Rep. Thielen Speaks With the Sierra Club About House Bill 834: Relating to Water Quality Standards

Well it looks like we have another legislator using youtube to get their message across.

Marine water quality standards is the topic of choice this week for a new youtube series called “Legislatures on the Move With Rep. Thielen.

HB834 HD1
Water Quality Standards
Amends state water quality standards for marine waters to conform to federal standards. (HD1)


Representative Cynthia Thielen speaks with Robert Harris, Director of the Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter about opposition to House Bill 834:

Part I:


Part II:


Part III:


Part IV:


Big Island Pre-Season Softball Tournament… Results and Pictures

Tonight was the Big Island Pre-Season Softball Tournament held at Pahoa High School.

Hilo Defeated Ka’u 18-2 in the first game

Fifth District Council Woman Emily Naeole and Head Coach Frank Degele

Fifth District Council Woman Emily Naeole and Head Coach Frank Degele

Pahoa team kicks back before the game

Pahoa team kicks back before the game

Pahoa Coaches Steve Rose, Frank Degele and Tony Cuba

Pahoa Coaches Steve Rose, Frank Degele and Tony Cuba

Hilo team kicks back before the game

Hilo team kicks back before the game

Hilo just barely squeaked by Pahoa 4-3 in the second game of the evening.

Pahoa Coach and Hilo Coach come to the plate

Pahoa Coach and Hilo Coach come to the plate

The game was a close game and although games are normally 7 innings, this one came to an end at 5 innings due to the tournament and time limitations.


Who knows what would have happened if there would have been a couple more innings to play.  It was a great showing by the Pahoa team despite the one point loss.

My Niece Nessa plays her first game

My Niece Nessa plays her first game

There was quite a large crowd by the time 6:00 rolled around and as the game ended due to time restrictions, the girls shook hands.


The night cap game was Waiakea vs. Keaau, but I didn’t stay for that game so I don’t have the results.

Here are some more pictures from today.  Click on Picture for larger view:

BKNYKANAKA – On Department of PUBLIC Works

DJ Orange aka Brooklyn Born Kanaka Maoli aka BKNYKANAKA aka RJ Mendoza (How many AKA’s can one person have?) blogged the following about the Tribunes article today about the Department of Public Works attempt to blackmail bloggers:

RJ writes in “Don’t let them take away your voice

…These bloggers are just everyday people with a penchant for news and writing and a talent for bringing that in well written forms to the public via PERSONAL BLOGS. And I think if the people behind this original directive actually PERUSED the blogs they would find more fact that opinion. (Not making any promises for my blog, though…)

The Kona Blog – Department of PUBLIC Works

Aaron Stene over at The Kona Blog may have been the actual blogger that this whole thing might be stemming from.

He tends to write a lot of letters to the Department of Public Works and had a fairly good relationship with the former director.

Aaron blogs about a phone call Noelani Whittington attempted to have with him:

On a related note, she tried calling me yesterday and tried to kiss my ass by acting all apologetic for doing this. I tried to remain civil even though it was very hard to do so on my part. However I refused to accept her apology for her actions.

Dissappeared News – Department of PUBLIC Works

Larry Geller of Dissapeared News followed up an email I sent him with a blog of his own on this recent revelation that certain people were blackballed by the Department of PUBLIC Works:

I’ve felt that the quality of traditional blogging on the Big Island is also impressive. May a thousand blogs bloom. And may the County learn that cooperation is probably the best policy.

We are all entitled to public information, of course, regardless of the means of conveyance to our computer screens. This requires some adjustment in relationships between government workers and the public. When the phone rings in a government office it could be anyone asking for anything. Until government gets wired to the point where the information is automatically made available, there will be discomfort among those who still believe that their work products are government secrets. The inquirer may be a reporter, a blogger, or just anyone. Each deserves access to public information… “Hawaii County Policy Confirmed, Rescinded

Got Windmills – Department of PUBLIC Works?

Kauai columnist/blogger Andy Parx has an interesting piece on the recent news of the Hawaii County Department of Public Works attempting to “Blackball” me and a couple other bloggers here on the Big Island.  I sure hope there is no connect between the Post Office incident and this.

“Take It From the Pros” writes Parx…

“One thing all of the journalists who are routinely air lifted into Kaua`i quickly find out is that getting information directly from county officials or personnel can’t even be compared to pulling teeth because eventually with enough effort you can get the gums to relinquish a tooth…

…And if you’re a private citizen- phew, forget it. At the end of each phone line is someone to refer you to someone who will refer you to someone else who will eventually refer you back to the one who originally answered the phone who will put you on hold until you just give up…

…But someone on the Big Island forgot to consult the Kaua`i stonewalling pros recently when a six page document landed on the desk of the Hawai`i Tribune Herald “direct(ing) DPW employees to stop filming attempts, not to talk about cause or fault, and to withhold information from so-called ‘citizen journalists’” the paper reported today

…When contacted yesterday apparently in anticipation of being revealed as a liar, in a classic response to being caught red handed told the reporter,

“I wasn’t denying anything on it. I just didn’t know what you were referring to,” Whittington said in a follow-up interview Wednesday.

Whittington said she might have been very busy when first interviewed occurred Feb. 19.

“Sometimes it takes me a minute to focus,” she said…

The incident we reported on twice last December and January where blogger Tucker was harassed by a Big Island police officer for taking a picture of her in public was not cited in the article…

Mayor Kenoi Recommends Jan K. Yokohama to Liquor Adjudication Board

Mayor Kenoi has recommended Jan K. Yokohama to the Hawaii County Liquor Adjudication Board.

Yokohama’s confirmation would take place this coming Monday, March 2nd at the Councilroom in the Ben Franklin Building at 10:30 am.

More here

Mayor Kenoi Recommends Donn S. Mende to County Police Commission

Mayor Kenoi has recommended Donn S. Mende to the Hawaii County Police Commission.

His confirmation would take place this coming Monday, March 2nd at the Councilroom in the Ben Franklin Building at 10:30 am.

More here

Honolulu Department of Emergency Management NOT on Twitter… Yet

Yesterday, I blogged that the Honolulu County Department of Emergency Management was on Twitter.

I have reason to believe, that once again… Twitter users have been duped into “following” a fake twitter account. :evil:

A Twitter friend that would know whether they are on twitter or not, confirmed it with her friend that works there today that it is not a legit twitter account.

@damontucker Honolulu Dept of Emer Mgmt doesn’t know who’s behind the Twitter acct yet; they just got a Google Alert about it today.

Lingle Releases $1,796,000 For Girls Locker Room at McKinley High School

I’ll file this under the holy cow file!

Governor Linda Lingle has released $1,796,000 in design and construction funds for a new girls’ athletic locker room and shower facilities at McKinley High School…

More Here

I don’t even want to think about what a 1.8 Million dollar locker room would look like.

Remember… it wasn’t that long ago that UH Football Players had to bitch and moan just to get soap in the locker rooms from the State.

“From the crusty locker room and the ancient carpet in the coaches’ offices to the lack of soap in the showers, Brennan gave several examples of what needed to be improved.”

Bobby Jean Leithead-Todd Named New Director of the County Department of Planinng

Media Release

Hawai’i County Mayor Billy Kenoi has named Bobby Jean Leithead-Todd as the new director of the county Department of Planning effective March 1, 2009.


Bobby Jean Leithead-Todd

The appointment fills one of the last key slots in the mayor’s cabinet. Kenoi was sworn in as mayor on Dec. 1.

Leithead-Todd, 56, is an attorney with extensive administrative experience and a strong background in planning. She is currently serving as acting deputy planning director.

“Ms. Leithead-Todd has the expertise and the drive to excel in this critical, demanding post,” Kenoi said. “Her family has lived on the Big Island for six generations, and her commitment to our communities, our environment, our people and our heritage make her the perfect choice.”

“She has vast experience with county operations, and is the right person to lead the Planning Department in this challenging time of change and transition,” Kenoi said.

Leithead-Todd grew up in Hilo and Volcano but has roots throughout the island as her parents also lived and worked in Kona, Kohala and Hamakua and her great-grandfather was a paniolo in Puako. She graduated from Hilo High School and from the University of Hawai’i at Hilo with a bachelor’s degree in English literature and a minor in Hawaiian Studies. She attended the William S. Richardson School of Law, where she obtained her law degree in 1986.

Her private law practice has concentrated on family law, and Leithead-Todd also served as deputy corporation counsel for nine years, from 1987-1993 and from 2003-2007. Much of her time as deputy corporation counsel was spent advising and representing the county Planning Department.

Leithead-Todd also served as the Legislative Auditor for the County and as a member of the Hawai’i County Council from 1996 to 2003. She served as director of the county Department of Environmental Management in 2007 and 2008.

“I am honored and humbled to be given this opportunity to shape the future of the island where I was raised, and where I raised my family,” Leithead-Todd said. “I look forward to serving all communities that make up our beautiful island home.”

Leithead-Todd’s long history of volunteer and community service includes stints as president, vice president and treasurer of the Hilo High School PTSA; president and assistant coach of the Keaukaha Canoe Club; chair of the Hawai’i County Board of Ethics; and Vice-President of the Board of the High Technology Development Corporation.

She has six children, including three foster children.

The Planning Department provides technical advice to the Mayor, Planning Commission and County Council on all planning and land use matters. The department is also charged with the administration of the Subdivision and Zoning Codes. The major divisions of the department are: Administrative Services, Ministerial Division, Long-Range Planning Division and Planning Section.

Open Letter to Department of Public Works Spokeswoman Noelani Whittington

Ms. Whittington, thank you for insulting Aaron, Dave and Myself with your little knowledge of our backgrounds in today’s article written by Jason Armstrong in the Tribune Herald.

“In crafting the policy, Whittington said she drew a distinction between bloggers with professional backgrounds and “citizen journalists” lacking that experience.”

I guess you just assume some of us lack experience because we blog in a blogging format and not in the traditional news sense?

Here is just a little of my Experience… Sorry I got out of the field more then a decade ago and switched to Education:

1 Year Advertising Manager on Mainland
1 Year Lay-Out Editor (Hilo)
2 Years Reporting (Mainland/Hilo)
1 Year Writing Press Releases for the State Legislature.

(Five years in media getting paid and 6 months blogging for nothing and now your threatened? I knew I was limited to write what I wanted when working for others… but didn’t realize I could scare county officials by blogging on my own!)

Whittington needs to figure out which bloggers have experience or not before opening her trap… and secondly… what does it matter whether someone has experience or not…It’s public information that you were trying to keep from us bloggers? Give me a break!

Whittington said she might have been very busy when first interviewed occurred Feb. 19. “Sometimes it takes me a minute to focus,” she said.

Geez… Oops!

“When asked how DPW officials now respond to bloggers’ requests for information, Whittington said, “I have no idea.”

I myself have never asked DPW for any information. Any information that I have found on them… was already published. I don’t have some “Deep Throat” working for me at your office lady… get a grip!

I know you don’t know who I am… but had it not been for my father-in-law telling me that you are an OK person (and yes you do know him)… You would have ended up on my Smuck list.

County Parks Getting Hazardous Materials Inspections

Media Release

County Department of Parks and Recreation facilities are being inspected for hazardous materials under a program initiated by the County in July 2008.

The inspections were begun island-wide last year to develop a catalog of information about hazardous materials in department facilities to be used in conjunction with future construction projects. A second purpose is to develop Department-wide hazardous materials management, repair and response procedures.

The County hired three environmental consulting firms in July 2008 to conduct the inspections to identify hazardous materials and other potentially dangerous conditions at more than 220 buildings on 115 County sites maintained by the Parks and Recreation department.

Three contracts totaling $970,822 were assigned to Enviroservices & Training Center LLC, Myounghee Noh & Associates, and ERM Inc. The firms began inspecting County sites in July 2008 and the reports are expected to be completed over the course of the next several months, but no later than July 2009.

In a report already submitted, the former Department of Motor Vehicles building at old Kona Airport was found to have arsenic in old ceiling tiles that could pose a risk. The building was in use at the time by Kealakehe High School Alternative School. County officials notified the state Department of Education and classes were moved to a trailer that the DOE placed on the site.

County employees who could be affected by such conditions in department facilities will be receiving hazardous materials awareness training for the public’s safety and their own.

The Department is asking for the public’s assistance in preventing the release of potentially

hazardous materials by not pounding nails into facility walls and posts, dislodging ceiling tiles, hanging objects from ceilings or taping items to any surfaces of P&R facilities. These are prohibited activities in County parks.

As the consultants’ reports are completed and the Department acts to address conditions of concern over the next several months, additional inconveniences or program disruptions could occur.

“We are asking for the public’s understanding and cooperation while these inspections are being carried out,” said Bob Fitzgerald, County Parks and Recreation director. “Until all the final reports have been received, it is unclear what our overall hazardous materials inventory will be.”

All of the consultants’ master reports, as they are completed, will be kept at the Department of Parks and Recreation’s administrative office and at affected sites. The reports may be reviewed during regular business hours.

Anyone with questions or concerns regarding Parks and Recreation facilities is encouraged to call Director Bob Fitzgerald at 961-8311.

Tribune Herald Six Months Behind… More on the Proposed Ahi Farm

In September I let my readers know about a proposed Ahi Farm that was going to be going up on the Kona Side.

In today’s Tribune Herald, they have mentioned this proposed farm.

Folks… Remember… NEWS is slow around here on the Big Island.

It appears that the tribune even used the same picture that I blogged back in September.


Greg Henkel submitted this great comic that he drew up previously that I also posted:


UH Hilo Radio Show Talks About Damon Tucker Blog and Blogging in General

I just caught the last 15 minutes of RJ Mendoza’s UH Hilo Radio show the “Da Orange Morning Show”

DJ Orange read and commented on the article published today by the Hawaii Tribune Herald that mentioned blackballing me for a short period of time in November.

You can check out UH Hilo’s student run radio station here.

It is nice that UH Hilo finally has a radio station.  I was one of the Student Government Senators that voted to pool $25,000 of Hawaii Community College Students money with UH Hilo Students money to get the initial $50,000 needed for this college station back about 14 years ago.

Nice to see that I’m finally mentioned on the station!  Too bad they didn’t archive their broadcasts or attempt to podcast it so that I could have it stored on my server somewhere.

*UPDATE* “Damon Tucker” Blackballed by the County

*update* The article itself is now available online at the Tribune Herald’s Website here.

I mentioned briefly yesterday, that I thought that a “Gag Order” was placed on county employees from speaking to me and a few other bloggers.

Today’s Hawaii Tribune Herald  confirms that (I will link article as soon as it’s posted online)

The county Department of Public Works has rescinded a recently implemented media policy that sheltered employees from public scrutiny, denied reporters access to road projects and blackballed Internet bloggers.

The 6-page document obtained by the Tribune-Herald directed DPW employees to stop filming attempts, not to talk about cause or fault, and to withhold information from so-called “citizen journalists.”

It said that “anyone implicated in the situation are not to speak to the media,” yet also advised “far more is lost by refusing to speak to the media than is risked by doing do.”

The policy ended when Warren Lee became Public Works director on Dec. 1, said DPW spokeswoman Noelani Whittington said.

“All of this has been rescinded,” she said.

Whittington wrote the policy, which contains her cell phone number and e-mail address, in mid-November. She initially said DPW had not implemented a media policy, then changed her answer after being read exempts from the document.

“I wasn’t denying anything on it. I just didn’t know what you were referring to,” Whittington said in a follow-up interview Wednesday.

Whittington said she might have been very busy when first interviewed occurred Feb. 19.

“Sometimes it takes me a minute to focus,” she said.

In crafting the policy, Whittington said she drew a distinction between bloggers with professional backgrounds and “citizen journalists” lacking that experience.

“It’s a fine line,” she said.

Bloggers often add personal comments to news information, which would be unethical for traditional journalists, including those who do only online reporting.

There was no incident that prompted the policy, but rather a desire to differentiate “new media” from traditional reporters and concern by some employees that they had been filmed for a TV newscast, Whittington said.

The policy specifically instructed DPW employees not to give out information to bloggers Aaron Stene (The Kona Blog) and Damon Tucker (Damon Tucker’s Weblog) and Dave Corrigan of Big Island

“I’m actually kind of angry about it,” Stene said when told the old policy specifically named him. “It just stinks on all levels on this one.”

Stene, who said he gets about 200 hits daily on the blog he started in October 2005, said he suspected a change because it’s been about six weeks since Lee has returned his calls.

“I consider myself somebody that’s trying to get information for the general public,” he said.

Lee could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Tucker said he rarely asks the Department of Public Works for information, opting instead to republish information he gets from other sources.

“I’m honored they even know my blog exists,” Tucker said of comments he’s been posting for about six months.

There is no question this is not an acceptable media policy,” said Hunter Bishop, public relations specialist for Mayor Billy Kenoi.

“It is not in effect. We do not support this policy,” added Bishop, a former Tribune-Herald reporter who authored a popular blog before pulling it voluntarily when he started working for the county in December.

Bishop said he first heard of the DPW policy this week after the Tribune-Herald inquired about it.

“As far as I know, there are no other media policies in the county, but I can’t say that for sure,” he said.

But that status likely will change, Bishop said.

“We are working on a new general media policy for all departments mainly as a result of seeing this,” he said.

That forthcoming policy will call for fair and equal treatment, he said.

It will treat bloggers like any other media or member of the public,” he said.

When asked how DPW officials now respond to bloggers’ requests for information, Whittington said, “I have no idea.”

E-mail Jason Armstrong at