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Straight from the Source: Brenda Ford, Councilwoman

(Eds. Note: Hawaii247.com is kicking off its semi-regular feature ‘Straight from the Source’ with this column by Kona Councilwoman Brenda Ford. The idea is to give a list of questions to leaders and notable figures in the community, then let them talk directly to readers. Who do you want to hear from? What questions are you burning to ask? Let us know and we’ll hunt down the people who have the answers.)

Brenda Ford is the County Council representative for District 7 – Central Kona (South half of North Kona and the north half of South Kona). She begins her second two-year term Monday, Dec. 1.

H: What are the top issues or priorities right now and what’s the best way to tackle them?

In no particular order:

• Build the Captain Cook Police Station that will operate 24/7 with a full staff of officers and management (land already purchased & engineering design occurring)

• Complete the Laaloa extension to Kuakini Highway (improve traffic in the area and improve safety; engineering being completed by end of 2008)

• Complete the extension of Lako Street to Alii Drive (safety, evacuation, and reduce traffic on all streets in the area)

• Replace damaged playground structures in Higashihara Park

• Repave Kuakini Highway between Lunapule and Queen Kaahumanu Highway & repave the Seaview Circle streets

• Continue to try to reduce flooding in Kona

• Redistricting changes for fair reapportionment in council districts, and

• Keep the local economy employed by using bonds and federal grants to fix and renovate county buildings, parks, roads, and flood control projects.

H: How is the new council going to differ from the last one?

There is no way to tell at this time. While the westside had a quasi-majority during the 2006-8 term, the majority has moved again to the eastside. We will need to wait to see what changes there will be for the westside.

I can tell you what the outgoing council accomplished. The 2006-8 term accomplished:

• Kona Community Development Plan

• Passed charter amendment for two Planning Commissions (Windward and Leeward)

• Passed charter amendment for an Independent Legislative Auditor

• Passed charter amendment for increased criminal fines

• Passed charter amendment for improvements to the Initiative and Referendum process

• Started the Kona Business Improvement District

• The West Hawaii Civic Center was funded with a bond that does not allow those funds to be used for anything else and the contract was awarded for construction, and

• Bought the land for the new Captain Cook Police Station.

H: What changes do you see coming for the Big Island?

The financial meltdown on the mainland will continue to negatively impact the island, the work force, and certainly real estate. Major legislation should not be impacted by the economy. We still need to do our jobs.

H: The current economic conditions likely will mean cuts to county services or agencies. Where might we feel the pinch?

It is possible, but that decision is made by the mayor (Executive Branch) not the legislative branch (County Council). It may be necessary to control expeditures by the council members (e.g. travel out of state or county).

H: Which of the amendments approved in the last election will have the biggest impact?

The Kona Community Development Plan and the Leeward Planning Commission will have the most impact on the westside.

H: What’s the best part of your job? What’s the part you enjoy the least?

Working with the community to try to resolve problems is the best part of this job. The vast majority of our employees work very hard for the public and it is really a joy to work with them. The least enjoyable part is the length of time it takes to go through the process of fixing infrastructure, but whatever it takes, I do.

H: Where’s your favorite Big Island spot to relax and enjoy the scenery?

Home.

H: Where were you the morning of Oct. 15, 2006, when our last big earthquake struck?

At home. After checking the structural integrity of our house, my husband Larry and I activated as Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members with our neighbors to check the structural integrity and safety of our neighbors’ homes, then the CERT team checked all of the major congregation locations (stores, hotels, etc.) and houses on public streets to see if anyone needed help. Fortunately, no one was injured and all structures were standing. Everyone should receive CERT training: first aid, search and rescue, fire safety, and team building.

www.hawaiicounty.gov

2 Responses to “Straight from the Source: Brenda Ford, Councilwoman”

  1. damon says:

    I like the idea for a column.

    I have a two questions for Councilwoman Ford if she gets the opportunity to repsond:

    1. What is the first Bill you look to pass?
    2. Do you have plans for your share of the Contingency Relief Funds?
    3. You failed to mention anything above about the outgoing council passing the Puna Community Development Plan… Will you listen to the constituents of Puna when making your decisions on upcoming amendments on the PCDP, or will you represent only the wishes of your district?

    Sincerely,

    Damon Tucker

  2. damon says:

    I meant to say I have a few questions. ;)

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