Endorsing Patrick Walsh for the Board of Education

Despite my indifferences with a local rag paper that Mr. Walsh occasionally writes for, I’m throwing my endorsement to Mr. Patrick Walsh for the Big Island Board of Education position.

I’ve digitized every Board of Education Meeting that was held from 2001 up until May of this year for public broadcast… so trust me… I know what it takes to make a good Board of Education candidate.

Patrick Walsh would be a good change.

I believe that Watanabe has served his time and that change needs to happen.

Walsh is the guy to do this… I just wish he would think twice about the rag paper he occasionaly writes for.

H130 Advisory Task Force Meeting Moved to New Location

On Monday, September 22nd, the Highway 130 task force will be meeting again at  Keaau Elementary School at 6 pm.

The meeting was previously to be held at the Keaau Community Center.

$2,955 Cash Payment Lightens Sentence In Poretsky Murder

I wrote earlier about the family that wants to boycott travel to Thailand.

Here is more on the story, thanks to reader “Neeterlou”….who came across an even more discouraging article regarding the murder of Gary Poretsky.

It appears that a cash payment was made to lighten the sentence of the accused murderer.

Here is two pictures of the murderer:

A 61-year-old former Perth resident will serve just two years and nine months imprisonment for the murder of a 46-year-old Hawaii resident in the northern Thailand city of Chiang Mai after making a cash payment of Bt100,000 (US$2,955) to a woman who claimed to be the girlfriend of the victim in a trial that lasted less than three hours.

William Thomas Douglas, formerly of Willetton, pleaded guilty in the Chiang Mai Provincial Court to shooting Gary Bruce Poretsky at the Keari restaraunt on the morning of March 22, this year and was sentenced to four years imprisonment for murder, one year for having an unregistered firearm and a further six months for carrying a firearm in public.

However, because he confessed to the crime and pleaded guilty he received a 50 per cent reduction in the sentence. Mr Poretsky, a native of Massachusetts but long time resident of Hawaii, was in Thailand for dental treatment where high quality dentistry is considerably more affordable than the USA.

The court was told that Mr Poretsky arranged to meet a Thai woman who he had met in Pai a week earlier for drinks at around 8pm on the evening of March 21. The woman, who goes by the single name of Jirawadee, told the court that while she had drunk some beer, Mr Poretsky had only drunk water because he had been to the dentist for treatment earlier that day.

After the restaraunt they had been drinking in closed the couple moved on to the Keari restaurant  where again Mr Poretsky only drank water.

According to Jirawadee the couple noticed Douglas in the restaurant and Mr Poretsky invited him to join them. While Douglas spoke to Mr Poretsky in English, he spoke in fluent Thai with Ms Jirawadee.

She said not long before the shooting Douglas had told Mr Poretsky and her that he worked as an undercover police operative for the Royal Thai Police Force, assisting them in identifying and capturing drug

“He said he had already killed two drug traffickers while working with the police,” Ms Jirawadee said.

According to Ms Jirawadee, Mr Poretsky didn’t believe him and to prove his point Douglas pulled out a handgun and showed them. traffickers and users.

“I couldn’t really understand a lot of what they were talking about, but after he showed the gun the conversation got tense and I went to ask the restaurant  manager to help because the gun made me frightened,” she said.

She said “Douglas then left the table and a few minutes later returned. He pulled out the gun and shot Gary two times in the chest. Gary fell to the ground and then Douglas fired a third shot into his head.”

Ms Jirawadee described Mr Poretsky as “a nice friendly person. I never saw him get aggressive or raise his voice to anyone.”

Douglas told the court that he had lived in Thailand for 28 years and that prior to moving to Thailand he was a soldier in the Australian army. He said he had completed two tours of duty in Vietnam before coming to Thailand to teach English.

However in earlier interviews Douglas claimed that while living in Thailand he had worked for the Royal Thai Police Force as an undercover operative.

He said that Mr Poretsky had antagonised him by criticising the Vietnam War and had said “Australia should not have followed the US into the  Vietnam War and that Australia and Thailand were dictated to by the US.”

Douglas had previously told the court that at the time of the shooting he was estranged from his Burmese girlfriend and living in a hotel.

“I left the table and tried to telephone my ‘wife’ but her phone was turned off. “When I returned Poretsky again claimed Australia and Thailand are tools of the US and should not have sent troops to the Vietnam War. I pulled out my gun and shot him, but at the time I didn’t know what I was doing,” Douglas claimed.

Douglas, who was supported by family members from Australia who flew to Chiang Mai for the trial, told the judge the shooting was out of character for him and he had previously not had any trouble with the police in either Australia or Thailand. He submitted a wad of character references from family and friends to support this.

Chief Justice Chayut Prapakamon asked Douglas how long a sentence he would receive for a similar crime in Australia to which Douglas replied, “I’ve lived half my life in Australia and half my life in Thailand. I don’t know about Australian sentencing laws. I consider myself Thai now, not Australian.”

When Justice Chayut then asked Douglas how long he thought he should be imprisoned for, Douglas replied, “six months.”

Justice Chayut claimed this was insufficient and told Douglas “Thai law states that for murder the penalty is death, or between 15 and 25 years imprisonment.

When Justice Chayut asked for a sentencing recommendation from Provincial Public Prosecutor Sonthaya Kruewate, the reply was, “four years.”

A woman who claimed she had been the  girlfriend of Mr Poretsky and had known him several months earlier told the court in unsworn testimony that Mr Poretsky had planned to build a house for her and now she was left with a  debt and couldn’t pay for building the house.

At the time of the shooting the investigating officer, captain Somsak Pamthong, said Mr Poretsky had only been in Thailand for two weeks.

Friends of Mr Poretsky confirmed that and said he had not visited Thailand for at least 15 years. Immediately following the shooting Capt. Somsak said Douglas had told him during questioning that he had shot Mr Poretsky “because he doesn’t like Americans. He thinks ‘they talk down to everyone and consider themselves better than everyone.'”

Prior to being sentenced and in open court in front of Justice Chayut, Douglas paid the woman, who goes by the name of Kanlayawan and was dressed in a dental nurses uniform, Bt100,000 in cash.

After seeing the payment Justice Chayut then read the sentence for the three charges and then immediately left the court.

On hearing the sentence Douglas burst into a broad grin and cheerfully told his family and friends the sentence meant he would serve only two years and nine months minus the time he has been held in remand.

As he was escorted back to the court holding cells Douglas had difficulty keeping his grin under control stark contrast to earlier in the day when he had gone to great lengths to hide his face from waiting camera crews.

Click here for article

Gumapac Talk Story Wednesday Sept. 17th

Talk Story with Kale Gumapac:

Wednesday, September 17th

7:00 – 8:30 PM

Ainaloa Longhouse

More info: 982-9020

Kale4Puna

New Pilago Videos Posted

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4qR-eiEwb8&hl=en&fs=1]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qTLp7SBpsc&hl=en&fs=1]

Today’s KO

Konichiwa Gozaimasu:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVCabuvn4gA&hl=en&fs=1]

Buy a Tree and Earn Money When it’s Harvested in 30 Years

Visitors to the Big Island will have a chance to buy and plant a tree and then reap part of the profit when it’s cut down in 30 years or so…

..Guests will be offered the chance to plunk down $37 to buy a tree sapling, plant it in Hamakua and then watch it over the next several years via a Web site…

That could be up to $2,500 for a koa tree worth $50,000 in today’s market.

Less patient investors could go for something like bamboo, that could be harvested in about three years with a much smaller return…

More here

More on Gary Poretsky’s Murder: Family Calls for Thailand Travel Boycott

I blogged about the man sentenced for Puna Resident Gary Poretsky’s murder last month in Thailand.  Before this came out, I also showed a picture of one of his buddies here on the Big Island and some previous thoughts on the situation here.

Here is a picture of him the night of his Murder:

The family is now calling for a Thailand Travel Boycott:

The family of a man murdered in the popular Northern Thailand tourist destination of Chiang Mai have reacted angrily to Monday’s provincial court ruling that means his killer will serve less than three years in jail and called on Americans to boycott Thailand as a tourist destination.

Sandra Fall, mother of murdered Hawaiian resident Gary Bruce Poretsky said via email, “I cannot even celebrate the conviction. I have lost a son and this person will be free to walk the streets. Is that justice or what?

“I am very upset at the outcome of the trial. I have sent an e-mail to the (US) State Department telling them the outcome of the trial and how disappointed I am with them that they did not have a representative in the court room to protect the rights of its citizens.”

Mrs Fall’s daughter, Sylvia Poretsky, has fired off angry e-mails to powerful former republican politician and speaker of the US House of Representatives, Newt Gingridge, as well as to Vice President Dick Cheney, CNN and all major US newspapers.

In her e-mails, Ms Poretsky states, “no one from the U.S. Embassy even bothered to attend (the trial). The Thai government should be ashamed of themselves, and the United States Government should be even more ashamed.

“No wonder Americans lack pride. Their own government does not have pride or self-respect. The family has had to beg for every piece of information that we have received from the U.S. Embassy and they didn’t even bother to alert us to this trial taking place.”

Ms Poretsky told the recipients, “my future votes are going to be cast for Americans who stand up for their citizens. Maybe, nothing can be done for my brother, but a lesson should be learned from his death. We must alert Americans not to go to countries that treat our citizens like dirt.”

In her emails Ms Poretsky calls on the recipients to, “join me in getting this story out to all Americans, who love to travel and spend their hard earned money supporting countries, who don’t give Americans justice. See how well these countries do without our money.

“Let Americans know that they are not safe. Bring back American pride. Help America stand for something again.”

The dead man’s cousin, Mitch Nollman, was also incensed at the sentence and fired off letters to powerful US democrat senator and former US presidential candidate John Kerry, as well as to senior democrat senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy.

According to Mrs Fall, the four year sentence with a 50 per cent reduction because the killer pleaded guilty makes a mockery of the word justice. She asks, “does that mean that anyone in Thailand can commit murder and only receive a two year plus sentence?”

On Monday (August 18, 2008 ) the Chiang Mai Provincial Court heard how 46-year-old Gary Bruce Poretsky was visiting Thailand to take advantage of the high quality but low priced dental treatment available there when he was gunned down in a Chiang Mai restaurant on March 22, 2008 by 61-year-old William Thomas Douglas, formerly of Willetton in Western Australia.

A Thai woman who had befriended Mr Poretsky described the dead man as “a nice friendly person. I never saw him get aggressive or raise his voice to anyone.”

The woman, who goes by the single name of Jirawadee, gave graphic evidence of the shooting to the court, describing how Douglas had claimed to be an undercover police operative for the Royal Thai Police Force, assisting them in identifying and capturing drug traffickers and users.

She told the court, “he said he had already killed two drug traffickers while working with the police.”

According to Ms Jirawadee, Mr Poretsky didn’t believe him and to prove his point Douglas pulled out a handgun and showed them.

Ms Jirawadee told Chief Justice Chayut Prapakamon, “after he showed the gun the conversation got tense.

“Douglas then left the table and a few minutes later returned. He pulled out the gun and shot Gary two times in the chest. Gary fell to the ground and then Douglas fired a third shot into his head,” she said in sworn testimony.

In his defence, Douglas, who has lived in Thailand for 28 years, claimed Mr Poretsky had antagonised him by criticising the Vietnam War and Austalia and Thailand’s involvement in it.

He said he left the table and tried to phone his girlfriend and then when he returned to the table Mr Poretsky had again commented on how “Australia and Thailand are tools of America.”

“I pulled out my gun and shot him, but at the time I didn’t know what I was doing,” he claimed.

Chief Justice Chayut told Douglas, “Thai law states that for murder the penalty is death, or between 15 and 25 years imprisonment. However, when he asked for a sentencing recommendation from Chiang Mai Provincial Public Prosecutor, Sonthaya Kruewate, the reply was “four years.”

Douglas was sentenced to four years imprisonment for murder, one year for having an unregistered firearm and a further six months for carrying a firearm in public.

Because of his guilty plea all sentences were reduced by 50 per cent. With time already served he will be eligible for release in December 2010.

Courtesy of this site

Follow-up with Murderers picture can be found here

Taxi Cab “Victim” RYAN FOTH Calls Me a Liar and Asks Me to Remove My Blogs

I wrote about my encounter with Taxi Cab Victim Ryan Foth  a couple weeks ago over here, and followed it up here.

Foth just left the following comment here, basically calling me a liar and telling me I had never encountered him that night as well as requesting me to take down my blogs about the incident:

ID BE REALLY HAPPY IF YOU REMOVE YOUR BLOGS PERTAINING MYSELF-THANKYOU- I DONT KNOW YOU AND IT IS A FARSE THAT YOU MET ME AFTER THE ACCIDENT ..IM AM JUST A REGULAR GUY LIKE YOURSELF IM SURE…PLEASE RESPECT MY WISHES..
ALOHA
RYAN FOTH

My reply:

Damon – That’s Bullshit! I talked to you for a few moments at the Monarch while I was waiting for pizza. Your story is just getting less credible by the day.

It sure seems funny that this guy is getting his panties all tied up in a knot.

How the hell would I know:

“The buggah was getting drunk and trying to hit on some Japanese tourists and exploiting what had happened to him just earlier that day in an attempt at what I felt, was an attempt to get sympathy from the Japanese tourists. “

If I hadn’t met up with him while waiting for my pizza?

I kind of thought his self proclaiming love of Japanese girls kind of hillarious though:

I love japanesse girls and I’ve always been that way ,GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT”

So to you Mr. Foth… Sorry my blog bothers you so much.  If you don’t want to read it, you don’t have to.

I certainly didn’t ever expect you to be reading it.

Take it down… Sorry Buddy… Especially after you have now called me a liar.

State Probing AIG

Yesterday I mentioned AIG in Hawaii might be in trouble.

Well the State is looking into things now:

State Insurance Commissioner J.P. Schmidt has requested information from the local unit of American International Group Inc. as financial turmoil swirled about Wall Street and AIG mounted a frenzied effort to raise more cash….

AIG Hawaii is the state’s third-largest automobile insurer and also provides homeowners’ and life insurance here

A collapse of this company could really spell lots of trouble.

$.20 Cent Plastic Bag Fee to Go Before Voters…Not Here of Course

Here in Hawaii, we are constantly letting our politicians make our laws for us without much community input on things.

Recently, the council passed the Plastic Ban without much thinking about the actual law as it is wrote.

Technically, stores could sell Plastic Bags right at the counter for a penny and then allow the customer to use that bag as their own bag…

Well in Seattle, the people are getting a voice in this plastic bag issue.

“…Foes of a 20-cent bag fee for paper and plastic bags in Seattle have collected enough signatures to place the issue on the city ballot next year. That means the fee won’t take effect on Jan. 1….

…Seattle voters will likely get their say next August, unless the Seattle City Council sets an earlier vote…”

I always thought that if stores here in Hawaii started to charge say $1.00  per bag, that people would soon wake up and start bringing in their own bags soon enough.

Let the people decide.  I bet within three years this recent Hawaii County Ban gets looked at again or the law’s re-written.

Kamakoa Scaled Back

I don’t live on the Kona side of the island and I only briefly scan the West Hawaii Today Newspaper.

Aaron Stene made a comment on my blog that pretty much shuts me up on this whole Kamakoa project thing.

I see now from reading the article that he commented about, that the Kamakoa Project has been scaled back.

In the article, Craig Dougall wrote:

“Even well qualified candidates for Kamakoa at Waikoloa are adopting a wait-and-see attitude toward major purchases,” Dougall wrote in a letter to housing managers. “Overall economic indicators do not yet suggest an end to the current recession, which has been particularly severe on the housing markets.”

Craig Dougall, chief executive officer of the workforce housing, did make an interesting comment on my blog the other day:

…It becomes a government decision whether to address this imbalance, in order to support those workers who are now faced with inordinately long commutes from areas of more affordable housing, to their employment…