Tuesday, August 31, 2010

DU Discussed at PTA

The Commander of the Pokahuloa Training Area hosted a meeting to update Big Island Officials and the community regarding the current depleted uranium (DU) situation in the training area. In the 60's, DU spotting rounds were utilized in training activities held in Pohakuloa as part of the Army's Davy Crockett weapons system.
The portable field launch system was intended as a nuclear device for use against enemy infantry personnel during the height of the Cold War. Fortunately, this weapon was never used, however DU spotting rounds, used to simulate the weight and characteristics of the nuclear projectile were used in Pohakuloa and on the Scholfield Barracks Base on Oahu.
The army claims that there is minimal acceptable risk at Pohakuloa, assuming that the area containing the DU spotting rounds remains undisturbed.
When asked about the possibility that the DU could find it's way into the ground water, a civilian army official admitted that it could happen in "a billion years." I am concerned that there is a possibility that the DU could eventually find it's way into the ground water and believe that this would warrant it's removal.

Gubernatorial Forum Held in Hilo

Gubernatorial candidates Neil Abercombie and Mufi Hanneman answer panel questions on a range of topics facing Big Island Businesses at a forum hosted by a number of Hawaii Island Business organizations at the UH Hilo Performing Arts Center. Questions touched upon the economy, job creation, taxes and the doctor shortage. The forum was moderated by Linda Coble and panelist included Jerry Burris, Todd Belt and Wayne Yoshioka.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Lions Stamp Out Graffiti

The Hamakua Lions recently participated in a Graffiti stamp out at Honoka'a County Park. The Park had been the victim of a terrorist who obviously had too much time on their hands this past summer and marked up the restroom facilities at the park.

The initial plan was to work on the upper park area, however that plan had to be changed as weather prohibited the painting of the upper facilities. The project was chaired by Lions Oswaldo Cabel and Lala Epenesa who recruited volunteers, gathered paint and equipment and even organized a fellowship lunch.

Laupahoehoe School Recognizes Top Scorers

It was not sports scores that was recognized at a special assembly at Laupahoehoe School this past Monday, but test scores in math and reading for the Hawaii State Assessment Test.
The tests were administered to mare than 93,000 students in grades 3 through 8 and grade 10 over a three-week period this past April. Overall, Hawaii State Assessment results showed the percentage of students testing proficient in reading rose from 41 percent (2003) and 60 percent (2007) to 67 percent. In math, it rose from 20 percent (2003) and 38 percent (2007) to 49 percent.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mark Addresses UPW Membership

I was pleased to join the membership of the United Public Workers at Honoka'a Gym today to thank them for their support and endorsement for the upcoming election.

It has been a very educational two years as I learned much about state government on issues as diverse as land use, unemployment insurance, heath care and social programs. We have combated attempts to limit or diminish employee benefits, further lay-off government employees and worked to address continuing difficulties in the EUTF.

In the future, I look forward to working with you and all residents to begin to develop a long-term vision for the state that will help to guide legislative policy and decisions that will realize those priorities.

Hawaii Teamsters Endorse Mark

We need elected officials who are Labor friendly -- people who understand the issues and day-to-day challenges facing working families today and can enact laws that provide solutions.

We need elected officials who are dedicated to doing what's right -- people who are not afraid to stand up to Big Business and legislate according to the will of the American public.

We need elected officials who are visionaries -- people who care enough about you and your family to make tough decisions for your future.

Most of all we need YOU -- to use your voice and exercise your choice!

--Kapili Hawaii Teamsters

Friday, August 20, 2010

BOE Votes NO Consolidation for Kohala Schools

Students from Kohala Middle School gather outside the Waiakea Intermediate School Cafeteria last night following the vote by the Board of Education not to consolidate their school with the Kohala elementary and high school campuses. The vote comes over a year after the task force convinced in Kohala to assess the future of the school based on administrative rules that were in place for the closure and consolidation of under utilized schools.

The task force report which under the administrative rules should have gone to the Board of Education in February was delayed as the department undertook a further assessment using criteria which was not available to the task force nor complied with the sun-shine regulations under which the task force operated. This left many in the community dismayed and disillusioned with the administrative process and left many with reasons to feel hijacked by the process.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sierra Club Endorses Mark

Dear Mark,
Congratulations! The Sierra Club, Hawai`i Chapter is pleased to endorse you in your upcoming race. The Hawai`i Chapter Political Committee reviewed all of the candidates in your race, and selected you as the candidate who we believe will best represent the Sierra Club’s interest in advancing a sustainable, healthy Hawai`i. A Sierra Club endorsement means a lot to our members in your district and to the general voting public. Our endorsement sends a message of your strong support for the environment and your proven track record in environmental issues...

Best of luck on your campaign,

George White
Political Committee Chair
Sierra Club, Hawai`i Chapter

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hawaii Government Employees Association

Dear Mark,

We are pleased to inform you that the HGEA State Board of Directors has voted to endorse your candidacy.

We look forward to your successful election.


Randy Perreira
Executive Director

Saturday, August 14, 2010

ILWU Supports Mark

Dear Representative Nakashima:

The State ILWU Local 142 Political Action Committee, upon the recommendation and concurrence of the ILWU Hawaii Division Political Action Committee/Division Executive Board, has endorsed your candidacy for re-election in House District 1.

We look forward to working with you when you are re-elected to improve the benefits and protections for Hawaii's working people and their families, to grow our economy, to improve our communities and to protect the rights of all the people of our state.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hawaii County Health Care Conference

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi hosted the second Hawaii Island Health Care Conference at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott. "Building a Healthier Future Together," a community collaboration for health and healthcare on the Big Island.
The conference brought together health care professionals, business and community leaders, policy makers and concerned community members to discuss a number of health care topics relevant to Big Island communities.
The gathering focused on creation of innovative, collaborative solutions to Hawaii Island's most pressing healthcare challenges -- access to care and an acute shortage of healthcare providers.
At the conference, Senator David Ige, Chair of the Senate Committee on Health launched a legislative initiative to bring together communities to address a number of health related issues that will be addressed by the 2011 legislature.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

HSTA Endorses Mark

I am pleased to have received the endorsement of the Hawaii State Teachers Association.

Ironworkers Endorsement

I am pleased to announce that the Ironworkers Political Action Committee under the leadership of Chairman T. George Paris, has announced that the Ironworkers are endorsing my candidacy in the Primary Election on Saturday, September 18, 2010.

Rally Supports Kohala Middle School

Kohala Middle School students carry signs they made in support of their school which is being considered for consolidation by the Board of Education. The school moved to the top of the list because it was being considered for "whole school renovation" -- a program that refurbishes older school facilities giving them a complete "make-over." The DOE decided to hold off on the renovation until it determined if the school should even remain open.

A report completed by a community task force appointed by the Complex Area Superintendent completed a report in December, 2009, however the report has been undergoing additional scrutiny by the Department which has been pushing for a consolidation of the school back to the elementary and high school campus, a few miles away. Following lobbying by the community, the department has taken the position that consolidation would be too costly at this time, however many in the community believe that the educational benefits to the students far outweigh any cost savings that may occur years down the road and only after substantial capital improvement expenditures.

While the department position is now more aligned with the community, we have decided not to take any chances as the department has demonstrated that we cannot assume that it will do the right thing. I will continue to work on legislation that creates more openness and responsiveness to community input and concerns by strengthening the school community council as a way to address these concerns. The full implementation of performance contracts for school administrators which include meaningful input by the school community councils will help to move us toward this end.

Below, Kohala Middle School students gather on the front steps of the school to sing the alma mater.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hawaii State AFL-CIO Endorses Mark

At the Council of Affiliates, the delegates unanimously voted to endorse my candidacy for the House of Representatives, District 1, because of my support for working families.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Kohala Seniors Political Forum

A standing room only crowd awaiting politicians participating in the Kohala Senior Citizens Political Forum which was held at the Senior Citizens Building in Kapaau. Three gubernatorial candidates, five candidates for Lieutenant Governor, two candidates for state house and three competitors for county council participated in the two hour long forum in which candidates were allowed to give opening remarks before answering questions posed to the candidates by moderator and event organizer Michael Sumja.
Gubernatorial and Lieutenant Governor candidates participating in the forum included (from left) Neil Abercrombie, John Carroll, Mufi Hanneman, Norman Sakamoto, Bobby Bunda, Jon Riki Karamatsu, Lyla Berg, and Adrienne King.
Following the forum, candidates posed for pictures. From left: Uvonne Lindsey (the only smart one in the group not running for anything), myself, Neil and County Council candidate Raynard Torres.

RIMPAC Exercises Close

The Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) is the world's largest international maritime exercise which is designed to increase mutual cooperation and enhance the tactical capabilities of participating nations in various aspects of maritime operations at sea.

RIMPAC 2010, whose theme is "Combined Agility, Synergy and Support," marks the 22nd exercise in the series. Major objectives include improving the readiness and efficiency of each of the participating units and exercising interoperability among partner nations that have a common interest in regional maritime security. By enhancing interoperability, RIMPAC helps to promote stability in the Pacific Rim region to the benefit of all participating nations.

Mark participated in closing ceremonies held aboard the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier that included personnel from the many participating counties.