basing teacher evaluations, in part, on student improvement?

Support

- AKI

Support

- DELA CRUZ


Do you support or oppose using State funding to ensure all 4-year-olds have access to preschool?

Oppose

- AKI

Support

- DELA CRUZ


Do you support or oppose efforts to repeal the law creating the Public Lands Development Corporation (PLDC)?

Support

- AKI

Oppose

- DELA CRUZ


Do you support or oppose rules that prevent lawmakers from changing the substance of proposed laws at the last minute (i.e., rules to prevent "gut and replace" lawmaking)?

Support

- AKI

Oppose

- DELA CRUZ


Do you support or oppose publicly funded elections as a way to reduce the influence of big campaign donors on policy?

Support

- AKI

Support

- DELA CRUZ


Do you support or oppose the current plan for rail in Honolulu?

Oppose

- AKI

Support

- DELA CRUZ


Would you like to offer any clarifying remarks on the above support/oppose questions?

I support publicly funded contributions based on campaign spending limits. Total contributions can not exceed your spending limit.

- AKI

TEACHER EVALUATIONS will need the input of teachers, among other critical stakeholders, to ensure fair implementation. PLDC If the issue is exemptions, then that’s a much larger discussion that includes DHHL, HHFDC, HCDA, RCUH, HTDC and several other agencies. There are no PLDC projects yet because they are still drafting administrative rules. I am open to changes that make sense. The State needs to examine alternatives to support programs for the betterment of Hawaii's people. Correct information on PLDC: http://bitly.com/Pquebt. GUT-AND-REPLACE Each year lawmakers encounter urgent or unanticipated matters. Restricting legislative action could eliminate options or be harmful to our economy and public safety. RAIL is only one component of a bigger picture. When incorporated with smart-growth policies, this project provides opportunities for Hawaii to become globally competitive, creating new industries, increasing affordable and workforce housing, and focusing growth in our urban core, preventing urban sprawl on agricultural lands.

- DELA CRUZ


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