Message from Derek

I am running for County Council with the intention and desire to serve our people. At the core of my leadership style is the understanding that we must work together in order to change things for the better. My experience in the private sector has taught me how to work collaboratively with different parties in order to achieve a common goal. It has also taught me how to deal with different personality types and that at the end of the day, a good idea is a good idea. My work experience as a director for our Electric Cooperative as well as other boards and commissions such as the Lihue Business Association, Kauai Police Activities League, Kauai Economic Development Board, and the Charter Commission has given me experience as a member of a policy making body.

I will bring an open mind and good old fashioned blood, sweat and tears work ethic to the table. At the core of my decision making is the acceptance that each decision made today, will have a resounding impact on future generations.

The Great Binding Law of the Iroquois Nation states, “Look and Listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground, the unborn of the future nation. In every deliberation we must consider the impact of the seventh generation, even if it requires us to have skin as thick as the bark of a pine.”

DEVELOPMENT

Development is at the heart of many people’s concern as well as my own. Overdevelopment impacts the environment, traffic, water, energy, housing costs, public safety as well as our agricultural needs and our quality of life. We need to plan our growth carefully in order to maintain the Kauai we know and love. We need to strike the right balance of increased growth and managing our resources through community partnerships and Government agencies. We have to expect change but the challenge is to do it in a way that offers desirable living choices for families of all income levels.

PUBLIC SAFETY

Public Safety is a paramount concern for all. At the end of the day, if we do not have a community that can ensure its residents and visitors basic needs such as being safe and healthy than we are indeed a house built on an unstable foundation. Laws are enacted to provide our community with a safe environment. However, it takes law-abiding citizens to ensure safe communities. It seems that there is a decline in our overall concern of our fellow neighbor’s safety and well-being. The Kauai Department of Public Safety is comprised of our Civil Defense Agency, Kauai Police Department, Kauai Fire Department, and Ocean Safety Bureau. I am committed to not only working to ensure that we have the necessary services available to ensure our safety, but to also review through the audit process that we are indeed operating at a level that is efficient, effective, and economical.

ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY

We are faced with growing energy costs, environmental impacts of generating electricity, and a growing population base. We must consider utilizing the local resources that we have to help negate the need for our utility company to build more generation to meet the needs of a growing population.

Energy generation and consumption will be impacted by the cost of imported fuel, new technology, and the regulation of energy utilities. Opportunities in generating electricity from renewable sources such as solid waste, landfill gas, bio mass, wind, sun, and hydro will reduce the amount of money that flows out of Kauai to oil companies as well as strengthening our island’s economy by creating jobs and retaining money that would have otherwise gone overseas to purchase diesel and naphtha.

The County is not a service provider, but as the largest user, plays an important role in consumer advocacy and in administering development regulations. The Office of Economic Development staffs an Energy Coordinator position to be responsible for developing energy efficiency in County government operations. The County has the ability through the CZO to aid in location, and design of electrical generation and transmission facilities through a combination of land use policies, zoning regulations, and design guidelines. We must remember that at the heart of energy independence is our ability to consume less. The most important megawatt is a negawatt. It is the amount of energy that we do not need to produce because of conservation and energy efficiency.

SOLID WASTE

Solid waste is a problem for Kauai as we have reached capacity in the present landfill. A panel of advisors commissioned to find an alternate waste site, despite their efforts, has not found a suitable location.

While we search for such sites it is important to develop policies on recycling, green waste and other methods already implemented in major cities, such as Honolulu. One idea that I am fond of is having a Materials Recovering Facility (MRF) facility coupled with a waste-to-energy plant to ensure that recyclable materials are not being incinerated. I see this two-pronged approach to solid waste as a way ensure that we are capturing valuable commodities and utilizing the waste as a form of energy. However, waste to energy plants still burn materials to produce electricity. Challenges of regulating emissions, noxious odors, and toxic contaminants will be a by-product of the endeavor.

A cleaner option is a zero waste policy. In my own opinion, if we make it convenient for people to do the right thing with their waste, they will follow suit. Public education is a must regarding managing solid waste in various counties throughout the state.

The topics of development, public safety, energy sustainability, and solid waste go hand in hand with each other. They represent a basic foundation of issues that must be addressed to ensure a healthy and viable community for not only today, but also for tomorrow. As Kauai continues to grow, we must search for proactive responses to an ever-changing world. As we are headed to an economic downturn we must differentiate between our wants and needs. At the heart of government spending we must ask ourselves, do we need it? Can we afford it? And most importantly, can we maintain it?

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