Mangrove Community Meeting Draws About 80 People

There are about 80 people packed into the large room of the Pahoa Community Center for the mayor-hosted mangrove meeting.
The meeting is to detail the eradication of mangrove at Wai Opae, Pohoiki, and Onekahakaha Beach Park.
The mayor is not at the meeting yet, but, according to Hunter Bishop, executive assistant to the mayor, making his way here from Kona.
At the moment, representatives of Malama O Puna are detailing the eradication of the invasive mangrove, which first came to Molokai in 1902.
We have yet to hear from Sydney Ross Singer, a community member who opposes the eradication and who has waged a lawsuit to try to halt the endeavor.
The project has stopped due to litigation.

A L O H A
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Photo Of The Week — Touching Up The Laupahoehoe Train Museum Mural

Guenn Adare shot this photo of Jill Amaral, Lisa Barton's sister, in May 2010. Lisa Barton is one of the founders of the Laupahoehoe Train Museum. Jill painted the original mural on the side of one of the buildings at the train museum several years ago. In this photo, she is touching up the old paint.

Letters — Get Educated On The BOE Candidates

Dear editor,

We sure talk a lot about education in this state, but most of us know squat about its members and how the Board of Education (BOE) works.

Did you know there are thirteen members? That three of them come from the outer islands? That every two years one of those seats is up for

election? That no matter which outer island you live on, you vote for that seat?

No wonder we know so little. Just once in six years, the candidates come from our own county. In between, we hear almost nothing about

the BOE. Read more

Letters — In Defense Of Stephens Media

Michael Ra Bouchard is mistaken in his assessment of a Stephens Media plot to destroy Aunty Emily. If he spent any time in the company, he would realize Stephens Media only rarely interferes with the content of the Big Island’s daily newspapers (compared to the editors, I mean). The company owns some 60 or so newspapers and is based in Las Vegas.

If you think the Stephens honchos are crafty enough to coordinate an attack on a council lady thousands of miles away, well, I have a fake moon landing to sell you. Individual newspapers, their editors and reporting staff should be held responsible for the content they print. This is not to say that Stephens Media is blameless. On occasion its agents have ignored labor law, squeezed out independent publications, bean-counted resources and created a hostile work environment. But on issues of local politics, there is not much of a companywide conspiracy.

Also, Gary Hoff’s cartoons express his opinion and his alone. He is an independent freelancer. Whether it’s appropriate for the HTH to print them should be debated. But in the same way that enlisted soldiers aren’t responsible for the decision to go to war, this cartoon shouldn’t be held up as an example of slanted journalism, or an indictment of the corporation. It’s not journalism! It’s opinion. It’s supposed to provoke, and it looks like it did its job.

Aunty Emily should get the truth out as fast as possible, whatever it is, and let the people decide.

Anonymous

Missing People — Grace Sosa Higgins Was Last Seen Aug. 14

Grace Sosa Higgins

(Media release) — Big Island police are searching for a 42-year-old Ka’Å« woman reported as missing. Grace Sosa Higgins of Hawaiian Ocean View Estates was last seen Aug. 14, 2010. She is described as 5-feet tall, 95 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. She may be on Oahu.

Police ask that anyone with information on her whereabouts call Officer Michael Dubberstein at (808) 939-2520 or the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300 in Hilo or (808) 329-8181 in Kona. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

(Submitted by Hawaii Police Department via Nixle.)

Letters — Pohakuloa Training Area Press Conference Regarding Invitation-Only Event Tuesday

There will be a press conference outside the Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) main gate on Tuesday, Aug. 31st at 1:15PM   The press conference will raise questions about the “By Invitation ONLY” meeting inside Pohakuloa at 2PM on the Depleted Uranium (DU) contamination from military training.  Questions will include: Why wasn’t the meeting held in the community on the Hilo and Kona sides of the island and open to the public?  Why won’t the military participate in balance public community forums on the issue of DU? Why have questions hand delivered to the military in 2007 about DU contamination not yet been answered?  Was air monitoring done during the recent fires around PTA to detect possible airborne DU?  If so, were .45 micron or smaller air filters used?  How have Army air sampling plans chanced since the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) found the Army’s plans deficient earlier this year?

A community forum on DU is being held on Monday, Aug. 30, 2010 from 7-9PM at the Keaau Community Center.  The event is free and open to the public.  The Army was invited to participate but once again declined an invitation from Malu ‘Aina, sponsor of the event.

Jim Albertini

Malu ‘Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action

Letters — Remember The Puna Community Development Plan?

(From the Friends of Puna’s Future.)

Come support the Puna Community Development plan TONIGHT – when it really counts.  The Public Hearing being held at 6:00 tonight at the Kea’au Middle School will determine whether the voice of Puna’s citizens will prevail – or be compromised in favor of for-profit development.

Get as informed as you can on the issues before you come –  BUT COME! Even if you do not wish to testify, your presence alone will send a clear message that Puna’s citizens stand behind the original intent of the PCDP and the voice of the current PCDP Action Committee.

Just about everything you need to know may be found by following this LINK:

http://www.hcrc.info/community-planning/puna-cdp

A current discussion about some of the issues may be found on the PCDP Forum at:

http://punaweb.org/Forum/default.asp

WHAT:

Hawaii County Council’s Public Hearing on the proposed AMENDMENTS to the Puna Community Development Plan.

Without our intervention, the amendments will be bundled for passage as a package deal – inserting major changes to the original intent of the PCDP along with desirable amendments and corrections to grammatical errors.

WHEN:

TONIGHT, Monday August 30th, 6 p.m.

WHERE:

Kea’au Middle School’s Cafeteria (mapquest link for school location below)
http://www.mapquest.com/maps?city=Keaau&state=HI&cat=Keaau+Middle+School&country=US&latitude=19.622507&longitude=-155.038986&geocode=CITY

Letters — Yellow Journalism

Tiffany Edwards Hunt photo of Gary Hoff cartoon, as published in the Aug. 29, 2010 edition of the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.

What ever happened to the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise?

From the recent articles prominently published in the Hawaii-Tribune Herald and West Hawaii Today, featuring questionable allegations against Hawaii County Councilor Emily Naeole-Beason, to the inflammatory and in extremely poor taste Sunday cartoon commentary about her marital woes, you have all but tried and convicted this decent member of our community in the press. What is the purpose of this personal attack, other than adding to your long history of smearing her good name and casting doubts and aspersions upon her character?

Just so you know, I have no dog in the upcoming political race. I’ve never voted for any Hawaii County council member and do not intend to do so, nor do I personally know Mrs. Naeole-Beason. Moreover, since when has it become acceptable to trivialize the tragic community problem of domestic violence as a punch line to mean-spirited political satire — have you no sense of decency, sir? Read more

Guest Cartoon — God Works In Mysterious Ways

Tomas Belsky cartoon

Tomas Belsky on the political cartoon regarding the ordeal involving Puna Councilwoman Emily Naeole-Beason and her estranged husband Raymond Beason, who went to the press with allegations that Naeole-Beason beat him (See here and here for background) :

“I rendered her quite beautiful, after discounting a few rougher versions. I showed it to a few persons, they thought it hilarious, but there is a dilemma. That’s the thing with politicos; their lives become public, open to the highest praise and the most vile caricatures. I don’t see this as cruel, but poignant. Actually, this episode is an extension of the volatile life of Luka Princess Ruth Ke’elekolani, who married a haole man and had classic pitched physical battles. There’s humor to it, kinda dark, but that’s life.

Apparently, dis dude had four previous wives; Dis one he no can forget — das why Jesus wen send him for her. Emily can hammo. I’ve shown the cartoon to several persons of mixed political and ethnic persuasion and found that all of them said ‘publish it.’ It is not vicious. They suggested I remove my name from it for my own security, which I thought flattering; another suggestion was to make her fist into an open hand (slap) for my own safety again. I fear not. Are you familiar with Thomas Nast and his cartoons that brought Tammany Hall down in the 1870-80’s? To me, it’s a hilarious event with malice toward none.”

Letters — Regarding Correspondence From Roger Christie

Bumper stickers available for sale at Jeff Hunt Surfboards in Pahoa.

Dear editor:

Moanike’ala and I received a letter from Roger Christie in response to one we had written a few weeks earlier. It’s a three page hand written salutation to all persons who appreciate the struggle to legalize, free and resurrect Marijuana as a positive gift from Ke Akua, and end the war on cannabis while freeing the many victims of the erroneous and vicious policies of the US Government.

Roger’s is a most interesting letter and I know he would not mind disclosing it in its entirety. Unfortunately. my typing is too laborious, therefore I invite anyone with nimbler fingers than mine to type it for public release. Email me at tomasbelsky@gmail.com, I will summarize the main points.

Roger is in high spirits (not as high as he’d like, I’m sure) and encourages letters to him as they are most appreciated. A new website has taken up the cause and he encourages us to get acquainted with it: www.the-last-marijuana-trial.com . He has asked for the miracle that will accomplish all our common aims and is not downhearted over the extension of the trial date to next April 26, as this give Ke Akua time to work the magic. Read more

Meeting Notice — Puna Community Development Plan Public Hearing Is Monday Night In Kea’au

Mark your calendar for 6 p.m., Monday, Aug. 30, 2010 for the Hawaii County Council’s public hearing on the Puna Community Development Plan.  The public hearing is expected to be held at Kea’au Middle School.  At issue are the plethora of amendments being proposed by the Department of Planning, Council Chairman J Yoshimoto and Puna Councilwoman Emily Naeole-Beason.

The CDP is a policy planning document which guides future growth and development on the island and in each of the districts.  Read more about the Puna CDP here.

*** Commentary *** Regarding Pahoa’s Phantom Lane And Legislation Regarding Woodland Center Up For First Reading Sept. 9

For nearly three weeks there has existed a phantom lane at the intersection of Pahoa Village Road and Highway 130.  Would you believe, 17 days after I first told you about it on my blog, that phantom lane is still there?  Seventeen days ago there were orange cones erected to try to discourage drivers from driving into the lane.  Now, those cones aren’t even there.  And, for the last week, the debris that you see in the photo above, has remained there.  Every time I drive by, I am both amazed and horrified at the neglect of this area by our State and County officials.  Whose kuleana is it to clean up the debris from a car crash. As we know, the car crashes at this intersection are frequent.  Phantom lanes and debris left in the road do not lend to public safety.

Meanwhile, on a separate but related subject,  Bill 283, the ordinance granting the developer of Woodland Center a five-year time extension to fulfill conditions associated with a commercial rezoning, will be taken up on first reading at the Hawaii County Council meeting on Wednesday.  More than 1,100 people signed a petition calling for certificates of occupancy not to be granted until the necessary intersection improvements are made.  Among the necessary intersection improvements is that of Pahoa Village Road and Highway 130.  But that is not on the State’s list of to-dos for sometime.   Neither is extending Kahakai Boulevard, which fronts Woodland Center, out onto Highway 130.  But the developer, Paul Ogasawara, has agreed to pay the estimated $400,000 to do the latter.  Unbelievably, council members, all caught up in Ogasawara’s generosity to do the State’s job of extending Kahakai Boulevard onto the highway, merely settled for a verbal bro deal at Planning Committee level.  “Eh, Paul, you gonna get that road extended by Nov. 15?” “What you want me to say?  If I don’t say yes, you won’t approve the bill.  Yes.”  Nothing in writing.  Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.  Eh, thanks, Paul.  But you’re under no obligation to actually follow through with your word.  I could not even believe the lack of professionalism on the part of our council members.  And I could not even believe that Guy Enriques, the councilman who represents Upper Puna, Ka’u, and South Kona, said the 1,100 people who signed a petition calling for certificates of occupancy not to be issued prior to intersection improvements being made, did so out of “ignorance.” Obviously, Enriques really isn’t too cognizant of how many 1,100 people actually means here.  Imagine if all 1,100 people who signed that petition actually showed up at a Hawaii County Council meeting to testify. (Here my testimony from Aug. 18.) With three minutes allotted for each one of them, need I compute how many days of public testimony council members would have to sit through before they even got to their own discussion of Bill 283?  Let’s see, 1,100 people.  I’ll get into my voter breakdown further down the line in another thread, but suffice it to say, with the voter turnout on this island, in some races, 1,100 people is all it takes for a council member to win or lose an election.

I suggest that council members do the right thing and actually get that verbal agreement from Ogasawara in writing.  State in Bill 283 that if Kahakai Boulevard is extended out onto Highway 130 by Nov. 15.  Long’s Drugs, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and/or Burger King can open on Nov. 16.  Be responsible parliamentarians.  Council members’ meeting on Thursday, Sept. 9 begins at 9 a.m.  Maybe I’ll see you there.

Puna News — Mangrove Eradication Project To Be Discussed At Tuesday Community Meeting

Mangrove art by Xavier Cortada, of Miama, Fla. Cortada granted permission for his art to be published here, with the understanding that his paintings reflect how mangroves are essential to the Florida ecosystem. He noted that he is a "strong proponent of mangrove destruction in Hawaii," however. "The little science I know, if I had a machete, I'd help cut them down. In an island nation, you've got to preserve the native ecosystems there." Cartada encourages those interested to check out his "Hanging Gardens" project, which aims to create vertical gardens inside the Miami-Dade Public Library "comprised not of plants we want to grow, but of those we want to kill." Click here to find out more information about the Hanging Gardens project.

(Media release) —  A community meeting will be held at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2010 at the Pahoa Community Center to discuss the ongoing mangrove eradication project at several public and private properties on the Island of Hawaii, including the Wai` Opae Marine Life Conservation District, Isaac Kepo’okalani Hale Beach Park at Pohoiki, and Onekahakaha Beach Park in Hilo.

Mayor Billy Kenoi has called the meeting to allow residents to make any comments they may have regarding this project.

The County of Hawaii, Big Island Invasive Species Council, U.S. Department of Fish & Wildlife, Hawaii Department of Health and Hawaii Tourism Authority are partners in the project to remove the red mangrove, Rhizophora mangle, an invasive species, from the coast using an approved herbicide and manual means of eradication. Read more

Letters — In Appreciation Of The Politics Of Birth Story

Emily Chesley art

(A version of this letter appeared in the Aug. 25, 2010 edition of the Big Island Weekly.)

Thanks so much for printing Tiffany Edwards Hunt’s comments about both the importance of breast feeding and midwifery. Here in Hawaii we have fallen behind the times in our awareness of best health practices and this often results in low birth weight babies, unhealthy young mothers and babies, and fathers isolated from the bonding process – all of which contribute to the breakdown of a strong social fabric, and weakened babies as well as children with ongoing problems in their physical, emotional, and cognitive health. We could be doing so much better!

I’d also like to note that very few people I’ve met here who have had to see a doctor for some reason have actually understood what “informed consent” actually means. It doesn’t mean, for example, that we’ve agreed to whatever the doctor wants to do. It does mean, though, that we have been told about every available option and both its positive and negative aspects regarding risk and outcome, whether these options are the most popular ones or not.Ms. Edwards Hunt is right to question the propriety of a doctor working for a federally funded clinic refusing her care. I’ve had some pretty dubious shuffling out the door at one of our local clinics in the past myself, and my attempts to straighten it out were blocked at every turn – lost files, unrecorded phone messages, delayed paperwork, wrong paperwork, insulting comments by the doctor, and generally shabby treatment. I don’t believe there is a good excuse for this. Read more

Hawaii News — The Maile David Story

(Editor’s note: A version of this story appeared in the Aug. 25 edition of the Big Island Weekly.)

By Tiffany Edwards Hunt

Maile David

Maile David will be on the ballot as a candidate for Hawaii County Council District 6. But the reality is her candidacy is in limbo.

David’s candidacy is being challenged by County Clerk Ken Goodenow in Third Circuit Court. The challenge is due the fact that the Hawaii County Charter states a candidate for Hawaii County Council must be registered to vote in the district he or she is running in at least 90 days prior to the Primary Election. David is a 20-year resident of the island, however she has only lived in District 6 since December 2008 and registered to vote in that district 84 days prior to the Primary. District 6 is comprised of South Kona, Ka’u, and Upper Puna.

David’s attorney, Mike Matsukawa, maintains there is a conflict in the County Charter, stating in one section that a person must be registered to vote in his or her district 90 days prior to the Primary and stating in another section that a person merely has to be registered to vote at the time of pulling nomination papers. Matsukawa argues the “fundamental” right and privilege of our democratic society is to run for public office and “courts have favored a policy ‘to promote rather than defeat candidacy.'”

Corporation Counsel Lincoln Ashida, meanwhile, believes the argument that the County Charter has conflicting sections is without merit. “In this case, we have a residency requirement and a registered voter requirement,” Ashida said. “The people of our county who enacted and imposed this requirement recognized there are people who have the means to own multiple residences. If you run for Council, the people want to make sure you not only live in the district — something relatively easy to do by showing a utility bill — but you are registered to vote in the district. Ashida noted that, without such a requirement, “you have Hillary Clinton qualifying to be a senator from New York.” Read more

Missing People — Terrence Burke Hasn’t Been Heard From Since June

Terrence Burke

(Media release) — Big Island police are searching for a 43-year-old man reported as missing.

Terrence Burke’s family on the mainland has not heard from him since June. At that time, he was expected to call again in two weeks.

Burke has no permanent address but is known to frequent the Ka’Å« and Kona areas. He is described as Caucasian, 6-foot-2, about 220 pounds with green eyes and blond hair.

Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300 in Hilo or (808) 329-8181 in Kona. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

(Submitted by Hawaii Police Department via Nixle.)