Tag Archives: Honolulu City Council

Omnibus Bill 10 (22) Proposed Amendments – What is Transfer of Development?

Bill 10 was introduced for First Reading on February 23, 2022 Agenda on page 15. Relating to use regulations. (Addressing the regulation of
uses throughout Chapter 21, Revised Ordinances of
Honolulu 1990 (“Land Use Ordinance”).

The proposed amendments are far-reaching. But it’s a very technical piece of document that covers 239 pages. Bill 10 (22) includes the following:

BILL 10 (2022)
RELATING TO USE REGULATIONS.
PART I. BRIEF SUMMARY BY SUBJECT MATTER

  1. Transfer of development. The agreement running with the land for all donor and
    receiving zoning lots must remain in effect for a minimum of 60 years (instead of
    30 years). Clarifies that for the transfer of development (floor area only) from a
    donor zoning lot with a historic site to a receiving zoning lot, or for the transfer of
    development (floor area or number of dwelling units only) from a donor zoning lot
    within the special management area to a receiving zoning lot, all other
    requirements and standards applicable to the receiving zoning lot and its
    underlying zoning district remain in effect.

What is the above proposed LUO amendment about?

Is the longer version below of “Transfer of development” easier to understand for the public?

Bill 10 (22) Monster Omnibus Bill – Does the City Council itself have sufficient time to study?

This Blangiardi Agenda to amend and overhaul Chapter 21 is a sweeping action that contains 239 pages of fine print and technical knowledge. It will become the Bible for Oahu’s Land Use Ordinances for residents, developers and all property owners.

It appears that perhaps the City Council members themselves may not have the opportunity to study the entire document and its multiplier impacts on Oahu and its residents.

On July 18, 2022, the Zoning and Planning Chair Brandon Elefante requested input from other city council members. He even provided the format on how to submit amendments to Bill 10.

Ideally, wouldn’t it be helpful to constituents to hear from their City Council members about this sweeping Bill 10 that will literally affect their lives?

Considering that District 2 has many severe concerns in so many areas, it’s questionable why City Council woman Heidi Tsuneyoshi is only focusing on one little aspect of this Omnibus Bill 10 that relates to the future industrial turbines buffer zone.

Boundaries for the 9 City Council District. District 2 has a lot of agricultural-zoned lands as well as shorelines.

Based on the city records, this is what District 2 City Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi contributed the following amendment to this Monster Bill 10 deliberation.

What about other critical amendments to protect the Oahu General Plan, the North Shore and the Ko;olauloa Sustainable Communities values? What about the agricultural-zoned land and the farmers? Neighborhood Business-zoned parcels? What about food trucks businesses?

These are the Bill 10 amendments provided by the Honolulu City Council members:

  •  CC-237(22) TUPOLA – Proposed Amendments to Bill 10 (2022), CD1.
  •  CC-241(22) WATERS – Proposed amendments to Bill 10 (2022), CD1.
  •  CC-249(22) ELEFANTE – Proposed additional amendments to Bill 10 (2022).
  •  CC-268(22) ELEFANTE – Bill 10 CD1 (2022), Relating to Use Regulations.
  •  CC-273(22) TUPOLA – Proposed amendments to Bill 10 (2022), CD1.
  •  CC-274(22) KIAʻĀINA – Bill 10 CD2 (2022), Relating to Use Regulations.
  •  CC-275(22) WATERS – Proposed Amendments to Bill 10 (2022), CD1.
  •  CC-276(22) CORDERO – Proposed Amendments to Bill 10 (2022), CD1.
  •  CC-280(22)  TSUNEYOSHI – Proposed amendments to Bill 10 (2022), CD1.
  •  CC-281(22) WATERS – Proposed Amendments to Bill 10 (2022), CD1
  •  D-0074(22) PLANNING COMMISSION – Draft Bill to Request Amendments to Chapter 21, Revised Ordinances of Honolulu (ROH), 1990 Land Use Ordinance (LUO), Relating to Use Regulations.

Elections 2022: Honolulu City Council District 2 has five candidates

First term 2018-2022 City Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi has chosen to run for Governor instead of running for a second term at Honolulu Hale.

City Council Candidates for Elections 2022

It’s interesting to note that Chad Tsuneyoshi, the husband of present City Councilmember Heidi Tsuneyoshi, filed to run for the same office at the very last minute. The couple recently underwent a divorce. However, political cynics question if this was a convenience for the gubernatorial candidate to not have to address any further background questions relating to Chad Tsuneyoshi’s past criminal record.

A question of his filing is whether Chad Tsuneyoshi thinks he could capitalize on the name recognition in Council District 2. Incumbent politicians always have a huge advantage in re-elections due to name recognition unless there is a huge monumental scandal or corruption. (However, incumbent CM Heidi Tsuneyoshi, has made some very troublesome decisions as the District 2 council member.)

Here is some information about Chad Tsuneyoshi from public records.

Apparently, Chad Tsuneyoshi has been working very hard with political campaigns, including Ernie Martin, Charles Djou, Trevor Ozawa, his wife’s city council campaign in 2018 and perhaps other candidates.’

Editor Andrew Walden from Hawaii Free Press described Chad Tsuneyoshi as such:

Convicted cocaine dealer Chad Tsuneyoshi is taking over as Honolulu Council Chair Ernie Martin’s Campaign Treasurer

My own personal experiences with the Chad and Heidi Tsuneyoshi were from my city council campaign in 2018. Chad Tsuneyoshi was managing his wife’s campaign.

We had one of the more nasty campaigns that included anonymous negative attacks through USPO mailings and email, stolen and vandalized political banners, mass facebook messaging behind our backs, social media trolls injecting fabricated rumours and smears in conversations, and so on.

This was a period that had one of those “in your face” tactics that everybody could logically guess which campaign camp the perpetrators were from. But nobody had the time or resources to get to the bottom of it.

UGLY TACTICS

CIVIL BEAT: Envelopes sent with no return address arrived at homes across north Oahu this summer. Inside were flyers criticizing the political record of Robert “Bobby” Bunda, one of four candidates in the Honolulu City Council District 2 race.

Dave Burlew, a Kahuku farmer also running for the seat, was shocked to receive one of these letters and even more surprised to find “VOTE DAVE BURLEW FOR CITY COUNCIL!!” at the bottom of the flyer along with his P.O. box number.

“That’s when it got ugly,” Burlew said.

Burlew said he does not know who is responsible for the flyers. Heidi Tsuneyoshi and Choon James, the two other candidates in the race, also say they have no knowledge of where the letters come from. “

Logic told us that Robert Bunda could not be the person to smear himself. Dave Burlew and I (Choon James) were friends with similar values. Both of us knew 100% we did not do that. So, who was left?

Unite Local 5 which endorsed Robert Bunda in 2018 had this to say:

“July 2018 – Some may disagree with our support of Bobby Bunda, and that’s ok. But we’re confident Bobby is the best candidate for Council District 2.

Bobby has never shied away from criticism, but he has also been subject to a series of unfair, illegal and anonymous mailers that do not reflect the values of our hard working families in District 2. The sender of these mailers want you to believe they came from Dave Burlew, another candidate in the race, but he sent a statement to the State Campaign Spending Commission saying he had nothing to do with the mailers.

Before you vote, or even if you have already voted, you should know the whole truth behind each candidate. Google search Heidi Tsuneyoshi, Dave Burlew, Choon James and Bobby Bunda and start learning the facts. Also, ask yourself which candidate has enough money to pay for an expensive mass mailing campaign and stands to gain the most from attacking Bobby Bunda?

Tsuneyoshi’s Donations for her City Council race included these:

Heidi Tsuneyoshi was one of the very few selected candidates who received donations from indicted organized crime boss Michael Miske. Tsuneyoshi did not respond to Civil Beat’s request for comment.

Tsuneyoshi also received $31,950 from Mitsunaga & Associates whose principals have recently been indicted along with City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro for charges of conspiracy and bribery practices.

Resolution 22-11: What’s Going On With This Subject Property?

The Owners Hopoate Hafoka Taufa and Annetta Kihesina Tuifua Taufa acquired their Hau’ula farm of 12.693 acres zoned Agricultural 2 on November 7, 2019. This acquisition took place just slightly before COVID 19 would hamper much of our social and governmental interactions.

The owner received Notices of Violations (NOV) from the Honolulu City and County Department of Planning and Permitting (DDP). These actions were allegedly due to a few neighbors across the subject property who complained about the owner using the property as a “base yard”. Neighbors have the right to express their complaints and concerns.

Our research shows that there were also violations cited by the STATE Department of Health (DOH). The State Department of Health personnel states that their goal and motive is to encourage and help residents with compliance and NOT seizing property.

On the COUNTY DPP level, below is summary of the owners’ violations on the DPP’s website.

However, the last two violations are inaccurate. Ag-2 zoned properties are exempted from certain required permits. Ag2 owners can have fences up to ten feet without permit, except a concrete wall.

The last violation is also exempted. Ag-2 owners can have metal containers without a permit.

The standard customary procedure for residents to cure violations from DPP is to submit applications to DPP for building permits. However, according to the owner, the city recently cancelled the pending approval of his permits.

On January 20, 2022, City Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi introduced Resolution 22-11 to urge the Blangiardi Administration for “eminent domain” on this property. Tsuneyoshi accused the owner of violating for five years. The owners have owned the property for less than 2.5 years.

There were also extenuating circumstances, including COVID19 delay complications. There are obvious cultural issues. The immigrant family from the Kingdom of Tonga also had health challenges; the young mother is now under hospice care.

On February 8, 2022, Resolution 22-11 was heard at the County Council Executive Matters Legal Affairs (EMLA) Committee. Within a half hour period, Resolution 22-11 for “eminent domain” was quickly amended to “Judicial Foreclosure”.

On February 23, 2022, Resolution 22-11 was adopted by the full Honolulu City Council. This process only took 25 working days!

This is a highly irregular situation.

What are we to think about this case?

Why the haste to enforce on this particular property?

Unbeknownst to the general public, HB 1434 submitted by Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi is also pending. The DPP Director and five Honolulu City Council Members also testified or submitted written testimony to the STATE Hawaii Legislature for added powers to seize property through NON-Judicial Foreclosure, due to DPP county fines.

Resolution 22-11: City Council Woman Heidi Tsuneyoshi Complains About Free Speech

Honolulu Council Woman Tsuneyoshi complained about her constituents exercising their Free Speech at the Honolulu City Council Hearing on February 23, 2022.

About a hundred community members and high school students were protesting on February 19, 2022 in Hau’ula. They were against her flawed and quick Resolution 22-11 to seize private property through the Department of Planning and Permitting’s fines.

Based on her record and behavior on this issue, this city council woman IS bullying her constituent, an immigrant owner from Tonga.

This is not to say that neighbors cannot complain about their concerns and be heard. This is about treating all constituents the same with the same Due Process.

However, it was ok for Tsuneyoshi to malign her own constituent in the Honolulu Star Advertiser, with a readership of about 162,287 on Oahu, that the owner has been in violations with DPP for 5 years. The public record shows Owner Taufa has been the owner for 2.5 years!

Tsuneyoshi forgets she’s paid by taxpayers in her position with good benefits at the Honolulu City Council. Residents have the right to question and protest her actions. Basic First Amendment is a constitutional right – – The Public has the right to assemble and to exercise their Free Speech.

Democracy thrives when residents are not afraid to protest and question politicians on any issue.

Her public complaints against the residents’ protests reveal narcissism in this politician. Most property owners are not born with a silver spoon in their mouth. They work, sacrifice, and toil very hard to be a property owner. Seizing a private property, without proper vetting and due process, through eminent domain or judicial foreclosure in this case is very hostile and severe.

Tsuneyoshi herself is championing this very harsh seizure of a family property but she’s complaining about signs against her as a public official? This is a major disconnect in her logic.

What are the behaviors of a narcissist?

Narcissistic personality disorder involves a pattern of self-centered, arrogant thinking and behavior, a lack of empathy and consideration for other people, and an excessive need for admiration. Others often describe people with NPD as manipulative, selfish, patronizing, and demanding.

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NOTE: Because this is such a severe assault on private property rights, I will be following this issue. I will post different segments on this site, for easier reading.

Resolution 22-11: STRONGLY OPPOSE -Selective Targeting With Hostile Taking of Private Property

There is no question that the subject property owner Taufa needs to correct his violations. But these violations take time to cure. A city council member should especially make the efforts to reach out to those in trouble and try to help them. Immigrant families especially need more education and understanding in addressing Hawaii’s land use issues.

I’ve known many immigrants here for over forty years. Some may be here for a while but still need understanding due to inherent cultural perceptions or lack of knowledge or carelessness. For example: I continue to help educate our Southeast Asian farmers that “Round-Up” must be used very carefully, if at all. Many think that “Round-up” and other chemical fertilizers are simply “Good medicine”.

Even some from the Continental Mainland have misunderstandings of Oahu’s land-use ordinances. In places like Idaho, Tennessee, or Upstate New York, there are still counties with no land-use designations. A property can do as they wish. They can drill a well, build an air-strip, do a quarry business or build a residential home side by side of each other. Hawaii fortunately has a wonderful land-use designations on paper.

It’s a known fact that many contractors store their equipments and do their businesses out of their ag-zoned parcels whether it be roofing, trucking, and so on. I’m not saying that these owners are correct. But parts of the islands do not have “industrial” zone area for such business activities. But I’m saying that it is a very common occurrence in Oahu to mix ag-land with construction businesses.

Thus, if such a quick severe punishment is imposed on one particular owner and not the others, there should be at least a fair and objective outreach by the city council member first.

Some neighbors near this property have complained about this property. They have the right to do so. The Hauula Community Association President Dotty Paddock has weighed in. This activism began to snow-ball to include a few north shore environmentalists, who in turn has solicited for testimonies from around the island for DPP to do its job in enforcement.

I understand the frustrations with DPP. But we cannot allow this anger against DPP’s chronic lack of enforcement by turning this small property owner into a whipping boy. This is grossly unfair. There is no question that the property owner has violations to cure. Enforcement by DPP is important. But social justice is important too, especially when dealing with minorities and immigrant families.

Unfortunately, instead of granting some outreach to the property owner, City Council Member Tsuneyoshi initiated her first step with this Resolution 22-006.

RES22-006

Measure Title: STRONGLY URGING THE DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING AND PERMITTING TO IMMEDIATELY ADDRESS OUTSTANDING VIOLATIONS RELATED TO THE PROPERTY AT 54-406 KAMEHAMEHA HIGHWAY IN HAU’ULA (TAX MAP KEY 5-4-004:021).

Date Introduced: Jan 7, 2022 Introduced By:HEIDI TSUNEYOSHI

Committee: ZONING AND PLANNING (ZP)

Resolution Status

Voting Legend: * = Aye w/Reservations

DateTypeDescription
01/07/2022INTROIntroduced.
01/13/2022ZPReported out for adoption.CR-007 (22)4 AYES: CORDERO, ELEFANTE, KIAʻĀINA, SAY
01/26/2022CCLCommittee report and Resolution were adopted.9 AYES: CORDERO, ELEFANTE, FUKUNAGA, KIAʻĀINA, SAY, TSUNEYOSHI, TULBA, TUPOLA, WATERS

After persuading the entire City Council to adopt her Resolution 22-06 on January 26, 2022, despite flawed information, City Council Member Heidi Tsuneyoshi quickly introduced another Resolution 22-11 to use eminent domain on the Taufa’s property at the Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee on February 8, 2022.  

Resolution 22-11

Measure Title: URGING THE CITY ADMINISTRATION TO ACQUIRE THE PROPERTY AT 54-406 KAMEHAMEHA HIGHWAY IN HAUULA (TAX MAP KEY 5-4-004:021) IN ORDER TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY FROM ENVIRONMENTAL DEGREDATION, INCLUDING, IF NECESSARY, TAKING STEPS TO ACQUIRE THE PROPERTY BY EMINENT DOMAIN.

Date Introduced:Jan 20, 2022 Introduced By:HEIDI TSUNEYOSHI

Committee: EXECUTIVE MATTERS AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (EMLA)

Resolution Status

Voting Legend: * = Aye w/Reservations

DateTypeDescription
01/20/2022INTROIntroduced.
02/08/2022EMLAReported out for adoption as amended in CD1 form.CR-168 AYES: CORDERO, ELEFANTE, FUKUNAGA, SAY, TSUNEYOSHI, TULBA, TUPOLA, WATERS1 EXCUSED: KIAʻĀINA      

The Star Advertiser prepared and published an article on the proposed takings in the morning of February 8, 2022 EMLA ( Executive Matters Legal Affairs) Committee.

District 2 Council member Tsuneyoshi as quoted to Star Advertiser’s Ashley Mizuo:  

Hopefully, it isn’t seen as coming after a property owner. … It was hopeful that we could have come to a resolution where he would have complied with all that’s been told to him to do, but unfortunately, after five years that wasn’t the case.” ( Note that the owners acquired the property in November 2019.)

TSUNEYOSHI’S WORDS TO THE STAR ADVERTISER CONTRADICT HER ACTIONS

A close look at the timeline shows that Tsuneyoshi was already lining all the ducks in a row despite her words to the Star Advertiser that it ” shouldn’t be seen as after a property owner “.

February 26, 2020. Note Resolution 22-006 was adopted by the Honolulu City Council.

January 20, 2022. However, note that her new eminent domain Resolution 22-011 was prepared and introduced six days BEFORE Reso 22-006 was adopted.

It’s hard to buy her public statements that “Hopefully, it isn’t seen as coming after a property owner …”.

MORE TARGETING BY TSUNEYOSHI

The discrimination and targeting mounted when Tsuneyoshi persuaded the EMLA Committee to amend her Eminent Domain to Judicial Foreclosure. This action was completed in about an half hour period.

There were other little changes like a spelling error in her Resolution 22-11 with the word correcting “degredation” to “degradation” in the title of her resolution and miscellaneous technical and non substantive amendments.

But other far more substantial errors in the Resolution’s contents were untouched. Contrary Information and concerns submitted by the public did not appear to be considered by her.

EVEN MORE TARGETING of PROPERTY OWNER THROUGH INCONSISTENT TREATMENTS

At the Executive Matters & Legal Affairs Committee, there was more targeting of the property owner through inconsistent treatments.

There were three (3) Resolutions relating to Eminent Domain takings. It’s important to note that the 1.Taufa Resolution 22-11 is the only hostile taking of property. Tsuneyoshi stated his compounded DPP fines was about $400,000.00 (However, statement to the news media on February 21, she changed the news media that his fines were about $300,000.00 ). During the EMLA meeting, the Taufa’s eminent domain action was the only Resolution that was changed to Judicial Foreclosure in a very short period.

2. Resolution 21- 280 for eminent domain relates to an abandoned property in Pensacola with Fines of about $900,000.00

3. Resolution 22-22 involves a property owners in Waianae who told the City Council members that she would be so happy if the city would acquire her property.

NO CONSISTENCY

These actions should be alarming to any private property owner. There is no consistency in the application of Due Process. There appeared to be no clear understanding of the differences of Eminent Domain versus Judicial Foreclosure but it was quickly decided upon anyways.

So, what is the threshold to take someone’s property by Eminent Domain or Judicial Foreclosure?

Is it $900K as in the the Pensacola Street property?

Or is it $300K or $400k as in the subject Hau’ula Property?

Since the Hau’ula property is now solely targeted for Judicial Foreclosure takings, how is this process going to play out?

Judicial Foreclosures is generally a mortgage delinquency issue. We know that the county has powers to auction off a private property owner who has trouble paying their real property taxes. We also know that the City County of Honolulu has practiced forbearance in helping private properties solve their financial problems by allowing them TIME.

In this case here, we’re talking about county land-use violation fines. Some of violations were incorrect but the owners were fined.

There are still many OTHER unanswered questions relating to this issue.

Why is City Council member Heidi Tsuneyoshi rushing this hostile taking of this property?

Mayor Kirk Caldwell Holds another Press Conference – Honolulu Rapid Rail Transit

Mayor Kirk Caldwell held yet another LIVE press conference. It’s interesting how this Mayor
always blames or hide behind something or someone else. This time, it’s the Hawaii State
Legislature’s mandate. Oftentimes, its the mysterious Wizard of Oz FTA. He has blamed the
rush or deadlines on FTA but so far, these rush and deadlines have proven to be moving
targets. Or he would say “the FTA wants this and the FTA wants that” as if the FTA is an ogre
to be feared or kow-tow to.
Perhaps the most illogical and egregious is the hell-bent agenda to protect the $1.55 Billion
from the federal government. The project started at $3.6 Billion. It’s now estimated at $10 Billion. How does it make sense to thrown away at least 6 more billions of dollars into this fiasco to protect the initial $1.55 Billion?
Mayor Kirk Caldwell was live.
46 mins

Mayor Caldwell announces selection of funfing mechanism for $44 million for rail. Use of these funds was mandated by the state Legislature through the passage of Act 1 in 2017.

Ilalo ParaynoIlalo has a badge showing that they are a constituent of Kirk Caldwell7:01 Hmm…

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Kai LorincKai has a badge showing that they are a constituent of Kirk Caldwell34:11 We really need to vote them out. Wait until the real estate market resets what are you going to do then.
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Cynthia Ahn31:41 That’s alot of money that could be used else where that would make a Huge difference in people’s lives!!!
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Sheila Gage27:07 U had no right to touch the general funds…end the rail…

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Joseph Kaahema Simpliciano14:16 So back in 2017 this was already a plan to use these funds?

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Lowell Nagata28:33 How about the city set up a GoFundMe account for rail (but with no end date)? 😀

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Cynthia Ahn29:28 The Rail is more important than the “HOUSELESS”

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Elgin Awong2:12 Hey stupid it’s still going to the rail. BS will continue to have reporters come to the tax payers office. Not yours.

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Manu Sanders23:58 I wish Council would get their act together. All this delay is just making it cost more… should have done it back in the 70’s!

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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

Choon James: Adding my two cents in Red

Why would anyone want to enter politics in today’s hyper-polarized environment? Seeking public offices to offer solutions and honest service is severely needed in our democracy! Not every one is into that political pool of polarization and name-calling.  Being hyper-polarized is not conducive to our democracy. I’m happy that there are candidates who focus on issues/solutions in a civil and thoughtful manner.

Civil Beat set out to answer that question by interviewing eight candidates who hadn’t run for elected office before this year. They said they were lured by issues like Hawaii’s high cost of living, climate change, a desire for lower taxes and the need for more efficient and transparent government. Yes!

And while those are subjects longtime politicians frequently cite as well, new blood might be the key to actually addressing them, some newcomers say. I submit that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Are you happy with the direction Oahu is heading? Longtime politicians and bureaucrats had their chances, what have they done?

Zachary Stoddard CIty Council candidate 2018 elections stands and waves at Punchbowl and Beretania Street.

Zack Stoddard, a 31-year-old City Council candidate, works as a city planner.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Anti-abortion candidate Andrew Kayes, a nonpartisan candidate for the state House seat that covers the greater Kahului area, decided to pull papers after the Legislature passed a bill to legalize medical aid in dying, which he opposes.

Others say politicians have stopped listening to the constituents who elected them.

“I’ve just been frustrated with politicians and how they don’t seem to really care at all about working-class people,” said Zack Stoddard, a candidate for Honolulu City Council District 6 that stretches from Makiki to Kalihi. “That’s essentially the number one thing I hear from people.”

Stoddard isn’t a total stranger to local politics. Last year he was appointed to the neighborhood board for the Nuuanu and Punchbowl areas. He volunteered to fill a vacancy for the seat that represents his community during the first board meeting he attended.

He decided to run for the City Council after the District 6 incumbent, Carol Fukunaga, killed a bill to ban styrofoam food containers.

Stoddard said he was concerned about the influence of money in politics. He was one of a few new candidates interviewed by Civil Beat who said they are declining donations and paying their own way.

But Tina Wildberger, a progressive socialist Democrat who’s running to represent the state House seat district that covers Kihei to Wailea-Makena, has a different philosophy about campaign finance.

“I feel like if the people that know about me, care about me, and the people in my community don’t want to support my campaign, I don’t have any business being in that office,” she said.

Wildberger, who advocated for environmental issues and managed Kelly King’s successful campaign for a Maui County Council post, said her run was partly inspired by the #MeToo movement, the Parkland, Florida, school shootings and women’s marches.

In a way, Wildberger got in the race by accident. She had approached Rep. Kaniela Ing, a congressional candidate who will soon vacate the district Wildberger is running to represent, to pick his brain. Wildberger was still weighing a run when she got a call from a reporter who said Ing had endorsed her.

“If we were not experiencing the systematic dismantling of our democratic and environmental protections and protections against women … I don’t know that I would’ve been motivated this much to run,” she said.

Fresh Faces

Some other first-time candidates got into their races without any political experience.

Kelly Kitashima, a candidate running to represent Honolulu City Council District 8 that spans Aiea, Pearl City and Waipahu, became politically engaged when she was promoted to higher management at the hotel where she worked. She opposed efforts to increase taxes on the state’s tourism industry and began submitting testimony to officials.

Kitashima said she found a council run appealing because the office handles topics such as rail, infrastructure and property taxes — issues that affect people’s everyday lives.

Kitashima, whose kids play sports, was frustrated with the state of local fields.

“I am a mom, and I know it sounds so repetitive, but I’m just deathly afraid that my kids won’t be able to live here,” Kitashima said. “It kind of felt like I had to roll up my sleeves and step up.”

Kitashima, a self-described “local girl,” said she started tuning into politics when Donald Trump became president.

“I definitely would say I became a little bit more vigilant that year,” she said, adding there was “more media coverage around politics that you couldn’t ignore.”

Kayes, the candidate for Kahului’s House seat, is also new to politics. He said Hawaii’s political atmosphere is an echo chamber for Democrats. The pro-life physician was vehemently opposed to the medical aid in dying law passed by the Legislature last session.

“I felt like our state was better than this, and I was shocked and I pulled papers within a week of that happening,” he said.

Donald Trump’s ‘Silver Lining’

Many new candidates disagree with President Trump’s politics, but said it’s a good thing that more people who aren’t career politicians have started running for office.

“The silver lining of this administration is that he made (running for office) so accessible to the everyday person that we realized we don’t have to have a Harvard law degree to run for office, we need community members,” said Natalia Hussey-Burdick, a Democratic candidate for a House seat in the Kaneohe area.

Hussey-Burdick has quite a bit of political experience for a first-timer — the 28-year-old has served as a community advocate and legislative clerk and held positions in the Democratic Party.

Natalia Hussey-Burdick says she sees another side to politics as a legislative clerk.

A self-described “political nerd,” said she had always felt she was too opinionated and unpolished to run for office.

She changed her mind after attending the Kuleana Academy bootcamp hosted by the nonprofit Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action. It’s free for prospective candidates or their staff members, but attendees who end up running are expected to fundraise and donate $1,000 to HAPA.

State Sens. Laura Thielen, Russell Ruderman and Donna Mercado Kim and Reps. Gene Ward, Andria Tupola, Nicole Lowen and Matt LoPresti spoke at the program Hussey-Burdick attended.

Democratic Party executive director Laura Nevitt told the participants that “women will give themselves 100 reasons why they shouldn’t” run for office. That resonated with Hussey-Burdick.

Choon James, a longtime testifier at the Honolulu City Council and now a candidate to represent District 2 on the North Shore, decided to run because she wasn’t happy with the way the field of candidates was shaping up to replace term-limited Councilman Ernie Martin.  Being involved in civil and public affairs for over 3 decades and testifying at the City Council for the past ten years have taught me me a few things about Honolulu Hale! In fact, the only two city council candidates this election year who have been steadfastly participating at Honolulu Hale are Natalie Iwasa CPA, CFE and I.

It also helped that her kids moved out of the house.  I’m an empty nester. My children are grown and are leading success and happy lives of their own. This allows me the opportunity to be more involved unlike my other friends with children or who have to take care of their parents and so forth.

James has been involved in environmental issues and the North Shore’s push to “Keep the Country Country.” I’ve also been a successful and experienced small businesswoman for 30 years. I’ve been involved in protecting private property right, social, economic and environment justice issues. She supports term limits for elected offices and caps on homeowners’ property taxes if they’ve lived on the property for 15 years.  Our residents have severe concerns of being priced out of house and home. They want to live in their homes in their golden years and they want to pass on the home to their children. California enacted Proposition 13 in 1978. What are we waiting for? I will also work with the other 8 city council members to provide incentives for those who rent long term to local residents. We should also focus on increasing the rental inventory, instead of luxury condos to mitigate our housing problems.

She’s not looking to run again if she loses. I’m offering my candidacy as a Citizen Candidate. I do not accept donations from lobbyists or Corporations. I’m paying my way. I’m not running to protect my job. No one is making me run to become a status quo at the City Council. I’m running because I offer an independent voice for ordinary people. The residents’ happiness, welfare, and prosperity come first. I will put residents FIRST!

“I can say as a citizen candidate I honestly have no fear and I have no favor,” she said. “I’m getting old and I’m getting impatient.” Yes, after decades of being an activist and an advocate in land use, economic, social and environment issues, I have seen first hand the workings of Honolulu Hale. I see  how status quo and the oligarchy continue to make life more miserable for our residents, not better. I’ve seen our residents having to work 2-3 jobs to sustain themselves. I’ve seen how the public treasury has been plundered and causing the costs of living to increase. If you are happy with the direction Honolulu is heading and happy with the escalating costs of living, then I’m NOT your candidate.

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