County Council District 7: Drysdale vs. Villegas

  • Kelly Drysdale
  • Rebecca Villegas
  • Rebecca Villegas and Kelly Drysdale.

HILO — There’s just one County Council seat remaining to be filled, and with Election Day less than a week away, two political neophytes are battling to the end to fill it.

The district includes part of Kealakekua, Kona Scenic Subdivision, Kainaliu, Honalo, Keauhou, Kahaluu, Holualoa, Kona Hillcrest, Pualani Estates, Sunset View, Kuakini Heights, Kona Vistas, Alii Heights, Kona Industrial and Lono Kona.


The seat is being vacated by Councilman Dru Kanuha, a Democrat who faces Libertarian Michael Last for the state Senate District 3 seat.

In the nonpartisan council race, Rebecca Villegas had edged out Kelly Drysdale in the primary, but in a four-way contest for the open seat, she didn’t win the requisite 50 percent plus one vote needed to avoid a runoff. Villegas garnered 1,240 votes, or 37.2 percent, to Drysdale’s 1,032 votes, or 31 percent.

Villegas has greatly widened her money lead over Drysdale, according to reports covering Aug. 12-Oct. 22 filed with the state Campaign Spending Commission by Monday’s deadline.

Villegas’ $10,350 in new money is split almost 50-50 between contributions of $100 or less and those greater. The larger amounts came mostly from individuals giving $500 or less, with one $2,000 contribution coming from the use of a Fair Wind Cruises Inc. boat for a fundraiser.

Drysdale, in contrast, raised $1,930, primarily from five individual donations of more than $100.

Villegas, 45, of Kailua-Kona, runs her own event marketing business, after 14 years as Hawaii marketing manager for Kona Brewing Co. She has a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Drysdale, 59, also of Kailua-Kona, moved to the area to help her parents manage their restaurants, Don Drysdale’s Club 53 and Drysdale’s Two in the Keauhou Shopping Center. She studied radio and TV communications at San Diego State University and currently works as director of logistics for Kona Coffee &Tea Co.

Drysdale has two specific priorities she said she’s already working on — homeless housing and a physician’s assistant school for West Hawaii. She hopes the higher profile of being on the County Council could help bring them to fruition.

She points to the successful plantation-style Kahauiki Village on Oahu, a public-private partnership development with the state of Hawaii, the City and County of Honolulu and the nonprofit aio Foundation. That project, Drysdale said, is a better model than the Village 9 project Mayor Harry Kim’s administration is discussing.

“If we could get something like that over here, that would definitely make a difference in affordable housing,” Drysdale said.

Drysdale’s other priority, a physician’s assistant training school to improve medical care in the face of a severe shortage of physicians, is less a county project, but it’s something she’s working on nonetheless.

“These are things needing to come to fruition,” she said.

Housing is also a priority for Villegas. She said, if elected, she’ll collaborate with state, county and community groups already working to provide services and housing for the homeless population in West Hawaii and on the island.

She also plans to work with the Kona Community Development plan to help provide more affordable housing in District 7.


And, she supports ongoing efforts to revitalize Kona town, “so it is safer and cleaner for business owners, residents and visitors alike,” she said.

“I’ve learned that I still have more to learn and more to share, that teachers are everywhere and solutions lie in wait of discovery. If we resist the paralysis of fear, choosing instead to care and share, then opportunities for solutions are just around the corner,” Villegas said. “It’s going to take a village — thankfully, we are blessed with a strong one.”

  1. Big Mac November 4, 2018 7:14 am

    Drysdale likes the homeless shelter right where it is, downtown in the center of our tourist district. She’s nuts, I’m voting for Villegas.

    1. HHFF November 4, 2018 8:13 am

      Yikes!!! Is that what she said?

      1. Big ideas November 4, 2018 11:03 am

        No…fake news from a troll

        1. HHFF November 4, 2018 12:58 pm

          Ha ha ha!!!You should run and give her some crazy competition! Entertainment!!!! Lol!

        2. Big Mac November 4, 2018 7:22 pm

          Ok genius.Here it is in Drysdale’s exact words: Right downtown.
          5. Homelessness

          In MANY conversations with people directly and indirectly involved with the Homelessness issue, I think Village 9 has some viable aspects. I think that it would be a safe place for people to go to get off the streets and attain some of the services they need. HOWEVER, the location being proposed for Village 9 is, in my and other health professional’s opinion, in the wrong place. If Village 9 is built across the street from the West Hawaii Civic Center and within proximity to Kealakehe schools, they first must obtain an EA and a PER. Then the contract bidding. Then start to build the infrastructure out of lava rock, etc., etc., etc. Additionally, since this is so far from the services that are already in place for the Homeless, there would have to be another line item in the County budget to transport these individuals to the Old Industrial area where their services are already set up.

          On the other hand, if the County were to trade land with QLT for what the almost defunct International Marketplace is now, all the infrastructure is already in place as are kitchen and restroom facilities. It would take much less effort to convert this area than to start from scratch in the proposed area.

      2. Big Mac November 4, 2018 7:06 pm

        Yes, she said we should leave the homeless facilities right where they are, in the heart of downtown.

  2. Big ideas November 4, 2018 11:02 am

    Villegas said. “It’s going to take a village

    Evoking this phase is all you need to know….vote Drysdale

    1. Du Mhan Yhu November 4, 2018 1:59 pm

      Not paid any attention, so thank you for the head’s up.

    2. Big Mac November 4, 2018 7:14 pm

      Only if you want the homeless zombie epicenter in the middle of downtown.

      1. Buds4All November 5, 2018 5:10 pm

        Put em in Bubba Gumps that should cut down on visitors!

  3. LiliDun November 4, 2018 3:41 pm

    The PA school has zero to do with the county council, so that’s a misinformed and pointless priority for Drysdale to have. Candidates can say and promise a lot of things–sometimes things they have no power over influencing–so I would pick the person who seems to have a grasp of what functions the county council overseers in reality.

  4. Dan November 5, 2018 3:15 pm

    I love all the trolls who come on here and post for Drysdale😀 They don’t even live here in Hawaii and they’re trying to defend her plan for plopping the homeless shelter on Luhia Street right across from two shopping centers and many small businesses in the industrial marketplace. Perhaps Ms Drysdale should get out more often to understand the lay of the land here in West Hawaii before she makes sweeping generalizations of where to put a homeless shelter because of water and restroom access.

    1. Du Mhan Yhu November 5, 2018 4:27 pm

      How do you know where anyone lives, or where you live for that matter?

      Sounds like they both have negatives to me, so choose your democrat.

      1. Dan November 5, 2018 4:39 pm

        Well I certainly know where I live Dhu. How bout you Dhu? You certainly don’t live here so why make commentary? Hawaii will remain Democratic long after you’re dead and buried and still chanting lock her up from the grave. BTW, thanks for validating my point with your reply!

        1. Du Mhan Yhu November 5, 2018 4:58 pm

          This IS the internetz, no one knows who you are or where you are.

          Thank you for exposing your liberal taint, will be good to know to ignore your posts in the future, wherever and whoever you really are.

          1. Dan November 5, 2018 5:02 pm

            It’s called an IP address sunshine. You should brush up on your internet skills and your “internetz” commentary is a nice little distraction….for WITZW…lol

          2. Du Mhan Yhu November 5, 2018 5:22 pm

            The tell me mine genius, at least the last 5 digits.

            There was a very weird character here some time back always going on about IP addresses, never responded once to his BS claim of seeing them.

            Are you that creep with another sockpuppet ID?

          3. Du Mhan Yhu November 6, 2018 7:59 am

            Still waiting for some IP info or are you just another liberal liar like that poofter that used to try the same “IP” schtick as if he had access?

            He went silent as well when smacked up against the wall and told to prove it.

          4. Du Mhan Yhu November 8, 2018 7:34 pm

            OK you POS liar, 3 days now, where is this mysterious IP info you claim to have?

            Ran and hid like the typical liberal wimp when slapped against the wall and demanded to back something up?

            I spit on you.

          5. Dan November 8, 2018 10:03 pm

            Triggered Much Snowflake? Another old white man who cruises disqus boards with his Hillary avatar and makes 1789 comments because he couldn’t compete in a multinational country. I vote for a new avatar of the wicked witch of the West for you …I’m melting….melting…BTW “whitey” Villegas won🌴🌴🌴 and three posts later, so much for ignoring my posts

          6. Du Mhan Yhu November 9, 2018 6:07 pm

            Was waiting for you to show to everyone reading that you are just another liberal POS that posts lies and then runs and obfuscates when pinned to the wall to put up or shut up.

            Now I know you are a lying coward, the block is on.

    2. Buds4All November 5, 2018 5:09 pm

      Right in the middle of drug central…..old industrial.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email