Letter: Council Resolution would Support Amendment to Counter Citizen’s United

Dear One,

We worked HARD to get CLEAN ELECTIONS for our island. And it was GREAT! Now Karen Eoff is proposing a Resolution to get rid of Citizens United through the nationwide group: MOVETOAMEND.
Please come on Wed. Sept 2nd to the County building and testify in support of this resolution. Municipalities and states all over the nation are starting this groundwork to amend the US Constitution to clarify that Corporations are not “people” and that money is not speech. The future of our democracy depends on our getting this cleared up. Please pass on this message to your progressive friends. Aloha,

Noelie Rodriguez



Editor’s Note:  The Council meeting takes place in Hilo starting at 9 a.m. with live connections for video testimony at the Council’s satellite offices around the island.  Text of the resolution is below:


WHEREAS, the United States Constitution was written and approved with the intention of protecting the rights of individual human beings (“natural persons”); and

WHEREAS, corporations are not mentioned in the Constitution, and the people of the Unites States (“The People”) have never granted constitutional rights to corporations, nor decreed that corporations have authority that exceeds the authority of The People; and

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court, in Austin v. Michigan Chamber of commerce (1990), recognized as a threat to a republican form of government “the corrosive and distorting effects of immense aggregations of wealth that are accumulated with the help of the corporate form and that have little or no correlation to the public’s support for the corporation’s political ideas”; and

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) (“Citizens United”) reversed the decision in Austin by rolling back legal limits on corporate spending in the electoral process and allowing unlimited corporate spending to sway votes and influence elections, candidate selection, and policy decisions; and

WHEREAS, the majority decision in Citizens United was recognized as a serious threat to self-government by the four dissenting justices. Corporations have special advantages not enjoyed by natural persons, such as limited liability, perpetual life, and favorable treatment of the accumulation and distribution of assets. These advantages allow them to amass and spend prodigious sums on campaign messages that often have far greater reach and influence than messages from individuals; and

WHEREAS, federal courts in Buckley v. Valeo (1976) and in SpeechNow.org v. FED (2010) overturned limits on independent expenditures because the “corruption or perception of corruption” rationale was only applicable to direct contributions to candidates; and

WHEREAS, Unites States Supreme Court in Justice Stevens observed in Nixon v. Shrink Missouri Government PAC (2000) that “money is property, it is not speech”; and

WHEREAS, Article V of the United States Constitution allows The People of the various states to amend the U.S. Constitution to correct those egregiously wrong decisions of the United States Supreme Court that challenge our democratic principles and the republican form of self-government; and

WHEREAS, there is widespread opposition to the Citizens United ruling that money is speech and that independent corporate campaign spending cannot be limited; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE COUNTY OF HAWAI‘I that it urges Hawai’i’s congressional delegation to propose and pass an amendment clarifying that corporations are not people with constitutional rights, and that unlimited campaign spending is not free speech.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the County Clerk shall forward copies of this resolution to United States Senator Brian Schatz, United States Senator Mazie Hirono, United States Representative Mark Takai, United States representative Tulsi Gabbard, Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho, Jr., Governor David Y. Ige, State Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi, and Speaker of the State House of Representatives Joe Souki, and the Honorable Mayor William P. Kenoi.


Volcano Observatory Gets Torch of Light Award; Scott Nago Gets the Lava Tube

The Big Island Press Club’s annual Lava Tube and Torch of Light awards are out. The Torch of Light, given to “an individual or organization which brightens the public’s right to know.” is shared this year by the two dozen scientists and staff at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory for their efforts in keeping the public informed about the ongoing lava crisis in Puna. The Lava Tube, which the club uses to shine a light on a person or group who’s done a notable job of keeping the public in the dark, goes this year to  state Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago for his lack of communication during the 2014 Primary Election.

Nago’s sins were illuminated in the club’s press release on the awards:

“Because of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Iselle, an estimated 8,000 voters were either without electricity or in some cases physically unable to get to the polls for voting on Primary Day, Saturday, August 9. In addition, two polling locations at Hawaiian Paradise Park and Keonepoko Elementary School were closed, with only a small handwritten sign at the entrance informing voters the poll was closed.

“When the initial announcement was made of the poll closure on Friday night, August 8, at a televised press conference, the state’s Attorney General said makeup voting for those who should have voted at the closed polls would be by mail, within three weeks.

“Three days later, Nago announced voting for only those people whose polls were closed would be by walk-in voting on the following Friday, August 15, 2014. That decision was to be communicated to affected voters via mail–at a time when many people still had no electricity, trees were still down, and in some cases residential mailboxes were inaccessible.

“When asked how he would ensure that voters were informed of the change, Nago said it was in the hands of the U. S. Postal Service.

The release also noted that many residents from other areas in the district, aside from Keonepoko and HPP, were also unable to vote because of storm conditions, but got no chance to vote afterwards.
Nago’s response to the storm “
denied their opportunity to have a say in local, state, and the nationally important election for United States Senate.”

The Torch of Light Award came from the response to Puna’s other great crisis of nature last year: the lava flows that repeatedly threatened to inundate Pahoa and cut off much of lower Puna. “The team at HVO has worked tirelessly to keep updated and accurate information available to the media and to residents,” noted the club’s press release.While they are skilled and dedicated scientists, they are not typically tasked with working so closely with the public. Working alongside county, state and federal agencies–including the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency–team members managed to take a complicated, unpredictable situation and provide easy-to-understand information that helped relieve residents’ stress.  They provided HVO staff members as featured speakers at daily media briefings and weekly public meetings…. BIPC members noted the scientists repeatedly went above and beyond their job description, sharing their knowledge directly, plainly and with candor.

Ige’s $6K Club, Part 1

The following individuals and groups donated $6,000 to Gov. Ige’s campaign. The list isn’t complete yet; we’ve had a chance to go through Ige’s 2,014 files so far. You can find the names of additional $6,000 donors who gave in concert with others in their organization or family, as well as a few people who exceeded the $6,000 legal limit forindividual  campaign contributions to a gubernatorial candidate, in Gov. Ige’s Super-6k club, which we published yesterday.

We’ll add more names in later installments. The name, cumulative donation, profession and company (if given) and address in each entry are as listed in Ige’s campaign contributions files from the Campaign Spending Commission; they’re often followed by a brief  summary of what we’ve found out, if anything, from other sources.

–Alan McNarie

The $6,000 Club

Choy, Michael K. $6,000
Kendall Law Group, LLP
3232 McKinney Ave. Ste. 700
Dallas TX 75204
Texas tort law firm. Specialties inc. suing corporations on behalf of stockholders and employees.

Rae, David $6,000
Aina Nui
92-4998 Limukele St.
Kapolei HI 96707
Senior Vice President at Kapolei Development, a James Campbell Company

De Crecy, Eudes Francois $6,000
6716 SW 100th Lane
Gaines, FL 32608
Holds at least six biotech patents, mostly for using microorganisms to convert organic materials to biofuel.

Okimoto, Nancy $6,000
98-1748 Kupukupu St.
Aiea HI 96701

Wuh, Hank $6,000
Skai Ventures, LLC
650 Iwilei Rd, #218
Honolulu HI 96817
Skai Ventures is a high tech venture capital group

Lanai Resorts $6,000
733 Bishop Street, #2000
Honolulu HI 96813

Nohara, Rodney H. $6,000
Jayar Construction, Inc
2656 Kaaipu Avenue
Honolulu HI 96822

Hyun, Sam Kyu $6,000
MCE International, Inc.
1360 S, Beretania St., Suite 400
Honolulu HI 96814
“Mechanical Consulting Engineers”

Fukumoto, Neal S. $6,000
Wesley R Segawa & Associates
3345 Hoolulu Street
Honolulu HI 96815
Hilo civil engineering firm

McCully, James $6,000
40 Kamehameha
Hilo HI 96720
Also a developer, with shopping center project in Kea’au

Banister, Scott $6,000
PO Box 997
Half Moon Bay CA 94019
Bannister made millions by helping to create software such as Listbot and ClickTrade. He co-owns Zivity, “The world’s biggest community of artistic nude, glamour, and pin-up photography.” Marijuana activist and self-professed fan of Ayn Rand; he and his wife Cyan normally donate to libertarian candidates Rand Paul.

International Association of Fire Fighters $6,000
1750 New York Avenue NW
Washington DC 20006

The firefighters actually had donated more than the legal limit at one point, but the Ige campaign returned the excess.

Unite Here Local 5 $6,000
1050 Queen Street, Suite 100
Honolulu HI 96814
Hotel Worker’s union

Pacific Renal Care Foundation $6,000
2226 Liliha Street, Ste 226
Honolulu HI 96817

Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc Group PAC $6,000
One Penn Plaza
New York NY 10119
Engineering and construction group.

Hirono, Mazie K $6,000
U.S. Congress
U.S. Senator
2443 Halekoa Drive
Honolulu, HI 96821

Hawaii Committee on Political Education $6,000
320 Ward Avenue, #209
Honolulu, HI 96814
AFL-CIO political action committee

HGEA PAC $6,000
P.O. Box 2930
Honolulu, HI 96802
Hawaii Government Employee’s Association

Local 1 PAC $6,000
2251 North School Street
Honolulu, HI 96819
Mason’s Union Local 1 Local 630

The NEA Fund for Children and Public Education $6,000
1201 16th Street, NW, #421
Washington DC 20036
National Education Association PAC

ILWU Local 142 PAC $6,000
451 Atkinson Drive
Honolulu HI 96814
International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Also represents many other workers in professions including agricultural and tourism; one of the oldest ad largest unions in Hawaii.

Island Insurance $6,000
P.O. Box 1520
Honolulu HI 96806

“The State’s largest locally-owned property and casualty insurance carrier”


Guerrero, Peter C. $6,000
Department of Public Safety
Deputy Sheriff
1442 Mokuna Place, C-1
Honolulu HI 96816

In 2009, Guerrero, a native of Guam, sued the State of Hawaii for discriminatory practices he had experienced while on the job.


Michael K. Livingston $6,000
Davis, Levin and Livingston
25 Lumahai Street
Honolulu, HI 96825

Law firm whose specialties include personal injury, consumer rights and construction law.

Mattoch, Ian L. $6,000
Law Offices of Ian L. Mattoch
737 Bishop Street, #1835
Honolulu, HI 96813

Paitners [sic] Union Local 1791 $6,000
2240 Young Street
Honolulu HI 96826
Painter’s Union Local 1791

Dean, John $6,000
Central Pacific Bank
302 Old La Honda Road
Woodside CA 94062
Dean is Central Pacific’s CEO.

Central Pacific billed the Ige campaign for numerous services.


Blind Vendors Ohana $6,000
300 Rodgers Boulevard, #56
Honolulu, HI 96819
“Blind Vendors Ohana, Inc. is an organization of diverse and dedicated people, committed to operating “World Class” vending facilities for the benefit of the traveling public, foreign visitors, and others who use the Honolulu International Airport.”

Iwamoto, Kim Coco $6,000
Not employed
Not employed
P.O. Box 235191
Honolulu HI 96823
Appointed by then-Governor Neil Abercrombie to serve until 2016 on the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission. Former two-term member of the Hawaii Board of Education. While she was on the BOE, Hawaii News Now called her “the nation’s highest elected office holder, who also happens to be transgendered.”

Floro, Frank C. $6,000
Ke’aki Technologies
1177 Queen Street #3002
Honolulu HI 96814
Ke`aki Technologies is “a provider of government biomedical research, information technology, and professional services.”

Glen S. Fukushima $6,000
Center for American Progress
Senior Fellow
1111 23rd St. NW Ste 5A
Washington DC 20037
“Building on the achievements of progressive pioneers such as Teddy Roosevelt and Martin Luther King, our work addresses 21st century challenges such as energy, national security, economic growth and opportunity, immigration, education, and health care. We develop new policy ideas, critique the policy that stems from conservative values, challenge the media to cover the issues that truly matter, and shape the national debate.”

Gov. Ige’s Super-$6K Club, Expanded Edition, Part 1

Six thousand dollars is the most that any individual is allowed to give to a candidate in the governor’s race, under Hawaii’s state campaign finance laws. But that doesn’t mean that several individuals related to the same company—or their spouses or siblings—can’t legally give $6,000 each, so long as they don’t get the company to give them the money and they don’t conspire together to give it as a group.
We named some of these “Super $6,000 groups” as a sidebar to a story in our February 2014 print edition. But then we discovered that the search program that we used had only identified a fraction of Ige’s $6,OOO donors, and hadn’t identified members of the same organizations who gave smaller amounts. So we’ve gone back doing it the old-fashioned way: campaign report file by campaign report file, line by line. And what we found was a bit dismaying.
First, let this be said: Ige drew massive grassroots support, with hundreds of donors who contributed between $25 and $1500. And in some of the the remaining big-ticket cases, it may well simply be that two individuals in the same household were just supporting their political convictions as individuals. Former Governor Ben Cayetano donated $6,000 to Ige, for instance, and his wife Vicky chipped in another $5,000. But others just don’t pass the “smell test”: they do business with the state and present potential conflicts of interest for the Governor. And some simply seem to stretch the rules. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, for instance, contributed $6k through their national PAC, $6K through a local PAC, $6k through an organization called Hawaii Electricians Marketing Enhancement Plan, which operates out of the same room as one of the IBEW local chapters, and yet another $6K through yet another local. Ige, himself an electrical engineer, managed to get four times the love from different branches of the same organization.
The biggest Super $6K Club member by far that we’ve found is a company Called Aviation and Professional Services or AvAirpro Services or AVAirpro Services, which says on its Web site that it provides consulting and services to Honolulu Airport. Its officers and their wives apparently fattened Gov. Ige’s campaign war chest by $60,000 in a single day. And they apparently weren’t donating out of deep political conviction, either—several of them also gave to former Governor Neil Abercrombie, whom Ige defeated in the primary.
We also found a number of instances in which Ige’s campaign committee actually named persons and organizations that had donated more than $6,000 individually, in clear violation of the law. In some cases, we found records showing that the Ige campaign had returned the excess—but not all, or even the majority of such cases.
We’re still far from finding all of Gov. Ige’s Super $6,000 contributors. The Governor’s campaign finance files are massive; so far, we’ve only gotten back to his committee’s August 10-October 20, 2014 general election repot. And the data is often incomplete; the majority of donors don’t even give their job description or business affiliation, for instance, though most of the $6k donors do—and some have filed information that’s vague or misleading, such as donating in a bloc with members of one company but giving a position in another organization with which they may hae an affiliation. But here’s what we’ve got so far. Each name is followed by the information from his, her or the organization’s entry in Ige’s campaign contribution report, often followed by a summay what we’ve found out about them so far from other sources.
At very least, the list below gives some idea of some of the people and groups who thought Ige was the right man to represent their interests in the Governor’s office.

AVAirpros Services $60,000 total
A.k.a. AvAir Pros, Airport and Aviation Professionals Inc
‘…providing professional consulting and management services to airlines and airports throughout the US including…Honolulu”—from their Web site. They have office in Honolulu and an office lease from the DLNR at the Khului Airport on Maui.

Aoki, Rodrick S. $6,000
1530 Haku St., Apt. A
Honolulu HI 96819

Ogawa, Alan $6,000
AVAirpros Services
1759 Dixon Street
Redondo Beach CA 90278-282

Ogawa, Atsuko $6,000
Information pending
1759 Dixon Street
Redondo Beach CA 90278-282

Demkovich, Paul B. $6,000
AVAirpro Service
9629 Wilshire Lakes Blvd
Naples FL 34109

Demkovich, Sheila $6,000
Information Pending
9629 Wilshire Lakes Blvd
Naples FL 34109

Salomon, Luis $6,000
Airport and Aviation Professionals
10049 Boca Avenue S
Naples FL 34109

Casto, Gregory A. $6,000
Vice President
915 6th Street S.
Naples FL 34109-6907

Chivington, Steven P. $6,000
Airport and Aviation Professionals Inc.
4220 Herschel Ave. Apt 802
Dallas TX 75219

Strohm, Phillip A. $6,000
Meristern LLP
Senior Advisor
110 E Center Street No. 2314
Madison SD 57042-2908
Strohm’s $6K contribution was listed amidst all of the others from AVAirpros on 10/14/2014. We found one Web site that referred to Strohm as an advisor to a company called “Meristem (not Meristern) LLP.” But other sites, including Strohm’s own LinkIn page, say he’s “CEO AvAirPros, Naples, Florida” Bizapedia.com names Strohm as a “principle” in the company.

Strohm, Nancy F. $6,000
Pending Information
110 E Center Street No. 2314
Madison SD 57042-2908
Also filed the same day, between Aoki and Ogawa’s names, was Nancy, who share’s Phillip’s South Dakota address: Also filed that day were Sheila Demkovich and Atsuko Ogawa, who also share last names and home addresses with AVAirPro executives and list their company affiliations and jobs as “Pending Information” and “Pending.”

SSFM International $35,200 total
Engineering firm

Kawachika, Norman M $6,000
SSFM International
Project Manager
2943 Lowrey Avenue
Honolulu HI 96822

Matsumoto, Michael P. $6,200
SSFM International
333 Kupu Place
Honolulu HI 96817

Matsumoto, Theolinda O. $6,000
333 Kupu Place
Honolulu HI 96817

Stacey Miyamoto $6,000
SSFM International
P.O. Box 256603
Honolulu HI 96825

Matsuoka, Corey M. $5,000
SSFM International
Executive VP
2737 Dow Street
Honolulu HI 96817

Lee Takushi $ 6,000
SSFM International
VP Project Management
5332 Poola Street
Honolulu HI 96821

Mitsunaga and Associates $28,000 total
Architectural, engineering and construction firm.

Mitsunaga, Dennis $6,000
Mitsunaga and Associates
747 Amana Street, #216
Honolulu HI 96814

Fujii, Aaron $6,000
Mitsunaga and Associates
2724A Kaaipu Avenue
Honolulu HI 96822

Mitsunaga, Chan Ok $6,000
Mitsunaga and Associates
747 Amana Street, #216
Honolulu HI 96814

Okino, Glenn M. $6,000
Mitsunaga Construction Inc
2251 A Aulii Street
Honolulu HI 96817

Arnold T. Koya $1,000
Mitsunaga and Associates
1226 Alexander Street, #1401
Honolulu HI 96826

Mitsunaga, Lois L. $1,000
Mitsunaga and Associates
415 South Street, #2803
Honolulu HI 96813

Otani, Terri Ann $1,000
Mitsunaga and Associates
Office Manager
3050 Ala Poha Place, E7
Honolulu HI 96818

Longline fishermen and supporting companies $33,000 total?
Contributions from these five businesses and their officers were all clustered together in the Ige organization’s records on the same day. All are related to Honolulu’s longline fishing industry; three share the same address, and a fourth is located next door. We’re not sure if they’re all closely enough related to qualify for the Super-$6K club together, but they do seem to have donated as a unified bloc.

Pacific Fishing and Supply Inc. $6,000
504 N. Nimitz Hwy
Honolulu HI 96817
Has approx. eight long-line commercial fishing vessels registered in its name.

Vessel Management Associates, Inc. $6000
1133 N. Nimitz Hwy
Honolulu HI 96817
Has at least six registered long-line commercial fishing vessels.

POP Fishing and Marine $6,000
1133 N. Nimitz Hwy
Honolulu HI 96817
Commercial fishing supply company.

NICOS LLC $2,000
1133 N. Nimitz Hwy
Honolulu HI 96817

United Fishing Agency, Ltd. $6,000
1131 N. Nimitz Highway
Honolulu HI 96817
Runs Honolulu fish market

Goto, Michael K. $1,000
Executive Assistant
United Fishing Agency
876 Curtis Street, Apt 2802
Honolulu HI 96813

Cook, James $6000
POP Fishing and Marine
Vise President
46045 Lilipuna Road
Kaneohe HI 96744

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers $24,000 Total
IBEW PAC Educational Fund $6,000
900 Seventh St.
Washington, DC 20001
2305 S. Beretania Street, #206
Honolulu HI 96826-1432

1935 Hau Street, Room 300
Honolulu HI 96819
Hawaii Electricians Marketing Enhancement Plan. Note that it shows the same street address and room number as IBEW Local 1186, below

LOCAL UNION 1186 IBEW $6,000
1935 Hau Street, Room 300
Honolulu HI 96819-5003
Thornton & Naumes $20,000 total
a.k.a. Thorton Naumes, The Thornton Law Firm. Boston tort law firm. “The firm has represented more than 20,000 victims of asbestos and toxic exposure, defective products, financial fraud, and personal injury accidents throughout Boston, the state of Massachusetts, and across the country.” Appears to specialize in industrial torts such as asbestos-related illnesses,

Michael Thornton $6,000
Thornton Naumes
100 Summer Street
Boston, MA 02110

Bradley, Garrett $6,000
Massachusetts State Legislature
state legislator
11 Blaisdell Rd.
Hingman, MA 02043
Garrett is also an attorney at Thornton and Naumes.

Donohue, Joseph $1,000
Information Pending
Information Pending
7 Fairway Drive
Andover MA 01810
The Thornton Law Firm Web site lists Donohue as an attorney with the firm

McMorris, David $2,000
Thornton and Naumes
100 Summer Street
Boston MA 02110

Strouss, David $2000
Thornton and Naumes
100 Summer Street
Boston MA 02110

Wainwright, Andrew $1,000
Thornton Law Firm
45 Greenbrook Road
S Hamilton MA 01982

Lesser, Michael $1,000
Thornton Law Firm
100 Summer Street
Boston MA 02110

Roberts Hawaii $24,000 total.
Bus company. In adddition to its well known tour bus operationns, it supplies school buses for Hawaii DOT and drivers for the County’s Hele On Bus.

Iwamoto, Arlene
680 Iwilei Road, Suite 700
Honolulu HI 96817

Iwamoto, Robert Jr.
Roberts Hawaii
680 Iwilei Road, Suite 700
Honolulu HI 96817

Iwamoto, Tiffany S.
621 Ulili Street
Honolulu HI 96816

Iwamoto, Chad
Roberts Hawaii
621 Ulili Street
Honolulu HI 96816

eWorld Enterprise Solutions, Inc. 20,000 Total
“eWorld Enterprise Solutions, Inc. (eWorldES) provides services for mid-sized and larger organizations in the public and private sector.” Among the company’s recent accomplishments: “Developing a Health and Human Services benefit tracking application”

Mizokawa, Steven M. $4,000
eWorld Enterprise Solutions, Inc.
Vice President
3444 Pinao Street
Honolulu HI 96822

Bongco, Joel M. $4,000
eWorld Enterprise
95-116 Lalei Place
Mililani HI 96789

Yoshimi, Garret $4,000
eWorld Enterprise
98-1941 Kaahumau Street. Apt T
Aiea HI 96701-1857

Senda, Dean $4,000
eWorld Enterprise
3143 E. Manoa Road
Honolulu HI 96822

Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP $15,000 total
“BLB&G is widely recognized as one of the leading law firms worldwide advising institutional investors on issues related to corporate governance, shareholder rights, and securities litigation. We have also prosecuted some of the most significant employment discrimination, civil rights and consumer protection cases on record.” Contributions from the firm’s members at addresses across the country were all recorded together on 10/15/2014. But we should note that these contributions are probably like pocket money to this firm, which has won billions in securities litigation against major corporations such as Worldcom, Cendant and Bank of America.

Berger, Max W. $3,000
Bernestein [sic] Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP
181 East 65th Street
New York NY 10065

Lebovitch, Mark $1.250
Bernestein [sic] Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP
42 Clive Hills Road
Short Hills NJ 07078

Graziano, Salvatore J. $1,500
Bernestein [sic] Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP
85 Remsen Street
Brooklyn NY 11201

Silk, Gerald H. $1,500
Bernestein [sic] Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP

17 Burgess Raod [sic]
Scarsdale NY 10583
Gelderman, G. Anthony III $5,000
Bernestein [sic] Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP
2727 Prytania Street Suite 14

New Orleans LA 70130
Stickney, David R. $1,250
Bernestein [sic] Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP
PO Box 17
Rancho Santa Fe CA 92067

Nicholas, Blair $1,500
Bernestein [sic] Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP
3177 Wildflower Summit
Encinitas CA 92024

R. M. Towill $14,950 Total
Engineering firm.

Yamamoto, James H. $6,000
R.M. Towill
Vice President & Senior Product Manager
3528 Kepuhi Street
Honolulu HI 96815

Collins, Lam D. $2,550
R. M. Towill
95-217 Polie Place
Mililani HI 96789

Hiyakumoto, Greg H. $1,700
R M. Towill
PO Box 2930
Aiea HI 96701

Tanoue, David K. $2,500
R. M. Towill
600 Queen Street, #2906
Honolulu HI 96813

Tsutsui, Roy T. $2,500
R. M. Towill
2809 Kalawao Street
Honolulu HI 96822

Nan, Inc. $1,200
Construction and general contracting firm. Often gets bids for state highways.

Shin, Nan C. $6,000
3170 Noela St.
Honolulu HI 96815

Shin, Mariko K. $6,000
3170 Noela St.
Honolulu HI 96815
May be the wife of Patrick Shin of Nan, Inc. Was jointly named with him and the company in at least one legal proceeding.

Demattei Wong Associates $12,000 total
California based architectural firm.

Demattei, Anthony
Demattei Wong Associates
2129 Queens Ln
San Mateo CA 94402

Wong, Wesley
Demattei Wong Associates
3522 Gillon Ave.
Dallas TX 75205

Hawaii Laborer’s International Union, Local 368 $6,000-12,000
Local 368 donated money both through its own PAC and through a “cooperative trust fund” with contractors who employed its members. Local 368 “represents members working in construction, environmental remediation, maintenance, food service, health care, clerical and other occupations, as well as in state, local and municipal government jobs and as mail handlers in the U.S. Postal Service.”

Hawaii Laborer’s PAC
1617 Palama Street
Honolulu, HI 96817

Hawaii Laborers and Employers Cooperation and Educ [sic]
1440 Kapiolani Boulevard, #800
Honolulu HI 96814
Hawaii Laborers and Employers Cooperation and Education Trust Fund, “…a partnership between the 5,000 Statewide union members of the Hawaii Laborers’ Union, Local 368 and its over 250+ signatory union contractors. The underlying principle of Hawaii LECET is through this labor and management partnership, the organized sector of the construction industry can grow and prosper. This creates opportunities for our signatory contractors and jobs for our highly trained and skilled membership.

Fluid Technologies Inc. $11,000 total
“Fluid Technologies, has partnered with Corix Water Systems to offer safe, cost-effective and sustainable water, wastewater and energy utility infrastructure solutions for the State of Hawaii.”
Choy, Michael K.
Fluid Technologies Inc.
1211 Lunaai Street
Kailua HI 96734

Shitabata, Darren $5,000
Fluid Technologies
95-1066 Hoalia Street
Mililani HI 96789
The Cayetanos $11,000 total

Cayetano, Benjamin
1926 Okoa Place
Honolulu, HI 96821
Former governor.

Vicky Cayetano $5,000
United Laundry Services
P.O. Box 161060
Honolulu, HI 96816

Richard Gushman $8,000 total
Gushman, Richard $8,000
Self Employed
3300 Pacific Heights Rd.
Aiea, HI 3300 Pacific Heights Rd.
How Gushman got away with this, we’re not sure. Apparently he made more than one donation and they totaled up to $8,000, and the Ige campaign dutifully reported it. We haven’t yet found an entry in the campaign records saying that the excess had been returned. From Pacific Business News: “Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. has named Richard W. Gushman II to its board of directors. Gushman is the owner and president of the Hawaii-based real estate development firm, DGM Group. He also is the majority owner and managing general partner of Summit Financial Resources of Salt Lake City.”

Myra and Thomas Kosasa $12,000 total
Kosasa, Myrah I.
Bradley Pacific Aviation
1319 Punahou Street, #1040
Honolulu HI 96826

Kosasa, Thomas S.
1319 Punahou Street, #1040
Honolulu HI 96826

Kosasa, Paul J. $7,250.00
ABC Stores
1087 Waiholo Street
Honolulu HI 96821
Like Gushman, Kosasa’s total donations reported by Ige’s campaign committee exceeded the $6,000 limit. We don’t know if he’s related to Thomas and Myra, directly above.

University of Hawaii Professional Assembly $7,000 Total
Union representing UH faculty. The above figure represents only donations by the union and its executive director; we didn’t track contributions by individual teachers.
University of Hawaii Professional Assembly
1017 Palm Drive
Hononlulu, HI 96814

J.N. Musto $1000
University of Hawaii Professional Assembly
Executive Director
47-635 Nukupuu Street
Kaneohe, HI 96744

Former $6,000 Club Members

Hawaii Fire Fighters Association $6,000
2305 South Beretania Street, #202
Honolulu HI 96826
According to Ige’s campaign spending records, the sum of the Fire Fighter’s contributions as if 10/08/2014 was $6,250. The campaign authorized refund of the excess $250 on the same day.

Outrigger Enterprises $6,000
2375 Kuhio Avenue
Honolulu HI 96815
The Ige campaign reported that in addition to $2,000 in earlier donations, Outrigger added $6,000 on 10/17/2014, putting it $2,000 over the spending limit. The campaign authorized return of the excess on 10/21/2014.

More Bills to Watch: SanBueneventura Gets Busy

HB1314 Emergency Home Relocation Special Fund; Appropriation.  Establishes the emergency home relocation special fund to assist persons dispossessed of their homes as a result of a natural disaster. Appropriates funds.

HB1369 CIP; County of Hawaii; Road Repair and Maintenance; GO Bonds; Appropriation.  Authorizes general obligation bonds and appropriates funds to the county of Hawaii for the repair and maintenance of feeder roads and alternate routes for highway 130 and any portion of highway 130 under the jurisdiction of the county.

  HB737 Hawaii Hurricane Relief Fund; Hawaii Property Insurance Association.  Authorizes the Hawaii property insurance association to spend funds in the Hawaii hurricane relief fund to pay for extraordinary losses caused by the flow of lava or other volcanic activity.

HB1320 Emergency Management; Tree Maintenance.  Authorizes entry into private property to mitigate hazards posed by trees to utility and communications lines and roadways. Assesses a fine of $150 per day against a landowner whose property must be entered for this purpose.

  HB383 Emergency Medical Services; Advanced Life Support Ambulance.  Makes an appropriation for one advanced life support ambulance to be based in Puna on the island of Hawaii and to be used from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and to include a vehicle, equipment, and personnel costs.

 HB377 Mobile Health Unit; Appropriation.  Appropriates a grant to the Bay Clinic, Inc., for a mobile health unit to service the Puna district due to the threat of inaccessibility from the lava flow.

HB374 Transportation; Harbors; Kapoho Bay; Feasibility Study.  Requires DOT to contract for a study on the feasibility of establishing a harbor or port at Kapoho bay.

  HB370 HPIA; Policy Renewals; Continued Coverage.  Requires member insurers of HPIA to renew policies that were in effect as of 1/1/2014. Provides for continued coverage under an existing HPIA policy upon a transfer in ownership of the property.

  HB380 HPIA; Mandatory Issuance of Policies; Removal of Moratorium.  Requires member insurers of HPIA to offer a minimum number of policies proportionate to their market share on properties that are situated in the areas designated for coverage by the insurance commissioner and that have been previously and continuously insured since 06/01/2014. Prohibits HPIA from issuing or continuing a moratorium on issuing policies on those same properties.

 HR6 Cellular; Broadband; Rural Communities.  Requests reports regarding state agency action to ensure access by rural communities to cellular and broadband services.

  HB376 Chief Election Officer; Elections Commission; Evaluation; Term Length.  Changes the term of the chief election officer to 2 years. Requires the elections commission to conduct a performance evaluation of the chief election officer within 2 months of certifying election results, and hold a public hearing relating to the performance evaluation.

HB378 After School Bus Program; Island of Hawaii; Appropriation.  Restores funding for the after school bus program on the island of Hawaii that was excluded from the 2015-2017 executive biennium budget. Appropriates moneys.

  HB1155 Albizia Trees; Conservation and Resources Enforcement Special Fund; Appropriation.  Makes an appropriation from the conservation and resources enforcement special fund to DLNR for the removal of albizia trees on public and private land.

 HB88 County Fuel Tax; Hawaii County.  Permit’s Hawaii County to expend its share of fuel tax revenues for maintenance of private subdivision roads. Specifies that public entities are not required to install infrastructure on these roads upon a private sale.

HB371 Foreclosures; Asset.  Prohibits a mortgage creditor from executing on any asset of the debtor beyond the asset that is secured by the mortgage.

 HB372 Marijuana; Civil Penalties for Possession of One Ounce or Less.  Establishes a civil violation for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana that is subject to fines.

 HB373 Transient Accommodations Tax.  Amends amount of transient accommodations tax revenues allocated to the counties from a specified sum to an unspecified percentage of the revenues collected.

 HB375 Attachment or Execution of Property; Exemptions.  Amends the thresholds for the exemption of real property from attachment or execution to be based upon the most recent real property tax assessment, regardless of value and for all types of property owners. Clarifies that attachment or execution does not apply to a debtor who is not delinquent in payment of income taxes, real property taxes, or mortgages. Bases the value threshold of certain personal property exempted from attachment and execution on the fair market value as adjusted by the consumer price index. Exempts child support moneys and tax refunds from the federal earned income tax credit and federal or state child support tax credit from attachment and execution.

 HB381 Homeowners’ Associations; Planned Community Associations.  Expands the law on planned community associations to apply to homeowners’ associations so that all disputes are mediated instead of going to court.

  HB382 Employees’ Retirement System; Division of Pension.  Requires the Employees’ Retirement System to divide pensions between a retired employee and non-employee former spouse or civil union partner, upon application and pursuant to a qualified domestic relations order. This has the effect of ensuring that employees for the full pension benefits and in the event of domestic violence spouse, victim need not ask for their share of pension.

HB833 Transient Accommodations Tax; Counties; Revenues.  Makes permanent the current amount of transient accommodations tax revenues allocated for distribution to the counties. This allows the county of Hawaii to file and the State cannot lessen the county’s share of the annual hotel room tax

HB1204 Procurement; Sustainable Procurements Manager; Appropriation.  Appropriates funds for a new position within the state procurement office tasked with facilitating the development and implementation of procurement processes for public agencies and private organizations for the purpose of food sustainability in Hawaii.

 HB1205 Hawaii-grown Food Procurement Task Force; Procurement; Appropriation.  Establishes and appropriates funds for the Hawaii-grown food procurement task force for the purpose of creating recommendations for increasing procurement of food grown in Hawaii by State departments and agencies.

HB1206 University of Hawaii Sustainability Office; Appropriation.  Establishes the University of Hawaii sustainability office.  Appropriates funds.

The public can participate in legislative discussions and follow the progress of the bills by logging onto the Capitol website at www.capitol.hawaii.gov.

Bills to Watch, Part 2: Ruderman’s Proposed Election Reforms

In addition to the bills he’s co-sponsoring with Rep. Laura Thielen, which the Chronicle covered in an earlier piece,   State Senator Russell Ruderman is sponsoring a suit of his own bills related to elections, sunshine laws and good government.  A number of these were inspired by the problems that occurred when elections were held in the wake of the Tropical Storm Iselle last year.

All of these bills have already passed first readings and have been assigned to committees. Constituents can track the bills and file testimony related to them at  URLs linked below:

SB 317RELATING TO THE HAWAII BUSINESS CORPORATION ACT. Would require corporations to notify shareholders before engaging in political activities.

SB577: RELATING TO CAMPAIGN FINANCE. Requires any fees assessed by the campaign spending commission to be deposited into the Hawaii election campaign fund. Requires that general funds, rather than moneys from the Hawaii election campaign fund, be used for the operating expenses of the campaign spending commission. Authorizes the campaign spending commission to use moneys from the Hawaii election campaign fund for investigation expenses.

SB578: RELATING TO ELECTIONS.  Enables the Hawaii State Office of Elections to implement elections by mail in any interested county, beginning with the 2016 primary election. By 2018, requires all federal, state, and county primary, special primary, general, special general, and special elections to be conducted by mail. Enables absentee walk-in voting to continue prior to election day. Ensures limited polling sites in each county remain open on election day for absentee walk-in voting and to receive mail-in ballots. Appropriates funds for the implementation and administration of the election by mail program.

SB597:  RELATING TO ELECTIONS.  Requires the chief election officer or county clerk to exercise existing powers to postpone an election in affected precincts when the right to vote is substantially impaired due to an emergency or natural disaster. Prohibits the distribution of results from any precinct, whether or not designated for postponement, until after the final closing of the polls for an election postponed due to an emergency or disaster.

SB599:  RELATING TO ELECTIONS.  Authorizes the elections commission to remove the chief election officer by a majority vote of a quorum at a meeting of the commission. Provides the chief election officer with a period of notice of the removal before it takes effect.

SB602: RELATING TO PARTIAL PUBLIC FINANCING  [of election campaigns]. Amends the partial public financing laws to amend the maximum amount of public funds available in each election to a candidate for the office of governor, lieutenant governor, or mayor to not exceed 50 per cent of the established expenditure limit for each election; and increase the matching contribution amount from the State from $1 for each $1 of qualifying contributions to $2 for each $1 of qualifying contributions in excess of the minimum qualifying contribution amounts. Makes an appropriation to increase funds available to candidates participating in the partial public funding program.

SB603: RELATING TO CAMPAIGN FINANCE. Creates a public funding program for elections to the state house of representatives. Excludes from the partial public financing program candidates for the offices of governor, lieutenant governor, state senator, and state representative pertaining to campaign expenditure limits, maximum amounts of public funding, and minimum amounts of qualifying contributions. Appropriates funds for the implementation of the public funding program.





Ruderman to Hold First O`ahu Fundraiser

The invitations began appearing in e-mail boxes in mid-December, much to the surprise of some:
“Senator Russell Ruderman extends a warm invitation to you to join him for his first ever fundraiser in Honolulu at the Mandalay Restaurant,” it read. “Come support and meet the man who represents all of the district of Puna and the town of Pahala in Ka’u at the Hawaiian State Legislature. Enjoy delicious Cantonese cuisine and the elegant atmosphere of the Mandalay…. Thursday, January 8, 2015 from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM (HST).”

The surprise came because Ruderman has been an outspoken advocate for campaign finance reform. In fact, when BIC perused the fundraiser notices at the Campaign Spending Commission’s Web site, it appeared that Ruderman was the only member of the Big Island’s state delegation who had NOT to held a fundraiser on O`ahu during the previous election cycle.

“I introduced ‘clean elections’ bills each year so far. If/when we achieve that, I will do public financing happily. Meanwhile, raising money is part of the game.” responded Ruderman, when asked about the fundraiser.

So why the change?

“As of now my funds have come from constituents, about 80 percent,” said Ruderman. “I planned fundraisers in district several times this summer/fall. I cancelled them as the storm and the flow caused stress and harm in my community, as it seemed insensitive at this time. I also cancelled three scheduled legislative trips…. The stakeholders and lobbyists are there [on O`ahu], not on Big Island. While “lobbyist” sounds like a dirty word there are legit ones, as well as legit groups such as environmental and good government groups….”

Ruderman was hardly alone in the practice.  Since January 1, 2013,  State Sens. Josh Green (D-Kona, Kohala) and Gil Kahele (D-Hilo), State Senator-Elect Lorraine Inouye (D-Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Kona), State Reps. Cindy Evans (D-N. Kona, N. and S. Kohala), Richard Creagan (D.-S. Kona, Ka`u), Nicole Lowen (D-S. Kona), Mark Nakashima (D-Hamakua, N. and S. Hilo), Richard Onishi (Hilo, Kea’au, Upper Puna), Malama Solomon (D-Lower Puna) and State Representative Elect Joy SanBuenaventura (D.-Lower Puna), who defeated Solomon, have all held one or more fundraising dinners on O`ahu–m0re than half of them at the Mandalay. Apparently Big Island legislators have developed a fondness for Cantonese cuisine.

Ruderman’s fundraising goals were relatively modest, compared to some: suggested donations were $50-100 per plate. Green, in contrast, held three O`ahu fundraisers in 2013 and 2014, with suggested donations of $500. Inouye’s O`ahu fundraiser last September asked attendees to cough up $250 apiece. Onishi’s bash at the Mandalay last March suggested donation in three categories: $50, $500 and $1000. Lowen’s two O`ahu events, April of 2013 and March of 2014, also followed the $50/$500/1000 formula. SanBuenaventura’s fundraiser last September followed a $100/$250/$500 pricing structure.

The danger of off-island fundraising, of course, is that a legislator can develop two parallel constituencies: voters at home and special interests outside his/her district. And fundraising dinners are just the tip of the iceberg: thousands more come in through one-on-one contacts and donations.

Ruderman says he has several strategies to avoid conflicts of interest, beginning with “holding it [the fundraiser] when we are NOT in session.” He refuses funds from opponents—he notes, for instance, that he gets “no GMO money”—and makes “no no promises or compromises based on donations, not even implied.” He’s proud of his record for “never selling a vote in any way, shape or forms; establishing and upholding my reputation for integrity in my political life.  I cannot be bought, and I’m one of approximately three legislators who have this reputation. ‘They’ don’t even try.”

Panel On Clean Elections Nov. 20 at UH-Hilo

From Noelie Rodriguez:

A panel will discuss Clean Elections and Transparency in a forum on
Thursday November 20 at 6:30 p.m.  in UCB 100 on the University of Hawaii
Hilo (UHH) campus.  The featured speaker will be Carmille Lim the
Director of Hawai’i Common Cause.  Also speaking will be Susan Dursin
from The League of Women Voters and Chris Yuen, attorney, former board
member of The Hawaii Elections Project.

In 2008, UHH students played a leading role in the Legislature to pass
the  Big Island Clean Elections Pilot Program passed, which allowed
Council candidates who qualified to campaign with public funding
instead of depending on campaign contributions from special interest
donors.  The Pilot ran successfully in the 2010 and 2012 County
Council races but has since ended.  (The public program was funded by
the $3 voluntary check off on our tax forms, which does not reduce an
individual’s filed personal income tax.)

Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling, big,
special-interest money has been flooding into political campaigns.
According to the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission, in 2012, over $4
million was spent on Hawaii campaigns by independent groups. In the
2014 election , a single “independent” group, funded almost entirely
by Monsanto and Dow Chemical spent $8 million on a ballot initiative

Nationwide, many Americans believe that the influx of special interest
money in elections threatens the integrity of our democracy.  As an
antidote to big money funding their bid for office, with Clean
Elections, candidates have the option of running on public funding so
that they will be more likely to be answerable to their constituents
rather than to their rich campaign donors.

The 2014 Legislature failed to continue the funding of the Big Island
Clean Elections Pilot Program and ultimately killed a bill which
promoted a statewide Clean Elections program.  However, in 2013, the
Legislature passed a bill which would require stronger disclosures for
independent groups seeking to influence our elections. The forum will
discuss how the 2015 legislature can continue to combat the corrosive
effects of outside money in Hawaii’s elections.

The event is sponsored by Common Cause Hawaii, Global HOPE, and the
nationwide student group, Democracy Matters.

The panel discussion is free and the public is encouraged to attend.
Parking on the UHH campus is free in the evening.

For more information phone Noelie Rodriguez, 934-2635 or 963-6966.

Ruderman Takes Over as Senate Ag Chairman

The new leadership assignments for the Hawaii State Senate are out in the wake of last week’s election, and three Big Island legislators will be in positions of power.
Sen. Josh Green (D-Kona, Ka`u) is will serve as the Senate’s floor leader—the number four leadership position, after President Donna Mercado Kim, Vice President Will Espero, and Majority Leader J. Kalani English. Sen. Gil Kahele (D-Hilo), formerly the Senate Whip, will serve as Caucus Leader. Green will also continue to serve as chair of the Health Committee, and Kahele will continue to head the Committee on Tourism and International Affairs. In one of the more significant shifts of leadership, Sen. Russell Ruderman (D-Puna) will take over the chairmanship of the Agriculture Committee from Clarence Nishihara. Ruderman is the owner of the Island Naturals grocery chain and a staunch opponent of genetically modified foods. Without a committee to lead, for now, is the Big Island’s fourth senator, Lorraine Inouye (D-Hamakua, Kohala). Inouye is a veteran legislator, but had to sit out a term after redistricting forced her to run in the same North Hawaii district with Sen. Malama Solomon. Solomon narrowly won that contest, but lost the rematch to Inouye this year.

Election Results: 10 O’Clock Printout

With all precincts reporting:

Brian Schatz and Tulsi Gabbard have retaken their Senate and House seats by landslides, and Democrat Mark Takai  beaten Republican Charles Djou 51.2 percent to 47.5 percent.  The Democratic governor/lt. governor team of Ige and Tsutsui have won election over Aiona/Ahu, Independents Hannemann/Chang and Libertarians  Davis/Marlin, but the four-way split has deprived David Ige and Shan Tsutsui of an absolute majority; they’ll have to rule with a plurality of 49 percent of the votes cast.  Democrats Gil Kahele, Josh Green and Lorraine Inouye will be representing the Big Island in the State Senate, swamping their Libertarian opponents (the Republicans didn’t even bother to field candidates, by capturing 79 percent, 76.1 percent and 72.4 percent of the votes in their races, respectively.  In State House District 1,  incumbent Democrat Mark Nakashima cruised past Libertarian Eric Weinert, 75 percent to 17.4 percent.  In District 3, incumbent Democrat Richard Onishi brushed aside Republican Bill Dixon and Libertarian Fred Fogel, 70 percent to 13.7 percent and 11.1 percent, respectively. In District 4, Democratic newcomer Joy SanBuenaventura put up numbers nearly as impressive, walloping Republican Gary Thomas 67.9 percent to 27.1 percent.  Democratic incumbent Richard Creagan  handily beat his two opponents, Republican Dave Bateman and Libertarian John A Lalanne, 56.9 percent to 36 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively.  In District 6, incumbent Democrat Nicole Lowen whipped  Republican Kelley Valenzuela, 60.9 percent to 36. 9 percent. In the two County Council Races, Daniel K. Paleka, Jr. has defeated Tiffany Edwards Hunt, 50.2 percent to 44.1 percent, and incumbent Margaret Wille has soundly beaten Ronald Gonzales, 56.7 percent to 36.6 percent.

In OHA At Large races, in which voters picked three candidates, the top three vote-getters on this island  were John D. Waihee  with 12.7 percent, Mililani B. Trask with 11.5 percent, and Rowena Akana with 11.2 percent; the also rans were Lei Ahu-Isa with 7.9 percent, Keli`i Akina with 7.6 percent, and Harvey McInerny with 5.1 percent. But statewide, Waihee, Akana and Ahu Isa were the top vote-getters and Trask dropped to fourth. In the race for OHA Maui Resident Trustee, for which residents of this island, oddly enough, get to vote, Carmen Hulu Lindsey handily beat Mahealani Wendt 41.1 percent to 21.1 percent. That result held up statewide, with Lindsay beating Wendt 35.0 percent to 23.7  percent.



Elections–8 p.m. Printout: Constitutional and County Charter Amendments.

All the constitutional amendments are winning except “Relating to State Justices and Judges” and “Relating to Early Childhood Education.” The former, which would have raised the mandatory retirement age of judges from 70 to 80, is losing by a landslide, 156,624 to 47,852.   The latter, which would allow state funds to be used for early private preschools that don’t discriminate on the basis of race, religion, etc., is closer: 109,326 against to 95,838 in favor.  Interestingly enough, on the Big Island voters so far are in favor of the Early Childhood Education amendment, 16,665 to 16,247.

The only charter amendment on the ballot, which would increase the term for the County Clerk to four years, is winning by about a three to one margin.

The Election–8 p.m. Hawaii Printout: An Easy Night for the Dems?

The 8 p.m printout is out (well, electronically–do they actually print these things anymore?), and  with generally a third to a half of precincts reporting, the Dems generally appear to be rolling to easy victories over their Republican opponents, Libertarian and Independent opponents.  Even in the Governor’s race, where an independent candidacy by veteran politico Mufi Hannemann was supposed to make things interesting, Democrat David Ige was rolling up a nearly huge  margin, 111,335 to Republican Duke Aiona’s 74,871 , with Hannemann trailing a distant third at 24,509. Sen.  Brian Schatz was leading his Republican opponent Cam Cavasso by over two to one, 147,279 to 53,572.  Tulsi Gabbard was wracking up an even bigger margin with 77 percent of the vote, 85, 880 to Republican Kawika Crowley’s 18,065. The only federal race that is even remotely close is for the U.S. House of Representatives District 1, where Democrat Mark Takai leads Republican former Rep. Charles Djou, 56,609 to 47,940.  Libertarian candidates in these races are all less than four percent of the votes.

In Big Island State Senate Races, Gil Kahele, Josh Green, Lorraine Inouye all lead their nearest opponents by 3-1 margins or better. So are Democratic State RepresentativesMark Nakashima, Richard Onishi and Democratic newcomer Joy SanBuenaventura.  Incumbent state reps Richard Creagan and Nicole Lowen’s races are only slightly closer Creagan leads Republican Dave Bateman, 3,269 to 1,95.  Lowen is besting Republican Kelly Valenzuela, 1,937 to 1,115. In non-partisan Council races, Daniel K. Paleka leads Tiffany Edwards Hunt, 1,214-947 and incumbent Margaret Wille is ahead of Ronald Gonzales, 1,413-1,056.

VOTE! Today’s the day.

After Hawaii’s dismal primary turnout, which actually settled many elections–only two of Hawaii County’s  council seats remain to be determined, and many state-level candidates in this overwhelmingly Democratic state  faced serious opposition only in the primaries–today is your last chance to influence who represents you for the next two years or four years. All polling places are open, even in the lava zone.  Since the lava still hasn’t crossed the Highway but election officials weren’t sure that it wouldn’t, those registered to vote at Pahoa Community Center will be allowed to vote either there or at Hawaii Paradise Parks.

The two remaining County Council seats that will be determined today are District 9. where incumbent Margaret Wille  faces Ronald S. Gonzales, and District 5, where our own Tiffany Edwards Hunt is squaring off against Daniel K. Paleka, Jr.  All other races were determined in the primary because Council races in this county are non-partisan, and any candidate in a council race who wins more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary is considered to be elected outright.  Only Districts 5 and 9 were those conditions not met–most of the incumbents won with landslides, and two ran unopposed. In the District 9 race, Wille has faced a media blitz from agribusiness interests who oppose the law that she authored, limiting the planting of genetically modified crops here, making that race the most expensive in County Council history on this island.  We’ve abstained from reporting on the race between Ms. Hunt, who owns the Chronicle, and Mr. Paleka, who is running with heavy union backing, because of our inherent conflict of interest.  But it’s obvious where our sympathies lie.

The other big race on the ballot is for Governor, where David Ige, who upset incumbent Neil Abercrombie in the primary. is in a three-way race with with Republican Duke Aiona and Indepent Mufi Hannemann.  Frankly, I’m not that impressed with any of them.  Ige’s campaign literature emphasizes his background as an electrical engineer; it’s pretty obvious where his sympathies are going to lie on development issues.  But Hannemann has even more aggressively pro-construction record, and I was not at all impressed with him when I was reporting as his machinations as a plantation boss in Kau, when he bussed in plantation workers to pack hearings on a resort that later failed. Aiona is what passes for a moderate Republican circles these days, but his stances on social issues are anything but progressive.  So Ige will be getting my vote by default.

We’ll cover the elections here  this evening as the returns come in.  It’s going to be a late night.




Lava News: DOE Press Release on Public School Closures

HONOLULU – The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) is closing some schools ahead of the rapidly advancing Kilauea lava flow on Hawaii Island. The pace of the flow has accelerated the implementation of DOE’s contingency plans, which will affect about 1,700 students and 300 employees beginning this week.

Mary Correa, complex superintendent for Ka‘u, Kea‘au, Pahoa, has announced that beginning Wednesday, October 29, there will be no school for students at Keonepoko Elementary School. This is to allow DOE faculty, staff, administrators, facilities’ teams enough time to complete administrative work in preparation of the new facility to receive students. The work will also include moving the school, furniture and equipment to the Keonepoko North facility at Kea‘au High School from Wednesday through Friday, October 29-31, and longer as needed. Wednesday will mark the indefinite closure of Keonepoko as it is in the anticipated path of the lava flow.

Additionally, beginning on Thursday, October 30, there will be no school for students at Pahoa High & Intermediate, Pahoa Elementary, Kea‘au High and Kea‘au Middle to allow administrators, faculty and staff from those schools to help with administrative work and prepare for the transition of students affected by the move.

About 850 Pahoa students who reside north of the flow (Orchidland, Ainaloa, Hawaiian Paradise Park) are moving to the Kea‘au complex. About 850 students who reside south of the flow (Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Shores, Nanawale, Leilani, Kalapana & Pahoa) will attend Pahoa High & Intermediate or Pahoa Elementary and report to school on Monday, November 10. Bus pickup sites will be disseminated tomorrow.

The Pahoa secondary students moving to Kea‘au complex will report to their new campuses at Kea‘au High and Kea‘au Middle on Friday, November 7. Keonepoko and Pahoa Elementary students who are moving will report to their new school at Keonepoko North on Monday, November 10.

The students who remain at Pahoa High & Intermediate, and Pahoa Elementary will report to school on Monday, November 10. Students who are currently enrolled at Kea‘au High and Kea‘au Middle will return to school on Monday, November 10.

View Puna Lava Flow schools in a larger map

??“Our teachers and principals have been tremendous in their efforts to maintain a sense of normalcy in our schools, all while preparing for this week,” said Correa.

Last month, the DOE announced it was allowing teachers and students to continue teaching and learning, while making plans to accommodate them at alternate sites.

The DOE and its teams have been working with many in the community to erect a temporary school to be named “Keonepoko North” for elementary students at Kea‘au High’s parking lot that would accommodate at least 17 classrooms.

“The flexibility of our staff, the cooperation of our families, and the collaboration with Hawai‘i County agencies have been instrumental in making these adjustments for all schools,” stated Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.

Keonepoko and Pahoa High School will remain as election polling sites for the General Election on Tuesday, November 4.

About the Hawaii State Department of Education
The Hawaii State Department of Education is the ninth-largest U.S. school district and the only statewide educational system in the country. It is comprised of 255 schools and 34 charter schools, and serves more than 185,000 students. King Kamehameha III established Hawaii’s public school system in 1840. The DOE is in the midst of a range of historic efforts to transform its public education system to ensure graduates succeed in college or careers.


Lava News: Pele Parts the Polling Places

Ed. Note:  When we published this earlier today, we missed a key word in the the press release from the Hawaii Election Commission.  People can still vote absentee in the general election, but they needed to have requested an absentee ballot by 4:30 this afternoon.  The Chronicle regrets the error–AM

Today is the last day to request an absentee ballot.  But if voters in Puna choose to do it the old fashioned way on November 4,  they may may find their precincts were altered by the Pele Partition.

The Hawaii Elections Office has announced that residents who normally Pahoa Community Center (04-03) who live  north  of the lava flow will vote at Hawaiian Paradise Community Center (04-01) on general election day.
“The flow is expected to cross Highway 130, cutting off access to voters living in Ainaloa and Orchidlands Estates,” said Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago. “We’ll be providing poll workers at Hawaiian Paradise Community Center with the poll books and ballots to allow voters in these communities the opportunity to vote on November 4.”

An estimated 2,000 voters are affected by this move.
Voters that still have access to the Pahoa Community Center may still vote there.
In preparation for the lava flow, county election officials mailed absentee mail applications to voters in the area and set-up an early vote location at Nanawale Community Center which is open through October 31, 2014. Acording to a Department of Education press release, polling places at Keonepoko and Pahoa High School will remain open for the General Election even though classes on November 4th will be canceled there due to the lava crisis.

Absentee applications must be received by the County Clerk’s office no later than 4:30 p.m. today. Applications are available at post offices, libraries, satellite city hall, county clerk offices