Press 2 – Chamber Commerce

Published to HJCC, Hawaii 7/1/22

The Government Affairs Committee of the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce

Duke Bourgoin

Questions for Governor Candidates

1. While the rail project is a county project, the state, through its representation on the HART board and enabling of the county general excise tax surcharge, among others, seemingly plays a significant role in the rail project.  Do you support finishing the rail as originally planned?

Hawaii needs to finish the RAIL.  It is almost complete, costs are sunk, and federal money may be waiting for payment.   BUT, this rail system is connecting the second city concept to Honolulu, and not even to the Ala Moana Center. Any connection from the end of the rail to Ala Moana can be considered a separate project financed by the State.  Let the Rail project finish.


RAIL Update to HJCC question…. On HART

Recent research data for the HART RAIL system for Honolulu has me adjusting my analysis and position to proceed with caution and consider maybe stopping this project. The Govt states that there will be a 1.4 billion shortfall. The Project won’t be finished till 2031? Higher taxes applied will continue. Some estimates say it could reach 12 billion in costs, and that amount is not considering questionable data used in this calculation as using higher than normal USA City ridership projections at 60% vs 52%, more people not working downtown and from home, projected workers downtown adjusting from 56,000 to 30,000, the issue that the second city never really materialized, only 744 million is possible in Federal funds if approved, almost 9 percent inflation currently and clouds of recession, and the added yearly cost to the city to employ and pay an added salary and maintenance cost to a project not expected to be profitable. Add this to an already given question about not really moving people around Honolulu proper, and recent reports HART not going to Ala Moana-the center of commerce and transportation for Honolulu. Dreaming, maybe there is a private business that will take over this project linking suburban Honolulu for a tourist ride to HawaiiLand, a new culture park for tourist and local enjoyment.

2. If you do not support finishing the rail as originally planned, what changes would you like to see?

Our rail system is not allowing people to travel around Honolulu proper, (lets say Kalihi to Kahala). To make our City livable and decrease auto traffic and pollution we need to create a light rail system, (maybe a trolly) linking Downtown, Ala Moana, King Street to Kahala  The vision includes  a slow simple sky train down Waikiki from Ala Moana.  

3.  Other states with high gas prices, such as California, have proposed measures to help consumers, such as direct financial assistance or a gas tax holiday.  Would you support providing Hawaii consumers with similar relief and, if so, what form of relief would you propose?

The plan is to make Honolulu livable and with an alternative rail system to let people travel about without using cars and polluting buses.  Request the Federal government reduce taxes on gas.

4. What relief, if any, would you propose to provide for Hawaii consumers to address the rising cost of living?

Make Hawaii Safe, within the platform, centers on a circular holistic economy where import substitution enables Hawaii to grow more clean food, and produce other needed products to include solar energy, which keeps the money in the State while reducing costs to its citizens,

5. Many Hawaii business, such as those business which rely heavily on international visitors, continue to face economic challenges as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.   How would you propose to help such business, if at all?

As Hawaii transits to a more sustainable economy, Govt can help local business and agriculture to adjust to a more balanced and still vibrant economy with merit based subsidies, tax relief, and promoting Hawaii as a natural health rejuvenation destination through market coordination and promotion.

6. How successful do you believe are the current programs the State has to promote more affordable housing in Hawaii?

Affordable housing in a state with high costs, limited land, high taxation, bureaucracy, and affordable housing?  How do we pay and who gets what? Two of my plans are the project to create cooperative group agriculture farms for housing, and the Saddle Road Hawaiian Ag/project. 

7. What additional measures, if any, do you think the state should undertake to promote more affordable housing in Hawaii?

Lets divide our State into districts where the people within the district are tasked with finding new lots, additions, higher density building, zoning changes, acceptable development programs that update the community while addressing local complaints, and then presented to proper authorities for implementation. State can issue a bond sale for affordable house funding, with income from this development programed into the process for debt payback.

8. Like Hawaii, housing costs are a significant financial burden in California.  While zoning and land use generally are matters within the jurisdiction of the counties, a California law allows the state to override county zoning for the purpose of increasing density where the county is deemed to have an insufficient supply of affordable housing.  Would you support a similar measure in Hawaii?

The State overriding county zoning for the purpose of increasing density is possible.  One example is for rural areas, relaxing building requirements, infrastructure, even some safety demands which are costly and maybe not needed especially outside the metropolitan area. 

9. Do you support the elimination of cash bail?

 No bail too easy.   While some cannot afford bail and should not be jailed.  Let’s keep bail, but have flexibility with low income people.

10. Do you support the construction of a new prison facility in the State as a way to reduce the state’s use of out-of-state prisons?

Hawaii should not be using out of state prisons, draining the State of revenue assets.  Think circular economy.  My plan would incorporate a more natural farm program with controlled access, but with solid living standards, and shared inmate profit savings for a better security once liberated from this ag/prison system.

11. What criteria would you use to determine whether to reimpose any COVID-19 related restrictions?

Doesn’t seem like we understand this virus, and what to do to control it.   If the State has a crises where the hospitals are overcrowded, somebody, the Government, should control travel, mask wearing, and essential worker status again. 

12. The University of Hawaii has stated that if management of Mauna Kea is transferred, it could have a materially negative impact on astronomy at Mauna Kea.  Do you support continued management of Mauna Kea by the University of Hawaii?   Do you support the continued use of Mauna Kea for astronomy?

All parties are important.  The UH should find a compromise with the Hawaiian People to honor the Mountain. Maybe permit some astronomy in certain locations, much smaller imprints,  and hidden visibility to the downslope community.  Follow  sacred Hawaiian requirements.

13. Do you support the development of increased geothermal energy generation?

Geothermal Energy development is not fully understood.   What is the science behind this process?  Are we unleashing in-balance within the Eco system, and creating pollution, lava flows, unstable housing?  Or could we harness this energy safely and ecologically-   instead of our reliance on oil or gas?  Large Solar Farms sponsored by the State may be the answer.   Also supporting households to harness energy from the sun with feed back into the grid for added household income.

14. Do you believe that the current pace/measures to move towards “green” energy production in the state are appropriate?  If not, what changes would you propose?

Government should move this solar energy concept forward.  Developing a research center (say at the UH Manoa, with main facilities in western Oahu), and other unpopulated and sunny areas of the State, where Hawaii will build panels for a large solar farm in cooperation with our Electric Company.

15. Would you like to see tourism return to pre-Covid levels?

Tourism should be kept at about 80% of preCovid levels, while Hawaii promotes this sustainable, circular economy, described at

16. What changes, if any, would you propose in the way that state government facilitates, promotes or manages tourism, including the number of visitors to the State?

There should be a plane/boat entry tax on each island. This ecology tax finds revenue for solar deployment, and environmental issues facing the State.   Revenue can be huge.  It would keep travel down, but this is fair with all the environmental damage travel emits.

17. Hawaii’s reputation for being a safe destination is one of the primary criteria for travelers from Asia.  What can be done at the State level to address concerns that crime and other safety issues may be increasing?

Hawaii’s image is still great.  Look at the World.  Safety and crime is an important issue everywhere. Higher World population 8 billion and counting, Climate degradation with our land, air and sea, Hawaii should keep working to create a safe and clean environment.  Keep Hawaii Safe program addresses this directly with solutions as, no more pollution, housing for the people, rest and rejuvenation spas, natural health, group ag housing for homeless and lower income needing people, locally grown organic foods, organic food manufacturing for local consumption and export, creating local service and product development for local employment through import substitution and export income.

18. Do you support efforts to have the Olympic Committee designate Hawaii as its training spot for US Olympic surfers?

The Olympic Committee designating Hawaii as its training spot for US Olympic Surfers is positive.  Hawaii is super for surfing and it is income and marketing for the State.

19. There have been various proposals for Hawaii to promote medical or health tourism.  Do you believe that State government should promote Hawaii as the destination for medical treatment, rest & recovery, and well-being?

State government should promote Hawaii as the destination for medical treatment, rest & recovery, and well-being.  Hawaii is a perfect place to become healthy and this type of tourism is more stable, and supportive of the holistic natural sustainable economy promoted at The plan includes  a free Holistic Natural Health Program for residents.  Becoming healthy through natural methods can be offered to tourists at a charge, with added supplements as spa and farm-stay, locally farmed organic vegan diet, massage, etc., and combining with Hawaiian and local Ethnic Culture with lots of music.

20. The expanded use of remote working and education during the Covid-19 pandemic revealed that the availability of internet access varies across different areas of the State.  Do you believe that this is something that the State government should address and, if so, what would you propose to do?

The State should in cooperation with the Corporate World move toward a program of ultra fast, high density, fiber optic cable to key areas within the State.  This allows a central location for all to update and download large data files and movies.  A healthy Hawaii includes addressing growing concerns about the radiation/high-energy/cell phone 5G system coupled with satellite beaming as man’s future.  Better we keep the Energy disbursement down, and improve health to our citizens, offering community meeting hot spots for data exchange.

21. With the recent addition of the counties’ 3% TAT tax, Hawaii is among of the highest taxed visitor destinations.  Do you believe that this level of taxation is appropriate and what changes, if any, would you want to see in the allocation/use of these tax revenues? [Oahu 17.962% – State TAT: 10.25%; GET: 4.712%; County TAT: 3%] [Maui 17.416% – State TAT: 10.25%; GET: 4.166%; County TAT: 3%]

Taxation is hard on our citizens, especially land rich low income families.  The tourist taxation helps the counties,   There could be some rebates for citizens with tax filing,  Money needs to be funneled into energy and agriculture development.

22. The Covid-19 pandemic brought to the fore the vulnerability of Hawaii’s economy to reliance on a single primary economic sector but finding a replacement for plantation-based agriculture as a strong secondary economic sector seemingly has been elusive.  What sectors, if any, do you envision as being Hawaii’s second and third economic sectors, after tourism, and what, if anything, would you propose state government do to promote or facilitate the development of such alternatives, including attracting and incentivizing businesses in alternative sectors?

Food and energy are key sectors of the economy to develop as tourism is leveled at an ecological and social balance.  Promoting solar energy farms, and local community agriculture will offer income to our residents while moving from a tourist economy which could be stopped inadvertently and without notice.

23. What, if anything, would you change in the way that the state government facilitates, promotes or manages Hawaii agriculture?

Make Hawaii Safe platform seeks no pollution into the environment.  Hawaii needs to move away from polluting our Aina.  Chemicals on our lawns, chemicals on our plants, and chemicals to clean the house, to name a few, need to be changed.  An organic clean environment is a basis for our safe environment = and economy. A new industry manufacturing local natural ingredients into approved Hawaii labeled products, as lawn and plant food, natural organic cleaning and maintenance products for house and business use, and export.  Reinforce the Brand that Hawaii is pure, natural, clean, and healthy, an island paradise,

24. Do favor any changes to Hawaii’s minimum wage and, if so, what changes would you support?

The recent changes to the Hawaiian wage can address some of the issues facing citizens who work for an hourly wage.  This is an added cost to small business owners.  Govt should find ways to help small business deal with the added wage costs.  Subsidies or rebates can be offered with a program to move business interests into a more holistic economy.

25. Do favor any changes to Hawaii’s general excise tax and, if so, what changes would you support?

ExciseTaxes are pretty high in Hawaii.  An Ecology tax is one added tax that shouldn’t hurt our citizens unless they travel.  And there if they travel once not too bad.  Heavy travelers can afford the higher tax.

26. Do favor changes to Hawaii’s income tax and, if so, what changes would you support?

Income tax laws are high, but Hawaii is expensive.  Direction here is to promote this new circular sustainable natural economy, creating new incomes to residents, house owners, agriculture, energy, and other promoted businesses for a more sustainable and self sufficient economy.  Careful with adding high paying jobs, look into Govt salary limit guidelines, controlling the continuous expansion of governmental jobs with taxation burdens for the People.

27. Do you support the redevelopment of the Aloha Stadium as currently proposed?  If not, what changes would you propose?

Not sure about the redevelopment of the Aloha Stadium as currently proposed.   The cost is high and the use is questionable.  Large big community gatherings may be inappropriate in an age of contagious disease.

28. What, if anything, would you change about the way that the state government protects Hawai’i’s natural environment, including its ocean environment?

We as the State are polluting our land, our air, our water, our ocean, in so many ways.  The era of move west young man and cut down our environment is over.  Climate crises is here, scarcity is here. My plan is to clean up the Ocean, the Land, the Water, the Air, our Food, our Energy.  Big task but we can do it.

29. Hawaii continues to experience outmigration, with a recent DBEDT study finding that “kamaaina leaving for the mainland are both younger and more educated.”  Business leaders have commented that Hawaii’s population decline reflects a hollowing out of the state’s middle class . . . “an existential economic issue for the state.”(1)   Do you regard the current outmigration trend as a problem for the State and, if so, what would you do to reduce or reverse the causes of this outmigration? (1)

Our youth leaving for better jobs on the mainland is a problem.  We need to build this better sustainable economy to offer opportunities to the youth.  One program I like to Initiate is the Govt, Corporate, Youth Development, and Deployment program GCYD&D.   Directing our resources Io coordination with establishing computer programing genius, app development, game creation, high-tech DAO, and community management systems.  Working together within our own walled internet system, and deploying our product to the State and the World is a strong direction to employ and challenge our youth and Hawaii.  And offer high-income jobs to our youth doable from Hawaii.


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