Pahoa Residents Come Out in Force for Mayor Kenoi’s Community Meeting

Last night at the Pahoa Community Center, Mayor Kenoi and many County of Hawaii department heads attended a talk story meeting to an overflow crowd of about 150 people.

There was no space left in the room and residents literally listened from outside.

Mayor Kenoi himself was running a bit late so Parks and Recreation Director Bob Fitzgerald started the meeting out by welcoming the crowd and allowing the department heads a chance to introduce themselves.

Parks and Recreation Director Bob Fitzgerald addresses the crowd.

Mayor Kenoi arrived as a lady was just beginning to go off and Kenoi tried his best to calm the lady down before addressing the crowd.  Kenoi talked about the improvements that the Pahoa area has seen in the last few years such as the newly paved town road and the new police and fire stations before taking questions from the crowd.

Mayor Kenoi addresses the crowd

Puna resident Aurora Martinovitch had very strong emotions tied to Puna Geothermal Ventures as did many others and complained about the county not relocating her and a few others fast enough.

Aurora Martinovitch talks about her ongoing problem with Puna Geothermal Ventures

Mayor Kenoi took offense with some folks saying that he wasn’t supporting Puna and mentioned how he was from Puna and that even part of his middle name was “Puna”.

I filmed the first part of Mayor Kenoi’s talk story and as you can see from the video… emotions were quite high in the room.


The Hawaiian Perspectives on Geothermal Energy Discussion Was Today

The Pahoa Community Center was filled today with some of the more well known names in the Hawaiian Community this morning as a discussion on “Hawaiian Perspectives on Geothermal Energy” took place.

The who's who of Puna packed into the Pahoa Community Center this morning.

The Pule (Opening Prayer) was given by former 5th District Councilwoman Emily Naeole.

Kale Gumapac and Emily Naeole

The Sponsors of the event were:

  • Kealoha Estate – Kuulei Cooper
  • OHA Trustee – Bob Lindsey
  • Innovations Development Group – Robbie Cabral
  • Indigenous Consultant – Mililani B. Trask
  • Aha Kanaka Moku o Keawe – Kale Gumapac

Patricia Brandt introduces the sponsors of the event

Patricia Brandt opened the panel by asking the following: “…But our question is – What has happened in the twenty years since then… what has benefited this community…?



Geothermal resources belong to the native Hawaiian and the public.  Under State law, these resources are “minerals” and are an assets of the ceded land trust.  Private development of our trust resources has already pushed the cost up 487.5% (it cost 8 cents per kilowatt hour for geothermal electricity but HELCO/PGV costs incresase charges to 39 cents for the consumer)  How can our energy resources be developed in a community-based way that is culturally appropriate, socially responsible and environmentally sustainable and clean?

Senator Hanohano and Mililani Trask touch basis before the discussion begin

Among the speakers and panelist were:

  • Mililani B. Trask who’s message was stressed with “Lets not repeat past mistakes”.
  • Kumu Hula Cy Bridges – “How do we balance traditional practice with modern trust obligations and community energy needs”
  • Kuulei Cooper – “Why geothermal development can  should support community projects like the Puna Community Park, an effort that has been ongoing for 28 years.
  • OHA Trustee Bob Lindsey – Benefits (reventues) that come to Hawaiians & OHA from geothermal Royalties, protections for Wao Kele o Puna Forest.
  • Kale Gumapac – “Why Hawaiians should be informed in and involved in development of their trust asstes, the need for Hawaiian development options, what are “community benefits?”

Mililani B. Trask opened up the discussion with a bit of an introduction about who the folks involved in the project are:


I wish I could have stayed for the entire meeting but I had prior commitments.