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Monday, August 31, 2009
Ewa Beach: Honolulu City funds used to help sex offender's home promote Legislative candidate
By News Release @ 3:47 PM :: 12134 Views :: Maui County, Education K-12, Energy, Environment

Ewa Leader Asks City to Investigate Sunset on the Plains

Representative Kymberly Pine will be asking City and County of Honolulu officials to investigate irregularities in next weekend’s Ewa Sunset on the Plain that promotes a political candidate’s campaign using taxpayer funds.  She also wants to know why few residents in the community were told of the event while it was being planned and why the City chose a problem clean and sober house for convicts, that violated permitting laws, to be the event’s official non-profit to receive Sunset donations.

At the August 20th Ewa Neighborhood Board, Chair Kurt Fevella announced that the City is bringing Ewa Sunset on the Plain to Mahiko Park Sept. 5th and 6th.  Fevella was the Chairperson of last year’s Ewa Sunset and said he played a key role in making this happen.  This was the first time that the community at large was informed of the affair.

The next day, city employee Patty Teruya sent a copy of the official Ewa Sunset on the Plains flier to select area residents via city email. The flier included a promotion of “Friends of Fevella.”  This entity is registered with the State of Hawaii as the official campaign committee for Kurt Fevella who unsuccessfully ran for the State House seat in District 43 against Representative Kymberly Pine in 2008.  Sources say he plans to run again.  The flier with the City seal is titled, “The City and County of Honolulu Presents Ewa Sunset on the Plains.” The flier was also distributed via hard copy.  An almost identical flier for last year’s Ewa Sunset on the Plain was distributed in the same fashion and with the same political campaign listed as a sponsor.

“I am completely shocked that City and County of Honolulu employees and resources are being used to promote a political campaign,” said Rep. Pine.    “A taxpayer sponsored event should not be associated with a political campaign, and this is the second year in a row that this has happened.  The consistent secrecy surrounding the planning of this event is even more bizarre.”

August 20th was the first time many in the community were informed of the Sunset on the Plain causing residents to complain that the event could negatively their weekend activities.  Long time community leader Rudolfo Ramos said residents were not properly informed of the happening or allowed to be involved in the planning.

“At first I was shocked that they would spend all this money for something like this in this economy,” said Ramos who is a former 15-year member of the Neighborhood Board member and co-founder of the Ewa Community Association.  “It seems like the money in needed elsewhere.  Our greatest concern is how the event would impact church services for parking and noise.  Usually things like this are discussed at the Neighborhood Board or with the community for many months so we can properly prepare and ensure that the community is not negatively impacted.  None of this happened.”

Last year, the event was hurriedly put together and took place on October 28th just days before the 2008 election.  Rep. Pine was not given the same opportunity by City officials to be a sponsor of the event last year or this year.

Rep. Pine said she is hoping city officials will help her to get answers to the following questions:

  • Why did the city choose Makana O Kea Kua as the non-profit in charge of taking donations for the City’s Sunset on the Plains.  What are the city’s criteria for choosing non-profits to take in money for its Sunset events?  Ewa Beach residents have brought numerous complaints to the neighborhood board over the years about Makana O Kea Kua who has a clean and sober home for convicts on 91-031 HAILIPO Street.  One of the complaints was that Makana violated its permit for the number of persons that are permitted for living in the home.  Other residents complained that it housed sexual offenders.
  • Why were only a select number of residents allowed to be informed and part of the planning of the affair?
  • Why was a political campaign allowed to be a sponsor and promoted through sunset on the plain using city taxpayer money? What was the amount/criteria used to accept Friends of Fevella to be a sponsor-  how much did Friends of Fevella donate compared to Disney that gave $3,500 for the publicity/self-promotion?  If it is the City’s policy to allow anyone or entity to sponsor, why weren’t all political campaigns or elected leaders informed of this policy?

Rep. Pine will be sending her official request to Mayor Mufi Hannemann and members of the City Council today.

-30-

RELATED: Sex Offender (Class 2 Rapist, Burglar) registered at 91-031 Hailipo St, Ewa Beach, HI  (UPDATE: Sex Offender changed registered address to 94-1162 Hinaea, Waipahu two days after this article appeared.) 

PDF: "Ewa Sunset" flyer with campaign committee and City of Honolulu sponsorships

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