Open Letter to Residents and Taxpayers of Oahu

Aloha!

You may be aware I am running for Honolulu City Council District 4. I’ve been active in the community for about 15 years and have testified at city council for about as long.  I decided to run, because I believe we must improve the way government is run and our tax dollars are spent.

Several key issues facing Honolulu residents and taxpayers are interrelated – homelessness, affordable housing, infrastructure and rail. As we’ve seen over the past month or so, rail has started impacting city services and these key issues.  Recent budget amendments include:

  • Slashing the Department of Land Management to only two people. The department manages the city’s affordable rentals program as well as all city-owned land. At the current level of funding, the department cannot meet its mandated responsibilities under the city charter;
  • Cutting millions from the Department of Environmental Services, including wastewater treatment and disposal costs for maintenance programs;
  • Cutting the Department of Information Technology’s equipment budget in half. The director testified that the equipment is needed in order to avoid shut down of the city’s entire communications system.

We have been told these cuts were necessary in order to be able to meet FTA requirements to include $44 million (two years) of operating costs for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit (HART) in the city budget. Out of HART’s ~$22 million operating budget, a mere $446,000 was cut, and those funds are likely to be restored during the next budget committee meeting.

In addition, if the full $44 million is included in the operating budget, it would needlessly tie up the $22 million that is for next fiscal year.

The city has options other than cutting these important areas. For example, amounts for FICA, a payroll tax, are routinely over-budgeted.  In addition, our entire real property tax system should be reviewed and updated to be fairer and more efficient and to make sure all taxpayers are paying what they should.  As a CPA and certified fraud examiner, I have the skill and experience to analyze the numbers and make smart decisions about them.

These are some of the concerns I have, but I’d like to hear what’s on your mind.  Please share your thoughts below (where it says “Leave a Reply”) or visit www.NatalieIwasa.com.  Note comments are moderated.

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4 thoughts on “Open Letter to Residents and Taxpayers of Oahu

  1. I had the pleasure to meet Natalie during Honolulu C&C meetings. She is a pleasant, competent, professional and totally honest person. Her honesty for the people and for the environment are real originate from Germany firm believes. Wish we had a lot more folks like her running for office.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been following this rail issue ever since it was brought up back in 2006. I’ve also been a regular reader on the Star Advertiser website and always look forward to your comments concerning rail and the city. As you know, HART uses office space in one of the most expensive buildings in downtown Honolulu. HART also has a huge staff. Are those really necessary to have, can HART save some money by reducing staff and moving to a building that has cheaper rent or use a building that the city owns to cut down on costs.
    Unfortunately, I live outside your district, but if I did live there, I would definitely vote for you. Good luck in the upcoming election.

    Like

    1. Aloha Chad! Thank you for your comment and support! You are correct that HART’s rent is expensive. It’s > $2.2 million per year. As I understand it, any potential cost savings from relocation would be negated by early termination charges. HART has also said that contractors use some of the space there, and that helps reduce contract costs. One thing they could potentially do, however, is sublease some of the space.

      An area in HART’s operating budget that could, and I think should, be reduced is “public information,” aka PR. The budget for that was originally > $1 million. The current draft of the bill includes a cut of $446,000, but that is likely to be restored.

      Another area that could be cut is the payroll tax, FICA.

      Please consider supporting me in other ways, such as telling your friends about me or making a donation to my campaign. Both options would be very much appreciated!

      Like

  3. It is nice to see someone other than career politicians who is still willing to stand for election today. Because every year it seems harder to deny the political arena shifted awfully from a forum for intelligent intellectually honest debate to …what ???

    For what it’s worth, I think it’s something fair to label as cross between a make believe roman circus blood sport and vaudeville comedy stage.

    Regardless … The thing that stands Natalie high in my opinion is that when talking to her I am absolutely certain she clearly says what she means, and means what she says.

    I probably admire that because I’m old, and I miss the days before dishonorable lying was re-positioned, re-invented, or whatever, into the valued political skills of Spinning, Walking Back, etc.

    I can’t vote for Natalie, but will contribute. But if you can vote for her please do. Natalie is worth the effort it will take to elect her … at least me thinks.

    Sincerely,
    George L. Berish

    Grin … and for those I know, and who I know disagree with me on everything else, please don’t risk letting that dissuade you from electing a truly good person to public office this election.

    Very seriously … Just look at perennially recycled choices on the ballot … again.

    And of course the gaping holes where there should be challengers to incumbents, but aren’t any.

    We really don’t get many people this good willing to step into today’s political arena anymore. Are you? So thank goodness Natalie is.

    Like

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