Pubdate: Wed,  6 Aug 2003
Source: West Hawaii Today (HI)
Contact:  2003 West Hawaii Today
Author: Tiffany Edwards, West Hawaii Today
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)
Note: To read about the "ice epidemic" in Hawaii, go to .


HILO - Some East Hawaii residents are skeptical about the state
administration's "Hawaii Drug Control Strategy: A New Beginning."

Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona gave a presentation Tuesday evening on the
administration's initiative before gathering input he said would be used at
a September ice (crystal methamphetamine) summit on Oahu. Although about 200
people attended, only a handful offered testimony.

Among them was Juvenile Probation Officer Melissa Moniz who stressed she was
speaking on behalf of herself not the agency. 

Moniz spoke of "10 - 12 year olds prostituting for ice" in Hilo who are, in
turn, sent to a youth correctional facility on Oahu for 90 days before being
released back into the community only to be locked up again within months. 

Not only did she question the practice of sending Big Island youth offenders
off island and away from their families, but also the motives for "everybody
(has been) jumping on the bandwagon" since Mayor Harry Kim's declaration of
a war on ice. 

She suggested it was for the state to have control over money handed down
from the federal government, and that it would remain on Oahu.

Moniz wasn't the only one to make that suggestion. 

Maxine Kahaulelio, who's leading "Power of Choice, a Community Response to
Ice" asked Aiona whether Gov. Linda Lingle's administration will attempt to
"take away" $4 million Sen. Daniel Inouye, D - Hawaii, has promised to
Hawaii County. 

"He said we needed to share our money," Kahulelio said. "We're not sharing
it. If he thinks that, he's crazy. That's why Honolulu's jumping on the

Hilo Councilman Aaron Chung attended the meeting but did not testify. He
said some in the audience - himself included - believe the administration
should have left out Lingle's campaign slogan "A New Beginning" in its
effort to combat drugs. 

"What I heard today confirms what I've been reading in the paper - all three
groups are working independently from one another," said Chung, referring to
the administration, Legislature and county governments. 

He said it is "crucial" the drug initiative "transcend party lines" in an
effort to solve the problem.

"If you're going to have a truly collaborative effort, take out the label,
'A New Beginning,' and don't exclude other interested parties," Chung said.

"I'm worried about the direction this thing is taking," Chung said. "We run
the risk of having the governor introduce a plan, push it through the
Legislature, and have them disagree and start fingerpointing and, all the
while, the people getting caught in the crossfire are the victims of the
drug problem."

Also in the audience were a couple of Chung's colleagues on the County
Council, Fred Holschuh, of Hamakua, and Bob Jacobson, representing South
Kona, Kau and Puna. 

Jerry Chang and Eric Hamakawa, both democratic state representatives for
Hilo districts, and Andy Levin, the executive assistant to the mayor, were
also in attendance. 

Among the politicans, only Holschuh testified at the two and one - half hour
meeting. He stressed not only should officials view the ice problem as a
public health matter, they also need to look at the economy.

"You can't have healthy people come out of recovery and be successful if
they don't have jobs," Holschuh said. 

Lillian Sarsfield said by labeling people "offenders," locking them up and
then shipping them to a mainland, the community's labor force is being

She also questioned the effectiveness of such an initiative if there aren't
people in government who are committed to following it through.

Having quit as a police dispatch supervisor after 11 years for "ethical
reasons," Sarsfield said many people with government jobs care more about
retirement plans than the work.

She suggested a law be passed requiring all negligent politicians to pay
back to their communities a percentage of their retirement money for certain
failed initiatives.
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MAP posted-by: Doc-Hawk