Lawa’i resident and small businessman John Hoff says he has the background and experience to help make a change on Kaua’i.
Hoff, who ran unsuccessfully for the State house in 1998 and 2000, filed nomination papers in June for his first bid for a Kaua’i County Council seat.
Hoff, who is 62, calls himself a family-focused, small-business candidate. He and his wife Lorna have been married for 35 years. They have lived on Kaua’i for 36 years. Hoff is the father of four and the grandfather of four.
His six main issues and concerns for Kaua’i include economy, education, effluent solid waste, emergency services, energy and environment.
Creating jobs on the island with local contractors and workers is key to supporting our economy, Hoff said. Hoff has worked as a general contractor on Kaua’i since 1966 and has experience scouting out jobs and building homes and other buildings on the island.
Hoff said that the demolition of the Waiohai could have been completed with workers based on Kaua’i instead of hiring from off-island. New projects with Kaua’i contractors could bring more money to Kaua’i people, he says.
Hoff said he’d like to see agriculture become more diversified, pointing to industrial hemp as a crop that could produce profits and precious jobs for Kaua’i farmers. Clothing, rope, oil and paper are just a few products that can be produced from hemp, an incredibly versatile plant, he said.
However, one of the problems in diversifying and expanding agriculture on Kaua’i is that most young people don’t want to get into farming, he said.
As a K-12 substitute teacher for about three years, Hoff said he asks the students what types of careers they are interested in, and the list doesn’t usually include farming. Bringing high-tech jobs to Kaua’i won’t work either, “until our children can read and write and communicate properly,” he said.
Children need to learn the three Rs at home: Reverence for life, respect for people and responsibility. That way, teachers won’t be used as baby-sitters. “The teachers are fighting a battle I could not believe,” Hoff said.
Teachers often don’t have the supplies or support they need. Parents who teach reverence, respect and responsibility at home will work in the youngest grades, before children are conditioned to rebel.
One idea he says would work is to put a parent in the classroom, especially above grade 4.
“We cannot ignore them just because we let them down already. Their futures have already been stunted,” he explained. A parent of each student could sit in their child’s classroom for one day a month, depending on the size of the class.”
Hoff says the County needs to really start looking for a new site to place a new landfill. In 1992, the Kekaha landfill was set to have a five-year life span. Even with expansions, we are still eight or nine years behind – it is now 2002 and we’re still flying around in helicopters looking for a site, he said.
Hoff said he also supports a recycling project that would incinerate waste, storing steam energy for electricity; ash from the remnants could be turned into construction materials like hollow block tile.
Hoff said that his eight years of service in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve at San Francisco Bay gave him experience in emergency services.
Hoff was elected president of the Kaua’i chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons for two terms (he resigned because he’s running for office).
In 2001, Hoff founded the non-profit “A Grip on Life” program for senior citizens; volunteers install “grab bars” and do small home repairs with materials that are purchased by the residents. “A Grip on Life” is sponsored by the Kaua’i Senior Centers, Inc. and the County’s Agency on Elderly Affairs.
Hoff said that if elected, his first goals include finding a site for and beginning construction on a new landfill, using local workers; and keeping property taxes based on use and valuation and not whether “ultra-rich developers and investors” live next door.
“My background fits Kaua’i’s problems and issues. I’ve got experience and an appetite for success,” Hoff said.
Staff Writer Kendyce Manguchei can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 245-3681 (ext. 252).