Home   Newsletters

January 2006
President's Message (Marianna Scheffer)
Sunshine Week (Marianna Scheffer)
Impact Fees
Legislative Advocates (Marianna Scheffer)
LWV-Hawaii County - Minutes for General Meeting - 10/8/05 (Maiden Temple)
Hawaii County LWV Board Meeting - 12/9/05 (Marilyn Ednie)
LWV of Hawai'i County Member Roster
New LWV Website (Andrea Dean)
Legislative Advocates Interviews

Legislative Advocates Interviews

Editor's Note: these summaries are printed as submitted, without editing other than placing the legislator's name in bold.

Representative Robert Herkes, District 5
Susan Dursin, November 23, 2005

Representative Herkes identified the following priorities:

  1. Education and medical services in his area
    Low-cost housing that would attract teachers and medical personnel
    An elementary school in Ocean View
    Permanent EMS crews, possibly a nurse practitioner in touch with an emergency room doctor and helicopter pads no more than 20 miles from any patient

  2. Further emergency preparation, including
    Coordination of zones that deal with just one special event: volcanic eruption, earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, with attention to maps and responsibilities
    Disaster insurance -- possible merging of Hurricane Relief Fund with federal reinsurance program

  3. Comprehensive Meth Package, one facet of which would be tying recovery to a culturally based program offering many activities, possibly in a special facility

Senator Russell Kokobun, District 2
Susan Dursin October 27, 2005

Senator Kokubun identified the following priorities:

  1. Offering incentives to land owners to keep land in ag usage

  2. Focus on water, with adherence to Clean Water Act: counties need to submit plans with capital improvement and regeneration of aquifers in mind

  3. Attention to Hawai'i Sustainability 2050 (Act 8); encouragement of the task force, which will present its recommendations in 2006, the full program to be presented in 2007

  4. Penal system, particularly steps to decrease the number of prisoners sent to the Mainland. This could include a detention facility in Kona which would be a state- of-the-art pretrial facility. It would save the transport of prisoners to HIlo, offering a savings in vehicle and employee expense. It could be the basis of a public safety- judiciary center for West Hawai'i. The Senator would like to see League sponsor a forum on this topic.

Notes: Meeting with Clift Tsuji
Marianna and Lois

Hawaii Clean Elections: Suggests a step-by-step implementation rather than starting out with an all-inclusive bill. He favors the bill but worries about the money aspects.

Agriculture: He is vice chair of the House Agricultural Committee. The AIL (Identifying Ag Lands) has been passed and signed into law. The big issue here is the disputed Hokolea Development in Kona.

Transportation: (Not all of this may be accurate; it's just what I heard.) ½% rise in excise taxes. The General Excise Tax will be used for public transportation wherever it's collected. Kim says we don't need the ½%.

Lorraine Inouye is the chair of the Senate Transportation Committee.

Health: He mentioned the Kamana center and Keauu Community care center. We talked about Plan D, the Medicare Prescription benefit. He says those who qualify need to get covered under this. And he said something about HMSA which was not too clear to me.

Invasive Species: He is very "up" on these. His mission has been to get supplemental funding. (How much is available now I forget.)He said the big concern is coqui frogs, but we should also watch out for the nettle caterpillar, which delivers a nasty bite. Not to mention fire ants!

There is a Big Island Invasive Species Committee. Each island has such a committee.

We can e-mail him our point persons to contact on various issues.

Lois mentioned watershed protection as a concern.

Marianna mentioned long term care as a concern of Sen Inouye and hers.

Talk with Don Ikeda.
Lois and Marianna

Garbage disposal and recycling are big concerns of his. He thinks that private companies should finance/fund recycling stations. He believes that the county should do the sorting but that further than that companies should take away what they want and process it at their own expense. The remaining garbage would be incinerated or disposed of, preferably in a high-tech way. He would not favor any polluting incineration method, but if a high-tech and clean method of incineration could be implemented, he would favor that.

He sees educating the public as an important part of waste disposal. He will soon be going to Taiwan to see how they take care of waste. He says that they have "zero" landfill.

(Later note: in a short conversation with him before a Council meeting, he said that the incineration plants in China were so good that they "removed any objections" he might have to waste disposal using their technology.")

Crime and Safety are big concerns: "ice," traffic safety improvements, crime in Section 8 public housing in Puueo. The police have raided the Riverside and Valhalla apartment buildings. He is "kind of" opposed to parks, because they are "magnets" for drugs.

He has a lot of ideas about infrastructure. One of the most important things to him is flood control. He mentioned building a ditch- the Alinaio-Wailuku project- to control flooding.

His grandest idea is to close the Bayfront Highway and turn it into a recreational area. He points out that that highway was built for the cane trucks and we don't really need it any more.

He likes the idea of light rail and a "park and ride" system.

He states that he understands that Kona has a lot of problems but points out that Hilo needs things too.

Councilmember Fred Holschuh, M.D.
Memo From Karin Hazelhoff: November 18, 2005

Main concern: methamphetamine epidemic. Notes that 15 out of 100 first users of ‘ice' become instantly addicted. He quoted the saying' put the money in the playpen, not the State Pen' in order to reach youth early and spend money wisely. Feels that treatment does work, but it is terribly expensive. Better to stop the first use, that leads to addiction. Said that the Hawaii County Council gives close to 1 million dollars to health and human services. Is very interested in the program ‘DEC' Drug Endangered Children. In our County, we have started a branch of the "National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children'.

Re Bill 270 Public land acquisition: in favor of the idea, but not by charter amendment, which is not flexible enough in varying economic conditions. Maybe a private conservancy with local board members to raise funds. Philantropy, not tax dollars.

General Plan: voted against it because he felt that the health and safety section was flawed. Wanted to basically delay passage until it was brought up to date. It will have revisions done, and passed soon.

Parks and Recreation: has over 100 projects on their docket. Feels most important repairs need to be done on school gyms and pools. Laupahoehoe gym has not been fixed as yet. The same with Paauilo gym. Money has been allocated but need more planning staff.

Road repairs: local Pauuilo sand-gulch bypass road held up because of overfull docket. Dangerous conditions for school bus are worrisome, on existing Sand Gulch Road. A 2.5 million dollar bond float passed last year for Sand Gulch bypass and the Laupahoehoe Point emergency exit road. Won't start until 2006.

Gambling: Is against casino gambling, but thinks a controlled state lottery might work. Also says that Waimea has a good race course, and pari-mutual betting could also work if proper officials could oversee .

Clean Elections: In favor, but warns of loopholes. If private contributions are not favored, must allow little known candidates to be heard.

Domestic Violence: Has been an advocate for action against domestic violence for years. Wanted police reporting of all violence to be mandatory . Hilo Hospital ER must now report abuse to police if adult victim has knife, gun shot, or serious life threatening injury. A competant adult victim without such injuries may refuse police interview but is afforded discussion with an advocate. Mandatory reporting of abuse to police occurs for seniors and children. Final important issues:

The ability for families to pass on land to their children and grandchildren without fear of huge inflation in taxes etc. due to outsiders purchasing our land.

We must also do everything we can to preserve our agricultural lifestyle.

Fred Holschuh

Editor's Note: Five additional interviews, for Angel Pilago, Bob Herkes, Bob Jacobson, Virginia Isbell, and Russell Kokubun are being forwarded as pdf files because I was not able to convert them into Word without garbling the text. If you can't open them, let me know and I can send a hard copy through the postal mail.

Maiden Temple, DaPooh@earthlink.net

Home   Newsletters