• Scott Mijares
• Kaipo Asing
Editor’s note: The following seven questions were posed to the 22 candidates for Kauai County Council. Two candidates a day will have their answers reprinted in their entirety until all candidates’ answers have appeared.
1) Define what future development on Kaua‘i means to you. Please use specifics.
2) What is your vision of the island in 10 years?
3) What specific credentials do you have for being a County Council member? Why are you the best for our county? Again, let’s get specific. What positions of power have you held in the past? What connections do you
have that will benefit the county?
4) How will you work with the other six members of the County Council if elected? Would like some specific tactics and strategies you would use to act on the county’s behalf within the larger group.
5) What is your history? Born and raised here? Mainlander? Family? Residence? Career? Education?
6) What does open government mean to you?
7) What is the single, most important issue to you?
1) Future development needs to find a balance between a stable economy and a plan to sustain our resources. We must be careful not to allow our economy to be influenced by large corporate interests. A diverse economy that consists of smaller businesses that have a vested interest in our communities will serve this county the best. This will ensure social accountability, a term that is foreign to most large corporations.
Specifically, I would like to see us exporting our produce to O‘ahu. We also need to develop a sustainable energy plan. I would like to see us take advantage of our isolation and develop a Queen bee rearing business. It is being done on the Big Island and is more lucrative than producing honey.
I would like commercial kitchens scattered around the island. The spaces could be leased out to small business people who would sign up for time blocks to operate 24 hours per day. These are just a couple of examples. There are many more, but the theme is local ownership and diverse base.
In order to accomplish this we will need to find local investors, streamline the permitting process and help people develop viable business models.
2) Kaua‘i has the opportunity to be a model for all the world when it comes to sustainable living. I would like to see our island growing more of our own food and producing more of our own energy. In order to make that vision a reality our government will have to become more proactive in their role in making that dream a reality. I don’t see that right now but I hope to change it.
I see our isolation and our people as our richest asset. We must exercise greater control over these assets as a community, not as a small group of powerful corporations.
If elected, I will study the policies of communities and countries that share the same challenges we do. We can learn so much from their successes and failures. We cannot afford to make the same mistakes others have made and there is no reason to.
3) My first credential is that I am not currently serving as a County Council member. Over the years I have been active in corporate finance. I became a stockbroker for Shearson Lehman Brothers shortly after college and went on to start a consulting business. I have started and managed several businesses. Currently, I own and operate Ocean Motion of Hawaii, LLC, dba Hawaiian Woodys.com. We design and make Vintage Hawaiian Postcards out of wood.
I may not be “the best” for our county. I believe “the best” for our county consists of a group of intelligent leaders who can realize that they may not always have “the best” solutions but are open to listen to others, compromise and act with the needs of our community at heart.
My business experience in corporate finance, strategic planning, and fiscal discipline will be an asset to the council. My openness and willingness to be out in the community should also add value.
I have not held any significant positions of power. As a father I have been able to influence the character of my children. My promise to them is that I wanted to do all I could to ensure they become better citizens and mature in a better world than I have enjoyed. So far, Ryan has graduated college and is heading for graduate school. Michael is entering his junior year at San Diego State University and Maile is learning hula. We are still working on the world.
The only connections I have are with this place we call home. I feel it when I am in the water surfing or in the mountains. I feel it when I have the chance to learn about our rich culture from those who are willing to share with me.
4) I will work with the members of the council the same way I work with anyone else; with compassion and respect. I will be strong for them when they feel weak and I will look to them for the same.
I haven’t even thought of any specific tactics or strategies with regard to working with other councilmembers or the Mayors Office. When we determine who the players are we will have to come together and see where are the strengths and weaknesses. At the moment I am focusing on getting through the primary election.
5) I was born on Rahway, N.J. in 1960. My descent is 25 percent Spanish, 25 percent Irish and 50 percent Peruvian Indian. My family was in the circus business. Grandpa was a wirewalker, grandma a trapeze artist and dad was an acrobat. I was a clown a couple of times. I grew up in Hollywood, Fla., and attended college in Tampa at the University of South Florida where I received a degree in business.
Moved to Kaua‘i from Bradenton Beach, Fla., in 1999. My wife of 24 years is Juli. Together we have 3 children: Ryan, Michael and Maile. Maile was born at Wilcox in 2000.
6) Open means open. That is not a complicated concept to me. There are times when certain functions of governing must be kept confidential but this is very limited. Some of our leaders use “confidentiality” to cover up their bad judgment or hidden motives. This must stop if we are to restore the confidence of our community.
7) I do not have a single most important issue. If elected, I will go in without an agenda and be there to work with other members of the council to solve the many problems we all know exist.
1) Future development on Kaua‘i comes with the realization that there has to be some growth to allow our families to continue to live and work here. The real question is: What kind of growth should we encourage to meet the needs of our community?
For example, over the current term of the County Council, we focused much time and effort on providing for the elopment of affordable housing. To this end, the County’s first workforce housing ordinance was passed in November of 2007 to establish clear guidelines on how to achieve this type of development.
Future development will mean making certain that we can support what is already here with adequate levels of infrastructure n this means improving, expanding, and maintaining our parks system, County roadways, solid waste and recycling facilities, and other County services to meet the needs of both current and future residents of the island. But the cost of these improvements must be balanced against the County’s long-term ability to build and maintain them.
It also means thinking long-term by making today’s development more efficient and healthier so we can have a better future.
2) With the county’s next General Plan update due to start soon, I believe that much of the island’s vision for the next 10 years will be shaped through the process of this Update. As with the previous General Plan update, I anticipate that a “citizens advisory committee” representing a variety of community interest groups will be appointed to help guide the Update process, as well as providing for a substantial public participation process to reach as many community members as possible to gather ideas on what the island should look like in 10 years. The challenge will come in being able to find what is common in all these ideas to shape the vision for our future.
I strongly believe the next 10 years will also be shaped by decisions that focus on long term results, and by evaluating how the decisions we make today will affect the future.
3) Having served on the Kaua‘i County Council for 24 years, including the last 6 years as Council Chair, I believe I have the experience necessary to address the many complex issues facing the County. During that time, I had the privilege to serve as a Councilmember, Council Chair, and mostly recently as Mayor.
More importantly, I understand and accept the difficulties that come with the responsibility of public service.
Most people don’t realize the amount of time and energy that Councilmembers have to devote to the job of serving our community. Doing a good job means more than just attending Council meetings once a week. You have to be willing and able to hear what people are saying. You’ll find that the hardest part of this job is not just sitting at the table and listening to testimony, but hearing and understanding what people are trying to tell you almost every day about how different issues will affect their lives.
I think the most important connections I have that benefit the County are to the many different segments of our community. Having lived and worked on Kaua‘i for most of my life, I feel a deep connection with all residents of our island along with great responsibility to make this island a better place for all.
4) Having had the opportunity to serve as both a Councilmember and Council Chair, I truly understand that working within a legislative body sometimes means sacrificing your own individual goals to move things forward.
As a Councilmember, you are expected to speak up, take a stand, say what you mean, and explain to both your fellow Councilmembers and the public why you voted a certain way. You need to do your homework to provide others with solid reasons to understand your position so that decisions are made with the best information possible.
Further, the unique experience I have had serving as Mayor these past months has also given me a much better appreciation of the importance of having a good working relationship between the Council and the Mayor’s administration.
5) I was born and raised on Kaua‘i, am married, and have three sons, two daughters and six grandchildren. My family and I have also previously lived and worked in Honolulu for 15 years before returning home to Kaua‘i.
During that time, I was employed and eventually retired from the former Hawaiian Telephone Company with 40 years of full-time service. After Hurricane ‘Iniki devastated our island in 1992, I was asked to return to work to assist with the restoration of telecommunication facilities to our island, eventually managing approximately 100 employees in the restoration efforts.
6) “Open government” means that all people have the right to provide input to the County Council as well as to all County boards and commissions on all matters that come before them in their meetings. It also means complying with the State Sunshine Law, which I have abided by and will continue to abide by.
7) The single most important issue is maintaining the quality of life on Kaua‘i. Our biggest challenge will be to provide our community with reasonable services, a safe place to live, work, and raise our families, and to still be able to enjoy the rural lifestyle of our island. To do this, we must always seek to balance any future development with its effect on our quality of life.