By: J. S.
Augie Tulba is the Honolulu City Councilmember for District 9. He won the general election in 2020 and took his seat on the council in 2021. He won his race against William Espero with 51.9% of the vote. Espero had previously been in the Hawaii State Senate as a Democratic Senator up until 2018.
Tulba is not a traditional Hawaii politician. He is a well known name on the islands as a comedian, radio host and tv personality. His family is originally from Kalihi Valley on Oahu, and he grew up living in low income housing. Tulba graduated from Farrington Highschool and while working at Kapi‘olani Medical Center he furthered his education with their professional development programs. He, his wife and their five children have resided in Ewa Beach since the early 2000’s.
Tulba’s career has spanned Hawaii’s largest industries including tourism and service and he has worked at all types of jobs such as being a lei greeter and a fast food cashier. His career as a comedian in the 1990’s and continued to grow in popularity. He has also been on shows like Hawaii Five-O and Magnum P.I. and received numerous awards for his comedy. He was also named one of Pacific Business News’ 40 under 40.
During his campaign, Tulba stated that public safety and quality of life were top concerns for his constituents. His city district covers the areas of Waikele, Village Park, Royal Kunia, Mililani Town, West Loch, Iroquois Point, and portions of Ewa Villages and Ewa Beach.
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Tulba campaigned on level headed, no nonsense policies. Where the heavy majority of Hawaii’s politicians offer circular answers to questions, Tulba has frequently responded with real world ideas to overcome problems. The contrast is that his proposals are often less romantic sounding and actually require real work. Many of his proposed ideas are refreshingly realistic. Perhaps his time spent in the real world, building his own business and creating his own success contribute to his ability to see clearly that positive sustained change lies in less talk, more action.
The troubled HART system is one area Tulba takes a realistic approach. The typical tired solution of policy makers is arguing to what degree taxpayers ought to, once again, shoulder the fiscal responsibility. Tulba sees a different key to solve the problem: charge a premium for rental spaces in the high traffic areas of each rail stop, and maximize advertising space on the rail system to raise funds. How practical. These are the types of solutions no one else talks about. Perhaps this is because most local politicians do not understand how revenue works, proven by the fact their end all be all solution to everything continues to be raising taxes for citizens.
Tulba supports the police, and isn’t afraid to say it, another refreshing take from a politician. He feels his district is in need of a stronger police presence to combat crime rates. Portions of District 9 have grown in population but not in the number of police officers, and these areas are seeing an increase in crimes against seniors and crimes of opportunity.
His idea to mitigate traffic issues in his district? Asking government bodies to stagger worker hours so less cars are on the road at a given time. How practical. Tulba joined the City Council in the beginning of 2021, and time will tell how and if these practical ideas will find a foothold with the other eight Councilmembers. What is without a doubt is that we the people need more solution makers, and less policy makers sitting on the Honolulu City Council.
Augie T. is active on his social media and has a website sharing his priorities and current community involvement.
Are you a Honolulu City citizen interested in participating in local government and having your voice heard? Interested citizens can visit the city’s website for a step by step guide for involvement in city government. The website also features links to all City Councilmembers across the city’s nine districts.