Eric Paul D’Almeida Announces Candidacy for Hawaii County Council District 1

Aloha, I am Eric Paul D’ Almeida.  I am from Wainaku and my Portuguese family came to Hawaii to find work at Wainaku Sugar Mill.

Eric Paul D’Almeida

My grandfather, a former Hawaii County Legislative Auditor, taught me about economics and local government.  It has seemed for a while now, that our County Council has been wanting to license and regulate most everything from where you can’t hunt or fish to paper or plastic bags at your grocery store.
The only effect of which is limiting your job opportunities, personal freedoms and taxing families security.
As our great Councilman Dominic Yagong leaves to enter the mayoral race.  We, in County Council Seat #1, are left with a choice; whether we want to keep a strong voice for personal freedoms or begin leadership which makes our decisions for us, without asking our opinion.
You deserve better than good intentions and endless regulations from your Councilperson.
That’s why I am announcing my desire to be your Councilman, for County Council #1.
I believe you are better served by first asking what you want, before making a decision.  I share your concerns, vision and values.
I believe that protecting your families personal freedoms, security, success is best achieved by getting local government out of your way, not narrowing the path or choosing it for you.  If you agree I would like your vote.

I am Eric Paul D’ Almeida, Mahalo.

Hawaii County Mayor Kenoi Signs Sister City Agreement with South Korea County Gogseong

Mayor Kenoi posted the following tonight on facebook:

Tonight, I signed a Sister City agreement with Mayor Heo Nam Seok of Gokseong County, South Korea. Gokseong is known for their natural farming, and I look forward to an exchange of knowledge in agriculture!

Big Island Mayor and Mayor Heo Nam Seok of Gokseong County, South Korea.

Groundbreaking for the New Mohouli Heights Senior Neighborhood was Yesterday

Mohouli Heights Senior Neighborhood, a new 60-unit affordable senior rental housing project in Hilo had it’s groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, March 29.

From left to right: left to right: Donald Ikeda, Hawaii County Council, William Takaba, Managing Director, Keith Kato, Executive Director - Hawaii Island Community Development Corp, Michael Singer, President, Heartwood Pacific LLC (general contractor), Cheryl Fukunaga, US Dept of Housing and Urban Development, Cynthia Elliott, Rural Community Assistance Corporation, J. Yoshimoto, Hawaii County Council, Dennis “Fresh” Onishi, Hawaii County Council

Mohouli Heights Senior Neighborhood Phase 1 is the result of a public-private collaboration between State of Hawaii’s Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation (HHFDC), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), County of Hawaii, Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) and the Hawaii Island Community Development Corporation (HICDC).

 

HHFDC provided $20.5 million in state and federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, a Rental Housing Trust Fund (RHTF) loan of $8.6 million, and a Rental Assistance Revolving Fund (RARF) loan of $7.5 million. The project is also financed with $600,000 in HOME Investment Partnership Act funds administered by the County of Hawaii and a $4.0 million interim loan from RCAC.

The rental units are targeted at seniors whose incomes are at or below 30 to 50 percent of the Hawaii County median income as determined by HUD. Utilizing rental assistance from HUD and the County of Hawaii the tenants’ share of the monthly rent will be approximately 30 percent of their income for a 576 square foot one-bedroom unit. In exchange for federal and state financing and tax credits rents will remain affordable for 61 years.

By providing public lands and working with the Hawaii Island Community Development Corporation, the County of Hawaii continues its collaborative efforts to provide safe, decent and affordable housing for our kupuna,” said Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi. “In addition to generating much need jobs today, the Mohouli Heights Senior Neighborhood Phase 1 project will be a model as we build an expanded center to serve the needs of our growing senior population.”

“The Hawaii Island Community Development Corporation wishes to acknowledge the assistance that we have received for this project from all levels of Federal, State and County government,” said HICDC Executive Director Keith Kato. “The cooperation of the Federal, State and County agencies has been the key in putting this project together with our investors, the HHF Equity Fund VI, LLC. We are working to continue the development of this Mohouli project with a new home for the Hilo Adult Day Center to replace their current facility at the old Hilo Memorial Hospital on Rainbow Drive. ”

“Public-private partnerships like this are essential to producing affordable housing,” said HHFDC Executive Director Karen Seddon. “By leveraging state resources, we are able to produce more with less. In addition to delivering safe and affordable housing for our seniors, these projects also create construction jobs and project value, investing in the future of our community.”

Mohouli Heights Senior Neighborhood is located at the corner of Komohana and Mohouli Streets in Hilo. Phase 1 is comprised of 11 residential buildings and a community gathering place connected with covered walkways. In addition to the new Hilo Adult Day Center future plans include 90 more residential units for seniors.

Coast Guard Signs Memorandom of Agreement with County of Hawaii

Rear Admiral Charles Ray 
of the United States Coast Guard was in Hilo yesterday to meet with Mayor Billy Kenoi to sign a Memorandum of Agreement with the County of Hawai‘i. The agreement formalizes the protocol through which the Hawai‘i County Fire Department will coordinate search and rescue operations with the U.S. Coast Guard.

The agreement is similar to those in place with Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and the Army’s Pōhakuloa Training Area, to formalize the working relationship between those first responders and the Hawai‘i County Fire Department.

“The ocean is such a vast area for any one boat or helicopter to search. The more resources we can tap, the more area we can cover sooner, and the better the chances are of finding someone alive,” said Battalion Chief Gerald Kosaki of the Hawai‘i County Fire Department. Battalion Chief Kosaki is responsible for, among other things, the department’s Search & Rescue operations. “We’re very fortunate to have the Coast Guard’s support when anyone needs assistance off the shores of Hawai‘i Island.”

More Here: Search & Rescue agreement signed by County, Coast Guard

Hawai‘i County, Mayor’s Websites Accessible to People with Disabilities

HawaiiCounty.gov and HawaiiCountyMayor.com have been updated with accessibility in mind, enabling those who use assistive technology to more easily browse the web to access information and news about County departments and programs. The under-the-hood streamlining of the websites allows off-the-shelf screen reader software, like JAWS for Windows and the VoiceOver software built into Mac OS, to read the websites aloud for people with sight impairments or difficulty reading.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVHfuTBSuFw]

“The purpose of the Committee is to advise the mayor on a variety of issues regarding the disability community,” said Pauline Aughe, a member of the Committee. “When we can identify the needs of a variety of people, we can be more equipped to create an inclusive society.”

Mahalo to the Mayor's Committee on People with Disabilities for advocating tirelessly for the needs of our friends and ‘ohana with disabilities

Mayor Kenoi said that the website updates were in line with the values of the people of Hawai‘i Island, to ensure fairness and equality for all, especially the most vulnerable members of the community.

“We don’t define each other by our limitations. We encourage each other’s potential and possibilities,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “Everybody – every child, every person – should have a feeling that they can dream any dream and be anything they want to be. Our job in Hawai‘i is to make sure that dream can become a reality.”

“We’re fortunate to have a mayor that listened to his advisory committee. Not only did he listen, but he made it happen. He had a can-do attitude and made it a streamlined process,” said Paige De Lima, chairperson of the Committee. “I commend him for that.”

Manager and Chief Engineer of the County Department of Water Supply Named

Quirino Antonio has been named by the County Water Board as the new Manager and Chief Engineer of the Department of Water Supply. He replaces Milton Pavao, who is retiring at the end of the year.

Having worked with the Department for 37 years, Antonio’s qualifications and experience extend far beyond the minimum requirements of the position. He has been a registered professional engineer for 31 years, and has 17 years of direct administrative experience having been the deputy of the department since 1995. Immediately prior, Antonio served as the Head of the Water Resources and Planning Branch in the Department’s Engineering Division for 13 years.

Antonio has developed in-depth understanding and knowledge of the potable drinking water industry, applicable federal and state laws, county codes and ordinances, departmental rules and regulations and various other policies. “Through all my work experience, I’ve dealt with individuals and entities in the public and private sectors that has given me great awareness of how things work.”

Originally from Pepe‘ekeo, Antonio has lived on Hawaii island all of his life.

Mayor Billy Kenoi said Antonio’s appointment brings with it many years of valuable experience and institutional knowledge of the Department of Water Supply. “The Water Department is in good hands,” Kenoi said. “And because of Quirino’s experience, this should be a seamless transition.”

Contact Kanani Aton Keliikoa at (808) 961-8050 ext. 204 for more information.

Hawaii County Police Commission Nominates New Chair and Vice Chair… Listens to My Police Complaint

Today was a Hawaii County Police Commission meeting and among many things on the agenda was the selection of the Chair and Vice Chair of the Police Commission for 2012.

Click to see the agenda and complaints heard

Kenneth T. Ono out of District 7 was selected as Chair and Carol R. Ignacio out of District 1 as the Vice Chair for the 2012 Commission.

I can only say what districts they currently represent because I don’t know where they live or if the redistricting will affect anyone but what I did notice is that there is still no Commissioner from District 6 (Puna, Kau, South Kona).

Hawaii County Police Chief Harry Kubojiri also gave his reports and specifically talked about the amount of openings that were in the Police County Dispatch program.  He did mention that there are a lot of candidates for the job but the job of a police dispatcher is not as easy as some may think and there are certain qualities that the a dispatcher needs to be able to handle on the job.

Hawaii County Police Chief Harry Kubojiri gives his report to the commission

The Commission then broke into Executive Session to consider discipline and charges against officers or employees of the Hawaii Police Department, to consider sensitive matters relating to public safety, to discuss the evaluation of the Police Chief, and to consult with Corporation Counsel on Questions and issues pertaining to the commission’s powers, duties, privileges, immunities, and liabilities pursuant to HRS 92-5 (a) (2)(4))(6) and the Hawai’i County Charter Section 13-20 (b).

The public was required to sit outside during this portion of the meeting.  There were nine Hawaii Police Complaints to to be heard and mine was heard toward the ending of the commission meeting.

I did the best to explain what happened to me that day.

They didn’t even bother to look at the damages on my body, my hospital bills, or my iPhone

My damaged iPhone 4 as I retrieved it from evidence.

I tried to show them my camera but they really didn’t seem to have any interest it and I didn’t even bother to bring in my damaged clothes… however it is in my police complaint.

Broken Nikon L110

What really… really seemed confusing…. and almost bothersome… was it seemed like the Police Commission didn’t understand the fact that filming folks in public is perfectly legal!

I got asked… why would I want to film a bar fight… why post pictures of it on the internet?  I got asked basically if my blog was a job… and what I did as a Federal Worker.

I guess maybe even the Police Commission themselves don’t realize that filming police doing their jobs in public places is perfectly legal… I sure hope not.

And of course the infamous one where they ask was I taking pictures of folks in their faces… Well the physical evidence and the pictures on the camera speak for themselves!  That and the fact that I forgot to mention to the police commission that Prosecuting Damerville himself even said that the two civilian witnesses in the case were not very reliable witnesses!

Oh and let’s not also forget those three anonymous calls that also went into the prosecutors office after this happened stating I was a sex offender…. and the PROSECUTOR HIMSELF FOUND THAT TO BE FUNNY and Showed me the other Damon Shane Tucker mug shot that these anonymous folks were talking about who is locked up in Arizona until 2062.

While the Prosecutors Office has dismissed my case “in the name of justice”… I still am dealing with the hospital bills, the physical aches, the emotional scars, the damaged iPhone and Camera as well as clothes I was wearing that fateful night.

I still have pain and I don't know if the scars will ever go away!

Let’s hope that the Police Commission will do it’s job accurately and hopefully justice will be served.

Is the County of Hawaii Website Collecting Personal Data From Folks?

Recently, the County of Hawaii changed the look of it website and with it lost a few sites that I liked to visit like the Department of Finance, Purchasing Division, and Professional Services Awarded website.

According the Hawaii Tribune:

“It’s a work in progress,” Tsuchiya said. “We do have some work to do to make sure all the information on the previous site is there.”

The site still has a lot to improve before it becomes what I would consider a user friendly and valuable service to the public website.

The thing that kind of concerns me as a person that doesn’t believe the government should be compiling internet data of residents of that our in there districts is the privacy statement on the website and some of the statements said there:

Thank you for visiting the County of Hawaii web site. This web site is provided as a public service. You can visit our home site without telling us who you are or revealing any personal information about yourself. We do not sell, exchange, or otherwise make available information gathered by our site to others.

My question then would be… what type of information is being gathered? Further down on the privacy statement it says:

We may gather certain non-personal data from web site visits that will enable us to later determine usage trends such as which pages are visited most often, what hours of day experience the greatest use, session duration, etc. None of this information identifies you personally. We use the information in aggregate only to enable us to improve our web site and make it more informative.

So as you see it states allegedly that “None of this information identifies you personally“… but then if you read all the way down at the very bottom of the privacy statement you get this statement:

Should a situation arise where we are required by law or legal process to provide information that we may have about you, we must cooperate.

So I guess I don’t really have too much personally to worry about… but is there really a reason for Hawaii County’s Website to be collecting any data on people in general?

Hawaii County APEC Expenditures… $90,000 Allocated

Well now that the 2011 APEC Hawaii Summit is over some are wondering if it was worth it for our state to put out such taxpayers money for an event of this magnitude.

“…The actual APEC cost to state government totaled $3.2 million, 57 percent lower than the original projected cost of $7.5 million.Schatz said one reason for the lower APEC bills was that protesters during APEC were peaceful, and there were no arrests.”A lot of those funds, those expected expenditures, were in the case that something happened that had to be dealt with, whether it was mass arrests, or an air quality problem or a need for overtime for law enforcement officers,” Schatz said…

Despite the fact that it is well known that the State did stock up on pepper spray and other measures that could potentially cause harm to protestors, Lt. Governor Schatz stated the State will ask the Federal government for some reimbursements of the cost:

“We were one of the only national security special events in recent memory where there were no lawsuits, because we weren’t about to use law enforcement as a premise to shut down people’s ability to express their viewpoints,” he said.The state will ask the federal government for reimbursement for all the extra APEC security costs.

A lot of folks on the Big Island are wondering what, if any costs were incurred by Big Island officials for this conference.
According to the recently updated Department of Finance, Purchasing Division, and Professional Services Awarded website it appears that $90,000.00 was allocated for APEC out of Hawaii County taxpayers money:
My guess is that the majority of this money went to a reception that was held on Wednesday, November 9th, the night before the APEC Conference began.
The county went all out on this reception greeting everyone that came in the door with an orchid lei from the Big Island.

Councilwoman Brittany Smart and Mayor Kenoi sporting Big Island leis

The event lasted from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm and consisted of heavy Big Island pupus…

Big Island Grindz

I don’t have a breakdown of where the $90,000.00 may or may not have gone to… but I assume the Big Island entertainers that were brought there were paid such as Na Hoku Hanohano Award Winners Kuana Torres Kahele and  Mark Yamanaka.

Big Island Musicians Rule!

And K’uipo Kumukahi:

Kuuipo Kumukahi

I can only assume that many county officials expenses were paid for such as air, hotel and car rental expenses… since they were there to “Promote the Big Island”.

Mayor Kenoi talks to a Washington DC Reporter while the cameras roll

Word went around the coconut wireless that folks were to wear clothes that represented the Big Island and I sure saw a lot of Sig Zane Design clothes there!

Mayor Kenoi and his wife along with Lt. Governor Brian Schatz sporting Sig Zane Designs Clothing from the Big Island

County of Hawaii Gets New “Rag” – Mayor Kenoi Joins Twitter and Facebook

When I was over at the APEC Conference, I followed Mayor Kenoi around for a little while and one of the questions I remember this reporter from Washington DC asking him, was if he was on Twitter.

Mayor Kenoi's Social Media Profile Picture

Mayor Kenoi said… “No… but guys like Damon over here are bugging me to get on it” or something to that effect.

Well I just noticed that Hawaii County has a new .PDF Magazine that they are publishing called Holomua.

Here is the press release regarding the new magazine Holouma:

The Mayor’s Office is proud to announce the launch of a new newsletter, Holomua. Paper copies will be available at the Mayor’s Office in Hilo and Kona, and a PDF can be downloaded here at HawaiiCountyMayor.com.

In this edition: the latest segment of Saddle Road is opened, the Mayor test drives an electric vehicle being evaluated for use in the County fleet, and a look at Hawai‘i Island’s representation in Honolulu during the Leaders Week meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation. All this and more in Holomua.

A quick scan of the “rag” looks like they are basically releasing a lot of old press releases and a few new ones on there.

But the thing that really surprised me… is that it appears that Mayor Kenoi is now taking to social media to spread the counties word via his new Facebook Account and his new Twitter Account:

So here is Mayor Kenoi’s first “Tweet” as twitter users like to call their thoughts.

And here is his first posts to his Facebook account:

Mayor Kenoi's First Facebook Posts

New Waikoloa Park Taking Shape

Hawaii County Housing Director Steve Arnett speaks at the opening of the new 12-acre public park in Waikoloa.

Built in conjunction with the new Kamakoa Nui Workforce Housing project, the 12-acre park already features a field large enough for a regulation soccer field and a youth baseball diamond. The project will also soon open a skate park being built by the community.

 

 

Mayor Billy Kenoi to Unveil First Increment of the $43.9 Million Kamakoa Nui Community in Waikoloa on Friday

Mayor Billy Kenoi on Friday, Nov. 18 will unveil the first increment of an attractive new community in Waikoloa that will provide affordable home ownership opportunities near West Hawai‘i employment hubs. At the same time, the mayor will open the gates to a new community park in Waikoloa.

The initial offering of eight homes within the $43.9 million Kamakoa Nui community will feature bungalows and single-family homes. The homes were designed by MVE Pacific, and prices for the new units will range from $240,000 to $325,000.

This single-family home is one of four model homes already built at the Kamakoa Nui Workforce Housing Community in Waikoloa. The community will be blessed Friday, Nov. 18, 2011. Mayor Billy Kenoi and honored guests will be on hand to untie the maile lei to Kamakoa Nui, and the county park which will be opened to the public on that day as well.

Construction of four single-family model homes is complete, with pre-sales of homes in the first increment scheduled to begin next month.

“Our working families deserve this opportunity for home ownership in a desirable, well-planned community that is close to work and recreational facilities,” said Mayor Kenoi, who will untie the maile lei at the park at 10 a.m. and do the same for the model homes about a half an hour later.

“This project benefits the hard-working hotel employees, teachers, firefighters, police officers and others who want their own home in West Hawai‘i. This is an affordable community where they can live comfortably and raise their families.”

The 23 bungalows will be one and two-story units with two or three bedrooms, two baths or two-and-a-half baths, and 1,108 to 1482 square feet of living space.

The 68 one and two-story single-family homes will have three bedrooms, and buyers will have a choice between two baths or two-and-a-half baths. The homes will have 1,361 square feet to 1,512 square feet of living space including lanais.

Kamakoa Nui is being developed by the County of Hawai‘i, and will eventually grow into a diverse community of about 1,200 rental and for-sale homes on 268 acres in Waikoloa.

“I am delighted that the model homes of the Kamakoa Nui housing project are complete,” said Steve Arnett, county Housing Administrator. “I am so proud of my staff who implemented the plans and specs to completion, specifically Dan Russell, Michael Prinslow and Annie Bailey.”

The first phase of Kamakoa Nui will include a new 12-acre county park in Waikoloa. The park features a baseball diamond designed for youth baseball and senior softball games. It will also include a new high school-regulation soccer field that can double as a Pop Warner football field.

“Kamakoa Nui Park and Housing Project is another example of Mayor Billy Kenoi’s administration working together focusing on ‘laulima’ to accomplish great things for island residents,” said Parks and Recreation Director Bob Fitzgerald.

“We now have additional field space in Waikoloa to schedule more practice and game time for teams participating in sports such as soccer and baseball. There will now be a home field for the possible start up of a new Pop Warner football team in Waikoloa.”

This bungalow-style home is one of four model homes already built at the Kamakoa Nui Workforce Housing Community in Waikoloa. The community will be blessed Friday, Nov. 18, 2011. Mayor Billy Kenoi and honored guests will be on hand to untie the maile lei to Kamakoa Nui, and the county park which will be opened to the public on that day as well.

The park also includes a comfort station, event lawn and parking, and a private group is developing a skateboard park on a designated portion of the park site.

Hawaii County has contracted with Aldridge Associates, a real estate brokerage firm specializing in the Waikoloa market, to market the first increment of the project. The project will offer financing to qualified buyers with a down payment of up to 5 percent of the sales price.

To qualify, buyers should live within a 30-mile radius of Kamakoa Nui and have an income of 70 percent of the area median income (AMI). Potential buyers must also live in the homes and cannot have owned a home within the last three years.

To discourage speculation and help to keep the units affordable, owners who re-sell their units at Kamakoa Nui within 15 years of their initial purchase will be required to share any windfall profits from the re-sales with the county. After 15 years, all restrictions on re-sales are satisfied.

Big Island Carbon Receives State Department of Health Clean Air Permit – Carbon Plant Will Now Operate as Designed With Clean Green Technology

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) District 9 in San Francisco recently reviewed and approved Big Island Carbon’s Clean Air Permit  application prepared by Hawaii ’s State Department of Health. The permit has now been issued.

Big Island Carbon

The Big Island Carbon plant has been operating on a non-covered source permit while working through the State and Federal processes for the Covered Source Clean Air Permit which will allow the company’s Power Plant to be installed.

“The EPA’s issuance of our Clean Air Permit means two important things,” explained Big Island Carbon CEO Rick Vidgen. “First, it means we can operate our plant the way it was designed to operate—clean and green. And secondly, it supports the fact that we are fully capturing and reusing much of what would otherwise be burned in a flare stack by producing most of our power from the manufacturing process itself. This clean, green technology allows us to be environmentally prudent, lower our energy costs and importantly, contribute to our bottom line.”

Big Island Carbon’s technical process produces a gas energy stream that will be used to generate internal power with the recovered energy being used in a closed system process to make activated carbon in a highly efficient and highly sustainable process and system.

Big Island Carbon has developed a carbon plant that is state of the art and technologically unique in the world.  Big Island Carbon has the first plant of its kind that has successfully developed a process to utilize macadamia nut shells as feedstock to produce premium specialty Granular Activated Carbon. The start up company has 25 full-time workers.

Big Island Carbon integrates biomass material (macadamia nut shell) from Big Island macadamia processors together with cutting-edge technology developed for activated carbon production. Activated carbon is a critical component that cleans up or improves the performance of products from cell phones to wind turbines. Other diverse uses include gold refining and catalyst support for the pharmaceutical industry. Activated Carbon has recently found extensive use in cleaning up some aspects of nuclear accidents.

Big Island Carbon was recently awarded a Best in Business Innovation Award for Hawaii County from the APEC 2011 Hawaii Host Committee. Big Island Carbon will be one of 5 Hawaii companies featured during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Week in November. Big Island Carbon will be highlighted within displays at the Hawaii Convention Center, Ala Moana Center and the U.S. National Center for APEC CEO Summit at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and receive a feature profile in APEC Hawaii TV in-room hotel channel, APEC 2011 Hawaii virtual online exhibit, and the special edition Hawaii Business magazine that will be distributed to APEC delegates.

Hawaii County Police Awarded Funding for Six New Officers for Rural Areas

The County of Hawai`i has been awarded funding from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) to hire six additional police officers, Mayor Billy Kenoi announced today.

The COPS grant application process is highly competitive, and the County of Hawai`i was awarded $1,392,336 to cover salaries and benefits for six officers for three years. A total of $243 million was awarded to communities across the nation, according to an announcement by the Department of Justice.

“The six additional positions for the County of Hawai`i will be used to add officers and increase patrols in the Puna District and other rural districts where the populations have been growing, and where the demand for police services has grown,” Mayor Kenoi said. “This will help to protect the public, and make our communities safer. We want to thank the Department of Justice, U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye and our entire Congressional delegation for this assistance.”

Hawai`i County Police Chief Harry Kubojiri said the funding will be used to hire, train and field the officers, who will be deployed to rural areas that have shown the largest increases in calls for service.

“Especially in these difficult economic times, this grant represents an important boost for public safety,” Chief Kubojiri said. “We have asked our officers to do more with less, and they have responded. We have seen an overall decline in reported crimes in the county over the last decade, but there are some areas including Puna that have seen an increase in calls for service. There is much more to be done, and the entire community will benefit from these additional police officers.”

The last increase in the number of police officers in the county was in 2004, when 10 officers were added in Kona, and five were added in Puna, Kubojiri said. The police department now has 432 authorized sworn officer positions, including eight vacant positions.

The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) today announced more than $243 million in grants awarded nationwide to 238 law enforcement agencies and municipalities for the hiring of new officers and deputies.

The awards were made through the COPS Hiring Program, a competitive grant program that provides funding directly to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to hire police officers dedicated to addressing specific crime and disorder challenges confronting communities.  The grants provide 100 percent funding for the entry-level salaries and benefits of newly-hired, or rehired, full-time officer positions over a three-year period.

For the 2011 COPS Hiring Program, 2,712 applications were received requesting more than $2 billion and 8,999 positions.  Funding decisions were based on an agency’s commitment to community policing, crime rates, changes in law enforcement budgets, and other local fiscal data (poverty, unemployment, foreclosure rates, etc.).

“Cities across the country are dealing with numerous challenges and we are pleased to be able to assist their public safety efforts,” said COPS Director Bernard Melekian. “Creating and maintaining jobs is a key part of this program.  This funding helps support local departments in their efforts to increase their ranks, enhance their relationship with the community and directly address their public safety concerns.”

The 2011 COPS Hiring Program awards will create or help preserve 1,021 sworn law enforcement positions.  The jobs created, preserved or refilled with COPS Hiring Program funds will advance community policing at the local level and contribute greatly to the quality of life of the citizens in each community.

The COPS Office is a federal agency responsible for advancing community policing nationwide. Since 1995, COPS has awarded over $13 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of approximately 120,000 officers and to provide a variety of knowledge resource products including publications, training, technical assistance, conferences, and webcasts.

For additional information about the COPS Hiring Program, and to view a list of municipalities that received grants, visit the COPS website at www.cops.usdoj.gov.

Councilman Pete Hoffman on the Demise of Impact Fees

Councilman Pete Hoffman

On 21 September, in a surprising reversal of its Planning Committee recommendation two weeks previous, the County Council voted five to four to defeat the long-anticipated Impact Fee legislation.

Despite the obvious need (expressed by almost everyone even remotely involved on this issue) to revamp the current ineffective ‘fair-share’ system, despite the benefit of continuous support (free of charge by the way) from the experts originally contracted by the County to study an Impact Fee, despite a further three page listing of suggested recommendations from the County’s Planning Director received only on 19 September, despite growing public approval for an Impact Fee proposal, and despite repeated explanations countering the numerous misunderstandings of some opponents, the Council terminated Bill 304 at First Reading.

Disappointment is the prevailing sentiment that characterizes this vote.  I’m disappointed that as a Council we are unable to address adequately the difficult issues that have plagued us repeatedly over the years.  I’m not necessarily convinced that my proposal is the best, but I do know that impact fees work, they have been adopted by literally thousands of communities that faced the same infrastructure shortfalls as Hawaii County does now, and development has not stopped in any of those communities.  If Council members don’t like my idea, then what other alternatives do they suggest?  State law has allowed us to adopt impact fees for the past 18 years.  How long must residents wait?  If not now, when will we be courageous enough to create an effective system to address these shortfalls??

Another irony of the situation is that the Council on many occasions has called for administration recommendations regarding impact fees, urging a partnership to resolve this issue.  I recognize that the detailed listing of recommendations received on two occasions recently from the Planning Department did not necessarily represent administration approval of this impact fee proposal, but it would seem to reflect a willingness to work with Council and to discuss a controversial topic.  I would have anticipated that the Council would be willing to advance that discussion rather than cut it short.

Impact Fees, if adopted, would not suddenly make the County healthy.  It would, however, permit the County to employ a funding mechanism which has proven successful in communities nationwide.  Failure to pass this legislation either dooms County residents to continued shortfalls in essential facilities or insures that higher taxes will be the only remedy available to correct those deficiencies.  Those taxes affect all residents; rich, poor, and everyone in-between, not just those that cause the increased impact.

Simply put, the defeat of the Impact Fee legislation translates into higher taxes for all or inadequate infrastructure.  Disappointing to say the least.  Our residents deserve better.

A final comment:  In the aftermath of this vote, I fear the perception will linger that the Council remains more concerned about potential election results than resolving key issues.  Ask yourselves:  when will the Council take the lead and make the tough decisions?? I believe we missed a great opportunity on 21 September.

Pete Hoffman  

2nd Annual World Peace Festival Features Grammy Award Winner Sonny Lim

County of Hawaii

In ancient times Moku Ola, also known as Coconut Island, was considered a safe haven, a place for healing and refuge.  Today, the Hawai’i County park hosts an array of events from family picnics, to celebrations of King Kamehameha.  A relative newcomer; the World Peace Festival, first produced in 2010, is scheduled for Saturday, October 1 from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.  “Moku Ola continues to be a sacred place, held in the hearts of many as a peaceful refuge.  It is the perfect location for the festival, a multi-cultural event dedicated to peace and harmony,” said coordinator Desiree Moana Cruz.

World Peace Festival

Hawai’i County is presenting the festival in partnership with the Hilo Downtown Improvement Association (HDIA) with sponsorship support from the International Committee of Artists for Peace (ICAP) assisted by Sokka Gakkai International.  The free family event offers a global line-up of Hawai’i Island talent including traditional Hawaiian Slack key stylings from Na Hoku Hanohano and GRAMMY  Award winner Sonny Lim, exciting percussion from Hui Okinawa’s Kobudo Taiko Troupe, fun Kachi Kachi  music performed by El Leo-The Jarican Express, riveting Tahitian dance and music of Merahi o Tapiti, a Chuukese warriors dance performance by members of Micronesians United-Big Island, and the dynamic UH-Hilo Samoan Club-Tupulaga o Samoa Mo A Taeao.  Soka Gakkai International youth and women’s division participants will also offer a range of cultural dances.

“We are featuring a wonderfully diverse line up of some of the best talent on the island for a entertaining and inspiring day full of peace and joy.” said Cruz.  “And there will be a free Jumping Castle and Water Slide for keiki, information booths, displays, artists and craftspeople selling their works plus a variety of ‘ono food booths.  The public is invited to attend.”

Hawaii County Second Annual Citizenship Day Honors Newest Citizens

The county Office of Immigration Information at the Office of the Mayor in partnership with the Exchange Club of Hilo, Aloha Exchange Club, Hilo Lions and Akaka Falls Lions Club celebrated its second annual Citizenship Day on Friday, September 16, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Aunty Sally’s Luau Hale in Hilo.

The ceremony honored and recognized the newest Americans who were recently naturalized by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The public was invited to attend this event, which was also a day to express pride in our citizenship.

September 17 is Constitution and Citizenship Day. This day commemorates the signing of the United States Constitution on September 17, 1787. In 2004, Congress passed legislation to make Citizenship Day a federal holiday.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/xkRYL9iZca4]

In the past, USCIS (formerly INS) administered the oath-taking ceremonies to those who successfully passed the US naturalization examination at the Third District Court’s Courthouse in Hilo. A few years ago, the agency ceased their neighbor island outreach services, and it now administers the oath of citizenship exclusively in Honolulu. This limits the ability of friends and relatives to attend the ceremonies.

The Immigration Information Office event will allow families and friends to celebrate what is considered a most profound day with those who have made a choice to become American citizens. The Immigration Office is urged anyone who recently took the oath of US Citizenship to participate in the Citizenship Day 2011. The Immigration Office also encourages those who are Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR’s or “green card” holders) who are interested in applying for US citizenship to attend because the office will distribute naturalization application and study materials at the event.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi Asks County Residents to “Stop and Remember”

In honor of the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, Hawai‘i County Mayor Billy Kenoi is asking residents of Hawai‘i Island to join the rest of the nation as we participate in “Stop and Remember.”

Stop and Remember 9/11

Stop and Remember 9/11

“At 7 a.m. Hawaii Time, we hope our residents will cease all regular activity for one minute and, as bells and sirens ring out, take a moment to honor the victims of the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil,” said Mayor Kenoi. “We ask that you join the rest of the country and reflect on the lives lost and those affected by the tragedies of 9/11.”

The U.S. Senate has passed a unanimous resolution calling on everyone to participate in this moment. The resolution calls on governments and businesses, houses of worship and railways, fire and police departments and others to ring bells and sound sirens as we observe this Moment of Remembrance.

“Stop and Remember” will be celebrated at the same time across the country -1 p.m. EDT, 12 p.m. CDT, 11 a.m. MDT, and 10 a.m. PDT. The Counties of Maui and Kaua‘i are also participating in “Stop and Remember.”

“I hope you will join me in participating in this powerful expression of America’s patriotic spirit – and our commitment not to forget the thousands of innocent lives which were lost during the attacks,” Kenoi said.

Councilmember Brittany Smart on the Upcoming Workshops on Proposed Building Code Changes

Council Member Brittany Smart

Council Member Brittany Smart

Aloha Friends,

Here is information on a few upcoming workshops on the proposed building code changes:

County staff from the Building Department will explain and clarify proposed changes to the Hawai`i County Building Code at two workshops next month.

Bill 270, Draft 3, would change the Building Code by adopting the 2006 International Building Code (2006 IBC), along with a number of state and county amendments.

The county is required by state law to adopt a building code using model codes and standards, such as the 2006 IBC, no later than two years after the adoption of the state building code.  The state building code was adopted in 2010, and adoption of Bill 270 will bring the county into compliance with the state law.

The workshops will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 6 at the West Hawai‘i Civic Center, Community Meeting Hale  in Kailua-Kona from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.; and on Wednesday Sept. 7 at the Aupuni Center Conference Room in Hilo from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Links:

To view a copy of Bill 270, Draft 3, go to http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/weblink/0/doc/756796/Page1.aspx

To view a copy of the current Hawaii County Code, Chapter 5, relating to building, go to http://co.hawaii.hi.us/countycode/chapter05.pdf

To view a free copy of the International Code go to http://www.iccsafe.org/Store/Pages/OverviewFreeCodes.aspx  and http://www.iccsafe.org/Store/Pages/FreeCodes.aspx

Mahalo,
Office of Hawai’i County Councilmember Brittany Smart
District 6 – Upper Puna, Ka’u, South Kona
25 Aupuni Street
Hilo, HI 96720
(808) 961-8536
hccdistrict6@gmail.com

Hawaii County Staff to Explain and Clarify Proposed Building Code Changes

County staff from the Building Department will explain and clarify proposed changes to the Hawai`i County Building Code at two workshops next month.

Bill 270, Draft 3, would change the Building Code by adopting the 2006 International Building Code (2006 IBC), along with a number of state and county amendments.

The county is required by state law to adopt a building code using model codes and standards, such as the 2006 IBC, no later than two years after the adoption of the state building code.  The state building code was adopted in 2010, and adoption of Bill 270 will bring the county into compliance with the state law.

The workshops will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 6 at the West Hawai‘i Civic Center, Community Meeting Hale  in Kailua-Kona from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.; and on Wednesday Sept. 7 at the Aupuni Center Conference Room in Hilo from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Links:

To view a copy of Bill 270, Draft 3, go to http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/weblink/0/doc/756796/Page1.aspx

To view a copy of the current Hawaii County Code, Chapter 5, relating to building, go to http://co.hawaii.hi.us/countycode/chapter05.pdf

To view a free copy of the International Code go to http://www.iccsafe.org/Store/Pages/OverviewFreeCodes.aspx  and http://www.iccsafe.org/Store/Pages/FreeCodes.aspx

 

1998 - 2011 Hawaii County Building Permits

Hawaii County Building Permits from 1998 - 2011