Guest Column —Time For Leadership On Reapportionment

By Richard “Scotchy” Henderson

Article IV 0f The Constitution of the State of Hawaii provides that beginning in 1981 and every 10th year thereafter shall be reapportionment years. Section 4 of Article IV states that,” The commission shall allocate the total number of members of each house of the state legislature being reapportioned among the four basic island units…using the total number of permanent residents in each of the basic island units and computed by the method known as the method of equal proportions; except that no basic island unit shall receive less than one member in each house”.

At their meeting in Honolulu on June 28, 2011 the appointed Reapportionment Commission voted to INCLUDE military and non-resident military dependents in the population base. The vote was 8 to 1, with Commissioner Takitani from Maui, the only Neighbor Island commissioner voting “No”. This vote was taken following an executive session. Since that time the Commission has consistently declined to disclose to the public the advice it received from the Dept. of the Attorney General with respect to the constitutionality of its decision. Even though the commission has the authority to convene in executive session, I believe that it is bad public policy to deny the public the discussion and reasoning that supports their decision on such a major issue. That ultimate question is whether the population increase on the Big Island (28% since 2001) will be recognized by the addition of an another state senator in 2012, or whether that Senate seat is assigned to an area on central Oahu which has a large military population. (Oahu currently has 18 senators and the Neighbor Islands 7).

On July 18, responding to a formal request by Big Island State Representative Bob Herkes on the Hawaii Constitution’s meaning of “permanent resident”, Deputy Attorney General Charleen Aina delivered a seven page comprehensive opinion on the same subject to Rep Herkes. Rep Herkes personally delivered a copy of the opinion to the Commission which was again meeting in executive session. The opinion became public and notably held that it was likely that the Hawaii Supreme Court would rule that “to the extent they are identifiable, nonresident college students and non-resident military members and their dependents cannot properly be included in the reapportionment population base the Commission uses to draw the legislative district lines this year”. (The military has always cooperated in the past with sufficient information necessary to identify service members and their dependents in Hawaii).

The reapportionment commission is bound by the laws of Hawaii. It cannot makeup its own laws. Our constitution says redistricting must be based on the number of “permanent residents”. That term was approved by the people of Hawaii by a 2 to 1 referendum margin in 1992. Ten years ago, the 2001 commission also started out “wrong” on this same issue, but after public hearings Chairman Wayne Minami exercised necessary leadership & changed his vote to exclude military.  That position prevailed 5 to 4. Read more

Letters — Conservative Forum To Mayor: Veto Building Code Legislation

Dear Editor:

We would like to emphasize the single most important major concern about the recent County Council’s narrow decision (5 to 4) regarding building codes. Every citizen needs to be alarmed by this whole process.
The new law on building codes adopts entirely the 2006 International Building Codes and International Energy Conservation Codes, and now with criminal penalties for violations.

Councilmen Blas, Ford, Hoffmann, Pilago and Smart voted “aye” without having read these codes, without even possessing copies of these codes, without knowing the impacts of these codes, and not even caring what impacts this law would have. They would not even agree to a 2 week extension so that community building professionals could give a complete detailed list of their concerns about the impact.  They just do not care. The laws are not even readily available for any one else to read either, as they must be purchased at significant cost.

The County administration as represented by Public Works Director Warren Lee says the new codes will save lives, but deliberately refuses to do any kind of an analysis on the cost / benefit, or even the efficacy of the results. He claims they don’t have the resources to do so, but actually he does not want to know. He just doesn’t care about that, it is not important to him. Building Division plan examiner / architect Neil Erikson has told us it would be “no problem” to review all 667 pages and make appropriate changes that actually make sense for the Big Island.

Between these 5 councilmen and the County Administration, what we have is a total neglect of the responsibility of their offices, a total disregard to the impact of their actions, and an alarming laziness in their approach to their duties. Unfortunately, this is typical of what our government delivers more and more : they just do not care what effect their actions have, and refuse to even consider the effects before they pass laws.
As a result, our lives all become a bit more expensive, a bit more difficult, and a bit less free, every day.

Mayor Kenoi should veto this law, and all others similarly passed, unless  responsible cost / benefit analysis are first done and considered fully.

sincerely

Walter Moe, President
Edward Gutteling, Vice President
The Conservative Forum for Hawaii

Letters — Public Meetings On The State Water Plan Are This Week

Aloha-

The state Water Use Plan has not been updated since 1990, now we have a 2010 plan.  The article in West Hawaii Today states that:  “the aquifer that feeds Kona and the surrounding area…should the area see full build-out.. water demand would exceed the sustainable water yield.. by 4 or 5 times.”   South Kona, Waimea and Kohala will also not have enough water to provide to new residents at build out. 

See the whole article: http://www.westhawaiitoday.com/sections/news/local-news/state-seeks-input-water-use-plan.html

PUBLIC MEETINGS:  Wednesday at 6 pm Konawaena High School’s cafeteria and Thursday, 6 pm at Waiakea’s HS cafeteria to discuss the Plan dated August 2010

To view the report:  http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/cwrm/planning/wudpha2010.pdf

QUESTIONS to ASK of our PUBLIC OFFICIALS:
WHAT is responsible development?  
If everything was built in the Kona/ South Kona/ Kohala areas tomorrow that’s allowed by current zoning and approved subdivisions, how many new homes would there be? 
Where would the water come from?  
Would existing residents be required to pay for new or updated water systems for new residents buying new homes?
At what point in population growth do we put a cap on how many people can we provide with water?  
On the other side of the equation (excuse the pun) how much sewage can our soils absorb?  What is the limiting factor? 
Do we need legislation to guarantee that each new home have water for 50 years? 
Mahalo for caring about our island!
Debbie (Hecht)

Letters — Looking For A Libertarian Community

Aloha Tiffany:

I’ve read some of your blog entries with interest… and sympathy for some of the pitfalls of running a blog.

So, maybe you know… where is the libertarian community here?  My husband and I live in Waikoloa Village (although we’ll drive to wherever).   We have found a small conservative community through the Tea Party. These folks are, of course, right to lifers and stand against separation of church and state and alternative lifestyles.  It is not so much these views that I have a problem with as the attitude that being conservative is a “package” deal, that standing for limited government means I will agree with the rest of it.

My husband and I need and want a community of libertarian thinkers to talk with, to debate with, to socialize with.  We  need to be around folks who see life through the lens of free will and free enterprise.  It sure is isolating living in the Hawaii socialist state these days.

Mahalo,

Debbie

Hawaii News — Governor To Visit Big Island Tuesday

(Media release) — Governor Neil Abercrombie will be on the east-side of Hawai’i Island on Tuesday, August 2, 2011.  The Governor will be making the following appearances:

8:10 a.m.          Keaukaha Elementary School
Governor will be briefed on the Aquaponic System installed at the school and the various agricultural and energy initiatives taking place.

9:00 a.m.         Hilo Medical Center
                Governor will be giving remarks at the Trauma Level 3 Celebration.

10:10 a.m.         University of Hawai’i – Hilo Science and Technology Building
                Governor will be giving remarks at the dedication ceremony

11:30 a.m.         ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center
Governor will be attending the Hawai’i Island Chamber Luncheon.  He will be addressing the group as well as the Japanese Chamber, Portuguese Chamber, Hawai’i Island Economic Development Board, and Kanelehua Industrial Area Association.

2:00 p.m.         East Hawai’i State Office
Governor will be participating in the office blessing and meet with volunteers.
(Submitted by Donalyn Dela Cruz.)

Missing People — Help Find Sarah Cain

(Media release) — Big Island police are searching for a 29-year-old Na’alehu woman who was reported missing.

Sarah J. Cain was last seen in the Green Sands subdivision in Na’alehu on July 14. She is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-6, 120 pounds with brown eyes and brown shoulder-length hair.

Police ask that anyone with information on her whereabouts call Detective Myra Iwamoto at 326-4646, extension 281, or the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.
(Submitted by Hawaii Police Department via Nixle.)

Ocean View News — Community Cleanup Is Saturday

(Media release) — An alliance of community volunteers and businesses led by Keep Hawai’i Beautiful Inc., The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Ka’u Ward and Mike Dubois as coordinator for the Ka’u Prevent Illegal Dumping Task Force will launch the first of three days of cleanup of illegal dump sites in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates on Saturday, July 30, 2011.
The media is welcome, and lunch will be provided at 11:30 a.m.
Volunteers for “The Big Cleanup” will gather at the intersection of Seabreeze and Iwalani Street. Saturday for a safety briefing by representatives for the Hawai’i County Fire Department, and will be divided into work groups.
Sign in and briefing will begin at 7:00 a.m.
Heavy equipment and operators are being provided for the event by Arrow Hawaiian.
Atlas Recycling Center and Big Island Scrap Metal will provide roll-off containers to collect scrap metals and rubbish.
Pacific Waste Hauling and Superior Sanitation Waste Hauling will provide hauling to the Puuanahulu landfill. Other sponsors Ocean View Auto Parts & Precision Construction.
Additional work days are planned for August 4 and August 5 using heavy equipment and operators from Goodfellow Bros. Inc. Those events will use excavators and other equipment to clean dump sites in lava tubes and other areas that are not readily accessible from subdivision roadways.
“The Big Cleanup” is being funded by a grant from the Hawai’i County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, Office of the Mayor, and Hawai’i County Police Department, which helped to form the Ka’u Prevent Illegal Dumping Task Force. Funding to cover the cost of tire disposal is being provided by the Office of the Mayor.
(Submitted by Kevin Dayton.)

Letters — Can You Take In An Exchange Student?

Aloha Friends,

Here is some information the District 6 Office is passing along from the Center for Cultural Interchange:

“HOST FAMILIES FOR FOREIGN EXCHANGE STUDENTS

There is a need all around Hawaii Island for families who would like to host a teenage exchange student who will attend a local high school.

Kona Coordinator Pamela Wang is one of three coordinators on the island who is seeking host families. There are many students who want the chance to attend an American high school, live with an American family, and learn about life in America.   These are not your average teens! They are highly motivated!

Students come from all over the world.

Last year, in Kona alone, there were 13 foreign exchange students from Cambodia, Yemen, Mali, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Norway, Germany, Italy, France, and Japan.

This year, there is a wide variety of interested students, such as—–a girl from the Ukraine who likes to cook, a Russian boy who loves soccer, and a girl from Turkmenistan who adores reading, and many more teens from Europe and Asia.

Families need not have students of their own.  Families can be singles or couples, with or without children, any religion or ethnicity, straight or gay.  The biggest requirement is a willingness to provide a safe home for the students.

The families will go through a screening process. The students are 16 to 17 years old and will attend the local high school in the host family’s district. The kids are academic achievers and excited by life. Pamela has personally hosted exchange students for 9 years and will host her 14th  student, a girl form Azerbaijan, starting in August.

For more information, call local coordinator Pamela Wang at 323-2117 or go online, to Center for Cultural Interchange at www.cci-exchange.org.”

Mahalo,
Office of Hawai’i County Councilmember Brittany Smart
District 6 – Upper Puna, Ka’u, South Kona
25 Aupuni Street
Hilo, HI 96720
(808) 961-8536
hccdistrict6@gmail.com

Hilo News — ‘Stairway To ART’ Will Host An Event Saturday

(Media release) — Stairway to ART cooperative gallery invites you to a “Meet With the Artists” evening reception, Saturday, July 30th from 6-8 pm.  Member artists include Tomas Belsky, Ken Charon, Rebecca Rosen Charon, the late great Don Hirleman, Alex and Jenny Kupka, Kerrie Ligatich, Steve Parente, MoonStar Rae, Ria Razzauti, Linda Rowell Stevens, Gene Van Dyke, Barry Wilkinson, and Carol Yamashita, some of whom will be premiering new works or rotating other works into their displays.
Tomas Belsky, Zach Street and Roy Charon will read us some thought provoking poetry.  There will be door prizes for lucky guests and special art works will be silent auctioned with a percentage of the proceeds going to support art programs in East Hawaii.  Refreshments will be provided.  This event is free to the public.  See us at www.Facebook.com/StairwaytoArt or call Stairway to ART at 935-1858 Mon.-Sat. 10-4 or Ken Charon at 966-7343 for more details.

(Submitted by Ken Charon.)

Hilo News — Dora Beck To Assume Environmental Management Director’s Position

(Media release) — The Director of the Department of Environmental Management, Frank DeMarco, recently submitted his resignation from this position to transfer back to the Department of Public Works, effective August 1.  DeMarco, a licensed professional engineer, will return to his former position as the Floodplain Manager in the Engineering Division.
 
Dora Beck, current head of Environmental Management’s Wastewater Division will be temporarily assigned to the Director’s position.  Beck has worked in various engineering capacities for the department since June 2003.  She holds a MS degree in Civil Engineering, with emphasis in Environmental Engineering, from San Jose State University.  Beck is a licensed professional engineer in California and Hawaii.
 
In announcing these changes, Mayor Billy Kenoi praised DeMarco for his leadership in addressing difficult situations, and for carrying out the critical work of the department.  He also expressed gratitude for Beck’s willingness to step in to provide continued leadership and expertise.
 
According to Kenoi, “I feel fortunate to have had a man of Frank DeMarco’s background on our team.  I appreciate his willingness to tackle the many challenges of the department and I respect his decision to spend more time with his family.  We look forward to working with Ms. Dora Beck in her new role as acting Director of the Department Environmental Management.”
(Submitted by Karen Teshima.)

Letters — Growers Beware

Helicopters have been very aggressive lately in the Kona Palisades and surrounding areas.  Flying under 100ft, circling, and hovering.

Whenever the helicopters come I go straight outside with my camera,  as soon as they see me filming them, they immediately leave.  Guilty maybe???  They know they are illegally searching, and flying below legal limits in residential areas.  Film them! Not only will they leave, but we will build a vast library of illegal helicopter searches… more ammo to bring to the table in the next legislative session!  (See below:)
This is a little more information passed along from one of our well informed patients.  Also a journal of strange cars (with license plate #), people on bikes or on foot, times & dates.  Nothing is too insignificant to journal.

The ACLU is very active in pressing charges against the helicopters flying too low, very unsafe, and abusive government tactics.  Report to office@acluhawaii.org or call 808-522-5906  pictures and video with your house or a tree as a reference is great evidence.
Low fling aircraft can also be reported to:
Federal Aviation Admin.
Honolulu Flight Standards Dist. Office
135 Nakolo Pl.
Honolulu, HI 96819
808-837-8300

Many Mahalos, Sandy (Webb)

Hawaii News — Anticipate County Office Closures For Furlough Friday

(Media release) — Most County of Hawai`i offices that serve the public will be closed on Friday, July 29, which will be the first county employee furlough day of the new fiscal year. Starting in August, the county furlough days will be scheduled on the first Friday of each month.
 
In an effort to minimize any inconvenience to the public, county officials are asking residents to include the furlough schedule in their planning to ensure the county agencies they need will be open when they arrive.
 
In particular, motorists who need to register their vehicles or renew their drivers licenses near the end of July are urged to plan ahead. County vehicle registration offices will be closed on Friday, July 29, which would normally be the last business day of the month.
 
Hele-On bus service will operate as regularly scheduled, but administrative offices for the bus system will be closed on furlough days.
 
The Department of Parks & Recreation will not close any pools in July because of the furlough, but pools will be closed for two furlough days in August. Pool users are asked to check with the individual pools to determine the furlough schedule for each facility.
 
The Department of Public Works’ Aupuni Center and West Hawai’i Civic Center offices will be closed to the public on furlough days, and contractors are asked to schedule critical work and administrative requirements around the furlough days.
 
The county is implementing one furlough day per month as a cost-saving measure under a new two-year agreement between the County and the Hawai`i Government Employees Association. The furloughs will save the county an estimated $2.1 million per year.
 
For more information about county news and events, please visit hawaiicountymayor.com  
(Submitted by Desiree Cruz.)