In Our Voices for Sunday — March 12, 2006

With ballots due at Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative by Saturday, it is time for members to pick their candidates to fill the three seats available on the KIUC Board of Directors.

Out of the seven candidates who are running for the three open board seats The Garden Island would like to see them filled by Linda SalokaPasadava, Alfred Laureta and Ben Liza-ma Jr.

The three candidates have expressed their desires to be more open to the membership of the coop. All three have expressed a dedication to researching and implementing alternative energy sources as well.

Alfred Laureta has vast experience in the federal judicial system, as well as that of the state of Hawai’i. He clawed his way from a childhood spent on a Maui plantation to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Hawai’i, before serving 11 years as a state judge and 10 years as a federal district judge. Not only can Laureta bring legal experience to the table, he has served as a member of many Hawai’i boards and commissions.

Laureta is retired and lives with his wife in Wailua after raising four children, all grown. He has the time to commit to the KIUC board and says he is ready to give back to the community for being a part of the success he has had in life.

Laureta has grit and comes from humble beginnings that may serve the co-op membership well if he is elected.

Ben Lizama Jr. has many years of direct professional experience in the fields of power generation. He has worked for almost 40 years in the fields of power generation and maintenance for four different water districts in California.

As a former electrical engineering supervisor he has experience interfacing with the boards of those water districts. If elected for the KIUC board, he would switch sides of the table to that of governance and bring valuable insight from the operations aspect of similar entities.

Lizama is a Kaua’ian born and raised, having attended St. Catherine School in Kapa’a before going to St. Louis High School on Oahu before attending college in California.

Lizama is retired and has publicly said he is not concerned with the low compensation a board position offers and is willing to give the time and energy commitment to be on the KIUC board. The Kapahi resident was appointed to a three-year term on the county’s Real Property Tax Division Board of Review last year. That role further solidifies his credentials as a valuable asset to the KIUC board were he to be elected.

Linda Saloka-Pasadava has a degree in law and experience as a corporate lawyer, meaning she has the tools to deal critically with governance issues the board will face. She teaches noncredit courses at Kaua’i Community College in the areas of conflict resolution, communications and time management. These areas of expertise will serve her well if she is elected to serve on the KIUC board.

Saloka-Pasadava has lived on Kaua’i since 1994 when she moved here to retire. She has the time to serve on the board and is married to a local Kaua’ian. And though retired, Saloka-Pasadava offers her time as a trustee of the Kaua’i Museum and president of the Kilauea Neighborhood Association where she lives. She also runs her own wedding business.

None of those roles would keep her from the commitment she would make to the KIUC board, she says.

All three candidates say they will go to the board with open minds if elected while reserving judgment of current conditions before learning through experience what those conditions are.

The Garden Island asks you to fill in the little oval next to the names of Linda Saloka-Pasadava, Alfred Laureta and Ben Lizama Jr. on the official KIUC ballot before either mailing it or dropping it off to the KIUC main building at 4463 Pahee St. in Lihu’e before 4 p.m. Saturday.

As for the other two items on the ballot:

No. 1 — The board currently lacks the trust of it’s membership to set aside the current, highly credible, confidential, independent election process. Vote “no” to amend Section 4 of Article II.

No. 2 — The need existed as part of a “start up” company to stagger terms. That need is no longer there. Vote “yes” on No. 2 to end staggered terms.

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