Medeiros Resigns: Governor Blames Threats from BJ Penn
SA: … “Nani Medeiros is a truly compassionate person who has worked tirelessly to help create novel solutions to house the homeless and to build affordable homes in Hawaii – only to face a barrage of personal attacks in person and on social media from those who would rather tear us all apart, rather than help Hawaii move forward,” Green said today.
He blamed B.J. Penn in particular. After a career in mixed-martial arts, Penn unsuccessfully ran in 2022 for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.
“The bullying tactics, with obvious violent undertones employed by Mr. Penn and his followers have no place in Hawaii and are absolutely contrary to our spirit of Aloha for others,” Green told the Star-Advertiser. “I won’t tolerate anyone from my team, or anyone in our state, being treated this way. It is despicable.”….
(CLUE: BJ Penn will be arrested soon.)
Penn could not immediately be reached for comment today….
Penn accused panel members of ignoring public concerns and wanting to take the family fortunes of Lahaina evacuees and put them in Puna on Hawaii island.
“You guys gonna take the people in Lahaina and put them in Puna,” Penn said. “That’s crazy.”
Long before Green created the panel, Medeiros was criticized in January by state Sen. Kurt Fevella (R, Ocean Pointe-Iroquois Point-Kapolei), who brought her to tears at a meeting of the Hawaiian Home Lands Commission when Fevella said Medeiros has “nothing, or no knowledge, about our Hawaiian people. I don’t care if she says she’s Hawaiian. Just remember now, the devil also was an angel. Remember that. So just because you’re Hawaiian doesn’t mean you have the passion for the people.”
Green, in response, wrote a two-page letter to Senate President Ron Kouchi condemning Fevella’s testimony about Medeiros.
Fevella later stood on the Senate floor and said, “At this time I just want to offer apologies to Nani Medeiros if I had offended her and her family of the things that I had said. I never meant to hurt her personally or her family. So, again, I apologize for the words that I had said.”…
SA Letter: Intimidation threatens to corrode civil society | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)
RELATED: Housing Emergency Designed to Fail
read … Nani Medeiros, state’s chief housing officer, to resign
KITV: Hawaii housing chief Nani Medeiros resigns amid threats and "bullying" | News | kitv.com
HNN: After housing chief’s resignation, governor calls personal attacks against her ‘despicable’ (hawaiinewsnow.com)
KITV: Hawaii Chief Housing Officer Nani Medeiros resigns; issues personal statement | Local | kitv.com
SA: Housing chief Nani Medeiros’ resignation raises questions about future of Green’s panel | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)
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FULL STATEMENT FROM MEDEIROS:
“I’ve never owned a home. I don’t know what it’s like to not have to worry about rent being raised. I don’t know what it’s like to get keys for the first time, to furnish a house exactly the way I’d want it to be because it’s mine, to give my family some sense of permanence in the only community we’ve ever known.
I took this job because I know I’m not alone, and every year, there are so many more just like me -- locals who either can’t afford to own a home or will be forced to leave the islands.
I understand the frustration many have with government, because most of my career has been focused on channeling my own frustration, doing the jobs to try to make government work better for all of us, or meet the needs that it just simply can’t.
I’ve fought against the state’s violations of the Felix Consent Decree, advocating for students with special needs and educational supports, fighting for equal funding of charter and immersion schools, fighting for health insurance for our poorest families and robust health care at community health centers.
Immediately prior to this job, I helped start two non-profit organizations focused on affordable housing; I fought for neighbors experiencing houselessness, raising millions of dollars in donations of food, clothes, shelter, and permanent homes, and helped build Hawaii’s first kauhale of tiny homes in Kalaeloa to provide permanent homes for our ohana experiencing houselessness.
I can’t stand the housing crisis we’re in and have been in for decades. Our regulatory processes are considered some of the worst in the nation. We do not have enough housing for all of our people, we have not been building enough for our population growth, and that is causing many of us to be priced out. I hate seeing our people leave and the face of Hawaii change. I am a native Hawaiian, kanaka maoli, single mother, born and raised in Hawaii, lived only here all my life, and have been committed to this cause.
But over the last several weeks many lies have been said about me and my family. Threats have been made against me, loved ones who don’t even work for the government, and even children. I love my family, and for the sake of their health and safety, I’ve been left with no choice but to resign from my position.
With my resignation, the discussions about housing should no longer about me. We need to refocus on the crisis: how will we build more housing for our local people while preserving our environment and respecting our iwi kupuna. We’re already too late for too many.”
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Green issued the following statement on Medeiros’ resignation:
“Nani Medeiros is a truly compassionate person who has worked tirelessly to help create novel solutions to house the homeless and to build affordable homes in Hawai‘i – only to face a barrage of personal attacks in person and on social media from those who would rather tear us all apart, rather than help Hawai‘i move forward,” said Governor Green.
“The bullying tactics, with obvious violent undertones employed by Mr. Penn and his followers, have no place in Hawai‘i and are absolutely contrary to our spirit of Aloha for others. I won’t tolerate anyone from my team, or anyone in our state, being treated this way. It is despicable."
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Former Hawaii gubernatorial candidate and professional MMA fighter BJ Penn issued the following statement to Gov. Green on his Instagram account:
When I spoke at Josh Greens meeting last week I said 'I apologize if I hurt anyone’s feelings or made them sad. It’s just that we (people of Hawaii) have been sad so many times with our governments decisions.' Josh Green is attacking freedom of speech and he is attacking all of us in Hawaii for standing up for our rights! Josh Green you work for BJ Penn and all of the people of Hawaii! Don’t ever forget it! We pay your bills! We tell you what we want and you must listen! The state will come after me Hawaii! I will fight for you till the end! Hawaii can not let these thieves win! ALOHA IS THE LAW!
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B.J. Penn weighs in after being blamed for resignation of chief housing officer Nani Medeiros
KITV Sept 9, 2023: … As Hawaii's housing crisis worsens in the wake of the Maui wildfires, another huge setback to the governor's ambitious plan to build more affordable homes -- the abrupt resignation of chief housing officer Nani Medeiros amid threats and bullying.
"I was surprised that she resigned actually. That was the last thing that I would have ever expected," said B.J. Penn, a critic of the government, who Gov. Josh Green blamed for driving Medeiros out of the job.
A day after the state's housing officer resigned, Penn said he doesn't condone bullying and is all about aloha.
"That's terrible to hear anything that she got threatened and I want anybody out there to know, if anybody was involved doing that, I'm 100% against that," Penn said….
The governor personally blasted Penn for "bullying tactics" in the wake of the resignation.
But Penn said he's being falsely accused.
"That's really wrong to say that and to point at me and to say that he's not going to tolerate that," he said. "It almost kind of feels like some kind of Donald Trump-type of thing where they go after somebody."
And he wants to make amends with Medeiros.
"Hey Nani, you know when I get to see you again, I would love to just apologize if anyone did come up to you and do anything like that or did anything to your child or husband or any of that stuff," Penn said. "So I just want to make everything good right now. So you know, right on Nani." …
KHON: As for replacing Medeiros, the governor said he might instead appoint a committee to lead the housing team.
read …. B.J. Penn weighs in after being blamed for resignation of chief housing officer Nani Medeiros