Commentary: Puna’s March On HELCO – Petition Circulating

A Press Release sent to me by Barb Cuttance:

Between 10am and noon on Monday, August 19, marchers will deliver a petition to Helco that states, “We want Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO) to stop its contract for new geothermal development on the Island of Hawaii, because the contract was excluded from the utility company’s recent public planning effort, and previous geothermal sites on this island have been notoriously unsafe, unclean, and poorly regulated.” http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/save-pohoiki-keep-puna?source=c.fwd&r_by=8149635

HELCO Petition

HELCO’s CEO Jay Ignacio stated several weeks ago at a public meeting in Hilo, that HELCO would soon be deciding in late August or September which geothermal development company would receive a contract for geothermal power as a result of the recent Request For Proposal (RFP). HELCO did not consult with the community prior to the RFP about any proposed expansion of geothermal in Puna.

On March 13 this year, the community was once again exposed to toxic emissions from PGV after HELCO went off line and caused PGV to vent H2S into the community. People in the area reported feeling ill shortly afterwards and fish in nearby ponds died. Since the PGV plant opened in 1989, there has been 70 separate toxic emissions into the community. A blowout in 1991 lasted for over 30 hours causing evacuations. After the 1991 thirty hour emergency, animals were found dead. There have also been 18 Civil Defense declared emergencies at PGV. Some people believe they are suffering ill heath because of all these emissions.

Puna Pono Alliance president Bob Petricci said, “We question the effectiveness of having a planning process when HELCO issues an RFP, and the contract to build another 50 mega watts of geothermal power is awarded before the planning process is complete. A robust planning process would ensure the community is consulted prior to any contract being awarded”.

According to the march organizer Steve Sparks, “There seems to be strong community support for the March. The concept has really inspired the community with many people likely to join along the way”.

The March on HELCO will start at 10:00 am on Saturday, August 17th in front of Pahoa High School.  On the last day of the March,  Monday, August 19th at 10:00 am the March will move toward the HELCO Offices at Kilauea Avenue in Hilo where the petition will be presented to Mr Ignacio.

Pahoa Japanese Community Association, Friends and Guests Celebrate 50th Anniversary

The Pahoa YBA Hall was filled with more than 130 current and former Pahoa Nikkei Jin Kai (Japanese community association) members, friends and guests to commemorate the official incorporation of the organization in 1963.

Pahoa Nissei

(seated) Fusae Arakawa, Chieko Sugimoto, Masami Ohara, Hisae Campbell, Doris Kuwahara; (second row) Albert Nishimura, Lefty Kawazoe, Kay Kawazoe, Yukio Yamamoto, Tomiye Kukino; and (standing) Sueko Arakawa, Mitsuo Miyatake, Stanley Oishi, Bernice Tanioka, Julie Uyeki, Jack Oshita, Kikuko Kuwahara and Sumiko Miyamoto

The earliest known organization – Pahoa Nihonjin Kai – was formed circa 1904 by the early Japanese immigrants who settled in Pahoa to work on the sugar plantations. Many started their own businesses and Pahoa Village became a thriving center of commerce. During World War II, the name was changed to Pahoa Zairyumin Kai( Pahoa Resident’s Association). The organization formally incorporated in 1963.

Pahoa Nikkei Jin Kai presently continues to perpetuate the goals and culture of the early forefathers and support the Japanese and Pahoa community with a variety of projects. They conduct the annual bon dance, they prepare mochi for the new year (mochi tsuki), they maintain the YBA Hall – currently used by the Big Island Boys and Girls Club for daytime youth activities – and they maintain the Pahoa Japanese Cemetery located above Pahoa town.

Current leadership includes president Craig Shimoda and officers Jason Hashimoto, Marilyn Sato, and Janet Watarida. Past presidents Stanley Oishi, Glenn Watarida and Robert Sugihara serve as advisors.

Among activities during the 50th anniversary celebration were plantation days games, identification of old photographs in the Lyman Museum collection, and honoring members 80 years of age and older (keirosha).

Part of the program included remarks from State Senator Russell Ruderman and State Representative Faye Hanohano, who were present, as well as a message from Governor Neil Abercrombie read by his Hawaii Island representative Wendy Botelho-Cortez. Messages were read from U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono, U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa and Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi.

“We had so much fun,” said long-time member Marilyn Sato. “Friends got re-acquainted. Everyone enjoyed the displays. My favorite moment was seeing Albert Nishimura wear a crown for winning the jun ken po competition.”

For further information on Pahoa’s early history, Hiroo Sato’s book Pahoa Yesterday can be obtained by calling Craig Shimoda at 430-6497.

Results and Analysis of Hawaii Police Departments 2013 Community Satisfaction Survey

The analysis of the results of the Hawaiʻi Police Department’s 2013 Community Satisfaction Survey and the police chief’s responses to the public’s most common individual comments are available for inspection on the Police Department’s website.

HPDBadge
Chief Harry S. Kubojiri said he appreciates the time community members took to participate in the survey, which ran in May.

“We particularly thank participants for their individual comments, as these will serve to strengthen our department by pointing out ways we can better deliver our services and by highlighting issues that we might not have considered,” Kubojiri said. “We are ever mindful that our department’s effectiveness is ultimately determined by the confidence and cooperation of the community we serve.”

On the Community Satisfaction Survey page of the department’s website, the public can find links to the survey summary, an analysis of the responses to multiple-choice questions, and Chief Kubojiri’s responses to the most Frequently Asked Questions raised in the survey by individual comments.

(The following Analysis was provided by the Police Department)

Overall Survey Results

  • Overall, positive responses to survey questions outnumbered negative responses in all questions but one. For that question (“I am satisfied in the way the Hawaiʻi Police Department responds to crime in my community”), 34.4 percent of participants had a positive response while 41.6 percent had a negative response. Those figures are still better than they were in 2010, when 32.2 percent of participants gave a positive response to the same question and 41.8 percent gave it a negative response.
  • Positive responses about police personnel improved overall compared with the previous survey conducted in 2010. This is the case despite respondents giving lower positive responses to the questions “The island of Hawaiʻi is a safe place to live” (down 6.9 percent) and “The island of Hawaiʻi is a safe place to visit” (down 3.9 percent.)
  • Satisfaction with civilians ranked higher than satisfaction with sworn officers in every category.

Police Officer Contact

  • When it came to questions about contact with a police officer, positive responses improved this year for every question except “The officer(s) I had contact with made me feel comfortable,” which remained the same as in the 2010 survey (50.5 percent). The largest improvement for police officers (up 4.1 percent) was in response to the question “The officer(s) I had contact with demonstrated integrity” (53.3 percent). The highest positive response was to the question “The officer(s) I had contact with demonstrated professionalism” (59.0 percent). The lowest positive response about officers was to the question “The officer(s) I had contact with helped resolve my situation” (35.7 percent), but it was still 2.8 percent more positive than in 2010
  • Negative responses about contact with police officers were less negative than in 2010 in all but three questions. Those were “The officer(s) I had contact with demonstrated integrity (22 percent gave a negative response compared with 21 percent in 2010), “The officer(s) I had contact with paid attention to details (28.1 percent gave a negative response compared with 24.3 percent in 2010) and “The officer(s) I had contact with made me feel comfortable (27.5 percent gave a negative response compared with 26.3 percent in 2010.)

Contact with Civilian Employees

  • When it came to questions about contact with a civilian employee, positive responses improved this year for every question. The largest improvement (up 10.9 percent) was in response to the question “The civilian(s) I had contact with paid attention to details” (69.3 percent). The highest positive response was to the question “The civilian(s) I had contact with expressed interest in helping me” (74.9 percent). The lowest positive response about civilian employees was to the question “The civilian(s) I had contact with showed concern for my safety” (48.8 percent) but it was still 8.0 percent more positive than it was in 2010.
  •  Negative responses about contact with civilian employees were less negative than in 2010 in all but four questions. Those were “The civilian(s) I had contact with expressed interest in helping me” (13.0 gave a negative response compared with 12.2 in 2010), “The civilian(s) I had contact with paid attention to details” (13.6 percent gave a negative response compared with 13.4 percent in 2010), “The civilian(s) I had contact with made me feel comfortable” (13.0 percent gave a negative response compared with 12.5 percent in 2010) and “The civilian(s) I had contact with helped resolve my situation (16.3 percent gave a negative response compared with 16.1 percent in 2010).

Overall Satisfaction with the Police Department

  • Positive responses about overall comfort/satisfaction with the Police Department improved in every category. The largest improvement, which was also the highest positive response in this category, was to the question “I am comfortable contacting the Hawaiʻi Police Department to report a crime” (70.5 percent compared with 63.8 percent in 2010). The lowest positive response in this category was to the question “I am satisfied in the way the Hawaiʻi Police Department responds to crime in my community” (34.4 percent) but it was still 2.2 percent more positive than in 2010.
  • Negative responses about overall comfort/satisfaction with the Police Department were less negative than in 2010 in all questions but two. Those were “I am confident in the ability of the Hawaiʻi Police Department to serve my needs (35 percent gave a negative response compared with 31.3 percent in 2010) and “I believe the Hawaiʻi Police Department does a good job in keeping the island of Hawai‘i Safe (29.8 percent gave a negative response compared with 27.7 percent in 2010).

Individual Comments

  • The final open-ended comments block was answered by 452 persons. From the most common comments, the Police Department created Frequently Asked Questions with responses from the chief.

(See link to the Frequently Asked Questions and the chief’s responses from the 2013 survey.)

 

 

Neighborhood Place of Puna Holding Another Car Wash

The Neighborhood Place of Puna will be holding a car wash on Saturday, August 24th at the Ohana Fuels location at  Puainako (Minit Stop), from 9 am – noon.

Puainako Minit Stop

Neighborhood Place of Puna’s goal is to ensure that families have access to the resources and skills they need to raise safe and healthy children.

All donations received will go to help East Hawaii families.

Additionally, a portion of every sale of Ohana Fuels gas, between July and September 30th, will be donated to Neighborhood Place of Puna.

Mahalo to Ohana Fuels for their support of healthy and safe East Hawaii families.