CommunityMy FDL

Occupy Hilo’s ‘Kill the Bill’ Action

As the YouTube caption notes…

Occupy Hilo and other concerned folks from all over the Big Island gathered to give testimony against a terribly written and horribly unfair building code. After the particularly passionate testimony of one citizen, several people marched out of the council chamber and to the mayor’s office chanting “Kill this Bill.” After this, the council chamber doors were locked and police were called to the scene.

Now, I had attended this event for the first two hours, but, I had to leave before all the fireworks, since I had numerous errands to run before I had to head up to Mauna Kea for my night shift. This YouTube clip shows when the cops first arrived…! I should add that R.J. Hampton is the first individual featured in that clip…!

Cutting to the chase, finally an Occupy Hilo event made a splash in our local rag…

Council passes controversial building code measure…

An unruly crowd chanting “kill the bill” forced two recesses of a County Council meeting Wednesday and brought a dozen police officers to council chambers.

At issue was the county building code, which went through its seventh draft as the council tried to find common ground between the public and the Department of Public Works, while meeting state and federal deadlines for an updated code. The council later in the evening passed the new code 7-2, with Hamakua Councilman Dominic Yagong and South Kona Councilwoman Brenda Ford voting no.

Yagong said the abrupt recesses — one of which lasted almost two hours as uniformed police officers flowed into chambers, ordered the crowd outside and reviewed a video of testimony that sparked the outrage and caused fear among council members — was unprecedented in his years in county government. {snip}

Puna Councilman Fred Blas in particular felt targeted when R.J. Hampton, aide to former Puna Councilwoman Emily Naeole, singled him out in a diatribe from the testifiers’ table, saying he was a “cancer” with an agenda to benefit his own property holdings and letting his constituency down by not advocating on their behalf.

After the room was cleared, police escorted Blas back to his office. Blas told West Hawaii Today later that he felt threatened, but he declined to elaborate…

…The latest concern for protesters is a section on “substandard” structures that opponents said was added to the code without the proper Ramseyer formatting, so the public couldn’t see what was added and struck through in the bill. DPW Deputy Director Brandon Gonzalez said the substandard language came from a separate county housing code that was merged with the building code.

Most of the 48 people offering public testimony also objected to the inclusion of safe rooms and the potential for fines and imprisonment for those not bringing their structures up to code.

An estimated 30 percent of structures on the Big Island are not up to code, according to council members.

“As if the homeless problem is not bad enough, this bill as written will create even more homelessness,” said Puna resident Bob Petricci. “These building codes are a very big part of the reason we have so many foreclosures right now. They have driven the cost of homes so high that people had to borrow beyond their means just to have what you call an affordable home…

Ain’t it funny that Councilman Fred Blas is a retired HPD Major, and had just supplanted Emily Naeole, running on a ‘Law and Order’ ticket…? He absolutely despises, any and all DFH’s…!

Needless to say, another battle has been lost, but, the War ain’t over…!

Occupy Everywhere…!

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