Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to provide my feedback on important issues for the North Shore community.
1. What exactly, if any, specific solutions do you have for the traffic problems on the North Shore? Particularly the problem with the illegally parked cars and jaywalkers at Laniakea Beach?
If elected, working collaboratively toward a short-term and long-term solution to the very serious traffic concerns at Laniakea Beach would be one of my top priorities for the North Shore community. In my opinion, it has become a true health and safety as well as a quality of life issue as it severely restricts the ability for residents to conduct their daily lives. There have been attempts at addressing the problem such as parking barriers. However, that action was challenged and the barriers were removed. There was also discussion on the installation of a crosswalk so pedestrians could be cited for jaywalking. However, it was reported that a crosswalk was not an option as it would end at a drop off on the ocean side. Within the last 6 months, the Honolulu Police Department started citing for illegal parking in the area but that action was also challenged and enforcement had to stop.
Pending the resolution to the challenges of the parking barriers and enforcement of no parking, my recommendation for a short-term solution would be to request that the State Department of Transportation (DOT) consider the installation of a guardrail along the ocean side of the highway to limit the points of access for pedestrians. I believe this action could be done fairly quickly and would address the disorderly pedestrian activity that greatly contributes to traffic in that area.
My long-term solutions would be to work collaboratively with the DOT toward decision and action on the proposal for a bypass road in that area. Recently the DOT has reported that they are seriously looking at the proposal and as the next City Councilmember, would work diligently with the DOT and my counterparts at the State to come to a decision and action plan. As that area of the highway is also subject to issues related to shoreline erosion, construction of a bypass road is not only a good step to address the traffic concerns but also to work proactively to address concerns for damages to that area of the highway due shoreline erosion. As Kamehameha Highway is the main arterial roadway, we have to ensure it is well maintained and can continue to provide safe access for residents.
2. Do you have any specific ideas or solutions to the large homeless populations on the North Shore?
I am the only candidate that has worked in homeless and transitional shelters as well as social service agencies and believe the best way to address the growing homeless population on the North Shore will be a comprehensive approach of support and enforcement as well as housing and employment options on the North Shore. Much of the effort for outreach and enforcement has been centered in urban Honolulu. As the next City Councilmember, I will bring much-needed attention and support to rural communities including the North Shore. Current proposals to make it illegal to obstruct or lodge on City sidewalks will provide opportunities for greater enforcement on City sidewalks which will greatly benefit areas that are experiencing issues with homeless encampments on City sidewalks.
However, rural communities such as the North Shore, do not have regulation sidewalks and encampments tend to be in areas that are more difficult to identify and address. That is why it will be imperative that social service agencies are brought into the community to provide consistent services. It will also be important to work with the Honolulu Police Department to ensure that the North Shore has the coverage needed for consistent enforcement and presence to deter and address criminal behavior. Residents should feel safe and I will work hard to ensure that our communities are clean and safe for all. Additionally, I will focus on the development of affordable housing options including affordable rental options which is critical to not only address the homeless population now but to proactively provide housing options for the many hidden homeless and those who are at risk of becoming homeless.
3. Where do you stand on commercial development on the North Shore, particularly outside of Haleiwa Town?
I believe commercial development on the North Shore should be contained primarily in Haleiwa Town and the limited areas that are zoned for commercial development outside Haleiwa Town. As a Councilmember, I would work closely with the Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) to ensure proposed developments go through the proper permitting process and the community has the opportunity to provide comments during the process. I believe the rural character of the North Shore must be preserved and will work with the community as we continue to balance options for commercial activity while ensuring the quality of life and sense of community for residents.
4. What specifically can you do to get rid of the illegal vacation rentals in your district?
I believe the main issue with the proliferation of illegal vacation rentals is lack of enforcement and penalties. Our residents and our neighborhoods have suffered the consequences as outside investors continue to realize great profits from illegal vacation rentals at the expense of residents. Investors come in and scoop up properties at over market prices, knowing they will make their money back through illegal vacation rentals, further driving up housing costs and eliminating possibilities for long-term rentals for residents.
Members of the Honolulu City Council have passed out 4 different resolutions to address illegal vacation rentals and am happy to report that at the last meeting of the North Shore Neighborhood Board, the Acting Director of the Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) presented the draft of a bill that aims to provide both enforcement and increased penalties for violations. As Council-member, I will work closely with the DPP and the community to come to a consensus and move expeditiously to adopt this legislation that will provide better tools for consistent enforcement and increased penalties to deter the current trend of turning our residential neighborhoods into commercial areas. I will work hard to preserve the character of our communities and housing options for our residents.
5. Any other problem areas and your proposed specific solutions regarding the North Shore you intend to focus on should you be elected?
Another problem area for the North Shore is the lack of support and resources provided for accommodating an ever-increasing number of tourists every year. As Councilmember, I would work with the Hawaii Tourism Authority and other stakeholders to encourage better support of the North Shore community for its tremendous contributions to the tourist industry. I would also work closely with the City Administration for improved services and maintenance of City beach parks and other infrastructure on the North Shore.
The North Shore is also in need of improved walkways in Haleiwa Town. I am happy to have worked with the community and the City’s Department of Design and Construction (DDC) on a resolution to program the walkway improvement project as a capital improvement project which will be funded by the City. The project was originally programmed as an improvement district project in which residents would have had to pay a portion of the cost. I am happy to have been a part of reprogramming the project in a way that did not put any additional financial burden on residents.
In addition, I will work collaboratively with the City administration, the community and stakeholders for the realization of long-awaited City Parks improvements projects, diversified agricultural opportunities to address food security issues as well as provide employment and economic opportunities and work on public safety and infrastructure issues related to climate change and shoreline erosion.
I will focus on true fiscal responsibility in City government, introduce legislation that encourages efficient management of City resources and use common sense solutions to improve the quality of life for residents. Most importantly, I will bring government back to the people and stand beside you as we create a Hawaii we can all be proud to call home. Every decision I make and every action I take will be for the people and for our future!
If I could also briefly address the comment made by Choon James regarding her lack of campaign funds. I would like to humbly point out that I did not just jump in the race last minute. I have been planning and working hard on generating the resources needed to run a successful campaign for over a year. I have taken the time to prepare for this race as I believe I owe it to my constituency to do the very best I can. As District 2 covers 40% of the island geographically, I knew I would need resources to get my message out and allow voters the opportunity to make an informed decision.
Also, regarding Choon’s comment of being born with a silver spoon, nothing could be further from the truth. My father served in the United States Navy who met my mom, a local girl from Wahiawa when serving at NCTAMS in Whitmore Village. Growing up in the military was difficult on enlisted pay and my father and mother had to be very creative to make ends meet for the four of us. Not only were there financial stressors but we also had to move whenever duty called. I truly know what duty, honor and sacrifice means. For over a decade, at least one of my family members have been deployed and we not only worry about their safety but for the well-being of the family they left behind. My husband served as a combat medic as an enlisted soldier in the Army when we first started our own family so I know the struggle of raising a family and making ends meet. I have spent the last 20 years of my career in social service, helping individuals and families rebuild their lives. I have worked in homeless and transitional shelters, in the women’s prison and in a public high school working with at-risk youth. As you know, people do not work in the social service field for the money, it is about making a difference for a person in need. I have lived a humble and fulfilling life of service.
Thank you again for the opportunity to provide my feedback on these important North Shore issues. I do hope this is the beginning of a strong working relationship and encourage you to reach out with any additional questions you may have at firstname.lastname@example.org or 808.664.9578.
Honolulu City Council