HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - (Editors Note: After his appearance on Hawaii News Now Sunrise on Monday, Mayor Caldwell stuck around to answer more of the viewer questions that were posted to our Facebook page. His answers can be found below, with each question taken from Facebook. Mayor Caldwell will return to Sunrise each month for another "Ask The Mayor" segment to answer your questions from Facebook.)
Sylvia Dahlby: How does the city plan on maintaining the rail system when it can't maintain roads, water mains, and schools?
Mayor Caldwell: Rail, when it is up and running, will have only 300 employees, as opposed to TheBus, which has 1,800 employees. The operation and maintenance of rail is going to be less than TheBus system by a lot. The entire system is going to cost more, but we're going to need fewer buses, meaning an all-bus system in 2030 would cost more than a bus-rail system.
Michele Golujuch: Would you ever consider a bill that required Honolulu residents to pay for trash pick-up to help pay for that service?
Mayor Caldwell: Commercial trash pick-up is something that a lot of people have to pay for in Waikiki, like restaurants and things like that. Perhaps we should explore charging [other commercial customers, like private schools] just like other establishments have to pay. If we did look at doing this, it would probably be in the commercial sector first.
Traci Powers: Cleaning up sidewalks and parks is akin to sweeping the problem under the rug. What are the long term plans to alleviate the homeless population?
Mayor Caldwell: Just moving homeless people from one place to another is crazy and I think it's the definition of insanity. We have pushed this thing called 'Housing First,' it's a pilot project, where we are going to house the most chronic homeless, the drug addicted or who have a mental illness of some sort, on site, in a home, where they get their treatment.
Gary Gonsalves: What is it going to take to impose a law making it illegal to migrate homeless people from the mainland to Hawaii?
Mayor Caldwell: I wish I could pass such a law. Unfortunately, since we are part of the United States, it is illegal to prohibit people from traveling between states. Therefore, we need to develop alternative solutions, such as working with providers to return homeless back to their families.
Barbara Bonura: Potholes! Why such expensive registration for vehicles but the roads still suck!
Mayor Caldwell: As of December, 43% of our roads are graded substandard. We have a program in which all of those roads will be repaved within 5 years at 300 lane miles per year. We are on target to hit the first 300 miles this December, and are working hard to improve our roads for years to come.
Marie Hite: Our traffic problems on the North Shore at Lani's... Turtle Beach.. is now an everyday problem. What used to take 10 minutes Monday through Friday is now taking drivers half an hour. Weekends are far worse. Please send someone out there to figure out how to solve this traffic. Way too many people crossing the streets to go to the beach. It's an accident waiting to happen.
Mayor Caldwell: I sympathize with the plight of those who live on the North Shore, particularly on weekends when the surf is large during the winter. Kamehameha Highway is a state owned road, though the City is considering several alternatives at Laniakea and will need the state's cooperation to implement them. One is to offer angled parking with barriers for crossing only in certain areas. The long term solution is to move Kam Highway mauka around Laniakea, but this is going to take a while, since it is a wetland on the mauka side of the road and will need EPA clearance along with other federal and state permits.
Candice Kehaulani: When will the city start paving the roads that REALLY need it! Like the Meheula Parkway in front of the Mililani Post Office! They are always paving roads that don't need it.
Mayor Caldwell: Meheula Parkway is one of the roads that will be repaved within the next 12 months.
Michele Golojuch: When will the building of our wonderful rail system begin again? I'm tired of driving to work. I can't wait to ride!
Mayor Caldwell: If everything goes well, we anticipate starting construction again next month.
Linda Fowler: How will you handle the noticeable rise of crime in our state? It seems like every week I read the news someone has been mugged, shot, or murdered and I bet that's not even the half of it. Please justify the pay raise that HPD has gotten when the crime rate has raised so much in the last few years.
Mayor Caldwell: We are lucky that Honolulu is one of the safest big cities in America. HPD is out there every day making sure that we are safe as we go about our daily lives. During the summer we do see an increase in property crime that does decrease in the fall, and police are working as hard as they can to deal with that property crime problem.
PuaOlena Ngatuvai: Why are the camping permits so expensive now? $300 a day to camp? If that's the case, bathrooms should be clean (always toilet paper, no graffiti, etc).Also it should stay opened 24 hours. There are thousands that camp at Kokololio Beach & there is no light in parking lot, should also be provided by the state, security should be around the clock, for $300 it better be worth it!
Mayor Caldwell: You can get a city camping permit for as little as 32 dollars for three days. Click here to see how.