Councilwoman Wille’s Thoughts on Upcoming Hawaii County Council Legislation

Councilwoman Maragaret Wille sent out the following regarding her thoughts on some of the upcoming County Council legislation:

Councilwoman Margaret Wille

Councilwoman Margaret Wille

Re: Affordable Housing:

Tuesday August 20th at 9:45 am – Communication 310.1-Bill 89 – Amends the Code concerning the County Housing Agency to remove the members of the Council as the members of the Housing Agency and replace them with the appointment of a Housing Administrator.  This is likely a good idea.

MW Amendment: I submitted an amendment, which would modify the purpose of this agency. My amendment to the bill, Comm. 310.1, requires that when selecting locations for affordable housing, the agency take into consideration the availability of water and other resources, as well as the availability of transportation options. I also propose that the priority of this agency be to provide transitional shelter and rental housing, and make providing single-family homes a lower priority (single family homes are far more expensive to the taxpayers and can be made available to far fewer of those in need of shelter).

Re: Cost of Bus Passes 

Tuesday August 20th at 10:00 am – Comm. 376 – Bill 108:

MW Bill: I am proposing to amend the island-wide bus fares to include a yearly pass of unlimited rides at a much reduced cost for all rider classifications (relative to both individual fares and the rate for monthly passes): $350  a year for students, persons with a disability or seniors (60+) and $500 a year for all others.

Re: “Unsafe Flora”    

Tuesday August 20th at 1:00 pm – Comm. 246.7 – Bill 64 – amends the code relating to clearing occupied and unoccupied lots containing so-called “unsafe flora”.

The bill from, Council Member Zendo Kern, provides options through the County to property owners that are impacted by unsafe flora on occupied or unoccupied properties adjacent to or abutting their properties. Currently individuals must seek relief in the civil courts, which is lengthy and costly.

MW Amendment: My amendment to the bill, Comm. 246.7, adds language to clarify that (1) the hazard must be a clear and present danger, (2) that the County  shall take into consideration whether a complaining party contributed to the degree of danger (such as by building by a tree lined property line);  and (3) that in cases where the potential hazard only involves private property, the County may require that the complaining party deposit with the County the estimated expense of clearing the affected area.

Re: Ag Home Rule

Wednesday August 21st at 9:00 am – Resolution 156 –

MW Resolution: My resolution requests the 2014 Hawai‘i State Association of Counties to include a Bill relating to County home rule on agricultural issues be sent to the State Legislature. [Last year there was an effort to gut the County’s home rule statute with regard to all matters to do with health and wellbeing – including matters concerning agriculture. I testified in opposition to this bill, which although it passed in the Senate with only one senator in opposition, was defeated in the House. The Counties must stand up for home rule… Or, do you want an ocean between you and the first layer of government on matters of agriculture, health and wellbeing?

Re: High Stakes Bingo     

Wednesday August 21st at 9:00 am – Resolution 158 –

MW Resolution: My resolution requests the 2014 Hawai‘i State Association of Counties to include a Bill allowing high stakes bingo as a new revenue source be sent to the State Legislature. I am committed to finding ways to make life more affordable on this island, and stop the spiraling up of property taxes and registration fees. Whereas casino level gambling brings along many social ills, high-stakes bingo is for lesser jackpots and often is housed in multi-purpose buildings.  This is not to say there are not real concerns about introducing any forms of gaming, so if you have alternative ideas as to how we can address our severe revenue needs, please come testify.

Other legislation of interest

Re: Ag Tourism

Tuesday August 20th at 2:00 pm – Comm. 368 – Bill 104 –The bill from Council Member Zendo Kern adds and clarifies definitions, guidelines, procedures and types of use for “major” and “minor” agricultural tourism activities and sets forth specific regulations for each. This purpose of this bill is to promote more ag tourism by adding a new classification, with fewer requirements, for “minor” ag tourism operations.

While I am supportive of promoting ag tourism, I do not want to do so without addressing neighboring property owner’s concerns relating to how these changes will adversely affect the quality of life in their neighborhood.  For example, we need to prevent traffic congestion and ensure adequate parking.

Re: Revised Bill 79 (GMO)

MW Bill: Scheduled for the next council committee meeting, on September 4th 9 a.m. in Hilo. Testimony on the revision of my GMO Bill 79(to restrict the cultivation of genetically modified crop) is expected to be heard the afternoon of September 4th. Public testimony is welcome. (Councilmember Brenda Ford may also submit her own GMO bill)

Puna Man Arrested for Murder of His Missing Wife in 2008

Hawaiʻi Island police have arrested a 44-year-old Puna man in connection with a Grand Jury indictment for the murder of his wife.

Alexander Gambsky

Alexander Gambsky

Alexander Gambsky was arrested at 4 p.m. Thursday in Kurtistown.

Dawn Gambsky, then 34, was reported missing by friends in July of 2008. At that point, she had not been seen for at least six months. As part of the investigation into her disappearance, detectives executed a search warrant on August 8, 2008, at the property she occupied with her husband. After serving the search warrant at the property on 37th Avenue in Orchidland Estates, investigators located what they believed to be a potential burial site. The following day, an excavation of the suspected grave was conducted and, as a result, detectives unearthed skeletal remains suspected as being that of the missing woman. On August 12, 2008, an autopsy performed on the remains indicated that there were traumatic injuries present. The autopsy further found no indication that the victim died as a result of natural causes. She was identified through dental records as Dawn K. Gambsky also known as Dawn K. Mancilla.

In May 2009, detectives reclassified the case from a coroners inquest to a murder and forwarded their findings to county prosecutors. On Wednesday (August 14), a Grand Jury indicted Gambsky on one count of second-degree murder.

At 2:50 p.m. Thursday, police received a warrant for his arrest and then picked him up at his home. His bail was set at $1 million.
Police ask that anyone with information about this case contact Detective Wendall Carter at 961-2378 or wcarter@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

 

Two Bodies Found Inside Hilo House That Caught on Fire

Hawaii County Fire Department responded to a fire located at 917 Wainaku Street in Hilo.

917

Upon arrival, Hawaii Police Department were on the scene of a single family dwelling fully involved in fire with the roof partially collapsed.

Per Hawaii Police Department there were possible occupants in the residence.  The fire was extinguished and a salvage and overhaul operations  was conducted.

Hawaii Fire Department personnel found two fatalities within the structure.   The scene was turned over to  Fire Investigators and Hawaii Police Department for investigation.

 

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 21-Year Old Kea’au Woman

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 21-year-old Keaʻau woman, who was reported missing.

Nina Sabahi

Nina Sabahi

Nina Sabahi’s relatives have not heard from her in more than a month and are concerned about her health and welfare. She is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-6, 125 pounds with blue eyes and dark brown hair.

Police ask that anyone with information on her whereabouts call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.