Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Thursday, May 15, 2014

Maile David during the last County Council election campaign where she faced a runoff with Brenda Ford. She's shown here at a Volcano parade with local supporters Phoebe Gomes and crew. Photo by Julia Neal
HAWAI`I COUNTY ETHICS BOARD AND COUNCIL HAVE MADE DECISIONS regarding Maile David’s candidacy for County Council District Six. At issue is David’s position as deputy clerk for the county. The Office of the County Clerk is  responsible for voter and candidate registration and elections. The office also assists the County Council in carrying out its legislative activities, provides legislative drafting services for all county departments, records legislation and preserves legislative records, provides reprographic and mail services for all county departments and assists with public participation in local government.
Hawai`i County Clerk Stewart Maeda
      Nancy Cook Lauer reports in Hawai`i Tribune-Herald that the county Ethics Board has finalized an advisory opinion that allows David to keep her job while running for County Council, and the County Council has decided not to cut her work schedule and salary.
      David ran for Council in 2012 and 2010 before becoming deputy clerk. In 2012, she received 3,052 votes and lost by 164 votes, or 2.5 percent, to Brenda Ford in a runoff. In the primary, David got 1,531 votes compared to 2,098 for Ford, 559 for Bradley Westervelt and 179 for Lee McIntosh. In the 2010 primary, David got 657 votes, compared to 1,679 for Brittany Smart, 1,525 for incumbent Guy Enriques and 281 for Marie Burns. Smart went on to win in the general election.
      According to Cook Lauer, the informal advisory opinion finds no ethics violation as long as certain “shields” are kept in place to protect the integrity of the election. David would not be permitted to work in the Elections Division. Cook Lauer reports that the Ethics Board “also wants David to go to the state Office of Elections to get assurances the integrity of the election won’t be compromised by her continuing to work as deputy clerk.” 
      County Clerk Stewart Maeda told Cook Lauer he has spoken with state Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago and didn’t see that there would be a problem.
      Cook Lauer reports Nago saying, “We’re not going to give them our blessing, if that’s what they’re asking for.”
      A proposed amendment that would have cut David’s job and salary by half did not pass at yesterday’s Council meeting on the county budget.
      “We need a deputy clerk to be in line to the clerk,” said Kona Council member Dru Kanuha. “To cut the time and cut the pay is absolutely ridiculous.”
      Brenda Ford, who cannot run for re-election due to term limits, said, “The clerk is the chief elections officer of this county. … If we lose the clerk … the deputy clerk has to step into this position.”
      Also currently signed up to run for County Council District Six are Richard Eugene Abbett, of Ocean View, and former Hawai`i Tribune-Herald publisher Jim Wilson, of Volcano. Fred Fogel, also of Volcano, has pulled papers but not filed. The deadline for candidates to file is Tuesday, June 3.
      See hawaiitribune-herald.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

State DBEDT Director Richard Lim
THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND TOURISM projects stable economic growth in 2014 and beyond. “Though the economic indicators were mixed during the first quarter of 2014, we were happy to see that the value of building permits increased 20.6 percent during the first quarter of this year,” DBEDT Director Richard Lim said. “Our labor force and employment figures are reaching record highs while unemployment claims continue to decline.” 
      Lim added, “It is encouraging that our unemployment rate during the first quarter was the 6th lowest in the nation.”
      DBEDT economists noted that economic indicators in the state are “mixed” so far this year. “While the labor market condition continues to improve, visitor arrivals decreased 3.2 percent and visitor spending decreased 3.1 percent during the first quarter.”
      “In a broad sense, our economy is transitioning from tourism to construction,” Lim said, “Nevertheless, our analysis indicates that hotel room capacity, high room rates and the depreciation of the Japanese yen and Canadian dollar are some of the factors limiting our tourism growth this year. Most of those factors are fluid.”
      Due to the slower than expected growth in personal income and reduced tourism performance, DBEDT has lowered the economic growth rate to 2.4 percent for 2014 from a 2.6 percent projection in February this year. Future growth predictions remain at about 2.2 percent.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

Ka`u's U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
KA`U’S U.S. REP. TULSI GABBARD HAS VOTED against increasing the federal deficit to give tax breaks to corporations. Gabbard voted against the American Research and Competitiveness Act of 2014 (H.R. 4438), a bill which makes the research and development tax credit permanent.
      The bill is estimated to add $155 billion to the deficit over 10 years.
      “I support innovation and the American entrepreneurial spirit and believe that the research and development tax credit should be extended permanently. However, we cannot take this action on the backs of the American people, adding $155 billion to our deficit for the next generation to pay for,” Gabbard said.
      “This bill does not pay for this permanent tax credit, therefore other programs will, by default, need to be cut. We cannot debate devastating cuts that negatively impact seniors, children and families or our service members and veterans, while at the same time giving expensive tax credits to corporations that haven’t been paid for. In order to fund critical programs, we must also support economic growth – we can do this by closing tax loopholes for special interests and U.S. companies that avoid taxes by moving operations overseas,” she said.
      The R&D tax credit was one of nearly 60 tax provisions that expired at the end of 2013.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

FRIENDS OF HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK is seeking committed, talented and conscientious volunteer board members who want to be part of the World Heritage site and lead and strengthen the organization. FHVNP holds monthly forest restoration projects, Sunday Walks in the Park and field seminars through its Hawai`i Volcanoes Institute.    Interested parties can contact Pat Naughton at president@fhvnp.org.

Ka`u High's bowling teams will be challenged for a place to compete with Hilo
Lanes shutting down. Photo from Ka`u High School
KA`U HIGH SCHOOL’S BOWLING TEAMS will be affected by the recent closing of Hilo Lanes. The team travels to Hilo for practice and matches against other high school bowlers. 
      A sign on the door to the bowling alley says it will be closed “indefinitely until further notice.”
      Hilo High School bowling Coach Damien Chow told Tom Callis, of Hawai`i Tribune-Herald, that eight of the island’s 10 high school bowling teams are on the east side, and he’s not sure how many will continue to participate without Hilo Lanes.
      “It’s going to be a trying season for us, the high schools,” Chow said. “Some schools might pull out if they can’t afford it.”
      Ka`u High’s team also practices and plays at Kilauea Military Camp’s lanes in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Other schools are also considering this as an option, although it has a limited number of lanes.
      The nearest large venue is in Kona.
      See hawaiitribune-herald.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

BOYS & GIRLS CLUB FUNDRAISING DINNER PICK-UP is tomorrow from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. To help set up, call 756-5282 or 929-8641.

CATHY AND TYSON BLACK DEMONSTRATE coconut leaf weaving tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Volcano Art Center Gallery porch in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Free; park entrance fees apply. Call 967-8222 for more information.

VOLUNTEERS CAN PARTICIPATE IN Stewardship at the Summit Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and help remove invasive Himalayan ginger from Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park trails. Meet at Kilauea Visitor Center to. Free; park entrance fees apply.

Hula Halau Na Pua Ha`aheo`o Ku`ualoha presents a hula kahiko informance Saturday.
Photo from Volcano Art Center
KUMU HULA BOBO PALACAT and Hula Halau Na Pua Ha`aheo`o Ku`ualoha present a hula kahiko informance Saturday at 10:30 a.m. on the hula platform near Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Free; park entrance fees apply. 

KA`U FARMERS UNION UNITED meets Saturday at 5 p.m. at Ka`u Coffeehouse & Guesthouse next to the 76 gas station in Na`alehu. For more information, email Malian Lahey at malian@kauspecialtycoffee.com.

HAWAI`I WILDLIFE FUND HOLDS ITS next Ka`u Coast Cleanup on Saturday, May 24. “We currently have room for a handful of volunteers in our vehicles but are always recruiting more volunteers (many hands make light work!) and extra four-wheel-drive vehicles and drivers, said coordinator Megan Lamson.
      Volunteers are asked to RSVP to kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com as soon as possible to make sure they have room, especially those who need a ride
. Volunteers meet at 7:45 a.m. at Wai`ohinu Park on the morning of the cleanup and caravan/carpool to cleanup site from there.


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