Please Join us at the Pa’ina with Derek on July 27th

pa'ina with derek

Please join us for a pa’ina with Derek on Saturday July 27th at Smith’s Tropical Paradise

for ticket information please contact
derekforkauai@gmail.com
Ph: 808-651-1752

$15 Suggested donation/ Keiki & Kupuna free

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2014 Kauai District 14 Re-election Campaign is Underway

“I want to thank the people of Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau for bestowing upon me the honor of being able to serve them,” said Kawakami. “It is a privilege that I hold near and dear to my heart. This is not a job, this is a passion. The ability to wake up everyday and have the goal of creating a brighter future for the next generation is something that drives me. To be able to strengthen our educational system so that our keiki have a jump start on life, laying the foundation that strikes the right balance of creating economic opportunity while preserving what we love most about our island. Ensuring that our kupuna are honored and taken care of. Our environment, our sense of place, our Aloha spirit. There is no place in the world that is like our beloved island, we must fight to protect her.”

As a Representative of the 14th Leader as well as the Vice Chair of the Committee of Consumer Protection and Commerce. He is also a member of the Judiciary; Water and Land; Energy and Environmental Protection; and Ocean, Marine Resources, and Hawaiian Affairs committees.

The 36-year-old Kawakami has nearly a decade of experience in public office. Since being elected in 2006 to the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) Board of Directors and serving on the Kaua‘i County Council from 2008-2011, Kawakami’s commitment to the community has been one of honoring the past and building the future. Kawakami approaches his bid for reelection with that same consistency of building bridges of consensus to reach creative solutions to problems that the island of Kaua‘i and the State of Hawai‘i face today.

In the Legislature, Kawakami worked hard to pass HB2626, more commonly known as the Safe Routes to School Bill. The bill created a funding mechanism to appropriate money to the counties to create safe zones that promote walking and bicycling to school. Hawai‘i is the first in the nation to have a statewide Safe Routes to School initiative because of this particular measure. Since the passage of this bill, more than $1.1 million has been appropriated to the County of Kaua‘i through the Safe Routes to School Program.

With Public Safety in mind and in collaboration with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Kawakami was also successful in passing HB1993 that makes the act of physical abuse in the presence of a minor a class C felony. He noted, “We were tired of seeing heartbreaking cases where innocent children were subjected to acts of violence, and felt that the punishment should fit the crime. Our commitment to creating a safe environment for our keiki is paramount.”

Kawakami’s efforts have also paid off in protecting our county lifeguards by passing HB1024. “This particular measure is especially important for our lifeguards at Ke‘e beach,” he said. “Our lifeguards put their lives on the line for us everyday, it is only right that we shield them with protection while they are guarding our keiki, our kupuna, our residents, and visitors.”

Kawakami also serves as the House representative on the Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council and the Hawai‘i Broadband Assistance Advisory Council. Kawakami’s proven track record dates back to his service on the KIUC Board and Kaua‘i County Council. He was the second vice chair of the KIUC Board as well as the chair of its Strategic Planning Committee that set the benchmark of achieving 50% of renewable energy by 2023, a goal that sets the bar higher than what the State of Hawai‘i set.

Kawakami has more than 12 years of business experience in operations at Big Save, Inc. and MSM, Inc. He brings his private sector expertise to his work in government. “When I was elected to the County Council in 2008, we were faced with most dire economic outlook since the Great Depression,” said Kawakami. “While the county and state faced the harsh reality of doing more with less, so was our business community and more importantly, our everyday working class men and women. At Big Save, Inc., we were tasked with making necessary cuts to our operation while maintaining core services to the community. In my roles both in government and business, I worked with my colleagues to make hard decisions to weather the storm. The right decision is oftentimes not a popular one, but it takes courage and vision to be able to make those tough choices with the future in mind.”

As a Kaua‘i County Councilmember, Kawakami served as the chair of the Committee on Public Safety/Energy/Intergovernmental Relations and the vice chair of the Committee of the Whole. He also served as the president of the Hawai‘i Association of Counties.

Raised on Kaua‘i and a graduate of Kaua‘i High School and Chaminade University, Kawakami spends his spare time as member of the Kiwanis, Kaua‘i Police Activities League Board, Advisory Board of Directors for Catholic Charities Kaua‘i, and volunteering as a coach for AYSO soccer. He also played a role in getting wrestling into our high schools as a sanctioned KIF sport. “Giving back to the community is something that was instilled in us from the very beginning,” he stated. It is a part of my life just like being a husband, a father, and a part of the greatest place on Earth, our home, Kaua‘i. I would be honored to continue to serve District 14 for another term.”

Kawakami resides in Kapahi with his wife Monica and his children Christopher and Hailee.

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Hawaiian Paina With Derek August 22, 2010

Hawaiian Paina with Derek

Join us Sunday, August 22 at the Kauai Veterans Center 11am – 2pm

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Update

Aloha all,

Well compared to last week, this week was relatively relaxed and slow paced.

Earth Day was on April 22, 2010.  There were many community events going on around the island but I recalled a familiar saying that somehow hit home that day.  “Think Globally and Act Locally.”  And I figured how much more close to home could I act if I began with my very own keiki.

So in honor of Earth Day, Hailee and I planted some Manoa Lettuce and green beans.  We also fed our home composter which by the way, is available free of charge from the County.  From what I understand, they are currently out but are taking names for the next batch.  Just call 241-4837 to get your name on the list.  Once the bins come in you will be required to take a short one-hour class to learn how to use it and you are ready to go.  Just a little advice, you need patience.  You are not going to be getting that sweet smelling black compost overnight.  We dug for earthworms and placed it in our bin hoping that it would speed up the composting process.  We spent an afternoon in the dirt growing our own food and having a blast.  I forgot how fun it is to get dirty and be a kid again.  My main message to Hailee was that everyday should be Earth Day.

Growing up, I can remember riding our bikes to Kipu Falls and spending endless summer days at Kalapaki.  Clean water, fresh air, and beautiful sunshine, it is something we often overlook because growing up on Kauai we are surrounded by it.  But we must always remember that our responsibility is to preserve what we have for the next generation.

I was awoken Saturday morning by my daughter.  She had managed to jump in bed with us sometime late Friday night or in the wee hours of Saturday morning.  It was a great way to wake up.  However, I knew that the day ahead would be filled with mixed emotions.  I was slated to present a certificate to the ohana of the late great Larry McIntosh or “Mr. Mac” as we knew him.  It was the hardest speech to deliver by far.  So many of us have fond memories of Mr. Mac.  For many of us, his classroom is where we learned the value of hard work.  He taught us that the difference between the next best person and yourself was measured by who worked harder.  Who shows up early and leaves late.  The following is the speech that I wrote and delivered including the certificate from the Kaua`i County Council that I sponsored:

It is a privilege and an honor to stand before you today and say that not only am I a student of Mr. Mac but I am a proud member of one of the most exclusive clubs in the world, the Mighty Red Raiders of Kauai High School.  Do we have any Red Raiders out there?  Let him hear you.  Let him know we are here!

And I say that I am proud to be a student in the present tense.  Not a former student but as a student, because I am still learning from this man.  I still hear his voice pushing us.  I still hear him driving that competitive wedge between the next best person and myself and boy did he have a talent in that sense.  He had a way of creating intensity, of creating rivalries, of creating a fierce competitiveness between the first and second chairs of a section and if any of you were ever in his band class you know exactly what I am talking about.

And I remember Mr. Mac always had a soft spot for the kolohe ones.  You see, I was lucky enough to accompany Mr. Mac and some of his students across Europe one summer in 2001 before 911.  And on this trip I got to know the man, not the teacher, but I got introduced to the essence of Mr. Mac.  He was a man who, well lets put it this way.  He could relate to the kolohe ones and I know because I was one of them.  He could relate to them because….well…he was a little bit kolohe himself.

But beyond all of that, beyond the booming raspiness of his voice lies a man.  A man who created a legacy.  A man who made band class…cool!  Just as cool as being on the football team. He made band class so much more than just another class.  It was much more than just another 45 minutes.  For many of us myself included.  It was a sanctuary, it was a safe haven, it was a refuge.  It was a place where you were judged on work ethic and effort rather than what you were wearing or who you were hanging out with.  And in the confusing world of High School.  For 45 minutes.  It all made sense.  I have a certificate of condolences that I would like to present to the family of the late, great Mr. Mac.

CONDOLENCE CERTIFICATE

The Council

of the

County of Kaua‘i

hereby offers its condolences to

THE FAMILY OF THE LATE

LARRY L. McINTOSH

The Kaua‘i County Council offers its deepest condolences to the family of Larry L. McIntosh.  “Mr. Mac” as he was called by all of his students was   an educator and band director for over 40 years.  For everyone who had the honor and privilege of knowing Mr. Mac, knew that music was his total life and that he was a very dedicated band director.  Students recall that he was not only a music teacher, he was a confidant, mentor and a huge influence in the lives of his students as he brought out the best in their abilities as musicians.   Mr. Mac, was the recipient of many accomplishments and awards, including being named Kaua‘i Museum Living Treasure in 2007 for artistry in music.

Many will remember Mr. Mac as an inspiration, a tireless practitioner of musical and theatrical arts, an avid water skier and for “making magic” with his music.  Mr. Mac served as a true role model for everyone as he was always available to help and share his knowledge with all, especially the youth of our island.  Band class was so much more than a classroom with walls.  For many, it was a sanctuary, a safe haven, a refuge.

Mr. Mac will be sadly missed by all and we extend our heartfelt sympathy to his beloved wife Lauretta; daughters Traci, Leana, and Sydney; son Larry Wayne, his three grandchildren and his many family and friends.

Councilmember: Derek S. K. Kawakami

Date: April  24, 2010

10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

at the War Memorial Convention Hall

Mr. Mac until we meet again on the other side, keep a chair open for me in the woodwinds section.  We love you, we miss you, and we will carry you in our hearts forever.  A hui hou.  Thank you and god bless

Saturday afternoon had my ohana making the trek back West for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in Hanapepe.  It was great to see the many survivors and their brave families that have had to battle this disease.  Hats off to Val Saiki who chaired a very successful event.  I got to spend some time with the Key Club and Kiwanis Club of Kauai who made sure that they had enough of Mr. Lane Tokita’s famous chili to feed an army.  Just for the record, Tokita’s chili is some of the best that I have ever tasted!  HGEA also had a tent and they were selling Two Ladies Kitchen famous strawberry mochi all the way from Hilo.  It was nice to see the community come out to support our brave survivors and to remember all of those who have fallen ill to cancer.  Made me think back of my grandfather “Kash” Kashima and my wife’s grandmother who both passed away from cancer.

Heading back east we noticed that Kalaheo Coffee Co. and Café was still open.  Deciding that we needed some coffee for the long ride home we decided to stop in.  We stopped for coffee and ended up having a delicious dinner.  If you are ever in Kalaheo stop by and try the turkey meatloaf or the Eggplant parmesan.  It is out of this world!  Oh, by the way, did I mention that they have great coffee too?

Sunday was a day of relaxation for us.  No doubt there was probably some great event going on but the sun was out and the weather was warm which could only mean one thing.  Beach day!  Spent the afternoon at Fuji Beach.  Something about being in the ocean.  It cleanses, it rejuvenates, it strengthens.  After the beach Monica and I out our jogging shoes on and hit our favorite place, Ke Ala Hele Makalae, the path.  It was nice to jog past familiar faces and to gaze out into the sea as the sun slowly dipped beyond the horizon.  It was nice to say hello to friends along the path as our weekend came to an end.  And yes…..I said hi to the dogs too.  Until next time, A hui hou!

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Budgets, Galas & Kachi Kachi: Week of April 12-18

Aloha everyone!

It has been a very busy week for the ohana and myself.  The County Council is in budget processing cycle and we had department hearings for the Fire Department, the Liquor Department, Civil Defense, Humane Society, Personnel, Police, County Clerk, Auditor, Housing, Elderly Affairs, Transportation, Finance, Planning, Parks and Recreation, and Public Works.  Yes, that’s 15 departments in the span of a week.  Some of the challenges that we face is that our Real Property Tax Certification doesn’t come in until the end of the month so we really don’t know exactly how much money we have in the bank until that date.  We also are watching what the State legislature does to our Transient Accommodation Tax (TAT) monies.  If they go with the proposal from the Senate which caps the Counties take at 50%, we would be short an additional $6 million.

On Wednesday we were fortunate to be visited by preschool aged children from the Kauai Head Start program, program that benefits our local residents and our communities by investing in our most precious resource, the keiki.  They were here to present us with a plaque in appreciation for our past and continued support of their programs.  With the help of my campaign committee we were able to assemble some goodie bags for the children the night before and boy were they happy.  But their happiness at receiving the goodie bags were eclipsed by the happiness and joy that they brought me by visiting.  Made me think of my own little one and I had the sudden desire to get out of work, rush home, and give my family a big hug.

On Friday, I attended the Drug Court graduation and the emotion running through the room was so thick you could feel it weaving itself into your own emotions.  I heard first hand, the challenges and the willpower that these individuals endured to overcome what so many have failed to overcome.  This is truly a program that works and we must preserve it.  Addiction is a disease and it affects everybody.  It is a rare thing in these times to run across someone who hasn’t been personally touched or affected by drug addiction in some way, shape or form.  Maybe you have a loved one or maybe you yourself have been touched by this problem.  The age where addicts were viewed as someone else’s problem are over. These days it takes the entire community to tackle the problem at hand.

On Friday, night we attended the Kauai Community College Spring Gala.  Our family has been attending this event for years now and anyone that knows me personally knows that I have a PASSION for food.  And what a way for our chefs to showcase their masterpieces alongside the future of the culinary arts world.  We had chefs like Mark Oyama and Alan Wong working alongside budding culinary art students.   Everything was delicious but the Hawaiian Mix Plate from Mark’s Place was a personal favorite.  They had a mix of three different traditional Hawaiian dishes but they put a modern spin on it.  Talk about “Honoring the Past, Building the Future” (I had to put that in).  This was a great evening for a great cause and I can’t wait to see what they have lined up for next year.

After the KCC gala we drove over to the Convention Hall for the Visayan Club’s Kachi Kachi Dance.  I was able to pick up some lessons from Mrs. Carvalho (no relation to our Mayor), which would prove to come in handy on Saturday night (more on that later).

Saturday started bright and early at Kukui Grove for the MS Charity Walk.  Hailee and I joined the crew from Kauai Technical Institute Jiu-Jitsu Academy as we walked to raise some money for a good cause.  Thanks go out to Shea Montgomery for getting the crew together and organizing our team.  While we were walking I got to chat with a few people and not one conversation drifted into a political discussion.  It was all laughs and good vibes for a good cause.  And it dawned on me that in light of a very serious cause that has affected so many people; we were able to remain positive and optimistic.  And that is what gets us through the tough times, our ability to be resilient and our ability to find hope and to band together to face challenges as a community.

After a delicious breakfast we headed over to the KCC Garden Fair.  Let me tell you, if you want to find some of the freshest produce and tastiest and unique value added agricultural products this is the place to be.  Hailee spent her time at the 4-H Keiki tent where Jade and Ty Nakamoto helped her plant a seed in a pot that she decorated. She also constructed a bird feeder that looked good enough for me to eat.  It was so good to see Ed Kawamura, Roy Oyama, Louisa Wooten, and many others who are responsible for keeping the ag movement alive on Kauai.  I bought some goat cheese from Kunana Dairy.  I first tasted this cheese many years ago at Kilauea Lighthouse Bistro, years ago. It was then I knew that I had to carry it in our stores.  I finally tracked down Mrs. Wooten and a partnership was forged.  We are currently out of it but she has assured me that as soon as production picks up she will begin restocking us once again.  I can’t wait.  There was also a chocolate cake that I came across that was out of this world!  I need to look for the card of that baker – I am telling you it was that good.  Every bite was so moist and it was like something that came out of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.   Now that I am on this health and wellness fix I have cut out all sugary drinks like the sodas and energy drinks out of my life.  I have however begun to drink and not only drink, but appreciate coffee.  I bought one cup of coffee from Moloaa Bay Coffee and ended up leaving with two bags and a loaf of freshly baked whole wheat bread from Hanalima Bakery.  The Garden Fair is a great example of what our Agriculture sector is doing to overcome the high cost of doing business in Hawaii.  Creative marketing, a quality product and a great venue is a recipe for success.

As I made my way from the Garden Fair to the Boy Scout Makahiki at the Vidinha Stadium Soccer fields my daughter explained how she and Grammy were farmers too.  My mother, Arlene Kawakami, and her ohana grew up as farmers in Huleia Valley.  She is the youngest in a family of two sons and two daughters.  Her father Mutsumi Kashima worked with Shell Oil as a truck driver and her mother Dora worked as a chambermaid at Coco Palms and in the pantry at Kauai Surf.  They ran Halenani Saimin Shop and were farmers who grew papayas, ginger, and Samoan taro tops.  The sold their produce to Yukimura Store, Eagle Produce and Mahelona Hospital.  As a youngster, her upbringing was a mix of Japanese tradition and Hawaiian culture.  She grew up fishing, swimming, singing, and farming.  My mom is the glue of the family.  She was raised to be strong.  As a wife of a businessman and the mother of three boys she had to be strong, there was no choice.  She constantly reminds her boys to never forget where their roots are.  Always work hard.  Always give thanks.  Always remain humble.  Always stand up for what you believe in and the things that you love.  Well, my mother known to my daughter as “Grammy,” has a hand in raising Hailee as she was the primary babysitter for majority her life.  I remember coming to pick her up one day and the two of them were covered in dirt after spending the afternoon planting sugarcane.  I asked,” Why in the world would you plant sugarcane?” To which my mother replied, “When you were young and weren’t listening we would tell you that we were going to drop you off in the cane field and the sabidong man was going to get you.  Well I just realized that this little girl has no idea that our history and our legacy as an island and as a community has its roots in sugarcane so I figured we could grow some and when the time comes we can chop it down and we could chew on the stalk like we did with all of you.”  Honoring the past. Building the future.

Attending the Boy Scout Makahiki was another trip down memory lane as I was a proud member of Troop 148.  It was nice to see “Coach” Lyle Tabata and Ray Paler and the Boy Scouts of Troop 148 and the same bridge that we used for our Makahiki many years ago being used once again.  Hailee had a blast crossing the rope bridge.  Sometimes I wonder if she is part monkey.  I was really impressed with all the displays and the hard work that the Scout leaders have done to perpetuate the game of Scouting.

After a quick nap we made our way to the sunny Westside town of Kekaha to attend Mass and the St. Theresa carnival.  It was nice to see a lot of friends on the Westside that I haven’t seen in awhile.  I was talking to Mrs. Buza and the conversation steered towards my dad who also attended St. Theresa’s back in the day.  He only lasted one year though and he won’t elaborate on whether he was kicked or not.  However, Mrs. Buza did reflect that “Dat class was kolohe.”  The town of Kekaha is a good example of the benefits of small town living even though they are one of the biggest communities on Kauai.  Everybody knows everybody and everybody takes care of everybody.  After hitting up the Country Store and filling up a box of homemade goodies like pickled mango, sweetbread, and some secret sauce that is a mix of shoyu, garlic, vinegar, and chili pepper plus some “secret” ingredients (it is so good I bought three bottles).  They even had homemade peach cobbler that was still warm!  After eating our massive huli chicken plates and visiting the booths and playing the games and getting Hailee’s face painted and visiting McGruff the crime dog and the Police Explorers Keiki I.D. booth, we decided it was time to make our trip back to Kapahi but not before stopping in at Wong’s in Hanapepe for the Kachi Kachi Dance.

I said before that those Kachi Kachi Dance lessons that I got from Mrs. Carvalho were going to come in handy and boy did they ever!  I saw a lot of friends, (some old and some new) and even saw a co-worker who got me on the dance floor for my first dance.  It’s a rare sight to see a Japanese guy dance kachi kachi as I updated my facebook status.  Hailee who is a self-proclaimed dancing queen shared the next four dances with me.  That girl loves to dance; she dances hula, bon dance, and now kachi kachi!  As I danced with her and twirled her around the dance floor she said, “Daddy I am dancing like a princess.”  I cherished that moment, the look in her eyes made me feel like a hero!  I hope there will never be a day that she won’t save one dance for her daddy.   Well it was way after our bedtime and I had to be up early the next day for our Kiwanis Club of Kauai French Breakfast.  We stopped for some coffee and prepared for the long ride home.

Sunday morning and the alarm is going off at 3:30 a.m.  I figure I get in a fast 20-minute workout to burn off some of the peach cobbler, huli chicken, chocolate cakes and all the other culinary delights that I consumed.  After a quick workout and shower I was heading for Wilcox Elementary (my alma mater) for the annual Kiwanis French Breakfast.  It was great to see the youth of today, the leaders of tomorrow gather so early in the morning to help raise money for scholarships.  These young adults are simply amazing.  They visit our seniors in the hospital and at the Regency at Pua Kea, highway and beach cleanups and they help tutor their fellow students in school.  They are definitely an inspiration.  Big mahalos go out to all who attended.  Your contribution plays a huge role in maintaining a program that teaches volunteerism and responsibility.  Thanks go out to all the Kiwanis members and Key Club members who showed up to help out in our annual event.  I had the challenging job of a bus boy.  I never realized how hard their work is not spilling water on the guests and being on your feet the whole day rushing back and forth.  So please, always remember to tip your waiter : )  after a long day I headed back home for a quick nap.

After a quick power nap Monica woke me up and said “Get your shoes on time to pay for all the fun we had.”  Well if there is one thing she has taught me is that we can eat whatever we want just as long as we burn it off after.  She also taught me that the hardest thing to overcome is getting off the couch and putting on your shoes.  Everything after that is gravy.  So we packed up the Jogging Stroller got Hailee in the car and headed for one of our favorite places Ke Ala Hele Makalae or “The Path.”  We have been training with heart rate monitors to gauge the time and intensity of our runs versus distance.  She decided to run from Kealia to Kuna Bay and since I was pushing a stroller I decided to take the easy way and run from Kealia to the Lihi and back.  As I walked with Hailee and warmed up it gave me a chance to reflect as to how much I love doing what I do.  It may seem like a busy schedule but these are the things that we do as a family anyway.  Even if we weren’t running for office.  We always attend the carnivals, the festivals, the fundraisers, and the community events.  It made me realize that the most important thing is to make time for your loved ones and to get your family involved.  It made me realize how lucky we are to live on Kauai.  It is often easy to focus on what is not working but at the end of the day, when the sun is setting and it is just you and your thoughts, ask yourself.  Is there anywhere else in the World that I would rather be?  And as Hailee climbed in the jogger and as I began to pick up the pace to burn off the chocolate cakes and Mark’s Place Hawaiian Plate, and Huli Chicken and Flying Saucers, and as Hailee drifted off to la la land.  My answer was, no.  There is nowhere else in the World that I would rather be than with my Ohana, My people, My Kauai.  Until next time, a hui hou!

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Commencement of the Re-Elect Derek Kawakami Campaign

Aloha Friends,

We have just organized our campaign team for 2010 and we’ve hit the ground running! We have entered into the County Council budget session which is the most important task of our County Council.  The Budget hearings are now recorded live and can been seen live at HawaiiStream.com. Many community members came to our new location near Nawiliwili and I’ve received great comments about the live streaming video.

After a long day at the budget hearings, I decided to dropped into Kauai Technical Institute Jiu Jitsu on Friday night. The KTI members were a great help to us last campaign as they walked house to house with me on the Eastside. They were happy to get me off the street and on to the mat! Sergeant-at-Arms, Chris Takenaka, would be pleased to hear that I’m training with these great guys.

Bright and early on Saturday morning, Monica and I helped the Kiwanis and Key Clubbers clean up Nawiliwili Park during our annual One Day community service project.  It was good to give back to an area that gave me so much as I was growing up.  I literally spent more time at Kalapaki than anywhere else in the World.

Later Saturday afternoon, we headed up the hill for the Kauai Democratic Party County Convention where amongst other things our own Steve Nishimura was handed over the gavel as he takes over as Chairman of the party.  Congratulations Steve!

Saturday night was a fun-filled evening as we entered a Bowling Tournament on behalf of the County Council to benefit the Hawaii Hotel and Lodging Association’s Visitor Industry Charity Walk.  On our team, The Mayor came in first followed by Glen Kawamura, myself, Tim Bynum, Dickie Chang, and last but not least Lani Kawahara.

Spent Sunday morning attending mass at St. Williams in Hanalei followed by a delicious breakfast at Hanalei School to benefit the North Shore Lion’s Club and their charitable efforts.  Ahhhhh…..It feels good to be on the campaign trail once again.  Time to lace up the shoes dust off the cobwebs because we are rolling!

Derek

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Issues of Information

Recently, two Council members have brought to our attention a list of concerns that they have. dealing with the posting of minutes online, the distribution of information, and the ability to place any item on the agenda. Some members of the public have written to the newspaper, sent emails, or have stopped me on the street to talk about this issue. My response is what I have always done, listen first. Gather the information. Then, make a decision based on the merits of the case. We are going to be having an open discussion on July 22 at which point, those two Council members will have every opportunity to state their case and we in return will have an opportunity to ask questions, get answers, reassess the situation, and move forward. I have looked at their website and I have questions for all parties involved.

What I can do is tell you where I stand on the issues as a whole. One of the first questions I asked our County Clerk upon getting elected is if we plan on having minutes posted online. For me, it is a matter of convenience and mobile technology. I can read my minutes virtually anywhere that I can bring my laptop. It is important for me to be as mobile as possible given the nature of my schedule. The answer I got is that we are working on it. Boards and Commissions are in the process of posting their minutes and when that is complete we will be working on ours. I was fine with that answer. Why? To be perfectly honest, it wasn’t in my top five priorities.

We were and are currently conducting council business in the open, we are televised on Ho`ike, and anyone who wants minutes can receive them per request within 30 days of the last meeting. So this issue wasn’t an issue of transparency or lack of transparency. It was about how can we provide a better service to our community. If I had perceived it to be an issue of transparency I would have reacted quite differently.

Executive session meetings that I have been in dealt with the consideration of the powers, duties, privileges, immunities and/or liabilities of the Council and the County as they relate to the agenda item. Every Executive Session has fully complied with the requirements of the Sunshine Law. If I am wrong, I challenge my fellow council members to bring any violation to my attention. There are no backroom deals being made, we focus on the item at hand and we stay the course. Once again, If I am wrong, I invite my fellow council members to point it out to me. So everything we do is out in the open, it is televised, it is reported on by our newspaper, and minutes of the meeting are available within 30 days of that meeting. Yet this has turned into a lack of transparency issue. Like I said, this will increase the level of service, but in my opinion, we are very transparent.

Next we are dealing with the distribution of communication. Quite frankly, the amount of information and communication we receive is tremendous. I have no idea what communication or information I am receiving that they are not receiving. If this is true, an explanation is warranted. All I can tell you is that we have cubbyholes assigned to us with stacks of communication and I do not have the time and effort to compare what I have with the next person. We each have a computer and we receive emails from our constituents and from various county departments. So in conclusion, what am I getting that you aren’t?

Issue of accessibility to the agenda. All bills and resolutions must be initialed by the chair or in his or her absence, the vice chair in order to be placed on the agenda. Is this the only mechanism? No. I believe that you can make a motion to add an item to the agenda and if it carries a 2/3 affirmative vote, should be immediately deferred to the following council meeting in order to comply with the Sunshine Law. So there are ways to get on the agenda.

In conclusion, I look forward to July 22nd so that I can listen to the facts behind these allegations. In closing, I would like to say that in a democracy, there is a minority and a majority. It is the democratic process. It is in my opinion that the minority should have an equal voice. They should be heard. But when the day is done and the chips fall on the table it is the votes that count. And whether or not we are on the winning end or the losing end we must respect the process and respect the decision of the body as a whole. Anything less is unbecoming of an elected official.

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Mahalo Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau!

Thank you Kauai and Niihau for your support in the primary elections.

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Derek Featured in the Media

Just a quick round up of recent news articles featuring Derek.

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Judge Alfred Laureta on Derek

“While serving with Derek as a former Director of KIUC, I sensed in him a dedication and desire to do that which was expected of him as a director.  His willingness to listen and his forward-looking outlook contributed much to solutions and decisions.  He is motivated by a desire to help build a legacy of Kauai which future generations can be thankful for.” - Alfred Laureta

1st Filipino-American to be appointed U.S. district judge (1969)
1st Filipino-American to be appointed judge of Hawaii’s Circuit Court One (1969)
1st Filipino-American director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations in Hawaii (1963)
Former Administrative Assistant to Senator Daniel K. Inouye
Former KIUC Director
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