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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Traffic top Windward issue

By Lynda Arakawa
Advertiser Capitol Bureau

Improving traffic and public education are among the common goals of candidates for the Senate seat representing Windward O'ahu from Kahuku to Kane'ohe.


Ethnicity (how people listed themselves in the 2000 U.S. Census)

  • People of two or more races: 30.8 percent
  • Caucasian: 23.3 percent
  • Japanese: 13 percent
  • Native Hawaiian: 11.8 percent
  • Filipino: 4 percent

Age (of those 18 and older in the 2000 U.S. Census):

  • 65 and older: 13%
  • 50-64: 23%
  • 40-49: 22%
  • 30-39: 19%
  • 20-29: 19%
  • 18-19: 4%

Melodie Aduja

Age: 44

Occupation: Attorney

Family: Divorced; son, 6; daughter, 5

One big idea: "Working with community input, I am committed to creating a more positive environment for our children to learn in our schools and building strong after-school programs. We must begin by significantly reducing the $4 million backlog in school repair and maintenance and providing clean, air-conditioned, Internet-equipped classrooms. When our schools become a place of joy and pride, children at risk to drugs and crime become a thing of the past."

Clayton Hee

Age: 51

Occupation: Consultant for Hawaiian-language immersion preschool program Punana Leo

Family: Married; son, 17

One big idea: "Everyday, including weekends, Windward residents are held hostage by the two-lane Kahekili Highway north of the intersection of Haiku Road. The state Department of Transportation should immediately implement a contraflow lane by restriping the existing highway to establish a third lane on Kahekili Highway between Haiku Road and Valley of the Temples Cemetery. That third lane would be the express lane used for contraflow traffic."

James Henshaw

Age: 44

Occupation: Legislative aide to state Sen. Bob Hogue

Family: Married, three children, ages 4 to 10.

One big idea: "We need to widen Kahekili Highway from one lane in each direction to two lanes in the Temple Valley area, to double the rate at which traffic flows through that bottleneck of traffic lights. Specifically, Kahekili should be widened from about 0.2 of a mile before Hui Iwa /Avenue of the Temples to about 0.1 of a mile after Ahuimanu Place."

Gordon Tilley

Age: 52

Occupation: Director of operations, South Pacific region, Off Duty Officers Inc.

Family: Married; five children, ages 16 through 22.

One big idea: "I would push for a district park complex in Kahuku (with a) gym, swimming pool, meeting rooms, etc. Our Windward community is in great need of this long-overdue project."

First-term incumbent Sen. Melodie Aduja faces a challenge by former Office of Hawaiian Affairs chairman Clayton Hee in the Democratic primary. Two Republicans, Jim Henshaw and Gordon "Butch" Tilley, are also facing off for the chance to advance to the general election.

It could be an especially challenging race for Aduja, whose campaign has been under investigation by the state Campaign Spending Commission because of checks written by the campaign to her former husband.

Commission executive director Bob Watada has said Aduja did not provide receipts for $2,300 worth of campaign checks to her ex-husband, who was arrested in an April drug bust, and that some receipts she submitted for other expenditures may have been for personal expenses.

Other alleged violations cited by Watada include approving checks to Aduja's campaign treasurer, filing incomplete campaign finance reports and not disclosing a loan.

Aduja's lawyer, William Harrison, attributed the problems to technical errors and said the campaign had taken steps to ensure it doesn't happen again.

Both Harrison and Watada have said they expect to reach a conciliation by Sept. 8, when the commission next meets.

Voters in the district appear largely independent. Aduja beat her Republican opponent in 2002 by 710 votes, or about 5 percent of the vote. Yet Republican Gov. Linda Lingle won every precinct in the district.

Recurring floods, as well as crime and drugs, are some of the issues that concern residents, said DeeDee Letts, chairwoman of the Ko'olauloa Neighborhood Board.

"Flooding has been an issue all up and down the coast," she said. Letts said the community also is working to fight drug issues now "instead of waiting until there's a huge problem."

Aduja said she would work to ensure Gov. Linda Lingle releases $300,000 appropriated for a flood-control study in the area, as well as $500,000 for a contraflow lane on Kahekili Highway from Haiku Road to Hui Iwa Street. She also said she would explore the idea of staggered public and private work schedules.

Education is another priority. Aduja wants more facilities such as school libraries and cafeterias, more computers in classrooms, and more money for school repair and maintenance.

Adjuda would encourage recycling through tax incentives and explore other ways to eliminate illegal dumping.

Hee said he would push for a contraflow lane on Kahekili between Haiku Road and Hui Iwa Street, as well as widening the highway. He said he would advocate better drainage systems to address flooding in Waiahole and Waikane.

Hee supports more money for textbooks, equipment and computers, as well as salary increases for educators. He wants accountability for teachers and administrators in a system that includes test scores and reviews by peers and possibly parents, with merit pay and training.

Hee said he wants to increase the staff of the state Campaign Spending Commission and state Ethics Commission and allow the Ethics Commission to levy fines.

Henshaw said he would push for fixes in the area's state highways, as well as for two more lanes on Kahekili Highway, roughly between Hui Iwa Street and Ahuimanu Place.

Henshaw would seek a constitutional amendment on the ballot asking voters whether the public school system should be divided into districts with locally elected boards. He said "an overwhelming majority" in the district support the proposal.

Schools need the ability to remove disruptive students from class, he said.

Henshaw emphasized fiscal discipline with the state budget, saying lawmakers need to "say no to some of these things that are nice to have but aren't essential to have."

Tilley said the state needs to repair highways in the district and perhaps create a passing area along Kamehameha Highway.

Public schools would improve, he said, by breaking up the system into smaller school districts with locally elected boards. That way, money would be distributed fairly and school repairs would be executed faster.

Tilley said he'd like to boost agriculture and aquaculture and give tax breaks and other incentives to farmers who hire students during the summer. He said he would like to see an agency established to promote and assist the industry.

All four candidates want to give law enforcement more tools to combat drug abuse. Aduja, Henshaw and Tilley support easing wiretapping restrictions, plus a constitutional amendment to restore "walk and talk" and "knock and talk" drug investigations. Hee said he supports putting the question on the ballot, but is more hesitant about changing wiretapping laws.

Aduja said she would work to ensure Lingle releases $14.7 million appropriated last session for drug prevention, treatment and other programs and pump more money into such initiatives.

Hee said he would like to see more drug offenders receive treatment while incarcerated and create stricter standards for establishing community halfway houses.

Tilley supports stricter penalties for drug offenders, including first-time violators, as well as building a new prison that focuses on rehabilitation.

Reach Lynda Arakawa at larakawa@honoluluadvertiser.com or at 525-8070.