VIDEO: Kai Nishiki, Makawao Council, Candidate Profile, Decision 2010 MauiNOW.com
Kai Nishiki, 2010 Makawao Council candidate profile, Transcript:
Introduction: Aloha, I’m Kai Nishiki and I’m running to represent the Haiku, Makawao and Paia district for the Maui County Council. I would like to work with our community to provide more green jobs, educational opportunities and laws that support small and home-based businesses. With the current reduction of real estate prices, I will work to make affordable housing more available. I will work on expanding public water facilities through better resource management and planning, and transition to renewable energy for public facilities like waste water and water treatment plants. I will work on ocean water quality and the
reuse of R1 water instead of injection wells. Lastly, green infrastructure: bikeways, beach parks, athletic parks, and community spaces like gardens, youth and senior centers. While these protect our natural and cultural resources, they also provide low cost recreation for our residents. Taking our kids to hula, baseball, soccer, football, volleyball, canoe paddling, fishing, camping, celebrating graduations and first birthdays. I understand that at the end of a hard day’s work, we want to be able to enjoy time with our families. That’s what makes it all worth it.
Paia Bypass: What’s more important—traffic relief or parking in Paia Town? Is there a way to meet the needs of both motorists and merchants? Answer: I have served for the past few years on the Department of Transportation Paia Relief Route Advisory Committee. Committee consensus supports the need for comprehensive solutions, rather than an either or approach. Parking–there’s ongoing issues as well as preserving the small town feel for Paia. Myself and many others have advocated that the relief route include pedestrian and bikeways to help give the Paia and Kuau residents better access to local businesses and services without having to get into their cars. Additional parking areas should definitely be designated within the area’s country-town growth boundaries, as well as looking at traffic relief. If we don’t address this issue, the quality of life for our residents will suffer and safety issues will get worse. There is just too many people trying to use Hana Highway at the same time. There’s cars, and bikes, and pedestrians, and people watching windsurfing, and surfing contests. And then you add in emergency vehicles, people on wheelchairs and scooters, and we just know that the Paia, Sprekelsville and Kuau area will always attract considerable traffic because our beaches and small towns are just so popular. So we need a way for through traffic to have a more direct route.
Budget: Given the tough economic climate, would you support further cuts to non-profit programs? What are your priorities for continued funding? Answer: I believe we must continue to fund the core services that our families really depend on: public safety, public transportation, social services, parks, municipal utilities, services for our youth and seniors, and environmental health. Any cuts to non-profits would need to be made fairly by evaluating the program effectiveness. Programs that cannot demonstrate effectiveness, would be my first priority for cuts. My background is in business, and I would want to review the budget in a business-like way with a focus on the health and safety of our residents.
Public Safety: There seems to have been a higher incidence in recent news of shootings on Maui. What are your thoughts on ways to improve public safety on Maui? Answer: All of the challenges facing our families, the youth, our children, are often left without support, and the options for entertainment and recreation here in Maui County are somewhat limited. I see great potential in our youth. I understand that they are eager to have places to hang out and have fun, where they are welcome. I think that it would be a great idea to re-purpose old buildings and unused spaces into all-ages entertainment areas that are run by the kids, which gives them a sense of ownership. And of course these would be programs that would implement the use of mentors. I also know that a lot of kids want to participate in sports, and they can’t get a ride to practice or the cost for the club fees or shoes and even uniforms is just cost prohibitive for our families that are really struggling at this time. I believe that we could partner with community agencies and interested companies to assist with a ride-sharing or a bus program, as well as getting sports companies to donate equipment and organize ways to get all of the shoes and uniforms and things that all these kids need and a lot of kids are outgrowing them–we could re-distribute them. There’s already a lot of great organizations that really need our support like the Boys and Girls Club, the Paia Youth and Cultural Center, the Maui Academy of Performing Arts, and all kinds of cultural and youth organizations that are doing a great job in keeping our youth involved in their communities, and they really need our support.
I also believe that we could do more to intervene on substance abuse. I believe that a majority of the violent crimes that are occurring can be traced back to individuals who are under the influence of drugs, alcohol, and their judgement is impaired. I support placing community police officers on the beat of all of our towns, and they can keep situations from escalating into violence and provide a watchful presence. Along that line, we could also be looking at community groups who are just willing to do neighborhood watches and programs like that. I also support finding a way to have a Kahu Program–on site care takers in our larger parks. This would give park users a sense of accountability and sets community standards for respectful, peaceful conduct to be upheld.
Closing thoughts: I would just like to urge everyone to please vote in the primary on September 18th–it’s very valuable–as well as the General Election on November 2nd. I humbly ask for your support, and you can vote for me anywhere you live in Maui County. I will be available to truly listen to your concerns. You can reach me at kainishiki.org or you can always look me up on facebook. I’d be happy to be your friend on facebook. I ask for your support. Your vote will absolutely make a difference. I will work hard for you and I will not let you down.