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Letters | 7-29-14

July 29, 2014 - 12:05am

Loophole shouldn’t be used to gain council seat

Several years ago, I was approached by a member of the Hawaii County Fire Commission and then Councilman Peter Hoffmann and asked to apply for an upcoming vacancy on the Fire Commission. Being a retired firefighter, EMT and ocean lifeguard I felt I could add something to help Hawaii Island. After filing all the paperwork, it was discovered that my residence was two houses outside District 9 where the vacancy was. I had friends who told me to “rent” a room in their house within District 9 and just change my voter registration address.

Although I really wanted to be on the Fire Commission I did not take that route. I respected the rules and intent of Hawaii County voters that gave these appointments to actual residents of each particular district. Nothing heroic, but I just felt it was the right thing to do. I pulled my application.

West Hawaii Today reports that a person running for council is renting a room in District 9, while his family lives in District 1, so that he can run for councilman in District 9. Complicated? Loopholes usually are.

This council candidate may, in fact, be a great guy and a terrific councilman if elected, but my advice to him would be to do the right thing and respect the residents of Hawaii County and the intent of the district residency requirements.

To continue down this route would effectively throw district representation in the toilet and make our council more of an “at-large” system as candidates rent rooms, change voter registration addresses and cherry pick districts in which to run.

If it is meant to be, your time will come in the district in which you and your family actually live. Doing the right thing is never wrong and pays off down the line.

Joseph Appleton