Kailua-Kona Fourth of July Parade and Fireworks Schedule

Media Release:

The West Hawai‘i community is invited to enjoy both a parade and fireworks this Monday, July 4. The Kailua-Kona Independence Day Parade will begin at 5:30 p.m.

The parade begins at the Kona Pool next to Kekuaokalani Gym on Kuakini Highway near Old Airport. It will proceed south on Kuakini Highway, past West Hawaii Today, to Palani Road, to Ali‘I Drive, and then south on Ali‘i to Walua Road just past Coconut Grove Marketplace. There will be about 69 festive entries. The community is invited to come dressed in their festive Independence Day outfits.

The theme this year is Celebrate Freedom. There will be multiple color guards to celebrate the birthday of our country. Several military organizations will be represented, including Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawai‘i National Guard, Big Island Military Vehicle Group, and Camp Tarawa Detachment #1255. The entries will feature music, skateboarders, roller derby skaters, dogs, and lots of festive holiday creativity.

The Grand Marshal will be five members of our Hawai‘i County Police and Fire Departments who have served our country in the military. They include Fire Fighter Recruit Dominic Marzi, Fire Fighter Paul Kekela Jr.,and Volunteer Fire Equipment Operator Clinton Haina. From Hawai‘i Police Department, the Grand Marshals will be Officers Kupono Mata and Thomas Koyanagi.

Announcing stations for the parade will be at West Hawaii Today, Remixx Lounge at King Kamehameha Mall, King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, Tantes Restaurant, Boston Basils, Pancho & Leftys Cantina,Kimos/Uncle Billy’s, Waterfront Row, Island Lava Java, and Humpys at Coconut Grove.

Before the parade, there will be magic courtesy of The Great Arneleo at Kimos/Uncle Billy’s and music at Waterfront Row. The announcers at Pancho & Leftys will have an Independence Day Trivia contest (no prizes, just fun), and at Humpys, the two parade announcers dressed as Uncle Sam will provide frolic, fun, and trivia.

Many generous sponsors including the County of Hawai‘i, have contributed to provide a community fireworks display at 8:30 p.m.. The gala fireworks display will be from a barge in Kailua Bay, with pyrotechnics provided from a barge in the bay by fireworks production company Hawaii Explosives & Pyrotechnics, Inc. LAVA 105.3 fm radio will broadcast patriotic music before and during the display.

There are more than 50 generous community sponsors that have made the fireworks and parade possible. In addition to the two major sponsors, Hawai‘i County and Kona Commons, other significant donations have come from Queen Liliuokalani Trust, Coconut Grove Marketplace, Holualoa Management Corporation, Lanihau Properties, Inc., Royal Kona Resort, Rotary Club of Kona Community Foundation, Royal Hawaiian Movers, and Fish Hopper.

Big Island Police Looking for Man Last Seen Walking Away From the Hilo Medical Center

7/1/11 UPDATE:
Big Island police have located 64-year-old Phillip Hollenbeck of Hāwī, who was reported missing. He was found unharmed in Waimea on Thursday afternoon (June 30).
Media Release:

Big Island police are searching for a 64-year-old Hāwī man who was reported missing.

Phillip Hollenbeck

Phillip Hollenbeck

Phillip Hollenbeck was last seen walking away from Hilo Medical Center at 1:30 a.m. Thursday (June 30). He has several medical conditions that require medication.

He is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-8, 165 pounds with hazel eyes, gray hair and a goatee. He was walking with a cane and wearing an orange and brown shirt, black shorts, a khaki baseball hat and black sandals.

Police received an unconfirmed report that someone fitting his description was later seen at Mo’oheau bus stop in Hilo.

Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Two Punks Busted for Causing Extensive Damage to Hilo High School

Media Release:

Police charged two 20-year-old Hilo men on Wednesday (June 29) for causing extensive damage to a Hilo school campus with graffiti.

Dezmond Marquise Bonaparte

Dezmond Marquise Bonaparte

Detectives from the Criminal Investigations Section charged Dezmond Marquise Bonaparte and Robert S. Lindbergh at 5:10 p.m. with second-degree criminal property damage after they allegedly caused damage in excess of $2,000 by spraying and writing graffiti on various buildings and fixtures on the Hilo High School campus. Bail for Bonaparte and Lindbergh was set at $2,000 each. They were scheduled to make their initial court appearance Thursday (June 30).

Robert S. Lindbergh

Robert S. Lindbergh

At 12:42 a.m., Tuesday morning, (June 28), South Hilo Patrol officers responding to a report received from a security officer about graffiti at various locations on the school campus. Bonaparte and Lindbergh were quickly identified as possible suspects.

Police ask that anyone who may have information about this case or other similar acts call Detective Norbert Serrao at 961-2383.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Honolulu Rail Follies – Sumitomo Appeals Honolulu Transit Core System’s DBOM Contract Award with DCCA

Media Release:

After a careful review of the City’s denial of its protest of the Honolulu High Capacity Transit Corridor Project Core Systems Design/Build/Operate/Maintain (DBOM) award, Sumitomo Corporation of America (SCOA) has decided to appeal the decision by the City and ask for an impartial hearing from the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA).

Sumitomo remains very interested in the Honolulu rail project and wants to be the company that builds this system. Emphasizing this, Gino Antoniello, VP, Transportation Systems and Equipment for SCOA explained: “Our protest–a first for us–was prompted by the conviction that our bid was improperly passed over in favor of another vendor with less experience and a questionable track record that lacked the proper legal qualifications to undertake a project of this scope.  Simply speaking, their bid does not meet all the specification requirements and adds up to less value with a significantly higher price tag overall – an extra $900 million more that will be taken out of the pockets of Honolulu taxpayers.”  In contrast, SCOA’s proposal meets all the specification requirements, makes no conditions and provides the best value to the City and its taxpayers.

Explaining the company’s decision to proceed to the next step in the process, Mr. Antoniello added, “We embarked on this protest reluctantly, one to protect our good name and standing in the industry, but most importantly, because we owe it to all our local partners and contractors, including WASA Electric with whom we have worked over the past two years to ensure we would not just be building a world class transit system, but we would be creating a new industry with long term jobs for the State of Hawaii.   This flawed decision by the City to reject our protest, not only hurts Sumitomo, but it jeopardizes the livelihood of our local partners, and the community with whom we have built lasting relationships.

“Sumitomo has a stellar performance record both in the U.S. and internationally,” states Antoniello.  “With a history that dates back 400 years, the company has the corporate longevity and financial stability that ensures our clients predictability and reliability.  This is important in projects with timelines that span decades and involve many subcontractors.   As the prime contractor we manage all of that and we have never had a legal conflict, frivolous lawsuits, or any pursuit of liquidated damages with a client.  With an impeccable track record we have strong customer references and a very high rate of repeat business.”

Antoniello stressed that in starting down this protest path, the company did so with a readiness to go all the way.   “We are confident that we will prevail and we respect the appeal process, and look forward to an impartial review and outcome by the DCCA.”

Governor Abercrombie Set To Sign The South Kona Wilderness Bill Tomorrow

Media Release:

Governor Neil Abercrombie is scheduled to sign legislation tomorrow that will create a permanent wilderness area on State land in the South Kona region of the Big Island. SB1154 authored by Hawai’i Island State Senator Gilbert Kahele will ensure the South Kona wilderness area,”rich with cultural, biological, and historical significance, remains in perpetuity for the future generations of Hawai‘i’s people”.

Senator Gilbert Kahele

Senator Gilbert Kahele

The legislation provides a mechanism to address both the community’s interests in utilizing the area for recreational purposes and protecting the vast amounts of archaeological sites, native plants, and native animals that exist in the preserve.The lands included in the wilderness reserve area are at Honomalino and Okoe from the shoreline to 6000 feet inland and the Manuka Natural Area Reserve boundary extended to the shoreline at Manuka and Kalanamauna. The bill will prevent sub-divison of the State owned land and will also prevent construction of new homes or structures within 1000 feet of the shoreline. Unlike an earlier bill which was signed by the previous administration into law, SB1154 has no “sunset” clause and will remain a permanent wilderness preserve for future generations. Earlier this month Senator Kahele led an archaeological hike and tour of the South Kona Wilderness Area with 75 participants of the 2011 Miloli’i Lawai’a ‘Ohana Camp. The hike began in Miloli’i and ended at the ancient Holua Slide. To view pictures of the walk and see some of the area and historic sites that the South Kona Wilderness Bill will protect for future generations of Hawai’i’s keiki visit this link: http://ow.ly/5ulSv

July 4th at The Shops at Mauna Lani

Hawaii Horse Expo 2011 Coming Up

Media Release:

Hawaii Island Humane Society’s Hawaii Horse Expo 2011 is coming up August 5 through 7. Proceeds from the annual event benefit the Humane Society’s Horse Rescue Fund, which helps abused and abandoned horses on the island.

Hawaii Horse Expo begins Friday, August 5 with an Equine Medicine Symposium from 9am until 5pm at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. Top equine veterinarians Dr. Robert Miller from California, Dr. Brady Bergin of Waimea and Dr. Mark Fitch from Colorado will share their experiences so that attendees learn better animal care.

“Once again we have gathered some extremely talented individuals for the Expo. They are ready and willing to impart their knowledge so that horse owners and horse lovers can learn from them,” said Hawaii Horse Expo producer Nancy Jones. “We’re very fortunate to have these individuals coming to the Big Island and I hope people will take full advantage of their presence.”

In addition to Veterinarians Miller, Fitch and Bergin, accomplished horseman and trainer Tommy Garland, RFD TV host Rick Lamb, “HorseThink” founder and trainer Scot Hansen, and TTouch founder Linda Tellington-Jones will all be conducting clinics and hands-on demonstrations on Saturday, August 6 and Sunday, August 7 at the Anna Ranch Heritage Center in Waimea beginning at 10am and continuing throughout the day.

Saturday topics include Different Approaches for Different Horses; Calm Your Spooky Horse; Bucking, Rearing, Running Off; Making Your Horse Road Safe; Slowing Down the Canter; and Self Defense for the Trail Rider.

Expo Demonstration
Hawaii Horse Expo photo by Mary Buckley.

Sunday begins with a Blessing of the Horses. Horse owners are welcome to bring a strand of their horse’s mane or tail for a traditional Hawaiian blessing. Also on Sunday, Hawaii Horse Expo will present the event’s Mana Award to recognize an individual on the Big Island who has inspired and educated the community about horses in line with the goals of Hawaii Horse Expo. The award is sponsored by Veterinary Associates Inc. in Waimea.

Clinics and demonstration topics on Sunday are The Making of a Police Horse; Learning to Read Your Horse; Transform Your Horse’s Attitude; Ground Exercises to Teach Carriage, Control, Confidence; and Easier Ways to Achieve Lateral Flexion.

Throughout Saturday and Sunday the Hawaii Horse Expo Vending Hall will be open for shopping and a Silent Auction will benefit Hawaii Island Humane Society.

The cost of the Equine Medicine Symposium is $50 and is limited to fifty people. Saturday and Sunday clinics and demonstrations at Anna Ranch are just $30 for each full day of events. Gold and Platinum benefactor passes are also available.

Information and ticket purchase forms are available at Hawaii Island Humane Society shelters in Kona, Waimea and Keaau or may be downloaded at www.HawaiiHorseExpo.com. Anyone interested in becoming a supporter, vendor or sponsor should contact Jones at 808-887-2301 or email NANJON8@aol.com.

Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa on President Obama’s Press Conference

Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa released this statement following President Obama’s press conference Wednesday morning:

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa

“I support President Obama’s call today for Congressional Republicans to step up, do their jobs, and show real leadership in addressing our nation’s economic concerns. Hawaii’s families continue to feel the sting of our nation’s economic downturn and Congress needs to take action to ease the burden on our working families, from job creation and the payroll tax reduction to addressing our debt ceiling and preserving America’s credit worthiness in the global economy. It is long past time for Republican leaders to end their single minded protection of tax breaks for the super-wealthy and oil companies, and acknowledge that America is a place that values decisive, effective action over political posturing.”

Big Island Police Seeking Man in Need of Medical Assistance

Media Release:

Big Island Police are looking for Randall Chong, male 46, has been reporting missing.

Randall Chong

Randall Chong

He left home in Wainaku on 6-28-11 in the morning hours and has not returned. Chong takes medication and is in the need of medical assistance. He is 5’6″, 220#, black hair, brown eyes. If located contact Police.

Governor Abercrombie Signs Proclamation Presented to the Kealakehe Robotics Team

Governor Abercrombie signs Proclamation Presented to the Kealakehe Robotics Team to commend “their determination, ingenuity, and commitment to excellence in science, engineering, and mathematics”

Click to enlarge

Historic Hula Photos – Pre 1940

Check out this video of these early pictures of Hula dancers.  If anyone recognizes anyone please let me know.


The title on youtube read like this:

Al Bowlly – Pagan Serenade – Ray Noble (1931) Vintage Hawaiian Hula Girls Hawaii Ukulele…0B-1314-1 Pagan Serenade HMV B-6055 Recorded in London, August 14, 1931 Al Bowlly – Pagan Serenade – Ray Noble New Mayfair Dance Orchestra (1931) Vintage Hawaiian Hula Girls Hawaii

Wordless Wednesday – Nuritamburia Chlorocalla?

Nuritamburia Choloracalla?

Nuritamburia chlorocalla

Nuritamburia chlorocalla?


Kona Coffee Festival Captures Prestigious Visitor Industry Marketing Award

Media Release:

The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival is a proud recipient of this year’s Kona Kohala Chamber of Commerce Visitor Industry Marketing Award presented to the Festival at the Chamber’s recent annual membership meeting.

L to R: Norman Sakata, Governor Abercrombie, Miss Aloha Hawaii, Mel Morimoto

L to R: Norman Sakata, Governor Abercrombie, Miss Aloha Hawaii, Mel Morimoto

Since 1979, the Kona Kohala Chamber of Commerce has recognized leaders in West Hawaii through this award for their dedication and hard work in the community. The Pualu Awards (literally meaning to work together) recognizes recipients for their outstanding commitment to the community.

The Visitor Industry Marketing Award acknowledged the grass roots Kona Coffee Cultural Festival organization for its efforts to preserve, perpetuate and promote Kona’s unique 180+year coffee heritage.

“The Festival is quite honored to accept this generous award. Each year, The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival celebrates our community and the pioneers who laid the foundation for the successful Kona coffee industry we have today. We want to thank everyone including visitors to our island home for supporting the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival for more than forty years, ” stated Norman Sakata, President, Kona Coffee Cultural Festival.

The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival promotes ag-tourism annually during the November shoulder season with the intention that visitors and residents discover and experience Kona coffee and the unique history, heritage and lifestyle. Each year the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival hosts over forty special events during its 10-day schedule from farm tours, coffee workshops to picking contests, visitors and residents have every opportunity to participate.

Stratus Media Group Announces Upcoming ProElite MMA Event in Hawaii

Media Release:

ProElite, Inc, today announces its next step in mixed martial arts (MMA) with a fight in Oahu, Hawaii on Saturday, August 27th.

The chosen venue is the Neal S. Blaisdell Arena in Waikiki, the world-famous beach resort destination, marking the third time ProElite will bring its MMA event to the Arena.

The August event is ProElite’s first under the new ownership of Stratus Media Group Inc. Stratus Media Group recently closed the acquisition of 95% of ProElite.

Jay Thompson

“The timing could not be better!” said Jay Thompson, Vice President of ProElite Fight Operations. “MMA continues to see solid growth and has achieved mainstream acceptance across all visual media platforms in the last few years. It still has plenty of time to mature in the sporting arena.”

Fighter signings and match-ups for the August 27th Blaisdell Arena card will be released soon.

The Most Distant Quasar Ever Discovered

From ESO-Cast and the European Southern Observatory. Astronomers have discovered the most distant quasar found to date. This brilliant beacon, powered by a black hole with a mass two billion times that of the Sun, is by far the brightest object yet discovered in the early Universe.


Quasars are extremely bright, distant galaxies thought to be powered by supermassive black holes at their centers. These powerful beacons may help astronomers to probe the era when the first stars and galaxies were forming.

The quasar that has just been found is seen as it was only 770 million years after the Big Bang, at redshift 7.1. It took 12.9 billion years for its light to reach us.

Although more distant objects have been confirmed, such as a gamma-ray burst at redshift 8.2, and a galaxy at redshift 8.6, the newly discovered quasar is hundreds of times brighter than these. Among any other object bright enough to be studied in detail, this is the most distant by a large margin.

The next most-distant quasar is seen as it was 870 million years after the Big Bang (redshift 6.4). Similar objects further away cannot be found in visible-light surveys because their light, stretched by the expansion of the Universe, falls mostly in the infrared part of the spectrum by the time it gets to Earth. The European UKIRT Infrared Deep Sky Survey (UKIDSS) which uses the UK’s dedicated infrared telescope in Hawaii was designed to solve this problem. The team of astronomers hunted through millions of objects in this database to find those that could be the long-sought distant quasars, and eventually struck gold.

It took astronomers five years to find this quasar. Its distance was determined from observations made with ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) and instruments on the Gemini North Telescope. Because the object is comparatively bright it is possible to take a spectrum of it (which involves splitting the light from the object into its component colors). This technique allowed the astronomers to find out quite a lot about the quasar.

These observations showed that the mass of the black hole at the center of the quasar is about two billion times that of the Sun. This very high mass is hard to explain so early on after the Big Bang. Current theories for the growth of supermassive black holes predict a slow build-up in mass as the compact object pulls in matter from its surroundings.

Big Island Police Looking for Woman Looking to Harm Herself

6/29/11 Update: Missing Puna woman, Kathleen Lee Carvalho, has been located safe and in good health. Police would like to thank the public for their assistance in this case.
Media Release:

Police are looking for a Puna woman reported missing. Kathleen Lee Carvalho, F-60 was last seen Tuesday evening (June 28) at around 6:50 p.m. in the Hawaiian Paradise Park area. She has allegedly made statements, saying that she will harm herself.

Carvalho is 5’7″ tall, weighs approximately 150 pounds, and has short brown hair and a medium build. She was last seen operating a white Ford 4 door station wagon, unknown license plates, as the car is not registered to her. Carvalho may have lacerations to one or both wrists.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police non emergency number 935-3311. Thank you.

Hilo Bay Firework Information – The 2011 Hilo Bay Blast

Media Release:

The County of Hawaii in collaboration with the State of Hawaii and private organizations are coordinating efforts for this year’s Fourth of July Celebration.  The “2011 Hilo Bay Blast” will feature activities for families throughout the day at the Hilo Bayfront areas.  Festivities will begin at 10am and will end with the traditional Lehua Jaycees Fireworks Exhibition Finale.

Hilo Bay Fireworks

Mass Transit will provide free shuttle service to various activity sites from 10am to 10pm.  Parking will be available in the Downtown parking area near the Mo’oheau Bus Terminal, at the Afook Chinen Civic Auditorium and at the Hawaii County Aupuni Center.  The shuttle route will run from the Civic Auditorium, through Banyan Drive and on to Kamehameha Avenue to the Mo’oheau Bus Terminal and back along Kamehameha Avenue up to the Aupuni Center on Pauahi Street.  Patrons should wait for the shuttle at the bus shelters along the route.

The Hilo Bay Cook-off competitors are set to fire up their grills  at the Hilo Bayfront Commuter Parking lot adjacent to the Mo’oheau Ball Field. A multitude of flavors and aromas will tempt our taste buds with competitions in BBQ Beef, Chicken, Pork, Brisket and Chili.

Judges from Texas will award trophies to the winners in three places. Coordinator, Rick Fredricks of Hawaiian Arts encourages private business and individuals to get a team together and participate in this event that is on its way to becoming the first sanctioned BBQ Contest on the Island and in the State of Hawaii.

More Here: 2011 Hilo Bay Blast

Big Island “Detectives Have Uncovered an Unscrupulous and Potentially Dangerous Online Effort by an Organization that Lures Unsuspecting Women to Oahu…”

Media Release:

Big Island police are cautioning the public about responding to advertisements seeking prospective models. While there obviously are reputable modeling agencies making legitimate recruitments, Hilo detectives have uncovered an unscrupulous and potentially dangerous online effort by an organization that lures unsuspecting women to Oahu under the pretense of offering them careers in modeling while actually having other intentions.

Recently, two young local women were coaxed to Oahu with the promise of a lucrative modeling contract. After a few days of being photographed around the island of Oahu, the women learned that the photographer and “modeling agent” intended to take them out of the state, possibly out of the country. Circumstances described by one of the potential victims who was able to get away and fly back to the Big Island suggested that the pair’s true intention was to traffic the young ladies into a life of prostitution.

Honolulu Police Department personnel were immediately notified and were able to intercept the second female along with the two suspects just as they were checking out of their hotel. The second potential victim was provided secure escort to the Honolulu airport, where she safely boarded a flight back to the Big Island.

This matter is being looked into by investigators with the Honolulu Police Department.

As with many online solicitations, members of the public are urged to be wary of potential threats to their safety and financial well being. While the internet is a tremendous resource and valuable tool, law-abiding citizens aren’t the only ones who use it. The criminal element in our society regularly uses the internet to feed their greed and prey upon unsuspecting innocent people.

Be wise when conducting business over the internet. Be particularly careful if you make personal contact with individuals met online, although that practice is ill-advised.

E-World Online and Leading Electronics Manufacturers Aid Big Island E-Waste Collector

Media Release:

E-World Online

E-World Online, a national provider of responsible recycling solutions for consumer electronics manufacturers, swiftly responded to a recycler in dire need of electronics recycling in Hilo, Hawaii after its contract with the state expired nearly a year ago and Big Island residents continued to drop e-waste at the site. After reading an article about Bay Side Computer Shop’s dilemma in the Hawaii Tribune-Herald last May, E-World Online rallied its manufacturing partners, Sony Electronics Inc., Acer America Corp., ViewSonic, NEC and LG, to fund the collection, shipping and recycling of the abandoned 180,000 pounds of e-waste dumped at the former collection site.

With no space left to accept additional e-waste and no money to ship the massive stockpile to the mainland for recycling, the shop was forced to close. Meantime, residents continued to dump materials not suitable for Hawaii County’s landfills such as computers, televisions and more.

“We purchased all of the e-waste on the site, and we also paid the cost of shipping to the mainland,” explained E-World Online President Cindy Erie. “The state is in the middle of a change in how e-waste collection and recycling is handled, and E-World and our manufacturing partners wanted to help smooth the transition by ensuring this e-waste did not fall between the cracks. Plus, we wanted to help out a small business. Bay Side Computer Shop was in a tough position.”

E-World Online administers the electronics recycling programs of several leading manufacturers across the U.S. Its proprietary, web-based Manufacturer Interstate Take-Back System (MITS) uses a network of collection points and recyclers across the country to make e-waste recycling easy for consumers while fulfilling the manufacturers’ responsibilities.

E-World Online and its manufacturing partners purchased the electronics surplus from Bay Side and paid the per-container cost to ship it from Hawaii to Vista, Calif. Additionally, E-World Online processed the material at its own parent facility, E-World Recyclers.

“The Department of Health is pleased that E-World Online stepped up to take this e-waste from the Big Island. We are hopeful that other recyclers and manufacturers will follow E-world Online’s lead and provide collection services on the neighbor islands,” Steven Chang, Solid and Hazardous Waste Branch Chief said in a statement to E-World Online.

New state laws now require that manufacturers of electronic equipment not only collect a certain amount of e-waste per year but provide multiple and convenient ways for consumers to recycle unwanted or non-working electronics. To date, 49 Hawaii-based recyclers have agreed to process e-waste under the legislation, but nearly all accept e-waste only on Oahu, requiring Big Islanders to pay shipping expenses.

For more on E-World Online and MITS, visit www.e-worldonline.com.

He Does It… The Governor Sends Notice of Intent to Veto 23 Measures

Media Release:

Governor Neil Abercrombie today notified the State Legislature of his intent to veto measures in which he finds either policy disagreement, issues with the details of the legislation, and/or unfunded mandates.

“With the input from many concerned citizens, I have put forward a list of bills that I am considering vetoing,” Governor Abercrombie said. “Some of these measures will not work as they are written, despite their good intentions. Many others create additional work for our departments without any funding sources to carry them through. In these austere times, state agencies simply do not have the capacity to implement unfunded mandates that are not high priorities of our Administration.”

The following measures on the notice of “intent to veto” are:

House Bill 56 allows the family court to award reasonable visitation rights to grandparents if the denial of visitation would cause significant harm to the child. This bill would make it more difficult for grandparents to visit their grandchildren.

House Bill 318 establishes an interagency task force on vog to discuss the impact of vog on the people of Hawai’i and find ways to address these issues. The establishment of an interagency task force at the county level is redundant with a statewide task force already in place to address the effects and impact of sulfur dioxide hazards in various counties and communities.  It also places a mandate onto the counties and does not appropriate funds for the task force.

House Bill 545 requires electronic voter registration on the Office of Elections website by January 1, 2014.  The Governor objects because the estimated cost is $2.5 million, but no appropriation is provided.

House Bill 667 creates the food safety and security program within the Department of Agriculture.  Although the Governor believes food safety is important, this bill does not provide any funding to implement the specified mandates, nor does it provide any authority to establish administrative rules.

House Bill 680 repeals the requirement that the Hawaii Community Development Authority consider recommendations by the Kakaako Makai Community Planning Advisory Council in developing, accepting, and implementing any plans for the Kakaako makai area.

House Bill 1134 repeals Part V of the Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Act and Act 99, Session Laws of Hawaii 1994, relating to the future termination of the prepaid health care law.  Further investigation is needed on whether approval of this bill would have unintended consequences to Hawaii’s Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) waiver.

House Bill 1155 specifies class A and B felonies that require mandatory minimum prison terms under the repeat offender statute. It also reinstates, adds, and deletes certain class C felonies that require the mandatory minimum prison terms under the repeat offender statute.  This bill will significantly change the current policy on how the criminal justice system addresses the problem of repeat offenders that was originally enacted since 1976.  This bill would make the repeat offender law inapplicable to all felony drug offenses, ownership or possession of firearms or ammunition by persons convicted of certain crimes, and insurance fraud felony convictions.

House Bill 1164 authorizes the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) to consider the sale or exchange of Sand Island parcels to leaseholders.  DLNR has repeatedly stated that the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) is not interested in selling or exchanging the lands under the Sand Island master lease into a hundred small lot transfers with a hundred separate land transactions that could result in the Department owning several non-contiguous lots.

Senate Bill 1230 exempts nonresidential structures used for agricultural or aquaculture operations from county building permit requirements. This bill address a problem that needs to be resolved, however, there are ambiguities in the bill on the implementation process.  The Governor plans to sign another bill that establishes a task force to look at impediments for the permitting processes.

House Bill 1405 requires the Office of Planning to establish a statewide system of greenways and trails.  In developing this system, the Office is required to meet with various state departments and the counties and review systems of greenways and trails.  The Office currently has a staff of six people that focus almost exclusively on meeting federal mandates.  Effective implementation of this measure requires resources and funding that the Office does not currently have.

House Bill 1505 establishes the State Facility Renovation Partnership Program, which would allow the sale of certain state facilities to private investors who would improve the facility and lease it back to the state.  The Governor is opposed to the sale of state facilities to private entities. Additionally, there are potential debt service issues with the sale of public buildings previously financed with general obligation bonds that may currently be outstanding.

House Bill 1520 directs the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to investigate an On-Bill Financing Program for residential electric utility customers to finance purchases of energy efficient or renewable energy devices and systems through their regular electric utility bills.

House Bill 1654 terminates a conditional use permit issued by a county agency to facilities intended for group living facilities or group homes that do not use the permits or cease operations for one year. There is a technical flaw in this bill.

Senate Bill 23 establishes within DLNR, the aha kiole advisory council, which may advise the Office of the Chairperson of the BLNR and the Legislature on issues related to land and natural resource management through the aha moku system.  The Council is self-selected, is not confirmed, has no terms of service, cannot be removed for cause and would select its own Executive Director and staff.  This is essentially a private entity that would receive annual taxpayer funds with no oversight.

Senate Bill 40 establishes a tracking system for the sale of products containing pseudoephedrine or ephedrine. In conference committee, the Legislature added “ephedrine” to also be tracked and reported. There is a technical flaw in this bill because the title of the bill is “relating to pseudoephedrine.”

Senate Bill 44 requires the Department of Public Safety to establish performance indicators for inmate reentry system; and requires reports, using key performance indicators, to be provided to the legislature.  It creates the corrections and program report as a consolidated report of other annual reports. This bill does not allow enough time or resources for PSD to accomplish the intended outcomes of the bill.

Senate Bill 49 requires the Director of Public Safety to report to the Governor, and the Governor to report to the legislature any death of an inmate or correctional facility employee within 48 hours. DPS currently does this and there is another statute that covers this procedure.

Senate Bill 217 eliminates the statute of limitations for civil actions brought by victims of sexual offenses as a minor against the person who committed the act(s) and authorizes suits against a legal entity in certain circumstances. This bill appears to allow an employer, including the state, to be sued for the criminal acts of its employees.  This is contrary to well-established tort and agency law and is in direct contravention of the State Tort Liability Act (STLA), Chapter 662 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes.

Under the STLA, the State cannot be sued for the criminal or intentional acts of its employees.  The elimination of a statute of limitations for a civil claim also raises grave constitutional and fairness concerns.  If a claim can be brought after an unlimited passage of time, it is likely that documents will be lost or destroyed and witnesses will die or move away.  The accused, even those falsely accused, will not be able to defend himself, herself, or itself and true justice will not be achieved.

Senate Bill 590 extends the sunset date of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act Commission by six months. The Governor already signed House Bill 383 into law as Act 26 that does the same thing.

Senate Bill 1417 establishes the minimum number of members necessary to constitute a quorum for the State Rehabilitation Council to ten; and establishes the number of votes necessary to validate any action of the Council to at least a majority of quorum. The Governor believes that rather than reduce quorum, we should get people to serve on the Council who will participate and attend meetings. Reducing the number of votes necessary to validate any action of the council to 6 out of a 21 member council is not a fair representation of the Council.

Senate Bill 1493 requires all new and replacement lights to be fully shielded.  This is a noteworthy goal given the effects of night lighting on our native wildlife, astronomy and night viewing activities.  However, the funding implications of this mandate are potentially enormous given federal lighting standards for our highways.

Senate Bill 1511 increases the maximum lease terms for aquaculture operations from 35 to 65 years and defines “aquaculture” under Section 171-59(b), Hawaii Revised Statutes.  The Governor believes oceans are always changing and providing 65-year leases is not prudent.  In addition, the definition of aquaculture is too broad.

Senate Bill 1559 establishes incentives for important agricultural lands.  However, this measure does not provide penalties or resolution for failure to comply, does not identify the agency responsible for monitoring compliance and does not address how the monitoring agency will be able to distinguish Important Agricultural Lands (IAL) and non-IAL source products.  In addition, incentives should be targeted toward certain agricultural goals and not the general category of important agricultural lands.

Governor Abercrombie continues to review legislative bills that he must either veto or sign into law by July 12, 2011.