Molokai and Hawaii – Island Politics

Gov. Abercrombie Campaigns on Molokai

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Gov. Abercrombie Campaigns on Molokai

Incumbent Gov. Neil Abercrombie visited Molokai last week to tour local schools, agricultural programs and talk story with residents during his campaign for reelection. At a lunch event held at the Molokai Community Health Center on Monday, Abercrombie shared his accomplishments, as well as discussed some of Molokai’s challenges. Here, we have presented a summary of his speech in the form of questions and answers, some of which were added for clarity in this format, and some of which were asked by Dispatch staff in an interview afterward.

Q: What progress do you feel has been made since you’ve been in office?

Money Matters: 2015 County Budget

Friday, April 25th, 2014

Money Matters: 2015 County Budget

Money may not be everything, but around county budget season, it becomes pretty important. Mayor Alan Arakawa presented county councilmembers with his proposed $622.6 million Fiscal Year 2015 budget last month, and since then, the council has been traveling to various districts gathering public input.

On Molokai, the three-hour meeting held two weeks ago garnered a lively turnout and a full slate of testimony.

“We’re here to listen to you as to what your needs are,” said Molokai councilmember Stacy Crivello.

This year’s proposed budget is a $63.3 million increase — 11.3 percent — from last fiscal year’s financial plan adopted by the council.…

Ige Visits Molokai on Campaign for Governor

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Ige Visits Molokai on Campaign for Governor

State Senator and Democratic candidate for governor David Ige arrived on Molokai last week to talk story with residents before primary elections in November, challenging incumbent Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

David Ige. Photo by Jessica Ahles

Serving 28 years as a senator and a career in electrical engineering, Ige focuses on issues regarding education, economic development and the environment. Ige sat down with The Molokai Dispatch Friday to discuss issues relating to the Molokai community.

Question (Q): For you, what makes Molokai unique from the other islands?
David Ige (DI): This is my first time on Molokai in about 30 years. It is good to see that a lot of things have remained the same and a lot in Kaunakakai looks familiar since my last visit here.…

Hundreds Testify on GMO and Pesticide Bill

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

More than 100 Molokai residents sat all day outside Molokai’s county offices last Tuesday, waiting to testify on a proposed Maui County bill aimed at regulating pesticide use and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

As currently written, the bill would establish mandatory disclosure requirements for commercial agricultural companies using certain quantities of pesticides, create buffer zones around schools, other public areas and bodies of water, and require public notification before pesticide applications. It also calls for the county to complete studies on the possible environmental and health impacts of large-scale agricultural companies that use pesticides and GMOs.

Introduced by Maui Council Member Elle Cochran, the bill resembles one passed into law on Kauai in November.…

Hanabusa Talks With Molokai

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Hanabusa Talks With Molokai

Photo by Catherine Cluett

With the primary election approaching in August, Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa made a stop on Molokai last week and sat down to talk story with residents and answer questions. Here, The Molokai Dispatch summarizes some of those questions and her responses.

A fourth generation resident from the Waianai coast, Hanabusa said though she is not Native Hawaiian, the cause is especially important to her, along with education and seeing student success in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

Question (Q): How do you see the future of energy in Hawaii?
Colleen Hanabusa (CH): You’re not going to go independent of fossil fuels overnight.…

County Seeks Input for Home Business Bill

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

There are currently 355 registered business owners on Molokai and most of them are home based, according to Jennifer Hawkins, small business specialist at the Kuha’o Business Center. These businesses are regulated by the Maui County Council under a bill currently up for revision. But when the council visited Molokai last week, asking for feedback on how to best tailor these standards and encourage small businesses, many Molokai business owners revealed they never knew the ordinance existed.

“I feel very unprepared as do most of us [home-based business owners] here to speak on this,” said local business owner Brenda Kaneshiro before the council Wednesday evening.…

County, Monsanto Sign Pesticide Agreement

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Maui County and Monsanto signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) last week that requires Monsanto to disclose information about pesticide use on a voluntary basis. Monsanto operates on both Maui and Molokai.

“Responsible use of pesticides is a concern for us all, especially for those of us who grew up on these islands when sugar cane and pineapples were our main exports,” said Mayor Arakawa. “There must be safeguards and a sharing of information, and I believe the AG Oversight Agreement [MOU] is a proactive step we needed to take….”

The MOU comes shortly after bills were passed on both Kauai and Hawaii Island involving restrictions on the use of pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).…

Federal Gov. Shutdown Felt on Molokai

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

While the shutdown of the federal government for two weeks earlier this month didn’t affect the daily lives of many Molokai residents, it did have a marked impact on some. The National Park Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other federal agencies with employees on Molokai all felt the federal actions directly.

Across the country, 800,000 federal civilian workers were furloughed for 16 days after the government faced a partial shutdown starting Oct. 1. More than one million members of the military remained on the job, as well as just over one million civilian federal workers involved in operations deemed essential, including air-traffic controllers and TSA inspectors, among others.…

Teachers’ Turn To Learn

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

One hundred of Molokai’s 120 Kindergarten through 12th grade teachers congregated at Molokai High School last Wednesday for a day of personal and professional development. While students around the island had the day off, teachers were busy learning in the classroom.

Called Teacher’s Institute Day 2013, the event allowed Molokai teachers a day to sit down with each other as well as representatives from the Hawaiian State Teacher’s Association (HSTA) teachers union and the National Education Association (NEA). Together they discussed teaching rights in Hawaii and how the state education system can progress looking ahead.

“Teachers don’t have enough time to talk to each other because they are so busy during the school day,” said Princess Moss, NEA executive board member. …

Honoring Sen. Inouye’s Legacy

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

Molokai community members gathered last Wednesday evening to remember the legacy of the late Senator Daniel Inouye, who helped bring millions of dollars in federal funding to support a variety of Molokai programs. Inouye’s wife Irene, son Kenny and former chief of staff Jennifer Sabas visited the island as part of a Hawaii tour to say mahalo to his supporters and celebrate his legacy.

“We’ve been doing a series of thank you events to thank his many contributors and friends,” said Irene Inouye. The tour falls shortly before the first anniversary of Inouye’s death last December.

“This was one of his favorite islands,” said Billy Akutagawa, executive director of Na Pu`uwai and organizer of Wednesday’s event.…