Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017

Mayor Harry Kim walks into the middle of the Ocean View Community Center crowd to get closer to the
people who came to talk story with him last night. Photo by Ann Bosted
NO NEW POLICE STATION NOR MORE POLICE OFFICERS could be promised to Ocean View residents when they met with Mayor Harry Kim last night. He told the citizens who came to his Talk Story at Ocean View Community Center that there are limited funds. Unmet needs demand attention throughout Hawai`i County, the mayor said. 

     Kim did promise to return to the community with Police Chief Paul Ferreira and possibly the elected County Prosecutor Mitch Roth to address solutions to the crime problem. Kim also promised to evaluate alternative solutions to extend the County drinking water system, which is dependent on catchment plus one county well of potable water with spigots for residents and businesses to fill tanks and haul it. Kim said that he, too, grew up with water catchment.
    Wearing his trademark blue jeans, the Mayor eschewed the chair and table that had been set up for him in front of the audience. He stood close to the residents and walked among his audience of about 90. He listened to vocal members of the community express anger, frustration, possible solutions and hope. 

Mayor Harry Kim told Ocean View residents that
he too grew up in a rural neighborhood with
catchment water. Photo from Hawai`i County
     Kim said that he was “in awe” of the self-reliance and the achievements of the fast-growing community, such as coming up with its own community center and mandatory road maintenance associations. 
“You were the first subdivision to get mandatory fees for roads. The subdivisions in Puna copied you,” he said. 

    Kim, who was born to Korean-American immigrants in 1939, was the youngest of eight children. He was raised in rural ‘Ola‘a (now Kea`au), and his father worked for the ‘Ola‘a Sugar Company. They resided in a one-bedroom house with no electricity or running water. He and his siblings would often work for the family farm, tending to the chickens and vegetables. 

     “I don’t want to waste taxes,” Kim said, explaining that Kona residents had asked for more services since they generate 70 percent of the tax revenues. Kim assured the Ocean View residents: “It is my responsibility to distribute funds based on needs.” Kim said that raising taxes is not an option; families already struggle. Kim noted that over 90 percent of the school children in Ka’u qualify for free lunches. 

    “Seventy percent of the county’s funds come from property taxes. Here on the Big Island, we have 4,028 square miles and only 200,000 people. Compare that with Maui where they have 170,000 people and less than 700 square miles. If they have a fire in ‘O`ahu, more units respond to one fire than we have for the whole island,” bemoaned Kim. “I need more money”. 

     An Ocean View resident asked Kim about the fate of the Ka`u Community Development Plan, developed over seven years at an estimated cost of about $500,000. The plan, still in its final series of community, legislative and administrative reviews, has not yet become law. The plan is designed to offer hope for positive change, reflecting input from residents and planners. 

     Residents were most vocal about the high level of vandalism, crime and lawlessness in their town where every business has been broken into.
     St. Jude’s church, which offers free showers to those without plumbing, has had its water heater destroyed twice. The identity of the suspects is known, but the police refuse to arrest or charge the perpetrators, said a resident.

     One resident contended that police provide poor service when asked to investigate a crime, such as a vehicle theft. “They don’t ask for information about the vehicle – not the color, registration number or anything. They argue that there is no proof that the vehicle has been stolen, and argue that maybe the thieves plan on returning the car. The police must be willing to do their job. We get no support from the law.” 

Kim said he would bring out the police chief and prosecutor to talk more
about preventing and facing crime in Ocean View. Photo by Ann Bosted
  Although the County rents a storefront in Pahoe Plaza, and calls it “The Ocean View Mini Station,” police officers use it infrequently, as it has no secure internet connection, which they need to connect to headquarters. When responding to a crime, if not on their Ocean View round, police travel from the main Ka`u station at Na’alehu, taking about 30 minutes, depending on the location in Ocean view.
     A resident said that he knew of six homes in his area that had been broken into. Another insisted, “If the police make an arrest, the Prosecuting Attorney and courts let them go.” 
Another suggested that meth houses and drug users were the primary cause of thefts and vandalism. A resident who identified herself as a schoolteacher said that the problem was the lack of consequences for thieves and drug dealers. She opined that if laws were enforced, the behavior would stop. 

   Residents offered solutions to the crime problem. “We need a task force to deal with this very bad situation,” one resident told Kim. Another resident suggested deputizing more people. He told Kim that the Governor is able to deputize former police officers and former military personnel, and that the Mayor should also be able to deputize in order to increase policing in Ocean View and deter criminals. 

     A resident said that the community will submit a petition for a permanent HOVE police station. A retired architect, who lives in Ocean View, where his home was burglarized repeatedly, said he would be willing to design a new police station for free.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar

THE TWO PERCENT LAND FUND COULD BE REDUCED under a plan by Mayor Harry Kim, according his recent interview with Big Island Video News. The news service reported this morning that Kim said that 2 percent of the annual property tax revenues for Hawai`i County is too much to set aside for conservation land purchases and that adding another percentage for stewardship costs is going too far. 
     The mayor said he will push to reduce the fund to 1 percent of property tax income according to Big Island Video News
     The Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources fund was established in 2006. It also exists on other Neighbor Islands. The top acquisition on the list from the Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Committe for the next Hawai`i County budget is the Amy Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden. Pohue Bay and its surrounding 16,000 acres below Ocean View is rated number five and is the largest property on the list. 
Hawai`i Farmers Union United's Ka`u President Greg Smith, who
owns Earth Matters Farm in Ka`u, asks for community support
 for agricultural legislation. Photo from Earth Matters
     Kim said he does not object to identifying special properties and finding money to purchase them.
     He also pointed to county money needed to help the homeless and for other social services, establishing potable water sources, and the bus service. He said he doesn't want to raise taxes because it would hurt people who are already struggling. See more at www.bigislandvideonews.com
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar

HAWAI`I FARMERS UNION UNITED and its Ka`u Chapter President Greg Smith are calling for community support of bills before the 2017 Hawai`i Legislature. They include the following with links for reading them and to submit testimony. Some of the bills have deadlines of tonight and tomorrow:
      SB 830: Introduced by Ka`u Senators Russell Ruderman and Josh Green and others, it creates an income tax credit based on real property taxes paid for landowners to incentivize leasing land for community food forests. Applies to taxable years beginning after 12/31/2017.
     HB 1015: In the package from Gov. David Ige, it establishes a grant program within chapter 163D, Hawaii Revised Statutes (grants to agriculturalists).
     HB 1015: In the package from Gov. David Ige, it establishes a grant program within chapter 163D, Hawaii Revised Statutes (grants to agriculturalists).
     HB 1544: Introduced by Ka`u Rep. Richard Creagan and others, it adds increasing production of food that is produced for human consumption and sold in the State to the list of acts that DOA shall undertake when administering its program of agricultural planning and development.
     HB 95:  Introduced by Creagan and others, it amends the licensing procedures of the industrial hemp pilot program by allowing applicants to apply for a license at any time during the year in which the applicant plans to grow industrial hemp.
     HB774: Introduced by Creagan, it requires the Board of Agriculture, when negotiating and executing leases for agricultural and non-agricultural park lands, to establish a preference for farmers who produce food to be consumed locally and Hawaiian plants.
     HB 1004: Introduced by Creagan and others, it appropriates moneys for implementation of the Rapid Ohia Death Strategic Response Plan.
    HB 1005: Introduced by Creagan and others, it appropriates moneys to DOA to enhance the biosecurity program by funding invasive incipient species management programs.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar

PRES. DONALD TRUMP'S EXECUTIVE ORDER ON IMMIGRATION, to keep out people from seven Muslim-majority countries, was rejected by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court and Sen. Mazie Hirono released this statement: “Tonight's ruling is a first step victory for the core values of our democracy and demonstrates why an independent judiciary is so important. For all the chaos created by this executive order, the wiser course would be for President Trump to rescind this unconstitutional order immediately.” 
    Sen. Brian Schatz was interviewed on national television and said that one of the three judges who ruled on the case is from Hawai`i, was appointed by a Republican administration, and is a conservative thinker. Schatz said the issue involving the rights of people traveling to the U.S. is a matter of the Constitution and rule of law, not a matter of political party.
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar

Kawiki Singson swims to shore where the lava enters the ocean.
Photo from Kawika Kingson You Tube Channel
AS THE COAST GUARD CRACKS DOWN on illegal tour boats just offshore of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park where lava is pouring into the ocean, another concern has become at least one swimmer risking it all to get close to Madame Pele. 
     Kawika Singson posted on his You Tube Channel a video showing him swimming up to the flow and  lighting up a stick with lava. The video has been reported and posted internationally by television, newspapers and other media, including such outlets as The San Francisco Chronicle. The Chronicle reports Janet Babb of the USGS saying that steam from the lava going into the ocean is "super-heated steam laced with hydrochloric acid from the interaction with the seawater and has shards of volcanic glass." 
     Singson is known for getting up close to Pu`u O`o Vent and for a video in a lava flow where his tripod is engulfed and catches on fire. 
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar

TROPICAL FLOWER ARRANGING, Friday, Feb. 10 from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Volcano Art Center in Volcano Village. Kaipo Ah Chong instructs. $45 plus $20 supply fee. 967-8222 

PANCAKE BREAKFAST, Saturday, Feb. 11 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.,  Ocean View Community Center. 939-7033

ATLAS RECYCLING AT SOUTH POINT U-CART, Saturday, Feb. 11 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

REALMS & DIVISIONS OF KAHUKU, Saturday, Feb. 11 from  9:30 to 11:30 a.m., Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Pu‘u Kahuku Trail explores realms and divisions of the traditional Hawaiian classification system at Kahuku. Free. nps.gov/havo 

HULA KAHIKO, Saturday, Feb. 11 from  10:30 – 11:30 a.m., hula platform near Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Kumu hula Manaiakalani Kalua and Akaunu perform. Nā Mea Hula with Kumu Ab Valencia and Hālau Hula Kalehuaki‘eki‘eika‘iu, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., gallery porch.


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