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Mayor’s race: Q&A with Mayor Carlisle

    By Dane Stein. March 21, 2012 - 1:44 pm

Leading up to the primary elections in August, Kalamalama presents the second in a series of interviews hoping to present balanced and candid summaries of key issues from three Honolulu mayoral candidates. 

So far, we have heard from Rick Caldwell, who we met for coffee in a downtown café to discuss what he thinks his impact on the City and County of Honolulu would be.  The office of the Mayor Peter Carlisle, gave email answers to our questions, which covered the same issues as Caldwell’s.

Here’s what they said about issues such as issues such as rail, development, homelessness, Hawaii’s food dependence, and Honolulu’s aging wastewater and sewer system.

How would your election as mayor affect rail advancing?

In a positive way, we expect the Federal Transportation Administration to execute a full funding agreement by no later than October.

If the rail ended up not being blocked, what do you think should be done with the near $800 million in excise tax revenue that has already been raised?

The GET .05% that is collected is dedicated expressly for rail.

Would the development of West Kapolei and other areas projected for development in planning for the rail affect Honolulu’s shortage or affordable housing or the city’s homeless?

It would have a positive impact on housing and by extension homelessness.  The West Kapolei projects would include affordable housing requirements that could directly address our community’s need for affordable housing.  The additional inventory to be added by these projects will also help to address the overall demand for housing in our community.

For many families, the Kapolei housing market represent a first step into the housing market or a move-up market for families who already own a condominium and need a larger home for their growing families.

As these families vacate their rental unit or condominium unit to move to their new homes, it creates a vacancy in the housing market for another household, including lower income households who would otherwise be precariously housed and at-risk of homelessness.

What is your plan for improving wastewater collection systems and lessening the city’s environmental impact?

The City is more than half way through a $ 3.5 billion 20-year collection system refurbishment, which will conclude in 2019.  As part of the 2010 Global Consent Decree the city is tasked with upgrading its two largest wastewater treatment plants to full secondary treatment.  Honouliuli WWTP, which processes half its flow to secondary treatment, has a 2024 deadline.  Sand Island WWTP, tabbed an advanced primary plant is scheduled for 2035 to full secondary treatment.  Upgrading these two Wets will cost $1.2billion

Would you do anything to help Honolulu and Hawaii become more “food independent” and import less food?

The City is using our Clean Water and Natural Lands Fund to support placing a permanent easement on over 1,200 acres of high quality farmland in Kunia to ensure it remains in agriculture permanently.  These private, fallow lands will be purchased with the help of City funds to create a new agricultural park managed by the State Agribusiness Development Corporation.

Our Department of Planning and Permitting is initiating the mapping of Important Agricultural Lands.  We will be identifying the best quality farmland and bringing these maps to the City Council for adoption, and then to the State Land Use Commission for final designation as “Important Agricultural Lands.

The goal is to designate the areas for long-term agricultural commercial operations, so farms can invest in increasing production and developing new crops.

Our Department of Design and Construction is upgrading the Wahiawa Wastewater Treatment Plant, which will make the waters in the Wahiawa Irrigation System eligible for use on food crops.  This will open the possibility for greatly increased food production for our many North Shore farmers.

What do you think of D.R. Horton’s request to develop over 1500 acres of producing farmland in Ewa? 

The state, county, and businesses have all relied upon long-term plans to develop these areas.  Vast sums have been invested in infrastructure to support the bulk of Oahu’s population growth in this region.

The farm businesses themselves have known of the plans, and benefited from reduced rents due to the “temporary” nature of these agreements, which is why they have testified in support of the development.

I am pleased that all the farm tenants have found alternate sites for their operations, and that the developer and farmer have reached agreement to retain the farm processing facility.

Our farmers need a designated long-term home to be economically viable, to improve Oahu’s food security and strengthen our diversified economy.  That is why we are moving forward with mapping the Important Agricultural Lands.  That is also one of the reasons why I support a fixed rail system, to ensure Oahu’s future sticks to a concentrated urban growth area, and leaves our country country.

What would you do to improve education from the city level as mayor? 

Education is of Hawaii’s Keiki is the responsibility of the Department of Education; it is not one of the core functions of the City.

staff writer