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Palila Honeycreeper Moved from Endangered to Critically Endangered by the American Bird Conservancy

…News from the IUCN for New Zealand’s Chatham Petrel was also good, and it was downlisted from Critically Endangered to Endangered. Unfortunately, the report also uplisted the Hooded Grebe to Endangered, and the newly discovered Gorgeted Puffleg , the Medium Tree-Finch (one of Darwin’s finches from the Galapagos), and the Palila (a Hawaiian honeycreeper), to Critically Endangered. A total of 1,227 bird species (12 percent) are now classified as globally threatened with extinction (includes Critically Endangered, Endangered, and Vulnerable). Of those, 192 are considered Critically Endangered…


More Here

Coincidentally, just last month there was a bit of controversy about hunters doing aerial hunts on goats and sheep that were ruining the forests up on top of Mauna Kea.

The state plans to conduct an aerial hunt of invasive goats and sheep in the Mauna Kea Forest Reserve next week to protect the endangered palila bird…

Obama’s Special Advisor for Green Jobs in a Video Conference to Congressman Abercrombie’s “Green” Jobs Workshop in Honolulu Today

Van Jones, President Obama’s Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, speaks via videoconference link to Congressman Neil Abercrombie’s “Green” Jobs workshop in Honolulu, Hawaii. The workshop helped representatives from the public and private sectors to learn how to tap into federal economic recovery funding to create “green” jobs and opportunities in Hawaii and to prepare the workforce for a “green” economy.


Mayor Kenoi on the “Hot Seat” Live Wednesday at Noon



Must PRE register at the Advertiser site to comment or ask questions on “THE HOT SEAT”.

As the budget picture gets worse, the state and all of Hawaii’s counties are grappling with cuts, labor reductions and charting a lean course ahead.

For the counties — charged with fundamental issues such as roads, sewers, police and fire services — cutting back has posed some tough choices. In Honolulu, that means higher property tax rates as well as higher fees for a variety of services.

What about the Neighbor Islands? Joining us Wednesday will be Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi. To join the conversation, log on at noon and post your questions for Mayor Kenoi live during the hour.

P.S. if you can’t make the live session, you can e-mail your questions to me in advance at jmbelding@honoluluadvertiser.com and I’ll try to post it for you during the live session. Or you can post your questions here, and I’ll move them over once the live session starts.

2009 Unity Rally


Hawaii County Council Coup… A Payback From the Past?

How quickly we forget some things.

From the February 23, 2007 West Hawaii Today:

What appeared to be a political game orchestrated by the Hawaii County Council minority during Thursday’s regular meeting has apparently cost Big Island taxpayers $186,000.

Despite having a full slate of agenda items, many of which were bills that required two-thirds of favorable votes from the nine-member council to pass, four council members, including Puna’s Emily Naeole and Hilo’s J. Yoshimoto, Stacy Higa and Donald Ikeda, left the meeting early.

Yoshimoto later said he left to attend another meeting in Hilo, but did not know the plans of other council members. He also did not believe early departures will be a recurring problem.

Yoshimoto said Thursday’s meeting was originally scheduled to start in morning, but was recently changed by Chairman Pete Hoffmann to 1:30 p.m. so Hoffmann could attend a speech at noon by Mayor Harry Kim.

The foursome’s premature departure prompted remaining council members — Hoffmann, Angel Pilago of North Kona, Bob Jacobson of South Hawaii, Brenda Ford of South Kona andDominic Yagong of Hamakua — to vote to postpone taking action on a number of agenda items.

The most significant postponement was Bill 22, which was slated for its final reading. The bill, if approved, would have allowed the county to bond $2 million for a $9.3 million project to build a solid waste reload facility near Hilo’s existing solid waste transfer station.

The project has been in the works for years, according to Pilago and Hoffmann, and prior delays have already caused its cost to inflate.

Early in the meeting when all council members were present, Mayor Harry Kim reported that if Bill 22 weren’t approved by the council in 24 hours, Isemoto Construction, the firm slated to build the facility, would be forced to increase the cost by another $186,000.

Not long after Kim’s revelation, Naeole, Yoshimoto and Higa excused themselves from the meeting. Ikeda stayed a little longer, and was there to vote on a handful of resolutions early in the meeting, but then he left too.

Bills considered capital improvement budget items, such as Bill 22, require at least two-thirds of the council to vote in favor of them to pass.

Pilago categorized the absence of his four peers as “unfortunate.”

“I would think they should be here,” he said.

In regard to the perception that council members left to make a political statement, Yoshimoto said, “It’s amazing how things can get blown out of proportion.”

Some of the other bills postponed because of the apparent political game include a $1 million project to build a new emergency shelter in West Hawaii and a $10 million project to build a connector road from Laiopua to Kealakehe schools. The bills for those projects are still in their first readings.

Pilago said the road project is very important and urged residents affected by the delay in the project to contact the excused council members “and urge them to vote.”

Yagong said near the end of the meeting that he wants to give the excused council members the benefit of doubt, and was hopeful all four had legitimate reasons for leaving early.

Ikeda, before leaving the meeting, was the lone council member to vote in favor of a resolution to encourage the county’s administration to be “fiscally prudent” in constructing a West Hawaii Civic Center by not including an amphitheater, museum and play area. Ford, Hoffmann, Pilago, Yagong and Jacobson voted against the resolution.

The council recently approved moving forward with the $58 million civic center project, but Ikeda, who introduced the “fiscally prudent” resolution, believes the project to be too extravagant.

He indicated before the vote that if residents on the west side of the island believe the civic center is more important than other projects, then he would have to vote against things such as the Laiopua connector road project.

Yagong took offense to Ikeda’s remarks, stating such comments are the reason there’s a rift between the west and east sides of Big Island.

In an interview during a break in the meeting, Yagong said he believes Ikeda has been angry since January, when the council majority that favored the east side of the island where Ikeda resides became the council minority.

“(Ikeda) reminds me of a spoiled brat kid that got his toy taken away, and now he’s in the middle of the room pouting, kicking and screaming,” Yagong said. “It’s unfortunate because we don’t want to look at this as east and west. We (the majority) look at it as the entire island. This is just not what ‘aloha’ is all about. I hope (Ikeda) outgrows it soon.”

Ikeda, Naeole, Yoshimoto and Higa were unavailable for comment after the meeting.

In another matter, the council, under the communications portion of the agenda that took place early in the meeting, voted 7-2 against nominating Ross Wilson Jr., of public relations firm Current Events, to the county Water Board.

A majority of council members believe Wilson isn’t the most qualified applicant for the position and there would be a conflict of interest if he was appointed. The two council members who voted in favor of the appointment were Higa and Ikeda.

And let’s not forget the following day’s coverage by the Hawaii Tribune Herald:

Three County Council members on Friday called for Kohala Councilman Pete Hoffmann’s removal as chairman due to his allegedly disrespectful leadership.

Upset over Hoffmann’s rescheduling of Thursday’s council meeting in Keauhou, Hilo lawmakers Stacy Higa and J Yoshimoto joined Puna Councilwoman Emily Naeole in holding a press conference to air their criticisms. The three said they wanted to “set the record straight” and will appear next week on Hilo radio shows.

The trio said they want Hoffmann removed from the leadership post he was elected to when lawmakers formed a new West Hawaii-based majority immediately following the council’s Dec. 4 inauguration.

Naeole said she’ll even ask for divine intervention to help oust Hoffmann.

“I’m going to be seeking the Lord for help me to make some changes in our leadership,” she said. “It’s only been like two months, or maybe three months down the road, and we (are) all uncomfortable already. That’s not good.”

What has the three fuming — they claimed Hilo Councilman Donald Ikeda is also upset but was unable to join them Friday — is a series of executive decisions Hoffmann has made.

First, he pushed back the starting time of Thursday’s meeting to 1:30 p.m. from the announced and typical 9 a.m. starting time. That prompted Higa, Yoshimoto and Naeole to leave the meeting early to fulfill other obligations, opening them up to criticism. Ikeda also left long before the meeting ended.

But all members received 10 days’ advanced notice, in writing, of the timing change.

Hoffmann said he rescheduled the meeting because some lawmakers asked to attend Thursday morning’s dedication of an addition to Puuhonua o Honaunau, while he wanted to hear Mayor Harry Kim’s luncheon speech on the state of Hawaii County.

Higa, Yoshimoto and Naeole complained that they had to wait more than four hours from when a Thursday morning committee meeting ended until the afternoon council meeting. Far from their offices, the trio was unable to work, Higa said.

Hoffmann said he thought they might use the recess to go hear Kim’s noontime speech.

“They had plenty of time to let me know,” Hoffmann said of his colleagues’ early departures.

Hoffmann said he learned the three councilors intended to leave Thursday’s meeting early just 24 hours, or less, ahead of time. Had he learned about their plans sooner, Hoffmann said he “probably would have done something different,” but is not sure what that would have been.

Yoshimoto and Naeole attended a roadways meeting Thursday evening in Keaau, while Higa coached a youth basketball game in Hilo.

“If I was asked to stay at the council meeting, I would have,” Higa said. Yoshimoto and Naeole also said they could have had a replacement appear on their behalf at the Keaau meeting.

The three also complained that Hoffmann refused to move up legislation so they could vote on the measures before departing.

“It’s a common courtesy that wasn’t extended to us, and that’s really disappointing,” said Yoshimoto, whose tax-relief measure was postponed because of his absence.

Kim’s testimony on his $2 million request for a planned Hilo trash-sorting facility was heard ahead of schedule.

“We never voted out of sequence. I don’t like doing that if you can avoid it,” Hoffmann said. “We weren’t trying to take things out of context on the agenda simply because people weren’t going to be there. I wasn’t going to do that because I don’t want to establish a precedent.”

With just five members present and six needed to approve Kim’s requested budget amendment, the measure was deferred. But the delay, according to the contractor, will increase the project’s cost by $186,000.

That revelation prompted criticism and a West Hawaii Today story that said Higa, Naeole, Yoshimoto and Ikeda were to blame.

That’s a “false statement,” Higa said, noting there was no certainty Kim’s funding request was going to pass.

“I don’t like false accusations going out about myself,” Naeole said. “I feel like I’ve been taken advantage of, and I don’t appreciate that.”

Hoffmann agreed with Higa that the project’s approval is not a given.

“It would be unfair to say the absence of the people is the reason we’re going to pay more money,” Hoffmann said, adding he was “amazed” at learning Thursday the issue had to be decided then or the price would jump.

Finally, Higa, Yoshimoto and Naeole claimed although Hoffmann knew why they left, he did not defend their early departure when fellow lawmakers questioned why they were not present.

“It kind of upset me, some of the things that were said,” said Higa, who was council chairman prior to Hoffmann.

Hoffmann said he’ll review the council’s rules on absences and, in the future, will state why members are not present.

Naeole said she regrets supporting Hoffmann as chairman and now wants Higa returned to that role.

“I don’t trust already because I wen get sting,” she said. “The west side is actually pushing us away. It’s a big power trip.”

Higa said he won’t lobby for the extra vote he needs to become chairman.

“If and when the numbers do change, then we’ll deal with it,” Higa said when asked about any reorganization effort.

Of course their was the whole County Investigation into the Sunshine Laws previously about this.


Update on the Hawaii Tribune Herald’s Disappearing Readers on Oahu

Yesterday, I posted about the numbers that Erika Engle posted in the Starbulletin reflecting the declining readership of Oahu readers of the Hawaii Tribune Herald.

I sent Ms. Engle the following tweet asking for a bit of clarification:

Is that graph that you had on your column today accurate for the Hawaii Tribune Herald? http://tinyurl.com/ng49u8

She Tweeted back:

The figures were from Scarborough. I typed ’em in as I saw ’em. Proofread ’em too, to make sure.

So I replied:

It seems off to me. Especially looking at West Hawaii Today stats.

And she explained:

I didn’t do the research, just transcribed the numbers.

So I pretty much think the data is flawed.

They (Scarborough Research) only interviewed 1634 Oahu Residents total and then projected the numbers. That’s not a whole lot of people.

…The study involved 1,634 respondents for the projected universe of 701,036 Oahu readers…

By the way… this is the same group that says 82% of Adults on Oahu read newspapers. ;) (Might I add, they also get paid by newspaper companies to do this research… Anyone ever received a $1.00 in the mail and asked to complete a survey? It could have been the Scarborough Research company)

…Honolulu ranks high among newspaper readership, according to a survey by Scarborough Research.

Honolulu’s Integrated Newspaper Audience is 82 percent, meaning 82 percent of adults read a printed newspaper, a newspaper’s Web site or both during the past week

The Day After Father’s Day


Hilton Waikoloa Adds Members to Leadership Team

I had the opportunity to stay at the Hilton Waikoloa Village last month. I am still constantly scanning for things that go on at the hotel. I just noticed that they have added some new employees to their leadership team.

….effective June 15. Frank Manchen joins the team as director of sales and marketing; Jacques Monteil will serve as director of catering and events, and Russ Kembel transitions to director of national accounts in Seattle, Wash.

Frank Manchen will oversee and lead the development and execution of strategic sales and marketing plans and initiatives as the new director of sales and marketing. Manchen comes from La Quinta Resort and PGA West, part of Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria Collection, located in the Palm Springs area of California where he served as director of sales. Manchen has been with Hilton for 12 years and has a comprehensive expertise and depth in the sales and marketing disciplines. Originally from South Africa and having completed international studies in Africa, Germany and Switzerland, Manchen’s well-rounded experience in international markets, food and beverage and team building will help him effectively work with a broad range of sales clients at the resort.

Jacques Monteil has been named director of catering and events at Hilton Waikoloa Village, where he will lead the event management and catering teams in creating world-class events and social functions. Monteil also hails from La Quinta Resort and PGA West, part of Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria Collection, where he most recently held the position of assistant director of events. His diverse background includes key senior leadership positions in catering, conference services and event management at Embassy Suites and Gaylord Hotels in Dallas, Texas.

Russ Kembel has transitioned to a new position on the sales team as the director of national accounts, and will be based in Seattle, Wash. In his new role, Kembel will be Hilton Waikoloa Village’s primary sales executive covering key accounts in both the national insurance and incentive meetings & travel markets.

More here