Hawaii News — Brenda Ford Will Seek To Represent Council District 6

Brenda Ford has announced that she will run for the County Council seat in the new District 6 (Kona, Ka’u, and Volcano) in the 2012 election.  
“The rural and agricultural areas of Ka’u, North & South Kona, and Volcano lend themselves to having one representative who understands rural and agricultural areas.  Since I have always held an island-wide view in getting projects completed and providing residents and businesses in the more remote areas with better access to government services, I know that I will be able to represent these areas well.”
“New Council District 6 is very large area and needs a person who understands agriculture, business, infrastructure, and the need for jobs and services.  I have always worked diligently to provide for rural areas throughout the island.”
“Council Member Brittany Smart advised me today that she will not be a candidate for Council next term.  I commend Ms. Smart for her work in representing her district and working with the Council to advance legislation to help all of our residents.  She is highly intelligent, easy to work with, and committed to serving her constituents.  I will miss her on the Council next term.”
“I committed to Ms. Smart, and I also commit to the residents of the current District 6 that I will continue to work on the projects that Ms. Smart started or continued to support such as: Ocean View transfer station, the Pahala Emergency Shelter and Gym, the Ocean View water well project, and a Ka’u Council Office from which residents may testify by videoconference.”
“I am a Council Member who works more than full-time to serve the residents and businesses of my district and all other districts as well. I will continue to work in that manner during the next term if I am elected.  This is not a part-time job, and the people need and expect a full-time advocate and Council Member.”
Some of the areas in which I provided legislation or action to assist our county residents are:
Charter Amendments:
Fair and equitable redistricting code (provided to the Charter Commission)
Special Funds (allows Council or the Administration to establish such funds)
Special Counsel (allows Council to hire special counsel without authorization of Corporation Counsel)
2% Public Access, Open Space, & Natural Resource Fund (PONC- acquire open space lands)
Maintenance Fund (provides funds for public safety and preservation of open space lands acquired by the PONC fund)
Hawai’i County Code (both corrections and new codes):
Redistricting (fair & equitable council district design)
Budget Stabilization Fund (sets minimum amount of $250K per year)
Disaster & Emergency Fund (sets minimum amount of $250K per year)
DUI Towing  (drivers may get their vehicle towed if they are DUI)
Provided Hawai’i State Association of Counties and State Legislation:
Liquor Tax for DUI programs
Ban aquarium fish collection from our reefs
Agricultural product branding to protect each Hawaiian region’s identity and products
Truth-in-labeling for product content by percentage of total
Country of Origin Labeling (protects agricultural products grown in Hawai’i from misuse of our regional names)
Improve “indigent” definition (allows “partially indigent” definition, sets explicit standards for determination of indigent)
Vote By Mail (County)
Vote by Mail (State)
Sewer exemption (allows up to 10 years to pay sewer fees when a gang cesspool converts to septic)
Advocated for a police take-home radio policy & funding for radios to enhance officer & resident protection
South Kona Police 24/7 Station (new station in the only district without one to improve response times)
Captain Cook Police Substation remodel (provided funds to remodel kitchen to be sanitary and fully functional)
Kipapa Park acquisition (new park on Ali’i Drive & additional parking for nearby beaches)
New crosswalks near Kona Bali Kai Condominiums; working on new parking lot for Banyan’s Beach & pedestrian-controlled signal light for crosswalk
Continued to advocate for Hokuli’a to complete bypass road and open it for public use
Advocated for paving: Seaview Circle Subdivision, Honalo-to-Captain Cook highway, synchronized traffic signal lightss on Ali’i Drive to improve traffic flow
Advocated for paving & widening shoulders, appropriate striping, and traffic signal light on Ali’i Drive near Kaleiopapa Drive to protect pedestrian walkers
Worked with Administration to develop & advocated for federal funds for 26 sewer projects desperately needed in seven districts around the island
(Submitted by Brenda Ford.)

Hawaii News — Brittany Smart Not Seeking Another Council Term

Brittany Smart announced today that she will not be seeking a second council term at this time, but is keeping her options open for the future. “Due to personal reasons, I am unable to commit to another two year term at this time. I am honored to serve District 6, but have to think of what’s best for the people,” she stated.

Ms. Smart, however, expressed her support for Councilmember Brenda Ford for the District 6 seat. “Ms. Ford is completely dedicated to this job and has my utmost confidence in accurately representing the district,” Ms. Smart said. “Ms. Ford is very knowledgeable in issues that face rural areas, such as lack of government access and infrastructure, agricultural issues, and sufficient police presence. Ms. Ford has promised to follow through on any projects that may remain at the end of my term, such as the Pahala Emergency Shelter and Gym, the Ocean View Transfer Station, and last, but not least, a Ka`u Council office for public testimony.”

Ms. Smart wanted to sincerely thank all of her constituents for their support and to assure them that she will continue to diligently advocate for the District for the remainder of her term. Ms. Smart also thanked the Counclmembers and the Mayor’s administration for their help and support as well. Lastly, she sent heartfelt thanks to Governor Neil Abercrombie for his support, especially in providing the $17.9 million dollars for the Pahala Emergency Shelter and Gym.
(Submitted by Brittany Smart.)

Hawaii News — Hawaii State Senate Adopts Social Media Use Policy

The Hawaii State Senate today adopted a social media use policy.   The Policy provides guidance to users, both internally and in the public.

Currently, the use of social media in the public sector is a new and emerging phenomenon across the country. The Hawaii State Senate is one of the few state senate bodies that have formally adopted a social media use policy.

The State Senate endeavors to increase public accessibility to legislative policies and information to best serve the needs of citizens and has found it necessary to explore and embrace the use of social media.   

“The recent growth of social media use to communicate with government officials and organizations underscores the importance for government agencies to incorporate social media services (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr) as integral components to governments’ overarching communication initiatives,” said Senate President Shan Tsutsui . “At the same time, it is equally vital that we, as agencies and representatives, harness the potential of these tools in the most appropriate and responsible manner. That’s what this policy guides us to do.”

The Senate policy supports growing adoption of social media by its members and staff while providing guidance and standards of its use to ensure appropriate and effective use is consistent and in compliance with Federal and State rules and regulations.

“Social media is continually changing the way we communicate and engage with one another,” said Senate Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria. “While traditional vehicles of communication, such as print and broadcast hold much value, we cannot negate the importance of new and emerging technology. It is important for us to reach out to all of our citizens, and that includes the use of social media. This policy provides the appropriate structure for doing so.”

The Hawaii State Senate Social Media Use Policy includes guidance on social media application, use, security, approval, content, and management. All official accounts will be monitored by the Senate Communications Office to assure compliance with the use policy.

Here’s a link to the Senate Social Media Use Policy: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/senate.aspx

(Submitted by Caroline Julian.)

***Commentary*** Just As I Was About To Load My Hi5 Recycling… A Guide To Transfer Station Hours

In the final countdown of 2011, I’m in the thick of sorting and now find myself eager to do my recycling.  Everything is piled and ready to be loaded in the truck.  My husband and I are negotiating who will be getting the few dollars that we expect for redemption.

Just as I set out to load up my sorted piles of recycling, I decided to seek out the transfer station schedule.  Lo and behold, in Puna, Thursday is not recycling day. You can see the transfer station schedule here (pdf) at www.hawaiizerowaste.org.

In Kea’au, the transfer station is open 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. And it’s closed for lunch between 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.  In Pahoa, the transfer station is open 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, and also closed between 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. for lunch.  All the transfer stations have different operation hours, so you should definitely check out the schedule for those that are closed to your home or business.

There are some privately run businesses like Atlas Recycling, which is open daily in Kona and Hilo, along with Reynolds Recycling, and Mr. K’s Recycle and Redemption in Hilo.


*** Commentary *** A 2011 Retrospective; What Will You Remember About This Year?

We’re a few days away from celebrating the new year, and I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on the year we are leaving behind.
Most publications sum up the year. Maybe you can help me with that. When I think back to 2011, there are two events I’ll never forget: the birth of my son and the death of one of my student.
I’m looking to plan my son’s first birthday in February and, in January, I’ll be present for the sentencing hearing of Keolaokalani Kailianu who killed University of Hawaii Hilo student Ted Braxton in May.
Kailianu was drunk — three times the legal limit — when he left Stephanie’s bar in the bowling alley and struck Braxton at the intersection of Kinoole and Hualalai Streers.
Braxton, who I knew because of his work for Ke Kalahea, the student newspaper that I advise, was on a moped. Kailianu, meanwhile, was in an armored vehicle. It has not been made public which company had assigned Kailianu the vehicle. In November, as part of a plea deal, Kailianu pleaded no
contest to negligent homicide charges for Braxton’s death.
With such truly memorable events like Braxton’s death and my son’s birth, I can’t really think of anything more noteworthy that went on this year. By all means, jog my memory. When you think back to 2011, what will you remember?

Letters — ‘Occupy’ Groups To Protest In Kona Saturday

Aloha friends– part of the 99% concerned about justice, peace and the earth,

Please pass this on to other friends who may be interested!

Please join all Hawai’i Island Occupy groups this Saturday (31st) – on the highway, 15 miles north of Kailua Town – the road just SOUTH OF the Four Seasons/Hualalai Resort, (Kukio – vacation subdivision of the 1%) 10AM – 1pm.
The 1% park their multi-million dollar private jets for cheap at the Keahole Airport, not much more than it cost  residents to park their holoholo car overnight at the airport.
The 1% also own multi-million dollar residences in the Kukio/Kaupulehu resort. An example:  A building contractor reported that the actual cost of a house in Kukio was $169 million, but to pay lower taxes, the owner listed the house with the county tax office as costing “only” $20-25 million.  That’s tax fraud and shorting the county on taxes over $140 million valuation on a single property.
It’s time to say to the 1% — PAY YOUR SHARE!   At a time when 26% of children on this island are food insecure, this kind of extravagant wealth of the jet setters is SHAMEFUL!

If you have a pop up tent please bring it to honor OWS! (plus water, snacks, chairs ..and umbrella for shade, if needed)

Ring in the New Year with friends who care for the people and the planet!

Mahalo to all the people who helped in pulling together information for this effort.
People leaving from the Hilo side will meet at 7AM across from Merrill Lynch for car pooling

Jim Albertini
(808) 966-7622

Letters — A Statewide Burial Council?

Received from a source.  This unconstitutional proposed bill
 would end protection of the iwi kupuna and would make sure that Native Hawaiian ‘ohana cannot protect their iwi kupuna.  What’s more, it would cost $60,000 MORE per year to have one state-wide burial council versus the current system of a burial council for each island.

I am still researching to discover which legislators are sponsoring this evil bill.  I know that current State Historic Preservation Division Director, Pua Aiu, who is of Native Hawaiian descent, spoke in favor of this concept at the annual Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs convention this past November.  People attending the convention were outraged since the SHPD and Pua Aiu have already broken many burial laws to the extent that the National Park Service is not funding their $1,2 million grant for the first time ever.

Please help stop this bill before it even makes it into committee.  Call your representatives today.  Tell them to fix the system in favor of Native Hawaiian ‘ohana and the iwi kupuna, instead of making it more favorable for real estate developers.


Charles Flaherty


Letters — Safeway In Favor Of Bag Reduction Legislation

Blog readers, particularly those who commented under the entry offering a guest column by Tom Burnett, will be interested to see this letter Safeway Public Affairs and Government Relations Director Susan Houghton wrote the Hawaii County Council on Dec. 21 in favor of the legislation for bag reduction here.  I am told that Safeway was the only retailer to submit testimony, and positive for fees and restrictive action.


Letters — Inquiring About The ‘Little Buildings’ Moved From Kawaihae To Pahoa

The 'little buildings' formerly used for Kawaihae Transitional Housing have been relocated to Pahoa for senior housing.

James Weatherford asks:

Any scoop on the ~20 buildings on church property along the lane makai of Jan’s Barber Shop?
The same that were previously in Kawaihae? 
Where to now?

Tiffany Edwards Hunt responds:

James et al, 

 My understanding is the houses formerly used for Kawaihae Transitional Housing run by Catholic Charities have been relocated to a property owned by the Catholic church (behind Jan’s Barber Shop) to be used for senior housing being offered by the Office for Social Ministry.  I have not seen any formal press release or announcement. 

 My understanding comes from a discussion I overheard recently when attending a Kokua Pahoa (Pahoa Weed and Seed) meeting.  If you want to find out more information, call the Office for Social Ministry, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, or the office of Puna Councilman Fred Blas.  

Kona News — Police: Man Assaulted Bar Patrons With Cow Femur Bone

Gregory Haas

(Media release) — A Kona man has been charged with four counts of assault in connection with an affray outside a bar in Kona.

On Saturday, Dec. 24, Kona patrol officers responded to a 1:33 a.m. report of an affray outside a drinking establishment in the Gold Coast Business Center off Kaiwi Street in Kailua-Kona.

When officers arrived, patrons were holding 45-year-old Gregory Haas of Kailua-Kona outside the establishment. He had reportedly assaulted four men with what is believed to be the femur bone of a cow.

A 40-year-old Kona man was struck on the head. He was air-lifted to The Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu in critical condition. The next day his condition was upgrated to serious but stable.

A 25-year-old Kona man received lacerations to his head. He was treated and released at Kona Community Hospital.

A 65-year-old Kona man received an injury to his right forearm. A 49-year-old Kona man who had been struck on the back experienced pain. Those two did not require medical attention.

Haas was treated at Kona Community Hospital for injuries he received during the affray. Upon his release, he was arrested and taken to the Kona police cellblock while detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

He was charged at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 25 with one count of first-degree assault and three counts of second-degree assault. He remained at the cellblock in lieu of $55,000 bail until his initial court appearance Tuesday, Dec. 27.

(Submitted by Hawaii Police Department via Nixle.)

Guest Column — Regarding The Police Commission’s Handling Of Police Brutality Allegations

Damon Tucker shows his injuries to Big Island Chronicle the weekend of the August 2011 incident. Photo by Tiffany Edwards Hunt. All rights reserved. Use with permission only.

By Damon Tucker
Anyone want to start a discussion on the possibility of finding out a better way to resolve police complaints w/out the public having to fight the “Fox in the Hen House”?

With the utmost respect to the current Hawaii County Police Commission, the police commission are just normal folks like us… yet, the “alleged” power they may and could hold, is really very small considering anything they eventually recommend, just falls back onto the Police Chief to make the final decision on things anyways.

After my recent experience in front of the commission… I honestly worry about many of the complaints that may be brought forward, but not looked at seriously for one reason or another.

Not much time is given to the folks that want to present their case, and in my case… it was done towards the end of a very long day.

I expect to be getting a letter some time this week with the results of the Police Commissions results in my own complaint (HPC 11-32).  One way or another… I brought my complaint forward and the results of this, will have no bearing on any pending lawsuit I may be filing in the next few days.

(Damon Tucker is a blogger and tweets with the handle @damontucker. He has made police brutality allegations, after he had a conflict with police for trying to photograph and videotape a bar fight outside a Pahoa nightclub. Police charged Tucker with obstructing government operations, but the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office declined to pursue the charges. Tucker has publicly indicated his intent to pursue legal action against the County of Hawaii and Hawaii Police Department, asserting his First Amendment rights to photograph police at work and denying the police’s obstruction claim.)

Puna News — Police Seek Information Regarding Thanksgiving Home Invasion

(Media release) — Big Island police are investigating a reported home invasion that occurred last month in Puna.

Police received a call at about 10:32 p.m. on November 25 from a 29-year-old Keaʻau man, who reported that while he was in his home in Hawaiian Paradise Park, two unknown men armed with sharpened weapons forced their way inside. During the ensuing confrontation, the victim managed to disarm one of the suspects, and he injured him with the same edged weapon. Both suspects fled the area on foot in an unknown direction.

The victim was treated and released at Hilo Medical Center for his injuries, which were not life threatening.

One suspect was described as being in his late 30s, about 5-foot-6, around 210 pounds, bald with a heavy build, a dark complexion, and possibly of Hawaiian-Caucasian-Portuguese descent. He was wearing denim jeans, possibly a grey long-sleeve shirt and unknown footwear.

The second man was described as being possibly Caucasian, in his mid to late 20s, around 5-foot-9 to 5-foot-10, about 160 pounds with with blue eyes, short blond hair, a slim build, a fair complexion and facial acne scars. He wore faded black long pants, a black short-sleeved shirt that had a “Da Hui” design logo. He may have suffered an injury during the confrontation.

Detectives from the Criminal Investigation Section are conducting the investigation into this incident, which is classified as a first-degree burglary and first-degree assault. They are asking for the public’s help in identifying either suspect. Police ask that anyone with information on this case call Detective Joel Field at 961-2381 or email him at jfield@co.hawaii.hi.us.

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.)

Letters — East Hawaii Vet Listed Among The Worst Bosses Of 2011

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ordered Dr. Alfred Mina to pay $101,000 for sexually assaulting 8 women at his East Hawaii vet clinic. Big Island Chronicle dubbed the 2011 headline news "Wienergate," given the EEOC ruling was proximate to the national scandal involving U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner.


eBossWatch just published the 2011 America’s Worst Bosses list, and East Hawaii Veterinary Center’s Dr. Alfred Mina was named as one of the 100 worst bosses in America.  Here’s a link to the press release: http://blog.ebosswatch.com/2011/12/ebosswatch-publishes-2011-list-of-americas-worst-bosses/

The following are links to a few of the dozens of news reports that were published last year that covered the 2010 Worst Bosses in America:

CBS Atlanta: http://www.cbsatlanta.com/story/14770673/metro-atlanta-bosses-make-list-of-americas-worst-12-22-2010
Chicago Tribune: http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/tribu/ct-tribu-office-hours-mean-bosses-20110103,0,4405877.story
Dallas Morning News: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/dallas/headlines/20101216-website-names-dallas-fire-rescue-chief-eddie-burns-worst-boss-in-america.ece
Aol (was featured on Aol’s Home Page Welcome Screen): http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2010/12/21/worst-bosses-of-2010/

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Best regards,

Asher Adelman

Letters — Regarding Activities For Volcano Kids In January

If you’re in Volcano, chances are your yard has turned into mud soup and your children want to get out for some fun. 
January of 2012 has some great things in store for Volcano Kids…make sure to check out what’s new on our website. 
It’s all under (re)construction…. through all of our efforts, combined.
Happy Holidays!

Anne Catlin
Community Arts and Education
Volcano Art Center
PO BOX 129
Volcano, HI 96785
(808) 967-8222
Fan Volcano Art Center on facebook !
“Evoking creativity through artistic exploration and self-discovery.”

Kona News — Comprehensive Management Plan For Mamalahoa Kona Heritage Corridor To Be Finalized Next Week

(Media release) — The Mamalahoa Kona Heritage Corridor Committee is meeting on Tuesday, December 27, 2011, at the Holuakoa Café at 8:00 A.M. to finalize the Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP) for the 10-mile Mamalahoa Kona Heritage Corridor from Palani Junction to Honalo Junction. Consultants, funded by the State of Hawai’i, have completed their reports and the Committee has written the plan. This plan to help assess, enhance and maintain intrinsic qualities; include reports on traffic safety measures to guide roadway improvements, geography, cartography and historic buildings and sites which Pulama ia Kona Preservation Council, the sponsor of the byway, seeks to protect.

On this Hawai’i’s first Scenic Byway, property owners will not be affected directly but will be encouraged to voluntarily maintain the historic character of their buildings and appreciate the historic and cultural aspects of the corridor.

Websites will provide our residents and visitors with information about where to find amenities along this byway and appreciate the historic character of the byway. These websites will also have a calendar of important and interesting events. Both www.HawaiiScenicByways.org and www.PulamaiaKona.org have information on the scenic byway.

This will be the last meeting of 2011 but the public is always welcome at all of the Pulama and Corridor meetings. The meetings are usually at 8:00 A.M. at the Holuakoa Café, on the Mamalahoa Kona Heritage Corridor. Please check with the website for changes or call either Tomoe Nimori at 329.3058 or Marni Herkes at 987.2171.
(Submitted by Marni Herkes.)