KIUC Incumbents Keep Their Seats

David Bissell

David Bissell

So often when campaigning, those running for office succumb to the usual routine: education, branding and perhaps even baby kissing.

It wasn’t until Rock The Vote and MTV partnered up for some major media blasting that the slogan became the mantra of our youths. It highlights our notoriously sad voter turnout, which politicians target in getting people to the polls as well as helping them decide for whom to vote.

Kaua’i did a pretty good job when it came to our mayoral elections in recent years (Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho Jr. received 14,302 votes in 2008 and 17,514 votes in 2010).

But the voting results for this year’s kaua’i island utility Cooperative election (6,193 ballots) showed a bit of apathy, and were worse voter record-wise than in years past. (2010 saw 6,761 votes, with 2009 getting 6,679, and 7,341 in 2008).

The low voter turnout comes after many outspoken residents voiced their concern not only with our utility bills, but how to address our energy future. Yet, it seems those advocating for a shift were not enough. Perhaps that’s OK, as the current KIUC board has committed to generating 50 percent of the island’s power from renewable energy by the year 2023.

So here’s to hoping the wisdom and skill of the incumbents will be coupled with the fresh ideas coming across the country, and that both will move us toward that goal.

Mahalo to the efforts of former KIUC candidates such as green guru ken Stokes (who got 2,098 votes). I’m sure Stokes will continue to help the county in other capacities, whether consulting or otherwise, and congratulations to KIUC incumbents David iha, Teofilo Phil Tacbian and Peter Yukimura, who have been re-elected to its board of directors. Each will serve three-year terms ending March 2014.

Yukimura received 3,132 votes, while Iha and Tacbian received 3,044 and 2,908, respectively …

And congratulations to David Bissell, the new KIUC president and CEO. Bissell, appointed to the permanent position by the KIUC board of directors, managed the day-to-day operations at KIUC interim and helped execute the cooperative’s strategic plan. Bissell, who joined KIUC as chief financial officer in August 2006 and became acting president and CEO in June of 2010, will help steer the co-op into a renewable-based utility …

And the Office of Economic Development Tourism Energy division has been working its magic through the talent of Glenn Sato‘s grant-writing. It was awarded a grant for electric vehicles at the First Hawaiian International Auto Show at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu. All told, the grant proposal featured six charging stations and five electric vehicles for the county fleet. In addition to an energy performance contract that will hire a contractor to review county facilities and provide an energy audit outlining areas to improve and install energy conservation measures and retrofits of facilities, the county also was awarded a grant for the installation of a photo-voltaic system on the Pi’ikoi Civic Center building, and is looking to retrofit the Kaua’i County Police Department and Office of the Prosecuting Attorney

Hanalei Trading Girls team (from left) Kelly Keane, Andrea Weston-Webb (owner) Michelle Sgarbi (partner-manager), Malia Reghi, Simone Smith and Ana Maria Hirsch

Hanalei Trading Girls team (from left) Kelly Keane, Andrea Weston-Webb (owner) Michelle Sgarbi (partner-manager), Malia Reghi, Simone Smith and Ana Maria Hirsch

The OED and Kaua’i Visitor’s Bureau propose as one initiative to use $70,000 of its $200,000 stimulus money bill recently approved by the County Council to help East Kaua’i resorts’ marketing efforts. The money will help revive the “Royal Coconut Coast Association” and will include East Kaua’i businesses and visitor accommodations …

And OED director George Costa is working with County Councilman Derek Kawakami on the introduction of “value-added” products into the county’s Sunshine Markets throughout Kaua’i. The ordinance amendment has gone to a public hearing, and comments received are being reviewed …

And kudos to Jan Miyamoto and Helen Cox for working together with the Kaua’i Community College staff for implementing the State Energy Sector Partnership grant, which awarded $6 million to Hawaii, of which $273,000 was awarded to Kaua’i. The money is being used in the KCC curriculum to help train displaced workers in the field of photovoltaic systems and installation …

E komo mai to new businesses at Kukui Grove Shopping Center, which recently announced the addition of two new tenants: Fun Factory and San Lorenzo Bikinis. Fun Factory, which is returning to Kukui Grove after 10 years, will open its doors this summer in a storefront location in the food court next to Orange Grove Frozen Yogurt. The business has centers throughout Hawaii and the Mainland, and is well-known for its token prizes. San Lorenzo Bikinis will be located between Starbucks and Genki Sushi. Mahie Wong, senior public relations and account manager, says the hope is that this will help offset the loss from the recent demise of Borders

And another e komo mai to Hanalei Trading Girls (its sister store is Hanalei Trading Co. in the historic Tahiti Nui building), which opened its doors in downtown Kapa’a earlier this month. The new shop specializes in unique women’s clothing and accessories, thanks to owners Andrea Weston-Webb and Michele Sgarbi. Paddlers and surfers alike have come to know and love their clothing as the ultimate in sportswear, and so I’m sure many on the East side are thrilled they chose it as a place to call home in the Dragon Building at 504 Kukui St. Store hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays …

And congratulations to winning crews from the 42nd annual Prince Kuhio Long Distance Canoe Race March 19, which included Open Men Namolokama Canoe Club at 1:19:44; Open Women Niumalu Canoe Club at 1:25:30; Men Master 40 Kukui’ula Outrigger and Sailing Club at 1:21:57; Men Master 50 Namolokama Canoe Club 1:29:42; and Mix Open Kaiola Canoe Club 1:23:58

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