On Wed. Jan. 11 I drove up to the Hawaiian Acres Community Center to interview local activists and former Hawaii County Council members, Bob and Julie Jacobson. We talked about their careers, which have been devoted to others, Bob as a nurse and Julie as a teacher with the hearing impaired and other challenged students, and as public servants. Now they have concerns about older family members, and they are growing tea, a useful crop and, as Bob explains, a good way to maintain the health of the tropical forest on their property.
Bob and Julie are members of the Green Party and ran and held office as Greens. The Green Party is very much alive, they point out, and they are still involved, but they also want young people now to step up and join and become active Greens.
Anyone interested in further information about the Green Party or who wants to join the Green Party can contact Bob or Julie at (808) 966-8831.
A word about the vid: it's the best I can do right now with what I have technically available. Since this really is a terrific interview, I hope readers will take the time to watch it.
The Hawaii State Constitutional Convention of 1978 created partial funding provisions for elections. Voter Owned Hawaii has been working on creating full public funding. This was successfully implemented for Hawaii County Council elections.
Cory Harden addresses the issue of voters objecting to paying for campaigns when they wouldn't vote for the candidates.
Payne points out that we pay anyway, with outside interests financing candidates who are then beholden to them and give them the legislation they want. We import most of our food and fuel when we could provide much of what we need locally, and the profits go off island.
"Clean elections" or voter-owned elections help combat "big money" on this island with its small and easily overwhelmed economy.
Hawaii County now has full public funding in place for County Council elections. (The State of Hawaii is unusual in that we do not have city governments but only County governments. Each of nine districts around the Island has one representative on the Council.) Prospective candidates must gather 200 petition signatures and donations of $5.00 from each signer. This money goes to the state, which then provides funding for the candidate. Last election, the state disbursed $174,000 of this money, leaving $3,000,000 in the fund.
The fund was created by an optional check-off of $3.00 on the state income tax.
Payne says that it's vital to update and modernize this system, making it more accessible to a broader selection of candidates.
Citizen journalists are emerging everywhere. This is my attempt!
This blog will be different in that it will not be fair and balanced. It will take no advertising. It will be strictly Progressive in its views. So pardon our bias, but there are many stories to be told here from the far left wing.
One question I hope to answer shortly is: What happened to the Green Party, once so successful in local politics? Where are they now? Next week I will be interviewing Bob and Julie Jacobson, both former Hawaii County Council members and Green Party activists, at their home in Hawaiian Acres.
In the coming weeks, I hope to add interviews with the many Progressives who live here and to talk with them about the ways in which they continue to support core movements. For example, a group of peace activists meet every Friday in front of the Federal Building in downtown Hilo. They organize, get speakers, march. It's a small group of very dedicated people, most prominently Rosalind Smith and Noelle Rodriguez.
And new groups are evolving, such as Occupy, which meets for sign waving in front of Merrill Lynch.
In this seemingly out of the way place, a lot is happening. Change is in the air. Or, as we might be more apt to say here, it's time to catch the wave.