Thank you to all those that submitted testimony for the state legislature special session. We are happy to report that we did make a difference. Majority leader of the House, Cindy Evans, throughout the entire process was charged with making sure the votes for passing the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT) were there. She did her political job. She got the votes, and in turn, turned her back on her Big Island communities. At the very end, she announced that she couldn’t finish her obligation. She has offered her resignation as majority leader. Too little, too late.
How did we affect the outcome? We sent out a press release and letter to the editor pointing out her out-of-touch handling of the issue which reinforced the community’s opposition to this bill. This added pressure for not voting for the bill. We encouraged community members to call our representatives and senators, and recommended that they vote “no” on the TAT bill (SB4).
In fact, no sitting legislator representing the Big Island offered any outreach to the community. No explanations, no information. They completely relied on the media to tell their side of the story, most of it after the vote.
After seeing severe backlash from Big Island communities, all West Hawaii representatives eventually voted “no”. This included Representative Evans, but the damage had been done already at that point. Even her primary challenger voiced his dissent with the Hawaii state Democratic majority.
However, still something didn’t seem right as Lee Cataluna of the Star Advertiser wrote in her column on 09/03/2017 pg. B3. “Meanwhile, legislative leadership seemed to have brokered deals so some of the island politicians could save face at home. Dissenters were allowed to make their speeches, huff and puff, call it an outrage while all along votes were secure.”
Supporting taxes again have shown just how flawed our community legislators agendas have been. We need new representation in the 7th district. We need someone involved and living in the community, who knows you and your neighbors and is there to give you a hand and stand for the principles of the community. Someone who will not bend and compromise these community principles of trust and honesty. And this leader is Jeff Coakley.
On August 19th Scott and Angela Nagata and a few friends presented the first annual "Waimea PrepareAthon". It was a very organized and impressive network of community, private and nonprofit orgs, government agencies and vendors coming together to show what could happen in an emergency and how to prepare for it. The big earthquake a few years back was a wake-up call for residents in North and West Hawaii. Families have also suffered losses in floods and damage from high winds within the past decade. Sometimes we only think of hurricanes and tsunamis, but the little things in life like a drought or loss of power can leave a family in dire straits.
Emcee, Jeffrey Coakley, circulated the display tables and spoke with representatives of Civil Defense, American Red Cross, HELCO, SunRun Solar, TheHome Depot, Costco, Civil Air Patrol, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, North Hawaii Community Hospital, CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) and other presenters so all could understand what the various agencies' roles are in an emergency. The Waimea Fire Department brought their whole team complete with paramedics and demonstrated that they were ready at a moments notice. Private vendors dealt in food storage, simple water distilling systems, homemade stoves using twigs for fuel, alternative medicines for food storage and MRE’s (meals ready to eat). Mauna Kea Beach Hotel had a table displaying the emergency system for their hotel guests and explained what they do. KTA Super Stores, MKB and the Hapuna Prince Hotel provided fruit snacks, cakes and drinks. Josh Hudman (Kaleau Electric) providing the wifi sound system. It was a fantastic effort, and all who attended were impressed with the wealth of information presented.
Scott Nagata (middle) his wife Angela and 3 sons stand amidst organizers of the 1st Annual Waimea Prepare.A.thon at Kuhio Hale on August 19th. Emcee, Jeffrey Coakley spoke with presenters about they provide in emergencies.
HELCO Representative shows Jeffrey Coakley what happens when there's a downed electric line.
DANGER!!! DO NOT APPROACH THE LINE! Stay at least 30 ft. away.
Max Shimomoto-Pahio and Arthur Arruda demonstrate a homemade stove that use twigs for fuel. In time of emergency, gas or electricity may not be available, but twigs usually are.
Firemen Brandon Tanaka and Reyn Shimooka were on hand with their trucks and ambulance outside, answering questions about their job as First Responders.
Kaori Chiyu (background) displayed alternative medicine kits, prepared backpacks and a suitcase of supplies needed in a "Get up-&-Go" emergency.
The Kona 4th of July Parade was fun for the 19 participants and was well worth the $400 entrance fee which was good advertisement for the WH Republicans. America's Birthday is a Patriot's Day, and the Republican Party is associated with patriots, the Constitution, the Military and on the "Right" side. So what better day to stand up and be recognized.
Dave Buehler and Rick Thompson carried the WH Republican banner, followed by Bob, a Veteran in a wheelchair and WH GOP Vice Chair, Carol Brown, MD. Jeffrey Coakley's banner was on rollers, pushed forward by two beautiful young women: his nephew's wife Holly and their daughter, Keahi Coakley. Then came the flag bearers and strapping young men: David Ross held the big USA flag while Kekai Coakley and 6'8" Gabe Perez held Coakley signs and Keli'i Grothman waved the Hawaiian flag.
A little red Porsche Turbo Cabriolet convertible, owned and driven by Gunner Mench followed the entourage. Lani Eugenio sat on the passenger side waving and twirling the two-sided image of Coakley. GOP District 7 House candidate, Jeffrey Coakley, sat on the back of the classic car, which boosted Coakley's rating to 90% favorability. There were cheers, whistles, shakas, waves and screams as Gunner revved the engine. Were the squeals of delight for the candidate or for the car?
Then came the Nagata family: Scott, his wife Angela, and two sons under ten. The Republicans ended with a little dune buggy driven by a couple who joined the group and stuck "Coakley" stickers on their vehicle.
What was exciting about this parade was that THIS IS THE FACE of HAWAII, and hopefully, this will be the face of Hawaii's Republican Party. We had the older generation, but we also had the youth and children, multi-racial men and women supporting a candidate and representing the Republican Party.
The WH Filipino Club was the float after us. Turns out that the leader... Domingo, had run for office last year as a Republican. We need to connect and put him in some leadership position. Also, good to include more Veterans and youth.
Good showing at the Parade. Mahalo to all!
District 7 Chair
Honolulu's Civil Beat published an interesting piece on 4/28: "The Hawaii House: Where Factions Determine Power and Influence" by Nathan Eagle.
Statesman James Madison, referred to a faction as, "A number of citizens...who are united by some common impulse of passion, adverse to the rights of other citizens..." See Political Faction.
When factions overstep the public for self-serving reasons - for example, a bill proposing vehicle tax increases scheduled for hearing without public notice (SB 2938) - then citizens' rights are being violated.
Mr. Eagle illustrates how factions influence which bills are introduced and subsequently passed. Going against one's own faction can lead to isolation and cost re-election.
Is there an internal struggle of conscience at the capital wherein lawmakers truly consider what their constituents want? Maybe. There are a few good leaders, but not enough. Thoughts?