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COUNTY COUP LEAD BY YOSHIMOTO WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM SIDEKICKS ENRIQUES AND ONISHI: BLOW BY BLOW: Shameful!

The following is a rough transcription of the County Council coup: discussion and votes by Council members

ENRIQUES: Says he ran for office because he wanted team work and for the Council to work with the Mayor's administration; this is not a power play; not about east and west; The main emphasis needs to be teamwork; and we need a different leadership; and the positions that I felt needed more leadership were two: Finance and DPW, but I respect every council member; This Council needs leadership that builds bridges and that will work with this administration. This is about leadership styles. Someone said I am a rookie, some one said I am a sports person; but these are the same skills and principles. The successes in my life depend on those skills. "Maybe a change will make a difference. (There are some who don’t agree) But the competitor that I am this makes me what to do it more. I am not doing this for power. [MY COMMENT: I am reminded of the adage that if someone repeatedly says he did not do something for some reason, that is likely exactly what is happening]

HOFFMANN : to Enriques
I challenge your comparison to sports --- the objective of a sports event is entertainment and we should not be held to provide entertainment. Working as a council is not that we work in lock step--it is not a sports game. what is happening here -this is the same as in Eastern Europe What is important is that we can disagree. IT sounds good to use the sports objective; our job is not to trust the mayor; my responsibility is to provide reasonable alternatives, not to go along with any certain position.

What is most important is the perception of what we are doing. I am embarassed for the Council. As Chairman, what I tried to do was build up the trust and respect of the Council. (no longer ;here)

Last Wednesday I pleaded with Mr. Yoshimoto and Clerk Kenny not to do this - to Ford and Yagong.. And yes I you mentioned a couple times that Ms. Naeole wants to be Vice Chair, but I did not understand this plan was already in the making. (or that this was what would happen if I did not agree with you) I am embarassed. THis resolution is about telling the two hardest working councilmembers that they will be removed for voting against your position. We have a problem with credibility and respect. If we disagree with the positions. Mr Enriques did not make any point.

YOSHIMOTO I did not hear that Mr. Enriques is opposed to any disagreement. [MY COMMENT: well J that is obviously what Enriques and you are saying.... in sports you follow the coach's orders or you get benched, that is what is happening here. Don't act so naive]

GREENWELL:
My name has not been brought up -- and some are unclear what my position is. Also I am disturbed by the Editorial that told me how I should vote to keep my constituency –Reed, don't do that to me.
WE are all very dedicated . This is partly my fault. I was surprised that this was going to come up. When Onishi spoke to me, I thought we were going to work on how to work together down the line and later we would get together and work on how we can best do this job. I was as shocked as many of you in Kona. I had no idea that this would be sprung on the upcoming agenda. If I knew what was happening I would have tried to dissuade my friends from doing this.

When we went to Washington Senator Inouye said -- do not come to me with a fractured body --- come to me as a united group. Obama said come to me with proposals and if they are reasonable I will help you. Instead I say: we have been farting around with crap. I am asking those of you are proposing these resolutions to withdraw them. Down the road we need to all get together and work this out in a better way.

BRENDA FORD:
I am very disturbed about what I am hearing. I did not get this revised agenda until Friday afternoon. I happened to speak to Clerk Kenny Goodenow on Friday on another matter. He mentioned there were plans to do some reorganizing, but he said he and J Yoshimoto were opposed to doing this. Now I learn that J and Kenny went to Pete's office and J told him “I have 5 votes” …. on what day was this visit you J and Kenny met with Pete?

YOSHIMOTO: at some point he chimes in to say: Well I did not tell you I was against this.

FORD: Brenda starts in again about being lied to and asking again when the meeting took place with Hoffmann.

YOSHIMOTO: interrupts her and says– that she should not be asking Clerk Kenny about when the meeting occurred.

FORD: responds irritated…

YOSHIMOTO: J then answers -- that it was on Wednesday

FORD: starts in again about this meeting with Hoffmann. What is the official time of close of County business in Hilo?

Clerk KENNY GOODENOW: The agenda is required to be out a certain number of days before -- so up to midnight. So it was okay to do Wednesday night.

FORD: but that agenda was not accessible to the public. i will talk to the office of OIP -- regarding possible violations of sunshine law.

CLERK KENNY: interrupts Ford telling her she is off the subject of the resolution;

FORD: responds that she is not off topic and that he should not interrupt. She says she was lied to.

CLERK KENNY: He again interrupts her. Brenda is furious and upset by the way Clerk Kenny is telling her she should not be discussing this because it is not relevant. (MY COMMENT: Yoshimoto does not curb his Clerk Kenny, and seems to be approving)

Brenda becomes visibly more and more upset -- as Clerk Kenny keeps trying to make her stop discussing the meeting with Hoffmann. . Yoshimoto calls for a 5 minute break. )

FORD RESUMES: I want to speak to Mr. Yagong's qualifications. He has the educational background and experience and has more knowledge than the rest of us. Open government is what we should have --- not dictatorship . this is unamerican. Why can't we have open and honest debate without fear of retribution. This reorganization does not help this Council work towards teamwork and in fact is causing divisiveness.We need transparency.... and ...Each of us were elected to best represent our district; those who know me know I have always voted in the best interest of the County.

J YOSHIMOTO:
What are the sunshine rule issues? we need to discuss this point. What we need to do is state who we spoke --so we cure any violations.

YOSHIMOTO : I spoke to Enriques and Onishi and Hoffmann [MY COMMENT; and in addition who, on behalf of Yoshimoto] did Clerk Kenny talk to ... can we guess he tipped off Ikeda as to what was happening, and may well have helped coordinate calls with ONishi and Enriques.]

ONISHI : I spoke to Enriques and Yoshimoto and Greenwell

HOFFMANN: I hear we have 5 people in this discussion.

Yoshimoto: The remedy is to disclose the communications at the next meeting. Therefore we should disclose who we each spoke to so that we cure any violations.

LINCOLN Ashida: Cure-- Is what you just did -- revealing the communications at the next meeting.

FORD: I called Pete, Yagong and Greenwell? To Yagong: I asked did you hear about this? We did not discuss votes.

FORD: My Problem: is it legal to canvassing for votes?
Ashida: Reorganization efforts --- Councilmembers are not limited to seeking votes and up to 4 can discuss.

Emily NAEOLE says:
to Dominic: some of you wanted Pilago and not Billy -- but Billy was elected.
to Brenda: you have been against me and what i am trying to do for my Puna
to Hoffmann: I am not against you but I have wanted to be vice chair
Let me say it is Enriques and Onishi have both helped to get us all together;
no body called me.

GREENWELL : I still hope we vote this down... but even if that does not happen, I think we will be stronger for it. We need to get back to working to get the stimulus money.

ONISHI: What I want is teamwork. A reporter spoke to me and said that is not possible and I said that is what I want. [MY COMMENT -- YES BY PUNISHING THOSE WHO DO NOT TOW THE BOSSES LINE, THAT IS HOW YOU WANT TO GET THE "TEAM" IN LINE]

In November when we met -- we all discussed how we want to work together. I proposed an ad hoc department -- so that there would be 4 people to look at the budget and that would be better than one person. When I said this to Dominic [on some date], I was told it is too late.

Emily NAEOLE
My deceased husband Harold knows I work hard. .......
I saw Mr Safarik in the parking lot. He said said to me you will be a hero if you vote this down. He mentioned two ladies -- Tiffany Edwards and Debbie Hecht ... I don't know why he said that. I do know it was Enriques and Onishi who brought us all together ..When we Council members met last fall, Dominic lead the meeting, but it was Enriques and Ohishi who really brought us together....... And I was angry that J and I were cut off when we wanted to make amendments to the CDP

HOFFMANN: I have yet to hear a valid reason to remove these two chairs -- ford and yagong from their positions.

YAGONG: I ask Mr. Enriques to withdraw this reso and then we can meet and work these things out that we disagreed on, and if he still does not understand then I will accept that as a man.

ENRIQUES What I want is teamwork -- it is not about power. It is the leadership style that bothers me. Knowing all the information is not the whole thing; it is what you do with that information.[MY COMMENT: give us a break... this is all about power grabbing... imbalance of power] Some teams are all about power --- but that is not what I am all about when coaching. It is how you play the game. Brenda Ford and Dominic Yagong are very knowledgeable. I just think we could have done a little better than we did. I am not going to go through the specifics. I will do my best to be head of the DPW. and if am not going good then I will change chairs. I am a big boy. IT is not about power and voting the same.

EMILY: It is all about leadership styles... some are about aloha and some are all about fighting. Enriques and Onishi watched us these past 7 months and now see it like it is. I have been pushed outside many times. I am an uplifter, not a push-downer. People think I am not pono; but I am pono.

ONISHI: Mr. Higa never had a chairmanship between 2006 and 2008 (IN OTHER WORDS: So why should you guys get a committee chair

BRENDA: Mr. Higa refused any chairmanship

PETE: Mr. Higa was offered a position but said he did not want it at this time. I told him that if he changed his mind to come tell me.

BRENDA: so if this is in retribution for Higa not having a chair that is not right
THis resolution is about telling the two hardest working councilmembers that they will be removed for voting against position

HOFFMANN We have a problem with credibility and respect. If we disagree with the positions, (we may be taken out); Mr Enriques did not make any point .... [this comment may be out of order ]

YOSHIMOTO: We all work our best. When we think about change it is many things... it can be scary.. but change also brings opportunity ...but the key thing for me is giving people an opportunity ..we are all capable. While change is scary -- but it brings opportunity .Bottom line everyone has different opinions . I have no doubt that no matter what happens today .. we are all community ... we have a relationship. If the problem becomes……… as we grow these relationships we can have disagreements. people will still vote the way they want to . What we said was important when we started was Honesty respect and communication -- that is what we must do. No matter what happens we must work together . we have to do what we have to do and we have to move on. [MY COMMENT: So set an example of honesty Mr. Chairman]

VOTE: .on reso 201 all yeas except Ford Hoffmann and Yagong and Greenwell --- on this reorganization,
reso 202 is withdrawn [202 would have combined all committees into 4 so that only Enriques, Onishi, Ikeda, and Naeole Greenwell would be chairs and vice chairs

ONISHIi moves: reso 200 --- to make ms Naeole the vice chair:
Naeole: I am not ashamed to say I am Hawaiian . There are plenty of people in my district who could have come here and support me.but they have to work, they are poor, and they don't like to come over here to talk .. so I am not upset that others in my district came here who are not in favor of my being the vice chair. I am not seeking any power. but I deserve this as much as anyone.
let's talk about fair share, it is time for my share. nothing personal to you Pete. if akua blesses me with this opportunity I will do it. I said I wanted to do this, this is my manao.

Pete HOFFMANN: I hear a lot about "my people" -- it is now time to instead talk about "our people" . . .
(speaking to Yoshimoto: J, I serve at your pleasure Chairman Yoshimoto, no one else's call. I am sure you have 5 votes if that is what you want. But it is totally your call. No matter what you do I will serve this county...

YOSHIMOTO: [seems a bit uncertain how to respond] But You were clear to me last wednesday that you did not want to continue as vice chair. Are you now saying that you want to be vice chair? [MY COMMENT: IT IS CLEAR YOSHIMOTO IS LYING WHEN HE SAYS PETE TOLD HIM HE IS NO LONGER INTERESTED IN BEING THE VICE CHAIR]

HOFFMANN : No I absolutely want to be vice chair When you left my office, I had no idea you were planning to consider removing me as chair... none whatsoever. I know there was mention that Emily would like to be vice chair… but I did not get it ( that I was being removed).

YAGONG: I don't think Pete has ever not been a team player. Maybe you want a clean sweep. With all due respect to ms Naeole, I think Pete is the one who can run the meeting when J is not there. I don't think you Emily are able to do this. You still have trouble running a committee meeting --- and handling the Council is more difficult to run these meetings. I don't see one iota of anything Pete has done wrong.

YOSHIMOTO : to Pete: are you still interested in being vice chair (seems a bit unsure about what to do…. Pete: yes I am...(stated emphatically) Someone -- then asks for a 10 minute [MY COMMENT: these breaks seem to occur when important to make sure the Hilo votes stay in line ... and here it appears that Yoshimoto is waivering…. So we can expect he will be back in line when meeting reconvenes ]

ONISHI moves to postpone vote to the call of the chairman

NAEOLE: I feel shame ... you are causing me shame. If akua believes in me I. I have put this on the line and I want the vote to go forward. Our people deserves a chance....Dominic says Emily no can handle. Thanks Donald for supporting me. Please just vote it Up/down.

ONISHI: okay I withdraw my motion to withdraw.

ENRIQUES: I agree with Emily that she may not have the most finesse when she sits in the Chair running the committee. .. but what should be our concern is what is the outcome Earlier there were statements that I can not do the DPW committee chair and that Onishi can not do the finance committee -- but give us a chance.

FORD in support of Pete Hoffmann
Mr Hoffmann has never done anything wrong to deserve this..
He has always been calm and worked patiently with me and all of us He does not complain when his legislation fails -- he lets it go
this legislation is clearly retaliatory ... and that was clear to 95% or more of those here to testimony; he runs a good meeting; of all of us he is the most inclusive person -- it does not matter to him what color skin or what other differences

GREENWELL: l this is all about qualification: and Pete is very qualified ... but Emily is not ... and everyone here knows that....

EMILY :When I went to party for police chief mahuna, akua told me that I need to cover J's back....just like Pilago protected Pete's office when he was chair.When I say "my people", I mean people from everywhere. Kona and everywhere. I am not into shutting anyone down. When I go to the Kapuna program, they like me because I have heart. I know I can do anything. I am a very busy lady .... this weekend I have two funerals and one wedding. and I went to graduations all over -- to show the people I love the children... I am a hardworker myself. Someone said I am selling my soul ... no I am not.. I feel I am just as good as anybody.I haven't been in the military but I have been a good mother and a good grandmother...When I walk around the market, people are proud of me. kala mai to everyone.. what's been happening is that people in my area are also all struggling (so not here to support me)

my akua will rise me up and make me able to do anything. put me in your pule ...Suppression suppression ... and I am not taking it any more. I call on akua to bless me today.

IKEDA: supports Emily: People say Emily can not do .... but we should give her a chance. She cares about people.

GREENWELL:
I don't get up to seat number 1 in the canoe if I can;t paddle.....and I don’t go be number two until I can paddle….. also
you have been going on about this Hawaiian thing. I am tired with it. YOu should know better than to think you can do this job,, everyone on this council knows you are not up to this... and just doesn't have the balls to say this.

NAEOLE TO GREENWELL: if you keep pushing people down.... is it because my color is dark ?? .Dominic and Greenwell have been putting me down, but others in my district have been supporting me. but I will stand by my statement that all of us are very capable .. Pete has had a lot of opportunity and everyone here can do this.

YOSHIMOTO: We need to give Emily an opportunity… change is sometimes difficult but it provides opportunity

reso 200 passes---
all in favor except -- Greenwell, Hoffmann, Yagong and Ford,
(Emily is now vice chair)

THE FOLLOWING NOTE WAS INCLUDED IN DISTRICT 9'S JULY NEWSLETTER
A Word From Our Councilman
In the aftermath of the latest example of Council ‘political
gamesmanship’, it is difficult to remain enthusiastic and properly
focused on County issues. I am embarrassed for our Council when the
credibility of this organization is so sternly criticized because of the
reckless and inappropriate behavior of some members. I am
embarrassed for the large majority of County employees who are
dedicated workers but must endure comments that question the
integrity and respect of their government. And finally, I am
embarrassed for the people of our island who deserve a better and more
representative government. To ‘penalize’ the hardest working
individuals on the Council because of real or imagined disagreements
is a sign of immaturity. There may be some truth to the well-worn
phrase: “no good deed goes unpunished”.
On the bottom of our Council correspondence is the motto: “Serving the
best interests of the people of our island”. Regardless of the outcome of
this Hilo-generated brouhaha, I pledge to continue to work as hard as I
can for the best interests of our Big Island residents, no matter what
position I hold. That’s what I was elected to do and I will strive to
achieve that objective as long as I am on the Council. I can only trust
that other Council members define their responsibilities in the same
manner.Thank you for your words of support and encouragement.
Pete Hoffmann