2022 Sierra Club Maui Group State Candidate Political Questionnaire
Office running for *
HAWAI'I STATE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE, D-13
CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION
The climate crisis exposes Hawai'i and the world to catastrophic outcomes. We have less than 15 years before we pass the threshold at which the accumulated gases will inevitably cause more than 2 degrees celsius of warming. Drastic measures are necessary to avoid this disaster. What actions would you support (or oppose) and why or why not?
a) A major reforestation program to plant millions of trees in Hawai'i?
SUPPORT! It is necessary and long overdue! Preferably, only indigenous species.
b) Require the state Employee Retirement System to divest its holdings in the top 100 fossil fuel companies?
SUPPORT! It is important to invest in socially responsible and sustainable brands and preferably non-profit corporations.
c) Ban the sale in Hawai'i of new cars with internal combustion engines by the year 2035
SUPPORT! With the understanding that there will still be support for those who possess internal combustion vehicles, since they may last for up to twenty years. At the same time, having the necessary infrastructure for hydrogen, electric, hybrid and alternative power vehicles, which may be using technology we have not even as of yet thought of.
d) What will you do to make it practical and affordable for ALICE and other low-income population groups to make the switch from gas and diesel vehicles to ones that do not emit greenhouse gases?
RAISE taxes on multi-national corporations and high-income individuals, while at the same time LOWER taxes on ALICE and similar people. Raise the minimum wage to a living wage! Build more affordable housing units, provide affordable child and health care, while providing financial support to purchase. Expand public transportation, while making it free for low-income individuals/families plus expand affordable and/or free childcare.
d) A tax on air travel to subsidize the cost of planting sufficient trees to mitigate the carbon footprint of each air traveler to Hawaii?
SUPPORT! Institute the tax!
e) Increase tax incentives for battery storage for renewable generation to stabilize supply to demand?
SUPPORT! Pass supportive legislation. Technology is constantly creating new, environmentally friendly inventions.
2. ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE
One of the most certain impacts of climate change is sea level rise. Would you support legislation to strengthen management of our coastal zones such as those below? Why or why not?
a) greater coastal setbacks for development?
SUPPORT! Houses are already falling into the ocean in Hawai'i!
b) removal of illegal sea walls?
SUPPORT! Operative word is "illegal"! Lots of research showing their environmental damage.
c) compensation by state or counties to owners of coastal property threatened by coastal erosion if these owners voluntarily forego building hardened structures (i.e. seawalls)?
Support! Encourage to move with necessary compensation.
3. STATE LAND USE COMMISSION (LUC) & BOARD OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES (BLNR) REVIEW
The state LUC and the BLNR and their enabling laws play key roles in protecting natural resources on private and public land. For instance, HRS Ch, 205 that governs the LUC allows the state as well as citizens who are granted standing to intervene when land is proposed for urbanization. This means they may cross examine developers, prevent behind-closed-door contacts between developers and decision makers, and ensure that decisions are explained and based upon evidence. The BLNR is required by case law to consider the impacts of their actions on Public Trust resources.
a) Do you support or oppose efforts to "streamline" the land use process that would eliminate the LUC?
If streamlining would mean denying public input, I would oppose. However, the LUC has in too many situations been "controlled" by developers and lobbyists who influence too many elected officials and seem to rubber stamp inappropriate development! The discussion of the LUC seems to be a red herring, to move the discussion away for continuing to paving over valuable agricultural land and allowing high-end and resort development!
b) Do you support the BLNR adopting explicit decision-making criteria for the lease and other dispositions of public property to ensure protection of public trust resources (e.g. streams, forests, historic sites, trails)?
c) Do you support a legislative change requiring BLNR to not dispose of public property when doing so would create substantial adverse impacts on natural or cultural resources?
d) Will you oppose efforts to water down or exempt special projects proposed in the State Conservation District from the criteria that now protect them?
YES, if you are implying that there will be less rigorous review of any development in the Conservation Districts!
4. COMBATTING INVASIVE SPECIES
Invasive species have severely impacted and even eliminated native ecosystems across Hawai`i. This has cost the government and individuals millions of dollars and in some cases placed the lives of humans, farm animals and native flora and fauna at risk. Quick emergency response is needed to eradicate diseases like Dengue or Rat Lungworm and pests like little fire ants, Rapid Ohia Death and coffee berry borers, as well as potential future invasive species and diseases. What solutions do you support or not support and why?
a) Increased funding for disease vector controls and invasive species control?
OF COURSE! Long overdue! Including travel from island to island!
b) Steps to prevent the movement of plants from infested areas without adequate screening?
Hawai'i has been woefully lacking in the control and screening of flora & fauna moving from island to island and within and on various islands. Increase funding is a first step, then rigorous review and implementation of additional checks and screening, including employing additional personnel.
c) Investing in trained canines to detect various biosecurity threats to crops and native flora and fauna, as is done in New Zealand?
Don't you love Aotearoa; a progressive Country in numerous areas. As long as the dogs are not used to sniff out cannabis!
5. WATER SECURITY
In Hawai`i almost all of our drinking water, our cities and towns, our farms, and coastal ecosystems depend on groundwater – underground aquifers – which are recharged from rainfall and streams. However our management of streams and aquifers is not always sustainable. Streams statewide are diverted by large landowners leaving little to recharge many aquifers. The official process to petition for increased stream flows is long and expensive. And when the state sets so-called "Sustainable Yields" for aquifers, they do not explicitly consider how much water needs to flow into coastal ecosystems. What solutions would you support or not support to help increase a better balance and enhance our fresh water security, and why?
a) Fund the updated studies and ongoing monitoring of major streams statewide to have sufficient data for decision makers?
It took years for the CWRM to finally rule on the East Maui streams. Sadly, it is still not over. Hire additional personnel to monitor what is going on.
b) Require diversions of streams to not exceed a reasonable percentage of natural flow?
It took years for the CWRM to finally rule on the East Maui streams. Sadly, it is still not over. Hire additional personnel to monitor what is going on. I applied to be an intervenor on the case and though not included, was accepted as a "resource", since i live on a diverted stream.
c) Work to resolve "holdover permits" to small farmers and ranchers who divert surface waters where they are sustainably available, and phase out the practice of renewing short term permits en masse with no review of impacts to ecosystems or aquifers?
We have been demanding this for years, yet our current elected officals and representatives appear to be deaf to this urgent need!
d) Many water decisions end up being made in our courts. Should the Legislature refrain from over-ruling the courts when large landowners ask?
Many of our current elected representatives are beholden to the money they receive from lobbyists working for large landowners including formerly agricultural business which are now land development corporations. Until we institute campaign finance reform and public financing of elections, we will continue to experience the criminal activity, not often exposed, which recently occurred to my own State Senator, who was constantly supported by numerous environmental organizations, groups and individuals! Sadly, this is why the Courts have the impacts that they do.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority receives more than $80 million to market Hawai`i to tourists.
a) Do you support reducing that amount to make more money available for programs in the Departments of Health and of Land and Natural Resources that protect our natural and cultural resources?
This is obvious! Hawai'i residents do not need their hard-earned dollars and taxes going to support the visitor industry. Look at how a former elected official now runs a major tourist organization! Nothing new in the inappropriate situation Hawai'i has with the merry go round of "politicians" and the development and tourist industry.
b) Do you favor limiting tourism to each island's carrying capacity?
Of course. Eventually visitors will stop coming if Hawai'i is turned into a "Disneyland". At the same time, we are destroying the Aina and quality of life for residents.
c) If so, how could this be done?
A cross section of residents would review and decide how many visitors can a specific island handle. As it is, something similar has been done on Maui in the Island plan, yet it is not enforced and has been surpassed! Manage the number of non-residents allowed to arrive, by managing the flights which are permitted to land. Of course, allow some limited fluctuation of the maximum set.
d) Should the State do an Environmental Impact Study for tourism?
e) Should it assess a visitor fee, as New Zealand does, to offset the environmental and social impacts?
Yes. A reasonable amount. It is already done on some items, for example car rentals collect a fee from non-residents.
f) Should Hawai'i Tourism Authority be defunded? If so, should any of its programs continue?
YES! DEFUND. At the same time, review programs which ARE beneficial and continue the funding for them in a reconstituted organization. We are all aware that most of the visitor industry is owned and controlled by multinational corporations which in some cases are foreign entities.
7. EAST MAUI WATER PERMITS
Recently the Legislature considered a bill to overrule a court decision which said that Alexander & Baldwin can't keep getting extensions on their water allotment from East Maui streams.
a) Should East Maui streams that kalo farmers, fishermen and aquatic species depend upon continue to be diverted and de-watered when the new owner Mahi Pono has not defined its future commercial agriculture plans?
NO NO and NO! Perfect example of the corruption of our current representatives! I LIVE on property with an East Maui stream that for 150 years has been totally diverted! The dam is twenty feet west of the land; flowing 24/7, 365 days a year. East of the dam it is totally dry!
Only when the diversions were removed from a stream which the one which flows through my property must be a tributary of, water is now flowing after more than twenty years which i have been on this property. Now there is numerous aquatic life flourishing in the stream!!
b) Should the Legislature overrule the courts or step in to give entities water allotments?
Well, what do you mean by "entities?? For-profit companies have invested in the lands to make money! Of course, where the courts have incorrectly ruled, then yes. Where the courts are protecting the residents of the land, then absolutely not. However, our current elected officials are to a great extent in the pocket of the large landowners, which are mostly former plantation companies which are now land development corporations!
8. PERSONAL VIEWS
a) What environmental accomplishment have you contributed to, that you are most proud of?
For thirty years, I have testified on numerous issues. I assisted in founding the Green Party of Hawai'i, which, different then the majority Democrat party, puts the environment first. The GPH has had ballot status for those thirty years! I have been a supporter for curbside recycling, which sadly has not been implemented, except on a limited scale. I also advocated for a public transportation system, when most elected officials were against it. Finally, after many years it was put in place. This has taken vehicles off of the roads. I championed a plastic ban prior to hardly anyone speaking about it. We still use fossil fuels to produce too much of our electricity and have spoken against this practice for years, while advocating additional wind turbines and solar power. The reality is that those elected officials, some who have conflict of interests, have too much control over the policies which are implemented in our communities.
b) What environmental issues would you prioritize as most pressing in Hawai`i today, and what initial steps would you propose to address them effectively?
Climate change, especially with the rise in sea levels, along with the unsustainable impacts of tourism, which gives rise to the loss of agricultural land and thus the urbanization of our communities. This results in our lack of food security and independence. Marine plastic pollution is negatively impacting our reefs. Our water quality, both ground and surface water, along with the negative situation of generations of diverting our streams, are all a serious challenge. How many of these issues have resulted in the growth of invasive species, both our flora and fauna. Little gets accomplished without being successful in standing for office. Thus, being one who actually has a significant impact on furthering all of these numerous items we have spoken about here and having a vote, voice and platform.