Last week, Waimea resident and attorney Margaret Wille announced on her blog in a posting, Moving Forward Towards Run for District 9 County Council Seat, that she would be making a run for the Hawaii County Council seat that Pete Hoffman is vacating as his term is over.
A number of months ago, Councilman Pete Hoffmann called and asked me to stop to discuss some proposed ordinance he was drafting. As the conversation about the ordinance was coming to a close, Pete turned to me and said — I think you should run for my seat on the County Council next year (he is now termed out).
Before that I had not given considered running for this legislative office. I told him I would give him my answer by the end of the month. And my answer was yes. Thereafter, the more I thought about being part of the council and working in the area of legislation and policy, the more excited I became.
I’ve gotten to know Margaret online and through her blog so I asked her a few questions about her potential run for County Council.
I asked “who and/or what inspires you?”
What inspires me: The beauty of our island — trees, the ocean, our mountains, open pastures, the sky. I am very grateful to live here and be part of this community.
The extraordinary potential of this island community — its unique history and rich cultural values and sense of place.
The belief that we can each make a difference — to make the world a little better place.
Somene who inspired me: My mother — who dedicated much of her life working on national peace efforts. She always gave of herself for the wellbeing of others in need.
Judge Spottswood W. Robinson, Judge on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia — with whom I did an internship. He had an extraordinary sense of justice and dedication to the rule of law.
I went on to ask her “tell me a little bit about your upbringing” and she stated:
I spent most of my life growing up in New England — lived and worked in Maine before moving to Hawaii. I enjoy rural life. Over the years while living in Maine I had a pet pig “Easter Katie” (that thought it was a dog), horses, dogs, a donkey, a goose that liked to watch television, and an extraordinary crow named Frank that hung out around my law office. He would sit on my shoulder while I worked in my law office.
I first came to Hawaii in 1970 when my brothers Eugene and Ward (Thomas) McCain purchased the Aloha Theater and healthfood store. I helped them open the store — painting, cleaning, and cooking. That year was the first time I drove through Waimea. Waimea-town felt like a secret garden (where the mountains and forests and streams met the plains and pastures). Ever since then I thought about how lucky Waimea’s residents were to live in such a special place. My mother lived in Puako for many years. I moved here full time in 2002.
Throughout my life and travels, I have had many extraordinary opportunities – especially educational opportunities. I want to do what I can so others have similar educational opportunities and are able to find a good job that is meaningful and secure here on the Big Island.
I then asked “What would be the first bill that you would put before the county if elected?”
Before introducing any bill, I would want to make a list of all projects that are underway and figure out why each of them has not yet happened and what needs to be done to move them forward as quickly as possible.
With respect to legislation, I would likely start with legislation that would be helpful to all segments of the the District 9 community (and also helpful to the rest of the Island)– such as working on establishing a regional transit hub in Waimea and simplifying the subdivision code so that the permitting process is easier. I would also want to assess the need for legislation to identify and better protect our Hawaiian cultural assets. I would also want to continue focusing on infrastructure needs and public transportation, preservation of Pelekane Bay and harbor and recreational issue in both North and South Kohala, and water issues in general.
Because I have followed Council business over the years, I am fairly knowledgable in a lot of areas. A key long-term focus will be on educational efforts from a county perspective — from local community efforts such as a mentoring program, and down the road additional vocational and high tech educational opportunities for all ages.
I have experience drafting legislation and regulations — including drafting regulations for the Maine Department of Agriculture. In the 1980’s I was worked on labor issues involved in federal immigration legislation and testified before a Senate Committee on behalf of Maine woodsworkers.
Candidate Wille posted the following on her website:
County Council District 9 as now configured– which basically includes North and South Kohala — is a place of extraordinary potential with extraordinary people. We are a place of great resourcefulness among ourselves.
Here is what I have drafted so far about my candidacy:
HELP ELECT MARGARET WILLE
District 9 County Council: Seeking office for the benefit of our communities: Hawi, Kapaau, Kawaihae, Mauna Kea and Mauna Lani, Puako, Waikoloa, Waimea, and Waikii
Employment: attorney practicing land use law in Waimea (previous employment included part-time teaching at Parker School, consultant for a state department of agriculture, and administrator of a state-wide volunteer program for the American Bar Association to assist institutionalized adult and youth offenders reentering society)
Educational background: J.D. Law; Masters Education; B.A. Anthropology
Core values: pono – balance and rightness; ‘ike loa – wisdom and knowledge; aloha ‘āina – love of the land; and ho‘omau – perseverance
Focus as a councilperson will be: Availability of good jobs and educational opportunities for District 9 residents; need-based and entrepreneurial solutions to crime and social problems; agricultural sufficiency and resiliency; implementation of a 511 traffic alert system; completion of the Kawaihae to Waimea bypass; opportunities for recreation and health; restoration of Pelekane Bay; low cost renewable energy; promote the wisdom and glory of the Hawaiian people and culture.
Vision: Community First! Let me help you make a difference.
Efforts and Accomplishments as an active member of our community:
- Margaret’s proposed redistricting plan (Plan 40) was selected as the final base Plan for the Hawaii County Council Districts. [Margaret drafted this Plan 40 in consultation with community members around the County to challenge the Commission’s previously preferred Plan that was lop-sided in favor of Hilo.]
- Margaret submitted various amendments to the County Charter Commission, which as adopted by the Charter Commission, were approved by the voters in 2008. [The amendments she submitted included the original draft of the voter approved “public trust” Charter amendment. The objective of the “public trust” Charter provision is to protect and preserve Hawaiian cultural sites and practices and environmental natural resources. The Charter Commission also adopted suggestions she made to provide internet notification about government meetings.]
- In a pro bono legal action, Margaret successfully represented Waimea community members to force the County of Hawaii to require Parker Ranch to carry out its obligation to construct the Parker Ranch Connector Road as had been promised in the 1990s. As the result of these legal actions, the Parker Ranch Connector Road (2 phases) was completed in 2008.
- In another pro bono legal action, while co-chair of the Waimea Planning and Design Committee, Margaret in collaboration with Parker School reached a settlement with the County and Parker School in the context of the school’s planned expansion. The additional permit conditions, as now being implemented, provide for increased pedestrian safety, and mitigation of traffic congestion in Waimea in the area of Lindsey and Kapiolani Roads.
- As a member of the South Kohala Traffic Safety Committee, Margaret recently suggested the construction of a regional transit hub on Lindsey Road extension adjacent to the Waimea Post Office to provide for a multi-modal transit hub and information facility. With the support of Councilman Pete Hoffmann, in December 2011, the County Council unanimously voted in favor of placing this project on the County’s Capital Improvement Project List.
- While participating in a meeting concerning traffic safety at the Waimea public schools, Margaret proposed the original idea of an intra-Waimea shuttle bus service from Lakeland to Kamuela View Estates, which with the help of Parker School representatives, the South Kohala Traffic Safety Committee, and Councilmember Pete Hoffmann, this bus service is now a part of our island-wide hele-on service.
- As part of the Parker Ranch Connector Road settlement, with the help of the Trails and Greenways Committee and members of the Kenoi administration, Margaret negotiated for additional easement land to be given by Parker Ranch to the County at no cost for the Waimea Trails and Greenways project –so that the trail would not be fenced up against residential lots.
- While a Director on the Waimea Community Association Board of Directors, with the help of innumerable participants from federal, state and county agencies as well as many non-government entities and individuals, Margaret facilitated a community meeting on Emergency Preparedness and Resiliency.
- As co-chair of the Conservation Subcommittee of the Community Development Plan Committee, Margaret, along with Bob Hunter and other Waimea residents, successfully lead the effort to remove the one-acre zoning across the face of Waimea’s Hōkū‘ula pu‘u.
- While participating in a community meeting addressing issues relating to the proposed County agricultural plan, Margaret organized the participants in an effort to draft and lobby in support of county legislation to address the frightening problem of the little red ant invasive species spreading across the island. With the help of Councilman Pete Hoffmann, the resulting County Council resolution passed 9-0.
- As a member of the South Kohala Community Development Plan Steering Committee, Margaret drafted many provisions that are now part of that Plan enacted into law in 2008, such as on issues relating to increasing higher education opportunities in South Kohala and increasing the authority of the SKCDP action committee.
- Over the past decade Margaret has testified many times at County and State legislative and board hearings on issues affecting the welfare of our communities and has often informed affected community constituencies about important issues so that others could participate and make an impact on the government decision-making process.
MARGARET WILLE NEEDS YOUR HELP
FOR MORE INFORMATION OR JUST TO SAY YOU SUPPORT HER CANDIDACY, CONTACT MARGARET: firstname.lastname@example.org; 887-1419; Friends to Elect Margaret Wille P.O. Box 528 Kamuela Hi 96743
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