Commentary – Bureau of Interior Wants To Control New Development in North Kona

I’m deeply concerned about the actions of the National Park Service and U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These federal agencies intend to control how much new development happens in North Kona it seems.

For example, the National Park Service wants the State of Hawaii to designate the Keauhou aquifer as a water resource management area and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to assign nearly 19,000 acres of land in North Kona as a critical habitat area.  In addition, the
National Park Service was the first entity to intervene in the stalled Queen Kaahumanu Highway phase 2 widening project’s section 106 process in early 2011.

These requests, if approved, will impact all new developments in North Kona. It strips home rule authority from the County of Hawaii and adds an additional layer of bureaucracy to the entitlement process.

I firmly believe the County and State of Hawaii are in a better position to manage our resources than a bunch of bureaucrats in Washington D.C.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

Commentary – Mahalo Ho’omana Tree Service

I just received the following Facebook comment:

Harry Steele

  • Just wanted to let you know that Ho’omana Tree Service did a great job taking down twenty plus Albezia trees on our acre. Thanks for having them as a sponsor on your Facebook blog page. I would like to write something praising them to post. Please tell me how.

Hoomanu

Commentary: Hawaii Speaker Endorses Jones Act Reform

Commentary from the Grassroots Institute of Hawaii:

The effort to improve Hawaii’s economy has taken an important step forward with the introduction of a series of resolutions supporting a limited exemption to the US-build requirement of the Jones Act. House Speaker Joseph Souki (D) was among the group who introduced HR 113 and HCR 153, which note that the Act, “disproportionately imposes an economic burden on and adversely affects Hawaii.” The resolution goes on to carve out the specifics of the limited exemption, taking care to refute the claim that the Jones Act is necessary to national defense or effective in protecting the US shipbuilding industry.

“This is a great day for both political cooperation and our economy,” stated Dr. Keli’i Akina, President of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. “The Grassroot Institute has long supported Jones Act reform, not only out of principle–for such protectionist legislation reduces our competitiveness and infringes on our liberty–but also out of simple compassion for Hawaii’s citizens and businesses. In cooperation with countless others, including Michael Hansen (President of the Hawaii Shippers Council and an advisor to Grassroot institute), Grassroot has worked hard to educate both legislators and the public on the need for Jones Act reform. The Jones Act is a burden on everyone who lives and works in Hawaii, acting as an invisible tax on every good that comes to our shores. A limited exemption, such as that envisioned by these resolutions, is a tremendous and positive step.”

Dr. Akina continued: “Moreover, we are happy to see that this is an issue that has gained bipartisan support. Not only was Speaker Souki one of the primary introducers, but he was joined by Reps. Ward (R), Brower (D), Cachola (D), Creagan (D), Evans (D) and Kobayashi (D). We also thank Senator Slom (R) for introducing SR 45 and SCR 93, the Senate versions. There should be no question of partisanship when it comes to improving the economy of our state, making it a better and more profitable place to do business and reducing the cost of living for our citizens. It is gratifying to see that this common sense issue is being treated with the gravity it deserves.”

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United Response to John Doe vs. County of Hawaii GMO Lawsuit

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United is aware of the legal action  “John Doe vs. County of Hawaii” filed in State Superior Court against the County of Hawaii…

Farmers and Ranchers UnitedWe “STRONGLY SUPPORT and Stand United with our fellow Farmers in this suit. Brought by Farmers who are frightened by the potential implications of complying with these unjustified and intrusive requirements – specifically, harassment of their family and employees and vandalism of their operations by anti-technology activists.

In John Doe vs. County of Hawaii, the complaint seeks declaratory and injunctive relief from implementing the registration and disclosure provisions of “Hawaii Bill 113.”

Due to the immediacy of the registration deadline, this complaint seeks relief only in connection with the registration and disclosure requirements of Bill 113, even though the entirety of Bill 113 is legally invalid because it stands in direct conflict with numerous federal and state laws.

Signed into law on December 5, 2013, the County enacted Bill 113, which imposes a county-wide ban on the development, propagation, cultivation, and open-air testing of most GE crops.

The registration and disclosure requirements of Bill 113 unfairly target growers of genetically engineered crops, primarily papaya growers, by forcing them to disclose personal and commercially confidential information about themselves and their operations without any scientific or factual justification:

Without any assurances that the County can or will protect the registration information from public disclosure as allowed under Bill 113, these farmers and growers have good reason to believe that providing this information could result in real harm – including the vandalizing of their crops or intimidation or harassment of their family and/or employees.  Unfortunately, in recent years, anti-genetically engineered or anti-GMO agriculture political activism in Hawaiʻi (and throughout the United States) has crossed the line from a spirited debate to extremism, vandalism, and violence.

The lawsuit alleges that the disclosure provision of Bill 113 is in direct conflict with two State laws – the Uniform Information Practices Act and the Uniform Trade Secrets Act – and violates Plaintiff’s rights to privacy and due process under the Constitution of Hawaii.

Accordingly, it asks the court to enjoin or suspend the registration process until the court ultimately determines the lawfulness of the disclosure provision and how this information will be treated under state law.

Senator J. Kalani English’s Statement on Fatal Lanai Plane Crash

Senator J. Kalani English (District 7- Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lāna‘i, Kaho‘olawe), Chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation and International Affairs, today issued the following statement after learning of the fatal plane crash near Lāna‘i Airport:

Sen. J. Kalani English

Sen. J. Kalani English

“It is with great sadness that I extend my most heartfelt condolences to the friends and families of those who passed in last night’s fatal plane crash on Lāna‘i. I continue to keep the survivors who are currently under the care of Queen’s Medical Center in my thoughts and prayers.”

“We lost two officials from Maui County’s Department of Planning and the pilot of the charter plane, with three others injured. They were on their way back from a Lāna‘i Planning Commission meeting that ended at 8:30 p.m. Their flight left around 9:05, about an hour after the last commercial flight leaving Lāna‘i. The Maui Planning Department officials played an integral part in development of the county and will be remembered for their service to the community.”

“Maui County has endured great tragedy in just a few months. We are still grieving the loss of Loretta Fuddy, Hawai‘i’s State health director, to a plane crash off the shores of Kalaupapa, Moloka‘i.

“As a unique and isolated county, small chartered planes are necessary for travel within the county. As such, air travel safety is an issue that is highly important to us. Maui Air had a previously unblemished record and I trust that a thorough investigation of the crash will occur. For those traveling by air to and from Lāna‘i, I want to assure you that services are safe and will continue.”

“We are grateful to the first responders in the crash and for their continued commitment to protecting Hawai‘i and those who visit our state.”

“On behalf of the Hawai‘i State Senate, I offer my sincere condolences to the family and friends of those who lost their lives and will keep the survivors in our thoughts and prayers.”

 

Commentary – “The Coupe Family Single-Handedly Held Up the Mamalahoa Highway Bypass for 11 Years”

The acquisition the of right of way for highway projects is an ongoing issue for the State and County of Hawaii it seems.  Two projects come to mind; the second phase of the Mamalahoa Highway bypass and the final east side phase of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway.

Inouye Highway Photo by Aaron Stene

Daniel K. Inouye Highway.  Photo by Aaron Stene

The Coupe family single-handedly held up the Mamalahoa  Highway bypass for 11 years. They fought the condemnation of  1,500 feet of their property all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The US Supreme Court declined to hear the Coupe’s petition, which ended their battle and paved the way for the county to acquire the necessary right of way for this much-needed highway.

I’m deeply concerned the final east side phase of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway is facing the same fate. Three holdout landowners (Marvin Arruda, Richard Alderson and Rick Towill) refuse to convey part of their lands for this 5.7 mile highway. These parcels are located on the Puna side of the Puainako Street Extension and Country Club Drive.

I’ve tried to ask the Land Transportation Division of the State Attorney General’s office where things stand with the right of way acquisition for this phase, but they refuse to acknowledge my e-mails and hide behind attorney-client privilege.  The Hawaii Department of Transportation response to my inquiries isn’t much better.

The final east side phase of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway is currently unfunded.  I firmly believe its important to finalize the right of way acquisition, so this phase is shovel ready when funding is available.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

Commentary – “Disappointed in Governor Abercrobmie’s Administration”

I’m very disappointed in Governor Abercrombie’s administration.  Transparency has taken a large step backwards during his current term.  It is very difficult to get any significant updates on two stalled (and important) highway projects, the second phase of Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening and the realignment/reconstruction of the final 5.7 miles of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway in Hilo.

Queen Kaahumanu Highway

Queen Kaahumanu Highway

I have to jump through hoops to get any updates on these projects, as the governor refuses to acknowledge any of my e-mails. The lack of transparency also applies to the State Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration upper management on Oahu and the mainland.

This wasn’t a problem during Governor Lingle’s second term. Both the State Department of Transportation and FHWA were much more open, at least with my inquiries. We, as taxpayers, deserve to know where things stand with both of these highway projects without any smoke and mirrors.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

Commentary: Signage Needed Along Bayfront Highway to Help Tourists “Fresh Off The Boat”

Dear Mayor Billy Kenoi,

I don’t know who else to contact as I have tried for the last several years to make this matter known to a few people I thought could help, but so far no one has been able to do anything about it. Hopefully you will know who can help with this matter.

Hike into Hilo
Every ship day in Hilo we see visitors walking into town in pairs or groups all the way from the port to downtown. Most of them follow the coastline after they cross the Wailoa River Bridge and continue hugging the shores of Hilo Bay on Bayfront Park.

When they reach Pauahi Street, there is no sign to direct them to Kamehameha Avenue so that they can approach downtown easily and most of them continue to follow Bayfront Highway, not realizing there is no access to downtown from Bayfront until they reach the intersection of Waianuenue Avenue.

Hike Into Hilo 2

There are several gates on the fence separating the downtown area all the way from Pauahi Street to Waianuenue Avenue, but the gates are locked.

Several times, (including this morning) I’ve picked up visitors, both young and elderly, especially when it is raining, as I drive back home towards Hamakua. After I pick them up, I continue on across the Wailuku Bridge and turn around at Pukihae Street by the Bay Shore Towers, so I can drive back to Hilo and drop them off wherever they wanted to go in downtown. In most cases, it was to drop them off at the Farmers Market.

I cannot believe that it would be such a hardship for the County, the Department of Transportation or the Department of Parks and Recreation (I’m not sure in whose jurisdiction this matter would fall) to have proper signage at the corner of  Bayfront and Pauahi directing them to Kamehameha Avenue and/or at least have the gates open along the fence so we can make it a little bit more welcoming and convenient for our visitors to reach the downtown area without having to walk all the way to the end of the fence.

It doesn’t seem like such a big thing to do and yet, I believe it would make a big difference and maybe visitors would try to stay a bit longer in the downtown area if they weren’t so tired from having to walk the extra few blocks.

Can you think of any other solution?

Cordially,

Sonia R. Martinez

Pearl Harbor: Then and Now

Firsthand accounts of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, with combined photographs taken during the attack and modern day locations where events took place.

 

Commentary – New Daniel K. Inouye Highway is Huge Improvement

The newly christened Daniel K. Inouye Highway is huge improvement over the old Saddle Road. 40.27 miles out of 45.97 miles has been upgraded to Federal Highway standards. The remaining 5.7 miles, which is located above Hilo, is on hold.

Photo by Aaron Stene

Photo by Aaron Stene

The acquisition of the right of way is stalled and there isn’t any funding allocated for this phase.  Both of  these facets go hand and hand. This project can’t be funded unless the right of way is fully acquired.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation asked the Land Transportation Division of the State Attorney General’s Office to start condemnation proceedings against the three holdout landowners in 2012. The State Attorney General’s office hasn’t heeded the HDOT’s request except to ask for more information in July 2013.

I’m deeply frustrated by the lack of urgency in this matter.  The last Daniel K. Inouye Highway phase should on a fast track, but its stuck in bureaucratic hell instead. The Hawaii Department of Transportation needs to expedite the land acquisition, so this much-needed project can proceed and Senator Inouye’s vision fulfilled.

Aaron Stene

Pierre Omidyar Comments on His New Venture and Hiring Former Guardian Journalist Glenn Greenwald

Pierre Omidyar and Arianna Huffington at Imiloa Astronomy Center announcing the beginning of HuffPost Hawaii.

Pierre Omidyar and Arianna Huffington at Imiloa Astronomy Center announcing the beginning of HuffPost Hawaii.

As many of you know, I’ve had an interest in journalism for some time now. I’ve been working on Civil Beat for three years and through my philanthropic work at Omidyar Network and Democracy Fund, we’ve supported many efforts around the world related to media, citizen engagement, and government transparency and accountability.

Separate from my work with Omidyar Network and Democracy Fund, and as part of my growing interest to preserve and strengthen the role journalism plays in society, I explored purchasing The Washington Post over the summer. That process got me thinking about what kind of social impact could be created if a similar investment was made in something entirely new, built from the ground up. Something that I would be personally and directly involved in outside of my other efforts as a philanthropist.

I developed an interest in supporting independent journalists in a way that leverages their work to the greatest extent possible, all in support of the public interest. And, I want to find ways to convert mainstream readers into engaged citizens. I think there’s more that can be done in this space, and I’m eager to explore the possibilities.

Right now, I’m in the very early stages of creating a new mass media organization. I don’t yet know how or when it will be rolled out, or what it will look like.

What I can tell you is that the endeavor will be independent of my other organizations, and that it will cover general interest news, with a core mission around supporting and empowering independent journalists across many sectors and beats. The team will build a media platform that elevates and supports these journalists and allows them to pursue the truth in their fields. This doesn’t just mean investigative reporting, but all news.

As part of my learning process, I recently reached out to Glenn Greenwald to find out what journalists like him need to do their jobs well. As it turns out, he and his colleagues Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill, were already on a path to create an online space to support independent journalists. We had a lot of overlap in terms of our ideas, and decided to join forces.

I believe that independent journalists like Glenn, Laura, and Jeremy play an important role in our society. We’ll be working with them and others, but we have a long way to go in terms of what the organization looks like, people’s roles and responsibilities — all of those things still need to be worked out.

I’ll be sure to update you along the way as the new organization progresses.

Pierre Omidyar

 

Commentary – “Hawaii Department of Transportation Needs To Do a Better Job In Disseminating Project Information…”

The Hawaii Department of Transportation needs to do a better job in disseminating project information to the public at large. The HDOT public affairs office seems to be understaffed, as it takes awhile to get a response and sometimes the information is not correct.

Saddle Road Extension Map

Saddle Road Extension Map

For example, recent articles about the Daniel K. Inouye Highway project contained inaccurate information concerning total cost, start location of last east side phase among other mistakes. I’ve had to jump through hoops to double check that my information was correct as a result.

The HDOT public affairs office response queue times have also increased. I recently asked when the Kuakini Highway widening EIS meeting would be held. I received a response stating it would take about a week to respond.

These issues started cropping up about mid-year when the CFLHD, HDOT and FHWA referred all my inquiries regarding the Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening and Saddle Road projects to Caroline Slyuter, the HDOT PIO. I had to get any updates through alternative means because it usually took several days or even longer to get any updates through the public affairs office.

The CFLHD and HDOT have websites for the Daniel K. Inouye Highway and Queen Kaahumanuy Highway widening projects. Both of these agencies need to do a better job keeping these websites updated, so the public is informed about these important highway projects. This would be a great first step in properly engaging the public.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

Mayor Kenoi’s Statement On Naniloa Resort

Hawai’i County Mayor Billy Kenoi issued the following statement today regarding the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort:

“We strongly agree with the decision by the Board of Land and Natural Resources to enforce the terms of its lease with Hawai‘i Outdoor Tours, and we think that decision should stand.

The view from a Naniloa Balcony

The view from a Naniloa Balcony

“No special consideration should be given to lessee Hawai‘i Outdoor Tours or to First Citizens Bank & Trust, which is the lien holder in this case. This lessee failed to maintain the $1 million performance bond required by the lease. This lessee previously failed to stay current on the lease rent, and was issued notices of default. This lessee filed for bankruptcy protection a year ago, yet the lease specifically allows for termination if the lessee goes bankrupt.

“While all of this was going on, this lessee allowed the historic Naniloa property to dramatically deteriorate. That in itself is a violation of the lease, which requires that this important state asset be properly maintained. Obviously, that didn’t happen.

“Now the trustee and the bank are asking for special permission to continue to operate the Naniloa. There is no reason for the state or the court to agree to this. It is not in the best interest of our state or our community, and we hope the court will reject this proposal.

“It is time to cancel this lease and start over. It is time for us to start fresh with a new, responsible partner who will operate this facility properly. It is time for the restoration of the Naniloa to finally begin.”

Mayor Billy Kenoi

Commentary – Aaron Stene On the New Daniel K. Inouye Highway

The Central Federal Lands Highway Division and Hawaii Department of Transportation, among others, should be commended for their efforts to improve Saddle Road. The recently opened segment between m.m 41 and m.m 51.27, along with the previous phases (m.m 11 and m.m 41), is a huge improvement over the old Saddle Road.

The Daniel K. Inouye Highway opened this weekend.  Photo by Aaron Stene

The Daniel K. Inouye Highway opened this weekend. Photo by Aaron Stene

The latter roadway was riddled with potholes and serious design deficiencies, which caused an immeasurable number of accidents and fatalities.  In addition, the realignment and reconstruction of Saddle Road to a full fledged highway has resulted in a huge time savings in commute times.

I was able to drive between m.m six (top of Puainako Extension) and m.m 51.27 on the Kona side in 56 minutes. My overall time savings was about 26 minutes, so I can’t wait until the last east side Saddle Road phase is complete. It will reduce commute times even more.

Photo by Aaron Stene

Photo by Aaron Stene

I know there is challenges acquiring the right of way for the final SR200(3) phase. However, I’m confident these challenges will be overcome. It is imperative that Senator Dan Inouye’s legacy project is finished.

Aaron Stene

Kailua-Kona

Damien Memorial Fudges Grant Application, Swindles $1.5 Million from State

What do you do when your umbrella organization files for bankruptcy (to avoid costly sex abuse civil trials); ten of your former teachers are exposed as perpetrators; and at least 15 former students come forward to say they were sexually abused by your teachers and brothers?

Swindle the state of Hawaii out of $1.5 million, of course.

Damien Memorial School, Honolulu’s hotbed of alleged child sex crimes, has just been granted $1.5 million in state (read: taxpayer) money for capital improvements. The problem? Damien fudged on the application, dramatically and untruthfully understating the legal mess they are facing because of child sex abuse and cover-up.

Damien Memorial: We will be just as conscientious with taxpayer dollars as we were with your child's safety.

Damien Memorial: We will be just as conscientious with taxpayer dollars as we were with your child’s safety.

From page 11 of the application, dated January 2013:

Litigation

The applicant shall disclose any pending litigation to which they are a party,

including the disclosure of any outstanding judgment. If applicable, please

explain.

Three lawsuits are pending against Damien and the Roman Catholic Church in

Hawaii for which Damien has denied all allegations and is represented by

counsel for the Diocese. No judgments have been entered.

There is no mention of the 15 legal claims that were pending against the school at the time. (the $16.5 million settlement was not announced until May 2013). Nor is there any mention of the fact that victims still have the right sue the school and a civil window granting them the right to do so.

The school could be on the hook for millions in compensation for the kids who were sexually abused by priests and brothers while they were Damien students. But the Christian Brothers of Hawaii have no problem raiding public coffers – money much better used for the public schools in the state.

Damien officials KNEW that were knee-deep in legal trouble when they filled out the grant application. But did they disclose? No.

No matter your opinion of Damien, factual omissions on applications for public monies are wrong, immoral and illegal. Besides, if Damien officials are “omitting” facts for money, what else will they “omit” as more victims assert their legal rights?

The grant monies should be rescinded immediately. A criminal investigation, perhaps?

Joelle Casteix

Related articles

Press Conference Tomorrow on the HAAS School Bus Issue

Hawaii Department of Education will no longer allow *HAAS* charter school children to ride on their school buses.  Sixty students from Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science are affected by this DOE decision.
Students at HAAS Rally for Mazie Hirono

Students at HAAS Rally for Mazie Hirono

DOE informed HAAS Principal Steve Hirakami of the decision today, Friday, Aug. 2.
Ten of those displaced children are special needs students, and one of them is a federally protected McKinney-Vento student.
Attend a 1 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 4 press conference at HAAS, 15-1397 Homestead Road, for more details. Or, contact HAAS principal Steve Hirakami via cell at (808)640-7901.

 

Commentary – Richard Ha on Bill 79, the Anti-GMO Bill

Click to read Richard's Blog on this

Click to read Richard’s Blog on this

Dear Editor,

Bill 79, the anti-GMO bill, has brought out a lot of concern and a lot of anxiety.

I say that we need to slow down. It would be premature to rush into a decision on this bill without taking the time to hear everybody’s input and address all the issues on the table.

Before we make big decisions – any of which could have unintended consequences – we should set up some sort of task force to look at the bigger picture of Hawai‘i’s self-sufficiency, and how we are going to achieve that.

How are we going to get there, all of us together? We need to end up at a place where we aloha each other, and take care of everybody.

Let’s not rush to pass this bill without fully understanding the bigger picture.

Richard Ha

Owner, Hamakua Springs Country Farms

 

“Austin or Bust” – Keiki FUNraiser

The Friday Night Crew (FNC) youth group presents an epic community rummage sale as the final push of their “Austin or Bust” fund drive, on Saturday, July 13, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Waimea’s Church Row.  The “Keiki FUNraiser” makes it fun to shop, with party bouncers for kids, the original Texeira Malasadas, shave Ice, cotton candy, popcorn and more, bringing community together to help our youth reach their goals.

Vendors are needed, and individuals, churches, community organizations, sports teams, school groups and others are urged to sign up now at Mama’s House in Waimea, or call 887-2289. Booth fee is only $15, BYOS (Bring Your Own Setup, tents, tables, chairs, etc.)

“Our goal is $15,000,” said Beth Mehau, Executive Director of The Pantry, FNC’s parent nonprofit.  “And we are getting there, step by step. These youth have been working hard to raise funds for their trip to Austin, Texas for national drug and alcohol prevention training. They have done this for the last two years, and returned with skills and resources to share with their peers and give back to the community.”

Photo courtsey of The Pantry, Friday Night Crew members Hoku Pagan, Viviana Mehau, Matt Horne and Makanani Akau, at a strategic presentation.

Photo courtsey of The Pantry, Friday Night Crew members Hoku Pagan, Viviana Mehau, Matt Horne and Makanani Akau, at a strategic presentation.

FNC members FNC members join youth from across the nation during the Community Anti-Drug Coalition Association (CADCA) mid-year training, July 21-25. They will also visit Venice Beach, California to continue an ongoing survey of the impact of marijuana dispensaries on beach communities, and to meet with John Redman of Californians for Drug-Free Youth. They will assist Redman with his presentation about Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) during the CADCA training.  Redman, former U.S. Representative Patrick Kennedy and Dr. Kevin Sabet spoke in Waimea in March 2013, during the first Project SAM forum.

“Our youth are really youth leaders,” said Mehau.  “They want to be resources for their peers, and the Keiki FUNraiser is a way the whole community can help them get this important prevention training.  So, we’re inviting families to stop by Church Row after their weekly outing to the farmer’s markets.”

For more information, to sign up as a rummage sale vendor or make a direct donation of cash or items, please contact Beth Mehau at The Pantry office, 808-887-2289, bethmehau@gmail.com.

 

Commentary – Aaron Stene on the Saddle Road Project

I’m very disappointed how Governor Abercrombie’s administration has managed the widening of Queen Kaahumanu Highway and last Hilo side phase
of Saddle Road. The Section 106 consultation process between the Native Hawaiian Organizations and FHWA/DOT has entered its twentieth month.

Saddle Road Dedication

The FHWA and DOT is keeping the public  in the dark regarding these consultations, so no one knows where things stand with this project. The
Queen Kaahumanu Highway website hasn’t been updated since September 25th, 2012.

The Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening should’ve been completed three years ago, but it is on hold due to various issues. There may be a light
at the end of tunnel though. The HDOT hopes to break ground on this project in August, according to the April Board of Water Supply meeting
minutes. However, the calendar isn’t a friend of this latest start date.  Several outstanding issues need to be resolved, such as the completion
of the ongoing Section 106 consultation process, before this project can move forward.

Saddle Road Blessing

Senator Inouye joined Mayor Billy Kenoi and others for a blessing of the recently refurbished section of Saddle Road between mile post 11 and mile post 19

The last east side Saddle Road phase (between m.m  5.3 and m.m 11) is the other project botched by Governor Abercrombie’s administration. The
HDOT asked the State Attorney General’s office  to begin condemnation proceedings against the three remaining landowners in 2012, whose land
is required for this new highway.

The Land Transportation Division of the Attorney General’s office has yet to initiate any of these lawsuits, as of January 2013. The HDOT
recently submitted the last Saddle Road phase for a FY 2013 TIGER grant.  I’m deeply concerned this right of way issue may influence the chances of this phase being awarded a TIGER grant.

Saddle Road Stene

I’ve tried to convey my concerns to the Honolulu HDOT and FHWA powers that be. However, they’ve ignored nearly all my e-mails regarding these
two much-needed projects.

Aaron Stene,

Kailua, Kona

 

Commentary – Drunk and Disorderly in Pahoa

Editors note… All commentary should be sent to my email address:

Last night (Thursday) I drove through Pahoa about 10:30. Drunks were literally staggering all over the street and I had to stop so as not to hit them. More deadbeats were using the covered sidewalks in front of closed businesses as their personal flophouse and urinal. Where are the police? Why are places like Luquins, Black Rock, and Cash and Carry not being fined for serving those who are clearly too far gone to walk let alone drive. For those of us who live in Lower Puna, it’s police tolerating this sort of antisocial behavior that gives our area such a bad rep. We need some crusading exposé journalism demanding police presence in town and not just in their comfy new headquarters!!!

The new Pahoa Police Station

The new Pahoa Police Station

BTW, when I went to the Pahoa police station today to complain about this THERE WAS NO ONE THERE. That’s right. The station was completely unmanned. I rang the bell, called, no one there. It was lunchtime so I guess that took priority. The reason Puna is “lawless” is because the law is AWOL. Surely something can be done.

Amanda Claiborne