*** Commentary *** Impressive Last Act Of This Council Term Today

If you haven’t had a chance, check out Rob Tucker’s account of the last meeting of this County Council term.  As you know,  Bill 311 is to approve a $56 million bond float pitched by Mayor Billy Kenoi’s administration.  Most people, including myself, imagined six council members — J Yoshimoto, Donald Ikeda, Dennis “Fresh” Onishi, Emily Naeole, Guy Enriques, and Kelly Greenwell — would confirm an earlier decision to authorize the sale of bonds for roads, parks, housing and waste disposal projects scattered throughout the island.

Apparently, there were two motions for reconsiderations put forth:  one from Ikeda, of Hilo, for Bill 311 to be reconsidered today and one from Dominic Yagong, of Hamakua, to be reconsidered on Dec. 15 — after three new council members come aboard and a new Council majority takes effect.

Here is how Tucker described the meeting:

“About 35 people testified including me for FoPF. The majority testified to either not borrow money (The Conservative Forum for example) or for the public to be allowed public hearings (FoPF’s position). A motion was made for public hearings. In discussion it became apparent that Emily Naeole was backing off of Bill 311 in favor of allowing the public – and the incoming council – to have input and carry the ball. Guy Enriques once again was intent on listening to those invisible people who speak to him louder than the testifying public. He was against public hearings as usual. Kelly Greenwell considers the measure as stimulus package and the role of the county to take responsibility for job creation. He didn’t need public hearings. With Hoffman, Yagong, Naeole and Ford in favor of public hearings it looked like a winner. Then…
Kenneth Goodenough, county clerk, announced that in his reading of the rules it would take a five vote majority to approval a motion for public hearings. This was news to just about everybody in the chamber. Brenda Ford called for a 5 minute break to consult the rules and on returning disputed the clerk’s position. This left it up to J Yoshimoto who decided to side with the clerk for a five vote majority requirement on public hearings.
So roll was called. It quickly lined up as four to four. To most everyone’s surprise Yoshimoto voted aye in favor of public hearings and with that the session was over.”

I too wonder how Goodenow came up with the rule that there needed to be five votes for a motion for a public hearing.  I thought there needed to be three votes.

With the surprise vote from Yoshimoto in favor of a public hearing, there was applause from the audience and, after the meeting, Tucker, who can be thought of as a thorn in the side of the County of Hawaii, personally thanked both Naeole and Yoshimoto for their surprise positions.

It really sounds like today was one of the best meeting days of what generally has been a train wreck of a Council term.  
Read more

Letters — Testify Thursday Regarding Thirty Meter Telescope Development

Aloha mai kākou,
On December 2, 2010 at 6 pm, a public hearing regarding the proposed development of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna Kea, is being held at the HawaiÊ»i County Council Room, 25 Aupuni Street, Hilo (http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/occl/hearing-workshops).  The purpose of this hearing to review the TMT Corporation’s application for a Conservation District Use Permit for the development of the TMT.  More information can be found at the following link http://blog.kahea.org/2010/11/11/three-facts-three-questions/.  A group of UHH students will be attending to give our testimony in opposition of the proposed development, please contact us if you would like to be apart of this effort to fight for justice for Mauna a Wākea, through Maleka (Keaomalamalama, Hawaiian Club), or through our email at kupaaiau@gmail.com.  If you canÊ»t attend the hearing, there are petitions circulating on kahea.org that can be signed electronically also, please take the time out of your day to stand up for our ancestors and for the generations that will follow us.
Mahalo,
Mahina Patterson

*** Commentary *** Interesting Senate Vacancy Development With Takamine Tapped To Join Abercrombie Team

Image courtesy of State Office Of Elections

“Special election” was my first thought upon learning that State Sen. Dwight Takamine has been tapped to join Governor-Elect Neil Abercrombie’s team as the head of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.  Immediately, the wheels in my head were turning, thinking who could possibly be in the running for the State Senate District 1 seat.  My first thought was Dominic Yagong.  But the new Council majority in this next Council term with him as the Council Chairman is a game changer for him I would imagine.  Maybe with him remaining in the Council minority, but I can’t imagine he would jump ship now and head for the State.  Who could possible run in that special election to come?  Will State Rep. Mark Nakashima seek the Senate?  Actually, the Senate District 1 seat doesn’t just cover Hamakua.  It stretches into Waimea.  I’m very anxious to see how this one unfolds, who among who’s who puts their name in the hat for the State Senate District 1 seat, and who else from the Big Island Abercrombie will choose to be among his team.

Hawaii News — Governor-Elect Selects Budget Director, Labor Team

(Media release) — Governor-Elect Neil Abercrombie today named Kalbert Young as the Budget and Finance Director; and Sen. Dwight Takamine and Audrey Hidano as the team heading up the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations as its director and deputy director, respectively.

This is Governor-Elect Abercrombie’s second announcement regarding Cabinet positions in the Abercrombie Administration.

“They are a part of our growing team dedicated to our goal of rebuilding our economy to create good-paying jobs during these difficult times while investing in the people of Hawaii,” Governor-Elect Abercrombie said. “They are key leaders who will play a pivotal role in building a sustainable economy and strong communities for a New Day in Hawaii.” Read more

Hamakua News — Senate President Reacts To News Of Takamine Appointment

(Media release) — Senate President-Elect Shan Tsutsui today released the following statement regarding Governor-elect Neil Abercrombie’s appointment of Senator Dwight Takamine to head the Hawaii State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations:

“I want to congratulate Senator Dwight Takamine on his appointment and acknowledge the many years of service that have prepared him for this new and exciting chapter in his professional life.  Dwight’s twenty-six years of public service as a legislator, serving in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, in conjunction with his commitment to helping others through his work as a labor attorney and involvement in community activities, make him an ideal candidate for this esteemed position.  Dwight is a man of great principles and values.  I am proud to have served as his colleague and, along with my fellow Senators, will miss his wisdom and calming presence.  The people of Hawaii are privileged that a man of his experience and dedication has and will continue with his career in public service.  On behalf of the Senate, I offer him best wishes and look forward to working with him in his new capacity with the Abercrombie administration.”

(Submitted by Richard Rapoza.)

Hamakua News — State Sen. Dwight Takamine Is Abercrombie’s Pick For Labor Department Head

State Sen. Dwight Takamine has been tapped as Governor-Elect Neil Abercrombie’s Department of Labor and Industrial Relations head.  Takamine served in the state Legislature for 26 years, representing Hilo, Honokaa and Waimea.  Takamine was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 1984 and later elected to the State Senate in 2008. He served as chairman of the Senate Labor Committee, House Labor and Public Employment Committee, House Finance Committee and House Water and Land Committee.  Takamine, 57, spent 30 years practicing law in Hawaii with a general focus on labor-related cases. He graduated from Honokaa High School, UH-Manoa and William S. Richardson School of Law.

Letters — Regarding The Hawaii Sustainability Community Alliance

The Hawaii Sustainable Community Alliance has recently been organized by Hawaii Island residents.
The group’s larger vision is to contribute to a healthy, ecological, peaceful and economically stable world, working on a local level to promote, support and advocate for land based sustainable community living in Hawaii.

The current focus is on zoning laws, building and infrastructure issues, ease of preparing special use permits, and on building a statewide network of members.

http://hawaiisustainablecommunity.org/

James Weatherford

Guest Column — Inquiring About Today’s County Council Meeting

By Tom Burnett
I went at the request of a friend and was going to testify — but when I read the minutes, I realized that the vote was already rigged and that the measure was going to pass.  I told both of my friends that and left to run errands.  It was clear to me that the whole thing was a sham and I did not care to participate in it.

I have not heard the results of the vote, but I can guess.  There was an up vote to reconsider the bill (311).  Immediately thereafter, Dennis Onishi moved to approve the measure, it was seconded by Emily Naeole, and a voice vote of the attending members provided a quorum — so the bill passed.

If I am mistaken, I’d certainly like to know.   Anyone?

(Tom Burnett lives in Puna.)

Hawaii News — Governor-Elect Announces Several Director Nominees And Introduces Communication Team

(Media release) — Governor-Elect Neil Abercrombie today appointed five Cabinet members and introduced his communication team in his first announcement on leadership positions in the Abercrombie Administration.

Abercrombie’s appointments are William J. Aila Jr. as the Chairperson of the Department of Land and Natural Resources; Richard Lim as the Director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism; Jodie Maesaka-Hirata as the Director of the Department of Public Safety; and Alapaki Nahale-a and Bobby Hall as the team leading the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands as its Director and Deputy Director, respectively.

“We are forming a team of strong leaders who are the right people to help move Hawaii out of these difficult times,” Abercrombie said. “These are talented, creative individuals who have pledged to work together to fulfill our vision of A New Day in Hawaii.”

The selections come after a process that began with every considered applicant submitting his or her resume through the transition website, NewDayHawaii.org. The process, led by Abercrombie Transition Director Bill Kaneko, includes input from the community and several rounds of interviews before Abercrombie makes the final decision. As of today, more than 3,500 resumes were submitted through the transition website.

“We’re continuing to receive applications from people who are inspired by Governor-Elect Abercrombie’s call for public servants,” Mr. Kaneko said. “We are making good progress on identifying and interviewing individuals for the Abercrombie administration. We continue to encourage everyone to participate by applying or providing input and advice.”

The current priority is to select directors and deputy directors through this transition process. Department directors will have to be confirmed by the State Senate. Read more

Kona News — Theodore Casuga Apprehended At Kona Airport

Theodore Casuga

(Media release) — A 36-year-old Kona man who was wanted by police has been arrested for the original offenses and new drug charges.

Theodore Kahuilani Casuga of Kailua-Kona was wanted on a bench warrant for contempt of court. Police had also issued an all-points bulletin for his arrest in connection with several identity theft, theft and forgery investigations.

On Friday, Nov. 26, 2010, officers from the Area II Vice Section attempted to arrest him by the old Kona airport. A struggle ensued and Casuga was taken into custody. During the arrest, police recovered resealable plastic bags containing 0.4 grams of crystal methamphetamine. Read more

Puna News — Kainoa Arakaki Facing Attempted Murder And Other Charges

Kainoa Arakaki

Media release — Big Island police have charged a 30-year-old Kurtistown man with attempted murder and other offenses.

At 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 27, 2010, detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section charged Kainoa Arakaki with attempted murder, second-degree assault, three counts of third-degree assault, three counts of unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle and two counts of first-degree criminal property damage. His bail was set at $71,000. He is being held at the Hilo police cellblock pending his initial court appearance.

Around 5:30 p.m. Friday, officers from the Puna District responded to a report of a disturbance on Huina Road in Kurtistown. Responding officers observed a late-model Toyota truck with extensive damage disabled on the roadway with its driver, a 60-year-old Kea’au man pinned inside.

Police saw another late-model Toyota truck leaving the scene. They stopped the driver, Arakaki, a short distance away and took him into custody.

Fire Department rescue personnel extricated the pinned victim from the truck and took him to Hilo Medical Center, where he was listed in stable condition.

Arakaki was also taken to Hilo Medical Center for treatment of injuries sustained prior to the crash. He was then released into police custody.

(Submitted by the Hawaii Police Department via Nixle.)

South Kona — Help Identify Man Who Stole Pickup

(Media release) — Big Island police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a man who stole a pickup in South Kona on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010.

Police received an 8:25 a.m. report that the pickup had just been taken from a driveway on Mamalahoa Highway. Police recovered the pickup a half hour later in Hōnaunau.
The truck was a white 2000 Toyota Tacoma pickup with aluminum pipe racks. When police found it, the racks had been removed and placed in the back.  The suspect was described as a man with dark skin wearing a long-sleeved camouflage jacket or shirt, a dark beanie and sunglasses.  Police ask that anyone who knows his identity or who saw someone removing pipe racks from a pickup fitting that description call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311.

(Submitted by Hawaii Police Department via Nixle.)

Guest Column — Introducing A Website For The Mayor’s Committee On People With Disabilities

Paige Delima

By Paige Delima

The Mayor’s Committee on People with Disabilities will be having a meeting at the Mayor’s Office Patio at 2 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010. This will be an opportunity for committee members to meet the Mayor and for the Committee to review my effort to introduce bureaucracy to the 21st century, with a website for, not just the Committee, but for people with disabilities on the Big Island.  Check out www.cpdhawaii.ning.com.

The concept is to have Committee members and the public to log on and share information, provide ideas and input, and access information through helpful links. While sensitive to the State’s Sunshine Law, there is no better way to be transparent, than to have the whole world view what is going on and to be able to share.

Tom Callos, educational activist and consultant working with the international martial arts community and the BJ Penn Hawaii Youth Foundation, donated his expertise and time in getting the website up and running. Hopefully, others will be inspired to use a Flip camera and internet to get the word out to the community at large and offer a way for others to tune in without filters.

(Paige Delima is the chairperson of the Mayor’s Committee on People with Disabilities, mother of two, and wife to Hilo lawyer Brian Delima.)

Waimea News — ‘The Mouse House,’ A Miniature Christmas Village On Display At HPA Through Jan. 5

One of many scenes featured in “The Mouse House,” a miniature Christmas village created by beloved island painter and Kona resident Martha Greenwell. “The Mouse House is on display at Hawaii Preparatory Academy’s Isaacs Art Center through Jan. 5, 2011. Image courtesy of Phyllis Kanekuni.

(Media release) — A miniature Christmas Village created by beloved island painter and Kona resident Martha Greenwell is on display at the Isaacs Art Center at Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy through January 5, 2011.

The Christmas village, affectionately known as “The Mouse House,” made its first Big Island appearance in December 2005 at the Kona Historical Society when the village returned to Greenwell from O‘ahu after more than 20 years of being part of an annual holiday tradition at the Queen’s Hospital Auxiliary’s “Festival of Trees.”

All of the artifacts featured in the display are from the attic and tool shed of Greenwell’s in-laws, Frank and Violet Greenwell of Palani Ranch.  It took Greenwell eight years to assemble the village. Read more

Puna News — 20th Annual Pahoa Holiday Parade Is Saturday

The 20th Annual Pahoa Holiday Parade is set for 10 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010. The theme of the paraade is Keiki and Kupuna Holomua (Moving Forward).

Motorists should note that Pahoa Village Road, also known as Old Government Road, the main street through Old Pahoa Village, will be temporarily closed for the Pahoa Holiday Parade from approximately 9:30 am to noon. The road closure will be from Apa’a Street (also known as Rubbish Dump Road) to Ka’ohe Homestead Road (the intersection leading to the Pahoa High and Intermediate School). Parade participants are to line up along Apa’a Road, entering from Ka’ohe Homestead Road.

To participate in the Pahoa Holiday Parade, pick up and drop off entry forms at Jeff Hunt Surfboards, 15-2883 Pahoa Village Road, or call (808) 965-2322 to have your entry form emailed. The deadline to submit entry forms for participation in the parade is Wednesday, Dec. 1.