*** Commentary *** Impressive Last Act Of This Council Term Today

If you haven’t had a chance, check out Rob Tucker’s account of the last meeting of this County Council term.  As you know,  Bill 311 is to approve a $56 million bond float pitched by Mayor Billy Kenoi’s administration.  Most people, including myself, imagined six council members — J Yoshimoto, Donald Ikeda, Dennis “Fresh” Onishi, Emily Naeole, Guy Enriques, and Kelly Greenwell — would confirm an earlier decision to authorize the sale of bonds for roads, parks, housing and waste disposal projects scattered throughout the island.

Apparently, there were two motions for reconsiderations put forth:  one from Ikeda, of Hilo, for Bill 311 to be reconsidered today and one from Dominic Yagong, of Hamakua, to be reconsidered on Dec. 15 — after three new council members come aboard and a new Council majority takes effect.

Here is how Tucker described the meeting:

“About 35 people testified including me for FoPF. The majority testified to either not borrow money (The Conservative Forum for example) or for the public to be allowed public hearings (FoPF’s position). A motion was made for public hearings. In discussion it became apparent that Emily Naeole was backing off of Bill 311 in favor of allowing the public – and the incoming council – to have input and carry the ball. Guy Enriques once again was intent on listening to those invisible people who speak to him louder than the testifying public. He was against public hearings as usual. Kelly Greenwell considers the measure as stimulus package and the role of the county to take responsibility for job creation. He didn’t need public hearings. With Hoffman, Yagong, Naeole and Ford in favor of public hearings it looked like a winner. Then…
Kenneth Goodenough, county clerk, announced that in his reading of the rules it would take a five vote majority to approval a motion for public hearings. This was news to just about everybody in the chamber. Brenda Ford called for a 5 minute break to consult the rules and on returning disputed the clerk’s position. This left it up to J Yoshimoto who decided to side with the clerk for a five vote majority requirement on public hearings.
So roll was called. It quickly lined up as four to four. To most everyone’s surprise Yoshimoto voted aye in favor of public hearings and with that the session was over.”

I too wonder how Goodenow came up with the rule that there needed to be five votes for a motion for a public hearing.  I thought there needed to be three votes.

With the surprise vote from Yoshimoto in favor of a public hearing, there was applause from the audience and, after the meeting, Tucker, who can be thought of as a thorn in the side of the County of Hawaii, personally thanked both Naeole and Yoshimoto for their surprise positions.

It really sounds like today was one of the best meeting days of what generally has been a train wreck of a Council term.  
Read more

Politics — Smart Moves

Newly elected Councilwoman Brittany Smart, representing Upper Puna, Ka'u and South Kona, poses with newly elected Governor Neil Abercrombie (D), State Sen. Josh Green (D), and newly elected Lieutenant Gov. Brian Schatz (D). Â (Photo courtesy of Shannon Rudolph.)

What’s interesting to me is that, in the photo above, State Sen. Josh Green poese with candidates that prevailed in the General Election tonight. Recently, Incumbent Guy Enriques held a rally in Pahala that was reportedly attended by U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, Hilo Councilman Dennis “Fresh” Onishi, and Mayor Billy Kenoi. When I heard that those three were in attendance. I had to wonder, what the three of them would do should Smart and not Enriques prevail in this election. Now I wonder what sort of courtesy they will extend to Smart, with her defeating the candidate they supported. Inouye, Onishi and Kenoi eat crow on this one.  Smart, meanwhile, has proven to be smart, aligning with the Kona senator and the newly elected governor and lieutenant governor.  We shall see how that plays out for her district.

Guest Column — Last-Minute Political Predictions

By Steve Offenbaker

With a little time on my hands before we get returns I decided to put my completely unscientific election projections down in writing.

Nationally the GOP is going to take the house and end the reign of Speaker Pelosi. On the Senate side, I think the Democrats will keep a slim majority but Harry Reid will lose in Nevada, should this be the case I wonder is the senate president pro temp Dan Inouye will be in line for majority leader?

The result of this election will be governmental gridlock as the House won’t be able to get much done with the house being GOP and the Senate being controlled by the dems. It will be 2012 before the mess gets sorted out.

In Hawaii, the race for the states chief executive is very close and very interesting. I’ll be the first to admit I’m biased in this race, not to party but to the people. Duke Aiona is a good man. He is not a politician but a committed servant to the public, serving as a prosecutor, a judge, a drug court judge (in fact he was the first one), and then as LG. He is the only candidate in the race with any executive experience. I think he is best equipped to lead us as we work to improve the economy in Hawaii. Lynn Finnegan is a superstar in my mind. Read more

Politics — BIC ‘Hot Seat’ With Guy Enriques Today

The Big Island Chronicle “Hot Seat” Forum with Guy Enriques, the councilman for Puna, Ka’u and South Kona, is being held today at Short and Sweet Cafe.  Feel free to participate in this forum by contributing your questions.   If Guy does not answer the submitted questions during this forum, he will have the option of submitting answers at a later time.  Please ask questions that are relevant to the County of Hawaii, the Hawaii County Council, and Council District 6, which covers the Puna, Ka’u and South Kona areas.  Comments are not being moderated at this time, so please be civil and respectful, regardless of your opinions or the opinions being expressed here.  Any violations will be noted and could lead to folks being blocked from this site.  Mahalo for your participation.

Politics — Enriques And Smart To Be On The Radio Together Sunday

Guy Enriques

Brittany Smart

Hear Hawaii County Council District 6 candidates incumbent Guy Enriques and challenger Brittany Smart together on the radio on the weekly broadcast Island Issues, with host Sherry Bracken on Sunday morning, Oct. 17, 2010, at 6:30 a.m. on KKOA 107.7 fm, 8 a.m. on LAVA 105.3 fm, and online at 8 a.m.,

Politics — Councilman Guy Enriques To Take The BIC Hot Seat On Wednesday

Guy Enriques

Councilman Guy Enriques, who represents Upper Puna, Ka’u and South Kona, will sit on the Big Island Chronicle “Hot Seat” at 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010.  Enriques’ contender in the upcoming General Election, Brittany Smart, was on the BIC “Hot Seat” on Saturday.

Enriques and I will sit at the Short and Sweet Cafe in Hilo and, you, the reader, will sit at home, at a friend’s house, or at a coffee shop and interact with Enriques and I via the blog for one hour.  You can ask your questions then, or you can ask them now in comments on this thread.  Whatever questions Enriques does not get to in that hour frame, he will have the option of submitting answers later.  Please keep your questions focused on issues that are within the purview of the Hawaii County Council.

Politics — Guy Enriques’ New Courtship With The Media

Councilman Guy Enriques poses for a photo with Big Island Chronicle editor and publisher Tiffany Edwards Hunt.

(Editor’s note:  A version of the following story about Councilman Guy Enriques appears in tomorrow’s edition of the Big Island Weekly, along with some of Enriques’ answers to questions posed to all Hawaii County Council candidates in a voters guide.)

Councilman Guy Enriques is courting the media.

Just before the Primary Election, the councilman who for the last two years has represented Upper Puna, Ka’u and South Kona, was telling reporters he didn’t want to have anything to do with them.  He refused to respond to any of the news publications’ voters guides and, to be consistently against participating in the guides, didn’t even respond to questions posed to candidates by the League of Women Voters.

Enriques explained he took that stance on principle.  In the weeks preceding the Primary, he took exception with newspaper coverage involving fellow council member Emily Naeole-Beason and involving Kamaoa Road in South Point that he has a resolution in the works proposing to make private. Enriques objected to what he believes to be biased reporting in the island newspapers. Enriques referred to the most trusted man of America, the late Walter Cronkite, who said that “good journalism” is news reports that are “fair, accurate and unbiased” and “in seeking truth you have to get both sides of the story.”

“When you read the articles,” in the island newspapers, “you already know what side the reporter is on,” Enriques said. “A lot of times I was fixing things created by the paper — because of the misinformation printed in the paper.  Enriques referred to Kamaoa Road specifically.  “People are calling me up saying by closing down Kamaoa Road I’m going to prevent access to Green Sand Beach, to hunting, to the beautiful vistas.  Department of Public Works, the Planning Commission, and the Planning Department all recommend that the road be closed because it serves no public purpose.  It deads ends onto private property.  Five landowners want to buy it.  One landowner is disgruntled about the proposed purchase.” Still, in the newspaper, the headline about Kamaoa Road read something to the effect of, “Battle Brewing In Ka’u.”

“Since then, it became a battle brewing in Ka’u,” Enriques noted.  “I spend a lot of time emailing and calling to clarify the issue.” Read more

Politics — Guy Enriques Responds To The Big Island Chronicle Voters Guide

Guy Enriques

(Editor’s Note:  When initially approached for the Big Island Weekly and the Big Island Chronicle voters guides, Councilman Guy Enriques, who represents Upper Puna, Ka’u and South Kona, refused to participate.  Enriques said he was boycotting the media because he disagreed with what he believed to be biased reporting.  In the Sept. 18 Primary Election, University of Hawaii-Hilo political sciences graduate Brittany Smart received a little over 150 more votes than Enriques.  The two of them will have a runoff in the General Election on Nov. 2. After the Primary, Enriques had a change of heart about the media and accepted an offer from the Weekly and the Chronicle to participate in the voters guides.  In tomorrow’s edition of the Weekly, expect a story about Enriques’ change of heart with the media and some of the questions-and-answers you see posted below.)

When elected, what is your first planned piece of legislation?

I have several pieces of legislation in process. I am not at liberty to discuss them before introduction. Sunshine Law 🙂

Why should constituents vote for you?

Even under these very challenging economic conditions, I have successfully gotten money flowing into many projects for our district. I have proven that my ability to lead and work together gets things done. Due to my participation in many different community activities I deeply understand the needs of our district and have learned how best to apply County resources to improve upon what we have.  Through the multiple talk stories that I have hosted in each community, I have been able to make lists of priorities.   Read more

*** Commentary *** Third Printout Shows About Three Council Runoffs

A look at the numbers on the third and final printout shows Fred Blas leading the race for Council District 5 over Incumbent Emily Naeole-Beason. Votes cast were 1,496 votes to 1,320 votes, meaning Blas and Naeole-Beason will have a runoff in the General.
Similarly, In Council District 6, Incumbent Guy Enriques will face Brittany Smart in the General, with Smart receiving 1,657 votes and Enriques receiving 1,506 votes.
In Council District 6, it looks like Angel Pilago will have a runoff with Debbie Hecht. Pilago, in the end, received 1,707 votes, or 46 percent of the votes cast. He need 50 percent plus one to succeed in the Primary. Hecht received 691 votes, Rath received 604 votes, and Imcumbent Kelly Green received 333 votes.
Incumbents Pete Hoffmann, Brenda Ford, and Donald Ikeda succeeded over their challengers, winning the Primary outright with 50 percent plus one.
J Yoshimoto, Dennis “Fresh” Onishi, and Dominic Yagong all were unchallenged in the Primary, but had enough blank votes cast to indicate some voter dissatisfaction and the possibility that a challenger could have given them runoffs in the General.
On the State Legislature side, all democratic incumbents succeeded the Primary and will face off with their Republican challengers.
In Puna, State Representative District 4 Incumbent Faye Hanohano narrowly succeeded Anthony Marzi. The votes were 2,296 to 2,183, with 354 blank votes cast.
Although the County has a higher than ever voter registration count at 100,061 voters, only 39 percent voted in this election.

*** Commentary *** First Returns Show Potential Runoffs In Three Council Races

First returns are in and the results are already showing a few potential run offs in Hawaii County on the county council side, In District 5, Fred Blas is leading incumbent Emily Naeole-Beason, with 402 votes to 293 votes.
In District 6, incumbent Guy Enriques has 491 votes with Brittany Smart trailing right behind him with 392 votes.
In Kona, Angel Pilago is leading the race at 627 votes. Incumbent Kelly Greenwell has less than 200 votes.
Trailing behind Pilago is Debbie Hecht with 329 votes.
Most interesting for state representative is that incumbent Faye Hanohano is neck and neck with fellow Democrat Anthony Marzi — by two votes! Hanohano leads by 573 votes and Marzi has 571 votes.
Dr. Neil Abercrombie is not only leading state wide for the governor’s seat, but also in Hawaii County with 7,099 votes. Mufi has 5,244 votes.
Keep in mind, these numbers are reflecting absentee and early walk-in voting, so the night is young.

Tiffany Edwards Hunt

Letters — Addressed To Hawaii County Council Members, Regarding Emily Naeole-Beason

Aloha Council Members,

I am writing to let you know I took umbrage with the comment made by Councilwoman Emily Naeole during her discourse, referring to opponents of Bill 283 as ‘a bunch of loud mouths’. This statement is clearly reminiscent of Councilman Guy Enriques’ who berated those who attend public meetings with the same moniker. She mischaracterized a minimum of 1100 people of her community/district who signed a petition stating their opposition!

The public square [in our case public testimony] enjoys a rich history from the days of our founding fathers down through the centuries to our time. Much national treasure in blood has been spilt to defend the ‘right’ to ‘freely express oneself’. Whether or not anyone agrees with the opinions/thoughts expressed, characterizing anyone as ‘loud mouths’ is unacceptable, unprofessional and likely an embarrassment to many who share in this peer relationship. While Ms. Naeole also enjoys the same freedom of expression rights they are somewhat abridged while seated as a council member.

Ms. Naeole enjoys a reputation for inappropriate behavior as a council member. In fact, at the last Kona meeting, she chastised council woman Brenda Ford with ‘get a life’ after the meeting had been called to order by a disruption in Kona. Such comments clearly show disrespect.

I appreciate you all have long days dealing with taxing matters [pun intended] which try anyone’s patience. More often than not it is done well. You make me feel very welcome while addressing the council through testimony and when speaking individually to council members. I support you as a body and respect your position tremendously. I know each of you make an effort to be professional. Ms. Naeole has in fact done a great job for a long stretch. Read more

Politics — Big Island Chronicle Voters’ Guide For The Nine Hawaii County Council Races

(Editor’s Note:  A much shorter version of these questions and answers from Hawaii County Council candidates appeared in the Sept. 1, 2010 edition of the Big Island Weekly.)

Council District 1

Dominic Yagong

Dominic Yagong


current council member and retail management

When elected, what is your first planned piece of legislation?

Introduce legislation that would un-authorize the Mayor to sell the nearly 2000 acres of Hamakua Lands situated in Paauilo.

Why should constituents vote for you?

I work very hard to understand the issues before the County Council, and I do my very best to bring forth solutions to address community challenges.  I conduct business in complete transparency and provide opportunities for the community to participate in the decision making process.  I understand that my job is to represent the voice of the people, and I do it through listening and communicating with the district that I am fortunate to represent. Read more

*** Commentary *** Regarding Pahoa’s Phantom Lane And Legislation Regarding Woodland Center Up For First Reading Sept. 9

For nearly three weeks there has existed a phantom lane at the intersection of Pahoa Village Road and Highway 130.  Would you believe, 17 days after I first told you about it on my blog, that phantom lane is still there?  Seventeen days ago there were orange cones erected to try to discourage drivers from driving into the lane.  Now, those cones aren’t even there.  And, for the last week, the debris that you see in the photo above, has remained there.  Every time I drive by, I am both amazed and horrified at the neglect of this area by our State and County officials.  Whose kuleana is it to clean up the debris from a car crash. As we know, the car crashes at this intersection are frequent.  Phantom lanes and debris left in the road do not lend to public safety.

Meanwhile, on a separate but related subject,  Bill 283, the ordinance granting the developer of Woodland Center a five-year time extension to fulfill conditions associated with a commercial rezoning, will be taken up on first reading at the Hawaii County Council meeting on Wednesday.  More than 1,100 people signed a petition calling for certificates of occupancy not to be granted until the necessary intersection improvements are made.  Among the necessary intersection improvements is that of Pahoa Village Road and Highway 130.  But that is not on the State’s list of to-dos for sometime.   Neither is extending Kahakai Boulevard, which fronts Woodland Center, out onto Highway 130.  But the developer, Paul Ogasawara, has agreed to pay the estimated $400,000 to do the latter.  Unbelievably, council members, all caught up in Ogasawara’s generosity to do the State’s job of extending Kahakai Boulevard onto the highway, merely settled for a verbal bro deal at Planning Committee level.  “Eh, Paul, you gonna get that road extended by Nov. 15?” “What you want me to say?  If I don’t say yes, you won’t approve the bill.  Yes.”  Nothing in writing.  Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.  Eh, thanks, Paul.  But you’re under no obligation to actually follow through with your word.  I could not even believe the lack of professionalism on the part of our council members.  And I could not even believe that Guy Enriques, the councilman who represents Upper Puna, Ka’u, and South Kona, said the 1,100 people who signed a petition calling for certificates of occupancy not to be issued prior to intersection improvements being made, did so out of “ignorance.” Obviously, Enriques really isn’t too cognizant of how many 1,100 people actually means here.  Imagine if all 1,100 people who signed that petition actually showed up at a Hawaii County Council meeting to testify. (Here my testimony from Aug. 18.) With three minutes allotted for each one of them, need I compute how many days of public testimony council members would have to sit through before they even got to their own discussion of Bill 283?  Let’s see, 1,100 people.  I’ll get into my voter breakdown further down the line in another thread, but suffice it to say, with the voter turnout on this island, in some races, 1,100 people is all it takes for a council member to win or lose an election.

I suggest that council members do the right thing and actually get that verbal agreement from Ogasawara in writing.  State in Bill 283 that if Kahakai Boulevard is extended out onto Highway 130 by Nov. 15.  Long’s Drugs, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and/or Burger King can open on Nov. 16.  Be responsible parliamentarians.  Council members’ meeting on Thursday, Sept. 9 begins at 9 a.m.  Maybe I’ll see you there.

Hawaii News — The Maile David Story

(Editor’s note: A version of this story appeared in the Aug. 25 edition of the Big Island Weekly.)

By Tiffany Edwards Hunt

Maile David

Maile David will be on the ballot as a candidate for Hawaii County Council District 6. But the reality is her candidacy is in limbo.

David’s candidacy is being challenged by County Clerk Ken Goodenow in Third Circuit Court. The challenge is due the fact that the Hawaii County Charter states a candidate for Hawaii County Council must be registered to vote in the district he or she is running in at least 90 days prior to the Primary Election. David is a 20-year resident of the island, however she has only lived in District 6 since December 2008 and registered to vote in that district 84 days prior to the Primary. District 6 is comprised of South Kona, Ka’u, and Upper Puna.

David’s attorney, Mike Matsukawa, maintains there is a conflict in the County Charter, stating in one section that a person must be registered to vote in his or her district 90 days prior to the Primary and stating in another section that a person merely has to be registered to vote at the time of pulling nomination papers. Matsukawa argues the “fundamental” right and privilege of our democratic society is to run for public office and “courts have favored a policy ‘to promote rather than defeat candidacy.'”

Corporation Counsel Lincoln Ashida, meanwhile, believes the argument that the County Charter has conflicting sections is without merit. “In this case, we have a residency requirement and a registered voter requirement,” Ashida said. “The people of our county who enacted and imposed this requirement recognized there are people who have the means to own multiple residences. If you run for Council, the people want to make sure you not only live in the district — something relatively easy to do by showing a utility bill — but you are registered to vote in the district. Ashida noted that, without such a requirement, “you have Hillary Clinton qualifying to be a senator from New York.” Read more