On Wednesday, May 2, Mayor Peter Carlisle spoke at the first mayoral debate of the season, hosted by the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii and attended by 150 local business leaders. (Note: ’Olelo will broadcast the debate on several occasions over the coming month. The broadcasts are set for 5/7 at 12:30 p.m., 5/8 at 9:30 a.m. and 5/9 at 1:30 p.m., all on ‘Olelo channel 49; and 5/11 at 6 p.m. on ‘Olelo Channel 54).
LISTEN: MAYOR CARLISLE’S OPENING REMARKS
One theme throughout the night separated Mayor Carlisle from both of his opponents: Mayor Carlisle has a plan for Honolulu; he was the only candidate to emphasize the importance of technology and energy for Honolulu, referring to Honolulu as “a city in motion.” A consistent focus for Mayor Carlisle – in rail, in technology, and in the environment – is building a better city for the future. Mayor Carlisle noted that Honolulu under his administration has been designated the Number One Digital City in America.
Mayor Carlisle repeated his support of the rail project and emphasized not only its potential to create jobs, but the long term benefits to Honolulu from the smart growth around the rail line, which is often called “Transit ORIENTED Development” or “TOD.”
LISTEN: THE TRUTH ABOUT RAIL, HONOLULU’S FUTURE, AND PLANNED DEVELOPMENT FOR HONOLULU
Mayor Carlisle emphasized the need to build now: “We’ve got the money to do it with the GET (general excise) taxes. We’ve got it right now, and in terms of federal funds, we already know that Senator Inouye has virtually guaranteed it.” Mayor Carlisle quoted U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye, who last month stated the only thing that would stop the rail project is “World War III.”
Mayor Carlisle also made clear that there would be no need to raise taxes to accomplish this. “We will do nothing to impair our bond rating and nothing to raise taxes.” When asked what his contingency plan would be should the federal funding not come, Mayor Carlisle explained he still would be obligated to implement the law, but the system schedule and project would adjust to match available funding.
Mayor Carlisle stated that the impact of the rail project can’t be measured only by looking at the present or next few years. Rail will in fact shape our island for decades to come. Transit Oriented Development creates affordable housing and walkable, livable communities. Mayor Carlisle noted that the linear urban corridor made it one of the best possible places for Transit Oriented Development to flourish.
Mayor Carlisle repeatedly emphasized his commitment to the environment and to making Honolulu a “green” city. Peter appointed an energy coordinator in the Office of the Mayor to align energy initiatives across all City agencies and to improve collaboration with others in this field. Mayor Carlisle has introduced energy-efficient initiatives in City buildings and electric cars in the City fleet.
Part of being a green city of the future is encouraging agriculture. Mayor Carlisle noted that he had appointed the City’s first Agricultural Liaison in the Mayor’s Office, who has begun to work with local farmers to help support and sustain agriculture on O‘ahu and to work with the State to designate important agricultural lands.
The debate made clear that Mayor Peter Carlisle’s focus is moving the City forward on many potential fronts. Mayor Carlisle and his administration are working tirelessly to transform Honolulu into a technologically advanced, green city of the future. Under Mayor Carlisle, Honolulu is a “city in motion.”