Kauai County Candidate Questionnaire for 2010
Name: JoAnn A. Yukimura
Current job: Pro Bono Pubic Service
Residence, how long you’ve lived in the district: All my life, except for 7 years at college and law school.
Background that qualifies you for the position:
Kaua`i has been my family’s home for 4 generations. It is one of the most beautiful and caring communities in the world. Maintaining the essence of our land, lifestyle and aloha (i.e., Keeping Kaua`i Kaua`i) while planning ahead and making the changes necessary to ensure a prosperous, beautiful, healthy and sustainable island community (e.g. establishing the Kaua`i Bus) has been my passion and commitment.
After earning a Psychology degree from Stanford and a law degree from the University of Washington, I came home to work for the Legal Aid Society. My desire to make larger, community-wide change drew me into politics shortly thereafter. Working as a councilmember (14 years), Mayor (6 years), private citizen (7 years) and businessperson (Vice President, Trenchless Engineering, 6 years), has given me valuable experience and practical know-how. Working with the community and other officials, I want to use these assets, along with my vision and commitment, to effectively address the complex problems and opportunities facing Kauai today.
My track record shows that I do what I say. From the Sunshine Market to the Kapa`a sewers to the Film Commission to 1400 affordable homes at Kalepa Village, Ele`ele Nani, Halelani Village, Kilauea and elsewhere. I have kept my campaign promises. See my website at www.JoAnnYukimura.com.
Today we face many challenges. Drawing upon the generosity and aloha of our community and the gifts that each of us has, we can meet those challenges and create opportunities for our children and ourselves. It will take leadership, working together,
good planning and wise action. With support from my community, it would be an honor to serve as a Kaua`i County Council member.
What else have you run for? Have you been in public office before and if so, what position?
Office of Mayor. I’ve served on the Kaua`i County Council for 14 years intermittently and as Mayor for 6 years.
What are the biggest issue in your district and your proposed solutions?
As elsewhere, creating jobs and a strong, diversified and resilient economy is our biggest challenge today. Kaua`i has been blessed with a talented visitor industry community; the Pacific Missile Range Facility; a reputation as a viable film making venue; a marvelous group of dynamic and creative entrepreneurs and business people, some of whom are producing high quality Kaua`i products; a community that lives aloha; and a segment of wealthy part-time residents, some of whom are investing in the island in respectful ways. This has allowed us to “weather the storm” better than many other places.
To stave off a deeper recession and move toward a sustainable prosperity we need to effectively solve key problems facing us. The irony and the serendipity of this is that by taking effective action to solve the following problems, we will make our community more business-friendly, create many jobs and lay the foundation for sustainable prosperity: Expand public transportation. Provide permanently affordable housing. Move toward energy and food sustainability. Create a “Zero Waste” solid waste system where waste is not waste but a resource that creates many jobs and economic activity. Do quality land use planning that protects Kaua`i’s beauty and resources. Create a drug-free community. Achieve the highest standards of government performance and service. Establish public schools of excellence.
What is your position on county taxes and fees? Are they high enough or should they continue to increase?
Generally speaking, taxes are high enough. Until we can eliminate waste, excess and well intentioned but ill-conceived programs that fail to achieve their goals, we should be loathed to raise taxes or fees.
In some cases, however, we have failed to exercise our trust responsibilities over public infrastructure and have not provided an income stream sufficient for preventive maintenance. For example, Kaua`i County’s Highway Fund is not sufficient to provide for preventive maintenance of county roads. Most roads need to be re-paved at least every 10-15 years, but this is not happening. If we do not increase the gasoline tax or find some other source of revenue for timely re-paving, we will pay even bigger costs in the form of repair costs to our vehicles and time and money lost in traveling over bad roads or in the ultimate bill for reconstructing our roads.
In some cases the fees need to be re-structured rather than raised. For example, the county’s solid waste system is presently funded by real property taxes in a manner that encourages waste and gives little incentive to reduce, re-use or recycle. My neighbor could put out five trash containers a week to my one, and we would be paying approximately the same amount of taxes for this differential service. If we were to go to a “pay as you throw” user fee system so that my neighbor would pay four times more than me for using the solid waste system four times more than me, and the county provided curbside recycling for free, recycling would increase and more and more trash will be diverted from the landfill, extending the life of the landfill and thus reducing costs over time. We would also be creating more jobs and economic activity.
In some cases, fees or taxes need to be raised.
Would you sign a pledge not to raise taxes in the future by introducing legislation or supporting legislation that raises taxes?
No. In light of what I have said above, it would be irresponsible for me to tie myself to “a one-size-fits-all” position. However, I can say that I will give high priority to cutting waste and excess in government.
Please share the most interesting thing about yourself.
I am blessed to live on an island containing Koke`e and Kalalau, two of the most beautiful places on earth, where I can find peace and renewal.
If you could ask any of your competitors one question, what would you ask and to who?
To all council candidates: If you are elected to the Council, whom will you serve?
Endorsements? SHOPO, ILWU
Mail: 2749 Kapena Street, Lihue, HI 96766
Web site address: www.JoAnnYukimura.com
Campaign Slogan or Theme (optional) JoAnn Yukimura for Council—Vision, Experience, Commitment