About The Kaʻū Calendar

Ka`u, Hawai`i, United States
A locally owned and run community newspaper (www.kaucalendar.com) distributed in print to all Ka`u District residents of Ocean View, Na`alehu, Pahala, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Village and Miloli`i on the Big Island of Hawai`i. This blog is where you can catch up on what's happening daily with our news briefs. This blog is provided by The Ka`u Calendar Newspaper (kaucalendar.com), Pahala Plantation Cottages (pahalaplantationcottages.com), Local Productions, Inc. and the Edmund C. Olson Trust.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Aug. 21, 2012

Big Island Community Coalition's goal is to lower electric rates.
Richard Ha
Michelle Galimba
CHEAP ELECTRICITY is the aim of Big Island Community Coalition. The new organization names its top priority as to “make the Big Island electricity rates the lowest in the state by emphasizing the use of local resources.” The website www.bigislandcommunitycoalition.com says the group is organized to “work together as an island community for the greater good of Hawai`i Island and its people.” It says that “rising electricity and food prices threaten the health of our community. The world is changing, and we must adapt.”
Robert Lindsey
Rockne Freitas
      The website states that lower electricity rates will: “protect Big Island families from rising electric rates; make the Big Island more food secure; raise our standard of living relative to the rest of the world; give working homeless better options; help Big Island businesses become more competitive in the O`ahu market, as well as worldwide; and prevent exporting our children - our most precious resource - by having jobs available here on the Big Island.”

      The steering committee includes two members of the state Board of Agriculture, Richard Ha, of Hamakua Springs Country Farms, and Michelle Galimba, of Kuahiwi Ranch in Ka`u.
Wallace Ishibashi
D. Noelani Kalipi
It also includes Big Island Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee and Ka`u sugar mill site co-owner Robert Lindsey. Other steering committee members are geothermal proponent Ku`ulei Kealoha Cooper, of Kealoha Estate; John E.K. Dill, member of the state Contractors License Board; Rockne Freitas, vice president for student affairs at University of Hawai`i; Wallace Ishibashi, of the ILWU; D. Noelani Kalipi, a former military attorney and advocate of economic and energy development; Ka`iu Kimura, executive director of `Imiloa Astronomy Center; H. “Monty” Richards, of Kahua Ranch; Marcia Sakai, Dean of University of Hawai`i – Hilo School of Business and Economics; Kumu Lehua Veincent, principal of Big Island Kamehameha School; and Bill Walter, president of W.H. Shipman, Ltd.
Ka`iu Kimura
Marcia Sakai

      Advisors to the coalition are state House of Representatives Energy Committee chair Denny Coffman, who is running to represent Ka`u in the November election; Don Thomas, of UH geology schools at Manoa and Hilo; and Robert Rapier, an energy expert who lives in Kamuela.
      Richard Ha wrote yesterday on his Ha Ha Ha! blog that “we have the best combination of renewable resources here on the Big Island and that the coalition “will proactively weigh in wherever electricity rates are involved.” He states that the fundamental problem with the State of Hawai`i’s Clean Energy Initiative is that “it does not require that the electric utility choose lower cost solutions. It does not take into consideration the rubbah slippah folks.”

Kumu Lehua Veincent
Bill Walter
      “Two-thirds of our economy is made up of consumer spending. If in place of expensive electricity we had affordable electricity, businesses would grow, farmers would farm, and we would not be sending our children to the mainland to look for jobs,” writes Ha.
      Regarding Hawai`i Electric Light Co.’s request for a 4.2 percent rate increase, Ha writes: “I’m sure there are reasons and justifications for the rate hike. But when will it end? We need to see a reversal in electricity costs. Why should the Big Island’s electricity rates be among the highest in the whole state, when we have all the resources here?”
      See bigislandcommunitycoalition.com and hahaha.hamakuasprings.com.

TOMORROW IS THE DEADLINE to apply to the Public Utilities Commission for intervention in the contract between `Aina Koa Pono and HELCO. `Aina Koa Pono proposes to sell 16 million gallons of biofuel from plants grown in Ka`u and processed using microwave depolymerization in a refinery to be built on Meyer Camp Road off of Wood Valley Road mauka of Pahala.
      Life of the Land, an environmental and consumer protection agency, said it plans to request intervention. Mayor Billy Kenoi also said the county plans to ask to participate. There is no deadline set for submitting testimony to the PUC.
      The contract is available at puc.hawaii.gov/dockets. Docket number is 2012-0185.

Jamae Kawauchi with her parents, David and Jamie, after
she was named Hawai`i County Clerk in 2010.
JAMAE KAWAUCHI, the County Clerk, and her staff helped clean up 26,000 voter addresses in less than 30 days, sent out more than 90,000 absentee voter registration forms and helped raise voting participation through 20,000 permanent absentee ballot voters, according to
      County Council member Brenda Ford. Ford praised Kawauchi and her staff at yesterday’s meeting of the County Council. She said this morning they helped to achieve a more than 200 percent increase in absentee voter participation. “Jamae needs to be commended for the very hard work she and her staff have done,” said Ford.
      Ford pointed out the Kawauchi achieved an excellent return on sending out absentee voting registration forms in the mail. “With Direct Mail, Direct Response, the average return is only about two percent,” said Ford. Some industries are a little less; some are a little more. Jamae sent those out, and she got back over 14,000 – that is 14 percent response rate. This is unheard of – she is to be commended, both she and her staff,” said Ford.

Brenda Ford
      Ford said that the County Council, which has been mulling over precincts opening late and other primary election day issues, should stay out of managing the elections. “Every one of us, as a candidate, is conflicted,” she said.
      Ford attributed the election-day problems to the recent redistricting, which went to court and held up preparations for the elections. She also said there were personnel issues and that most of the problems should be worked out by the general election in November. Ford pointed to comments by longtime county elections worker Ed Kuzo Hara, who spoke at the County Council meeting yesterday. He said that in order to have a smooth election, workers have to follow the plan, and everyone involved needs the support of their superiors, subordinates and the state office of elections.

BOYS & GIRLS CLUB OF PAHALA invites all interested parties to a community stakeholders event at Pahala Community Center tomorrow at 6 p.m. to talk about problems facing youth and how to share resources and create partnerships to better serve youth. “This event serves as an opportunity for the Boys & Girls Club to discuss the needs that we have with community members and connect with the resources that we need to function at a higher level,” said Dolly Kailiawa. RSVP by calling Kailiawa at 756-5285.