QUICK HISTORY OF THE LEGISLATION FROM 2005 to 2016: Debbie Hecht, Campaign Coordinator since 2005 of the Save Our Lands Citizens’ Committee
- The Save Our Lands Citizen’s Committee collected almost 10,000 signatures from April to July of 2006. The County Clerk-Connie Kiriu and County Counsel- Lincoln Ashida disqualified almost 6,000 signatures for leaving off the year (signatures were collected from April to July) and leaving off Pl., St. or Rd.
- The County Council decided to place the ballot measure on the ballot for 2006. Despite the County Counsel submitted ballot language with confusing verbiage containing double negatives, the amendment to the Code passed by 56% of voters who voted on the issue as part of the Hawaii County Code.
- 2008- Mayor Kenoi suspended deposits to the Fund for two years as the first piece of legislation submitted after he took office. We pointed out that there were more than 260 funded but unfilled job in his budget, but he failed to reinstate payments to the 2% Land Fund.
- 2010- Charter Commission put on the ballot as the 1% Land Fund- again passed by 56% of voters. We urged supporters to vote for this, so that money will still get deposited to the fund.
- 2012- In order to honor all the people who signed the petitions and helped with this effort over the years we had it back on the ballot as a Charter amendment and passed by 56% of voters along with a 1/4% Maintenance Fund.
- The Maintenance Fund was modified in 2016 to allow the Open Space Commission to review Stewardship Grants and to recommend what grants to approve to the Director of Finance.
GRASS ROOTS ORGANIZING AND INFORMATION PROCESS to pass the ballot measures:
- We collected almost 10,000 signatures; there were over 100 people that collected signatures of more than 50 signatures each.
- Money spent- for 3 ballot campaigns, under $6,000. We had home made signs and did little advertising.
- We have a 3,000 personal email list which we used to inform our supporters if we needed emails, people showing up for public meetings or lobbying their Council members. These 3,000 people were asked to contact their email list. They represent about 10% of the voting public on the island. (There have been approximately 100,000 voters registered for the County of Hawaii, usually about 33,000 of these registered voters actually vote. 3,000 supporters are 10% of the vote island-wide.)
GREAT SUCCESSES IN LAND ACQUISITION!
PROPERTIES ACQUIRED: 12
PROPERTIES SUBMITTED FOR ACQUISITION: 166
LAND ACQUIRED: 4,428 acres of land acquired that was suggested by members of the community.
MONEY SPENT: County of Hawaii 2% Land Fund $27,389,268.
Grants from Matching funds* $8,764,083.
Private funds: $2,000,000
*From US Fish and Wildlife to protect lands for Endangered Species, State Legacy Lands $7,434,083 actually received, $1,330,000. Pending from Legacy Lands for Wai’opae, Puna.
To view the Acquisition Status Report go to: http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/weblink/1/edoc/84954/2016-11-14%20PONC%20Acquisition%20Status%20Report.pdf
*MATCHING FUNDS- My opinion: The highest and best use of 2% of taxpayer’s funds is to use the 2% Land Fund to get dollar for dollar matching funds, to date the County has only gotten 1 dollar for every 3 dollars spent for taxpayers OR only 32% of the money spent is from grants. The County could do better at applying for matching funds.
PROPERTIES SUBMITTED TO THE PONC COMMISSION TO BE CONSIDERED FOR ACQUISITION as of December 28, 2016: This information came from the Comprehensive List of Properties http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/weblink/1/edoc/84955/2016-12-28%20PONC%20Comprehensive%20List%20of%20Properties%20Submitted%20by%20the%20Public.pdf
Puna area: 16 properties
South Hilo area: 16 properties
North Hilo: 7 properties
Hamakua: 19 properties
North Kohala: 26 properties
South Kohala: 17 properties
North Kona: 27 properties
South Kona: 13 properties
Ka’u: 25 properties
Total Properties submitted for the entire island: 166
THE LAND ACQUISITION PROCESS:
The Community recommends a property to the Public Access and Open Space Commission, here is the process and links to the application: http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/weblink/1/edoc/84953/Process%20for%20Property%20Acquisition%20with%20Funds%20from%20the%20PONC%20Fund.pdf
PONC STEWARDSHIP GRANT: Properties that are acquired with Land Fund monies can apply for maintenance funds. Here a is a link to the application. http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/weblink/1/edoc/80189/PONC%20Stewardship%20Grant%20Request%20Form%20(application%20period%20801%20-%2083116).pdf
THE HAWAII COUNTY CARTER AND THE HAWAII COUNTY CODE: which regulates the 2% Land Fund (PONC) and the PONC Maintenance Fund go to: http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/weblink/browse.aspx?startid=13770&dbid=1
Submitted by Debbie Hecht, Campaign Coordinator Save Our Lands Citizen’s Committee