Mayoral Candidate and incumbent Councilmember, Kym Pine, surpasses all other candidates in campaign fundraising dollars and financial stability.
HONOLULU Drowning is a leading cause of death in the State of Hawaii and the Honolulu City Council together with the Mayor have acted to reduce the number of lives lost in Oahu waters.
City and County lifeguards have wanted to extend their hours of service at Oahu beach parks for decades, because as first-responders helping people and saving lives is not just what they do, it is who they are, said Councilmember Kym Pine. The Hanauma Bay pilot project proved that the shorter work-weeks provided by extended, dawn-to-dusk hours, will save the City money in workers compensation claims and sick leave and boost lifeguard morale.
Nearly 20 percent of ocean emergencies happen outside the lifeguards standard, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. workday.
“The more lifeguards we have on duty from dawn until dusk at our beaches, ready to make a rescue or prevent a rescue from being needed, thats going to increase the odds of survival for our visitors and locals”, said Bryan Phillips, a lifeguard for 15 years. “Its just a no-brainer when it comes to public safety, beachgoer safety and also the ability to have an extra day of rest for our lifeguards.”
“To see this finally come true is a treasure, a dream. Whats more valuable than money or anything, is life”, said Brian Keaulana, renowned waterman and former City and County lifeguard. Keaulana continues to help in training new lifeguard recruits in ocean risk management and other ocean rescue techniques. “On a purely voluntary basis, I show up early in the morning at the beach when the waves are giant to safeguard everyone who comes into our ocean.”
Councilmember Pines first attempt to extend lifeguard hours, based on ocean safety officers long-sought push, dates back to 2016. http://www.councilmemberpine.com/lifeguards/
“I am so happy that everyone worked together on this new bill. The measure will save lives and improve our lifeguards quality of life, Pine said. It will also save the City money in lost work-time through sick leave and workers compensation claims.”
In November 2019, the Mayor signed the bill extending lifeguard service hours from dawn to sundown.
New hours expected to begin July 1, 2021. Lifeguards began implementing the extended hours on a voluntary basis immediately, and saved 4 lives the first week of 2020.
Honolulu Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services oversees 200 miles (322 kilometers) of coastline extending up to 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) offshore at more than 70 beach parks.
The city recorded more than 22.5 million visits to beach parks, more than 1 million preventative actions, nearly 105,000 first-aid actions, and more than 2,100 rescues in 2018.
When Kymberly Pine was elected to the City Council in 2012, she allied herself with Mayor Kirk Caldwell and predicted the Council she was joining would be one of the best ever.
Now she’s regularly at odds with the mayor, often fighting the Council majority and calling herself a “rebel mama” as she runs to succeed Caldwell next year.
“Having to vote for things that were wrong,” she said. “Seeing $40 million being spent at Ala Moana for a park that was already perfect, while in my district I’ve been fighting for just one park staffer and I can’t get that. And now we’re going to spend nearly $1 billion on a world-class Blaisdell Center while we’ve got homeless all over the place? We’re charging our future to our children and not spending on things we really need, like police officers and lifeguards.”
Pine, 49, who represented her Leeward district for eight years in the Legislature before joining the Council, said she’s “never seen in my whole life so many people protesting, willing to get arrested, frustrated that nobody is listening to them. I hope to offer a kind of mayor that really understands them and doesn’t hang out at Bishop Street like all the others.”
She denounced recent arrests of those protesting a wind power venture in Kahuku that will include 568-foot-tall turbines installed near homes.
“The more I learn about how that windmill got the approvals, the more upset I am about the many of my constituents who got arrested in Kalaeloa,” she said.
Pine said residents near the windmills persistently raised concerns, but “nobody cared. … Rich people and powerful people got what they wanted, and deals were made behind closed doors and it was done.”
“We have to change everything about how government lately is making these very big decisions that negatively impact people,” she said. “If the community is overwhelmingly against something, then you need to find another way.”
The city also needs another way to battle homelessness, said Pine, who has opposed “sit-lie” laws passed by the Council.
She favors the Kauhale villages concept promoted by Lt. Gov. Josh Green and others, in which clusters of tiny homes housing up to 300 homeless at relatively low cost would be built in communities around Oahu.
“We spend millions of dollars cleaning up people’s garbage and just moving them to the next street when we could have been using that money for drug treatment and to build rapid affordable housing that costs less than $10,000 a unit,” she said.
Pine defends her staunch support of the troubled $9.2 billion rail project, a priority in her Leeward district, but advocates greater scrutiny of rail spending, saying, “Just because you’re for something, you don’t look away.”
Kym Pine officially announces her run to become the Mayor of the City and County of Honolulu in 2020