Our sense of security in our community has changed dramatically, following an alarming rise in neighborhood crime. I will support and fund our first responders: police, firefighters and ocean safety officers, so they can do their jobs to protect us all.
Rick’s Agenda for Honolulu’s Future
Help our economy recover in the aftermath of COVID-19.
Address the continuing challenge of homelessness in Honolulu.
Reduce inefficiencies in city government.
Fast-track housing that local residents can afford.
Be open and honest about City and County operations.
Choose the smartest options for rail, for today and for the future.
Support First Responders and ensure neighborhood safety.
To not raise property taxes for local families.
To look out for the needs of everyday people vs. the desires of big business.
Be transparent about where I stand on community issues.
To make the tough decisions when needed.
Neighborhood safety and First Responders.
Fast-tracking housing projects locals can afford.
We need responsible development, but our old approach to creating affordable housing is not working. I will streamline the planning and permitting process to save time and money for builders, and get construction underwayfaster.
Get real on rail.
I believe in the goals of rail transit, but we need a total reality check on the actual costs to complete the full route. This is not the time for wishful thinking or empty promises, and I will not raise property taxes for the sake of the project. HART must be 100% accountable and stop wasting money.
Stronger action to help the homeless.
This includes a “tough love” approach to street enforcement, but also means we need to build treatment and housing facilities for the drug addicted and mentally ill, who truly can’t take care of themselves. And we need more community partnerships to aid and house families. No one should ever be penalized for being poor.
Rebuilding Honolulu’s economy after COVID-19.
This will be my single highest priority as Mayor. I bring a lifetime of successful experience working turnaround challenges, and rebuilding failing businesses. We need clear, decisive leadership to restore confidence and get more and more people back to work.
The FAQs on the Issues.
Why do you want to be Mayor of Honolulu?
“I decided to run for Mayor because I firmly believe Honolulu is now – even before COVID-19 – facing unprecedented challenges that will define the character and quality of life for our residents for generations to come. I believe we need a strong, decisive and experienced executive leader who can bring the best and brightest local minds to our team if we are going to have any chance at solving these problems.
Many of my formative leadership experiences were earned as a UH football player and coach. As a coach I learned how to inspire teamwork, empower my players, and ultimately bring out the highest performance from every person, all in service to our larger team goals.
My subsequent 43 years in the broadcast industry afforded me great leadership experiences involving such teams, in highly complex organizations, through extremely tough situations in a wide variety of geographic and economic climates. My position at Hawaii News Now provided me a unique vantage point to see the difficult challenges facing our community on a daily basis, the very real needs of our local people, and the mounting concerns and pressures of working individuals and their families.
If elected, I am ready to bring my lifetime of leadership experience – as well as my deep love and gratitude for my home – to serve you as your Mayor.”
What are your top priorities for the City & County of Honolulu?
“Of course, right now COVID-19 and its impacts are the greatest threat to Honolulu and the greatest priority for everyone. First, we need to do everything we can for public health and safety. This includes the Stay-At-Home/Work-From-Home directives now in effect. The short-term sacrifices of a lockdown that people are making today will pay off for us in a huge way in the near- and long-term future. Then, we will have to take on the daunting task of economic recovery that will follow. This is going to take months, and even years, and will require decisive leadership from your next Mayor.
Homelessness is another critical priority, and while our per-capita homeless population is high, the actual number of homeless is addressable if we focus on long-term strategies and solutions. The so-called “compassionate disruption” approach only moves the problem in circles to other neighborhoods and parks and then back again.
We must create more affordable housing in all price ranges. I believe everyone deserves to have a decent roof over their heads, so it is imperative we find a workable answer as we allow developers to build. We need development, but the current formula for requiring developers to build affordable housing is not working. I strongly believe government must step in and help. As Mayor, I will work with the State, other county leaders and the private sector to address and help solve these issues. We must also work to streamline the permitting process, saving time and expenses for builders and getting new construction underway faster.
Public safety should always be paramount for any Mayor. But recently, our sense of feeling safe in our community has changed dramatically, both as a result of COVID-19’s impact and, prior to that, an alarming rise in neighborhood crime. We need to support and fund our police and firefighters so they can do their jobs to protect us all. As Mayor, I will wholeheartedly support our first responders.
Finally, we must improve and modernize city management at every level. We should be adapting best practices from business to make government work as effectively as in the private sector. We have great people working for the City and County; how can we help them perform their jobs better and more efficiently?”
Where do you stand on rail?
“Rail is being built to improve mobility in Oahu’s heavily-trafficked east-west corridor…a laudable goal that I support. The project, though, is in great duress, and as a Mayoral candidate, I don’t have access to the internal documentation needed for the kind of honest and frank dialogue about rail I would prefer. Most critically, we don’t know what the true cost of rail will be, especially for the last 4.2 miles through the heart of the city.
If it’s going to cost $2 billion more than HART and the City are currently saying – and frankly I think it probably will – then let’s get the real number on the table, and figure out what to do about it. But I can tell you: there are no easy answers or quick fixes.
As your Mayor, I will assess all the hard facts about rail, then move forward with full transparency. I am not interested in pointing fingers, but I firmly believe everyone must be accountable.”
What do we need to do to streamline City operations?
“That’s a big question, but I think one thing we have to fix first is building permits. The months and years process it takes to get a building permit on O‘ahu isn’t just aggravating; it creates an enormous drain on our economy. Every day a permit is stuck in the bureaucracy is a day’s work lost for a construction worker, a day a company has to postpone opening or expanding their business and hiring new people, a day wasted in renovating or building new housing. Take that times the thousands of permits pending, and it’s a huge economic drag. These permitting problems don’t exist in every city, so I know it’s something we can fix if we have the will do to it. And I do.”
Do you support paid sick & family leave for all workers?
“Absolutely. Treating illness in a punitive manner by withholding wages is unacceptable! Those without paid sick leave benefits are disincentivized from staying home and properly taking care of their health. Very often it is these workers especially who are the least able to afford missing even part of their paycheck, because they urgently need this income to pay for their basic living expenses.
Now, during the COVID-19 crisis, this is even more important, and it’s critical that the federal government assist employers to provide financial incentives and support to do so.”
Do you support the equal treatment of our LGBTQ community members in the workplace and society?
“LGBTQ rights are human rights and all people deserve to be treated fairly and equitably. To deny these rights in the workplace or the community at large is fundamentally at odds with the law, our local values, and the U.S. Constitution. My administration will have a zero-tolerance policy of discrimination or exclusion based on people’s gender or sexual orientation.”
How will you address climate change and its impact on Hawai‘i?
“The very real threat and manifestation of the weather events we are now experiencing are tied directly to climate change, and must be treated as one of the most urgent issues our state faces. With eroding coastlines due to sea-level rise and disrupted weather patterns, the Hawai‘i that we know and love must be protected. Furthermore our tourism-based economy is at great risk if we do not take immediate and concerted action.
I believe we need a “whole-of-government” approach, ensuring that all city departments, agencies, and employees are aligned in our common goal of reducing emissions, encouraging sustainable lifestyles and working together with our business community to transition to greener practices. I will work with scientists, environmental experts, and state and federal officials to make Honolulu the green city that it must become today, tomorrow and for future generations.”
Are you a Democrat or a Republican?
“I’m an independent. Always have been. I am liberal in some areas and conservative in others, and I don’t believe either party can lay claim to all of the best ideas in every area. That’s why I like the fact that City & County offices are non-partisan, because we need the best solutions no matter where they come from. And if you elect me, I’ll be appointing the smartest, hardest-working people we can find for every job, regardless of their political affiliation.”
You’ve never held political office before. How do you know you can do the job?
“The mayor is the CEO of the city. The job is to lead and to manage – people, money, resources. I’ve spent a career doing exactly that, in companies both here in Hawai‘i and larger companies on the mainland. You identify problems – because there are always problems – you prioritize them, and you go straight at the most important ones and find solutions to improve or fix things. And from the very beginning I learned it takes a team, not just one guy making speeches. It’s coaching, bringing together the best people, and making them work as a team. It’s the only way you ever get anything done.”