Pubdate: Tue, 19 Mar 2002
Source: West Hawaii Today (HI)
Copyright: 2002 West Hawaii Today
Author: Tiffany Edwards
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


HILO - Four out of the five people who showed up at a public hearing Monday 
on the county's 2002 - 03 fiscal year testified against money allocated 
toward "Green Harvest."

Those testifying at the hearing included marijuana advocates Roger Christie 
and Aaron Anderson, along with Sarah Taylor and Ina Campbell, both of Puna. 
The fifth attendee did not testify but sat with those who did and gestured 
his support for them by slapping his leg, nodding and muttering "give to 'em."

The County Council has scheduled another public hearing on the budget at 6 
p.m. Wednesday at the King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel, conference room four.

Although next year's budget will not be finalized until May, council 
members have begun the process of conducting budgetary reviews with county 

They face the challenge of an $8.1 million shortfall in the $160 million 
general fund, and 7.7 percent cuts within each department without an 
increase in revenues.

For those testifying at Monday's public hearing, the focus was mostly on 
the marijuana eradication program and two grants - $160,000 from the state 
Department of Attorney General and $265,000 from the Drug Enforcement 
Agency - to support the Green Harvest missions.

In addition to describing the program as "the Hawaii Taliban" creating "a 
para - military civil war and an excuse to spy on all citizens," Christie 
noted a resolution was passed last year allowing the county to receive 
grant money toward the program - with conditions.

"Those conditions have not been met over one year later," said Christie, 
noting that police are still working on the program's rules and regulations 
which the County Council required them to draft. "The police continue to 
operate on the money without meeting the conditions of the resolution and 
now seek even more money. I call that a fraud on the taxpayers," he said.

Taylor told the council to "give the grant money back" and Campbell 
suggested the money be instead spent on programs for the youth. Hilo 
Councilwoman Bobby Jean Leithead - Todd said the grant money has to be used 
specifically for marijuana eradication.

Campbell also spoke against a property tax increase, and she and Christie 
referred to a list of police's objectives in the next fiscal year that was 
submitted with their departmental budget.

Those objectives include "at least 900 arrests" and "at least 50,500 
citations," which Campbell pointed out implies that the police "lie and 
wait" to give citations in order to meet quotas.

After noting 50,500 citations is "one citation for every three people 
living here," Christie asked the question, "Do we want our police 
department desiring to issue 'at least 50,500 citations'? If so, I think we 
have a police department that feeds like a vulture on the lives of our own 
good people.

"It sounds like a quota system that needs to be changed to reflect serving 
and protecting the citizens of Hawaii County, rather than treating us as a 
source of revenue," Christie said.

Kona Councilman Curtis Tyler pointed out the state keeps the money paid for 
traffic fines.
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MAP posted-by: Terry Liittschwager