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Medicinal Marijuana Lawsuit Only Includes 9 People

So finally the local newspaper(s) picked up on the story that the county of Hawaii was being sued by a medicinal marijuana user that I initially confirmed by the mayors office almost 2 weeks ago.

Of course… our newspaper has an apparent fact wrong:

…Michael Ruggles, 53, has filed a civil lawsuit against the county, seeking $4.5 million for “monetary damages and personal duress.” His lawsuit names 10 county officials, but Ruggles lays special blame at the feet of former vice officer John Weber…

From the paperwork I saw… it’s only 9 people total.

This makes sense to me as each county employee is insured up to $500,000.

Nine employees times $500,000 equals $4.5 Million if my numbers are correct.

Some folks have said… geez, why sue the county when the county is broke?  Well, each county employee is insured for acts that are covered by their lack of county protocol for up to $500,000.

Sounds to me like there was a lack of protocol and Mr. Ruggles is allowed his day in court to prove that.

I have known Mike on and off for the last decade or so as we were both elected as Student Governor Senators for HawCC and he is one of the most honest guys I know.

I know he has arthritis and gout, I know, that he has a card for smoking dope, and I also think I know him well enough to know that he wouldn’t do something stupid to put his life in jeopardy.

I truly think that Mr. Ruggles has every right to sue the county for what he is suing them for.

If our police can’t abide by the rules and protect law abiding citizens… who should we turn to?

Fred Blas – “Puna Panthers Undefeated… Next Home Game This Wednesday May 5th”

I just got an update on the Puna Panthers Pop Warner football program:

Our Puna Panthers ages 10-13, won their 4th game in a row, beating Waiakea at Hilo Bay Front last Sunday.They are now 4-0. Congratulations to the team (since most of these players have never played football before). Let’s support our Pahoa High School Volleyball Team–they are playing their first playoff game this Wed, May 5th, 6pm at Pahoa High School. Go Daggers.

Fred Blas,
Hawaiian Beaches Action Team

`O`oma Reminder: Petitions/Hearing/Testimony

Email Circulating:

Attend this week’s State Land Use Commission (LUC) hearing
Wednesday, May 5th, 10:00am, King Kamehameha Hotel)
regarding a development company’s request
to change coastal `O`oma’s* Conservation classification to Urban.

This week — Help protect coastal Conservation land and public shoreline access!!

  • Pack this Wednesday’s State Land Use Commission (LUC hearing).
  • Provide great testimony to the LUC.
  • Convince the LUC that it’s the right thing to do to vote in favor of keeping `O`oma’s Conservation Classification.

Monday, May 3

Return petitions** to palmtree7@earthlink.net today; or make a copy of each page and give them to Kohanaiki Ohana rep. Rebecca Villegas at the Wednesday hearing.
[If you have a blank copy of the petition to circulate after today, please continue to circulate it until such time as a LUC decision is rendered***.]

Tuesday, May 4

Sign-waving: 4:00pm, new entrance to Kohanaiki shoreline area at Queen Ka`ahumanu Highway (aka, Shores of Kohanaiki). Bring sign to carry, if possible.
[Please feel free to sign wave at any other location and time that’s convenient for you!!]
Testimony sign-up: Plan to speak on Wednesday in support of protecting `O`oma, and, please let us know if you do plan to testify.
Send testimony to LUC to luc@dbedt.gov if you absolutely can’t make this Wednesday’s hearing.
Wednesday, May 5  — Speak out for `O`oma’s protection!!

What: Continued (from March) hearing regarding `O`oma’s reclassification
Where: King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, conference/ballroom
When: May 5, 10:00am — public testimony begins (and may only be taken until lunchtime, so come early!)
What if we already attended the March 3rd hearing in Waikoloa? Your presence this Wednesday will help show our community’s continued commitment to `O`oma’s protection.
Thursday, May 6th

`O`oma site visit — 11:30am, mile marker 95 on Queen Ka`ahumanu Highway (near the entrance to Kohanaiki/`O`oma). LUC commissioners will have a front-and-center look at the natural, open, coastal land that the community is fighting to save from un-economically feasible, unwanted, unnecessary development. `O`oma’s current owners and County reps will be there. The public is invited. (FYI, No public testimony will be taken on site, but community presence will help best insure that a fair look at the property occurs.)


*Coastal `O`oma is 300 acres makai of the Queen Ka`ahumanu Highway, adjacent and between NELHA and Kohanaiki (aka “Pine Trees”). This is a separate development from next door Kohanaiki’s (temporarily halted and already approved) golf course development.

**There are well over 2400 signatures on the petitions asking to protect `O`oma from reclassification, development, and the impending threat of limited public shoreline access. Senator Josh Green ’s cover letter will go with those petitions, and the huge stack of community names and cover letter will be presented, as one united voice, to LUC commissioners at Wednesday’s hearing.

***The LUC will not be making a decision on `O`oma’s reclassification on Wednesday. However long it takes, all parties are meant to have an opportunity to make their case to the commissioners. The reclassification decision may take several months to make. However, the LUC has promised that the decision-making hearing will be held in Kona. We’ll keep you updated.

Mahalo for your help and commitment to protecting Hawai`i’s natural, open, coastal lands.

The Volcano Art Center

Yesterday I had the opportunity to check out Volcanoes National Park.  One of the things that I got to  do which I hadn’t done before was to check out the Volcano Art Center there.

Our guide Warren Costa from Native Guide Hawaii explains the history of the Art Center

It’s located right next to the visitor center and I highly suggest checking it out.

Here’s a quick slide show of the place.  I’ll be posting a blog soon about my experiences inside the park… but right now I’m still trying to catch up on a few other things.


Sydney Ross Singer… More on the Mangroves


There is urgent news about the case regarding the use of the poison, HABITAT, for mangrove eradication on the Big Island.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has amended the label for HABITAT to prohibit its use in marine or estuarine areas.

EPA did this in response to a risk assessment that was explicit on the need for this label change/prohibition. They informed the registrant (BASF) last August. The poisoning was done months after this prohibition on its use in marine and estuarine areas went into effect.

Basically, this prohibition means no use of this poison is allowed below the high water mark. Mangroves at Wai Opae Marine Life conservation District, Paki Bay, Pohoiki (Isaac Hale Beach Park), and Onekahakaha Beach Park, which have all been targets for this poisoning, are below the high water mark.

The use of poison to kill mangroves is an experiment in finding a cheaper way to eradicate than removal by hand or machinery. Once poisoned, the dead trees are left to rot in place, clearly cheaper than removal, but damaging and blighting the environment and creating a health and safety threat to the public and to endangered species known to frequent the area.

Secondary impacts of using this powerful herbicide in these sensitive shoreline areas were not considered, since no environmental assessment was done for this experiment. Results show that native fish populations dramatically declined following the use of this poison to kill 20 acres of mangroves at Wai Opae Marine Life Conservation District in 2008-2009. That project was funded, in part, by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Malama o Puna must be told to CEASE AND DESIST with this poison experiment with the State’s sensitive shoreline conservation lands. A citizen suit was filed in February because:

  • There was no Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement for this poisoning, in violation of the Hawaii Environmental Policy Act (HEPA);
  • There were no public comments allowed for this poisoning;
  • The use of poison to kill mangrove trees is an admitted experiment, constituting “original research”;
  • The use of poison to kill mangroves degrades water quality and is a public health threat, and no signage has been posted warning the public that the areas has been poisoned;
  • The poison used, an herbicide called Habitat, is not labeled for use on mangroves and is prohibited for use in marine and estuarine areas;
  • Endangered species are known to live in the areas being poisoned and are threatened by this use of poison and loss of mangrove habitat. Fish counts are significantly lower since the poisoning;
  • The mangroves being poisoned are not being removed from the area and are being left in place to rot, creating a blighted landscape, a public nuisance, and water quality degradation;
  • There are numerous governmental agencies that have partnered in this project and have allowed it to proceed without statutorily required permits, such as a Conservation District Use Permit and SMA Major permit;

There was no other way to stop this poisoning than to bring suit.

The lawsuit was removed from the State Circuit Court of the Third Circuit to Federal District Court by the Defendant US Fish and Wildlife, which is funding this mangrove poisoning experiment. The US District Court granted Fish and Wildlife’s request for sovereign immunity, dismissed the federal government, and remanded the case back to the State Third Circuit Court.

To see the EPA amendment to the Habitat label prohibiting its use in marine areas, go to: http://oaspub.epa.gov/pestlabl/ppls.srchreslt?CompNum=000241&ProdNum=00426 Click the item for August, 25, 2009.

For more information about the lawsuit, with pictures, go to www.MangroveLawsuit.com.

Sydney Ross Singer