Kym believes the City must use federal funds received from the CARES Act to support families and struggling local businesses. We must also invest in diversifying our economy. We have a record number of unemployed residents and closed businesses due to the pandemic shutdowns. Now is not the time for talk but action.
Kym believes keeping families in their homes with food on the table is the top priority. Since the crisis started she committed herself to supporting people in need with COVID-19 testing sites, food distribution events, mask giveaways and by offering support to those in need. She held numerous town halls to assist specialized industries like restaurants, hair salons, fitness studios and more to reopen safely to get people back to work.
Kym believes the key to Hawai‘i’s future success is economic diversification and investment in sustainable, clean energy technologies and agricultural systems that can provide food, fuel and jobs for our people. Tourism will always be a part of Hawai‘i’s culture but we need to be a resilient, independent community that can stand on its own.
Reducing Homelessness – Focused on housing & healing
Kym is the only candidate running for Mayor, who actually worked at a homeless shelter. The current policy, which moves the houseless from one side of the street to the other, is ineffective and a waste of taxpayer dollars. The solution to homelessness is housing and accessibility to addiction treatment and mental health care services. In the last city budget cycle, she sought funding for these services. Kym would enact legislation that allows flexibility in the City’s building code and zoning to allow Kauhale Villages or tiny home communities to be built rapidly.
At the City Council, she crafted innovative affordable housing laws, which will build thousands of truly affordable units. The City Council passed her initiative to dedicate $23 million dollars to reducing homelessness on O’ahu. She also dedicated an additional $2 million to helping homeless communities in her own West Oʻahu district.
Kym believes we can’t just throw money at this problem though – we must work with service providers, community leaders and elected officials at every level of government to improve conditions.
Affordable Housing - Homes for our families
With so many residents struggling right now, getting people in homes they can afford is crucial. As Chair of the Zoning and Housing Committee at the Council, Kym revealed that outdated building codes and permit delays prevented affordable units from being built economically and swiftly. As a solution, she helped enact sweeping legislation that changed building and zoning codes. It enables families that own small lots to revitalize properties with truly affordable housing that does not use taxpayer money. Additionally, Kym ensured that every building with more than 10 units must also have housing units that remain affordable for a long period of time.
Providing affordable housing at the lowest income levels is crucial. Kym will push for the use of vacant government lands, especially those located along the new rail route, to be used for affordable housing. Reducing land costs and providing low interest or no interest loans and grants to builders and non-profits will help housing get built without delay.
Kym plans to revamp the entire permitting process by removing backlog, adding more staff and integrating new technology to improve timelines and approvals. For smaller projects, she hopes to reduce the permitting process to just two weeks. She will continue to incentivize the development of truly affordable and work force housing.
Kym has worked on many affordable housing projects providing rents as low as $300 a month for a studio to $940 for a three-bedroom unit. She will expand opportunities like this and ensure that there are real options in communities across the island.
Kym knows that many kama‘aina feel pushed out of their island home by the tourism industry but it is also the main economic driver of our economy. Yet, while visitor numbers increase each year overall visitor spending is lower and lower. Kym brought local economist, Paul Brewbaker, Ph.D, to the City Council to reveal that Hawai’i was receiving far less revenue per tourist than 40 years ago. This means that despite Hawai’i’s record visitor numbers, local residents carry the financial burden of maintaining city services and facilities that visitors enjoy. Councilmember Pine calls on tourism leaders and public officials to prioritize the protection of our natural resources and attract higher spending tourists that contribute more to our economy and to our cultural and environmental preservation.
The current visitor trends overburden our residents, our infrastructure and our natural resources. It has been a mistake for the City to not take an active role in tourism management, especially since O’ahu is impacted the most.
As Mayor, Kym wants the State Department of Economic Development and the City Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency to have a larger role in tourism management. She believes impact fees should be charged to visitors to help pay for the preservation of our natural resources and to maintain our County. All companies that work in the visitor industry should have a tourism management plan to ensure their operations do not negatively impact the environment, our culture or quality of life for residents.
Crime Reduction – Safer, happier communities
As Mayor, Kym will renew our focus on public safety and crime reduction. More importantly, she will demand that every Police Chief be allowed to tell the truth about the operations and conditions of our police force. Police officers who risk their own lives to keep us safe must be given all the resources they need to protect us. We must support our law enforcement but we must also demand accountability from them too. Our police force should reflect the diversity and interests of our residents so the community and the police can work together.
Since 2005, then State Representative Pine, said she believed there were not enough police officers to efficiently serve the people. As a City Councilmember she also fought for more police officers but City officials claimed the police force was sufficient and matched national standards. Honolulu’s newest Police Chief recently confirmed what Councilmember Pine and many residents feel, that the police department is faced with a 30% staffing shortage. Certain types of crime are so bad that even police officers explain that they just don’t have enough officers to investigate and follow up.
This is a matter of priority – we don’t have to accept this as the new normal. There were more than 2,000 crimes involving tourists in 2017, a troubling statistic given our economy’s dependence on the visitor industry. Crimes involving the use of a firearm are up 40% since 2014. The number of assault cases in Honolulu has risen every year since 2014. Kym will ensure that public safety is the core responsibility of government and will explore innovative and efficient policies to help law enforcement keep the peace. Our ‘ohana should feel safe walking their neighborhoods at night, using public transportation and visiting our beaches.
Transparent Government – Leadership with integrity
Kym fought against using taxpayer money for expensive out-of-state lawyers to defend any employee of the rail project, police department, or the prosecutor’s office who may have participated in illegal acts while on City time and she will continue to do so as Mayor.
Nowhere in Hawai’i’s recent history is our lack of transparency and accountability more obvious than the Honolulu High-speed Rail Project. It was the Council’s investigations into rail that led to the federal investigation of the project, which Councilmember Pine believes is necessary to stop corruption. She will continue to demand transparency and accountability from the rail project – the City has a mandate to finish it, now we have to make sure it’s done right.
There must be accountability for the rail project. In the wake of broken promises about the rising cost of the project and amidst an ongoing U.S. Department of Justice investigation into allegations of waste, fraud and abuse, we need transparent oversight and honest leadership. This project is too important to O’ahu’s future and Kym will strengthen coordination with the federal government to ensure fairness and integrity going forward.
As someone who highly respects our law enforcement, Councilmember Pine was extremely disappointed with the corruption that took place within the City’s law enforcement and legal departments. This is unacceptable and reform and accountability is necessary. We cannot set standards for our citizens that City personnel do not also uphold. The City should not be financially responsible for the willful criminal acts of City employees.
Cultural Awareness – Incorporate and restore cultural values
O‘ahu’s rich history and traditions must be preserved and protected while we work together to create opportunities for our children and grandchildren to live happy, healthy, productive lives here at home. The preservation of our culture and way of life should not be an afterthought, but the backbone of how we live our lives. Government should reflect that at every level.
While on the Council, Kym introduced the Keep Hawai‘i Hawai‘i package of legislation. This initiative seeks to educate visitors and locals alike about the importance of preserving and protecting the beauty of our land, ocean, wildlife and our people for generations to come. Kym believes that with mutual respect and awareness we can make a Hawai’i that kama‘aina can enjoy again.
Kym enacted the first legislation that allowed cultural groups to take an active role in protecting and preserving sacred spaces. Kym believes that Hawai’i’s culture, beauty, and Aloha spirit are what attracts people from all over the world. Instead of becoming like other places, she believes we should invest more in what makes us so special.
As Mayor, she will partner with established cultural organizations, the University of Hawai’i, cultural leaders and environmental organizations to highlight the rich diversity of our island and prioritize projects that preserve our way of life.
Environmental Protection – A resilient O‘ahu
The City must prepare our island’s infrastructure to adapt to higher sea levels and a changing climate. This means we need policies that will fortify our infrastructure for heavy rains, coastal erosion, rising sea levels, increased flooding, and more frequent, violent tropical storms and hurricanes. The City must promote renewable energy and energy efficient technologies but must always include public input in the process.
While Hawai‘i was closed to tourism and residents stayed home to prevent the spread of COVID-19 our animal life and environment had time to heal and recover from years of encroachment. This is why Kym believes the next Mayor must preserve time for the environment to heal and for kama’aina to be able to enjoy the island free from crowds.
Our City must also improve our systems for recycling and processing waste and toxic substances. Kym envisions an O’ahu free from dependence on landfills. As Mayor, she will support new technologies that ensure our waste is recycled or used to produce clean energy with zero emissions.
As Zoning and Housing Chairwoman, Kym passed legislation that preserves 45,000 acres of agriculture land on O’ahu. These types of initiatives are crucial to achieve food sustainability. As an island state, we are vulnerable to natural disasters and there is much we can do to better prepare our City. She also believes that O’ahu can also become a top exporter of specialized food and agricultural products. As Mayor, she hopes to attract agricultural experts and innovators to find new ways to grow Hawai’i agriculture.
We are all tired of seeing illegal dumping, derelict vehicles and used tires tossed around our island and in our waterways. We must improve access to refuse locations for proper dumping, implement technologies to reduce waste and increase public awareness about the importance of caring for our ‘aina. We must also prosecute those that illegally dump in our waterways, open spaces and neighborhoods.
Quality of Life - A City that serves
Kym believes our quality of life is directly tied to the place we live. For too long the City was focused on large scale, nice to have projects, instead of providing and improving essential city services.
Kym wants the City to make these services a priority:
Consistent trash pick up and refuse collection services
Improved customer service at all city departments
Better use of technology to improve online services for the public
Faster permitting and processing of building applications
Cleaner beaches and well-maintained parks
Roads that are safe for bikes and pedestrians and free from potholes
Updated infrastructure that increases sewage capacity and water services
Safer streets and neighborhoods
Effective housing and treatment services for the homeless
Well-maintained and improved public facilities
Kym is passionate about improving services for the taxpayers and updating City systems to make living on O‘ahu easier for all.
Cost of Living – Supporting families
People are hurting now, more then ever. Kym grew up in a hardworking family and believes we must support all working families. Kym will spend her first term in office dedicated to bringing people’s everyday expenses down at the City. Small changes today can make big differences in our lives. Kym will work to reduce resident fees and spend less on non-critical projects at the City. Too many of us have two or three jobs and it is still not enough so we watch our family move away. Kym wants her daughter to grow up and stay here so this is important to her.
There is a great disparity between what our workforce earns and the cost of living. Kym will make it a priority to work with government officials and business leaders to find creative ways for us to close this gap in Honolulu.
She is also focused on adding housing units to our market that are truly affordable to our local workforce. Reducing residents’ largest living expense, the cost of housing, will remain Kym’s top priority. We cannot continue to lose our loved ones to lower out of state prices. Our families should be able to stay here and live a comfortable life here, together.