Mike Ruggles’ Responses to Questions posed by the public – Just Transition Hawaii Coalition (JTHC) [full list of questions and answers here]

Criminal justice

As mayor, what methods of persuasion will you use to achieve a greater cooperation between HPD, the prosecutor’s office and jail system, to keep habitual offenders off the streets?

I plan on starting a community farm where the habitual offenders (majority who are untreated mentally ill, drug addicted or homeless) can be participating members of society from helping to build their own cabin on the farm, working in the fields, workshops or production areas and are paid minimum wage to start.  We believe this farm idea has been successful in other areas of the county, some have reduced crime up to 90%.  It is time to stop torture and punishment and start with treatment and reeducation through employment.  This not only reduces crime but helps the community and economy.  Employment and purpose and steady home and real help is the way to go forward on this issue.  The farm(s) will be staffed with caring qualified individuals and medical staff and be funded with the $300 a day per incarcerated individual currently being paid to keep up to 5 to a cell.

Besides local jails, Hawaii currently spends nearly $300 million a year to keep Hawaii prisoners over on the mainland, put them on our Community Farms and grow food and produce local items.

As mayor of the Big Island, what steps will you take to reduce the incidence of property crime that now negatively impacts the quality of life of every resident of the Big Island? 

Putting 5 in a cell and administrative forfeiture is exactly the wrong recipe for reducing this.  Employment removes desperation from crime.  When the most vulnerable are less desperate, crime goes down.  So let’s quit taking their possessions and employ them and they will stop taking our stuff.  The police have to become legitimate first responders, with domestic abuse training, and they should also be able to handle fires and medical emergencies as true first responders.  And I want to pay them more because they will be doing more.

Governance

What is the biggest lesson you have learned from watching previous Mayor’s and their administrations? Particularly, their failures? 

That transparency is always the answers.  It’s not always convenient but its always the right answer.  Do the will of the people.  In 2008 we voted in the Lowest Law Enforcement Priorities of Cannabis Ordinance but the police and prosecutors refused to follow it.  I believe that is why we have the lowest turnout of voters in the country because politicians are not doing what the people want.  The leaders opinion means nothing, the citizens are paramount.  Listen to the people.  The people want the county to stop spraying poison and the mayor vetoes it, not cool.  Two most important things a mayor does is protects the vulnerable and he protects the land.

What separates you from the other Mayor Candidates and the past Mayors of Hawai’I County?

I believe I am the only candidate that truly sees the depression coming and realized the best answer is trickle up economics.  This is not only going to solve homelessness, provide criminal justice reform, bu it is also going to help fix the economy and our horrible 5 decade long housing shortage, which is the real problems.

Why did you decide to run for Mayor of Hawai’I County?

First off, I was approached by several concerned citizens, who like me saw there is a better way than catering to tourism.   It is time now to cater to the people.,  Lets make Hawaii Island self sufficient and for the people of Hawaii, not just jobs slaving for the rich but for real economic diversity and small business.

What 3 characteristics are most important for a mayor to have?

Empathy, determination and independence.

If elected Mayor, how would you go about understanding the issues of West Hawaii and creating a dialogue with those of us in Kona to help our side of the island?

Like any other resident of the Big Island, all they have to do is come and talk to me.  We want the best and brightest in our cabinet, and one thing I am going to make sure of is my advisors know that no matter where they live, they are working for the whole island, protectors of the whole island.

Campaign spending

Are there any Big Island candidates running for mayor that are funded fully by the people or do all take corporate and lobbyists money??

I can’t speak for other candidates, but my biggest donation has been under a thousand and total war chest being under $5,000.  I am not affiliated with anybody but residents.