VIDEO: Tasha Kama, Dist 8 House Candidate Profile, Decision 2010 MauiNOW.com
Tasha Kama, 2010 candidate for State House District 8, Transcript:
Introduction: Aloha, my name is Tasha Kama. I’m a Democrat running for the State House of Representatives for District 8 which encompasses the communities of Waikapu, Wailuku, Waiehu, Waihee and Kahakuloa. We must remedy our reliance on imported goods and must think, behave and act sustainably for the betterment of our island state. Hawaiian of old looked to the ocean which served as their refrigerator and the land was their cubbard; and they looked to the mountain streams as their faucet. There needs to be a paradigm shift to be able to meet our future needs especially in times of natural or man-made disasters. We
must take care of that which sustains us, for our whole existence depends on us taking care of that which takes care of us.
Civil Unions: What is your position on civil unions? Should same sex couples be granted the same rights and privileges as legally married couples? Answer: Every day in schools across Hawaii Nei, our children, with their hands on their heart, recite: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God indevisible with liberty and justice for all.” And their education continues with the Declaration of Independence which says: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unailiable rights, among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” These rights–unailiable–are inherent. No one can ever take these away–no one–not even the Creator himself. It is the right of every human being to choose for him or herself. Civil Unions are couples of the same gender and in a relationship with eachother who are asking for the same rights, priveliges and benefits as legally married couples. What is society’s reasoning for not allowing this? On what basis do we withhold their liberties? Where is their justice? Are these couples not equal in status as everyone else? And finally, why are we prohibiting them from pursuing their happiness. The framers of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, after signing off, went on home and continued to be slave owners and traders. Have we not learned anything from our past?
Honoapiilani Hwy: The widening/realignment of the Honoaunailiablepiilani Hwy has been discussed for years, yet only a small portion is currently under construction. How long will it really take and what alternatives do you envision to alleviate infrastructure concerns now? Answer: According to the State Department of Transportation, Highway Modernization Plan, it will take six years and $4.2 billion. The plan will focus on 183 projects in the four counties of which Maui County has 36 projects that will cost $578,940,000–which is just a smidgen over a half-a-billion-dollars. Funding for the plan will be fueled by increases in the fuel tax, state vehicle registration fee, vehicle weight tax, and rental car surcharges. This increased revenue stream will generate $2 billion over six years–add that to the $1._ billion highway budget, and the $500 million federal stimulus bill, the $4 billion price tag will be met. So, fuel tax now is 17 cents, it will be 27 cents per gallon–annual revenue of $51 million on that tax alone. Vehicle weight tax are three-quarters of a cent per pound for vehicles up to 4,000 pounds–that would be raised to 2 and 3/4 cents per pound, generating $68 million. Motor vehicle registration fees would go from $25 to $45–this would generate $23.3 million. Rental surcharges from rental cars–from $3 to $5 a day, for an additional $32 million annually. Imact to us taxpayers, $170 per year. Now, the Honoapiilani Highway widening project will cost $4 million; Lahaina Bypass, $48 million; Lahaina Bypass Phase 1B, $58 million; and the Lahaina Bypass Phase 1C-Keawe Extension to Kaanapali Connector $69 million. A total of $179 million for this project alone.
Protection of Natural Resources/Water: The state commission on water resource management recently issued rulings on streams in East Maui and at Na Wai ‘Eha in the West Maui Mountains. Are the new in-stream flow standards sufficient or will they ultimately hurt the struggling sugar industry? Answer: If the issue is to save the natural resources, then the answer is no–the new instream flow standards are insufficient. If the issue is to save the sugar industry, according to Wailuku Sugar Company, then the answer is yes, because the water is critical to the survival to HC&S. I see that there are two issues here: the preservation of our natural resources, or the preservation of HC&S. June 13, 2010 Maui News quotes Isaac Moriwake as saying, “The Supreme Court ruling clearly stated that the health of the streams must take priority over economics.” And as stated in my opening statement, we live in an island state and must make every effort to protect our natural resources for the purposes of sustaining our future generations and beyond. We must take care of that which sustains all us, for our whole existence depends on taking care of that which takes care of us.
Education: What do you plan to do to prevent a repeat of the furlough Friday situation at public schools? Answer: The furlough Fridays were instituted by our governor to balance the state’s budget. And we had a $688 million shortfall. I want to read an article from the Hawaii Press–it came out Wednesday, March 17, 2010. It says, “Hawaii Free Press and others have over the past few months, identified millions of dollars of waste, fraud and corruption in the DOE budget. $50 million for software when equivalents were available free of charge. Up to $75 million in federal funds was lost to schools because the HSTA, DOE and BOE sabbatoged Hawaii’s Race to the Top funding application. Between $42 million and $57 million burned on wasteful personnel practices. A Hawaii state audit identified $21 million in waste on one DOE contract alone, as well as $1.1 million burned on cronie contracting and $2.8 million diverted from classroom salaries to fund more cronie contracting. Add it all up, the total is between $191.9 million and $206.9 million–and these are just minimum figures. The DOE audit sampled only a portion… in order to illustrate how business is done, thus the total could easily be ten times what the audit found, adding another $224.1 million in annual DOE waste, fraud and corruption. This produces a grand total of $416 millioin to $431 million in annual DOE waste, fraud and corruption out of the total budget of $2.1 million.” So the DOE budget is about $800 million of this. I want to urge everyone to go and visit this article by Andrew Walden in the Hawaii Free Press.
I think the way to never ever allow this is to be able to have an audit of the Department of Education, and see where all the waste is at and where all of the fraud is coming from, and the corruption. And I think if this is what’s happening in one state agency, I’d like to see in the other state agencies.
Closing thoughts: I beleive that the people in District 8 are looking for a responsible government that will be open, transparent, accessible, and ethical. They need a leader they can believe in, is decisive, and resolute. My role as your representative is to govern the affairs of our state and the well being of the citizens, and to work cooperatively with others to bring forth positive resolutions. I humbly ask for your very important one vote in this Primary Election on Saturday, September 18, or better still, vote absentee so you can spend your Saturday at your pleasure. Again, I’m Tasha Kama, running for the state House of Representatives for the are of Waikapu, Wailuku, Waiehu, Waihee, and Kahakuloa. You can reach me at http://www.tashakama.org/ (my website), or [email protected] (my email). Again, Mahalo, and please vote. Vote for Tasha Kama.