Politics — Regarding Photos Of Candidates For Public Office Partying; What’s Worthwhile Election Coverage?

Big Island Chronicle has obtained a couple of photos of at least one candidate for public office in Hawaii County drinking and partying.  A source who provided the photos to BIC maintains that the photos were posted on what is now a defunct Myspace page.  The candidate, who is seeking to represent Hawaii County as a council member, has not commented on the photos nor the source’s challenge that they comprise the candidate’s campaign slogan.

In the last few days since I have received the photos and waited for the candidate’s response, I have contemplated using the photos and even consulted with at least one other member of the media.  I have decided that I don’t really think it is that newsworthy that this candidate has posted on the internet photographs of drinking and partying with friends.  It’s one thing if the candidate was underage when the photos were taken.  But, then again, raise your hand if you didn’t drink alcohol when you were underage.  It’s another thing if the candidate was arrested and convicted for drunk driving.  There is no evidence of that.  I personally don’t find the garden variety drunk-and-partying photographs compelling enough to publish.  Do you?

If you look at the candidates for public offices in Hawaii County, Lee McIntosh appears to be the only candidate who doesn’t have a drunken story to tell.  The rest would have to look me in the eye and tell me that they have never had one too many amongst friends.

The thing is, in the age of the Internet and social media, there is a propensity for us or our friends to share photographs that may be amusing in our private life, but not so becoming should we choose to seek public office.  Apparently, the candidate for County Council figured that out and pulled the plug on the Myspace page bearing the drunken photographs.  But the photographs, being at one time in a public domain, got in the hands of somebody who doesn’t want to see this person elected. And I honestly don’t really want to fetch the bone an unnecessarily tarnish a candidate’s reputation for something that most people have done.

Everyone in the two photographs were clothed, and the shots merely captured them drinking and laughing.  There was one photograph that, well, let’s just say what we should all be telling all our daughters: “Drunk girls aren’t pretty.”   If the photograph were published here, it would actually be less embarrassing for the candidate than the candidate’s friend who is depicted in quite the compromising pose, faking a sexual act.

I went to college, and I have plenty of stories to tell.  If I ever decided to run for public office, I’m sure someone would come out of the woodwork eager to tell them.  God help me, there might even be some photographs to go along with those embarrassing memories. I’m just grateful that I didn’t have Myspace or Facebook in my formative years to help document those drunken nights. I’m sure you have your own drunk-girl or drunk-boy stories to tell.  If you have had any sort of colorful life whatsoever, you would agree with me that the photographs are pretty vanilla.  (Vanilla is slang for plain, or boring.)

I’m just curious as to what people think is worthwhile election coverage.  Do you really want to see photographs of candidates for public office drinking or partying with friends?  Or, do you agree that it is really not newsworthy unless or until these people are in the police blotter for a criminal act?

If anything, a story like this puts candidates on notice that there are people looking up every detail they can about you, finding anything and everything to use against you.  If you have any interest in running for public office, best be careful, you could get smeared.

Lindsey Weinrich painting

Politics — Sloppy Seconds For Big Island Media, And Other Concerns For The Ongoing Elections Debacle

Hawaii County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi has called a press conference for Big Island media to release information that has already aired on Oahu television news stations tonight.

Big Island Chronicle was among several Big Island media outlets that received at approximately 4:30 p.m. Kawauchi’s press release written at 9 a.m. today.  Sharon Takata, administrative assistant to Kawauchi, called this reporter around 5 p.m., as  both KHON2 and KITV4 aired an interview with Kawauchi stating that Hawaii County Elections Division staff found several instances of duplicate voter registration for the 2010 primary election and general election. When staff shut down their office on 175 voters on two streets sent the wrong voter registration cards indicating inaccurate voter precincts.  (The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported last week that new voter registration cards would be sent out to all the island’s 101,728 registered voters. The County Clerk issued a press release that that was incorrect, and Yagong wrote all candidates for public office here on the Big Island, pointing to the County Clerk’s press release maintaining HTH had reported inaccurate information.)

Meanwhile, the chief elections officer, Scott Nago, wrote Kawauchi last week, expressing concern that Kawauchi’s lack of communication with his office and the rest of the “election community” when she closed the Hilo elections office July 23 to apparently undergo an audit of voter registration information “has unnecessarily lead to significant speculation in the public about the integrity of our elections…”

At least one candidate, former Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, has reportedly called for a restructuring of the elections process as result of Hawaii County’s continuing elections debacle throughout this Council term and campaign season.

Also, Kawauchi has yet to respond to a Uniform Information Practices Act request for emails to and from an election worker.  Thirteen days ago Big Island Chronicle formally submitted the UIPA request for Leina’ala Lee’s emails during a certain time period in June and July, after receiving an email exchange between Lee and LAVA 105 reporter Sherry Bracken, in which Lee advocated for coverage involving Council Chairman Dominic Yagong, who is running for mayor.  With UIPA, or Hawaii’s public records law, government agencies have 10 days to respond. Big Island Chronicle has submitted a formal complaint to the Office of Information Practices.

Letters — Geothermal Bills – Saving Our Neighborhood – Upholding the Mayor’s Veto

Aloha Tiffany,
You are quite familiar with the controversy going on in our peaceful corner of the world and so, today, I am turning to you to share with you some of our concerns about the geothermal bills currently scheduled by the council to override the Mayor’s veto on August 1, 2012.
We are a large group of residents, who are opposing bill 256, which would create a one-mile safety buffer zone around the Puna Geothermal Power plant. Even though there is no scientific evidence or systematic research information gathered, the county would offer to buy out homes, demolish the homes and then deem the area uninhabitable. To us as neighbors of PGV this does not make sense at all. We have lived here for many years and have no health effects from the geothermal activities. This bill would take about one quarter of our subdivision (Leilani Estates) with about 500 one-acre lots and many homes and turn it into a ghost area. Effects on our neighborhood, property values and the general economic impacts on the Pahoa and Puna area would be devastating. Since there are no study results in place the creation of a one-mile buffer zone is completely arbitrary. We are asking the council to not override the Mayor’s veto, do independent health studies to gather evidence and not change the purpose and use of the community benefit and relocation fund. Health Studies and mitigation are already activities and goals covered under the geothermal asset fund.
We have had a very successful informational meeting on Tuesday, July 24 with speakers: Richard Ha, Mike Kaleikini and Dr. Donald Thomas. Over 100 people were in attendance, including Fred Blas, Faye Hanohano and Mayor Billy Kenoi (at the end). Please, find this link with more detailed information about this meeting:  http://hahaha.hamakuasprings.com/2012/07/very-successful-meeting-on-geothermal-facts.html.
We have also created an on-line petition. Currently we have 215 signatures online, which were gathered in less than one week.  More than 150 signatures were received within the first two days.  Our paper petition which will add another 100 or so signatures comes from local residents, most of them living within a 3-miles radius of Puna Geothermal Ventures. Here is the link to the on-line petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/hawaii-county-council-petition#. While we were gathering signatures we found that most residents of Leilani Estates were not aware of this Bill or its ramifications. Most people were in disbelieve and asked: Why would the county be doing something like that? We don’t have problems with the PGV. Many of the folks here are just working people or retirees, who go about their things, may not read the paper every day, many do not have internet (believe it or not) and just lead regular lives. We are not into agitation, confrontation and accusations, but we feel, we need to rise up as a group to make our case heard. We are no longer a silent majority, as we are standing up to save our neighborhood.
We will be at the council meeting on August 1 with many supporters (http://hahaha.hamakuasprings.com/2012/07/come-wednesday-to-support-veto-of-bill-256.html).  Please, check into our side of the story!
Our warm Alohas and Mahalo Nui Loa,

 Petra Wiesenbauer

Hawaii News — 19 People Arrested For Drunk Driving In The Last Week

(Media release) — During the week of July 23, 2012, through July 29, 2012, Big Island police arrested 19 motorists for drunk driving. Three of the drivers were involved in traffic crashes. One was under the age of 21.

So far this year, there have been 784 DUI arrests compared with 826 during the same period last year, a decrease of 5.1 percent.

There have been 831 major accidents so far this year compared with 781 during the same period last year, an increase of 6.4 percent.

So far this year, there were 21 traffic fatalities on the Big Island compared with 15 during the same period last year, an increase of 40 percent.

To date, 11 fatalities were related to drugs (5), alcohol (0), or a combination of both (6).

DUI roadblocks and patrols will continue island wide.
(Submitted by Hawaii Police Department via Nixle.)

Letters — From Russ Roberts, About The New BIC Monthly

Greetings from Laupahoehoe, Tiffany,
Congratulations on the print edition of “Big Island Chronicle.”  Despite what modern media claim, print venues aren’t quite dead–yet.  As you mentioned in your introductory letter, many of us do not have super speed internet connections or the ability to pursue alternate news opinions.  Yep, I’m one of those whose internet connection is low and slow via the copper wire.  So much for high-speed connections in my neck of the woods.  I can get cable, but the price charged for the service is ridiculous.  Your list of contributing writers is impressive.  It’s good to see Hugh Clark , Karin Stanton, and Le’a Gleason on the printed page.  Good luck in your publishing effort.
Russ Roberts

Island Events — What’s Going On In Volcano In The Next Month

(Editor’s note:  Following are activities and events to be held at Volcano Art Center Gallery and Volcano Art Center Niaulani Campus in the next month.)

Fridays, August 3, 10, 17, 24, 31   1:00AM – 1:00PM
Aloha Fridays. Every Friday, a free hands-on demonstration lesson is given in a cultural craft that will vary from week to week. Held at VAC Gallery porch in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. All events are free (donations welcome); park entrance fees apply. Call 967-8222 for more information.

Saturday,  August 4  5:00 – 7:00PM
Opening reception for the John D. Dawson, A Part Of His Nature, MMXII exhibit of paintings featuring natural history studies of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park bases on approximately twenty years of research. Read more

Politics — Candidate Forums To Be Held In Puna Saturday

Two candidate forums will be held in the Puna area on Saturday, July 28.

Big Island Chronicle will host a candidates’ forum at Akebono Theater  from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sherry Bracken, Big Island radio newswoman, and Kathy Frankovic, CBS pollster, will serve as moderators. Candidates and their supporters are welcome to set up tables to distribute campaign-related material throughout the day.

Hawaii Shores Community Association will host a candidate forum from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hawaiian Shores Park: 15-2793 Honu St. in Pahoa.  Senate #2 and House #4 candidate forum commences at 11 a.m.  Mayor, Prosecutor, and Council District #4 forum commences at 1 p.m.  Hotdogs and soda will be sold as a community association fundraiser. Contact Hawaiian Shores Community Association at (808) 965-8140. The event facilitated by The League of Women Voters is open to the public.

 The Big Island Chronicle candidate forum, meanwhile, is also open to the public but organizer Tiffany Edwards Hunt reserves the right to refuse entry.Following is the schedule for the BIC event at Akebono Theater:9 a.m. Doors open for candidates’ setup
9:45 a.m. Introductions/ground
10 a.m. Prosecutor’s race
10:45 a.m. Break
11 a.m. Mayor’s race
11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Lunch break
1 p.m. State House District 4
1:45 p.m. Break
2 p.m. State Senate District 2
2:45 p.m. Break
3 p.m. Hawaii County Council District 5
3:45 p.m. Break
4 p.m. Hawaii County Council District 4


Politics — Dominic Yagong Writes All Candidates Regarding ‘Inaccurate’ HTH Article

Dominic Yagong wrote candidates for public office today, calling their attention to a Hawaii Tribune-Herald article he said inaccurately reported the number of voter registration cards being resent.

(Editor’s note:  Following is an email Dominic Yagong, Hawaii County Council Chairman and candidate for mayor, wrote candidates for public office in Hawaii County today.)

Aloha Candidates,

I wanted to share the attached Press Release from County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi in regards to the inaccurate reporting by Hunter Bishop in todays

Tribune Herald article.  I wanted to get this information to you because I know you talk to a lot of people on a daily basis and I wanted to make sure that people have accurate information in regards to the resending of yellow cards.

 Warmest Aloha,

Dominic Yagong


Letters — Exactly What The State Election Officer Said

(Editor’s note: Following is the complete text of the reported letter State Election Officer Scott Nago wrote Hawaii County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi Wednesday.  Kawauchi was expected to meet with the state Attorney General’s Office today.)

Dear Ms. Kawauchi:

We are fielding calls as to what is going on in your county, as well as,
when your absentee ballots are going to be mailed out. Your closure on July 23,
2012, and your failure to thoroughly communicate to the rest of the election
community and the media as to the reasons for the closure, has unnecessarily
lead to significant speculation in the public about the integrity of our elections
only a few weeks before the August 11, 2012, Primary Election. This is simply
unacceptable on the part of a fellow election administrator. The public relies on
us to be assured that their elections are safe and secure.

The lack of communication of your office in the last few days has seriously
undermined the hard work that the election community does to build the trust of
the public in the integrity of the electoral system. Likewise, our letter to your
office dated July 23,2012, requesting information regarding your efforts to
ensure the integrity of the voter rolls remains unanswered.

Given that you have concerns about the accuracy of your voter
registration rolls and the assignment of voters to their proper precinct, we believe
it is imperative that you discuss this matter with us so we may have a better
understanding of the scope of the problem. Read more

Puna News — Police Want Information On Road Rage On Highway 130 Road Rage Incident

(Media release) — Big Island Police are investigating a reported road rage incident as a criminal property damage case.

At 8:15 p.m. Wednesday (July 25), a 59-year-old Puna man reported at the P?hoa police station that he had been driving in the P?hoa direction on the Kea?au-P?hoa Road (Route 130) when he passed a Toyota pickup truck just south of the intersection with Ainaloa Blvd. The Toyota truck then reportedly struck the victim’s truck three times from behind, with the third strike sending the victim’s vehicle into a slide.

As the victim drove to the police station, the suspect followed him but then drove away before police could contact him. He was last seen heading in the Kea?au direction on Route 130 back toward Ainaloa.

The suspect’s vehicle is described as a dark-colored new Toyota Tacoma 4-door pickup truck, possibly black or charcoal gray. It appeared to be lifted.

Police ask that anyone who may have witnessed the incident or who has information about the truck or its driver call Officer Shawn Tingle at 965-2716.

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 $1000. 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 — Suggestions For Future Voter Guide Issues

Dear Ms. Edwards-Hunt,
Thank you for publishing a voter guide.  I have a few suggestions for the next voter guide you publish:
1) Identify the voter guide as being for state offices so we won’t be confused trying to find the other races.
2) Group the county council candidates by district and please identify the district.    Since we have just had redistricting, a map of country council districts would be very helpful.
3) You could provide a list of all candidates running for all offices, of course identified by each applicable district (sort of like a sample ballot).  Especially with the new county council district here in Puna it is pretty confusing trying to figure out who we are going to be voting for.
Thanks for your efforts,
Lee Maniscalco