Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Thursday, April 10, 2014


District 6 is the largest in the county. Prospective County Council candidates can file papers through June 3 to run for the seat being
 vacated by Brenda Ford, who is unable to run again because of term limitations. 

MAILE DAVID PLANS TO RUN FOR COUNTY COUNCIL to assume the seat of Brenda Ford, who is prevented from running again due to the council’s four-term limit. David is Deputy County Clerk and received a ruling yesterday from the county Board of Ethics that she could remain employed in her position while running for council. During the last election, she ran against Ford in a general election runoff.
Maile David at a talk story in Pahala, during the 2012  election campaign
 when she came in second in a runoff with Brenda Ford.
Photo by William Neal
      David said this morning that she expects to file her papers to run in this August’s Democratic primary before the end of next week, after she wraps up collecting the required signatures.
       During yesterday's Board of Ethics meeting, Bernard Balsis, deputy chair of the ethics board, and former CEO of Ka`u Community Federal Credit Union, weighed in. According to a report in this morning’s Hawai`i Tribune Herald, Balsis told David, “Technically, I can see that you’ve taken appropriate steps….to avoid a conflict of interest. The percenption in the community may be different and I don’t know if there are any shields you can put up in terms of community perception.” The vote was 4-1.
     To avoid conflict, County Clerk Stewart Maeda said that  David will not be involved with any aspect of the elections, and will stand down as council clerk for commission and council meetings in West Hawai`i, the story by Nancy Cook Lauer reported. It also reported that David said she sought advice on the matter from the county Board of Ethics, the county corporate counsel and the state Office of Elections.
    Deadline to file papers to run for public office is Tuesday, June 3. The primary election will be held on Saturday, Aug. 9 and the general election will be Tuesday, Nov. 4.
    Others who have pulled papers to run for County Council for District 6 include Richard Gene Abbet, of Ocean View, and Fred Fogel, of Volcano.
     District Six covers part of Puna and all of Ka`u into Kona. It runs from Kauhaualea Road in Volcano through Pahala, Na`alehu, Ocean View and Miloli`i, up the Kona coast to the border between Kealakekaua and Honolo on the mauka side of Hwy 11.
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THE PAYCHECK FAIRNESS ACT received more ayes than nays In the U.S. Senate yesterday but failed by six votes by six votes, since it needed 60 to move forward. Hawai`i's U.S. Senators Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz voted for the measure. The Paycheck Fairness Act was aimed at ending the gender wage gap. According to a story in The Washington Post, at the last minute Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, switched his vote to "No," so he could reintroduce the bill an try again. 
Shatta made a video on equal pay for women.
Image from Schatz campaign
   In addition to requiring paycheck fairness between men and women, the bill would also make it illegal for employers to punish workers who ask about or share the amount of their pay with other employees. According to the Washington Post, the push for Paycheck Fairness "has been a major plank of the 'give America a raise' and 'fair shot for everyone' messaging that Democrats hope will mobilize their voter base in this year's midterm elections and help them retain control of the Senate."
       Schatz has released a campaign video, referring to equal pay legislation he introduced during his eight years in the Hawai`i legislature. "Sen. Schatz believes that our children should grow up in a world in which pay discrimination is only found in history books," the text accompanying the video says. Schatz says, "Growing up in Hawai`i, I was taught fairness because we expect our sons and daughters will have equal opportunities in life. ....Because it's outrageous. Women still aren't paid the same as men for doing the same job....Equal pay for equal work  - it's just the right thing to do. It's how we build an opportunity economy that works...."
     Republicans contend that the Pay Check Fairness Act is unnecessary since gender bias related to pay scale is already illegal, the Washington Post reports. To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI'I GOVERNMENT TRANSPARENCY RATINGS went up last year, according to a national study. The improvement from grade F to grade C came after the state launched a website at transparency.hawaii.gov. U.S. Public Interest Research Group, which grades all the states, pointed to "check-level" information on spending that allows the public to view state expenditures. Gov. Neil Abercrombie released a statement saying that "An open government promotes citizen engagement in their government that bolsters government accountability and transparency. The PIRG report demonstrates Hawai`i's clear progress in this regard as well as this administration's commitment to transparency. Hawai`i was one of the most improved last year and we are on track to improving further." He said that state agencies have released more than 300 datasets through the open data site. The site lists categories, including state contracts, expenditures, economic development tax credits, grants and tax collections. To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Sea lice spreading to salmon in the wild is a risk of salmon farming,
according to wild salmon supporters. Photo from Wikipedia
ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE FRESH FOODS is the lowest across the 50 states in Alaska, Arizona and Hawai`i, according to a recent Gallup Poll that gathered the statistics from major Metropolitan Standard Statistical Areas, including Honolulu, Anchorage and Prescott. Honolulu ranked third from the bottom of 189 metropolitan areas identified by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and surveyed in the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. Honolulu has ranked in the bottom top ten since 2008. See http://www.gallup.com/poll/145913/City-Wellbeing-Tracking.aspx
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Ka`u Farm Bureau President
Chris Manfredi.
Photo by Julia Neal
SALMON FOR LOMI LOMI could come from inland fish farms in the U.S., particularly if Alaskan fishermen drop their opposition. A recent National Public Radio report quotes a NOAA official saying that "The entire Norwegian production of salmon, a million tons a year, can be grown in an area about the size of the runways at JFK Airpot in New York." The story reports that growing salmon on farms inland and away from the wild populations would reduce the environmental risk. Wild salmon proponents point to densely populated salmon farms within salmon migrating waterways in Canada where disease and pests, like sea lice, spread and damage the wild populations. The other risk, according to wild salmon enthusiasts, is the possibility that GMO salmon will soon be approved by the FDA. To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI`I FARM BUREAU initiatives are still alive at the legislature, according to the organization's statewide President Chris Manfredi. They include:
   SB 2294, which would authorize the state Director of Finance to issue general obligation bonds for capital improvements to irrigation systems;
     HB 1514, which  would provide a grant to the Coffee Berry Borer Task Force to control of the pest and containment of damage it causes;
     HB 2178, which would appropriate funding to reimburse qualified producers for a percentage of each farm's food expense. It would also fund administrative costs for a livestock revitalization program.   
    HB 1931, which would provide money to the state Department of Agriculture and University of Hawai`i to develop prevention and treatment methods for a macadamia nut pest, the felted coccid.
    HB1932, which would provide money to biosecurity programs.
    SB 2913, which would penalize false labeling of Hawai`i grown coffee to include grade standards and all stages of production.
     Manfredi was Government Affairs chair of Ka`u Farm Bureau for four years and state chair for three and continues to chair the statewide Hawai`i Farm Bureau Government Affairs program as the new Hawai`i Farm Bureau President.
Vincent Mina, president of Hawai`i Farmers
Union United will speak in Pahala, Saturday,
April 19. Photo from TEDxMaui
     Ka`u Farm Bureau held its first board meeting under its new president Ralph Gaston last night. Gaston said he will soon announce when the first meeting open to the public and general membership will be held.
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HAWAI`I FARMERS UNION United holds its first organizing meeting in Ka`u on Saturday, April 19 at Pahala Community Center at 5 p.m. The public is invited. Keynote speaker is Vincent Mina, the statewide president of the organization and co owner of his family farm Kahanu `Aina Greens on Maui. The organization is a member of the National Farmers Union United, established in 1902. The Kona chapter includes Ka`u until a district chapter is established. Members from Kona will attend the meeting in Pahala to explain how their organization has benefited them and their family farms.
     Malian Lahey, who is helping to organize the Ka`u chapter, said that one important aspect of the Farmers Union is that "farmers set the policy. At the meeting on the 19th, there will be an opportunity for farmers to get into small groups and discuss with each other their ideas for policy that the Farmers Union should support in the Hawai`i legislature."
     Hawai`i Farmers Union supported measures at the 2014 state legislature that include:
a $3 million coffee berry borer eradication fund; taro task force legislation to protect in perpetuity lo`i and former taro lands owned by the state. 
     According to its Legislative Chair Simon Russell, the the Farmers Union asked for funding for on-farm mentoring in cooperation with University of Hawai`i to teach natural farming methods that don't require off-island inputs. The Farmers Union supports the Good Agricultural Practices Task Force and advocates for statewide food safety standards that would allow more affordable certification of home and farm operations. The organization advocates for GMO labeling. It opposes legislation that would leave all labeling decisions for commodity crops like coffee, tea, taro, avocado and cacao with the state Department of Agriculture, without appropriate funding to carry out the mission.
   "Next session the organization will introduce legislation to protect Hawai`i origin products," said Russell.  "We believe that if coffee is only 25 percent local, 50 percent Mexican and 25 percent Ethiopian, it should be labeled with all of the origins. This will give the local coffee producers selling pure Hawaiian coffee a leg up," he said. 
     Russell said that Hawai`i Farmers Union was founded to support small family farms. He said he is currently growing pineapple, lilikoi, dragon fruit, papaya, avocados and cattle.
    "Seventy-five percent of the food grown on Earth is on farms of two acres or less," said Russell.
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KA`U RURUAL HEALTH COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION, INC. HOSTS its 17th annual rural health conference tomorrow,  Friday, April 9 at Pahala Community Center from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. It is called Better Choices, Better Health - A Family Affair.  It will offer health, education and prevention booths, nutrition and healthy food demonstrations, games and door prizes. Tutu & Me Traveling Preschool, Bay Clinic, Med Assist School of Hawai`i, United Healthcare, `Ohana Health Care and Hawai`i County Office of Aging will be on hand. The organization will present its annual report to members and elect its board. Call 928-0101.
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