General Election Day

November 6, 2012

Don’t forget to vote!

Tuesday, November 6

7:00am – 6:00pm

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BALLOT QUESTION – Proposal No. 6: Establishing a Game Management Advisory Commission

Support the efforts to pass Hawaii County’s ballot question, Proposal No. 6 establishing a Game Management Advisory Commission. Please print out the poster below and post around. We need to get this passed by Hawaii voters!


Download the poster here: POSTER_Ballot_6

Download Proposal 6 as it will appear on the ballot: PROPOSAL_6

If you do not have access to a color printer pre-printed color posters in 8-1/2 x 11 or 11 x 17 are available at the following locations:

  • Pacific Island Floors, 447 Kalanianaole Ave, Hilo, 935-3715, M-F 9:00-5:00

Text of proposal:

PROPOSAL NO. 6: Establishing a Game Management Advisory Commission
Shall the Hawai‘i County Charter be amended to create a Game Management Advisory
Commission that would advise County, State, and Federal agencies on matters related to
the preservation of subsistence hunting and fishing, protection of traditional and cultural
gathering rights, and the taking and conservation of aquatic life and wildlife?

If you agree with Proposal No. “6,” vote yes.

If you disagree with Proposal No. “6,” vote no.a

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Big Island Video News: Hawaii County Council: Abolish PLDC!

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It does not take a majority to prevail …

“It does not take a majority to prevail … but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.”

Attributed, some say falsely, to Samuel Adams an American revolutionary and organizer of the Boston Tea Party.

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Hawaii County Game Management Advisory Commission Organizational Meeting 9/1/12

Very important!

This Saturday,  September 1 at 2:00pm, the steering committee for the proposed Hawaii County Game Management Advisory Commission is holding an organizational meeting. Please try to attend.


Hawaii County Game Management Advisory Commission Charter Amendment 260

Saturday, September  1st, 2012, 2pm-4pm. Aupuni Center room  County  room near DMV, Division of motor vehicle.  Hilo, Hawaii


Call to Order/Introductions: Moderator

(why are we here)?

Game Advisory Commission Formation Input:

Mike Tulang, Joe Griffiths, Tony Sylvester to field questions.

Have draft ready for public to provide input.

Create list of potential commissioners, balance of grassroots hunters and those willing to provide support.

What next?


Next Meeting Date:

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PETA: Speak Out Against Hawaii’s Sheep Eradication

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is the largest animal rights organization in the world – Action Alert:

Speak Out Against Hawaii’s Sheep Eradication

Marksmen in Hawaii are shooting wild sheep from helicopters on the slopes of Mauna Kea in an effort to protect the palila bird. Because the sheep and birds eat the same rare tree, three decades ago, a federal court ordered that wild sheep be removed from and kept out of the endangered birds’ critical habitat. Although more than 40,000 sheep have been massacred in ground and aerial hunting, the palila’s numbers continue to decline and the species’ survival is still uncertain. After slaughter, sheep carcasses are often left to rot, attracting additional palila predators. It’s time that Hawaii stop slaughtering sheep and focus on more effective and humane methods of protecting the palila.

Please contact Hawaiian officials today! Politely ask them to declare a moratorium on shooting wild sheep and to research more effective and humane methods of palila protection.

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HRS §263-10 Hunting from aircraft; penalty

§263-10  Hunting from aircraft; penalty. Any aeronaut or passenger who, while in flight in, across or above the State, intentionally kills or attempts to kill any birds or animals shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and punished by a fine of not more than $1,000, or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both. [L 1923, c 109, §13; RL 1925, §3903; RL 1935, §6986; RL 1945, §4933; RL 1955, §16-10; HRS §263-10]

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HTH: Aerial hunting ban approved

Hawaii Tribune-Herald, Thursday, July 12, 2012

Aerial hunting ban approved

DLNR says it will continue to shoot feral ungulates despite new law

By PETER SUR, Tribune-Herald staff writer

Shooting animals by helicopter on Hawaii Island is now illegal.
Mayor Billy Kenoi on Wednesday signed into law a largely symbolic bill that prohibits “any person to engage in the eradication of any animal for any reason while being transported by helicopter, airplane, or any similar means.”
The bill was aimed at the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry and Wildlife, which practices the shooting of feral ungulates by helicopter on state lands as a form of population control.
County Council members unanimously approved the bill in June, declaring DLNR’s practice to be barbaric and wasteful. But DLNR is likely to continue the practice anyway, as it is not bound by county law.
Asked for comment, the DLNR sent the Tribune- Herald a copy of the testimony that was submitted on June 5 to the County Council. In it, Chairman William Aila said DLNR conducts aerial shooting of sheep and goats under a stipulated federal court order.
“Respectfully, the county has no authority to override the federal court order, which is based on federal law, to ban or interfere with the state of Hawaii in performing those duties,” Aila said.
“The department will continue to exercise its duties to protect threatened and endangered species, watersheds, and natural resources as needed to address national, state and county interests.” Deputy Attorney General Donna H. Kalama agreed with DLNR, submitting written testimony that the bill is “unnecessary” because state law already prohibits aerial hunting by the general public.
“The county has no authority to ban or otherwise interfere with the state of Hawaii’s activities,” Kalama wrote to the council.
“On functions of statewide interest and concern, the general rule is that the counties cannot thwart the state from performing its duties.” Hawaii County maintains it reserves the right to pass the ban, regardless of whether it can be enforced, on the principle of supporting home rule.
Mayor Billy Kenoi could not be reached for comment, but Managing Director Bill Takaba confirmed that Kenoi had signed the bill.
The law now declares that aerial shooting “is in conflict with the cultural and traditional values of the people of Hawaii County” and “creates unnecessary risk to human life, while also disturbing endangered flora and fauna” like the palila bird.
Many hunters also testified in favor of the aerial ban, although at least one environmentalist opposed it on the grounds that aerial shooting helps with invasive species control.
In place of aerial shooting, the law encourages other methods that “take into account the will of the people.”
Finally, the law encourages the state to “increase public access to the areas of Hawaii Island that will allow hunters and gatherers the opportunity to provide subsistence to the families of Hawaii Island.”
Email Peter Sur at

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HTH: Isle residents sound off on councilmembers’ absences

Hawaii Tribune-Herlad, Thursday, July 12, 2012

Isle residents sound off on councilmembers’ absences

By HUNTER BISHOP, Tribune-herald staff writer

The matter of a couple of missing council members was on the Ethics Board’s agenda Wednesday. Terri Napeahi of Keaukaha filed a complaint with the board in June because when she testifies at Hawaii County Council meetings, members Donald Ikeda and Dennis Onishi often are absent, she said.
Napeahi, vice president of the Pele Defense Fund, which opposes the development of geothermal energy resources, cited attendance figures compiled by County Council Chairman Dominic Yagong that show Onishi missing about 30 percent of the 1,557 votes taken between Dec. 6, 2010, and April 18, 2012, while Ikeda missed about 23 percent of the votes during the same time period.
But when only three of five Ethics Board members attended Wednesday’s meeting, and two of them declared conflicts of interest, there weren’t enough members for a quorum to discuss Napeahi’s complaint.
Ethics Board Vice Chairman David Heaukulani and member Glen Hisashima both cited long friendships with and political support of one or both of the council members as conflicts of interest in recusing themselves from the vote.
Heaukulani said he is Onishi’s friend and that he worked on both council members’ election campaigns. “It’s important not to have that conflict,” he said.
Hisashima said he regularly visits Onishi’s office to discuss county issues, and that his father and Ikeda’s father were business partners. “I want to avoid any sign of impropriety,” he said. “I don’t like anyone saying I favored one side or the other. I recuse myself because of transparency.”
Board Chairman John Dill said one of the two missing board members at Wednesday’s meeting was out of the country and the other is ill. Then he allowed 10 people in the audience to offer testimony despite the board’s inability to act on the complaint on Wednesday.
Anti-geothermal activist Robert Petricci said that the people testifying have to take off work to attend council meetings, and that tax dollars pay Onishi to attend these meetings. “I got a problem with that. I hope you clear up the rules.”
Terri Marx said it “irritates” her that the two council members sometimes only show up at the meetings just in time to cast a vote.
“This is their paid position. It’s extremely offensive that (Ikeda) votes without hearing public testimony.”
Gary Oamilda of Ka‘u, one of several testifiers wearing Pele Defense Fund T-shirts, said he sometimes travels from his home to Hilo to testify. “It’s common respect to give me full attention,” he said. “Let me know that you’re hearing my words and know my feelings.”
One testifier spoke on Onishi’s behalf. Pearl Haili of Panaewa said the councilman has worked hard in her district to provide recreational facilities for youth.
“I’m here to let you know the good job that he did,” Haili said.
Napeahi filed the complaint even though she recognizes there’s nothing in the County Code of Ethics that regulates council members’ attendance at meetings.
She expects the board to reject the complaint whenever a quorum is ready to vote. Yet she wanted to raise the issue anyway. “It’s not personal.”
Still she is skeptical about the council members’ claims that when not in the council chambers, they are watching the meetings on their computers via live video feed from the council chambers. “How do we know that?”
“I’m really discouraged,” Napeahi said. “Who can I complain to at the next level? We’re here because the environment is important to our lives. People take off work from personal jobs. There’s nothing in the Code of Ethics. What do you do?” Napeahi urged the board to “come up with a process. Change the structure.”
“Traditional and spiritually customary practice is not being respected,” Napeahi said. “When I come here I want people to hear me.”
Onishi, who represents the 4th Council district, and Ikeda, who represents the 1st district, attended the meeting but declined to address the board when given the opportunity.
Onishi said after the meeting, however, that in an analysis published by Stephens Media in 2009, Yagong missed 27.9 percent of the 340 total votes taken during the first 16 council meetings held in the 2009- 10 council session. Yagong blamed the absences on his career as a supermarket manager at the time.
The matter of the missing council members was postponed to the Aug. 8 meeting of the Ethics Board.
Email Hunter Bishop at

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HTH: Geothermal relocation requests up

Hawaii-Tribune Herald, Friday, July 6, 2012

Geothermal relocation requests up

By TOM CALLIS, Tribune-Herald staff writer

Hawaii County is now handling 17 relocation requests from Puna residents wanting to move away from the district’s geothermal power plant. That’s more than double the seven it was handling last month, itself an unprecedented amount.
County Planning Director Bobby Jean Leithead- Todd said the large increase is causing her to consider hiring a real estate agent to assist the county with processing the requests. She is also concerned about it breaking the bank.
The county’s relocation program, started in 1998, is funded with the Big Island’s share of the state’s geothermal royalties. That fund has about $3.3 million. About $1 million of that is currently held in a reserve account.
“Potentially I will be unable to purchase the last requests to come in because there’s not enough money,” she said.
That could change if Mayor Billy Kenoi signs a bill passed by the County Council last month that, in part, eliminates the reserve account.
But Leithead-Todd said she is also concerned that the current requests, none of which have been approved, won’t be the last.
“Now you assume we will get geothermal money coming in, between ($500,000) and $700,000 in the course of the year,” she said.
“But that money is not here yet and some will not be here until next May, possibly.”
Additionally, the bill approved by the council prohibits the county from reselling the acquired properties.
The intent is to create a 1-mile buffer zone between residents and the plant. The county said it would have to consider hiring security to watch abandoned structures or demolish the homes.
The influx of relocation requests may make it difficult to fund health studies for the community surrounding the plant operated by Puna Geothermal Venture, a subsidiary of Ormat Technologies Inc., as required by the bill.
The administration is still reviewing whether to approve the bill and another requiring a site-specific evacuation plan for the plant, said county Managing Director William Takaba.
He declined to say what concerns the administration may have. Kenoi, who didn’t return a request for comment, has until July 13 to make a decision.
County Council Chairman Dominic Yagong, who introduced the bills and is running against Kenoi for mayor, sent a letter to Civil Defense Director Benedict Fuata on Tuesday urging him to get started on hiring a third party to handle a community health study and to get started on an evacuation plan.
Yagong said he wasn’t concerned with the large number of relocations, adding that the county needs to fund all that it can.
“Whatever money is there, that is the money utilized for that particular purpose,” he said.
In regards to other uses, Yagong said that PGV has offered to help pay for a community health study; he also said that another account, the geothermal asset fund, could be used.
He had proposed using that fund to cover capital improvements and other services in lower Puna, expenses that would be eliminated under one of the geothermal bills passed by the council last month.
Yagong said that legislation is still on hold.
Fuata, who had told the Tribune-Herald that he thinks current emergency response plans are sufficient, said he will provide a site specific document but is unsure if he can do so by the Aug. 1 deadline.
The bill allows for one 90-day extension.
He said he is also open to funding a health study, but was also unsure if it could provide anything that wasn’t addressed in past studies done by the state Department of Health, which found no impact.
“We want to do what’s right by all but it may not satisfy all,” Fuata said.
The county has spent $646,407 on five relocations in the last 14 years with the most recent one approved April 5. Before that, the last property purchased was in 2003.
The county has denied one request so far. For the ones approved, it has purchased them at 130 percent of assessed value, the most allowed.
Leithead-Todd said that will likely have to change.
“Given the number of applications that I have, it seems to me that the fair thing to do is try and purchase as many properties,” she said. “And then that means I will make you an offer. If you don’t like my offer then you don’t have to take it.”
Leithead-Todd said that could mean offering below assessed value, especially if the property was recently purchased below that amount.
“I want to do what’s fair and I don’t think the program should be used to provide a windfall profit to someone,” she said.
The large increase in relocation requests has coincided with a resurgence in opposition to geothermal power in the Puna area, and specifically, the nearly twodecades- old plant run by Puna Geothermal Venture.
The rise in opposition started in the wake of Hawaii Electric Light Co.’s announcement last year that it wanted to build a second geothermal plant on the island, and has yet to crest.
Dozens of opponents have packed recent council meetings calling for more to be done to ensure the safety of the community.
Some have talked about health problems, including respiratory illnesses and unexplained bleeding, which they believe may be connected to the plant.
Aurora Martinovich, the most recent Puna resident to have her home purchased under the program, noted having irritated eyes and a sore throat at times while living nearby. Her property bordered the plant, and while she admits vog may be a contributing factor, she is not convinced it was the only cause.
“I feel generally better with vog than I do with geothermal,” she said. Martinovich has also helped start a group that allows women to discuss their health problems and how they may relate to the plant. The plant says it operates under a closed system, which pumps steam back deep into the Earth.
Martinovich said she believes the plant has more emissions than it admits.
While there has been much talk about illnesses and the plant, Puna Community Hospital Clinical Programs Director Dan Domizio said he hasn’t seen a correlation between illnesses affecting the clinic’s patients and geothermal power.
“People have asthma, people smoke, there is vog,” he said. “There’s nothing you can look at and say this is a geothermal problem.”
The relocation program doesn’t require an applicant to be adversely affected by the plant to have their property purchased.
Some recent applicants have referred to concerns with noise at the plant caused by well drilling, Leithead-Todd said, while others have talked about health concerns.
The Planning Department is preparing to deny one application because it appears to be for vacant property, she said.
Leithead-Todd said she believes the influx in applications is partly due to residents mistakenly thinking they only have until the end of the year to qualify.
Residents better understanding whether or not they qualify due to recent publicity is also a factor, Yagong said.
Email Tom Callis at

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