Public Notice – New Hours for Front Desk Processing of Permit Applications at the Building Division

The Department of Public Works Building Division announces new hours for processing permit applications at the front desks of Hilo and Kona offices effective October 1.  This change only affects applications requiring front desk clerical assistance.

The new hours will be 7:45 AM to 3:30 PM Monday – Friday, except Wednesday (Hilo) and Thursday (Kona).

Hilo:    7:45 AM – 3:30 PM and Wednesday 7:45 AM to noon

Kona:  7:45 AM-3:30 PM and Thursday 7:45 AM to noon

The office remains available to service code questions, plan review consultation, drop-off of plans and pick-up of plans/permits.

This recent change will allow the permit staff uninterrupted time for processing permit applications.

For applicant convenience, permit applications may be submitted online at anytime 24-hrs/7-days through the County web site at

Public computers within the Hilo and Kona Building Division Offices are also available to create online permit applications.

For more information on becoming an online user is click below:

Click for more information

Department of Public Works Hawaii Starts Tweeting

I just noticed that the Department of Public Works Hawaii has started a twitter account and is tweeting road work being done on Hawaii County roads.

A quick look at their first few tweets looks like this:

Public Works HI
dpwhi Public Works HI
Delays on Palani Road at the Henry Street Intersection on Friday. Helco crews are working in the area.
Public Works HI
dpwhi Public Works HI
The road closure at Kamakaeha is part of the offsite improvements to the Ane Keohokalole hwy, also known as the mid-level road.
Public Works HI
dpwhi Public Works HI
Closure of Kamakaeha Street expected to last from Monday, Feb 14 to March 7, 2011.
Public Works HI
dpwhi Public Works HI
Motorists are asked to use Makala Blvd. to go to Makalapua Center due to to the closure of Kamakaeha between Makala Blvd and Palani Road.

You can check out their twitter feed here: Department of Public Works Hawaii

Mayor Kenoi Names Deputies in Three Departments

From the Mayor’s Office:

County of Hawai‘i Mayor Billy Kenoi has announced the appointments of three deputies to key posts in the Department of Public Works, Department of Environmental Management and the Office of Housing and Community Development.

Former Deputy Corporation Counsel Brandon Gonzalez has been appointed deputy director of the County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works, Mayor Kenoi announced.

Gonzalez, 36, will work on strategic planning, formulation of the fiscal year 2011-12 budget and implementation of recommendations of recent audits.

Gonzalez worked as deputy corporation counsel from 2003 until this year. His responsibilities included defending the county in civil lawsuits; advising the Windward and Leeward Planning Commissions on legal matters; and assisting with collective bargaining. Gonzalez previously worked as a deputy prosecutor for the City & County of Honolulu.

“Brandon is an important addition to the Public Works team,” said Public Works Director Warren Lee. “His legal background and his experience in planning and collective bargaining issues will help the department more quickly reach its key goals.”

Gonzalez is also vice president of the East Hawai‘i Bar Association, and is a member of the board of the Friends of the Children’s Justice Center of East Hawai‘i.

Mayor Kenoi also announced the appointment of Hunter Bishop, 59, as deputy director of the County Department of Environmental Management.

Hunter Bishop and Mayor Kenoi

Bishop was formerly executive assistant to the mayor, and has worked on projects that include planning and coordinating anti-dumping education and enforcement efforts that involve community groups, the Department of Environmental Management, police and prosecutors.

“Our county Department of Environmental Management faces many challenges in keeping Hawai‘i Island clean and healthy at a time of limited funding,” said Mayor Kenoi. “One of the department’s most important tasks is finding ways to reach out to residents to remind them of the importance of waste reduction, conservation and recycling. Hunter has many years of experience in communications and a passion for environmental protection, and I am pleased he is joining DEM Director Frank DeMarco and his staff in managing our island’s wastewater and solid waste disposal operations.”

Bishop has a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Temple University, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1970. He also has 27 years experience in journalism.

Mayor Kenoi also announced the appointment of Niniau Simmons as assistant Housing Administrator in the Office of Housing and Community Development.

Simmons is the former chief operations and finance officer for Hui Malama Ola Na ‘Oiwi, a health care system with offices across the island. Most recently she served as executive director of the state King Kamehameha Day Celebration Commission, and was assistant director of Hale Kuamo‘o, which is the Hawaiian language center within Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikolani, the College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

She is a Harry S. Truman Scholar (2000), and has a bachelor’s degree in political science from University of Hawai‘i at Hilo.

“I am very pleased Niniau has agreed to join our team at the Office of Housing and Community Development,” Mayor Kenoi said. “Her leadership skills and experience in both the government and non-profit sectors will be important assets for the department.”

Kaiwiki Bridge Slated for Repair… South Hilo Residents in Area be PREPARED!

From the Mayors Office:

The Department of Public Works is scheduled to replace wooden planks, stringers and resurface 50 feet of roadway on upper Kaiwiki Homestead Bridge in South Hilo.

Bridge repairs will be conducted weekdays between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. from Wednesday, September 15 to Monday, October 4. Pedestrians, however, may use the bridge between noon and 1 p.m. The bridge will reopen to all vehicles and pedestrians after 3:30 p.m. and remain open weekends and holidays.

Jas W. Glover, Ltd., contractor for the $152,000 project, began work on September 13. Completion is scheduled by the third week of October, weather permitting.

ADA Projects Underway for the Puna Area

The Department of Public Works has provided a map of projects that are either underway or planned for the Puna District.  You can see it by clicking  here: Puna

Among the future/in planning projects are Traffic Controls for the district that would be ADA Compliant.

My question is… when they say future does this mean any time soon… or does this mean in 20 – 30 years… or possibly not at all?

My Interview With ESPN Talk Radio About the Blackballing Incident


@joshontheradio was kind enough to allow me a few minutes on ESPN Talk Radio the other day on his sports show that is broadcast throughout the Big Island.

On today’s episode, we talk about the USA Amateur Boxing event with Anthony Pagan and his boxers, the DPW/Bis Island Blog controversy with Damon Tucker of Damon Tuckers Blog, our Sport Up! Spotlight with Lyle Crozier, including questions on the future of the BIIF, and we go Running with the Big Dog, Wayne Joseph!

“Never Doubt That A Small Group of Thoughtful, Committed Citizens Can Change The World” by Margaret Mead


Aaron Stene, of the Kona Blog,  had a pre-recorded interview that was on the following day that you can listen to here 3/12/09.

Department of Public Works Spokesperson Noelani Whittington’s INFAMOUS Memo(s) BLACKBALLING Me, Aaron and Dave

Kudos to Aaron for posting the following memo’s from Noelani Whittington at the Department of Public Works regarding the Blackballing of Aaron, Dave and Myself.

There are three separate documents.  I separated each of them by lines.

And once again, before reading this… REMEMBER… I HAVE NEVER CONTACTED THE DPW FOR ANYTHING IN MY LIFE!  If there is a public record of me Emailing them as Noelani Claims… I’d really love to see this.  Just another fabrication as I have never called or emailed that office!

And by the way Noelani… My blog is called “Damon Tucker’s Weblog”.  The “Hawaii Blog” is another blog on another island.  Get your blogs straight before you start Blackballing them at least!


Policy for procedures for Citizen Journalists

Avoid a citizen journalist?

Citizen journalists are a new breed of bloggers who use the internet to express their opinions about DPW projects.  They are not journalists.  They write what they think

Blogging reaches 120 million viewers daily.

These individuals are Aaron Stene and Damon Tucker. Their e-mail addresses are or

Their blogs are: Kona blog, Poinography, Puna Web, and Hawaii Blog

How do we identify them?

They contact us by e-mail using their e-mail addresses. Rarely do they call us.

They never identify or consider themselves as a “citizen journalist.”

Procedure to handle a Citizen Journalist

1. Stop. Do not give out information.

2.      Refer their e-mail inquiries to the Public Information office.

3.      Insert this message, “please contact our public information office at 557-6437 or by e-mail at”

They will ask for information about:

  • Palani Road-why the delays? Mamalahoa by-pass-the Coupe case, opening the entire by-pass, Grace Church moving the utility poles and why the delay?
  • Traffic in Puna, anything about Puna and DPW

Issued: November 16, 2008


Policy and Procedure for Photographers or Videographers on County property

Procedure for filming at base yards and at road projects

1)     Stop them.

2)     Ask them to follow you to your office, or to your car

3)     Call 557-6437.  Public Information will take over from here.

Who should know about this procedure? Supervisors and front desk staff,


1)     Photographers or Videographers must be accompanied by someone from the Public Information office.

2)     Public Information will check their credentials and verify their assignment with their respective boss.

3)     Public Information limits their access to a specific area and respects the privacy of the staff not to be filmed

4)     The photographers are: Baron Sekiya for West Hawaii Today; Will from the Tribune Herald-, Daryl Lee, free-lancer for KITV, KGMB, KHNL, KHON, and The Honolulu Advertiser.  Daryl also films for DPW on assignment.

5) NOT PERMITTED is Dave Corrigan for Big Island Video

Internal procedure:

Public Information will:

1)     ask the photographer to stop because of privacy issues with staff

2)      that prior arrangements are made

3)     Inform the division chief of the situation then the DPW director

Issued November 16, 2008

Videographers have a new blog, big island video  Dave Corrigan is the principal behind this operation.


Remember that media lives for a crisis. They will want to keep it going. Try to make it a one-day story. A crisis throws Public Works into an arena of public opinion, where bloggers, citizen journalists, (referred as social media) and traditional media are the judge and the jury, influencing the readers to form opinions.

Procedure to maintain the crisis:

1.       If you or a staff receives the call.

a.       Take the information; name affiliation, (who are you with?) best number to call you.

b.       What is your deadline?

c.       Citizen journalists will not identify themselves.  In this case, take their name and e-mail address.

2.       Staff refers the message immediately to their division chief.

3.       Division chief calls the Director and Public Information Officer (PIO) and provides details of the situation.

4.       Division chiefs, (if more than one division is involved) the DPW director, or other department directors, PIO and individuals involved meet to get the facts, discuss situation and agree on the best course of action.

a. Anyone implicated in the situation are not to speak to the media.

5.       PIO prepares a statement for the media.

6.       A memo may be generated to the staff to inform them of the situation

What’s at stake? Jobs and the reputations of good people are at stake and at the very worst if the situation continues to fester, public opinion could ask for them to step down from their positions.  It is humiliating for anyone to read in the paper, that punishment should include firing the individuals. We can at least try to minimize some of the damage by acting swiftly.

Negative behaviors that won’t help Public Works — Arrogance, no concern. ●Blame shifting ●Inconsistency ●Little or no preparation ● minimize the impact. ●No admission of responsibility

Establish trust

  • Provide advance information.
  • Ask for input from staff and those involved
  • Listen carefully.
  • Demonstrate that you’ve heard, i.e., change your plans.
  • Stay in touch.
  • Speak in plain language.
  • Bring involuntary participants into the decision-making process.
    • Make public acknowledgement and take responsibility.

Illustrate your credibility:

1.       Prepare to talk openly.

2.       Reveal what the public should know, even if they don’t ask.

3.       Explain problems and changes quickly.

4.       Answer all questions, even those that victims wouldn’t think to ask.

5.       Cooperate with the traditional and social media, recognizing that employees and the general public have a higher priority.

6.       Respect and seek to work with employees and opponents.

  1. The Bottom Line: Act Fast

It is often better to act quickly and make mistakes than to fail to act until it’s too late or the action becomes a meaningless gesture. In fact, solving problems and “winning” in crisis situations is a function of speed, of decision making, of action, of reaction, of collaboration, of swiftly applied common sense. Timidity and hesitation are the parents of defeat.

  • Far more is lost by refusing to speak to the media than is risked by doing so.
  • A vacuum of information breeds media hostility and public loss of confidence.
  • The public trust is affected; and something must be done to remediate the situation.
  • Communicate in ways that meet community standards
  • Don’t discuss cause or fault.

I’m a Person Too… So Why Was The Directive Aimed At Me?

Aaron Stene recently submitted a Letter to the Editor to the Big Island Weakly.  I know he didn’t make the headline in the paper… but I got a kick out of it:

Bloggers are people, too
Wednesday, March 4, 2009 10:29 AM HST
I was thoroughly disgusted to find out that the Hawai’i County Department of Public Works had implemented a directive barring any DPW employee from talking to me, Damon Tucker or David Corrigan. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why they did this, since we all have the highest profile blogs on the island.However, it is still perplexing why Damon Tucker, and to a degree, David Corrigan, were included. Damon has had limited contact with the DPW and simply republishes information which is publicly available off of Hawai’i County’s Web site. On the other hand, David Corrigan was included because he filmed the Hawai’i County DPW resurfacing Saddle Road last summer. The latter is the subject of litigation due to someone in the DPW buying asphalt tack coat from Grace Pacific when they had a binding contract to buy it from HMP Inc.

In my opinion, Noelani Whittington tried to control the flow of information about DPW projects with this directive. But instead it turns into a huge blunder on her part. I’m hoping she gets reprimanded for crafting this illogical and illegal directive.

Aaron Stene


Just a quick correction… I HAVE NEVER HAD CONTACT WITH THEM.

I am still running my contest looking for the best explanation to the question of “Why was I targeted in this directive specifically?

“Knowing” on Department of Public Works Blackballing of Bloggers

Me… dropping “judgment bombs“… Nah… NEVER :lol: :roll:

I just noticed the following comment by  “GRANDFATHER Big Island Blogger” Larry at on The Kona Blog about the blackballing of a me and a couple other bloggers here on the Big Island by the Department of Public Works:

Aaron (on DPW worker Noelani Whittington): “…strikes me as person who wants control and is power hungry….”

Damon: “…less than 1500 readers a day on my blog…”

Guys, it’s staring you in the face. Even if we didn’t live on an island, your blogs with hundreds (or thousands) of daily readers are a political issue. Your blogs are probably as widely read — AMONG PEOPLE INTERESTED IN ISLAND POLITICS — as the dailies. And “people interested in island politics” includes, duh, people in the county gov’t. I guarantee that when you guys say something judgmental about county personnel or processes, it’s read by or to the person you’ve judged. And when you say something harsh about something, it stings a lot more than when you say something nice.

Aaron writes more about the road issues on the West Side than anyone; he writes more about it than Stevens Media. That’s an important issue and it involves TENS OF MILLIONS of dollars. Even if Aaron has generally been sympathetic to the challenges faced by the county and contractors, it’s not really a surprise that someone might feel that they don’t want a 30-year-old (happy b’day, Aaron) blogger being the loudest voice on the subject.

Damon posts, what?, 200 articles a day about the fastest-growing district in the island and is not afraid to drop judgment bombs about what is and is not going on. Of course that’s noticed and, again, it’s not surprising that politicians would much prefer the loudest voice on a subject be (a) their own or (b) a newspaper with whose reporters and editorial board they have established a relationship and whose writing reflects the clubby atmosphere of politics-as-usual.

Department of Public Works Blackballing of Bloggers Tied to TMT Project, Saddle Road and the Military?

I can’t do anything but copy and paste this whole article written by Andy Parx over at Got Windmills.

Although Hawai`i County officials claim the blackballing of journalist/bloggers on the Big Island was over before it began one of, if not the main target of the policy says that’s just more shibai.

“I was the one directly targeted by this directive” says Aaron Stene of the Kona Blog in a comment left on yesterday’s column on the subject.

“The troubling aspect of this debacle” he wrote “is the fact the directive seems to be still in effect. I have had a hard time talking to DPW and the county council ever since this directive was released.”

But according to a Big Island source the derivation of the ban may go back to a rather innocuous video posted by Dave Corrigan of the Big Island Video News last August and is apparently related to the controversy over the expansion of the new Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea.and Stene’s campaign in support of it in the face of local and kanaka maoli oppostion.

The video shows the repaving of the “Saddle Road” across the Big Island and is also controversial because opponents of the telescope say it is being done not for the pubic but to enable not just the expansion. of the observatory on what Hawaiians consider sacred land but extensive miliary operations in the area.

That video was followed by a post by Stene in Septembers and many more since arguing with opponents but giving them a platform at his popular blog to oppose the project and claim “a military connection to the science going on on Mauna Kea” and that. “the road is mostly used by contractors and not the general public” among other objections.

According to our source, author of the policy DPW spokeswoman Noelani Whittington was still concerned enough about the original video and apparently the discussion on Stene’s blog to still be bringing it up in conversations in December

Though the connection to the ban may or may not be true, Stene thinks it’s far from over.

In a post yesterday he wrote

“(I)t makes me wonder if Noelani and the DPW had a hidden agenda here…. (I)t seemed this directive was targeted mostly at me. I had by far interfaced with the DPW more often than Damon (Tucker) and David (Corrigan)”.

Those are the other two whose blogs were singled out by Whittington when she banned department personnel from interacting with blogger/journalists on the island.

He continued saying:

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….

There is one more troubling aspect of this debacle. I’ve had a hard talking to DPW, county council ever since this directive was released. Thus it seems in my case I highly doubt this directive has been withdrawn.

But the saddle road may not be the only controversial project Whittington apparently didn’t want publicly debated. Stene concludes by saying

Lastly, it seems there is a lack of communication between the HDOT and DHHL to minimize the impact of the Waimea bypass, according to this WHT article. If there was better communication the concerns of the DHHL homesteaders would’ve been addressed years ago. Thus this much needed highway wouldn’t be delayed once again

As to Tucker his response to the article was a lot more defensive after Whittington’s slight of his and other reporter/bloggers’ professionalism, as was reported in the Hawai`i Tribune Herald article yesterday that broke the story by obtaining Whittington’s six page policy written policy.
In his Open Letter to Department of Public Works Spokeswoman Noelani Whittington, Tucker wrote

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….

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 Mainland1 Year Lay-Out Editor (Hilo)2 Years Reporting (Mainland/Hilo)1 Year Writing Press Releases for the State Legislature…

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.

Unlike Kaua`i the Big Island is awash with on-line reporting and general information blogs with no less than a dozen people with varying degrees of reporting experience from Kona to Hilo posting tons of information and opinion on everything from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Kaua`i on the other hand is, with a few notable exceptions, practically devoid of blogs with original news and political commentary and reporting which, when combined with a sycophantic local newspaper that rarely if ever rocks the boat, may explain why the county can get away with their unwritten rules of non-engagement and their tight-fisted hold on what is, by law, public information.

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…)

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