Protesters call for reopening of county offices, meetings

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Protestors discuss the reasons why they came to the Lihu‘e Civic Center Mo‘ikeha Building Monday in protest of COVID-19-related restrictions on gatherings, masks and access to public officials.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    About three dozen people converge on the Lihu‘e Civic Center Mo‘ikeha Building Monday to protest COVID-19 restrictions.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    For Our Rights CEO Levana Lomma yeilds a bullhorn Monday during a protest organized by her group at the Lihu‘e Civic Center Mo‘ikeha Building.

LIHU‘E — Around 11 a.m. Monday, about three dozen people arrived just outside the Lihu‘e Civic Center Mo‘ikeha Building rotunda, unable to get in due to a closed gate.

For Our Rights CEO Levana Lomma, an organizer, said that gate’s closure is one of the reasons why some residents came out to a protest.

“It has been 16 months that this gate here has been closed,” Lomma said. “The people who voted for Mayor Kawakami have not been able to enter into this building to go speak with him. We have sent multiple e-mails and multiple requests to try to have some sort of town-hall meeting of sorts. The best we have been able to do is get a Zoom meeting with some of the councilmembers, but only two at a time.”

Sarah Blane, Mayor Derek Kawakami’s chief of staff, said the mayor has been available and has met with members previously, “but did not meet with them today.”

Many demonstrators yielded signs at the civic center rejecting COVID-19 vaccinations, calling for the reopening of County Council chambers as well as county offices, and to not enforce vaccination amongst adults and children. Supporters at the event said they felt their freedom to gather and make choices for their own bodies are being trampled upon.

“However, based on the signs on display: We agree that vaccines should be voluntary, which they are. We agree that children should be in school, which DOE has already announced for the upcoming school year. We agree that the county should not be funding the state Department of Health, which we do not, as it is not a county office,” Blane said in a Monday email. “All county offices and services are available and open to the public, some by appointment.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, For Our Rights has held weekly gatherings across the island, but has recently stuck to Lihu‘e for sign-waving on Saturdays.

“At this point, there’s so much evidence to suggest there really is no state of emergency,” Lomma said. “I’m not saying COVID doesn’t exist and that it isn’t a real issue, but it is something that is treatable and that doesn’t justify infringing on other people’s rights.”

Both the state and county are basing certain reopening goals on vaccination rates. The county is currently on the fifth of its six-tier restriction system, which opened up social gatherings to 25 indoors and 75 outdoors, and began allowing restaurants to work at 75% capacity. This change came just last week, when the state was projected to reach a 60% fully-vaccinated population. Restrictions on gatherings and traveling have been slated to end when the state hits a 70% vaccinated residency.

“We’re open for tourism basically 100%, so why isn’t the government open to the people of Hawai‘i?” Lomma asked.

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Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or sbodon@thegardenisland.com.

11 Comments
  1. RGLadder37 July 13, 2021 12:13 am Reply

    Ridiculous. That’s you guys. Here you are dealing with county councilmen that are illiterate and 6th grade dr. Zues reading level. You are making a mockery of the American system of free enterprise. Ludicrous is your group.


  2. RGLadder37 July 13, 2021 12:22 am Reply

    I suggest that this group get a life or job. By calling a county council to reopen, you are inviting corruption, despair, and disorder to the Kauai’s way of life. Kauai doesn’t need these council elect to survive. They have enough people in the community to handle government affairs. They can work overtime. State jobs that is.


  3. Melbin Bozo July 13, 2021 5:50 am Reply

    Fire all of these incompetents.

    Plantation families flunkies.


  4. Kauaidoug July 13, 2021 7:00 am Reply

    Not a mask in sight. Don’t these people Know we have more covid and a far more contagious virus at that Stalking the island? Let them gather. I’m vaccinated but I wouldn’t want to be in that crowd. Beds are available for those not vaxxed. Just saying . Wouldn’t wish it on anyone but when you’re asking for it,,,


  5. Joe Public July 13, 2021 11:21 am Reply

    Agree, open the public offices. Everything else has..what’s the problem


  6. RGLadder37 July 13, 2021 2:51 pm Reply

    If you pay Derek Kawakami for being a mayor, how much do you feel is the right amount?

    Since this is a democratic state, he could be far from the minimum wage of $7.85 per hour. Part time. What problem would that cause?

    Paying bills?


  7. RGLadder37 July 13, 2021 2:53 pm Reply

    “Could not be far from $7.85 dollars per hour.”

    Wage on Derek Kawakami.


  8. RGLadder37 July 13, 2021 2:56 pm Reply

    Obviously Derek Kawakami represents Levana Lomma. He does not represent me because I’m smarter than him.

    Levana can pay Derek because she’s for the people. Democracy.

    I hope you place all 5 comments I made.


  9. RGLadder37 July 13, 2021 3:10 pm Reply

    Lastly, I don’t care about what the group brings. Nobody ever heard of Ashleigh Barty. I think this kind of thinking in politics ruins people’s lives. I hope they think what Kauai is, before they make this into a political thing for the next few years.

    And I think being greedy is a good sign of recovery and health. Greed is the right way to go. Greed works. Remember the rich got there by being greedy and a hard worker. They never got there by going to church. Wisdom is good.


  10. Murica July 13, 2021 3:32 pm Reply

    Ah yes the Right to be Ignorant as enshrined in the Bill of Rights


  11. Titus July 13, 2021 8:39 pm Reply

    How long would it take to realize that Kawaikami represents himself and the deep state.


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