OHA Audit Passes Committee Vote
What is Kaniela Ing’s Hidden Agenda?
2017 Honolulu Rail: Advice to the Legislature
Economy: DBEDT Drops 2017 Growth Projection to 1.8%
An informed opinion on GMOs
Buffer Zone Bozos Descend on Capitol (again)
Assisted suicide: Hawaii bills push envelope
Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted February 8, 2017
Caldwell announces more Cabinet Appointments
HB1589: Pro-Hunter Bill to be Heard
KIUC Board Sets Renewable Energy Goal of 70 percent by 2030
Streetlights: Kauai First to Complete LED Conversion
Hawaii State Ethics Commission 2016 Annual Report
UH Law Review Sharing Economy Symposium
Murthy: HART Looking at Alternatives to Tax Hike
CB: A Honolulu City Council Committee approved a bill that would eliminate the $4.8 billion cap on how much general excise tax money can be used to build the 20-mile rail….
The 2015 measure that established the cap also allowed the surcharge monies to be used for other purposes, like operating the rail, accessibility improvements that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, planning and design costs for route extensions and supporting affordable housing.
Manahan and Anderson’s bill would limit the use of funds to building the rail and ADA improvements. They said they had heard concerns from state legislators who feel that the city was never given the authority to utilize the funds for other purposes….
Krishniah Murthy, HART’s interim executive director, said the agency does have checks and balances in place for cost containment and cost management and is looking at other options where it can be more efficient in generating additional financial support for the project.
Natalie Iwasa, a certified public accountant and chair of the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board, said she was concerned about inconsistencies she found in financial reports given by HART to the Federal Transit Administration, the state, city and the public….
read … Bill Eliminating Cap On Rail Money Moves Forward
At-grade option offers a way out of Honolulu’s train wreck
ILind: …The fact is that virtually all cities in the U.S. and internationally that have built rail systems in the past three decades have relied on the kind of light rail technology that allows trains to run on the ground, through shopping areas and downtown malls. They have all dealt with these common traffic issues. Planners have had to develop techniques for minimizing the issues Cataluna seems to feel are unsolvable.
It seems to me that officials have a responsibility to carefully assess this alternative now, before the opportunity passes. If there’s a chance that it can salvage a reasonable rail system out of the current financial train wreck, even if Hawaii drivers experience a bit of stress along the way, it’s not something to reject out of hand as Cataluna would have us do….
read … At-grade option offers a way out of Honolulu’s train wreck
Raid Rail Funds for Fake $2B Housing Scheme?
HNN: Under a proposal before lawmakers, the state would approve $2 billion in bonds for new infrastructure and development…. (Remember GEMS?)
Funds from the real estate conveyance tax and a portion of the rail tax would be used to repay the $2 billion in bonds….
The proposal is set to go before two Senate committees next week….
read … Funds from a portion of the rail tax would be used to repay the $2 billion in bonds.
After Chief’s Lawyer Taken off Her Defense, Accused Suddenly Starts Telling Stories About Crooked Cops and Prosecutors
CB: …William Harrison represents Tiffany Masunaga, who is currently facing felony drug charges after her arrest in 2015 as part of an undercover narcotics sting by the Honolulu Police Department. The investigation also netted Alan Ahn, a corrupt former cop who now faces up to 10 years in prison.
On Tuesday, Harrison filed a motion in state court that seeks to prevent city prosecutors from handling the case against Masunaga due to a “serious conflict issue” that he says taints the entire department, including Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro.
Harrison said he would prefer that the Hawaii attorney general’s office or other neutral, third-party prosecutor — such as from a neighbor island — be appointed to the case so that his client can be protected from unfair prosecution.
“It is a very rare motion to file,” Harrison told Civil Beat. “I can’t recollect ever filing a motion to disqualify the prosecuting attorney’s office in a case.”
Harrison, who’s been practicing criminal law for 36 years, refused to divulge what conflicts the prosecutor’s office might have. He said doing so publicly could threaten Masunaga’s safety as well as hinder other ongoing criminal investigations.
Masunaga and Ahn were arrested in August 2015 after a police raided their house and found cocaine, marijuana and other prescription drugs. They were both charged with numerous counts of promoting dangerous drugs
Ahn pleaded no contest to the charges on Jan. 31, and is scheduled for sentencing in April….
In court records, Harrison says that Masunaga is “in possession of facts and evidence which if publicly disclosed would jeopardize her safety and be detrimental to ongoing investigations.” He further notes that the information came to him via “confidential communications” that should not be disclosed to prosecutors because of the conflicts….
But Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Katherine Kealoha, who heads the career criminal division, has been helping prosecute the Masunaga case….
Harrison recently took over the case from attorney Myles Breiner.
Breiner has raised eyebrows in the legal community because he is the Kealohas criminal defense attorney at the same time that he has been representing other clients, like Masunaga, in cases against the HPD….
(And now that Masunaga is no longer represented by the Chief’s lawyer, look what comes out! Do you see how this game was working? How many of Breiner’s clients have untold stories to tell?)
read … Hide
Ige Administration Conspires with Hawaii Mosque to get More Muslims In
AP: Hawaii's attorney general wants to add a new plaintiff to the state's lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump's travel ban on people from seven mostly Muslim countries: Ismail Elshikh, the imam of the Muslim Association of Hawaii, whose mother-in-law is a Syrian national living in Syria.
State Attorney General Doug Chin is asking a judge to partially lift a stay in the case to allow the state to file an amended complaint that details the effect the travel ban would have on Elshikh's family and others in Hawaii.
Elshikh, his wife and their five children are U.S. citizens, according to court documents the state filed Wednesday. The executive order will prevent his mother-in-law from visiting the family in Hawaii: "The family is devastated," said the state's proposed amended complaint….
read … More Muslims
Tough Times: DoE Gets a Measly $40M Increase This Year
KHON: General fund tax revenues are projected to go down for the next two years, which means cuts will have to be made. The governor’s office just put out it’s recommendations for what programs will be getting less money.
One of the departments that could be seeing less money in the next two fiscal years is the Department of Education. The department originally requested an increase of over $80 million in it’s budget with the governor’s office trimming that to just over $40 million….
read … Tough Budgeting
Senator rips tourism agency on finances—Take $6M as Vengeance
SA: The HTA receives more than $108 million a year from the state’s hotel room tax collections to market Hawaii to the world and to operate the Hawai‘i Convention Center, but Wakai protested that the agency last year did not promptly provide him with detailed budget records he requested. (So now he wants revenge.)
Wakai said at a public hearing Wednesday that records he received show HTA Director of Communications Charlene Chan received a 35 percent pay raise last year after seven months on the job, and two other employees also received significant raises.
The HTA payroll grew from $2 million last year to $2.2 million this year, and “I don’t know how you make decisions on salaries,” Wakai told HTA officials.
“You have three employees there that make more than the governor,” Wakai said. “Mr. Szigeti, you’re the second-highest paid person in government. You make $283,000 a year. You gave yourself a 5 percent raise last year.” …. (And you won’t answer my records request!)
Wakai also questioned HTA’s decision to increase its marketing contract with Expedia.com from $435,000 in 2015 to $3.5 million the following year….
SA: Wakai’s Revenge: UH could score $6M from HTA budget
read … Finances
If wealthy can get tax breaks, why not low-income earners?
SA: …let’s help low-income families keep more of their wages by supporting House Bill 209 and Senate Bill 648….
The refundable food/excise tax credit adjustment passed in 2015 will expire in 2017 — unless legislators act. More than 40 percent of our households rent. The majority of those renters apply more than 30 percent of their income to rent. Among the lowest income earners, most pay more than half of their income in rent. Low-income families constantly find themselves with less income in real terms as wages lag inflation. The 1981 renters tax credit to those earning less than $30,000 a year was $50. Today, 35 years later, that tax credit is still $50. It should be closer to $150, if we do what sound public policy planning dictates, and adjust for cost of living increases.
The community as a whole would benefit from a Working Family Credit. Like the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), this would give low-income workers real relief through tax refunds. Let’s emulate the 26 other states and D.C. that have created state versions of this proven poverty-fighting tool….
People who believe in tax fairness can learn more about how state tax credits can help create a better community for all (see www.hitaxfairness.org), and help the economically stressed better cope in our high-cost state.
read … Tax Cut?
Report: Public Records Agency Slower Than Ever With Appeals
CB: The state Office of Information Practices favors government agencies in disputes and takes too long to resolve complaints over access to public records and meetings, according to a new report by The Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest.
The law center’s executive director, Brian Black, examined OIP administrations over the last 10 years and found the average time to decision for major matters has almost quintupled.
He also found the number of matters decided per year has dropped to its lowest level since the creation of the office in 1988, leading to an increase in its backlog of pending matters, according to the center’s 13-page report, “Breaking Down Hawaii’s Broken System for Resolving Public Access Disputes,” published Tuesday….
read … Report: Public Records Agency Slower Than Ever With Appeals
Sen Keith-Agaran Grabs for Control over Judiciary
IM: The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor (JDL) heard the two similar Constitutional Amendments to increase Senate control over the Judiciary. The Committee took 90 minutes of testimony on SB 328 and then spent 30 minutes questioning witnesses. Testimony and questions on the second bill, SB 673, went fairly quickly.
Over 100 people and organizations testified in writing and/or in person, with 100 percent of the oral testimony and 97 percent of the written testimony in opposition or in strong opposition to the legislation.
The first bill which was assigned only to the Judiciary and Labor Committee was deferred, while the second bill, which also has a referral to the Senate Ways and Means Committee, was amended and sent onwards.
The vote was 3-2. The Committee Chair Gilbert S.C. Keith-Agaran and former Senate President Donna Kim voted yes. The Vice Chair, Senator Karl Rhoads, voted yes with reservations. Senators Laura Thielen and Mike Gabbard voted no….
The 2017 Legislature proposes that, in addition to the Senate initially approving judges, the House Speaker and Senate President should have standing in judicial proceedings which allegedly challenging the duties or authority of the legislature (HB 176), and the Senate should take over the role of determining whether a judge shall be retained in office (SB 328, SB 673)….
At first, Senator Kim stated that the Legislature does not interfere with rulings of judges. “I don`t recall that we turned any confirmation hearing on a judge`s record.”
Former Supreme Court Chief Judge Moon stated that in the 1980s, the longest period between pay raises for judges was three years, but in the 1990s, they went without a pay raise for eight years. Several legislators told Justice Moon that the reason was, that Senators were upset with the Supreme Court ruling in the marriage equality ruling in Baehr v. Miike.
Former Attorney General Margery Bronster stated that the Senate rejected her reappointment to the AG position because of a position she took, which was to investigate Bishop Estate.
Senator Kim then switched her approach to bad behavior, asking how the Legislators, who are acting in the public interest, should handle problems, such as “in a case where a judge, and we`ve seen this happen numerous occasions, a judge oversteps their boundaries and starts to legislate policies … instead of trying to interpret the law, they try to set the law.”
Senator Kim pointed out that she represented the public who had concerns with how judges were appointed and retained, and questioned the way the Judicial Selection Commission operated….
Lawyers expressed unanimous opposition….
read … Hawai`i Legislature Advances Unpopular Bill
Kaneshiro’s New publicly-funded secure Women’s housing complex in Makiki nearly empty
HNN: …Just two women are staying in the 20-bedroom center in Makiki, which cost about $400,000 a year to operate. The building alone cost $5.5 million.
The center has a director, an assistant, and around-the-clock security.
But since opening in November, just three women total have stayed there. One has since left.
Marci Lopes, executive director for Hawaii State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said it's disappointing to see the complex sit near empty, given the high need for domestic violence services in the islands.
"When I found out how much money was spent to purchase that building, I think how many more shelters could we have built across the state for that same amount of money," she said. "How many more victim's and children could we serve with that same amount of money?"
Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro helped spearhead the center's creation and said the program just needs time.
"The concept is new to a lot of the victims. And despite the fact that they want to escape (their abuse) … it's hard for them to change their way of living," Kaneshiro said.
The rules for those staying at the complex might be contributing to the low number of residents.
In order to stay at the Honolulu Family Justice Center, victims have to be willing to testify against their abusers. They also aren't allowed to leave without an escort. Also, the center is only open to single women.
Those rules seem short-sighted to many.
A domestic violence victim who spoke to Hawaii News Now said she was turned away from the shelter because she has kids.
"I have a household to run. I'm a stay-at-home mother. I can't just pick up disrupt everything," she said.
Lopes said there are nine shelters on Oahu for domestic violence victims, but they are all full….
read … Empty
Hospitals Paying $1500 per Day per Patient for Homeless Long Term Care
SA: Lawmakers are pushing several bills that aim to free up beds at Maui Memorial Medical Center by moving costly long-term care patients into other health care facilities.
One such measure, House Bill 995, would authorize as much as $4 million in general funds over two years for Hale Makua Health Services, run by former Maui Memorial CEO Wesley Lo, to take so-called waitlist patients who no longer need hospital care but need long-term care. Two other measures — Senate Bill 277 and its companion, House Bill 709 — are requesting state subsidies for the same purpose.
Roughly 20 percent of beds at Maui Memorial, the only acute-care hospital on the island, are taken by waitlist patients, many of them uninsured, who are waiting to transfer to a long-term care facility….
“There is a big problem on Maui with the waitlist,” Lo said following a Senate hearing Wednesday, adding that nearly 50 of 200 beds were taken by waitlist patients that day. “They’re canceling surgeries and holding people in the ER … so it’s affecting care.”
The state currently provides Maui Memorial with about $30 million in annual subsidies, which lawmakers hope to reduce by decreasing the number of waitlist patients.
“From a financial perspective, without adequate capacity to provide more profitable services, Maui Memorial Medical Center will continue to need subsidies to support waitlist patients at the higher cost of acute hospital care versus the lower cost of nursing home care,” lawmakers said in HB 995.
The cost of taking care of a patient in the hospital is about $1,500 a day, Lo said.
“These same patients, if they were taken care of in nursing facilities, would cost about $300 to $500 per day,” he said, adding that the state would save nearly $11 million by getting at least 20 waitlist patients out. “I have about 60 empty beds. If we don’t move them, it’s going to cost the hospital millions and millions of dollars. We want to get people to the appropriate level of care.”
The state subsidies would help the 350-bed Hale Makua care for uninsured waitlist patients now at Maui Memorial and invest in specialty equipment and medicines needed for higher-acuity patients, Lo said.
“If they’re homeless we’ll take them, but someone has got to pay,” he said. “It’s not like I’m going to make money on this. We are 75 percent of all long-term care beds on Maui. If we don’t survive, then the whole system collapses. There will be no long-term care beds.”…
HB 995 is scheduled for a hearing today at 8:30 a.m. in House conference room 329 at the state Capitol….
read … Bills tackle bed space at Maui hospital
Homeless Drug Addicts Take Over Big Island Subdivision
HTH: The meeting, which lasted around two hours, often turned boisterous, bordering on raucous. The occasional comment or query was even peppered with light profanity, indicative of the anger present throughout the hall. But for the most part, the tone was passionately civil as members of the rural community expressed their numerous concerns.
The complaints were many, but focused mainly on an explosion of crime in recent years — namely involving burglary and drug use.
“We need to show a stronger police presence in Ocean View because our crime is astronomical,” said Debbie Dubos, a co-organizer of the meeting. “These people cycle in and out of jail, and they do it again. They’ve robbed every single business in our town more than once (over the last three years).
“People speak of vigilantism. They are just really mad. They’re sick of it.”
Dubos and Ron Gall, president of the Ocean View Community Association, have gathered up roughly 350 signatures for a petition asking Kim to move the police substation operations to the area’s fire station….
Home break-ins and squatting are also rampant in the area, and several residents who asked to remain unnamed cited examples of walking their property to collect used needles, ditched or forgotten bags of narcotics, and even discarded firearms.
Criminal activity is exacerbated by the fact that during the day, only four police officers patrol an area larger than the entire island of Oahu. Come night, that number drops to two.
The average police response time to a burglary or robbery call, based on comments from the crowd, is at least two hours ….
read … HOVE
Libraries Overrun by Homeless? A Sales Pitch to Fund Another Vacant Position
CB: She sits at the same table every day. Sometimes she looks distressed and pulls out some of her hair. Other times she sits calmly for hours….
Welcoming patrons who have mental illness and substance abuse issues has its risks.
“Sometimes people get irate,” said Fujio, who has worked in the state’s public library system for over two decades. The frequency of incidents of patrons acting out is increasing, Fujio said….
Similar situations are playing out at the 50 public libraries scattered across the islands. Patrons sometimes approach librarians to ask where they can sleep for the night….
“Libraries are a touch point for people to get information and basic resources,” said Scott Morishige, the state homeless coordinator.
He said his office is looking to collaborate with libraries and other “touch points,” including health care facilities and the state’s courts….
“We don’t judge anyone as they come in,” said Hawaii State Librarian Stacey Aldrich. “That’s the beauty of a library, that’s the way it should be. We’re one of the most democratic spaces.”
(Democratic Space = Controlled by Homeless Drug Addicts)
The system is seeking $146,556 over fiscal years 2018 and 2019 to hire a manager who would be responsible for training library staff statewide and creating partnerships with social service agencies….
In reviewing the library system’s budget request, Senate Ways and Means Committee Chair Jill Tokuda recommended the state library system reimagine existing vacancies rather than fund an entirely new position….
Dealing with people “blowing up” also causes a psychological stress on librarians, Aldrich said. She wants to provide staff with training on not taking the stress of work home with them.
“Most librarians are not trained to deal with mental health issues,” she said. “Not that we want to become social workers, it’s just that we need to have the skills to appropriately deal with someone who’s having an episode.”
The lack of appropriate training and support has left library staff in “defense mode,” Aldrich says. Maintaining health and safety standards is already a challenge.
Some patrons use the bathroom sinks to shower themselves. Staff members sometimes find major cleanup tasks in the restrooms or on the grounds, including disposing of used needles.
Partnerships are already taking shape to address some of these issues.
The CHOW Project, a local nonprofit that offers a needle-exchange program, has provided each branch with needle containers that the organization collects and disposes of when they are full….
“It’s considered a community living room,” said Leah Esguerra, a social worker at the San Francisco Public Library.
Esguerra’s work with with the library started in 2009. She’s now one of seven members of the library’s social service team, which has expanded from the main branch to other branches. Five of the seven employees are formerly homeless, and many former employees have gone on to find employment elsewhere.
The team refers those in need to resources, including psychiatric services, food stamps and temporary shelters.
These days, she gets calls from libraries around the U.S. and abroad requesting advice on how to integrate social services into library settings.
(Yep. Hawaii Libraries are looking to San Francisco as a model)
NYT Visits San Francisco Public Library: He’s Watching That, in Public? Pornography Takes Next Seat
read … Libraries Struggle With A New Role: Social Services Center
Ige Admin Debunks Homeless Tent City Nonsense
AP: …State lawmakers are exploring setting up “safe zones” for homeless people to camp, one of an array of offbeat solutions to its homelessness crisis which ranks worst in the nation….
But Gov. David Ige’s office is fighting the bills, saying state-sanctioned homeless encampments are unsafe and contradict federal housing recommendations, risking Hawaii’s federal housing money.
“Some of these areas that are being identified as potential homeless campgrounds are very isolated, difficult for people to get to, so it’s not necessarily a given that even if you provide it that people would go there,” said Scott Morishige, the governor’s homelessness coordinator.
A state task force said sanctioned encampments are a bad idea because they encourage a nomadic lifestyle and divert money needed for permanent housing.
Portland and Seattle, which allowed legal camping, struggled with safety issues, just as Honolulu did when it set up a camp in the early ’90s that had to be shut down by police, Morishige said.
“At the very least, Sand Island today has recreational camping that at full capacity will hold 400 people,” Espero said. “You could have 400 people (tweekers) there tomorrow (all scrounging for copper in nearby businesses). But instead they’re living in parks.” ….
read … These Guys Never Learn
Anti-Urine Bill Becomes Easy Foil for Homeless Tent City Proponents
HB1267: Failed Rent Control Proposal is Back Again
KHON: House Bill 1267 will be heard Thursday at the state Capitol.
Ing wants to focus on possibly three different areas first: Kona, Kihei, and Kakaako.
“We want to control new developments so that landlords will be able to plan for this new change of policy,” he explained, “and any buildings built before 1990, so that leaves this section of recent developments untouched.”
There are concerns that rent control would discourage developers from building new homes, and discourage landlords from renting.
“The cost to do business, the cost to own property is so high that if you control the income, you are going to be in the red constantly,” said real estate analyst Stephany Sofos.
Sofos says if the state wants to help renters, then it needs to help the developers to provide affordable housing.
The only way you can provide for the everyday, average person is to provide the affordable housing through tax breaks or subsidies,” she said.
HB1267: Text, Status
read … Idiotic Rent Control Proposal to get Hearing
Ing Pounding Nails into Agriculture’s Coffin
KE: The “slug fest” — to use Rep. Kaniela Ing's term — continues at the Hawaii state legislature, and in Washington, D.C., too.
Yeah, that's how we do politics now. Every vote is to the mat, with the hopes of inflicting crushing defeat — or better yet, lethal injury — on one's opponent. Doesn't matter how much ideology must be invoked, how many lies must be told.
How else to explain Ing's disingenuous claim in announcing his “proud” vote in support of mandating pesticide disclosure and buffer zones from “chemical ag corporations like Monsanto?”
Too often, these corporations hide what they spray and the scientific risks involved. But we know better. In recent years, children from 16 Hawai'i schools were forced to evacuate and sent to hospitals due to pesticide exposure.
Yes, but not one of those evacuations was caused by the seed companies. Does Ing not know this? Or is he simply not bothered by lying — as we saw during his recent plea bargain?
So Ing and his pals — including Reps. Richard Creagan and Laura Thielen — are busy pandering to the loud, well-funded, anti-GMO crowd, passing pesticide bills that are intended stick it to the seed companies. In actuality, they're pounding more nails into the coffin of Hawaii agriculture.
And all the while they're ignoring science, budget considerations, their larger constituency and common sense. How else to explain passing a bill that requires buffer zones between crops and schools, but allows the application of pesticides directly in the schools themselves?
But hey, when you're in a “slug fest,” all you care about is winning — not making good laws or doing what's best for the entire community
read … Musings: Slug Fest
Anti-Agriculture Activists Pave Way for Developers
KE: It isn't every day that a politician puts his head into the lion's mouth.
But Kauai Councilman Derek Kawakami bravely did just that, publishing a guest column in today's The Garden Island that states his unequivocal support for the contentious Hawaii Dairy Farms project at Mahaulepu.
Yes, at a time when far too many lily-livered legislators are kowtowing and pandering to the anti-ag activists haunting the capitol, Derek stood up solidly for ag. More important, he made it clear today that he believes his political future lies with those who support ag — not the antis.
As one political observer noted:
It does occur to me that this is Derek's first big salvo in the 2018 mayoral race, positioning himself as a strong, thorough, literate, rational opinion leader, willing to take a controversial but right position — in the face of active opposition.
And as TGI reported, that opposition is not pleased with his stance:
“FOM [Friends of Mahulepu] is scheduling a meeting with Kawakami to supply him with the information they believe he is lacking….It is not realistic to think that if Hawaii Dairy Farms is prohibited from being on the land, that nothing will ever go there.”
Unless, of course, those alternative uses — gentleman's estates, hotels, vacation homes, exclusive enclaves for the uber rich — are what the real estate- and tourism-friendly antis have been seeking all along.
Shoots, it's already happening on Maui, where the antis couldn't wait to destroy sugar. As Pacific Business News reported yesterday: “A California businessman has purchased about 340 acres of agricultural land [in Paia] on Maui from Alexander & Baldwin Inc. for nearly $10 million….”
KGI: Endorsing the dairy
read … Musings: Opening Salvo
Small Business Leaders Debunk Anti-Styrofoam Hysteria
HNN: …several organizations that oppose the polystyrene ban say there is a lot of misinformation being spread.
"Critics of expanded polystyrene foam containers continue to scare people that it's toxic and bad for people and the environment," said Dexter Yamada, president of K. Yamada Distributors.
Opponents say the ban would have a serious impact on Hawaii’s small business owners and organizations that would be forced to trade in effective foam products for costly alternatives and that could lead to higher prices for customers or force closures.
They say polystyrene is recyclable. When disposed of properly, they say, it doesn't end up in the landfill but can be incinerated for energy.
This isn't the first time legislators have tackled this issue. Hawaii and Maui County lawmakers have advanced similar efforts, but no prohibitions have been approved….
SB1109: Text, Status
read … Chemophobia
Caldwell Leaves Kids in the Dark
KHON: Heidi Haliniak ran the Punchbowl Athletic Club at Stevenson Recreation Center. The program was affiliated with the Honolulu Police Department’s Police Athletics League.
It was forced to shut down after lights were removed from the center nearly a year ago for safety reasons.
“The field lighting fixtures near Stevenson Recreation Center were removed in March 2016 due to safety concerns that became apparent when one of the lights fell over,” said Jeanne Ishikawa, deputy director of the city Department of Parks and Recreation.
“Due to the safety hazards for my children (I could not hold the league this year),” Haliniak explained. “I need protection. The lights is what gives us a lot of help.”
We took a look at the lights and noticed orange cones were placed over the stumps with uncovered electrical wires underneath. A city spokesperson told us the wires were not live.
Since the lights were taken down, residents tell us they’ve seen a lot of unsafe, illegal activity at the park.
“It’s hard to see what a great place this was, come down in shambles,” said resident Dandi Holder. “As soon as the lights went out, there’s more illegal activity and more reason for people who should not be here to come around.”
read … More Caldwell
The Toxic Language of Hawaii’s One Party State
CB: Trump’s approach is obviously toxic. But that can also be true of Hawaii where complacency is the political language.
…To understand, you need to consider the power of symbolic politics and the role language plays in conveying these symbols.
As the great scholar of symbolic politics Murray Edelman put it, “politics for most of us is a parade of abstract symbols” about events that we do not experience firsthand. Politics, he writes, is a “series of pictures in the mind.” Language creates these pictures by framing the issues and touching the emotions.
Political language and symbols are most commonly used to get people to be acquiescent, to get them to accept or obey….
For the most part, Hawaii’s political symbols and language are the polar opposite of Trump’s. In this state symbolic politics focuses on supporting the status quo.
There are some obvious examples. Big surprise, one of the clearest involves rail. “On budget and on time” was a powerful phase that protected politicians from the public for a good long while.
Politicians often use culturally powerful terms like “local values,” “don’t talk stink,” and “Hawaii is different” to create mind pictures that reinforce the status quo.
Let’s go really polar opposite, though, to the everyday, unspectacular, nuts-and-bolts symbols and language that Hawaii bureaucrats use to deflect change.
One example is ritualized responses conveying the image that everything is OK….
Over time here, people have responded to this kind of language not with resistance but with reluctant, cynical acquiescence but acquiescence nevertheless: well, it’s business as usual. Things will never change. That’s Hawaii.
Ordinary everyday politics. No one is going to produce a successful play called, “Oy Gevalt! The Department of Health Is At It Again.”
Trumpism is obviously more frightening and dangerous, but quiet, mundane symbolism like Hawaii’s also has a profound impact on our lives….
read … Neal Milner: The Language of Donald Trump