Project Better Place Comes to Hawaii… East Hawaii Residents on the Big Island Left Uncharged

For the last few years I have been blogging about Project Better Place coming to Hawaii and how I didn’t see it working on the Big Island very well.  Better Place today announced it’s network here in Hawaii and of course folks on the EAST SIDE OF THE ISLAND… ARE OT OF LUCK… Again.  See the map of charging station options available for Big Island users on the bottom of this press release.

Media Release:

Better Place today announced activating the largest electric car charging network in Hawaii, offering drivers free charging via more than 130 charge points through the end of 2012. The network allows drivers to charge their electric cars at convenient locations on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island that include hotels, resorts, office buildings, shopping centers, parking garages, businesses and public venues.

“As more Hawaii drivers experience the benefits of electric cars, it is important to have the network that gives people convenient access to charge their cars,” said Brian Goldstein, director of Better Place in Hawaii. “The Better Place network of Charge Spots on four islands offers more public charge points per capita in Hawaii than any other state. Our multi-island network is another step toward making sustainable transportation a reality in Hawaii and moves us toward achieving the state’s goal to reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels by at least 70 percent by 2030.”

“As electric car adoption grows, we are excited to see the Better Place charging network in place and ready to support the Aloha State’s growing number of Nissan LEAF™ drivers,” said Brendan Jones, director, Nissan EV Marketing, Sales and Strategy, Nissan North America Inc. “Nissan understands the importance of locations to plug in when it comes to making EVs more convenient and enabling drivers to take full advantage of all electrified transportation has to offer.”

To use the network, drivers can signup for a free membership and see an interactive map of Charge Spot locations at www.betterplace.com/hawaii. New members will receive a welcome kit with a membership card, giving them access to all Better Place Charge Spots across the state, and a guide to using the network. Membership includes free network access for 2012. Beginning January 1, 2013, drivers will have the option to sign up for an affordable Better Place membership plan.

“Our vision is a world no longer dependent on oil, so for a limited time we are offering free membership to early electric car champions who can both help enhance the network with feedback from their own experiences and encourage more people to switch to electric driving in the country’s most oil-dependent state,” said Goldstein.

The Better Place network offers the public convenient locations to charge electric cars that are compliant with the current standard for plug-in vehicles in North America — such as the Nissan LEAF, Chevy Volt, and Mitsubishi i and other vehicles in the future— as a supplement to a primary charging location at home or work. The network is intended to support charging for periods of up to four hours, rather than overnight or long-term charging.

Over the past year and a half, Better Place has been working with businesses and property owners to install charging infrastructure across the state, as well as completing a project that included Chevy Volts, with funding in part from the State Energy Office at the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT) and the U.S. Department of Energy.

“Chevy Volt customers have the freedom to drive their electric vehicles wherever and whenever they want,” said Britta Gross, General Motors Director, Global Energy Systems and Infrastructure Commercialization.“We applaud Better Place’s initiative to open its charging network to new Volt customers in Hawaii, who will benefit from the ability to drive on pure electricity more often.”

In April 2011, Better Place installed its first Charge Spots in Hawaii in the parking structure of the Sheraton Waikiki/The Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Today, there are also Better Place Charge Spots at five Starwood hotels and resorts on Oahu, Maui and Kauai.

“As the first Hawaii hotel to install charge stations, we are pleased to expand our partnership with Better Place to offer our guests – both visitors and kamaaina – convenient locations to recharge their electric cars, while helping our Islands become more environmentally sustainable,” said Keith Vieira, senior vice president and director of operations for Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Hawaii and French Polynesia.

Last year Enterprise Rent-A-Car began adding electric cars to its fleet on Oahu, enabled by Better Place Charge Spots at the Enterprise site next to the Honolulu International Airport.

“Since we installed our first charging station and began renting electric vehicles last year, the demand from both visitors and kamaaina has continued to increase,” said Paul Kopel, vice president and general manager of operations for Enterprise Rent-A-Car Hawaii.“More people are discovering the convenience of electric cars, and the addition of Better Place’s charge stations at our locations on Maui, the Big Island and Oahu will help meet the needs of EV renters.”

In March, Better Place will host a series of public events around Hawaii to increase awareness of electric cars and the Better Place charging network. We invite current electric car owners and those interested in learning more about electric cars to join Better Place and its partners for charging demonstrations. “Drive Electric Days” will be held as follows: Drive Electric Maui, March 9, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Kihei Town Center (Foodland Kihei); and Drive Electric Big Island, March 17, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Kona Commons Shopping Center. Better Place also will be in the Hawaiian Electric Company booth at the First Hawaiian International Auto Show in Honolulu, March 30 to April 1.

About Better Place

Better Place is the leading global provider of electric car networks that enable the mass market adoption of electric cars through an innovative battery switch model that makes driving electric cars more affordable, convenient and sustainable than today’s gasoline-powered cars. Better Place owns and operates a network of battery switch stations and public/personal Charge Spots, along with the supply of batteries that power the cars, to provide drivers with instant range extension and the convenience to drive, switch and go across an entire region. Where possible, Better Place uses renewable sources of energy to deliver fully zero-emissions driving. The World Economic Forum has named Better Place a “Global Growth Company Industry Shaper” for its innovative approach in advancing the global switch to electric cars. Check out www.betterplace.com.

Blue represents the current stations... Grey represents PLANNED locations

Here is a video of former Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle driving a Project Better Place car back in 2008 when company founder Shai Agassi first set his eyes on the Hawaii Islands:

Statement from Former Governor Linda Lingle on Internet Piracy Legislation

Former Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle released the following statement today  on internet piracy legislation:

Gov. Linda Lingle Proposes Industry-based Guidelines

“I have been monitoring the issue of how best to address copyright infringement and intellectual property piracy occurring via foreign websites.

“Two current bills pending in the U.S. Congress, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), would give broad reaching powers to the Department of Justice to shut down or severely curtail American internet companies, search engines, and sites who connect to these foreign sources.

“I share the concern of many internet users and members of Congress, that these legislative proposals have not been thoroughly vetted.  I am strongly committed to the protection of intellectual property and believe those involved in the industry are best suited to work together to develop policing and enforcement systems that can address the perpetrators.

“International examples exist for setting standards and allowing industry officials to use independent third parties to ensure these standards are adhered to.  Underwriters Laboratory and ISO 9001 (International Organization of Standardization for quality management controls) are two such examples.

“As Senator, I would work to develop public-private cooperative efforts that address piracy and copyright infringement without the potential of government censorship that the current legislative proposals would permit.”

-Gov. Linda Lingle

Ed Case Comments on Linda Lingle’s Candidacy Announcement for the Senate

U. S. Senate candidate Ed Case (D) had these comments today on Linda Lingle’s announced candidacy for the Senate:

I welcome Linda Lingle to the U. S. Senate election. Hawai‘i’s voters couldn’t have a clearer choice among very different candidates in the most important election in a generation.

Hawai‘i needs a Senator who will apply our values to the changes so deeply needed on Capitol Hill. Those values, my values, are best represented by the Democratic Party, while Linda’s first vote in the Senate would be for a leadership and agenda that would tank our economy, skimp on education and welsh on our promises to seniors and veterans.

Hawai‘i needs a Senator who will reject purely partisan politics and get things done. Despite what she’ll say, that wasn’t Linda’s record as Governor and she deserted Hawai‘i at crucial times to campaign for mainland Republicans.

Hawai‘i needs a Senator who will listen to us. I did that in 172 Talk Stories across Hawai‘i, while Linda carefully stage-managed her every communication.

If nominated, I ask Linda to travel with me throughout Hawai‘i to discuss our values side-by-side where voters can size us up for themselves. Only then can voters decide who can best find that better way forward for our Hawai‘i and country.

Ed Case will be available for questions on Lingle’s candidacy and the Senate race at 2PM this afternoon, October 11th, at his Honolulu campaign headquarters at Ward Warehouse, 2nd Floor. Questions to Campaign Coordinator Sarah Kaopuiki at (808) 596-4920

John Carroll Responds to Lingle’s GOP Senate Primary Entry Announcement

John Carroll welcomed today’s announcement by Linda Lingle that she will be running for the U.S. Senate in Hawaii’s Rebulican primary next year.

Carroll, who announced his candidacy last month, said, “I look forward to debating Linda on the issues that are important to Hawaii’s Republicans.”

An issue like the Akaka Bill, which many consider divisive and even “racist,” was actively promoted by Lingle. Another issue mentioned by Carroll’s campaign included the Jones Act, an archaic set of restrictive Federal shipping laws that raise Hawaii’s cost of living.

“Lingle had eight years, as our governor, to fight his unfair law that costs Hawaii’s people millions, and chose to do nothing” said Carroll.

Hawaii’s Republicans have recently undergone internal turmoil, that some attribute to a power struggle between traditional conservative members and those more interested in the election of individual candidates regardless of any real ideological values. This primary campaign could become, according to Carroll, a very public debate over the core beliefs of Hawaii’s Republican Party.

“This primary will be about what we stand for,” added Carroll. “We call on Linda to debate us on the issues as often as possible, the people of Hawaii deserve to know what they are voting on.”

Governor Lingle Gets $16,350 Self Portrait Taken at Tax Payers Expense

From the Governors site:

Governor Linda Lingle’s official State portrait was unveiled this evening at a ceremony held at Washington Place.  The portrait of Governor Lingle standing in the garden at Washington Place is the first official portrait of a Hawai‘i Governor that was painted by a local artist since Governor John Burns, and the first portrait of a Governor wearing a flower lei.

Governor Lingle’s portrait was painted by local artist Christy Fujii.  The Governor selected Fujii after seeing a painting of Queen Emma that the artist had done for The Queen’s Medical Center.  While Governor Lingle reviewed portfolios of other artists who expressed interest in painting her portrait, it was Fujii’s stirring portrait of Queen Emma that won the Governor’s final approval.  Fujii was commissioned by the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.

The oil on canvas portrait was painted by Fujii from a digital photograph of Governor Lingle that was taken by local photographer Ric Noyle.  Fujii painted the portrait over a span of seven weeks.  The portrait, which measures 36 inches by 48 inches, is framed in a six-inch wood frame with four layers, the largest part being koa wood, and gold highlights.  The State Foundation on Culture and the Arts budgeted $35,000 for the portrait.  The final cost for the photo, portrait and framing came in under budget at $16,350.

The portrait will be installed next week in the Executive Chambers at the Hawai‘i State Capitol, alongside the portraits of Hawai‘i’s past 11 Territorial Governors and five State Governors.  Governor Lingle’s portrait will hang next to the portrait of Governor George Ariyoshi in the Ceremony Room where State visits, news conferences, proclamation ceremonies and other official events are held.

The unveiling ceremony at Washington Place was hosted by the Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts and the Board of the Friends of Hawai‘i Robotics.

Governor Lingle chose to highlight one of her Administration’s key initiatives, educational robotics, as part of the unveiling.

About the Artist

Christy Fujii, owner of Christy Fujii Gallery in Chinatown, is a contemporary landscape artist that utilizes elements of impressionism in her pieces.   In her childhood years, she would sketch portraits and images from her hometown of Gyongju in South Korea.  She began to work with oil paint in her early teens and moved to Hawai‘i in 1973.  Inspired by the beauty of the islands, she enhanced her painting skills and learned to incorporate the palette knife under the guidance of her mentor, George Eguchi.  Each of her paintings reflects her imagination, her talent, and her love of art.  Fujii is currently a member of the Korean Artist Association of Hawai‘i.

About the Photographer

Ric Noyle, born in Capetown, South Africa, has resided in Honolulu for the past 30 years.  In this time, Noyle’s award-winning work has been used and enjoyed by his vast worldwide clientele. He operates Ric Noyle Photography, a full-service commercial photography studio and specializes in photographing people, food and resorts.  In addition to his assignment work, he also maintains an extensive stock library which contains more than 30,000 images of Hawai‘i.  Noyle has become a leader in the field of digital photography over the past years.  He has produced many catalogs, aerials, murals and advertising material with his state-of-the-art digital scan backs.

New Electric Car Plant to be Built in Hawaii… Lingle and Some Prototypes

Governor Linda Lingle and DBEDT Director Ted Liu help champion the expansion of energy independence for Hawaii with the addition of another electric car product for Hawaii’s Consumers:

Statewide Campaign to Save Ag Inspectors

Media Release:

The Lingle administration, attempting to balance the State budget, has authorized the layoff of 118 employees of the Department of Agriculture – including 50 of the 78 inspectors. The DOA, with one of the state’s smallest budgets, is getting the biggest cut.

Agriculture Inspection Area at the Honolulu Airport.

Agriculture Inspection Area at the Honolulu Airport.

The drastic layoff of DOA inspectors means that most imported produce will be inspected in Honolulu before being shipped to the outer islands. Oahu inspectors, cut from 51 to 24, must carry this increased load. Delays, higher costs and lower quality are all expected as a result. This chaotic situation may even allow some produce and other goods to enter Hawaii un-inspected.

With too few inspectors to certify them, Hawaii’s 320 export nurseries will be forced to shut down, resulting in the loss of more than 1000 established full time jobs. And Hawaii’s economy could lose $250 million in agricultural exports.

Produce exporters may also go out of business. Many supporting small  businesses like fertilizer or equipment suppliers will suffer. The slowdown in commodity grading will be disastrous for the coffee and papaya exporters. Delays of imports and exports threaten the livestock industry. Critical programs including Biological Control, Noxious Weed Control, Enforcement, Rapid Response and Commodity Grading will diminish or end. Even inspection of farms, which grow and process food for school lunches, may end, jeopardizing the health of our children. Interisland inspections will be abandoned; leaving Maui vulnerable to the little Fire Ant, Varroa Mite, Coqui frog and the slug that carries the rat lung worm. Clearly, even home gardening will be more and more difficult.

Improvements to our inspection regime, hard won over the past twenty years will be lost with the dismantling of the DOA wall of protection. The Ag inspectors targeted for layoff have intercepted the Brown Tree Snake on eight occasions, the dangerous Red Imported Fire Ant on two occasions and the Little Fire Ant once. A parcel of 16 piranhas was recently intercepted on Maui. Every week, at the Kahului Airport, these highly trained inspectors fill a 40-foot trailer– freezer with produce infested with insects and diseases, including some pests not previously known in Hawaii. Abandoning this essential infrastructure leaves us vulnerable to a flood of invasive species that threaten our economy, health and way of life.

Cutting Ag Inspectors will save only $3.8 million annually, but the negative impacts will likely be measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars. For example, should the Red Imported Fire Ant become established in Hawaii, control will cost $211 million a year.

The Pest Inspection, Quarantine and Eradication Fund, a fee-for-services law, was enacted to fund the Inspection Branch of the DOA. The Senate should pass an amendment establishing a penalty for non-compliance with this law, thus assuring adequate funds for the Inspectors.

This assault on the Dept of Agriculture is unacceptable.

Let the senators and the governor know we want to protect Maui and all of Hawaii. In addition, a 200 words or less Letter to the Editor to the Honolulu Advertiser and the Maui News would be very helpful.

Hawaii Agriculture & Conservation Coalition

P.O. Box 170

Haiku, HI.

96708

letters@honoluluadvertiser.com

Fax: 808 535-2415

The Honolulu Advertiser

P.O. Box 3110

Honolulu, HI 96802

letters@mauinews.com

The Maui News

100 Mahalani St.

Wailuku, HI 96793

governor.lingle@hawaii.gov

Tel: 800 586-0034 (Be respectful when addressing the Governor)

Fax: 808 586-0006

reps@capitol.hawaii.gov

sens@capitol.hawaii.gov

Hawaii Agriculture and Conservation Coalition Petition

Video: Hawaii Status of Federal Stimulus Funds

Behind the scenes of the Hawaii Status on Federal Stimulus Funds meeting that was held on August 24th:

Linda Lingle:

Hawaii Department of Transportation Director Brennan Morioka:

Lingle Remarks on Hawai’i 50TH Anniversary of Statehood Conference New Horizons for the Next 50 Years

Remarks by Governor Linda Lingle at the Hawai’i 50TH Anniversary of Statehood Conference New Horizons for the Next 50 Years

Lt Governor and Mrs. Aiona, Governor Waihe‘e, Senator Akaka, Secretary Shinseki, Admiral Keating, members of the Hawai‘i State Legislature, flag officers, members of the Consular Corps, former Deputy Secretary of Energy Karsner, John Zogby, Bryan Clay, the 50th Anniversary of Statehood Commission, and the people of Hawai‘i.

Good morning and aloha!

I am truly honored to join you today to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Hawai‘i’s statehood.  This is an event I have looked forward to for over a year.

Half a century ago, on this very day, President Dwight Eisenhower signed a proclamation formalizing Hawai‘i’s Admission to the United States.

President Eisenhower spoke these words about America’s newest state:

“We will wish for her prosperity, security, happiness and a growing relationship with all the other states.  We know that she is ready to do her part to make this Union a stronger nation – a stronger people than it was before because of her presence as a full sister to the other 49 states.”

President Eisenhower’s hope for Hawai‘i’s future has become our reality.

We have created a quality of life that is admired by people all over the world.

The mere mention of Hawai‘i draws recognition that overcomes language and geographic barriers.

We are regarded as a true island paradise, where the unique hospitality of our people, abundant natural resources, diverse heritage and host culture set us apart from everywhere else on Earth.

And, while we have our share of challenges like the rest of the nation and the world, we are truly blessed to live in these islands.

The latest Gallup Healthways Well-being Index, which was released earlier this month, showed Hawai‘i leads the nation in well-being and happiness.  The annual survey measures how people are doing physically, emotionally, socially and economically.  Hawai‘i scored highest in the area of emotional health, which looks at items such as worry and stress, smiling or laughter, learning or doing something interesting, being treated with respect, enjoyment, and happiness.

Yes, “Lucky We Live Hawai‘i.”

Our superior quality of life is not something that happened by accident and it is not something we should ever take for granted.  It took a lot of hard work by people in this room and many others before us.

And it will take all of us, working side-by-side, to further raise our “well-being index.”

Perhaps our most important contribution to America is serving as a model of diversity for the rest of the nation.

Most would agree that our diversity and the way we celebrate that diversity is Hawai‘i’s greatest strength.  I believe it will also be our lasting legacy.

Political activist and University of Hawai‘i professor Ira Rohter, who passed away last month once said,

“We are a very complex society where we’ve learned to live together and move together in a positive way.  Hawai‘i is the prototype of how people can get along.  Hawai‘i is the prototype for the nation.”

We are a prototype in so many different ways.

Hawai‘i’s journey to statehood began decades before 1959.  It was not an easy journey.  It was a road marked by struggles and more than two dozen failed attempts to get the statehood bill passed in Congress.

The success in achieving the goal of becoming the 50th state is a true testament to the men and women who refused to give up.

Their vision of new social, political and economic opportunities for all the people of Hawai‘i is a lasting testament to their spirit and character that has been carried on by their children and grandchildren.

Your participation today in this conference honors those who fought so passionately for statehood, as well as those who carried forth that vision and worked to make our state and our nation stronger.

This never-give-up attitude is a common thread among Hawai‘i’s people –

from the “Go For Broke” Nisei who fought bravely in World War II …

to the people of Kaua‘i who pulled together to recover from Hurricane Iniki in 1992 …

to the ‘Ewa Beach Little League Team who fought from behind to win the 2005 Little League World Series…

to the Castle High graduate who became an Olympic Decathlon Gold Medalist …

to the hundreds of small business men and women across our state who endure economic cycles and find innovative ways remain the backbone of our economy.

And this common thread of never giving up will prepare us for our continued journey as a state, as we strive to transform our economy and secure our energy future.

We gather here today, on our 50th anniversary of Hawai’i becoming as state to reflect on our journey to statehood, the successes we have achieved over the past 50 years, as well as to explore what Hawai‘i means to the nation and the world.  And finally to discuss and develop a vision for our next 50 years.

The workshops this morning and this afternoon will explore our future in critical areas, such as:

Economic understanding;

The future of tourism;

Education and innovation;

Hawai‘i’s energy future;

Issues impacting the Native Hawaiian community;

Preserving Hawai‘i’s natural resources; and

Military partnerships, including a live video feed from Iraq so our troops who are deployed can participate in today’s dialogue, even though they are half a world away.

I look forward to hearing the fresh ideas and unique perspectives that will result from these meaningful discussions, from the keynote speakers and panelists, and, most especially from those of you in the audience.

The people of Hawai‘i have accomplished much over the past 50 years that we can all take great pride in, and looking ahead, there are so many possibilities and wonderful opportunities before us.

We are still a very young state, and with so much more to contribute to our people, our nation and the world.

The story of Hawai‘i’s future is yet to be written, and you can be the authors of that story.

Hawai‘i’s road to statehood was marked by differences of opinions … and our journey to the future will be similarly marked.

There will be divergent opinions during today’s conference.  We must use these differences as opportunities to learn from each other and to grow.

We must seize the passion, the enthusiasm and the energy that will be generated today, and weave it into a shared vision for tomorrow.

Regardless of our ethnic background, gender, economic status, religion, sexual orientation or age, most of us living here today will live out our lives and be laid to rest in these beautiful islands.

As I look out into the ballroom, I am struck by the diversity of our attendees.

Together, we make up the past, the present and the future of Hawai‘i.

Our various backgrounds, unique perspectives, individual hopes and dreams and the respect we have for one another are what makes our state so rich.

Closing

Being here with you today gives me great optimism for our next 50 years.

This conference is the first step on the road which will take us into Hawai‘i’s future.

Over the past year, we have watched and listened to “Fifty Voices of Statehood,” as community members across our state shared their personal perspectives on Hawai‘i’s statehood.

I want to thank the 50 participants as well as the students of Wai‘anae High School’s award-winning Searider Productions for assisting the Statehood Commission in taping those 50 spots for television and radio.

Danny Keleikini, Hawai‘i’s Ambassador of Aloha said in his Fifty Voices spot,

“Statehood gave us an opportunity to share aloha around the world.”

Today, we are not just sharing our aloha, or our love, for our state.  We are sharing our deepest thoughts and heartfelt hopes and dreams for our future.

I look forward to visiting with all of you throughout the day.

Mahalo to the Statehood Commission and best wishes for a great conference.

Mayor Kenoi Urges Lingle Administration to Reconsider Kulani Closure and Ag Inspector Layoffs

From the Mayor’s Office:

Below is testimony Mayor Billy Kenoi provided in Hilo tonight to the Senate Ad Hoc Committee reviewing the proposals by Gov. Linda Lingle’s administration to close Kulani Correctional Facility and lay off all but one agricultural inspector in the County of Hawai’i.

“Aloha, Senator Hanabusa, Senator Kokubun and members of the Senate:

Thank you for this opportunity to provide information on the potential impacts within the County of Hawai’i from plans announced by Gov. Linda Lingle’s administration to close the Kulani Correctional Facility and lay off all but one of the 14 state agricultural inspectors who now work on the Island of Hawai’i.

These proposals would have very serious and negative repercussions for our working families and our farmers, and I want to take this opportunity to respectfully urge the Lingle administration to reconsider.

Agriculture is one of our very few export industries, and development of this growing sector of our economy is critical because it offers a measure of stability to protect us from the sometimes painful fluctuations in the world tourism market. For years the County, the State Legislature and previous state administrations nurtured agriculture to try to diversify our economy and to move the state closer to self-sufficiency. Eliminating almost all of the agricultural inspectors working in the County of Hawai’i undermines all those years of effort in a single stroke, and it would be a mistake.

I will not attempt to list all of the enterprises that are put at risk by this decision, but please consider a few of the implications. The agricultural sector that would be placed in the greatest jeopardy with the loss of inspectors is the potted plant and nursery industry, a growing market that is now worth more than $40 million a year on the Island of Hawai’i alone. Each of our 170 nurseries needs to be inspected and certified twice a year to qualify for the export market, a process that is impossible without qualified agricultural inspectors.

I know you are also familiar with the varroa mite and its potential to do harm to our queen bee and honey industries, which together are worth another $10 million. Without agricultural workers to pursue bio-control strategies to combat this pest, the damage to the bee industry could be profound. Worse yet, loss of bees needed for agricultural pollination could in turn harm the macadamia nut, rambutan and lychee sectors, which together are now worth more than $40 million a year.

I have been speaking about industries and dollars, but let us not lose sight of the people who will be affected by the damage done by the loss of the inspectors. Most farming provides a modest income at best, and our farm industry supports thousands of working families who depend on that income to pay their bills. The small farmers who struggle to make a living surely rank among our boldest and most hard-working entrepreneurs, and they deserve continued support from the state.

The plan to close Kulani Correctional Facility is also harmful to the local economy and to working families beyond the 76 employees who would lose their jobs in the proposed prison shutdown. Many of these employees operate treatment and job training programs at Kulani that help to rehabilitate prisoners, which makes our communities safer in the long run. It would be a mistake to abandon those employees and their important work.

Outside the prison, local vendors including food suppliers do tens of thousands of dollars worth of business with Kulani each month, and the loss of sales to Kulani would force some of those local businesses to consider layoffs of their own. This ripple effect in the local economy from the Kulani closure could not happen at worse time.

Hawai’i’s correctional system is already overcrowded, and closing Kulani Correctional Facility appears likely to result in more prison inmates being shipped to prisons in Arizona or elsewhere on the Mainland. If that is the case, the state in effect will be exporting correction officer and support staff jobs to the Mainland along with the prison inmates, a policy that makes little sense in these tough economic times.

Again, we urge the Lingle administration to reconsider the decisions to close Kulani and to lay off agriculture inspectors because both plans are contrary to the long-term economic health of our State and County.

Mahalo for this opportunity to discuss these issues.”

Aloha,

William P. Kenoi

MAYOR