VIDEO: Joe Bertram III, State House Dist 11, Candidate Profile, Decision 2010 MauiNOW.com
Joe Bertram III, 2010 candidate for State House District 11, Transcript:
Introduction: My name is Joe Bertram III. I’m running for Kihei, which is District 11 in South Maui–Kihei, Wailea, Makena. I’m running for re-election. I’m really hoping to focus on a couple of things this next session. One of course, is still continuing to support walking and biking–it’s fundamental for transportation and recreation in our community. I’m also looking to support civil rights in a couple of different areas, and this is going beyond the scope of what we have done before. And we are looking forward to putting the attention on these two issues.
Medical Marijuana: Are in support of or against the legalization of medical marijuana dispensaries or compassion centers in Hawaii? Answer: As I was saying in the beginning, I am for these two civil rights issues. Of course, access to medicine is one of them. Unfortunately, even though we were the first state to allow for them, we’re still lagging way behind as far as allowing for the legal and easy access to medicine, and asking folks to grow it themselves. Do we ask people who are diabetic to get their own medicine? No. And it is just about as difficult to create the kind of medicine that is required if you’re going to actually use it for those various issues that we are allowed to. So, yes, absolutely, we must find a way to actually get folks to be able to access medicine that they are legally allowed. And we must make sure that it’s done in a way that is rational, as well as taxable. That’s the important part as well is that here is something that actually we can make a lot of money off of instead of wasting money. I really do support any kind of way we can make that happen. We were the first state to do this, now we have to catch up.
Education reform/locally controlled school boards: What is your stance on locally controlled school boards? Answer: I think again, we have to look at political realities. The local school board is going to take a change in our constitution, and there’s not enough support at the state legislature for that type of solution for the current state system. So the main thing that I’ve been really promoting and supporting is charter schools–because charter schools you can have your own local school board. In Kihei we have the South Maui Learning ‘Ohana–and they can find ways to not only get the funding we’re supposed to get from the state, but also ways of bringing in private funding. They were able to move into buildings on Lipoa Street because of that type of cooperation. That’s more of what I’m trying to do–is to get public-private partnerships, so we can actually do the things that the state is supposed to do but can’t because we don’t have the resources. Now we need to make sure that we can by bringing together the community as a partnership in making these things happen.
Superferry: Given the current economic climate, would you support the return of the Hawaii Superferry to help stimulate inter-island commerce? Answer: Absolutely, I was actually part of the legislature when we voted to overturn the decision of the Supreme Court that forbid the (Superferry) from running without this EIS–mainly because two reasons: We really do need some kind of inter-island ferry system. We need to have all the transportation choices available to us. On the Superferry, of course, it was their determination that the EIS that they said they needed–it was just affecting the state land where they had put this hitch for this barge that was going to allow for people to ingress and egress off the ferry. They expanded it out to say, no you actually look at the whole thing and everything in between the islands. So, it became that instead, and that’s what (?) it out of business. But, we need to have this. We need to have alternative transportation, and we must have some kind of transportation that allows people to over the water (instead of than always through the air), inexpensively, cheaply, and regularly.
Transient accommodations tax: If elected to serve, what would you do to ensure that Maui keeps its share of the Transient Accommodations Tax? Answer: First of all, make sure that they don’t remove any of those, because that is ours. Basically, that is our share of what we’ve added in. I think, historically, we’ve actually added even more than we’ve actually gotten back, so we need to maintain that. We also have to find other taxable sources that brings us back to that original thing–as far as having compassion centers so that we can find ways to fund the various programs that the state has to undertake. And there is those funds out there, available, and we just need to find a way to do it right and make sure that we can actually make it happen for everybody here in the state.
Closing thoughts: First of all, my contact information is [email protected]. You can also call me at 808-264-0985. Again, I look forward to this coming session that we’ll actually be able to address these two issues of civil rights. One of course is the safe access of people to medicine that they’ve been allowed. We were the first state to do that legally. It’s a legal thing–let’s just make sure it’s safe and accessible. The other thing is the civil rights of expanding out what we allow the state to license in creating new families. Let’s keep everything the same as far as between men and women who want to get married–that’s in our constitution. But, we do need to make sure they (allow) access to the state sponsored types of relationships that can build families. Our whole community is built on families. The more opportunities we have for creating more families, the better off we are going to be. So, I will be supporting both of these issues as a matter of civil rights, and that we actually make these things the leader in–we were the first, now let’s be the leader again–in both issues of civil rights.