Hawaii County Candidates Eileen Ohara and Madie Greene their priorities for Puna and the Hawaii County Council.
Mahalo David Corrigan and Big Island Video News for filming and editing.
Forum moderator Rene Siracusa asked the candidates whether the county should support alternatives to the use of herbicides on roadsides. The County & State currently use the herbicide Monsonto Roundup to control weeds. Rene quoted a recent study that indicated there were cost effective alternatives to spraying poisons. Here is how the candidates responded:
Eileen Ohara holds a degree in Agriculture and is familiar with the chemicals in common herbicides. From her years working with Hawaii County (see bio here) she is also familiar with roadside equipment that can mechanically control weeds. “There is a hidden cost to using herbicides that is often ignored when making decisions and that is the impact of toxic chemicals on human and environmental health. Knowing about the economics of herbicide use and understanding how alternative approaches can be used cost effectively allows for informed decision making,” Ohara said.
“We have put out a request for proposals but have yet to get a response,” said Brandee Menino, CEO of HOPE Services Hawaii who met Tuesday, September 27 with Eileen OHara, candidate for County Council District 4 and Matt Purvis, president of Mainstreet Pahoa and chair, of Mainstreet Pahoa’s Homeless and Loitering Committee.
Both Ohara and Purvis said that they will encourage contractors to submit proposals to HOPE Services Hawaii.
“We laud the efforts of HOPE Services Hawaii to address the homelessness problem afflicting Pahoa. We encourage all civic and other organizations to address the root causes of homelessness as a deterrent to increasing the number of the homeless in our community, especially the elderly and disabled,” Ohara said.
Matt Purvis said that he will contact a volunteer group of builders to see what they can do about rehabilitating the housing units that HOPE Services want to use for the homeless in Pahoa.
Homeless vagrants in Pahoa have become a primary concern, especially among the businesses that line Pahoa Mainstreet. Only recently, there was news of a wheel-chair bound homeless person having been allegedly assaulted by an exasperated Pahoa mainstreet business operator.
State statistics indicate that the homeless population on Hawai‘i Island has increased from 557 in 2013 to 869 in 2014 and 1,241 in 2015.
The number of sheltered homeless have risen from 160 to 220 in those 3 years, while unsheltered have risen from 397 to 1,021 in that same time frame.
Through its Pahoa Kupuna Low Income Housing Project, Hope Services Hawaii, Inc. (is currently accepting proposals to construct eleven (11) single family residential structures located in Pahoa (TMK: (3) 1-5-006:017) for the purpose of providing permanent low-income affordable units for elderly individuals or couples who are experiencing homelessness or are at-risk of becoming homeless.
For more information please go to this link:
Aunty talks about the importance of having somebody with diligence and strength to help the people of Puna succeed. She sees the struggles people face in the district such as poverty, homlesslessness, and addiction. Aunty understands that roads is one of the biggest issues facing Puna residents. Aunty believes Eileen Ohara is the best candidate to serve Puna and asks all residents to please come out and vote for Eileen.
Aunty appreciates Eileen’s background in education and economics, and believes she will be a valuable leader for Puna.
Aunty Emily was Hawaii County Councilmember District 5 Puna from 2007-2010. She has lived in Puna all of her life, and recently celebrated her 60th birthday.