Candidate’s Forum Tonight at Aunty Sally’s Luau Hale

Candidate’s forum tonight, Tuesday July 10th at Aunty Sally’s Luau Hale from 5-9pm. We will have voter registration info, info tables from many different organizations, and light refreshments will be served.

At least 26 candidates have agreed to attend so far, including Wendell Ka’ehu’ae’a, Russell Ruderman, Bob Marx, John Carroll, Lorraine Rodero Inouye, Brittany Smart, Denny Coffman, Harry Kim, Dominic Yagong, Lincoln Ashida, Paul Dolan, Ken Goodenow, James Weatherford, Zendo Kern, Karen Eoff, Chelsea Yagong, and many MORE! Candidates will be making short speeches and will be available for informal talk story sessions. A town hall forum will begin at 7:30. Please bring your questions and a friend! Check this web site for more info

Sponsored by Occupy Hilo, Pele Defense Fund, Puna Pono Alliance, Ohana Ho’opakele, Malu Aina, Aloha Uprising, Na Kupuna Moku o Keawe, Heiau o Lono, Na Koa Lohe o Ke Akua, and MKrug

County Council Candidate James Weatherford on the Geothermal Royalties

The Hawaiʻi County Council is considering legislation to redirect the county’s share of geothermal royalty funds back to their original purpose – addressing community impacts from geothermal development.  James Weatherford, candidate for Hawaiʻi County Council District 4, fully supports this initiative and says Bill 256-12 must be passed.

County Council Candidate James Weatherford

“This is not about being ‘pro’ or ‘anti’ geothermal. This is about responsible government being responsive to community concerns,” Weatherford said in a statement released by his campaign today.

“The incumbent from Puna has had a year-and-a-half to address the concerns of the community in the vicinity of the geothermal plant,” Weatherford added. “Instead of responding to and addressing his constituents’ concerns regarding impacts of geothermal in the community, he has been spending geothermal funds for other purposes. Instead of draining the geothermal royalty fund, I will bring Puna taxpayers’ money back to Puna by doing the work required through the budget process to get capital improvement projects for the district.”

Bill 256-12, introduced by Council Chair and Mayoral Candidate Dominic Yagong, will provide an opportunity for residents now living within one mile of the Puna Geothermal Venture facility to be relocated, and would prevent those properties from being reinhabited via resale or rental. This will start to create a buffer around PGV, where as now, some residents live right next to the geothermal power plant.

In addition to relocation, Bill 256-12 also promotes public health and safety by providing expenditures on health studies, air quality monitoring and real-time public notification of emissions.

Mandated emergency evacuation preparedness is also being considered by the council in a separate measure.

On May 16th, the legislation received a favorable recommendation from the Council’s Agriculture, Water, and Energy Sustainability Committee. Scheduled for June 6th is the first of two more votes needed before being sent to the Mayor for signing into law or veto.

James Weatherford Cleared as “Independent” Council Candidate

Hawai’i County Council candidate James Weatherford of the newly drawn Puna Council District #4 has been certified for full public funding by the State Campaign Spending Commission.

James Weatherford

After gathering the signatures, $5 contributions and early support of 200 registered voters from the district, Weatherford’s campaign was cleared to receive full public funding in the amount of $16,300.00 for the primary race to be decided August 11, 2012.
“This is something important for me that I always share with the people I talk with,” said Weatherford. “The combination of public funding and my non-partisan status makes me independent — from special interest campaign contributors and from political parties. An independent voice is something that Puna needs and has not had for a long time.”

One of the main benefits of public election funding is that candidates can focus on the concerns of voters in the district. Dubbed “the reform that makes all reforms possible” by proponents like Voter-Owned Hawai’i, who successfully lobbied the legislature to enact the program in 2009, the public funding pilot for Hawai’i County Council is in its second of three election cycles. With his qualification for the program, Weatherford’s campaign will be fully-funded for the primary August 11th from the Hawai’i Election Campaign Fund. Revenue for the special fund comes from the voluntary contributions of state income tax payers and the fines paid by violators of campaign spending law.

As a publicly-funded candidate, Weatherford says he “will not accept any private campaign dollars from special interests based on-Island, in Honolulu or beyond.”

Weatherford’s opponent, one-term incumbent Fred Blas, is not using public funding. Typical privately financed campaigns rely on contributions from individuals, businesses and political action committees, either from within or outside the islands, who may each give up to $2000.00 a piece total, as permitted by law, for the the primary and general elections.

Dr. James Weatherford Files Nomination Papers for Hawaii County Council District 4 Seat

Hawaii Paradise Park resident Dr. James Weatherford filed his official nomination papers today to run for Hawaii County Council District 4 seat.

He stated the following on his “Public Facebook site“:

Filed the nomination papers today! At long last.
As of today, Fred Blas and myself are the only candidates to file in District 4.
Also submitted for validation (what is hoped to be) the last of signatures for public funding. Will be back at the Elections Office tomorrow afternoon to confirm that. If I then have the 200 total needed, will proceed with paperwork that will get me certified as a comprehensive public funded candidate. Campaign funds will follow within 10 days. Then, it will be all about campaign visibility.

County Council Candidate James Weatherford on Geothermal Issues in Puna

I received the following commentary from County Council Candidate James Weatherford on geothermal issues in Puna:

Staunchest advocates of geothermal development in Hawaii make a leap of blind faith straight from the obvious – the state’s dependency on imported petroleum – to the not-at-all-obvious – that extensive geothermal development for generation of electricity is the only alternative that will deliver us from the unsustainable status quo: “Geothermal! The only way!”

Staunchest opponents of geothermal development in Hawaii acknowledge zero conditions under which any geothermal development can be acceptable: “No Geothermal! No way!”

In any situation, it is always helpful to find something on which there is wide consensus. In the matter of energy development in Hawaii, there is very wide consensus that the status quo of reliance on imported petroleum is not OK. Nevertheless, it remains unclear how geothermal electricity generation would substantially change that status quo and there has not been sufficient comparison of alternatives to imported petroleum.

The state’s energy data indicate that more than half of the petroleum consumption in Hawaii is for transportation and about one third is for electricity generation. Moreover, sixty percent of the petroleum used to generate electricity is ‘residual fuel oil’ – a low-cost product remaining after refining of jet fuel, gasoline, and diesel fuel from crude oil, and only one percent of this ‘residual fuel oil’ is imported to the state. This low-cost ‘residual fuel oil’ will be with us as long as transportation in Hawaii is reliant on imported petroleum. Without far-reaching changes to the state’s transportation system, geothermal development has only a modest contribution to make in reducing Hawaii’s dependence on petroleum imports. (

It is necessary to fully and fairly compare any and all reasonable alternatives. To do this in the case of replacing imported petroleum in Hawaii requires that all costs and benefits — direct and indirect, private and social, environmental and financial — be fully, fairly, and openly considered for all fuels that can be produced in Hawaii to replace petroleum imports. The distribution, not just the quantity, of costs and benefits must be minded – for example, putting the social and environmental costs on one community or island to provide financial benefit to another is not acceptable. Furthermore, this cost and benefit comparison must include a frank assessment of the risk of reliance on any single energy source versus diversification.

Claims are made that geothermal is “clean”, “safe” and “cheap”. The geothermal experience in Puna does not support these claims.

Because geothermal development in Puna has not been clean and safe, the community has been traumatized from the outset of geothermal development in the district – release of poisonous gasses, evacuations, noise, and degradation of fragile rain forest environment. This trauma is very real and could well result in unreasonable negative perceptions towards any and all geothermal development.

If geothermal energy is indeed low-cost, that financial benefit has not been passed on to electric rate payers on Hawaii Island.

Would-be geothermal developers who do not live near proposed geothermal development sites must not be blind to the grave injustices committed in the past and must acknowledge that the large and growing number of people living in close proximity to the existing geothermal site have legitimate cause for concerns about further geothermal development in their community.

The manner in which geothermal development has taken place in Hawaii thus far is not a model for future geothermal development in Hawaii or anywhere else.

At best, geothermal development in Hawaii since the early 1980’s offers a multitude of lessons learned about how not to proceed in Hawaii or anywhere else. These negative lessons learned include siting of large-scale facilities in very close proximity to residential neighborhoods, absence of meaningful and sustained community consultation and oversight, and release of toxins into the environment on multiple occasions over a long period of time with minimal monitoring.

It is not sufficient to simply point to Iceland or New Zealand or the Philippines or anywhere else and say, “They do it there, so we can do it here.” While there may well be valuable lessons to be learned from experiences of geothermal development in other places, no two places are alike. For example, each proposed geothermal development site must be considered for its uniqueness in terms of economic needs, available options for alternative energy development, social and cultural implications, population density, environmental sensitivity, and geological formation. If further geothermal development is to take place in Hawaii, it must be done specifically and only in terms of what it means in the context of the specific site at which it is proposed.

Geothermal? The only way? No geothermal? No Way?

Definitely no more of the same old way!

Is there another way? To be respectful. To ask. To be grateful.

James Weatherford

Mahalo James Weatherford, Candidate Hawaii County Council – District 5

I received my first ever political campaign check for an “AD on my blog” from James Weatherford a candidate for County Council 5 a few days ago and I just wanted to thank Dr. Weatherford for supporting my blog.

As I told him in a recent receipt:

…Please understand that placing an ad on my site will not prevent me from blogging anything and everything that I so choose to blog about…. whether it has to do with you now… or in the future if elected.

(Sorry Dr. W… This is the only way I know how to really be legit about taking money from ANY CANDIDATE)…

If any other political candidates would like to place an ad on my blog… I will only call it an “Ad”.   I will not call it a “Sponsorship” as some of the sponsors I have on my blog are just that… sponsors of my blog.

The rate is $30.00 per month for the same size as Dr. Weatherford’s ad.

I’d like to thank James for supporting my blog.

If any other candidates wish to place an ad on my blog… feel free to contact me at damontucker @

County Council Candidate James Weatherford Certified for 100 Percent Public Funding

Campaign Release:

Hawaii County Council candidate James Weatherford from Lower Puna has become the first non-incumbent to be guaranteed 100 percent public funding for his campaign.

The Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission certified James Weatherford March 31 to participate in the new Pilot Comprehensive Public Funding Project in the 2010 Elections.

To receive certification for this funding, a candidate must complete an application process that includes collecting signatures from 200 registered voters in the District, with each signature accompanied by a five-dollar contribution to the Hawaii Election Campaign Fund.

“It was a difficult task to get those 200 signatures, but it was a worthwhile task, because I got to hear from lots of constituents in the district. What I heard was that people want credible leadership,” Weatherford said.

The pilot project, the first in the State to offer complete public funding for candidates, is a trial step toward taking private money out of election campaigns. It establishes comprehensive public funding as a voluntary option in Hawaii County Council elections this year, and in 2012 and 2014.

Weatherford is the first candidate in Council District 5, and the first non-incumbent candidate in the County, to be certified for comprehensive public funding.

Three other people have announced their candidacy for the District 5 Council seat.

Emily Naeole-Beason, the incumbent, and Barbara Lively, have also chosen to participate in the comprehensive public funding project, although neither has completed the application process.

Loren Baker is seeking partial public funding under a different program.

Four candidates in other Council districts, all incumbents, have been certified for 100 public funding.

Weatherford’s campaign committee will receive $9,826 from the Hawaii Election Campaign Fund during the Primary Election. Private monetary or non-monetary contributions to the campaign are not allowed, but individuals may contribute their time to the campaign as volunteers.

County Council District 5 Race: A Poll

If the elections were held today for the County Council District 5 race, who would you vote for? *update* (I believe the results are only getting updated about once an hour)

[polldaddy poll=2588117]

It’s Official… Dr. James Weatherford is a Candidate for District 5 (At Least Online)

I just noticed over at Dr. James Weatherford’s Blog that it looks like he has switched from James Weatherford, community blogger… to Dr. James Weatherford candidate for District 5 County Council Seat.

I’ve enjoyed reading his blog, but unfortunately the FBI Blogs has a strict policy that it will not have any actual candidates on the site.

I do suggest everyone to check out his site when you get a chance and I wish Dr. Weatherford the best of luck in his run for County Council.

If your not elected and continue to blog… I will have no problem putting your blog back on the FBI Site.