Steven Bond

U.S. Senator

Republican

FHS Candidate Questionnaire Responses

Many Haʻikū Valley residents are rightfully concerned about trespassing by hikers illegally accessing the Stairs. Trespassing is entirely a government-created problem caused by closing off access. When the Stairs were open to the public under the Coast Guard, trespassing was virtually nonexistent. Moreover, spending millions to remove the Stairs will not end trespassing. The City plans to leave behind the anchor pillars underneath the Stairs, providing a ready-made scaffolding that will encourage climbers to attach ropes and scramble to the summit. More effective solutions to trespassing merit exploration: As an interim measure, barriers could exploit natural chokepoints along the Stairs’ steep terrain. Combined with community-driven policing and smart technology, trespassing could be curtailed cheaply and effectively. The longer-term solution would be to reopen the Stairs, providing public access that alleviates the incentive to trespass and generates revenue to pay for ongoing security. What is your opinion of these cost-effective, public-private solutions to address trespassing?

Running to be your US Senator in Washington DC, I am opposed to the removal of the stairs. Various stakeholders have spent countless hours over the years to develop best practices for the management of the stairs. I first climbed them in the 80’s. I agree that barriers could be constructed at these natural chokepoints in the interim. I can forward pictures of an existing solution at the Stopwatch Restaurant in Makawao on Maui. Haiku would just have too supersize it. It would be cheaper to keep the stairs than to be liable to lawsuits.

The Ha‘ikū Stairs— aka “Stairway to Heaven”— originally built in the 1940s, is an iconic structure that has been used by visitors and residents as a safe way to ascend the Windward Ko‘olau peaks. The City intends to demolish this landmark soon. Stairs supporters and the majority of O‘ahu voters polled agree that the City should explore managed access alternatives before proceeding. What is your opinion?

I support managed access alternatives that have been researched and documented by the various stakeholders including the Friends of Haiku Stairs. The City would be liable for numerous and expensive lawsuits since adventurous hikers would use ropes and fastening methods to improvise access to this area. Over time, this would cost the City many, many millions of dollars on a recurring basis that ultimately the residents of Oahu would have to pay through increased taxation. Numerous complete solutions to address concerns and minimize risk have been thoroughly researched and should Federal support be needed, I pledge to help.

The surrounding land abutting the Ha‘ikū Stairs is owned entirely by state entities, including the H-3 access road. This road had been used to access and maintain the Stairs, but it is currently closed. The BWS 2019 Environmental Impact Statement recommended using the H-3 access road to provide public access to the Stairs, which would bypass residential neighborhoods. Other community groups have also expressed an interest in using the H-3 access road. For example, the road was listed as a potential bike path on the City & County of Honolulu’s 2012 Bicycle Master Plan. What are your views on opening the road to public use?

The H-3 access road should be re-opened for public use. Perhaps the Haiku Stairs as a national monument should be considered. As a national monument, it would be federally protected from city or state interference for generations to come. I would be willing to sponsor Federal Legislation to pay for a visitor center. For the past several years I have reacquainted myself with many officials throughout the State. We are all committed to work cohesively with all levels of government to produce optimal solutions.
My website is VoteSteveBond.com. Thanks to FOHS for your relentless perseverance.