Punahou School eighth-graders preserve and restore the endangered coastline at Kaena Point by planting seedlings of naupaka kahakai along a scarred section of the dunes. They hope the plants will halt the erosion and restore what was once a pristine natural habitat.

Verbatim: Residents respond to poll questions on ‘homeless camp,’ Kaena Point, Haleiwa hotel

HALEIWA—In September, Gov. Linda Lingle appointed Laura Figueira to fill the vacant State Senate seat, created by the resignation of Robert Bunda. She served on a temporary basis, representing North and Central Oahu, until a new senator was elected in November’s General Election. Figueira conducted a poll to Senate District 22 residents to gather data on issues, concerns, and ideas for the region.

To read the full poll report, click here

Senate District 22 is comprised of Mililani Mauka, Wahiawa, Whitmore Village, Schofield, Kunia, Mokuleia, Waialua, Haleiwa, Pupukea, and Sunset Beach.

Figueira worked for Bunda for 14 years, including six years as chief of staff while he was Senate President. She continued to serve as community liaison during Bunda’s tenure as Senate President Emeritus. In addition to overseeing the administrative and legislative affairs of the office, she represented the former senator at neighborhood board and community association meetings, as well as served as his delegate on various ad hoc committees. Figueira is a member of the Sunset Beach Community Association and the North Shore Chamber of Commerce and is a past president of the Haleiwa Arts Festival, current vice president of the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, and past president and current treasurer of the Hawaii Council on Portuguese Heritage.

The following is Figueira’s report on the poll of Senate District 22:

It is hard to recall a more intense campaign season than the recent 2010 elections. Now that all of the hype is over, the real work begins and our attention should remain focused on results. Plans for the upcoming 2011 session of the State Legislature are already underway and, as promised in the last issue of the North Shore News, I would like to share the results of a recent survey of voter opinions in the 22nd Senatorial District. Conducted in late October, the random sample of 300 residents has a margin of error of 5.6 percent.

When asked if the government should sponsor a “safe haven” camp site for “homeless” people in Wahiawa and the North Shore, 64 percent indicated support for the idea. This issue will continue to demand the attention of our policymakers and innovative solutions appear to have public support.

On the question of the realignment of Kamehameha Highway at Laniakea, 74 percent of residents support open space between the highway and the ocean. The Department of Transportation has already signed a contract with the consultant for this project and a community outreach effort should begin soon.

On a broader transportation issue, the community is evenly split on the rail transit line from East Kapolei to Ala Moana. The response to the rail question was nearly identical to the follow-up question that asked if people commute outside of the area for work or school. Of the 49 percent who said they commute each day, 92 percent use their cars.

Another question that appears to be evenly divided in the community is the issue of shark tours. When asked if they felt the tours out of Haleiwa Harbor pose a legitimate safety risk to other ocean activities, 51 percent of residents said “yes” while 49 percent of people questioned do not feel there is a real safety concern. Of this group, 72 percent think the tours help to stimulate the local economy and should be allowed to continue to operate out of the harbor.

Another issue that has generated controversy in the community is a local developer’s proposal to construct a two-story replica of the historic Haleiwa Hotel. 58 percent of residents in the District indicated support for the proposal, while 42 percent expressed opposition. Continued public discussion of the proposal seems entirely appropriate.

On the subject of providing protection for the sand dunes at Kaena Point by restricting private vehicles to a single designated roadway with branches for beach access, 79 percent of residents support the proposal.

When asked about how the economy should grow in the Wahiawa-North Shore area, agriculture received 84 percent of the responses, followed by small business at 75 percent, aquaculture at 73 percent, and tourism at 52 percent.

There were two questions that will have an impact beyond the district and will probably surface during the upcoming Legislative session. On the subject of a possible increase in the general excise tax to balance the budget, 37 percent indicated support, while 63 percent were opposed.

On the question of civil unions, 52 percent of residents support the civil unions bill and 46 percent were opposed, leaving 2 percent who were undecided or refused to answer.

Hopefully, the community response to this survey will help legislators and community leaders make important decisions affecting the future of our district. It may also inspire you to get involved to make sure your opinion is counted. You can find a more detailed report on the survey on the North Shore Chamber of Commerce website at www.gonorthshore.org.

Aloha and Mahalo,
Laura Figueira

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