|Gov. Neil Abercrombie called for a New Day on the sreps of Pahala Plantation House last December. Photo by Geneveve Fyvie|
“We have found that support for the political status quo, abetted by private interests, remains strongly in place. It will take time and action by the executive to change this culture,” said Abercrombie. “While we did not get all we wanted in this legislative session, we have made meaningful strides forward.” He listed achievements:
Moving the Board of Education from an elected body to an appointed body of diverse community leaders to move schools in a new direction; signing a civil unions bill that ensures equal rights for all people of Hawai`i without recreating the heated battle lines of the past; and securing private funding to transform the state’s antiquated technology system to streamline government services and save taxpayers millions of dollars.
Abercrombie said, “The people of Hawai`i don’t want to hear excuses and arguments about why things can't be done. They want action. Our administration will take the budget we have and transform government as we know it by being innovative, resourceful and relentless in the face of our challenges. There is no doubt in my mind that, together, Hawai`i is on the way to a New Day. Imua Hawai`i!” the governor proclaimed.
THE STATE SENATE finished its session with the singing on Hawai`i Aloha. More than 3,000 bills were submitted for consideration and about 250 made it through. Senate President Shan Tsutsui said it was challenging particularly with the very difficult economic times. However, “we were able to balance our budget while protecting the most vulnerable in our society and we passed some of the most historic legislation in the history of Hawai`i,” Tsutsui said. Among those historic bills, he said, was the recognition of Native Hawaiians as the only original indigenous people of the islands," a bill for which Sen. Gil Kahele testified on the Senate floor. The legislature also passed a measure that reforms the foreclosure process to require lenders to negotiate with homeowners or go to court. It is perhaps the toughest foreclosure law in the nation and was championed by Rep. Bob Herkes, of Ka`u.
|Miss Ka`u Coffee Brandy Shibuya. |
Photo by Julia Neal
NOISY DOGS will have to be dealt with - first among neighbors - before the police are called, if Mayor Billy Kenoi signs a law passed this week by the County Council. The language of the new law says that those upset by noisy dogs would have to “make a reasonable attempt to advise the owner or custodian,” before contacting the appropriate enforcement agency. Reasonable attempt is defined by an email, letter through the post office or personal visit. Mayor Billy Kenoi plans to meet with the police chief before deciding whether to make the bill a law.
THE KA`U COFFEE FESTIVAL COMMITTEE is learning from other venues about the value of festivals as an economic stimulus and engine for the Ka`u community. Coffee Farmers Trini Marques and Gloria Camba, who have both chaired the Ka`u Coffee Pageant; Miss Ka`u Coffee Brandy Shibuya; coffee lands manager Chris Manfredi and Pahala Plantation Cottages manager Ron Johnson are at Festival training at Keauhou Beach Resort today. It is sponsored by the Hawai`i Tourism Authority and Festivals of Hawai`i.
VOLCANO ART CENTER IS HOSTING a fundraiser this Sunday at 7 p.m. at the Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village to help support the people of Japan who were stricken by the earthquake and tsunami in March. The fundraiser features a movie made possible by Joe Okuda about the most famous Shinto shrine and its man-made forest in the Center of Tokyo. Volcano resident and dancer Shizuno Nasu will perform, along with Shiho Watanabe on Koto. Tickets are $15, and all proceeds go to the people of Japan. Call 967-8222 for tickets. Donations are also accepted.
THE DEADLINE FOR ENTRIES for the Ka‘ū Coffee Recipe Contest is tomorrow. Applications are available at R&G Store in Pāhala and online at kaucoffeefest.com. Contact Michelle Galimba at 430-4927 or email@example.com for more information.
FREE HELE ON BUS SERVICE for senior citizens, students, the disabled and keiki under five years of age will continue after July 1, when the free transportation will start costing $1 per ride. The bus service has been free for more than five years. The new fees will raise more than a half a million dollars a year. Passengers will be able to purchase monthly passes for unlimited rides for $20 and will get 25 percent off if buying ten tickets at once.