Pubdate: Tue, 23 Sep 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 - Nearly $8 million has been promised to the county to address the
island's ice problem. But as money from the state and federal governments and
private sources makes its way to the County Council to be appropriated,
councilmembers are asking, what is the plan? 

Specifically, the county is expected to receive about $7.8 million, including
$4 million in the form of a federal Department of Justice Community Oriented
Policing Services (COPS) grant administered through the Hawaii Community

Nearly $2.5 million will come from the federal Department of Health and Human
Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Plus, the state has offered $400,000, and island philanthropist Earl Bakken has
pledged $900,000. 

Councilmembers earlier this month, in acknowledging receipt of the $400,000
from the state, asked Billy Kenoi to provide them with the administration's
plan for addressing the crystal methamphetamine problem. 

Kenoi, an executive assistant to Mayor Harry Kim, was instrumental in obtaining
much of the money for the county. When Kim declared a war on ice at the onset
of his term, he named Kenoi, a former Oahu public defender originally from
Kalapana, to lead the initiative. 

Hamakua Councilman Fred Holschuh in a Sept. 2 memo to Kenoi and fellow
councilmembers inquired as to what exactly is the county's strategy in its war
on ice. 

"How is it coordinated with the state's strategic plan? What steps have been
taken to assure that the proper agencies and organizations have been included
and are consulted in the development of strategy and program implementation?"
Holschuh asked.

He also asked how the money will be spent on the island. 

Kenoi, at councilmembers' Sept. 3 Finance Committee meeting, said he would
submit a detailed report to them before they take up the matter again at their
regular meeting next week. 

Hilo Councilman Aaron Chung, during the Finance Committee meeting, told Kenoi:
"It's high time that the administration unveils its plan to the county." 

He said later he didn't mean it negatively; he just wants to ensure

"In my mind, they're too close to the issue and they may be assuming a lot of
things," Chung said of the county administration. "As one of the
decisionmakers, and as a member of the public, I see a lot of money coming down
but I don't know how it fits."

Kenoi admitted he has been so busy trying to solve the ice problem he hasn't
taken the time to provide a briefing on the plan. He reminded councilmembers it
is just him, there is no "office of substance abuse and drugs in Hawaii

Kenoi also said the ice problem has been "devastating our community for more
than a decade" - "which means we no more time to sit around and do one

He said the plan he has in mind includes enforcement, treatment and
rehabilitation, along with prevention and education. 

"The only goal of this entire Hawaii County effort is to have a healthy and
safe Hawaii Island," he said.

As far as a formal unveiling of the plan, Kenoi told councilmembers earlier
this month he doesn't like "big to - dos."

"You know what, I'm going to give you that plan. We're trying to accomplish
stuff, you know, Aaron," Kenoi said, referring to Chung specifically. "I no
like make one big unveiling, like you said, because you're holding out false
hope and expectation. I'd like to see accomplishments, more important."
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