by Andrew Walden
After years of thuggery and intimidation by Bob Jacobson’s Ka`u Preservation, Inc supporters, Council District 6 residents are fighting back. The results show up in Guy Enriques’ fundraising report filed at the end of July.
With the September 20 Primary possibly deciding the race, Enriques needs to break 50% of the vote in order to win. Meanwhile Jacobson is still working to put publicly-owned property at Punalu`u, Ka`u under the control of the latest Ka`u Preservation, Inc front group. KPI is led in part by Ralph “Palikapu” Dedman, a convicted drug dealer. KPI has formed a new group aptly named “Kapu”, closed it off to new members, and is seeking to negotiate management control over public lands at Punalu`u with the Hawai`i County Recreation Department.
Jacobson last year failed in his effort to seize several native Hawaiian kuleana lots and the decaying resort site to place under management control of KPI so they could develop it into what they euphemistically call a “school” and “housing”. His efforts have not resulted in much reward. Jacobson’s desultory fundraising features only $4697.60 comprising eight donations. More than half of his take is from a $2659.00 donation he gave to his own campaign committee. Other donors include a Kona-based anti-Superferry activist, and Jim Spielman and Sofia Hanoa of KPI.
In past years that might have done the job for the incumbent some call “Watermelon Bob”, but this time outraged community leaders finally had reached their limit and backed Enriques. He kicked off his campaign last Spring with 400 supporters at the Pahala Community center and has walked every precinct in the sprawling South Hawai`i district meeting with voters in South Kona, Ka`u, and Puna.
Enriques fundraising results include $36,012 in contributions from 88 donors including 29 from Na`alehu, 19 from Pahala, and 28 from other areas of the district and the island. His contributors include James Dahlberg, owner of one of the kuleana plots Jacobson sought to seize and David and Mary Carroll whose newly built Ka`u home had for several years been targeted by KPI activists demanding its demolition before KPI turned its focus towards seizing Hawaiian kuleana plots at Punalu`u.
After being hammered for giving taxpayer money to KPI Jacobson’s office has again supplied funding for a KPI’s upcoming 2008 “cultural” festival in Na`alehu.