Politics — Council Dist. 5 Campaign Questionnaire: Tiffany Edwards Hunt

TiffanyWhat do you think are the most important issues for your district, and what would you do about them?
We’re suffering from a slack of representation.
Re previous Puna representatives: “They go to Hilo and they don’t look for Puna in the rear-view mirror.”
First responder issues one ambulance in Pahoa and one in Keaau
We have a population of sickly people who do not utilize a private physician or urgent care. They call the ambulance. It’s so bad that Public Health is trying to do preventative care with them.  Say somebody was en route with the Pahoa ambulance. That’s a two hour transit time for the ambulance. If someone  Read more

Guest Cartoon — ‘News Woman To Save The Day’

Tom Lackey cartoon

Aloha Tiff,

See the kind of stuff that I get myself into when I have too much time on my hands. As I have always said everything that I do is just for the fun that I get out of it.

I plan to put some commentary to this toon on my site something like:

Beware Puna because in the shadows lurks a super woman that will break loose and toss her bonnet in the political ring. She is only being held back now by the fact that she is Hapai with her second child. This community spirited cartoon like super hero wants a piece and a say in how Puna should develop, [or something like that]

The Lack

Politics — Safarik Says Naeole’s Claim He Never Offered To Help Is False

Emily Naeole-Beason, in a statement to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald for today’s paper pledging to help her successor transition into the Council District 5 office, claimed former Councilman Gary Safarik never offered her any help.

“When I came in, Gary Safarik, he never helped me do nothing,” Naeole-Beason reportedly told Peter Sur, of the Tribune-Herald.

Safarik, however, disputes that claim.

This is what he told Big Island Chronicle:

“Somebody else just called me about Emily accusing me of not wanting to help her when she first got elected, which is totally false, because in fact I made several attempts and she rejected all of them.  And that’s when Barbara Hale was her aide, and you know that may have had something to do with it, or whatever.  Nevertheless, I did offer and extend my help anytime she needed it, and it never came to be.”

Naeole-Beason was defeated by Fred Blas in the General Election Tuesday for the Council District 5 seat she held for four years. The vote was 3,678 to 2,532.  Naeole-Beason lost in every Lower Puna precinct.

Guest Column: Rob Tucker’s Notes on Fred Blas’ Talk Story

October 17, Nanawale Long House. 11 am to 1 pm

I attended Fred Blas’ talk story at Nanawale from start to finish. The format worked better than I expected. Fred spoke for a lot longer than three to five minutes and covered a lot of ground. Fred spoke without notes. I sat in the front row and took my notes extemporaneously. So here they are.

Fred’s Background:

* raised in Guam and Southern California
* business management background. 11 years with Sears, Roebuck followed with his own Firestone
* Married to Betty for 35 years, with three boys and two girls. The children now include a Ph.D., a
teacher, a private investigator, College CEO
* Been coming to the Big Island for 30+ years and decided to move here 12 years ago.

Why Run/ Fred’s Vision:

* We need a common sense approach for “our people” there is no “my people”. Everyone counts.
* I enjoy what I do. I am not a talker I am a doer.
* I want Puna to be a role model and to have a positive image for our residents and the world.

Fred Supports:

* Medical marijuana – a program which is needed but is not well run.

* Civil Unions: Fred supports marriage between a man and a woman and also supports civil unions.

* Our farmers. Strong support for our papaya farmers. Sugar is gone. We have to keep our local agriculture strong.

* Education: We need more programs for after school which can teach skills, respect and leadership. Sports are a way to do that. The new Puna Panthers Pop-Warner team is 3-1 with players showing good promise for college scholarships. Basketball, volleyball and surfing are areas of sports development that can help kids keep busy and learn. Sports is a way for the community and county to assist families in keeping kids engaged and in school.

* Jobs/ Small Business: We need the zoning to allow local business opportunities. We can’t be driving to Hilo for everything forever.

* Roads: We need an alternative route to and from Hilo. Gotta have it.

* Police: Find ways to support the police to reduce burglaries and distribution of drugs like cocaine and ice.

* Woodland Center: Working with the state and with Faye Hanohano to get a traffic light at the Woodland location. Fred had a collision there himself and understands the risks.

* Medical Facilities: we urgently need a dialysis center and a hospital. Kau, Waimea, Hilo and Kona all have hospitals. Puna needs a hospital. Fred will work with anyone and everyone to achieve this.

* Water: We need water. Fire hydrants to serve the subdivisions. Depending on volunteers fire trucks to haul water to fires is not sufficient.

* Speeders / Racers: Work with police to reduce speeding and dangerous driving. Fred had a meeting with 25+ young racers who want a place to race their cars. From this a group was formed to work toward that end with the young drivers signing a pledge to not drink and drive, race and speed and to not steal cars for parts.

* No East Side / West Side: Fred will work with council members for what is good for Puna and help them for what they need in their districts.

* Ethnic groups: Where Fred grew up everybody was equal. No my people talk. Black, brown, white – everybody’s blood is red. Everybody matters.

* Cutting Costs / Increasing Services: Fred will work with the courts for more community service and less jail time. Use the community service to do things like road clean up and free county workers to maintain and improve parks. His work with community service manpower has been as far away as Akaka Falls doing clean ups.

* Community Service: The bus shelters did not cost the county anything. Local businesses donated materials and residents volunteered.

* A park in HPP is a priority. HPP has nothing and needs attention.

* Pahoa Senior Center: Don’t spend too much time and money making tedious plans. Let the people do it. we have carpenters and electricians who will volunteer in an instant.

* District 5 office. I will not need a council office in Pahoa. I will drive to Hilo. I will work out of my car if I have to. If I can save the money I’d rather see the funding go to the Senior Center or something similar that helps people.

Fred Statements:

* Working together we will al be winners.

* I am not a talker, I am a doer. When I was in business and we got a complaint I called up the customer right away, not next week, and asked: How can we solve the problem?

* I want “our” district to be safe and the best quality of life for everyone.

* I only spent $2,600 on my campaign so far. I am frugal in spending money and always look for the way to get things done without waste. I can save the county money.

* I will work with the whole council and the administration. I want Puna to become a role model on getting things done.

Questions from those attending:

1. Scholastic Surfing Team? Fred: Sure.

2. Pohiki beach development? Fred: Sounds like a good idea but I need to know more. Don’t damage the break.

3. GMO? for or against? Fred: I am in the middle on this.

4. Veto. Would Fred support a veto over ride? Fred: Under the right circumstances – sure.

5. Are you going to have your own TV show? Fred: No.

6. Fuel Tax Revenue Proposal. Do you support? Fred: Yes I do.

7. Will there be another pubic opportunity to meet Fred? Fred: I am meeting with lots of people. My schedule is jammed with meeting people. I will be at the HPP General Meeting to speak (Emily is invited too) on October 31st at 3 pm. Tell your friends to come and tell your friends and neighbors to vote.

8. You are supporting Charter Amendment #1 for 1% Land Preservation Fund? Fred: Yes.

End of my notes.

Rob Tucker

Politics — Team Marzi And Weatherford In Pahoa

Anthony Marzi was a little over 100 votes shy of defeating democratic incumbent Faye Hanohano in the State House District 4 race Saturday. James Weatherford came in third behind Fred Blas and Incumbent Emily Naeole-Beason in the Council District 5 race. Both Marzi and Weatherford and their supporters were among the politicians that lined Pahoa Village Road 200 feet away from the main polling place at the Pahoa Community Center Primary Election day. This photo by Tiffany Edwards Huntwas published in the Sept. 22 edition of the Big Island Weekly.

*** Commentary *** Why I Am Supporting Fred Blas

I’ll start this commentary off by telling you about Primary Election day.  In the afternoon, as I was preparing for my election coverage that night, I realized I didn’t have a battery-operated radio that I usually have to listen to pundits Ken Hupp, Hugh Clark, Aaron Chung and Todd Belt on 670 AM.  I got on my bike and rode around Pahoa, asking friends and neighbors if they had one I could borrow.  No luck.  I rode down Pahoa Village Road, looking for Madie Greene, who I had seen sign waving for Fred Blas earlier in the day.  Greene owns Puna Buy and Sell, and I wanted to know if she had a battery-operated radio at her pawn shop.  As I rode up, Greene was standing with Barbara Lively, one of the four Council District 5 candidates.  I razzed Greene and Lively about standing together and waving at the passersby.  Lively, in, I don’t know how else to put, a bitchy tone, said to me, “Well, your candidate is over there,” gesturing further down Pahoa Village Road toward Kalapana.  “And who is my candidate?” I said.  “James.”  I paused for a minute, then said something to the effect of, “Don’t act like that, Barbara.” I gestured toward Greene, who stood there waving for Blas. “We’re all friends here. You can’t take this stuff personally.”

I’ll tell you straight, I DID vote for James Weatherford.  Yes, I realize, he has a tendency to act like Mr.-Know-It-All.  But he does know a lot.  And we have similar philosophies on life and on politics.  Since I’m being honest, I’ll tell you straight up that, if Weatherford wasn’t on the ballot, I would have voted for Fred Blas in the Primary Election.  I totally disagree with Blas’ anti-marijuana stance.  I think he is actually quite naive about the whole drug thing.  To me, he is denying an entire industry in Puna by taking a stance against marijuana.  But, hey, that is just about the only bone I have to pick to Blas.  And I’m not of the belief that it is the County’s kuleana to address the marijuana issue.  I don’t agree with people who think the Lowest Law Enforcement Priority of Cannabis Ordinance is enforceable in Hawaii County.  I think, in order to address marijuana, it needs to be taken up at the federal level.  One can argue that it can be addressed at the state level, since we do have our own constitution and technically there really are limited federal powers.  But that would require a governor and a State Legislature that are willing to stand up to the feds, until the feds address the issue once and for all.

In the meantime, what I would like to see is for us restore some common sense in Council District 5.  I would like to see a Council representative focused on the roles and responsibilities that are laid out in the County Charter.  The County Council is supposed to be focusing on roads, water,  wastewater, solid waste, rezonings, Parks and Recreation — those sorts of things.  We seem to have strayed away from leadership that is focusing on our basic needs at the County level.  I feel like Fred Blas is sane and reasonable and rational and, at least for the next two years, he can help stabilize our district.  Heck, with Blas at the helm, we might actually get Pahoa Village Road repaved and restriped.  We might be able to get the mess at Pahoa Aquatic Center sorted out, and we might obtain more police presence to aid us in better response times.

Let me tell you how I first came to know and adore Fred, who I teasingly call “Freddy.” It was back when I worked as a legislative assistant for Puna Councilwoman Emily Naeole-Beason.  At that time, Blas was one of her supporters.  And I was tasked with meeting with him on occasion to aid him in community projects.  One of my frequent callers as a legislative aide was Rob Tucker.  Tucker was hell-bent on getting the County Department of Public Works to hear his plea to aid him in getting some poles relocated on Post Office Road.  He also has a vision for sidewalks in Pahoa, which I am not too keen on, but I was willing to hear him out.  So, I set up a walkabout in Pahoa with Blas and Tucker.

Let me just tell you that I called Tucker this morning and shared with him what I’m going to share with you, so I kinda feel bad if I hurt his feelings, but I feel like honesty is paramount in this case.  As I was walking through Pahoa with Tucker on one side and Blas through the other, I felt like I was standing between a positive and a negative force.  For every “no can” I heard from Tucker, there was a “can!” from Blas.  Tucker is defensive and concerned that I think he is a pessimist.  I reminded him that this is merely my perception.  The point is, I feel like Blas is an optimist, and he is a doer.  After our walkabout in Pahoa, a month didn’t pass before he singlehandedly arranged and erected the “Aloha, Old Pahoa Village” signs fronting Puna Baptist Church and Jan’s Barber Shop.  When I need something, I call Blas.  He is busy campaigning for election, but every now and then he checks in with me and reminds me he is still working on Mainstreet Pahoa Association’s mission to get bike racks through Pahoa.  He organizes a crew of people and walks through the town weed-eating and picking up trash.

Tucker is a community servant as well. Don’t get me wrong.  We can thank him for  those “Akeakamai Loop” signs at Jan’s Barber Shop and Book Buyers. He ram rodded the tear-down of the shacks fronting Pahoa Cash And Carry.  He has worked on the Pahoa Skate Park, and he, after a lot of balking, got a hold of the right people to get those poles relocated on Post Office Road.  My point is not that Tucker doesn’t do good, it’s his approach.  He uses salt, while Blas uses sugar.  Blas is a cheerleader.  He has shown himself to be such a doer that people in the County actually WANT to help him.  I honestly feel like Blas will do more good than bad if he is elected to serve on the Hawaii County Council the next two years.

Letters — Who Is Fred Blas?

Who is Fred Blas? is a topic on Punaweb that’s been getting some debate and it is a good one.

I am not a personal close friend of Fred. I know him from working with him occasionally from different ends of the same problems. Ultimately Fred will have to state his case if he wants to win the council seat. But here’s my take on Fred the Monday after the primary….

Do not expect Fred to write thorough position papers. I can be considered an activist. Fred is not an activist. Fred’s forte is empowerment, local empowerment.

When Fred moved here he saw a neglected park frequented by druggies. Fred’s response was not to run to the county and say “you have to do something about this”. Fred’s response was to gather some neighbors, roll up their sleeves, and clean up the park. I will guess that the whole effort was never put on paper, did not involve letters to the editor or a lot of hand wringing. It was simply effective. It got the job done.  It is just one example.

On that note I agree with Fred, and have expressed it myself in the past, that before we write our grant proposals, before we plead with the county to do something, before we get frustrated and give up, that we take on the issue and try to solve it ourselves. It took me two years to get those two telephone poles at the Pahoa Post Office moved out of the right of way. It was a long effort and shouldn’t have been that hard. But I kept at it. If it proves that county or state funding will be needed to complete a job the county or state will have observed that not only is there a problem but there are involved residents working on it and they don’t just ask for someone to get it done, they ask the county or state to work with them, empower them to bring it to completion.  This is what FoPF has done on the Fuel Tax Revenue issue.

So for me I see Fred being Fred. He is not me. He is not James Weatherford. He takes his own approach which, quite frankly, has worked some small and some large wonders. You do not have to love him. Fred has given you no reason to hate him. Fred will be, just a James Weatherford would have been, a great leap forward for Puna’s representation on council.

When people see things improving by their own hands they get empowered. If you doubt me look at the vote counts.

Does this mean I agree with Fred on every issue? It does not. Is it reasonable for me to expect a Fred Blas to take only the approach to things that I would. I think not. There are more than one path to the betterment of Puna. Fred’s path definitely has what I call “traction”. On the ground, where the rubber meets the road, Fred has proven he has traction. If you doubt me look at the vote counts again.

So I am speaking on this with a bit more than blind faith. If Fred had just been sitting home these past years watching TV I would never have met him. Fred does not need a job. He could stay retired and relax. I met him as a fellow traveler working on community problems. I look forward to working with him in the future on the same subjects.

Meanwhile, it is important that Fred step into the world of verbal direct communication on the questions I and many of you have. I expect him to do so and I think he will.

Rob Tucker

Letters — James Weatherford On Losing In Council District 5

Thanks to every one of the 924 voters who cast their ballot for me. Getting the support of these fine people has been an enjoyable and growing experience. Of course, I am disappointed in the results, but not in any way regretful for the effort. As a (now, former) candidate I cede victory to Fred and Emily and congratulate them.

As a voter and (always active) citizen, I would remind Fred and Emily that 37% of voters who cast valid ballots did not vote for either of them. To earn those votes in November, they are going to have to do something very different from what they have done so far. Later I will have more to about turnout, endorsements, forums and other bits of election trivia for reflection on this campaign and for learning about future campaigns. Right now, I need to go pick up the rest of my signs.
Aloha nui loa

James Weatherford

***Commentary*** The Board of Ethics Complaint Regarding The Council District 5 Office

(Following is a narrative written by Toni Robert of Puna, which serves as an addendum to a Board of Ethics petition filed this week, alleging violations on the part of Council District 5 office. A commentary was published earlier this week, anticipating this Board of Ethics petition to be filed against Puna Councilwoman Emily Naeole-Beason and her Council Aide Gwen Kupahu.  That Big Island Chronicle (BIC) commentary also detailed the fact that BIC and  have jointly filed a Uniform Information Practices Act (UIPA) request with the Data Systems Department for all County emails, including those trashed, to and from Kupahu and Naeole-Beason between July 5 and the present. That request is pending. )

9/14/2010 10:51:14 PM

TO: Lincoln S. T. Ashida Corporation Counsel

County of Hawai`i Hilo Lagoon Centre 101 Aupuni Street Suite 325

Hilo, Hawai`i 96720

RE: Addendum to Code of Ethics Petition

Aloha Mr. Ashida and Board,

I am writing to expound upon the choices of the code I selected. I will acknowledge ignorance of the ‘law’ regarding the actual intent behind each of the items below but will in fact use the actual meanings of the words to me to explain my petition. I beg your patience in advance.

Section 2-83. Fair treatment.

(a) Officers and employees of the County, while discharging their duties and dealing with the public, shall

adhere to the following precepts:

(1) All public property and equipment are to be treated as a public trust and are not to be used in a proprietary manner or for personal purposes without proper consent.

My comments: I understand ‘personal’ purposes may be subjective but I will address why I chose this with the following explanation: I am aware that Ms. Naeole gave verbal direction on or about June 2010 to her Campaign Treasurer during a Campaign Committee meeting at Ms. Naeole’s home. The verbal instruction was: ‘Auntie Gwen, make sure you call as soon as you get into the office and order the T-Shirts [T-Shirt Company out of state. Check written, Thursday, July 1, a work day.] and Bags’[Bag Company is out of state. Check written on Monday, June 28, a work day]. The direction to her paid staff to use the office and the office equipment, and presumably the ‘time’ to place a campaign order for T-Shirts and Bags, is of a personal nature and not the ‘business’ of the office of District 5 Council. Read more

Guest Column — Where In The World Are R.J. and Sativa?

Image courtesy of

By Rob Tucker

The headline is intended to be sung to the tune of “Where In The World is Carmen San Diego?”

I’m trying to take a light hearted approach to a trail of crumbs I found that seem to lead to and from the District 5 office of Emily Naeole-Beason.

The first crumb was that I heard a rumor that R.J. and Sativa had cleared out their desks at the District 5 office. What could be behind that rumor? I paid light attention. Can’t remember who told me that.

The next crumb, picked up when I returned from L.A. was that R.J. was out on flextime. Okay…. I can buy that I guess. I’m on flextime all the time.

Then today there was another crumb. I stopped into the District 5 office to talk to R.J. about some pending legislation. Gwen told me R.J. was on vacation. I noticed there are new faces working in the office too.

So my curiosity is getting the better of me. It gets curiouser and curiouser as Alice would say.

New faces? Flextime? Vacation? On the clock? Off the clock? On the payroll? Off the payroll? My instincts tell me something is going on that doesn’t meet the eye.

So Where In The World Are R.J. and Sativa?

(If they are at Disneyland tell them I recommend Geppetto’s Grotto for lunch.)

Rob Tucker lives in Pahoa.

Letters — Regarding Allegations Of Campaign Violations In The Council District 5 Office

Aloha Tiffany,

Thank you for the professionalism you have shown me through this process. After our meeting on Sunday, when I asked you to protect me through anonymity, I have been able to gather the resources and data I needed to be able to substantiate any comments which may be attributed to me regarding perceived ethics violations by Ms. Naeole. After meeting with Mr. Goodenow yesterday morning and gathering my support documentation, I hope to have my Board of Ethics claim worked out and delivered tomorrow to Lincoln Ashida. It will take me some more time to logically list and articulate my concerns.

For the record, I will be filing this claim referencing only the ‘appearance’ of violation of the Ethic’s Code relative to campaign and county business intermingling. This claim will in no way address the ‘loud mouth’ comment made from the council seat. I have already gone on record as saying I intend no action be taken on my behalf nor will I initiate action.

Please feel free to post this email on your site to assuage any concerns by anyone that you are ‘singling’ out Emily for some personal reason. Let it be known, I approached YOU. I asked you to protect me. I am bringing this up NOW because I became aware of something on Thursday I believed to be a violation which led to my knowledge being improved on what constitutes an ethics violation and that took time to become educated. I am now prepared to answer the questions that may be asked of me with a public  announcement of my identity.

Toni Robert

Letters — The Conservative Forum For Hawaii’s Report Card For The Hawaii County Council District 5 Candidates

The Conservative Forum for Hawaii has started a voter’s guide “Report Card.”

We do not endorse, we only analyze from a conservative perspective.

Due to this late decision, we were unable to gather enough material on all candidates to present a measured analysis.

As most board members are resident’s of Hawaii County Council District 5, it was decided by the board to begin the task focusing only on that race.

We’ll do more next time.

All candidates were invited to a meeting with the Board and the Ad Hoc committee on Monday, Sept. 6, 2010. Incumbent Councilwoman Emily Naeole-Beason failed to respond to multiple phone messages, emails and visits to her county office. Candidate Fred Blas although unable to attend in person, did respond to a lengthy phone interview with president Walter Moe. Candidates James Weatherford and Barbara Malia Lively appeared for a 1-hour interview with The Forum. Read more

Letters — Council District 5 Candidate Certified For Comprehensive Public Funding

(Editor’s Note: The following letter from a Council District 5 candidate is being published only for the fact that it offers insight into comprehensive public funding. Generally, only introductory letters from candidates will be published.  Beyond that, candidates for public office are encouraged to pay for advertising during the 2010 campaign season. An ad on this blog can be linked to one’s personal or campaign website.  For information on how to set up a website or design a website for this blog, email

Thanks to you folks (and several more I do not — yet — have email addresses for) I was notified today by the Hawaii State Campaign Spending Commission that I have been certified for Comprehensive Public Funding. This was the culmination of the application process that required me to collect, from 200 registered voters, a signature and $5 contribution payable to the Hawaii Campaign Election Fund.

The application, along with the $5-checks and $5-money orders, and my nomination papers were filed with the County Elections Office on March 17.

The James Weatherford for County Council campaign will be receiving (probably early next week) $9,826 to conduct operations for the Primary Election, September 18. Read more

Letters — Introduction From A Council District 5 Candidate

(Editor’s Note: Following is a campaign-related letter from James Weatherford, Ph.D., who intends to run for the Hawaii County Council District 5 seat currently occupied by Emily Naeole-Beason.  Big Island Chronicle is publishing the following letter as an introduction to Weatherford as a political candidate in the campaign season to come.  Those  intending to seek public office in Hawaii County are encouraged to write introductory letters to be published here.  Introductions aside, those who wish to publicize their campaign on this blog should buy an ad.  Email for ad rates.)

James Weatherford

James Weatherford


My name is James Weatherford and I will be a candidate for Hawaii County Council District 5 in 2010. With my wife, Elizabeth, I reside in Hawaiian Paradise Park.

The Council can make a positive difference in what matters to us all. As a Councilor, I will be a creative and productive force in helping to bring that difference to materialize.

My approach on the Council will be to apply the work ethic I learned as a child doing farm chores and applied in more than 20 years of public service in agriculture and rural development, mass transit, economic analysis, and education.

My priority on the Council will be good government for Hawaii County and sustainable livelihood in Puna. I will get to work on this on Day One, because I have a clear awareness of persisting and emerging issues, a sound grasp of the nature of alternatives available to successfully contend with the issues, and a well-grounded understanding of the role of the Council in implementing appropriate measures. Read more

Letters — Introduction From A Council District 5 Candidate

(Editor’s Note: Following is a campaign-related letter from Barbara Lively, who intends to run for the Hawaii County Council District 5 seat currently occupied by Emily Naeole-Beason.  Lively served as a legislative assistant and council aide to former councilman Bob Jacobson. The campaign season kicks off in February, however Lively will be hosting a kick-off between 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Friday at the Pahoa Community Center, aka Pahoa Neighborhood Facility, and between the same times, Friday, Dec. 18, 2009 at the Ainaloa Longhouse.  Big Island Chronicle is publishing the following letter as an introduction to Lively as a political candidate in the campaign season to come.  Introductions aside, those seeking public office who wish to publicize their campaign on this blog should buy an ad.  Email for rates.)

Aloha, Everyone!

barbara livelyMy name is Barbara Lively and I am running for the District 5, Puna County Council seat. I have the education and experience to provide the leadership our district needs.  I look forward to providing responsible representation for all of Lower Puna as we address our economic and social challenges.  I have the heart and courage to meet these challenges with you.  I will be using Public Funds to run my campaign, so please come to my events to learn more about the program and how you can help me. Read more