By NANCY COOK LAUER
Stephens Media Hawaii
Hawaii County Council members got off to a slow start raising money for their next campaigns, with only one councilor, Hilo Councilman Dennis Onishi, reporting any contributions at all, according to disclosures filed with the state Campaign Spending Commission by Wednesday’s deadline.
Puna Councilman Zendo Kern reported the largest campaign war chest and South Kona/Ka‘u Councilwoman Brenda Ford has the smallest.
Kern had $7,780.20 in his campaign coffers, all of it left over from the 2012 campaign, while Ford, who is term-limited and can’t run for council next year, was wrestling with a negative $21,263.93 balance due to loans. The disclosure period covers Jan. 1 through June 30.
Onishi is sitting with a $3,585.99 war chest, with all but $500 of that left over from last year. The $500 was donated Jan. 10 by the Hawaii Laborers’ and Employers’ Cooperation and Education Trust Fund.
Onishi said he’ll use the money to run for his fourth council term next year, after which he’ll be term-limited and unable to run for council. He ran unopposed last year.
“I still have projects I want to finish before I complete my last term,” Onishi said Wednesday.
The county’s islandwide emergency radio system is one project; a solution to the ever-growing solid waste problem is another.
Candidates who took public funding for the 2012 election aren’t allowed to collect contributions until after Sept. 1, when the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission is expected to make an official determination that there is insufficient money to continue the program under state law.
The fund holds less than $3.1 million, Gary Kam, the commission’s general counsel, said earlier this month.
Five of the nine council members used public funds, which come from a
voluntary checkoff on state income tax forms, in their campaigns last year. Those using public funds were not allowed to accept private contributions.
Hilo Councilman J Yoshimoto collected $14,559 in public funds for his successful bid. Yoshimoto, who is term-limited, had $3,932.40 in his campaign coffers on June 30 and reported no contributions during the period.
Puna Councilman Greggor Ilagan raised no money for the first half of the year and has a campaign account balance of $0. He collected $21,423 in public campaign funding for the 2012 election.
Hamakua Councilwoman Valerie Poindexter raised no money the first half of the year. Her campaign account shows an ending balance of $629.89 left over from last year.
Ford has a negative $21,263.93 in her account because of $25,000 in loans carried over from previous years. She had run under the comprehensive public campaign funding pilot program and had received a total of $48,893 in her successful bid for County Council last year.
Kona Councilman Dru Kanuha raised no money the first half of the year. His campaign account shows a balance of $474.17 left over from last year. Kanuha, a freshman, was unopposed last year.
North Kona Councilwoman Karen Eoff raised no money the first half of the year. Her campaign account shows a balance of $84.82 left over from last year. She had run under the comprehensive public campaign pilot program and received a total of $12,282 in her successful bid for her first County Council term.
Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille raised no money the first half of the year. Her campaign account shows a balance of $54.27 left over from last year. She had run under the comprehensive public campaign pilot program and received a total of $11,600.46 last year.
Email Nancy Cook Lauer at firstname.lastname@example.org.