County Council Update
LOTS GOING ON AT COUNCIL: Currently I have an Ethics bill moving forward to upgrade our County’s ethical standards and add more transparency in case there is a possible conflict of interest when a County employee is also seeking to contract with the County, as well as amendments to Councilmember Ilagan’s bill to increase accountability for County employee use of public funds for work related expenses.
Over the next month I will introduce Ag-Tourism legislation to provide our farmers with more ag-tourism opportunities, as well as an Ag Use Real Property Exemption bill to clarify when that exemption is appropriate and also when open space on ag-zoned land would qualify for an exemption. In addition I have proposed amendments to the Solid Waste – Refuse code to improve the efficiency of the Department of Environmental Management. Lastly, I am sponsoring a bill for a Charter amendment that proposes to change the composition of the Ethics Board and modify how members of the Board are selected.
Also, at the upcoming Oct. 21 Council meeting I am sponsoring a commendation for the family of Nelson Doi in honor of his lifelong contributions to the people of our island. Doi was known as a person and statesman of integrity and honesty. He held himself and others to a high ethical standard. In addition to his many state level accomplishments, including helping draft the Hawaii State Constitution, he also worked tirelessly to address challenges on Hawaii Island. He helped to develop the Mauna Kea Beach Resort for employment of those laid off with the closure of the sugar plantations and was instrumental in the effort to open the North Hawaii Community Hospital and the Honokaa long-term care facility.
Aside from council matters, there are numerous projects focused on the well-being of our individual communities that I am sponsoring or assisting with. For example, I will hold two meeting addressing the rise in the use of methamphetamine and other harmful drugs in our communities. The first meeting will be in Waimea on Oct. 22 at 5 p.m. at Hawaiian Homes Hall, hosted by the Waimea Hawaiian Homesteaders.
The second meeting is in North Kohala on Oct. 23 at 5 p.m. at the Intergenerational Center. Representatives of health and social service organizations as well as Vice Lt. Sherry Bird, a police narcotics specialist will participate. We need to brainstorm what we as a community can do to support those on the front line seeking to stem the use of drugs and also help those assisting our family members, friends and neighbors who are addicted to these drugs so they can find a way to transition to a drug-free way of life. There will be light refreshments. Hope you can attend.