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Commentary – Mayor Kim’s Administration Has Made Me Very Discouraged

Mayor Harry Kim’s administration has been in office roughly six months. The way I’ve been treated over this period of time has been nothing short of abysmal, and made me very discouraged about interacting with his administration about transportation issues. It isn’t very appealing to get a phone call from the mayor directly, who proceeds to yell at you over the phone and state that you don’t have the facts straight.

I would let this go if this was my only issue with Mayor Kim,  but it is not. February 6th, 2017 is a day I’ll remember for a very long time. The new Department of Public  Works director Frank DeMarco issued a sweeping  directive against me that stated I cannot talk to anyone at DPW, and would have submit all inquiries directly to the mayor’s office in writing.

I was able to get this directive somewhat amended, so I could go through the DPW public affairs officer. This made a very difficult situation more palatable, but I still couldn’t talk to the front line engineers that I established relationships with. Some of these engineers I’ve known for 10 years or more. As of a result of this ill-advised directive, I can’t communicate with these engineers going forward.

These actions by Frank DeMarco are a stark example that he intends to ignore public feedback regarding transportation issues. Warren Lee, the previous director, welcomed feedback from the public. He went as so far to take me on a tour of the construction of the Mamalahoa Highway bypass at one point.

I’ve helped DPW advance several West Hawaii transportation projects, which has established a favorable track record with these engineers. However, Frank DeMarco stated at council meeting on April 11th that I was making too many inquiries with DPW staff, which was causing problems for DPW and other county departments. This could be farther from the truth, along with being very hurtful.

I’ve lived in here Kailua-Kona over 41 years, and have had only the community’s best interest at heart.  These issues with Mayor Kim’s administration are far and beyond the biggest challenge that I’ve faced with a government entity. We should be working together to make this a better place as I have a lot to offer, but Mayor Kim’s administration insists on treating me like an enemy of the state instead.

Aaron Stene, Kailua-Kona

Editors note – Clip taken from the DPW Homepage. http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/public-works/

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Joins Waiʻanae Community in Recognizing UFC Winners Holloway, Medeiros in Homecoming Celebration

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) joined community leaders and people across the Waiʻanae Coast to recognize Waiʻanae natives UFC Featherweight title-holder Max Holloway and Yancy Medeiros for their victories at UFC 212 held on June 3, 2017 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At age twenty-five, Holloway has amassed the most career wins ever among competitors in his weight class, and his recent defeat of Jose Aldo—an athlete that has ruled the WEC and UFC for nearly a decade—earned him the title of undisputed UFC Featherweight Champion. Medeiros also brought home his fourteenth career win from Rio De Janeiro, defeating Erick Silva of Brazil.

Following a community parade from Nānākuli to Waiʻanae High School, the congresswoman presented Holloway and Medeiros with congressional certificates recognizing their achievements and their proud representation of Hawaiʻi to the world.Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “The eyes of the world are on Waiʻanae as we proudly welcome home Max and Yancy after their victories at UFC 212. Both of these young men have made Hawaiʻi so proud, representing our state with courage, strength, and aloha.  Max and Yancy are not only champions in the octagon, they are also leaders in our community who take Hawaiʻi with them wherever they go, and who serve as mentors and role models to our keiki when they are here at home.  I join the people of Waiʻanae and all of Hawaiʻi in congratulating Max and Yancy, and wishing them continued success.”

The congresswoman will return to Washington, DC tonight to participate in the annual King Kamehameha Lei Draping Ceremony in the U.S. Capitol on Sunday, and for votes in the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday.