Bio: Resided in Asia (1955~89) - cultural journalist for Austral-Asia (1964~92); art critic (1964~89); art gallery owner (1960~3, 1970~89); weekly cable TV show (1985+86); weekly NHK overseas radio programme (1984); author (1985~); lecturer on Japanese culture (1985~); University professor (1986+7)
*Resident of BIG Is. (1990~) - sheep rancher (1992~2005); fine art gallery (1996~2006); DOE HS teacher of Japanese (1999~2001); DOE 4th Gr. (2001-2);
Currently a Board member on four non-profits; writer (working daily) & cropping former pastures w/edible bamboo, ginger, turmeric + sweet potatoes.
Why do you think you are the right candidate for mayor of Hawaiʻi County?
Fresh perspective (MOTTO: Thinking outside the box!); unaligned with special interest groups; serious about finding solutions to problems left to fester for decades (i.e; trash); building bridges is an important part of leadership and I'm truly willing to be part of that process despite the history or topic; am going to bring the right people into our county government to head all departments.
Please tell us about your biggest personal or professional accomplishments in the past five years.
Morphing my former sheep pastures (we used to produce 120~140 spring lambs each year) into crop fields for edible bamboo, ginger, turmeric and sweet potatoes. Began writing a memoire that's nearly finished. Joined the Boards of four non-profits that are collectively making a difference in our county.
What will be your top three priorities in your first 100 days as mayor?
1. I want to be sure EVERY county department is properly headed by a person with the right educational bkgd and/or the right experience.
2. I intend to re-establish a workable trash and recycling programme countywide.
3. I will see that regardless of State government desires we as a county have a working safety net in place re coronavirus 19. If a vaccine becomes available I'll work hard to see that EVERY resident is protected and that EVERY incoming visitor is both tested and likewise vaccinated.
Some say "development" has a negative connotation in Hawaiʻi. Others say it is an important element in our community's future. Where do you stand?
We do not want to be another Oahu nor an island with a lop-sided population like Maui has. Clean energy should not be the only goal for our state but a way our county can create new jobs in manufacturing. New uses for recycled material can be found that are both profitable and practical. If by 'development' the ? focuses high end housing and more resorts, I want that focus to give way to finding livable housing for our county masses. I'd like to see development plans lying fallow be denied the chance to go ahead. When and if headway is made in dealing with our of affordable housing, reconsideration of any former development can b revisited.
As mayor, what would you do to implement the principles of the ʻĀina Aloha Economic Futures Declaration?
I've always felt that the presentation of Hawaiian culture was inadequately done. In my conversations with many elders and as many younger people with Hawaiian lineage it seems to me their representation both in the county administration and in county council deliberations is imperative and without their input no positive movement can be accomplished. I intend to see their collective voice is heard loud and clear.
Which areas of the Aloha+ Challenge will you focus on as mayor, and what plans do you have to help achieve these sustainability goals on Hawaiʻi Island?
The strength of this project/programme has been proven and it's expansion will definitely be part of my administration. Knowing that sustainability Hawaiian-style should be a pertinent focus for future tourism goals. Like a seed planted and nurtured it will find ways to spread roots that will grow trees that will shelter and encourage other projects of similar nature.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the County has gotten involved in addressing food, housing, medical care, and other social welfare needs. How should the County pivot to focus on economic recovery and growth?
Frankly - until it is assured we, as a county, are ALL protected against COVID-19 reoccurences I'm definitely on the side of severe caution. The least paid and the elderly in our county are most at risk and as the Mayor it's my duty to care for and about them but not the bailiwick of business small or large. Whatever controlls their places in economic recovery and/or growth will be discussed and a plan assembled but only put in place as openings occur. Jobs are important but just because a venue is a big employer should have no exra value in decision making as to which sort of companies can move ahead. I was appalled that the current Mayor did not stop the four Big Box stores from normal retailing during the shut-down period. They were all allowed to do business as usual while the small shopowners were closed. Fair is fair and my administration will be ethically fair.
How important is the growth of clean, renewable energy for Hawaiʻi Island? Which technologies should we embrace, and should any be left off the table?
I mentioned this topic previously and reiterate that clean (renewable) energy is of paramount importance to our county. Only the expansion and/or development of geothermal should be strictly controlled without definitive county oversight. The other "clean" energies have several dimensions for expansion and how they can be utilized for new "clean" manufacuring with some using recycled material from our own system.
What factors or considerations will you take in hiring your cabinet, and who are some of the people you are considering or the strategy you will use to build your team?
I will hire (or rehire) those with the right educational and/or in-house experience for each department head. No more BJL's which damage the county in many ways - legal costs and pension payments to name two!
As Mayor, you will make decisions that affect this island and the children who will inherit it for generations to come. What is your commitment to them?
I came Hawaii County in 1990 and have always thought I would end my earthly existence in residence here. I've tried to do my best thru my business and all private intersections with neighbors and the public in general. I will always do so.