Primary: 5th (and final) Printout Highlights

With all 41 precincts reporting, Brian  Schatz appears to have beaten Colleen Hanabusa, but by only about 1.4 percentage points. David Ige has trounced incumbent Neil Abercrombie for Governor in the Democratic primary, 57 to 40 percent. Lorraine Inouye has ousted incumbent Malama Solomon in the Democratic District 4 State Senate primary, 56-40 percent. Shan Tsutsui has easily won his primary for Lt. Governor.  Incumbent State Senator Gil Kahele, easily won his primary, as did Rep. Clift Tsuji.  Joy SanBuenaventura has ousted incumbent Faye Hanohano in the Dem. primary for Dist. 4 State Representative. In the Democratic District 5 State Representative race, incumbent Richard Creagan, an Abercrombie appointee, easily defeated Gene “Bucky” Leslie, 51 to 37 percent. In the Democratic District 6 State Representative race, Nicole Lowen easily beat back her primary opponent, Kalei Akaka,  60 to 36 percent; in the general election, she’ll face Kelly Valenzueala, who beat opponent Roy Ebert, 57 to 30 percent, in a rare contested Republican primary.

In the County Council races, Valerie Poindexter (Dist. 1), Aaron Chung (Dist. 2), Maile David-Medeiros (Dist. 6), and Karen Eoff (Dist. 9) have won their races outright, with solid majorities.  So did Drew Kanuha and Dennis “Fresh” Onishi, who ran unopposed although substantial numbers of voters cast blank ballots in both their primaries. In District 4, incumbent Gregor Ilagan, with only 37 percent of the ballot, faces a runoff with closest contender Roy Lozano, who garnered 27 percent. In District 5, the closest Council race Daniel Paleka (34 percent) will run off against Tiffany Edwards Hunt (30 percent). In District 9, incumbent Margaret Wille (46 percent) faces a runoff with Ronald Gonzales (26 percent).

 

Election: 10:30 p.m. summary

4th printout:

U.S. Senate Dem. primary:  Brian Schatz has overtaken Colleen Hanabusa, 48-47 percent, in what remains a nail-biter. For Governor, David Ige’s lead over Gov. Neil Abercrombie has narrowed only a little, 57-49 percent. In the only seriously contested state Senate race, Lorraine Inouye still holds a commanding lead over incumbent  Malama Solomon, 56 percent to 39 percent. In the State Rep. District 4 race, Joy SanBuenaventura still holds a more than 2-1 lead over incumbent Faye Hanohano.  In Council races, Valerie Poindexter (Dist. 1), Aaron Chung (Dist. 2), Maile David-Medeiros (Dist. 6) and Karen Eoff (Dist. 8) all still seem to be cruising to easy victories, while Districts 4, 5 and 9 still appear to be headed for runoffs. District 4 incumbent Gregor Ilagan still leads nearest challenger Roy Lozano by 37 to 27 percent, and Margaret Wille is still ahead of nearest challenger Ronald Gonzales, 45 to 27 percent.  But the District 5 race is tightening:  leading contender Daniel Paleka now leads Tiffany Edwards Hunt by only 4 percentage points, 34 to 30 percent.

Live Blogging — Press stiffed while trying to observe election process; Daryl Lee Smith lodges complaint

By Le’a Gleason

At about 9 a.m. this morning BIC arrived at the County Building to fulfill a previously made appointment to observe the elections process. The appointment had been made with Jamae Kawauchi of the County Clerk’s office following a press conference Monday August 6. After being told that cameras and press were not allowed inside the building by Sargeant Thomas Dela Cruz, BIC was directed to a “media room” around the back of the building, adjacent to  gated hallway which lead inside the building. People could be seen inside the building entering and exiting several rooms, but specific actions were not identifiable from that distance. When asked if Jamae would be available for comment or could be reached by phone, Dela Cruz responded “I don’t know” and urged BIC to “put your camera back in the car”.

Kawauchi did finally emerge from the building at about 10:15 a.m. and offered to give the tour. BIC obtained exclusive rights to walk through the building and take photos at a distance, something which Kawauchi explained has never been allowed for Big Island press before.

A USPS mailman was observed entering the building at about 10:20 a.m. carrying several stacks of mail, one of which was a box full of blue envelopes which appeared to be absentee ballots.

A USPS mailman delivers a box full of blue-enveloped absentee ballots to the County Building. (Photo by Le’a Gleason. All rights reserved. Use with permission only.)

With Kawauchi present, the walk-through was successful and Sargeant Dela Cruz did not object. When asked why BIC’s Tiffany Edwards Hunt was not allowed a tour at 4 a.m. this morning when she arrived with a colleague, Kawauchi responded that they were allowed to observe the precinct materials being distributed via the entrance, but not allowed to tour the building at that time.

The blue-enveloped absentee ballots are to be counted and recorded today in a counting room inside the building, despite rumors and complaints that the absentee voting policies this election season have been corrupt.

 

The “counting room” inside the County Building where absentee votes were tallied.(Photo by Le’a Gleason. All rights reserved. Use with permission only.)

State Senate District Two candidate Daryl Lee Smith was present to lodge a complaint about the process. Smith, who voted absentee by mail, visited his polling place in Volcano this morning, hoping to verify that his vote had been received. When Smith inquired with precinct officials, he was informed that there was an “AB” by his name, meaning that he was an absentee voter. When Smith asked officials if they could call the Office of Elections to verify that his vote had been received, he was informed that phone lines were down and no communication of that nature was possible.

Smith then headed to Hilo to meet with Kawauchi, looking to verify a request he submitted weeks ago for a copy of an email mandating the protocol when an absentee voter walks-in to a polling place.

Daryl Lee Smith meets with Jamae Kawauchi outside the Office of Elections. (Photo by Le’a Gleason. All rights reserved. Use with permission only.)

“The email said ‘as of this election cycle, we will not pencil line-out absentee votes’,” said Smith. This means that when a person is registered as an absentee voter and tries to vote at a polling place on election day, the polling place is required to call to verify whether the absentee vote has already been received. But according to Smith, this has not been the case.

“I have been working on this issue for two years,” said Smith.

Because current protocol is unspecified, it is potentially possible for a person to vote three times, via walk-in, early walk-in, and absentee by mail voting.

BIC asked Kawauchi whether it would be possible to verify votes should questions arise. Kawauchi explained that at the end of the day when precincts close, physical ballots and electronic voting machine counts will be secured in a room inside the building. Auditors will then verify the electronically counted results via random sampling of the physical ballots.

Kawauchi did indicate that it would be possible to verify individual ballots should questions arise after the election.

Live Blogging — Primary Election Day Commentary #2

Over an hour after polls opened islandwide, at least four polling places are reportedly without pollbooks and voter registration lists.
Sherry Bracken, of LAVA 105, is reporting that Holualoa, Kona Vistas, Kona Palisades, and Kahakai school are all without poll books and voter registration lists. 
People have been standing in line waiting at these polling places, unable to vote, Bracken reports. Some were leaving, saying they had to go to work or they were going to breakfast and hoping to return later.
A poll worker at one of the West Hawaii polling places without the poll books and voter registration lists tried to call the Hilo Elections Division to no avail, Bracken said.
Dru Kanuha, who is running unopposed for the newly created Hawaii County Council District 7 seat representing Kailua-Kona, voted at Kona Vistas around 9 a.m., he said.
The poll book and voter registration lists arrived and Kona Vistas polling place opened shortly after 8:30 a.m., Kanuha said.
His family and friends had been waiting at Kona Vistas polling place since 6:30 a.m. “A lot of people were leaving the Vistas area” after the polling place didn’t open at 7 a.m. as scheduled, Kanuha said. He asked  some people who were leaving if they would come back and a few said they had other obligations today and would not be returning to vote.
Kanuha heard about the three other West Hawaii polling places opening late this morning. He also heard the opening of Konawaena’s polling place was delayed due to lack of poll books and voter registration lists.
“People were really upset, leaving feeling disappointed,” Kanuha said. “Some were from the mainland and had voted there. They hadn’t seen anything like this in their lives.”
Meanwhile, in Volcano, Republican Daryl Smith, who is a candidate for State Senate District 2, showed up to his polling place to confirm his absentee ballot had been received. 
Poll workers could not verify that for him, and they could not reach the Hilo Elections Division.
Smith called BIC while en route to the County Building to file a complaint. He was expected to meet with BIC reporter Le’a Gleason at the County Building.
Also of interest: Deputy Attorney General Charlene Aina is said to be on island observing today’s election.

Live Blogging — Primary Election Coverage Commentary #2

Over an hour after polls opened islandwide, at least four polling places are reportedly without pollbooks and voter registration lists.
Sherry Bracken, of LAVA 105, is reporting that Holualoa, Kona Vistas, Kona Palisades, and Kahakai school are all without poll bpoks and voter registration lists.
People have been standing in line waiting at these polling places, unable to vote, Bracken reports. Some are leaving, saying they have to go to work or they are going to breakfast and hoping to return later.
A poll worker at one of the West Hawaii polling places without the poll books and voter registration lists tried to call the Hilo Elections Division to no avail, Bracken said.

Live Blogging — Primary Election Day Commentary #1

I woke up at 2:45 a.m. to get to the Hawaii County Building by 4 a.m. for an appointment the Hawaii County Clerk set up with Dave Corrigan, of Big Island Video News, and me. We informed the security guard we were here.
 County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi has sent out Glynis Yamada, who is a Council Services supervisor, comes out and tells Corrigan and me that we don’t have an appointment with her.
So, we are sitting outside the County Building watching temporary election workers arrive. We just met 26-year-old Lance Mento, relative to former Civil Defense Director Quince Mento, who has worked on election days the last several years. Today he will be working delivery and collections, he said.
Also here and just passed clearance is Jeff Haun, of Out of the Sea Media Arts, who has the contract to film County Council meetings for publuc access television. “What is he doing here?” Corrigan and I asked each other as the security guard allowed him through.
Other observations: workers are pulling various cardboard boxes and metal boxes from the basement. Mento tells us those are the ballot boxes. Mento showed up at 4 because every other year that has been when work has started. But he was told work for him won’t start until 5:10 a.m. this morning. So, he is sitting outside with us, watching a movie on his iPad. The buses that take the ballot boxes to the various precincts have started to arrive. Another temporary electiins worker has just come out of the County Building, saying, “Last time we knew what the hell to do but this time it’s all different.”
Hearing more discussion about an apparent lack of communication and lack of ID tags and lack of coffee for the workers. It’s probsbly best we’re locked out.
“Checking in,” a female temporary worker just told the security guard. “Nobody in? I’m here for D.C.” 
“What is D.C.?” the security guard says. “Delivery and collection,” she responds.
“Wait right here and someone will come out and talk with you.”
More workers’ conversations. 
A woman in a read shirt reading, “HI vote,” comes out and asks the female temporary worker, “What team number are you?” and she takes the woman inside the County Building breezeway with her other team member, telling them they need to inventory the stack of boxes they are overseeing. The same female temporary worker comes out after the inventory, shaking her head, saying, “I’m just ready to start.”
Clearly, the temporary workers who have done this before are showing up, not liking what is going on. We are still trying to determine what exactly is the grumbling about. It could just there is no coffee being served.
We ask the female temporary worker as she heads out to the bus she and her team member will be traveling in to deliver ballot boxes.
“Have you done this before, auntie?”
“Yes.”
“What is it like this year compared to other years?”
“They don’t seem as organized.”
Twelve buses are being loaded with ballot boxes and temporary election workers, according to a Roberts Hawaii worker standing near one of the buses. He said 12 buses are being loaded up with temporary election workers and ballot boxes on the west side too. 
In all, there are 43 polling places islandwide (based on a count of the printed sheet that can be seen through the bars of the closed entry way.)
At around 5 a.m., Yamada has set up a refreshment station for the temporary election workers. As a couple workers are trying to grab coffee and donuts, the Elections Division worker in the red shirt comes up and informs them, “You should be gone already.” 
Meanwhile, Haun just went up the elevator to the second floor, which, from the outside looks quite dark.
I am looking up to the second floor, wondering aloud, “What is Jeff Haun doing up there.”
Corrigan says he was just thinking the same thing.
At some point, we were thinking about leaving. But we’re afraid we’ll miss something.
It really is fair to say there are a lot of temporary workers who are expressing apprehension in some way or the other.

Live Blogging — What Is The Breaking News Story In Hawaiian Acres?

Anyone with a scanner who can tell us any details about the breaking news story happening in Hawaiian Acres? There are at least a half-dozen police vehicles — including one for the Special Response Team —blocking Wao Kele (G) Road between Roads 2 and 3. Policeman Duarte advised Big Island Chronicle staff to leave the area, and a dispatcher said it will be awhile before a Puna sergeant on duty can return a call seeking details.

Kona News — Exchange Students Need Homes

Of the 13 foreign students currently placed in Kona this school year, three are with first semester families.  I need to find new host families for these three students ASAP.  They will need their new homes by January.  I would love to find families that will agree to the second semester, but I will also be happy to find families that will do it until Easter, or even 6-8 weeks.

Two students are at Kealakehe: a girl from Pakistan who just turned 17, and a boy from Cambodia who just turned 16.  The other is a 16 year old girl from Konawaena. All speak very good English and are good hard working students, doing lots of volunteer work and are just really nice teens.

Hosting is purely a volunteer experience: there is no payment for hosting.  Hosting means offering room and board, making sure the kids catch the bus to school, acting as a friend, mentor and parent and enjoying the cultural interchange.  Families can be old or young, with or without kids, big house or tiny coffee shack.  Willingness is the key criterion. Thanks for any help forwarding this message.  I can be reached at (808) 323-2117 or via email.  There is also a website, www.cci-exchange.com.

Aloha,

PAMELA WANG

Local Coordinator for CCI

Center for Cultural Interchange

Kona News — 21-Year-old Arrested During High School Lockdown

(Media release) — Big Island police arrested a 21-year-old man Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010 during a lockdown at Kealakehe High School. Kona patrol officers responded to a 9:16report of a trespasser on campus. Upon arrival, police learned that the intruder had displayed a knife when contacted by a school security guard for being on campus without permission. The school security guard restrained the suspect until police arrived.
Police arrested Justin Matias of Ho’okena on suspicion of trespassing, terroristic threatening, promoting a detrimental drug, promoting a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia.
During the incident, the school was on lockdown as a precaution for the safety of the students.
Matias was taken to Kona Community after complaining of pain to his back and a minor laceration to his ear from the struggle with the security guard. Police are continuing the investigation.
(Submitted by the Hawaii Police Department via Nixle.)

***Commentary*** Abercrombie Appoints Kokubun As AG Director; Safarik To Seek Senate Seat

Gary Safarik

I’ve been so caught up with the Pahoa Holiday Parade and retail sales at Jeff Hunt Surfboards all day, I’ve hardly had a chance to check emails or phone messages, let alone put on my reporter’s hat.
Do you folks know that Governor-Elect Neil Abercrombie has appointed the Big Island’s own District 2 Sen. Russell Kokubun to be Department of Agriculture director?
And guess who is putting his name in to be appointed to replace Kokubun? Gary Safarik. No joke. I heard it from Safarik himself. Never a dull moment in politics, I tell you, even on parade day.

***Commentary*** Regarding My $142 Speeding Ticket

Photo by Tiffany Edwards Hunt. All rights reserved. Use with permission only.

Ah, life’s ironies. Today I photographed an illegally dumped refrigerator. Tonight I was pulled aside right near it.
Remember that police officer I told you has been camping out at the top of Ainaloa lately? I met him tonight. His name is Officer Kim. He gave me a $142 speeding ticket for going 42 miles per hour in a 25 mile per hour zone. I vowed I would be challenging my ticket, and would be seeing him again in court. I don’t deny I was going 42 miles per hour — I’ve said here that I believe that area is a speed trap being 25 miles per hour on a stretch of houses with no homes and otherwise left for drug-dealing and illegal dumping. It’s that section of road that I prefer to speed past.
Anyway, tonight, I came up over the hill to this stretch of highway and the officer’s unmarked car was right there, flashing it’s blue lights indicating I needed to pull over BEFORE I even passed the car!
I pulled over, with that damn discarded refrigerator right there in front of my vehicle.
The officer approached my vehicle, and I handed him my driver’s license, registration and insurance card.
“Why did you put on your blue lights before I even passed your vehicle?” I asked him, totally annoyed.
“To give you time to slow down and pull over,” he said, very politely.
“How did you know how fast I was going before I even passed you?” I said, accusatorially.
“My radar,” he said, matter-of-factly.
“I want to see the radar,” I said.
I went off on a diatribe about how I feel like it is entrapment for him to be sitting there like that, pulling me over after I have been working all day long, in an area that is a wasteland for drug dealers, illegal dumpers and drag racers. Read more

***Commentary*** Note From A Libertarian Queen

Ai yai yai!
To blog or not to blog, that has been the question I’ve been pondering a lot lately.
In case some of you still left at my little tea party were not following, Big Island Chronicle careened out of control at some point after Veteran’s Day, after my post giving regard to my father and other veterans. Actually, I would say there have been plenty of moments when the blog veered off the shoulder and I have only myself to blame.
I put my blog on automatic pilot when I went to the mainland on vacation in October. I let folks freely comment, with no moderation in effect. Things got pretty out of control while I was on vacation, but I was able to get things back on track through some emailing and suspending a person from commenting.

When I returned home from my vacation, I thought, “I’m really busy, it’s sometimes a day or two before I can get through all my emails, I think I’m just going to keep the blog on automatic pilot.” Wrong move. At some point, someone I had previously blacklisted from the blog invited himself back on the blog, and then one of the regulars became intent on attacking my new contributing editor.
It has just been one thing after another, quite frankly. This weekend, after I posted a friend’s letter entitled, “Regarding The Blog Hogs,” things really came to a head. People started expressing themselves and revealing how much they really feel like I owe them the space to comment, like my blog is their handout or something. That sort of attitude really disgusted me, and my reaction was 1. to tell people off 2. walk away.

So, for the most part, I just kept the blog on automatic pilot most of the weekend, let people have their say and, rather than give my blog any energy, I cleaned my house really thoroughly. It was actually quite wonderful in that respect. Every so often, I’d clean out my emails, read through all the comments, and walk away from my computer in disgust, looking for a new section of my house to sweep out cobwebs and scrub away gecko shit.
Then I got called a Libertarian queen intent to have my own little tea party — by someone who I had previously kicked off my blog and who had welcomed himself back without an invitation. Read more

***Commentary*** School Bus And SUV Collision At Highway 130 And Pahoa Village Road

Luckily, I wasn’t in the area at the time, but several people have shared with me the fact that there was a crash this afternoon at the intersection of Highway 130 and Pahoa Village Road.
This time the crash involved a school bus and an SUV — one report said a Nissan XTerra specifically. The school bus appeared to be without children, thank God.
But this is yet another reminder that the State of Hawaii is grossly negligent of our Pahoa community. We are in desperate need of a roundabout or signalized intersection at Highway 130 and Pahoa Village Road.
We need our state representative, Faye Hanohano, and our state senator, Russell Kokubun, to press hard on our State Department of Transportation to improve this intersection before the next crash that involves a school bus FULL of children.
The complacency is unacceptable. Lives are at stake.
Let’s do what Hanohano’s Republican challenger, Marlene Hapai, proposed in the recent campaign: let’s have our State Legislature bring forth a resolution urging the governor to declare Highway 130, and the intersection with Pahoa Village Road specifically, a state of emergency.
Better yet, let’s have our newly elected governor, Neil Abercrombie, not even wait on the State Legislature. Let’s have Abercrombie make the emergency declaration without having to be prodded.
It seems so simple and straightforward, if only government could operate that way. Lives our at stake, Abercrombie, Hanohano, Kokubun, State DOT. Please make something happen at that intersection NOW.

Tiffany Edwards Hunt
(808)938-8592
Newswoman@Mac.com
Www.bigislandchronicle.com

***Commentary*** Notes From An Insomniac With Pressing Middle-Of-The-Night Thoughts

It’s about right — I guess I was about six months pregnant when I started waking up in the middle of the night. I actually cut out pieces of fabric and pasted a collage together on my refrigerator using Mod Podge on one of those sleepless nights. Now, with a blog, I have a desire to finger-peck my thoughts aloud.

The first pregnancy I was truly amazed at what was going on with me biologically. Now I know what to expect, but I’m still in wonderment at how the body works — I’m being prepared for all those nights when baby boy is going to need me to wake up with him for a feeding or a diaper change.

In any case, here I sit on my couch, waiting for my tea to steep, thinking what sort of middle-of-the-night project I’ll take on this pregnancy.

About what my Blundstones looked like when I took them in to be resoled by Jeremy "Jerry" Song at Modern Shoe Repair. (Image courtesy of In Your Shoes.)

For now, I’ll catch you up on some details I haven’t had a chance to share — first off, most pressing on my mind is the demise of Modern Shoe Repair. Judge Sandy Schutte Song is an acquaintance of mine and I am sorry to read that her husband, Jeremy, aka “Jerry,” is closing the doors on a family tradition in Hilo. I actually had my favorite Blundstone boots resoled there at one time and I appreciate and value a craftsman like him.
The Hawaii Tribune-Herald had a really nice article about him and his intention to retire at the end of the year.
My husband is a craftsman himself — being a surfboard shaper — and I can see very clearly how craftsmen are among an endangered species. Our store would not survive without the sales of all the accessories — tees, board shorts, bathing suits, bikinis, dresses, hoodies, hats, purses, etc. Still, sometimes with little traffic in Pahoa, I pray for customers to keep our doors open.
People say, “We need to keep country, country,” and then they are complacent about big-box stores moving in to their community, not realizing the detriment such big business has on their towns and communities. Without small shops and restaurants like you have in old Pahoa Village, you wouldn’t even have a town. People need to be cognizant of that.
It is definitely not easy being a small-business owner.
On Wednesday, I had planned to attend the County Board of Ethics hearing of soon-to-be former Puna Councilwoman Emily Naeole and her Council Aide Gwen Kupahu. But business has been too slow this week for me to pay for a helper to cover for me and my husband is busy working on a custom board order and ding repair.
I did find out that it would have been a waste of gas money into town — basically, according to my sources, the County Board of Ethics dismissed the case against Naeole and Kupahu. Read more

Chic Eco — Blogs and Aspersion: I Was The Next Victim

Dear BIC Readers,

It’s been a slow faint start as a new contributor to BIC and I wish to explain the primary reason for that. I believe that two wrongs don’t make a right and I am the type of character who certainly refrains from adding fuel to fire. Not easy for me to act otherwise, but I’m spooked.

The purpose of this notice is to report blog aspersion and although I prefer to not mention names, I am confident that the regular readers of BIC know exactly who has become intently fixated on damaging my reputation, ‒ both personally and professionally.

Read more

Letters — Expressing Appreciation For BIC Election Coverage

A belated appreciation for your presence at the vote counting Tuesday evening. It was a stark commentary on the state of the “mainstream media” on the Big Island that you were the only one there. I was there with you, electronically. Besides; it is much more fun and enlightening to read the Chronicle than WHT.

Thank you again.

Greg Schultz

Waikoloa