1. What should be the County Council’s priorities in addressing the economic impacts of COVID-19?
Our first priority in the business community is to support local businesses and help them get back on their feet. We need to assist tourist-driven businesses to redirect sales and services within the local community, and we need to use social media and on-line promotions to support locally-owned businesses. Keep Kaua’i’s money on Kaua’i and support a circular economy.
2. What is your vision for a thriving agricultural economic sector on Kauai?
Our localized economy can be improved with a thriving agricultural economic sector. I envision 4-5 major food hubs located conveniently in our population centers and providing only locally-grown produce and products. I believe we can support these local food hubs with creation of a farmer’s network online system for orders and delivery.
3. What role do you feel the visitor industry should play in Kauai’s economy?
The pandemic and resulting ‘new normal’ has presented a unique opportunity to reset our dependence on tourism and assess how our island has been affected. Now is the time to diversify our economy with measures that protect the environment and beauty of the island while balancing the needs of our society.
4. If elected to the Council, how would you engage with the business community prior to your decision-making?
If I am elected to Council, I will always provide a means for direct and open dialogue from the community at large. You can count on me to reach out to associations and groups that exist for each industry affected by those decisions.
5. How would you help ensure that working middle class residents can afford to buy or rent a home in Kaua’i?
The real question is “What is Affordable and What can we afford?” $400,000 for a home or $1800/mo rent is not affordable to most of us. 1) Increase the supply of long-term rentals by limiting Non-conforming TVRS, 2)Lower the cost of building to developers by allowing them to build up, not out, in our City Center (Lihue).
6. How would you effectively manage budget and operations compared to the past?
I am open and eager to learn more about Kauai’s budget and operations. I will always honor and respect past protocols and measures, while being open to assessing and balancing new ideas for managing our budget. At this point in my campaign, I would only be able to confidently recommend fiscal responsibility and prudent long term investments in Kaua’i’s future.
7. How can Kaua’i maintain its rural character while continuing to accommodate a growing population and visitor counts? How do your ideas fit with the current General Plan?
Kaua’i’s population is at 72,000 residents at last count and growing at around 1% per year. We have approximately 31,000 owner-occupied residential units. Given these numbers, we need to have approximately 180-200 new units next year and exponentially increasing this number as we move forward. The key is to keep our population growth in a central location to avoid a sprawl of subdivisions.
8. Will you support efforts to ensure that all vacation rentals, home stay units, bed and breakfast, and all transient vacation units are charged resort property tax rates?
I believe that we cannot apply a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Resorts are completely different from a resident-owned bed-and-breakfast. Assuming they are all in VDA compliance, we should look at a tax for each category based on income generated and environmental impact.
9. What two ideas do you have about economic diversification and how would you develop these two areas?
Agriculture is poised as a thriving industry and it is our kuleana to nurture its growth as a viable revenue source. I envision a network of farmer’s with food hubs, delivery services and marketing teams. Small businesses make up a majority of our economy. Assuring their success is vital in our economic survival.
10. What is your solution to best manage solid waste on Kauai?
Our island has an operating landfill with an estimated 7-years til capacity, an existing out-of-service bay at the landfill that requires maintenance, and we lack a Materials Recovery Facility. Rather than spending the county budget to site another landfill, we should repair the existing landfill infrastructure and build a new MRF to process recyclables.
11. As a member of the County Council, what steps would you take to mitigate the impacts of climate change on Kauai?
We must revisit the 2016 Climate Action Plan that was bought and paid for; and mitigate the problems which we will be facing in the near future. Such as:Rezone and limit permits to shoreline development. Create or Update Community-based emergency management plans. Establish relationships and plan with the Red Cross and all emergency volunteer organizations. Implement plans for emergency road ways if/when flooding occurs.
12. Do you support the continued use of the G.E.T. surcharge and how would you prioritize roads and transportation spending?
The GET surcharge should be continued to support our infrastructure. I believe we need to hold our road contractors accountable for better quality roads. With that being said, Kaua’i would benefit greatly by increasing it’s public transportation service and gearing toward the visitor industry.
13. What else would you like to share with the business community?
My work experience is a broad spectrum. I have worked with every type of client. My well-known Dj company, Kustom Sounds Kauai, has been performing for local residents and businesses for over 33 years.