Candidate Accused of Fraud States Surf Shop Has Living Quarters

The following was posted by Hawaii County Council Candidate Tiffany Edwards Hunt regarding allegations of voter fraud that have been posted in the Hawaii Tribune Herald and other places such as Puna Web in a few different forums.

I can’t imagine living in a surf shop when you have two other places to live… but if this is your excuse that you want to publish publicly to attempt to avoid prosecution then so be it.

Lately, there have been press reports calling into question my voter registration history and suggesting that I might be guilty of some sort of voter crime. It is becoming increasingly obvious that these reports and the source(s) of them are politically motivated.

I am a resident of Puna Council District 5, and have been for over 90 days before the primary election. Under the Hawaii County Charter, any voter and candidate for office must be a resident of the district for at least ninety (90) days before the primary election.

I am currently registered to vote in Puna Council District 5, residing with my husband at our family home in Hawaiian Acres.

In 2012 I was registered to vote in what is now Puna Council District 4, and listed my residence at my husband’s Pahoa home and surf shop, which has a living quarters.

Shortly after the 2012 election I was nominated to serve on the Windward Planning Commission. After being nominated to the commission for District 4, I learned that I should be registered in District 5 in Mountain View. I declined the nomination and updated my voter registration residency address for the next election.

I welcome any legitimate investigation regarding this issue.

After I learned of a potential pending investigation by police, I immediately contacted the responsible officer but I have not yet received a response.

I am properly registered as a voter and candidate in District 5.  I look forward to serving the people of this Puna district, if elected.

Tiffany Edwards Hunt

Lava Flow Reactivates – Spills Out of Steaming Crack

Far end of June 27th lava flow reactivates, lava spills out of steaming crack

The steaming ground crack observed yesterday suggested that lava was close to the surface within the crack, and today lava in the crack reached the surface and began spilling out into the thick forest. The leading edge of the lava today was near the abandoned well site (cleared area at left). This farthest lava was about 11.9 km (7.4 miles) from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō (visible on horizon) and 2.6 km (1.6 miles) from the eastern boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna forest reserve.

A closer view of the pad of lava that emerged from the ground crack earlier this week, which had renewed surface flows today. At the east end (upper left in photograph) of the lava pad new breakouts spilled into adjacent ground cracks, and lava was visible within the ground crack extending farther to the east (visible by line of smoke extending towards upper left portion of photo). Heiheiahulu is visible in the upper right.

A wide view of the leading edge of the June 27th lava flow, looking east down Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone. The main body of the June 27th flow ends near the center of the photograph, where lava poured into a deep ground crack. After traveling along the ground crack, lava emerged at the surface earlier this week, creating an isolated pad of lava (where the thick smoke is just above the center of the photograph). This pad of lava had renewed surface activity today, with lava filling and spilling out of a ground crack extending farther to the east of the lava pad.
 Another wide view of the leading edge of the June 27th lava flow, again looking east. This shows the east end of the isolated lava pad. The thick smoke originates from lava filling a deep ground crack up to the surface. The smoke partly obscures the abandoned well site.

At the site of the isolated pad of lava near the leading edge of the June 27th flow, renewed surface flows today resurfaced the existing lava flow and also spilled into nearby ground cracks. In this photograph, two large streams of lava plunge into a crack that is a couple meters (yards) wide.

At the far end of the lava-filled crack, lava spilled out towards the north a very short distance. In this view from a thermal camera, the small lobe of lava moving north is easily visible. The trees surrounding the crack show brighter colors as they are heated by the lava flow, but not to the point of combustion.

The vent for the June 27th lava flow is on the upper northeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The vent area is now covered by lava, but the lava tube that carries lava to the flow front is easily visible by the line of blue-colored fume. In the lower right, two skylights can be seen.

More Community Meetings Announced to Update Folks on Lava Flows

Civildefense

Hawai’i County Civil Defense and the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory will host additional community meetings on Tuesday, Sept. 2 and Thursday, Sept. 4 to update residents on the lava flow in the Wao Kele O Puna area.

The briefings will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday in the Pahoa High School Cafeteria.

Civil Defense Lava Flow Update

Daily helicopter over flights and assessments of the eruption are continuing.  This morning’s assessment showed that there is currently some surface activity.  The current flow had entered a crack system earlier this week and there is some evidence to indicate subsurface lava activity.  The surface flows remain on the existing flow area and has not extended beyond or further than the location where it had entered a crack. The evidence is limited to steam plumes along the area of the crack.

HVO121

Presently, the current activities and flow does not present with an immediate or imminent threat to area communities.

The location of the crack and areas of the steam is approximately 1.6 miles southwest or upslope of the Wao Kele Puna Forest Reserve boundary.  Eruption activity will be monitored and additional updates will be provided.

Area residents are encouraged to continue to review their emergency plans in the event conditions change and should an evacuation be necessary.  As stated, the current flow activity does not present with an immediate or imminent threat.  This update is to keep area residents informed of current observations.

The public is advised that the flow cannot be accessed and is not visible from any public areas.  Please do not attempt to access the area as there are many cracks and dense vegetation.  In addition please refrain from attempting to do so through the Kaohe Homesteads subdivision and respect the privacy of area residents.  Enforcement officers of the State Department of Land and Natural Resources will be conducting patrols and reminding persons in the area of the restricted access.

Where the Lava is Now – Live Camera Views of Current Lava Flow

If you look at the top right of this picture (near the ocean) you can see that the lava and steam has increased above Kaohe Homestead.

Picture taken a few minutes ago.  Click to enlarge

Panorama of Puʻu ʻŌʻō North Flank from the North Rim, Picture taken a few minutes ago. Click to enlarge

The steam is just barely visible in the top right but it’s still not a good sign.  It means the Lava has not stopped flowing towards Pahoa.

To view other live cameras of this flow… you can click here: HVO Webcams

 

Lava Flow Update – Steam Suggests Flow Advancing Again Towards Pahoa

Steaming extends northeast along ground crack, suggesting lava is advancing again along the crack

Steaming (center of photograph) was reported this morning east of the small pad of lava (just above center) that emerged from a ground crack this past week. This renewed progression of steaming suggests that lava is again continuing to advance beneath the surface, along these ground cracks. On our afternoon overflight, the farthest point of steaming was near an abandoned well site, which serves as a convenient landmark in this broad expanse of forest. The farthest steaming was 11.9 km (7.4 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and 2.6 km (1.6 miles) from the eastern boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna forest reserve. In the top portion of the photograph, numerous plumes of smoke originate from scattered surface flows burning vegetation. Puʻu ʻŌʻō can be seen on the horizon.

This figure compares the photo above with an equivalent view from a thermal camera. The plumes of smoke mark the farthest active lava on the surface (small, scattered lobes of pāhoehoe), which are also shown as small hotspots in the thermal image. The pad of lava that emerged from the ground crack earlier this week was inactive at the surface but still quite warm (high temperature patch in center of image). East of this pad of lava, steaming (just below the center of the photograph) has appeared over the past day, suggesting that lava is continuing to advance below the surface along a ground crack. Direct views into the crack were not possible due to thick vegetation, but close views of the steaming areas with the thermal camera reveal temperatures up to 190 C (370 F). These high temperature are further evidence of lava moving through the crack.

A closer of the new steaming. The thick vegetation obscures direct views of the ground crack, and only a line of steaming and browned vegetation is evident at the surface.

Slow-moving pāhoehoe advances through thick forest northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The pāhoehoe lobes surround, and burn through, the base of the trees. By the time the trees topple over, the lava surface temperature has cooled sufficiently that the downed trees do not completely burn through, leaving a field of tree trunks on the recent lava surface. One tree in the center of the photograph is completely surrounded by active lava, and likely on the brink of toppling over.

Another view of the lava expanding into the forest.
Closer to the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō, one of several skylights provides a view of the flowing lava stream within the lava tube. This lava tube supplies lava from the vent to the active surface flows near the flow front.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

New Lava Flow Map Released – Lava Flow Once Again Advancing

Map showing the June 27th flow in Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone as of August 28, 2014:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The area of the flow as mapped on August 27 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as of August 28 is shown in red. All older lava flows (1983–2014) are shown in gray. The thin yellow line marks a portion of the lava tube feeding the flow.

The only place where lava significantly widened the margin was at the most distant surface breakout, which was 8.6 km (5.3 miles) from the vent. The brown line at the far end of the flow marks the ground crack that channeled lava to the east, where it later emerged to form a new pad of lava.

Yesterday, there was no surface activity there and no indication that lava was continuing to advance within ground cracks. This morning, however, steam was rising above a crack extending east beyond the end of the lava pad, suggesting that lava was once again advancing within a crack below ground.

The most distant steaming area was 11.9 km (7.4 miles) from the vent and 2.6 km (1.6 miles) from east boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve.

Updated Map of Lava Lava Flow Approaching Pahoa

Map showing the June 27th flow in Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone as of August 27, 2014.

Click to enlarge map

Click to enlarge map

The area of the flow as mapped on August 25 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as of August 27 is shown in red. The brown line marks the ground crack that channeled lava to the east, where it emerged to form a new pad of lava over the past couple of days.

The distal tip of this new lava pad is 11.5 km (7.1 miles) east-northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and 3.0 km (1.9 miles) from the edge of the Wao Kele O Puna Forest Reserve. However, the tip of the flow was inactive today and there was no indication that lava was continuing to advance within ground cracks.

The most distant active flows were 8.5 km (5.3 miles) from the vent. All older lava flows (1983–2014) are shown in gray. The thin yellow line marks a portion of the lava tube feeding the flow.

Lava Flow Update – Activity at Flow Front “Appears” to Stall But Surface Flows Remain Active

The June 27th flow remains active, but surface flows at the very farthest reaches of the flow appear to have stalled today.

lava flow 827

Click to Enlarge

The lava flow front consisted of an isolated pad of lava that emerged from a deep ground crack several days ago. Today, this pad of lava appeared inactive at the surface, with no sign obvious activity in the adjacent crack. On today’s overflight, the farthest active surface flows were on the main body of the June 27th flow, and were 8.5 km (5.3 miles) from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō, or about 6 km (3.7 miles) from the eastern boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna forest reserve.

A closer view of the southern lobe of the June 27th lava flow. Smoke plumes originate from active surface breakouts, the farthest today reached 8.5 km (5.3 miles) from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The spot at which this lobe plunged into a deep ground crack last week can be seen near the bottom of the photograph. In the upper right portion of the photograph, smoke originating from active breakouts on the northern lobe can be seen.

A comparison of the normal photograph (see above) of the south lobe of the June 27th flow with an equivalent view from the thermal camera. The thermal camera clearly shows the extent of the farthest active breakout, which was relatively small.

Top: Another view of the south lobe of the June 27th flow, which plunged into a deep ground crack last week (this spot is visible at the right side of the photograph). This wide view, looking west, also shows another deep crack nearby, a short distance to the south of the active flows (which are producing the smoke plumes). This immediate area contains many ground cracks, which are part of Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone. Puʻu ʻŌʻō can be seen in the distance.

Bottom: The isolated pad of lava that emerged from the deep ground crack several days ago did not have any active breakouts at the surface today, but incandescent lava could be seen in numerous cracks on the surface. This likely represents lava that had ponded within the flow and remains hot, but immobile.

U.S. Court Overturns Law Limiting Biotech Crops on Kauai

A group of global biotech crop companies won a court victory on Monday that blocks enactment of a law passed last year limiting the planting of biotech crops and use of pesticides on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren of the U.S. District Court in Hawaii ruled that the law passed in November by local leaders on the island was invalid because it was pre-empted by Hawaii state law.

The Kauai law required large agricultural companies to disclose pesticide use and genetically modified (GMO) crop plantings while establishing buffer zones around schools, homes and hospitals to protect people from exposure to pesticides used on the crops…

More Here: U.S. court overturns law limiting biotech crops on Hawaiian island

 

Hawaii Earns Top Ranking in National Report on Progress in Open Data

One of 6 States to Receive a Perfect Score from Center for Data Innovation

The State of Hawaii is ranked among the top states for progress in open data in a new report (http://www.datainnovation.org/2014/08/state-open-data-policies-and-portals/) published this week by the Center for Data Innovation, the leading think tank studying the intersection of data, technology and public policy.

Click for more information.

Click for more information.

“This national recognition shows that collaborative and determined efforts on the part of this administration and the Legislature, together with our private sector partners and the public, have made great strides since launching our state’s business and information transformation in 2011,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “We have developed a strong open government program that is rapidly improving transparency and accountability of state government.”

Hawaii was one of six states (Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma and Utah) to receive a perfect score in the Center for Data Innovation’s report, which evaluated states based on the contents of their open data policies and open data portals. Points are awarded for the presence of an open data policy, quality of open data policy, presence of an open data portal, and quality of an open data portal.

“Open data that does not compromise security or privacy is becoming more readily available to the public through data.hawaii.gov, recognizing that it belongs to the people of Hawaii,” said the Governor’s Chief Advisor on Technology and Cybersecurity, Sanjeev “Sonny” Bhagowalia, who launched Hawaii’s Open Data Portal as Hawaii’s first chief information officer. “This award demonstrates that Hawaii can set a new national standard of excellence for open government.

“I’d like to acknowledge our dedicated state personnel at the Offices of Information Management Technology (OIMT) and Information Practices, as well as our partners at the Hawaii Community Foundation, Hawaii Open Data, and Socrata. We all need to support State CIO Keone Kali and his OIMT team as they continue to enhance the standard of excellence for the State of Hawaii.”

Hawaii’s Business & Information Technology/Information Resource Management (IT/IRM) Transformation Plan and initiatives have received national recognition for innovation winning 20 national awards including being the only state recipient for the Fed 100 Award in 2013 and Government innovator of the Year in 2014. For more information on the plan, visit OIMT’s website at oimt.hawaii.gov.

The Center for Data Innovation is a non-profit, non-partisan research institute affiliated with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. For more information about the center, visit datainnovation.org.

Scams Targeting Iselle Victims Being Reported by HELCO

Hawaii Electric Light Company has been informed of scams targeting Hawaii Island customers in the wake of Tropical Storm Iselle.

HELCO SCAM

Customers reported receiving telephone calls from someone claiming to be a Hawaii Electric Light claims representative. The customers were asked to provide their social security number.

Hawaii Electric Light wants to remind customers that the utility will not contact customers to request personal information or direct customers to submit payments via options other than those listed on the back of the billing statement.

For your safety and protection:

  • Never provide personal, confidential or financial information to an unidentified individual.
  • Ask questions or ask for proper identification. Request the individual’s name, company name, and phone number.
  • Be cautious when responding to callers from an unidentified phone number. Phone scammers want to remain anonymous.
  • Be aware that today’s technology can be used to mask the caller’s phone number and the caller ID could indicate the call is originating from Hawai‘i Electric Light, even though it is not.
  • Report any suspicious activity to local police.

To obtain a claim form, please visit one of our customer service locations in Hilo, Waimea or Kona or visit our website at www.hawaiielectriclight.com.

Hawaii Lava Flow Update

The June 27 lava flow remains active as a narrow lobe pushing through thick forest northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, triggering small brush fires.

This view is to the east, with the forested cone of Heiheiahulu partly obscured by the smoke plume from this angle. (Click to Enlarge)

This view is to the east, with the forested cone of Heiheiahulu partly obscured by the smoke plume from this angle. (Click to Enlarge)

The flow front today was 8.7 km (5.4 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

The surface flows active at the front of the June 27 lava flow are fed from lava flowing through a lava tube.

This collapse of a portion of the roof has produced a skylight, and a direct view of the fluid lava stream several meters (yards) beneath the surface. (Click to Enlarge)

This collapse of a portion of the roof has produced a skylight, and a direct view of the fluid lava stream several meters (yards) beneath the surface. (Click to Enlarge)

A remarkable perched lava pond was active on the June 27 lava flow more than a month ago. On August 12 a small lava flow erupted from the rim of the inactive pond, with the flow presumably originating from fluid lava that remained in the perched pond interior.

The front of this small flow can be seen at the top of the photograph. (Click to Enlarge)

The front of this small flow can be seen at the top of the photograph. (Click to Enlarge)

This type of flow is commonly erupted from perched lava ponds and small lava shields, and we informally refer to these as “seeps”.

Another skylight and view into the tube supplying lava to the front of the June 27 lava flow. (Click to Enlarge)

Another skylight and view into the tube supplying lava to the front of the June 27 lava flow. (Click to Enlarge)

The seeps have a characteristic spiny, toothpaste-like, flow texture. Today, this seep was inactive, but the flow interior remained incandescent.

Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) Statement on False Rumors of Uncontrolled Release

Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) is providing information regarding storm-related impacts to its 38-megawatt facility. This information is being distributed to area residents at community assistance centers including Nanawale Estates, Leilani Estates, Hawaiian Shores and Hawaiian Paradise Park Community Centers as well as Kalani Honua Retreat and J. Hara Store.

Puna Geothermal Venture

Puna Geothermal Venture

Tropical Storm-related Information from Puna Geothermal Venture

The night of Tropical Storm Iselle, Puna Geothermal Venture’s 38-megawatt power generating station on Hawaii Island was shutdown as designed. There was no “uncontrolled release” or “spill” at the facility contrary to some initial reports by commentators.

To prepare for the storm, PGV staff reviewed emergency procedures in anticipation of bad weather. PGV increased night shift crews through the storm and actively reduced the plant’s output in preparation of extreme weather conditions.

At about 7:30 p.m. Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO) lost both transmission lines that PGV connects to in order to transmit power to the electrical grid. With the loss of the transmission lines, the plant shutdown as designed.

By design and following approved procedures, steam was released through the emergency steam release facility. That steam was ABATED, that is, caustic soda and water were added to scrub the steam of hydrogen sulfide (H2S). This was done according to regulatory procedures, per the approved emergency response plan. This process is part of PGV’s Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) air permit requirements.

The bulk of the steam was released within the first ten minutes. The residual energy of the steam system was safely released and the wells completely shut in in approximately 45 minutes. A relief valve malfunction resulted in a low flow of steam released for slightly longer until isolated approximately 15 minutes later.

During the early part of the steam release, there was a sulfur smell. A PGV employee monitored levels at the fence line and had a peak reading of 25 parts per billion. The DOH regulation requires that we not exceed 25 parts per billion (ppb) on an hourly average. The 25 ppb reading was a “peak,” and not sustained. This emission event was well below DOH regulatory limits.

Based on the air monitoring during the shutdown, emissions remained below permitted levels and there was never any danger or violation of environmental limits. There was no need to evacuate, but Hawaii County Civil Defense alerted residents that they could evacuate voluntarily.

To put this into perspective, it is important to note that OSHA standards allow workers without protective equipment to work in an area with 10 parts per million, or 10,000 parts per billion.

Inside the Puna Geothermal Ventures plant in Puna, Hawaii

Inside the Puna Geothermal Ventures plant in Puna, Hawaii

The plant has remained offline since the storm and PGV began scheduled maintenance work on Monday, August 11; this scheduled maintenance had been planned with HELCO a year ago. We anticipate restarting the plant as early as Friday, August 15 depending on transmission line availability from HELCO.

The scheduled maintenance includes routine inspections, equipment overhauls, mechanical and electrical repairs and testing.

There are about 70 employees and contractors at the PGV site on Pohoiki Road in Pahoa supporting the maintenance activity, and we have no reports of illness or nausea.

PGV continues to support the local community in recovery efforts through the local Red Cross.

What it means to “shut in wells”
The pressure and flow control valves automatically shut, through computer programming overseen with human interface. This stops the flow from the geothermal resource to the generators that produce power.

 

Senator Russell Ruderman on Friday’s Historic Vote – Endorses Schatz

Senator Russell Ruderman

Senator Russell Ruderman

Aloha Puna voters,

I hope you are all safe and recovering from Iselle. Hopefully most of you have electricity, and the rest will have it soon!

The voting issues caused by the storm are complex and frustrating. I am doing all I can to draw attention to the need for Puna voters impacted by the storm to have a fair opportunity to vote. For those assigned to a Pahoa voting place who were unable to vote, the issue remains unresolved.

For those assigned to HPP or Keonopoko, you will vote this Friday at Keonopoko, 7 am – 6 pm.

Both HPP voters and Keonopoko voters will vote at Keonopoko!

I am writing to encourage you to vote on Friday if this includes you. Due to the delayed voting, you will be the deciding votes in at least 3 races:

U.S. Senate
State Rep. Dist. 4
County Council Dist. 4

I urge you to vote for Brian Schatz for U. S. Senate.

Brian has been helpful in our crisis. More importantly he has reached out to me long before this election, before Puna become the momentary center of attention.

Brian has an excellent understanding of Puna’s real needs, including our need for transportation improvements, medical and emergency services, communications and connectivity, and more. Brian will be taking the lead in seeking funds for albizzia control as a long term, disaster preparedness issue.

Brian is approachable, honest, sincere, humble, and cares about people.

Above all, for me, Brian is a true environmentalist. He has shown concern for global warming, getting off oil, and invasive species, among other. Such concern is exactly what we need in Washington.

So please vote on Friday if you are in this group, and vote for Brian Schatz for U.S. Senate.

Mahalo,

Russell Ruderman, Hawai‘i State Senator

Lava Flow Continues to Advance Through Forest

The June 27 flow remains active, and has advanced further into the forest over the past week.

Click to Enlarge Photos

Click to Enlarge Photos

The flow front today was 8.5 km (5.3 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō (see “map” link above for current flow field map). The flow’s continued brisk advance rate is likely related, in part, to its continued confinement by local topography.

Another view of the flow front, looking east. The small bump on the horizon, near the center of the photograph, is the forested cone of Heiheiahulu. (Click to Enlarge)

Another view of the flow front, looking east. The small bump on the horizon, near the center of the photograph, is the forested cone of Heiheiahulu. (Click to Enlarge)

Yesterday, the narrow flow front was within one of the many linear depressions (grabens) on the East Rift Zone. Puʻu ʻŌʻō can be seen in the distance.

Portions of the June 27 lava flow continue to expand and cover older flows from Puʻu ʻŌʻō. (Click to Enlarge)

Portions of the June 27 lava flow continue to expand and cover older flows from Puʻu ʻŌʻō. (Click to Enlarge)

Thick fume continues to obscure views into Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater with the naked eye.

The thermal camera has proven useful recently to see the hidden activity, which includes several small lava ponds (see thermal image from the July 29 overflight, below). Click to Enlarge

The thermal camera has proven useful recently to see the hidden activity, which includes several small lava ponds (see thermal image from the July 29 overflight, below). Click to Enlarge

A skylight reveals the fluid lava stream within the main tube on the June 27 lava flow.

The recently active perched lava pond is in the upper left portion of the photograph. (Click to Enlarge)

The recently active perched lava pond is in the upper left portion of the photograph. (Click to Enlarge)

A closer look into the skylight on the June 27 lava flow, revealing complex structure within the lava tube.

The bright incandescent area is the fluid lava stream, which was slowly but steadily flowing through the tube. (Click to enlarge)

The bright incandescent area is the fluid lava stream, which was slowly but steadily flowing through the tube. (Click to enlarge)

 

Mainland Law Firm “Fears for Their Safety in Hawaii”

I mentioned a few months ago about a lawsuit that local artist Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker had filed against CafePress for copyright infringements.

Illegal  “knock off” Slippers with “Forbidden Island” original art by Brad Parker.

Illegal “knock off” Slippers with “Forbidden Island” original art by Brad Parker.

Looking at a motion filed in Honolulu Federal Court last month, it appears that Greenburg Traurig LLP,  one of the largest law firms on the planet “fears for their attorney’s safety due to threat of violence against them in the State of Hawaii, especially in Kona!”

What the heck… this isn’t the Christopher Deedy trial or anything like that.

With over 35 offices and employing 1700 + attorneys globally, Greenburg Traurig is a massive law firm who is currently defending the highly publicized copyright infringement lawsuit filed against their client Cafe Press by Big Island based Tiki Shark Art Inc.

“It is astonishing to see what legal maneuvers these big law firms pull out of their hats to try to outspend a small company like mine when money is no object”  Brad Parker Owner and Artist at Tiki Shark Art Inc. said.

Brad at Capital

Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker at the Capital

“However, for the sake of all my fellow artists who Cafe Press has ripped off, I feel obligated to see this case to its end to the best of my company’s financial ability” Parker told me.

Despite several unsuccessful legal tactics used by the Mainland law firm to move some of the motions to Los Angeles – California, the case is set for a jury trial in Honolulu in February 2015.

Senator Ruderman on “Dismissive Attitude Displayed By Election Officials” in Puna District Following Hurricane Iselle

I wish to express my concern for the people of Puna and my dismay at the seemingly dismissive attitude displayed by election officials concerning the primary elections in the Puna District.

Senator Russell Ruderman

Senator Russell Ruderman

Due to the damage caused by Hurricane Iselle on Friday, August 8, election officials made the decision to close two polling stations in the Puna district: Keonepoko Elementary School and at the Hawaiian Paradise Park Community Center. The decision was logical at the time, given that major roads to these polling stations were inaccessible due to fallen trees and electrical poles.

Unfortunately, however, there appear to be systemic, troubling failures in how this and subsequent decisions were carried out.  Residents who were able to reach these two polling stations despite the hazards were turned away and told that ballots would be mailed to them. This was initially a good plan, and allowed for the voters to address their immediate needs due to Hurricane Iselle. In the aftermath, election officials changed their minds and decided, without consideration of conditions on the ground (many residents are still without power, water, or internet) to instead require walk-in voting this Friday, August 15.  I am greatly concerned that the Election Office’s plan to mail notices and post signs on the sides of highways will not suffice due to number of residents that are still trapped and without communications.

I personally tried to contact Mr. Scott Nago, Chief Elections Officer, and to notify the offices of the actual candidates numerous times during the weekend to get some kind of update on what was happening on the ground, in the district. My calls went unanswered until late Monday when Mr. Nago contacted me AFTER a decision had already been made. Even during our conversation, Mr. Nago still failed to notify me of that decision.  This is extremely troubling and unfortunate.

Furthermore, many residents were assigned polling stations that remained opened; however, they could not reach them. These residents are not being offered an alternative means at all to cast a ballot. This is unacceptable, especially in light an analysis of Election Day precinct turnout showing an 11.5 percent turnout at Keaau High School, a 12 percent turnout at Pahoa Community Center and a 12.3 percent turnout at Pahoa High and Intermediate School. Mountain View Elementary School had a 14.3 percent turnout and an overall statewide turnout of 41.4% according to data compiled by the state Office of Elections clearly illustrates that turnout was badly affected.

These low numbers are in sharp contrast to the much higher turnout in the previous two elections, and indicate to me that many people who would normally have voted, could not because of the storm. These are my constituents, whom I know to be astute, active, and vocal when it comes to the political process. They are now being effectively disenfranchised by the unwillingness of election officials to take them into account. This is one more example of the unfairness of someone in Honolulu making a decision that unnecessarily punishes the people on a neighbor island without knowing, or seemingly caring, what the real conditions are on the ground.

Hawaii Law requires that the voting process to be complete 21 days after the primary election. My question is, why was a decision so hastily made to designate Friday the 15th as the day for elections for the two affected areas, when so many residents along Red Road, in Pohoiki, and other areas of Puna are still trapped by fallen trees? Not only is it is physically impossible for these voters to get to a polling station (and there is no plan to extend voting for hundreds of people in this situation), but the majority of these voters aren’t even aware that the decision has been made to reschedule the election in the first place.

The Governor, under Hawaii Revised Statutes 128-9(60 (6) Election hours, has the authority to adjust the hours for voting to take into consideration the needs of the citizens during such emergencies.

Hawaii Revised Statutes 128-9(60 (6) Election hours. To adjust the working hours of the voters during the national emergency and other emergency conditions, and for the purpose to suspend those provisions of section 11-131 which fix the hours for voting, and fix other hours by stating the same in the election proclamation or notice, as the case may be.

It is imperative that allowances be made to address the concerns and rights of eligible voters to be allowed to participate in our elections process. We still have the time and resources necessary to make amends and avoid the inevitable lawsuits that will be forthcoming should the decision to hold the voting on Friday stand. It is incumbent on officials to take the necessary actions to guarantee that all are afforded their Constitutional rights under law to that participation.

Sincerely,

Senator Russell E. Ruderman, Hawaii State Senate – 2nd District

Two Puna Polling Places CLOSED, Not Relocated!

Two Puna polling places, Keonopoko & HPP (Paradise Park) without electricity will not receive voters today!!! Voters assigned to those places will be mailed a ballot in next couple weeks, to be mailed back in. These poll results will not be final until then.

This info is verified by Stewart Maeda, Hawaii County Clerk.

Even worse news: Many residents along Red Road and in Pohoiki are trapped by fallen trees. They cannot get to their polling station in Pahoa. At this time there is no plan to extend voting for hundreds of people in this situation. I will be urging the State Elections officer, Scott Nago, to find a solution for these constituents. I hope others will do so as well.

Senator Russell Ruderman (via Facebook)

Civil Defense Update for Hurricane Iselle

This is a civil defense message.

This is a Hurricane Warning information update for Wednesday August 6th at 12:00 Noon.

Hurriane Iselle

The National Weather Service has issued a Hurricane Warning for  the Island of Hawaii remains in effect.  A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions can be expected within the next 36 hours.  The hurricane conditions will include high surf and surge along all coastal areas, heavy rains and possible thunder showers that may present with flood conditions, and sustained storm force winds of over 75 mph and higher gusts.  Residents and visitors are advised to take precautions and to prepare for hazardous conditions.  Boat owners are advised to check moorings and to secure all vessels.  All preparation activities should be completed before tonight.  Hurricane Iselle continues to be monitored and is currently located approximately 625 miles east southeast of Hilo and moving west northwest at 16 miles per hour.  Although hurricane Iselle had previously shown signs of weakening current assessment show the system is maintaining hurricane force conditions.  Hurricane Iselle will continue to be monitored and additional updates will be broadcasted as information is made available.  All schools are open today however the following schools will be closing at 2:00 PM today and the after school programs and activities at these schools will be suspended:

  • Laupahoehoe School
  • Kohala HS & Elem.
  • Kealakehe HS
  • Konawaena HS
  • Hilo HS
  • Waiakea HS
  • Keaau HS
  • Pahoa HS & Int
  • Honokaa HS & Int
  • Kau HS
  • Waikoloa Elem

The department of Education reports that all Hawaii Island Schools will be closed tomorrow Thursday August 7th.

In addition, all beach parks will be closed effective tonight and remain closed until conditions improve and it is safe to reopen.

Updated information for the Big Island, Maui county and the surrounding coastal waters.

Situation overview

Iselle is expected to bring heavy rains, high surf and damaging winds. Hurricane conditions are expected on the Big Island of Hawaii on Thursday. Tropical storm conditions are expected to spread to Maui county Thursday night and possibly to Oahu on Friday. Swells generated by Iselle are expected to reach the main Hawaiian islands today, possibly becoming damaging along some coastlines starting late tonight or Thursday. High surf is expected to reach the islands ahead of the heavy rains and strong winds. The high surf may bring coastal flooding, particularly when combined with afternoon astronomical high tides.

While there is still some uncertainty in the exact track and strength of Iselle, the Big Island and Maui are expected to be impacted first. The rest of the state remains at Risk to experience the impacts of Iselle.