This is the fifth of profiles on those running for Kauai County Council. TGI plans to run at least one profile daily. Fourteen candidates are running for seven two-year seats.
Milo Spindt is a well-connected man. He is the chairperson of the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Board, member of the Kauai County Council’s Affordable Housing Special Advisory Council, founder of nonprofit, Housing for All, and is a soccer coach to boot.
Now the Lawai-born, Kalaheo resident, and full-time real estate broker is seeking to put this experience to good use in his bid for a County Council seat.
For Kauai residents heading to the polls, he hopes this familiarity, especially in the housing sector, will prove he is ready to hit the ground running in solving some of the island’s most pressing issues.
“I think my experience and variety of background, and my experience in affordable housing, makes me uniquely ready to enact solutions so we can really make progress right away,” he said. “I don’t have to come in there and spend two years learning. From day one I’ll be able to start working with the relationships I have and take action.”
For the 41-year-old husband of Amy and father of Kai, 11, and Nai’a, 9, the experience of moving back to Kauai began what is now 12 years of work on affordable housing.
Wishing his children to have similar experiences to his upbringing, Spindt seeks solutions that preserve the unique lifestyle of Kauai and supports the General Plan’s guidelines for increasing urban density.
He clarified up front that he does not want to see high-rises. Instead, he pictures housing that gets people close to jobs and promotes access to alternative methods of transportation through transportation-oriented development.
“I like to look at the history of Kauai,” he said. “You have all of these plantation and sugar mill towns that were established for agricultural purposes and our infrastructure isn’t made to transition from an agricultural economy, but now we’re looking to more modern planning to resolve those issues.”
Spindt is a proponent of finding multi-target solutions, of which, infrastructure seems to be one of them. Addressing Kauai’s infrastructure will help with pressing concerns such as housing, traffic, and cesspool conversion, but the process will be quite expensive.
On that subject, he suggests spreading the environmental and financial benefits (and burdens) to the community as a whole and increasing the tax rate on transient vacation rentals by another dollar so it is on par with hotels.
The estimated $4 million windfall will be split between the Planning Department and the Affordable Housing Special Fund. He isn’t necessarily for increasing taxes, but is a strong believer in looking out for the community at large.
“I really like to find solutions to problems that solve multiple issues because there are often synergetic ways,” he said. “When we can solve multiple problems at one time, to me that’s planning, that’s vision, that’s how we can move forward as a society together.”
At the top of Spindt’s agenda is putting together a pipeline of projects for the county to capitalize on funding from the state. He notes that the state doesn’t create projects, it funds them and he would like to see more done.
“I try to combine (issues like housing) with the work I do at the state level, but we need more to happen,” he said.
With a bachelor of science from the University of Oregon, Spindt emphasizes continual learning in his thought process and is always open to new solutions and ideas from the community, believing residents know what will work best for their neighborhoods.
“I hope to be elected, but I know if I’m not we’re going to have some really good conversations,” he said.