Your Views for August 24
Oust Kenoi for code
In my mail I received a political advertisement from Mayor Billy Kenoi. On it, there was a large picture of the mayor (an attorney) with Brandon Gonzalez (an attorney and deputy director of Department of Public Works), Bobby Jean Leithead-Todd (an attorney and director of planning) and Warren Lee (ex-president of HELCO and director of DPW, who oversees the Building Division).
The four were sitting at a conference table with the International Building Code on the table in front of them. The intent of this picture was clearly showing how Billy and his staff worked to produce the new County Building Code (Bill 270).
As can be seen, the code was mostly developed by attorneys who had no building code expertise. Even as attorneys, they did not use the IBC as the basic code as required by the state. The IBC is a progressive code that we were mandated to adopt and allowed to amend to protect our island lifestyle.
During a recent meeting with Billy in July — where all the code deficiencies were discussed, and Maui’s and Kauai’s adopted codes were presented and discussed as examples of properly formatted and amended codes — Billy, at this time, compared our code to their codes with a Styrofoam cup to a koa bowl, which was sitting on the table at the time.
He said, “It appears that we got the Styrofoam cup while the other islands turned out quality bowls.”
It was these attorneys sitting with the ex-president of HELCO, Mr. Lee, with the building code book on the table in front of them who wrote the new County Building Code Chapter 5 — a code so poorly written it is impossible to understand! Further, it violates the state mandate!
Together, these brilliant minds brought us a building code with many of the old code (UBC) requirements brought forward that are harsh and unfair to the constituency. Yes, the present code will turn the common citizen into a criminal for installing a solar panel on their house. No lie.
The good citizens of Hawaii have been rewarded with most of the council members who voted for the new building code — Donald Ikeda, Pete Hoffmann, Brittany Smart — being eliminated from the general election. Now it is time to vote out Billy Kenoi and Fred Blas (chair of Public Works committee) and this good ol’ boy administration, for it was this incompetent administration that drafted the building code, bringing forward a majority of the old archaic code sections of the UBC.
And, yes, Billy signed the bill into law. We need a mayor and administration that has the expertise, or at least seeks out and uses experts, to rewrite the building code.
Wait! The International Residential Code is next, folks. That’s a monster.
Please help remove Billy Kenoi and his administration for the good of the people who have to use the building code. Then we can obtain a rewritten building code that is user-friendly and complies with the state mandate.
Ken James and RJ Hampton
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