Tag Archives: Heidi Tsueneyoshi

Choon James: Open Letter to Chair Ernie Martin & Honolulu City Council – Bill 1

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE HONOLULU CITY COUNCIL  

Aloha Honorable Chair City Council Ernie Martin (District 2), Ikaika Anderson, Carol Fukunaga, Ron Menor, Kymberly Pine, Brandon Elefante, Ann Kobayashi, Trevor Ozawa, and Joey Manahan.

During the Primary Elections campaign for your seat, ALL four candidates – Robert Bobby Bunda, Dave Burlew, Choon James, Heidi Tsuneyoshi have publicly stated that they are for agricultural lands preservation. Particularly, at the Hauula Candidates Forum and the Kahuku Candidates Forum, the question was asked directly about Bill 1. ALL candidates stated that they were against the alleged 200 homes proposed on so-called “North Laie”. They were against expanding the community growth boundaries between Laie and Malaekahana, a subdistrict of Kahuku. Unless the candidates are lying to get votes, this reflects each candidate’s position.

Additionally, the most robust indication of the general population’s sentiments can be found in Senator Gil Riviere’s position on Bill 1 ( aka Bill 47 or Bill 53). Senator Riviere has consistently testified in person at City Council hearings in support of Bill 1 aka Bill 47 and aka Bill 53, without further amendments to expand the boundary growth into the agricultural Malaekahana area. Senator Riviere has been clear and precise. There is no ambiguity in his actions or words through the years as the Senator for this district. He most recently received a strong 67% of the public vote on August 11, 2018. This reflects a mandate from the people of this area.

During the past two short months that I myself have campaigned for your City Council seat for District 2, I received the same feedback from our residents.

While I could not quickly share the record of my decades old advocacy and civic activism to  garner enough votes in Wahiawa and Mililani Mauka this primary elections, I have again received the confirmation that our residents in District 2 and all over Oahu want to KEEP THE COUNTRY COUNTRY! And it’s not because they are against housing.

They do not want to see the entire island of Oahu paved over and turned into a parking lot. The other issue that is consistently brought up is the costs of living and traffic. Your residents are fed-up and up-in- arms about the Laniakea traffic that destroys their quality of life with daily frustrations and angst of traffic jam. Residents are fed-up with having to work two or three jobs to keep up with the rising fees, taxes and other costs.

From Kahalu’u to Hale’iwa, our small communities are connected by the 100 year old 2 lane Kamehameha Hwy. They are angry that the politicians who supposedly represent them are not considering the carrying capacity of infrastructures in our rural communities and yet continue to lure more and more tourists into the area. They are not happy that farm lands are disappearing and displaced with homes that they cannot afford. No one is against housing but most are leery of gentrification where the most affluent will chase the less affluent out of this region.

As you know, the Ko’olauloa Sustainable Communities Plan has been in limbo as Bill 47, Bill 53 and Bill 1 for the nearly past eight (8) years that you have been in office.

Many of us find it highly unfair and unethical for you, as it appears, to now want to push this Bill 1 through at the very last few months of your tenure as the City Council man for this district.

This Ko’olauloa Sustainable Communities Plan has been in limbo for nearly 8 years; what’s the problem with waiting for a few more months for the new city council member to more fully address it. After all, your staff, Heidi Tsuneyoshi, city council member-elect, has publicly stated her position AGAINST it at various public forums during the campaign.

I submit that there are more questions than answers to the latest Hawaii Reserves, Inc  (HRI) proposal in Bill 1. It has not been veted by the community of Laie or at large. Residents-at-large are opposed to sacrificing their quality of life to appease the economic goals of HRI. This include many residents of Laie.  If I were the council member-elect, I would engage directly with the residents first, without HRI or its staunch supporter LCA, present.

Laie residents have relevant questions like whether it’s fee simple or leasehold, rental or outright ownership?

Who will be eligible for these homes? Laie or Ko’olauloa region?

What is the price?

What are the terms and conditions?

Is there a buyback clause?

Is there a surrender clause?

What other developments and amenities are in the works not yet revealed and so forth.

Because Mr. Eric Beaver of HRI refused to provide pertinent specifics in writing, who is to say that “affordable housing” could not be cancelled again in the future? It happened in 2008 after HRI raised the hopes and dreams of Laie residents for decades:

“Feasibility estimates pose an unacceptable risk at this time,” Beaver said in the statement. “Cost of the entitlement process, current market and political conditions, moderate community support, and other nearby residential development plans were key factors in our decision to stop the project.

Beaver told The Advertiser yesterday that a combination of factors would have resulted in homes that would cost more than the citizens who were to benefit from it could pay.”

As a matter of public policy, BIll 1 cannot be solely for Envision Laie. Laie is not an island. It has to be ENVISION KO’OLAULOA or even ENVISION NORTH SHORE because Hale’iwa, Pupukea, Sunset Beach, Kahuku, Lai’e, Hau’ula, Punalu’u, Kahana, Ka’a’awa, Kualoa, Wai’ahole, and Kahalu’u are all connected by the same arterial 100-year-old 2-lane country road named “Kamehameha Highway”. The multiplier impacts of this public policy that contradict the existing Oahu General Plan and the Ko’olauloa Sustainable Communities Plan are severe and significant.

Furthermore, may I respectfully urge you to leave a wonderful legacy of protecting the welfare and happiness of our Residents First. My campaign platform of placing a cap on property taxes for local residents who have lived in their homes for 15 years or more is urgently needed. Our senior residents who live on fixed income and social security are afraid of being priced out of house and home. They want to be able to pass on their generational home to their children. This can be done if there is political will. California had their Proposition 13 in 1978. What are we waiting for?

During the course of the campaign, your staff  and candidate Heidi Tsuneyoshi also quickly adopted my idea. I consider imitation as the best form of flattery.  Certainly, there must be consensus and recognition at this point in time that this is a much-needed action to take to protect our residents. I would be most happy to work with you and all our city council members to begin this process.

I sincerely wish you well in your future endeavors and compliment you for running for the highly-contested race for House of Congress. Please adopt Bill 1 as originally proposed by City Councilman Ikaika Anderson on January 2017 or defer Bill 1 to 2019 for the new city councilwoman-elect Heidi Tsuneyoshi who has stated her opposition to this recent new amendment on her campaign trail.

Mahalo!

Choon James

ChoonJames Hawaii@gmail.com

Choon James has been a successful small businesswoman for 30 years. She’s happily married to her PhD husband for 40 years and mother of four Eagle Scouts and one princess. She has been a long-time community advocate for good government and private property rights. She has also been an activist for Environmental, Social, and Economic Justice. She also works on their family organic farm. She self-financed her recent City Council campaign with no funds from lobbyists or corporations.

 

Choon James: Cap on Property Taxes For Local Residents

Name on ballot: JAMES, Choon
Running for: Honolulu City Council
District (if applicable):District 2
Political party: Nonpartisan
Campaign website: www.VoteChoon.com
Current occupation: Real Estate Broker
Age: 61
Previous job history: College Instructor
Previous elected office, if any: Community Associations

Community organizations/prior offices held

Chair, Defend Oahu Coalition – Keep The Country Country; president, BYU-Hawaii Alumni Association; president, Laie Point Community Association; board member, Laie Community Association; founding member, Kahuku Hospital Board, Save Oahu Farmlands Alliance; member, Honolulu Board of Realtors; producer, Olelo Community Media; member, Hawaii Thousand Friends; member, Sierra Club; member, Ko’olauloa Sustainable Communities Advisory Planning Committee; member, Amnesty International; member, Friends of South Pass City; member, Relief Society Women’s Organization; merit badge counselor, Aloha Council BSA.
If elected, what will be your highest legislative priority?
Many residents have several jobs to keep themselves afloat. Our seniors have to postpone retirement. Kupuna are worried about being priced out of house and home and not being able to pass the family inheritance on to the next generation. Our residents worry when the government is going to slam them with more taxes and fees!

We must protect our home front first! I want to champion and work with the other 8 council members to

~ ~ provide a property tax cap for local homeowners who have lived in their homes for 15 years or more. ( California did Prop 13 in 1978!)

~~ provide incentives to property owners who rent long-term to long term residents.

~~ Focus on increasing truly affordable rentals/homes inventory These foundation improvements will help mitigate some of the challenges we face in Oahu today. It will also protect our residents’ ability to remain in our island home and not be priced out.

 

Let’s gang up for the public good! I humbly ask for YOUR vote.

Choon James

808 293 8888 text

ChoonJamesHawaii@gmail.com

www.VoteChoon.com

www.CountryTalkStory.com

Choon James: Trained Alternative to “Politics As Usual”

Name on ballot: JAMES, Choon
Running for: Honolulu City Council
District (if applicable):District 2
Political party: Nonpartisan
Campaign website: www.VoteChoon.com
Current occupation: Real Estate Broker
Age: 61
Previous job history: College Instructor
Previous elected office, if any: Community Associations
What qualifies you to represent the people of Hawaii?

I’m a CITIZEN CANDIDATE, not a career politician or a career bureaucrat, like some candidates. I’ve been a successful small businesswoman for 30 years.

Status Quo has not served us well. I want to positively improve Oahu for my children and your children. I

do not accept donations from special interests so I’m not beholden to do their bidding or owe any favors. I’ve mostly paid for this campaign on my own. I’ve been happily involved in civic and public affairs for decades with no compensation expected.

I have been an environmental, social and economic justice advocate and activist at City Hall with land use issues such as “Keep The Country Country”, preserving farmlands, food sustainability, open space, preserving parks, capital spending issues and others.

For the past 10 years, I’ve personally been involved in budgeting process and workings of Honolulu Hale. I’ve grown older and impatient and wish to make a difference INSIDE City Hall. I don’t have an ego nor am I looking to save my job. I truly believe that a public office is to serve the public good; it’s not a profiteering office.

 

I have severe concerns about the direction that Honolulu is heading. We cannot continue to fund the runaway Honolulu Rail without firm fiscal scrutiny and accountability. I’m volunteering myself as an able and trained alternative to “business as usual” politics.

Let’s gang up for the public good! I humbly ask for YOUR vote.

Choon James

808 293 8888 text

ChoonJamesHawaii@gmail.com

www.VoteChoon.com

www.CountryTalkStory.com

 

Choon James For Honolulu City Council District 2

Name on ballot: JAMES, Choon
Running for: Honolulu City Council
District (if applicable):District 2
Political party: Nonpartisan
Campaign website: www.VoteChoon.com
Current occupation: Real Estate Broker
Age: 61
Previous job history: College Instructor
Previous elected office, if any: Community Associations

Community organizations/prior offices held

Chair, Defend Oahu Coalition – Keep The Country Country; president, BYU-Hawaii Alumni Association; president, Laie Point Community Association; board member, Laie Community Association; founding member, Kahuku Hospital Board, Save Oahu Farmlands Alliance; member, Honolulu Board of Realtors; producer, Olelo Community Media; member, Hawaii Thousand Friends; member, Sierra Club; member, Ko’olauloa Sustainable Communities Advisory Planning Committee; member, Amnesty International; member, Friends of South Pass City; member, Relief Society Women’s Organization; merit badge counselor, Aloha Council BSA.
What qualifies you to represent the people of Hawaii?

I’m a CITIZEN CANDIDATE, not a career politician or a career bureaucrat, like some candidates. I’ve been a successful small businesswoman for 30 years.

Status Quo has not served us well. I want to positively improve Oahu for my children and your children. I

do not accept donations from special interests so I’m not beholden to do their bidding or owe any favors. I’ve mostly paid for this campaign on my own. I’ve been happily involved in civic and public affairs for decades with no compensation expected.

I have been an environmental, social and economic justice advocate and activist at City Hall with land use issues such as “Keep The Country Country”, preserving farmlands, food sustainability, open space, preserving parks, capital spending issues and others.

For the past 10 years, I’ve personally been involved in budgeting process and workings of Honolulu Hale. I’ve grown older and impatient and wish to make a difference INSIDE City Hall. I don’t have an ego nor am I looking to save my job. I truly believe that a public office is to serve the public good; it’s not a profiteering office.

If elected, what will be your highest legislative priority?
Many residents have several jobs to keep themselves afloat. Our seniors have to postpone retirement. Kupuna are worried about being priced out of house and home and not being able to pass the family inheritance on to the next generation. Our residents worry when the government is going to slam them with more taxes and fees!

We must protect our home front first! I want to champion and work with the other 8 council members to

~ ~ provide a property tax cap for local homeowners who have lived in their homes for 15 years or more. ( California did Prop 13 in 1978!)

~~ provide incentives to property owners who rent long-term to long term residents.

~~ Focus on increasing truly affordable rentals/homes inventory These foundation improvements will help mitigate some of the challenges we face in Oahu today. It will also protect our residents’ ability to remain in our island home and not be priced out.

What are the top three challenges facing the voters you seek to represent?

District 2 is the most diversified and largest land area in the City Council. We span rural communities from Kahalu’u to Wahiawa to an award-winning planned community in Mililani Mauka. We have wonderful residents!

1. Costs of Living & Housing – Hawaii is such a beautiful place with a stable political environment that does not discriminate real estate ownership; our local residents have to compete with international investors for real estate holdings. Increased property values and property taxes outpace many residents’ fixed social security and income. Our residents are feeling priced out on so many different levels.

Many work 2-3 jobs to make ends meet and sustain themselves. Our young people have to resort to exchange babysitting in parking lots on the way to work! Kupuna are worried about sustaining themselves in their golden years and passing on the family home to their children.

Most of us work very hard to make a living.

The government must deliberate carefully before imposing escalating fees and taxes on our people. Residents are not eternal money trees.

2. Quality of Life Ko’olauloa and North Shore is the Oahu’s golden goose for tourism. While residents are welcoming, the quality of life must be considered. Residents are overwhelmed by the increased amount of tourists. Tourism’ multiplier impacts on our infrastructure and public space are real. Traffic is a constant aggravation. The one hundred- year-old Kamehameha Highway, parks, other finite natural resources and other municipal services have to be considered into policy-making and deliberations .

3. Economic Opportunities This cash economy is leaving many of our residents behind. Homelessness is on the rise in our District. We have homeless camping in the streets, mountains, and other public places. This is not good for them and not good for the public. The world is changing. Jobs that are here today will not be here tomorrow.

Fortunately, we have very successful residents who are willing to help and share. As a city councilwoman for my District, I will also focus on this area – to help our residents explore start-ups, resources, education and options to lift ourselves and our families to the countless opportunities out there for economic gain.

If elected, what can you do to improve the lives of your constituents?

Our residents are working very hard to make a living and sustaining themselves. I truly believe government is for betterment of the happiness, welfare and prosperity of our people.

1. Thus, I will be very firm and cognizant in fiscal decision-making. Is the spending good for the residents? Are local residents the primary beneficiaries? Is it absolutely necessary?

2. We also need to maintain clean, safe, and efficient core municipal services for our communities.

3. I will become your good friend. I will visit you in YOUR neighborhood and work with you.

4. We MUST protect our residents FIRST. They are the major stakeholders in Oahu. The Honolulu City Council has tremendous leverage and oversight to mitigate development agendas for Oahu.

5. We must have an over-arching understanding of what we wish Oahu to become. We must base our decision-making consistent with the Oahu General Plan (and Hawaii 2050), which offers objectives and policy guidelines for Population, Economic, Social, Cultural and Recreation, Tourism, Natural Environment, Transportation, Energy, Public Safety, Health & Education, Government Operations and Fiscal management to sustain and maintain our island home.

Is there anything else you would like voters to know about you?

I’m a citizen candidate. I do not accept donations from lobbyists or corporations. I owe nobody favors or fear except to work with you residents to improve some basic challenges facing us.

I have severe concerns about the direction that Honolulu is heading. We cannot continue to fund the runaway Honolulu Rail without firm fiscal scrutiny and accountability. I’m volunteering myself as an able and trained alternative to “business as usual” politics.

You can rely on my decades-old record of activism and advocacy. I have been consistent. I maintain a world-view outlook. But I also recognize that we live on a small island.

Additionally, my profession as a real estate broker allows me to work with people from all walks of life and status. We treat every client with care and respect. Should there be a challenge, we quickly and methodically address them with all parties and professionals concerned and find solutions to the benefit of all.

I have great confidence we can tackle Oahu’s challenges together! It doesn’t matter if we’re young or old, rich or poor, Democrat or Republican, military or civilian, unionized or not – – we all have the same dreams for ourselves and our children. We can be fair and reasonable in decision-making; we can all win! There are solutions to the challenges on our island home.

You the residents have valuable local knowledge and wisdom to share. Many of us also have international experience, professionally combed the world, and gained insights and expertise. Collectively, we can improve our island home! Let’s put YOUR smarts, imagination, expertise, common sense, and aloha together to improve our lives and communities.

Let’s gang up for the public good! I humbly ask for YOUR vote.

Choon James

808 293 8888 text

ChoonJamesHawaii@gmail.com

www.VoteChoon.com

www.CountryTalkStory.com