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County Council Candidate Forum, Thursday August 31st

The public is invited to a nonpartisan, moderated candidate forum.

Thursday, August 31, County Council Candidate Forum, 6 p.m. til 8 p.m.
Come early, food sales  benefit Kealakehe High Culinary Program and Rotary Sunrise by Tante’s Restaurant at 5 p.m.

County Council District 7, South Kona:  Incumbent Brenda Ford, Enoch Friere
County Council District 8, North Kona:  Incumbent Kelly Greenwell, Debbie Hecht , Angel Pilago, Jim Rath

Forum moderator is Sherry Bracken ,  news reporter for Hawaii Public Radio and host of the LAVA 105.3 fm and KKOA 107.7 fm weekly broadcast, Island Issues.
Please submit questions in advance to sherryb@lava105.com  or at the forum.  Questions call Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, 329-1758.

Sponsors:

West Hawaii Today
Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce
Kohala Coast Resort Association
Kona Outdoor Circle
Community Enterprises – Kona Town Meetings
Rotary Sunrise and Tante’s Restaurant
LAVA 105.3 FM/Mahalo Broadcasting
Kealakehe High School

County Councilman Greenwell Cuffed and Stuffed

Commentary by Councilmember Kelly Greenwell:

On Saturday, July 17, 2010 at approximately 1:00p.m., six or eight vehicles, one of which was mine, were traveling north on the Queen Kaahumanu Highway just beyond the Makala Blvd. intersection, where the speed limit increases from 35 to 45 mph (we at the County Council approved this increase perhaps a year ago). We were being scanned by a police officer parked on the rise eight or nine hundred yards beyond the intersection, near the old 35 mph sign which was supposed to be removed when the new 45 mph sign was installed. For whatever reason, he chose to focus on my car and flagged me down individually. I demanded to know what the reason was and why he chose me, and after identifying myself as the Councilmember from District 8, I attempted to get out of the car to discuss what is an apparent speed trap.

About an hour later, I’m in the police station handcuffed and being booked for a list of charges never disclosed. I’m sure they will include resisting arrest and perhaps disobeying the threats or “orders” of a police officer.

So, what happened?

Perhaps I was recognized as the Councilmember opposing the police for what I believe to be barbaric tactics in subduing the marijuana advocates over the last several years or for their refusal to obey the law which restricts the prosecution for possession of marijuana.

Perhaps I was recognized as the advocate for civil behavior by police officers, opposing the increasing harsh and militant tactics of the present force.

Or perhaps it was simply me.

What was really the crime? That I took issue with being singled out for going 51 in a 45 mph speed zone, or maybe it was that a patrol officer was using an anomaly in posted signage to trap motorists from his vantage point when he should have been traveling with the traffic? Was it that as a traffic officer he should have been aware that highway speed is first a function of traffic flow? Or could it be that a 70 year old man, elected to the County Council by the people of the 8th District to watch over the conduct of all County Departments(including the Police), doing the job he was hired to do, was threatened with a laser gun (lethal to him because of his Epilepsy) if he didn’t lie down on the pavement and allow the officer to handcuff him (I wouldn’t do that) or because he had to sit handcuffed in a cage in the back of a police cruiser for a half hour with no air and all the windows sealed?

Or was it that when I asked that the pills to control my Epileptic seizures be retrieved from my car in the event that my stress level required them, this request, while responded to, was ultimately ignored. Was it that I, a person so proud of his community record be given the option of leaving his hands shackled behind him or tethered to a post like a goat while being booked as a criminal? Or is the crime that the ethics of a modern police department is now merely about control rather than being there to help?

Or maybe there was really no crime at all, maybe I have been trying to live in a world that no longer exists, maybe seventy years is too long to live in one place.

Kelly Greenwell

County Council Member

District 8

75-5706 Hanama Place

#109

Kailua-Kona, HI

96740

808-327-3642

kgreenwell@co.hawaii.hi.us

Councilmember Greenwell’s 2010-2011 Budget Comments

From Councilmember Greenwells Office:

To understand the solution to fixing our budget woes, we must first accept that we can no longer think of government as a business. Government process is not based on the typical business model. In fact, government draws on an entirely different reason for being. Beyond the assurance of justice, public safety, and welfare, the responsibility of government is to ensure an economic setting wherein private business can succeed. While responsible accounting is certainly necessary, balancing the county budget, which has dominated our efforts for 6 months, is merely a part of the accounting process and cannot be considered as a required goal. Therefore, before we concern ourselves any further with what is really the Mayor’s budget, we need to focus on reviving our county’s business climate. In our present situation the only realistic way to do this is to enhance our financial situation. Since the level of government that creates money is federal, and since they have largely recognized that more cash is needed in the overall economy, and are providing it through the ARRA, we at county need to make the effort to obtain our share.

Our County’s share of the ARRA has presently been determined to exceed $500 million on a per capita basis but so far we have received only about 20% of that. To illustrate our reluctance to seek ARRA funding, had I not insisted that U.S. Representative Mazie Hirono research our eligibility to receive federal assistance in building the Ane Keohokalole Highway in Kona ($35 million) we might not have gotten it at all. Certainly it was secured by the Mayor and his staff who in a timely fashion met the requirements needed to qualify for the grant, but we as a county were content with Ms. Hirono’s rationale for why we couldn’t qualify until I challenged her thinking – and our thinking as well…

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