Richard Ha writes:
There was a Ho‘olaule‘a yesterday, sponsored by the Kealoha Trust, at Pohoiki Beach Park.
Noe Kalipi, her husband Gaylen, and their two small children, as well as Kapono Pa and me, manned a booth for the Big Island Community Coalition (BICC) and signed up new members.
The BICC’s mission is to lower electricity rates on the Big Island so that they are the lowest in the state.
I got involved with the BICC for the same reason I got involved in Ku‘oko‘a: We need to align the needs of the people with the needs of the utility. The world is changing and we must adapt.
This is the same reason I got involved with the Thirty Meter Telescope; it helps our community transition. And it’s also why I now support the Hawaii Island Beacon Community, which is involved in making the health care system more efficient, and therefore more affordable.
Did you see the front page headline in yesterday’s Hawaii Tribune-Herald?
Should a proposed electricity rate increase of 4.2 percent in 2013 be approved by the state’s Public Utilities Commission, Big Island low-income families will be among those hardest hit by higher power bills.
Last year, almost a third of all Hawaii families that sought federal assistance with paying their electricity bills were located on Hawaii Island.
“For many of our families, the money covers one or two bill payments, and that’s it. Then they’re in trouble,” said [Kayla Rosenfeld, spokeswoman for the Department of Human Services]..... "I get concerned every time I see that HELCO is getting a rate increase because it has a tremendous impact on these families. Their bills are already high now…. And for the elderly, some have to make a choice each month, between buying food or paying for medicine or paying their electric bill.” Read the rest
The bottom line re: all my involvement is that agriculture is a hard business. I am unable to raise my workers’ pay, and they are coming under increasing pressure from the economy.
Everything I do starts with the objective of helping my farm workers. And helping our workers helps everyone in the community, as well.