By Alan McNarie
Incumbent Karen Eoff faces only one opponent: Sean Hunter. This one will be decided in the primary, so if you want to vote, now’s the time.
Among the most important issues in Karen Eoff’s district are protecting open access and public space, applying the Kona Community Development Plan, assisting veterans, and upgrading the Kealakehe. She points to accomplishments in most those areas: the dedication of the Kohanaiki Shore County Park, for instance, and the recent release of $300,000from the legislature for site selection and planning of the West Hawai‘i Veterans Center. Island-wide, she believes one pressing goal is waste management. She believes the county should continue to focus on the goal of “zero waste.” But she also supports Mayor Billy Kenoi’s Waste to Energy Iniative: “Aside from recycling, and not currently in the county’s Integrated Resources and Solid Waste Management Plan, eventually we will need to look at waste-to-energy technology.”
The best solution to the island’s energy equation, she believes, “will be a combination of different sources of renewable energy.” Before proceeding with geothermal expansion, she believes, “We will need to address the safest technology, the monitoring and evacuation plans, and what constitutes an appropriate buffer zone. She thinks that an Environmental Impact Statement should be required for geothermal exploration. While she appreciates the renewable aspect of biofuels, she thinks ag fuel development here “may not be wise” given the island’s limited agricultural lands. She opposes biofuel production for off-island use. Re an underwater power transmission cable to O`ahu, she thinks “We should take care of our own energy needs first. To reduce energy consumption, she suggests keiki education and an expanded, improved bus service.
On food: “In 2010 the Kohala Center prepared the County of Hawaii Agriculture Development Plan for the Research and Development Department to examine Hawai‘i Island’s agriculture industry. The purpose of this plan is to serve as a guide for County actions intended to revitalize agriculture as a basis for economic development, creation of policies, allocation of resources and advocacy for the stabilization and growth of agriculture on Hawaii Island. The County needs to implement this plan.” She supports county-level regulation of pesticides and of genetically modified crops.
She’s undecided about the idea of a privately-owned prison on the island. She believes the legalization of marijuana is “not a county issue.”
Sean Hunter left several questions blank. But he opposes biofuels—farmland, he says, “should be used to create food for the people who live here.”
And he got into our question about how to encourage growing local food for local markets.
“This question is a good one because it gives me the chance to educate the public on the restrictions and policies that are being put in place right now in Hawaii county that make this almost impossible…,” he wrote. They have just introduced and passed legislation that changes the definition of agricultural tourism and is enforced by States’ Agritourism Statutes that place huge regulations restrictions and penalties on farming. and then you have the new wild fire protection plan that calls for a 30 ft. buffer zone around your home in which you cannot have any organic plants or trees, this is clearly not being done to protect a home from fire , it is being done to prevent people from growing their own food, and it violates property rights. It is classified as voluntary, but has legal implications for non-compliance. then you have zoning restrictions and conservation restrictions, you have to almost be blind not to see what is going on here.”
He believes GMOs should not just regulated, but banned. “GMOS are done for one reason and one reason only, to poison the consumer, period, end of story.” He notes that GM crops “forever destroy the soil,” and “are designed to thrive while being heavily sprayed with pesticides.” Responding to claims that GM papayas saved the industry, he claims. “They will create the problem in order to bring in their own solution , so they created these pests to destroy these crops so that they would have justification for GMO crops. Yes it sounds crazy, but it’s the truth.”
He says that our question about bringing people and jobs closer together has already been answered by the Community Development Plan, which calls for “clustered development , where you will work and live in walkable communities…” In response to our question about how to create not just more jobs, but more livings, he alleged that plans were already being made to “even ban or heavily restrict fishing under the guise of fish contamination.”
He opposes a private prison on the island. Asked if he favored marijuana legalization, he responded, “First of all, I would like to ask the question as to why it is illegal in the first place?”