Friday, September 28, 2007

Happy Confucius Day!

The influential Chinese philosopher Confucius, whose teachings include an emphasis on exemplary moral leadership, is honored today in Hawaii with our first "Confucius Day."

September 28 was designated as Confucius Day through House Resolution 195, introduced last session by Reps. Jerry Chang, Corinne Ching and Marilyn Lee, and was adopted last April. The date is recognized as Confucius' birthday and is celebrated in countries throughout the world, including Taiwan where it is known as "Teachers' Day."

Here are some events at the University of Hawaii-Manoa for Confucius Day happening from 3:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Shidler College of Business, Room A-101:

- Presentation of the inaugural "Distinguished Teacher Award" to UHM Emeritus Professor John DeFrancis, internationally respected in the Chinese language and education field for his publication of a widely used Chinese language text and numerous dictionaries. He is 96 years old and still publishing.

- Wushu and Tai-chi demonstrations, Chinese poetry reading, quotations from the Confucian Analects, and Chinese music performance by UHM students, most of them former Study Abroad students with the UHM summer program in Hainan, China, known as the Hawai'i of China.

- World Premiere screening of the documentary film "Living Chinese Philosophy" by Roger Ames, a member of the UH Manoa Philosophy Department, followed by a discussion led by Ames. Filmed on location in the provinces of Hubei, Sichuan, and Shandong, and in Shanghai and Beijing, "Living Chinese Philosophy" stresses the relevance of an understanding of Confucianism and Daoism in assaying China's responses to the pressing issues of modernization.

Click here and here for more info on Confucius Day at U.H.

Here's a link to the article in the Honolulu Advertiser where this summary came from.

From the text of the resolution:

"...Confucius' philosophy emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice, and sincerity, values which gained prominence in China over other doctrines such as Legalism or Taoism during the Han Dynasty...
...Confucius championed the principles of strong familial loyalty, ancestor worship, respect of elders by their children and of husbands by their wives, and the family as a basis for an ideal government...
...Confucius also preached not doing to others what you would not do to yourself, encouraged politicians to model themselves on the ways of honorable politicians of the past, and reminded us, 'What the superior man seeks is in himself. What the mean man seeks is in others'..."
Happy Confucius Day.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Legislators visit the Big Island; BoC investigation continues tomorrow; still waiting on Special Session

Apparently, it was "Nene Awareness Day" yesterday and we missed it. Many apologies to our beloved state bird, the lovely nene goose, which has held the title since 1957.

Writes the Maui News:
The geese, perhaps descendants of long-ago immigrants blown in from continental America, are not afraid of humans, and with their fluted necks and unblinking gazes have captured the hearts of most everyone who has had the opportunity to see them up close.

Nene Awareness Day is educational. Because the nene is perhaps the most endangered goose in the world, it is against the law to injure or harass one.

In other news, Rep. Cindy Evans, Sen. Will Espero and others were on the Big Island today to visit Kulani Correctional Facility, Hale Nani and Hilo Jail. They also held an informational briefing in Hilo, which was shared via video conference to the Waimea and Kona County Council Offices. Rep. Evans is chair of the House Committee on Public Safety and Military Affairs.

Stories on the joint Senate-House Investigative Committee on the Bureau of Conveyances hearing yesterday appeared this morning in the Honolulu Advertiser, the Star Bulletin and West Hawaii Today. The committee's meeting at 10 a.m. tomorrow in Rm. 325 will include testimony from Carl Watanabe, registrar of the Bureau of Conveyances.
The Bulletin and Advertiser also have more today on questions circulating about a special session at the legislature to consider the Superferry issue.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sorry, no word yet on Special Session

Members of the House Majority met yesterday for nearly two hours to discuss, among other things, the option of a special session related to the Hawaii Superferry.

Those waiting on a definite answer about a special session, though, may have been disappointed. The consensus seemed to be that the House would hold off on making the call until the Maui court decides whether or not the Superferry can proceed while conducting an environmental assessment.

The Advertiser has that story this morning, and this story in its Breaking News section about how the stalled Superferry could cost Hawaii $40 million, as Dept. of Transportation Director Barry Fukunaga testified today in Maui Circuit Court.

Members of the Senate held their caucus today.

Meanwhile, AP reports on the Superferry made their way recently into The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune and USA Today. This story in The Economist ties our local reaction to the Superferry to the Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Summit.

The ferry is so famous that it even has its own Wikipedia entry!

Legislative investigation of BoC continues...

The joint Senate-House Investigative Committee on the Bureau of Conveyances continued its investigation at a hearing this morning. It received testimony from Kent D. Pelt, Director and First Vice President of the Hawai‘i Land Title Association; Gerald T. Opedal, Vice President of Title Guaranty of Hawai‘i, Ltd.; Debra Pyrek, Title Guaranty of Hawaii Vice President.; and Sandra Furukawa, Title Guaranty of Hawaii Title Officer.

The committee's next meeting is this Friday, Sept. 28 at 10:00 a.m. in Rm. 325 where members will hear from Iris Watanabe, Unique Computer Systems, Inc. dba The Lange Group; Yolanda Lindsey, President of Unique Computer Systems, Inc. dba The Lange Group; and Carl Watanabe, Registrar of the Bureau of Conveyances.

The committee is looking into the management and operations of the state Bureau of Conveyances including security of recorded documents, private computer access and tampering of documents.

You can view the subpoenaed documents, hearing notices and presentations to the committee here at the Hawaii State Legislature website.

Sen. Jill Tokuda and Rep. Joseph Souki co-chair the committee. For background info, see SCR 226, which passed this session following the failed confirmation of the Chairperson of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

What should Hawaii be like in 2050?

Last Saturday, the Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Task Force released a draft of the Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan.

The draft is now available for comment on the Hawaii 2050 website (download and read it here) and community meetings are scheduled to happen on six islands next month. You can also comment directly through the website.

Following your comments this fall, the draft will be revised and presented to the legislature in 2008.

For the future of Hawaii, Hawaii 2050 hopes to hear from you!


Island of Hawai‘i
- Wednesday, Oct. 3 -- from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Aupuni Center Conference Room, 101 Pauahi St.
- Thursday, Oct. 4 -- from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Gateway Center of the Natural Energy Lab of Hawai‘i, 73-4460 Queen Ka‘ahumanu Hwy.
Meeting coordinator Stephen McPeek. Phone: 808-989-1533;

- Saturday, Oct. 6 -- 9 to 11:30 a.m. at McKinley High School cafeteria, 1039 S. King St.
- Saturday, Oct. 6 -- 3 to 5:30 p.m. at Hale‘iwa Elementary School, 66-505 Hale‘iwa Rd.
- Monday, Oct. 15 -- 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Castle High School cafeteria, 45-386 Kāne‘ohe Bay Dr.
- Tuesday, Oct. 16 -- 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Nana‘ikapono Elementary School cafeteria, 89-153 Mano Ave.
Meeting coordinator Larissa Meinecke. Phone: 808-550-2661;

- Monday, Oct. 8 -- 5:30 to 8 p.m., Maui Economic Opportunity office, 99 Mahalani St.
- Saturday, Oct. 13 -- 8:30 to 11 a.m., Maui Arts and Cultural Center’s Haynes Meeting Room, One Cameron Way
Meeting coordinator Jeanne Skog. Phone: 808-875-2300;

- Tuesday, October 9 -- 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Kapa‘a Middle School cafeteria, 4867 Olohena Rd.
- Wednesday, October 10 -- 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the War Memorial Convention Center, 4191 Hardy St.
Meeting coordinator Diane Zachary. Phone: 808-632-2005;

- Thursday, October 11 -- 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Lāna‘i High and Elementary School cafeteria, 555 Frasier Ave.
Meeting coordinator Alberta deJetley. Phone: 808-565-9331;

- Thursday, October 11 -- 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Kaunakakai Elementary School, 30 Ailoa St.
Meeting coordinator Glen Teves. Phone: 808-567-6932;

Monday, September 24, 2007

Peace Day

Last Friday, Sept. 21, Hawaii celebrated its very first Peace Day holiday.

We observed this special occasion with a ceremony at the State Capitol that included hula, speeches, a candle lighting ceremony, art work, and music by Raiatea Helm, Iggy Jang, I-bei Lin and the Hongwanji Mission School Choir.

Early in the evening, a panel of experts also discussed ways in which Hawaii can contribute to peacemaking both at home and abroad.

There were even some rainbow pigeons involved ... and some enthusiastic people to launch them, including Speaker Calvin Say.

After all the chaos and hectic preparations, the ceremony went very well... with the exception of some unexpected rain that might have gotten some of our guests a little wet.

Luckily, despite the showers, everyone remained in good spirits throughout the night.

Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu, Sen. Carol Fukunaga and Dr. Jeannie Lum of the Matsunaga Institute for Peace presented a special Peace Day Award to the late U.S. Senator Spark M. Matsunaga, which was received by his grandchildren and his son, Matt Matsunaga.

Winners of the "Expressions of Peace" art and literary contest were also recognized.

We're currently working on putting their work up with the rest of the over 300 art submissions currently displayed in the State Capitol chamber level. You'll also be able to see all the art pieces online soon at

The evening ended with a candle lighting ceremony, a song from the Hongwanji Mission School Choir and a statewide moment of silence for peace. With help from 'Olelo, we were able to get the message of peace out to the entire state.

Rep. Karamatsu expressed some personal thoughts about Peace Day in an op-ed that appeared in the Advertiser on Friday.

Thanks to everyone who helped make the inaugural Peace Day event a big success! Happy Peace Day!

Rep. Evans and others to visit Hilo on Thursday

The public is invited to join Rep. Cindy Evans (Chair, Public Safety & Military Affairs), and State Senator Will Espero (Chair, Public Safety), along with other legislators, and representatives from the Department of Public Safety to discuss the conditions of Big Island correctional facilities.

Two meetings will be held this Thursday, September 27. The first will be at 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. at the Hilo County Council Office, next to Ben Franklin Store, and will be video-conferenced to the Waimea and Kona County Council Offices. The second meeting is at 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Office on Rainbow Drive.

Community input is welcome.

WHEN September 27, 2007
12 noon to 1 p.m.
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

WHERE: 12 noon to 1 p.m. (Island-Wide Videoconference)

Hilo County Council Office: Ben Franklin Building, Rm. 209
333 Kilauea Ave.
(T) 961-8255

Waimea County Council Office: Holomua Center
64-1067 Mamalahoa Hwy., Ste. C-5 (Next to Waimea Feed Store)
(T) 887-2069

Kona County Council Office: Kailua Trade Center
75-5706 Hanama Pl., Ste., 109 (Behind Big Island Grill)
(T) 327-3638

5 p.m to 7 p.m.
Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council
47 Rainbow Dr., Hilo, HI 96720

WHO: Sen. Will Espero, Chair, Senate Committee on Public Safety
Rep. Cindy Evans, Chair, House Committee on Public Safety and Military Affairs
Members of the House and Senate Public Safety committees
Clayton Frank, Director, state Department of Public Safety
Tommy Johnson, Deputy Director for Corrections

For more information, please call Rep. Evans' office toll free from the Big Island at 974-4000 ext. 68510.

Rep. Blake Oshiro appears on "Shield Law" program

Rep. Blake Oshiro, vice chair of Judiciary and House majority floor leader, will talk about the proposed shield law for Hawaii on Olelo, Hawaii public access channel 54. He is a guest on the half-hour program along with Rep. Gene Ward and attorney Jeff Portnoy, who represents various Hawaii media as legal counsel. Here are the dates and times:

October 15, 2007 - 6:30 p.m.
October 22, 2007 - 8:00 a.m.
October 29, 2007 - 8:00 p.m.
November 5, 2007 - 8:00 a.m.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Rep. Marcus Oshiro attends CSG WEST; gets mention in David Broder's column

Washington Post columnist David S. Broder quoted Rep. Marcus Oshiro in his column today on "Breaking through to Voters". Broder is covering the Council of State Governments - West meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where Rep. Oshiro led a session on citizen alienation from government and politics, especially the apathy of younger generations. Here's an excerpt:

A reporter listening in on the session was struck by the sense that these legislators, a mix of Republicans and Democrats, express: that even though their districts are small in population and they are familiar figures locally, there is still a huge credibility problem for the governments of which they are a part.

"All of us are concerned about the loss of trust in government," Marcus Oshiro, a Hawaii state representative, said in launching the session. In many of these 13 Western states, participants said, government by ballot initiative has replaced the legislative process as the voters' favorite way to make laws.

They talked about how going door-to-door at election time or encouraging e-mails during legislative sessions can help bridge the gap between voters and elected officials. But nothing seems to eliminate the distrust.

And another excerpt on where the alienation may begin...

But barriers to communication remain. An Idaho legislator complained that the local superintendent of schools had barred him from visiting the high school, lest he politically indoctrinate the students.

And a teacher-legislator from that state said that too often, high schools teach students to distrust politics, because students quickly learn that the student councils they elect "are completely powerless" when it comes to setting policy.

The lesson, I think, is that young people respond when they are treated seriously -- and when their involvement in politics produces results that are real. Come to think of it, adults want the same things.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Peace Day Everywhere!

Here's a look at Peace Day celebrations throughout Hawaii in addition to the inaugural ceremony at the State Capitol tomorrow:

OAHU. Students and teachers from the Hongwanji Mission School will hold a short service at 9 a.m. tomorrow, Sept. 21 at the Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin temple. Students will perform songs and light candles for peace, and poster contest winners will be recognized.

OAHU. “A Concert for Peace,” (7:00-9:00 p.m., tomorrow, Sept. 21) sponsored by the Moiliili Hongwanji Buddhist Women’s Association and Junior Young Buddhist Association at the Moiliili Hongwanji Mission (902 University Avenue). The concert is free and open to the public. Click here for flyer.

OAHU. Service of Peace at 7:15 p.m. at St. Clement's Episcopal Church, 1515 Wilder Ave.

OAHU. Kukui Tree-Planting Ceremony on the ewa end of the State Capitol lawn (date to be announced). The kukui tree is not only Hawaii’s state tree, but it also signifies spiritual hope and renewal. It is also an important part of many Hawaiian legends.

KAUAI. A Peace Day gathering at Lydgate Park, Kauai is being sponsored by the Kauai United Junior Young Buddhist Association and is planned for tomorrow, Sept. 21.

MAUI, KAUAI, BIG ISLAND. Designation of September 21 as “Peace Day” in Hawaii (City & County of Honolulu proclamation by Mayor Hanneman presented to committee on September 7th). Maui, Kauai and Hawaii counties will also adopt their proclamations by tomorrow.

BIG ISLAND. A “Parade for the United Nations International Day of Peace” (noon), and Festival on the Big Island (1:00-6:00 p.m.) on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2007. The parade is organized by the Honoka’a Hongwanji Mission, and features special guests Bishop Thomas Okano/Hawaii Honpa Hongwanji Mission and Mayor Harry Kim. For more information get in touch with Miles Okumura, parade committee chairman, at or Cathi Tarleton, publicity and media, 883-0669,

BIG ISLAND. The University of Hawai`i at Hilo Student Association (UHHSA) is organizing Peace Day Festival 2007 (5-10 pm, tomorrow, Sept. 21, in the Campus Center Plaza at UH Hilo). Guests will speak from 5-7:30p.m. including Billy Kenoi, executive assistant to Mayor Harry Kim; countycouncil chair Pete Hoffmann; Kumu Keala Ching; and countycouncilman Angel Pilago. At 7:30 the Kalapana band, K-pana Boyz will take the stage and play until 9:45. Hawaiian Jungle will be making ono crepes and tamales. Free massages, face painting, and interactive activities. There will be an art contest and iPod prize giveaway for students only. Free and open to the public. For more information contact Justin at 990-1421.

All UH Hilo and HCC students are invited to submit artwork for the Peace Day Festival 2007 Art Contest. The theme is simply "Peace" There will be three categories: 1) Visual Art ( painting, drawing, sculputure, etc.) 2) Photography and 3) Writing ( poems, short stories, etc.) Submit all works to the UHHSA office ( Campus Center 211, 2nd floor cafeteria) by 9/21 at 3pm. Festival Participants will vote on submissions and the winner from each category will receive an iPod Shuffle. Please submit before 3:00pm tomorrow, Friday, September 21.

EVERYWHERE. Peace Day Hawaii Website, which will serve as the official posting for Peace Day Hawaii activities in 2007 and for each future year. Check out the link for proclamations, sponsors and participants, the winners of the inaugural literary/visual “Expressions of Peace” contest as well as all the rest of the artwork we received.

A Peace Blend Coffee featuring the Hawaii Peace Day logo has been created to commemorate the Peace Day Hawaii Inaugural Ceremonies, and will be available for purchase at the State Capitol celebration tomorrow and through

Worried about Pedestrian Safety?

Hawaii is a dangerous place for pedestrians, especially senior citizens. Each year, 600 pedestrians are treated for traffic-related injuries and another 36 pedestrians are killed. AARP survey data shows that about 1/2 of all crosswalks surveyed did not allow enough time for persons with limited physical abilities to cross, and over 1/3 were timed too short for other persons.

The workshop will offer ideas for enhancing pedestrian safety and will take your concerns and ideas, including specific locations of dangerous crosswalks. AARP will present the program and discuss proposals for making our roads safer for pedestrians, such improving intersection design, educating pedestrians and drivers, and better enforcing traffic laws.
Sponsored by the Pedestrian Safety Coalition, AARP, Sen. Les Ihara, Jr., House Speaker Calvin Say, Rep. Scott Nishimoto, Rep. Barbara Marumoto, Rep. Tom Brower, and Councilmember Ann Kobayashi.
DATE: Saturday, Sept. 29
TIME: 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
LOCATION: Ali'iolani Elementary School Cafeteria, 1240 7th Ave. (on Waialae Ave.)
To RSVP, call (808) 528-6888 or email
Photo: The Honolulu Advertiser

"Expressions of Peace" now online

Some of the 319 art pieces we received for the Peace Day "Expressions of Peace" contest are now up on the official Hawaii Peace Day website here. We hope to have the rest up soon. It was amazing and wonderful to see such a wide range of expressions of peace from people of all ages. All the art pieces will be on display at the State Capitol, chamber level, hopefully by this afternoon. Winners will be announced at the ceremony tomorrow night.

As we run around today preparing for Peace Day (tomorrow!), we'll keep you updated on what's going on. Feel free to browse through the Peace Day website for more information.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Three courses of action on Superferry

By Rep. Kirk Caldwell

(Note: The following was taken from Rep. Caldwell's speech today before the Honolulu Rotary which included a proposal for three courses of action on the Superferry dilemma: )

1. Before whatever ruling comes down from Judge Cardoza, the Governor, as the Chief Executive of the State of Hawaii, should bring all the parties together to determine if there is a set of actions for this situation which will allow for the ferry service to continue and for the appropriate, simultaneous environmental review. Right now, this problem lies squarely with the Executive Branch. To remove it from the Judicial Branch prior to Judge Cardoza's ruling causes major problems on multiple levels. The Governor's response during all this time is to say the legislature has to fix the problem. I say not, at least not now. The Governor, through the Attorney General, should come up with a framework that is acceptable to all parties, not threaten the protestors on Kauai at this point. My experience is that courts prefer the parties to work out their disagreement whenever and wherever possible. If a framework for an agreement can be reached, the parties can go to the judge and put it on the record. Otherwise, whatever party is perceived as the loser will appeal.

2. Once Judge Cardoza rules, if there is accord, the parties then come to the legislature with a plan for any action required. It would be wrong now in a special session to just change the law to fix the Supreme Court's decision as it specifically impacts the Superferry. And it would be wrong to just externally drop a solution from up on high that does not reflect the concerns of the community on a broader level. Let's not repeat this mistake a second time. Imagine the chaos that would ensue at the legislature. Without a strong plan, who knows where we would end up.

3. Regardless of what occurs in resolving the Superferry issues, we must review our EA and EIS statute so that neither the public or the project developers are penalized by the ambiguities of the law.

In conclusion, a wise and experienced leader knows when to step in. Now is the time for the Executive Branch, which is before the Judicial Branch, to craft a solution. It would be inappropriate for the legislature to weigh in at this time.

Monday, September 17, 2007

This Friday: What Can Hawaii Bring to Peacemaking?

Hawaii's very first Peace Day celebration this Friday will start with a forum entitled "What Can Hawaii Bring to Peacemaking?"

The topic was inspired by a resolution adopted last April requesting the Matsunaga Institute for Peace to convene a working group to explore the possibility of designating Hawaii as the "Geneva of the Pacific."

The panel will discuss some examples of peacemaking in Hawaii, while exploring some of the controversial issues that continue to divide our community. Hopefully, this gathering will foster a meaningful discussion of whether Hawaii can and should aspire to be a center of peacemaking in the Pacific Region.

The official Peace Day celebration, including hula, a candle lighting ceremony and performances by local artists including Raiatea Helm, will follow the forum in the Capitol Rotunda. The winners of the first-ever "Expressions of Peace" contest will also be named.

What: Hawaii Peace Day forum: "What Can Hawaii Bring to Peacemaking?"

When: 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sept. 21, 2007

Where: Hawaii State Capitol Auditorium (Chamber Level); 445 S. Beretania St., Honolulu

Guest Speakers:

Kaleo Patterson, President, Pacific Justice and Reconciliation Center
on "Reconciliation and the Sovereignty Process in Hawaii"

Mervina Cash-Kaeo, President and CEO, Alu Like
on "Making Peace within Families: Lessons from 'Ohana Conferencing (EPIC) and the Molokai Project (Alu Like)"

Jon Van Dyke, Professor, William S. Richardson School of Law
on "The Role of Military in Hawaii: Conflicts and Challenges"

Lou Ann Ha'aheo Guanson, Executive Director, Pacific Justice and Reconciliation Center
on "Hawaii's Peacemaking Possibilities"

Moderated by Sen. Gary Hooser, Senate Majority Leader

For more on Hawaii Peace Day, coming up this Friday, please visit our official website. Hope to see you Friday!

Majority Leader to address Honolulu Rotary on Superferry

Rep. Kirk Caldwell, House Majority Leader, is scheduled as the keynote speaker at tomorrow's Honolulu Rotary Club meeting, and he'll be talking about the Hawaii Superferry. His speech will focus on the impact of the Superferry issue based on three elements: Sustainability, Fairness and Public Participation. There will be time alloted for q&a. Rep. Caldwell's position on the Superferry is that he supports the project, but he does not favor a special session.

When: Tuesday, September 18, 2007 at 12 noon
Where: Royal Hawaiian Hotel, 2259 Kalakaua, Monarch Room

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Special session dialog

Lawmakers and others interested in a possible legislative special session may want to check out Doug's Poinography post. He issues a challenge to the legislature, and some interesting dialog has begun on his site. Also, Aaron Stene weighs in with a guest editorial called "Hawaii Legislature needs to fix Ferry Fiasco" on

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Thunderbirds wow us with two awesome shows...

A tremendous roar brought people rushing to the railings in the otherwise quiet State Capitol this morning as the Air Force Thunderbird jets soared and swooped overhead.

Being relatively close to Waikiki and near the business district, we were treated to two Thunderbird shows today -- at 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. There was a spectacular view from the fifth floor.

The six red, white and blue F-16 Fighting Falcons flew back and forth between Waikiki and the downtown area, practicing aerial moves for Saturday's show. Between 70,000 to 80,000 people are expected in Waikiki for the show and the Aloha Festivals parade this weekend.

The Thunderbirds will perform over a 6,000-foot by 2,700-foot section of the ocean off Waikiki called the "show box." The pilots are expected to perform 30 maneuvers, during some of which the jets fly within inches of each other at 500 mph.

It was a real thrill to see the Thunderbirds tearing through the skies over Honolulu today. The last time they performed over Waikiki was in 1997.

For more on the Thunderbirds and Saturday's performance, see articles in the Star-Bulletin and the Honolulu Advertiser.

Those Manoa pigs may be smarter than we think...

Rep. Kirk Caldwell received a nod from Dave Shapiro in Volcanic Ash this morning. A man in Aina Haina complained that, due to eradication efforts in Manoa, the feral pigs must have migrated east and were now tearing up his yard. Rep. Caldwell replied, ""Manoa pigs, contrary to rumor, were not given your Aina Haina address. Please come to our pig meeting on Sat, Sept. 15, 10:00 am, Manoa Elementary School. Sorry to hear about the damage to your yard."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Attorney General says Special Session "worth considering"

Governor Lingle held a press conference today announcing that the state will allow the Superferry to resume service to Kauai on Wednesday, September 26th, during daylight hours only. There will be strict enforcement by the U.S. Coast Guard of a temporary security zone at Nawiliwili Harbor. When asked about whether the administration had thought about working with the Legislature in a special session (to enact a new law allowing the Superferry to proceed), the governor replied that they had. Attorney General Mark Bennett stepped in and said, "It's certainly something that makes sense to have a discussion about....It's a subject worth considering." (Doesn't seem like it's an option on the administration's front burner, and there is as yet no talk of a special session on the House side.)

GYC students back from Cambodia, ready to share their experiences

This past summer, Hawaii's Global Youth Center sent 3 local students to Cambodia for 4 weeks as part of the Center's Partnership for Youth Program.

Hannah Ross and Davin Aoyagi of Mid-Pacific Institute, Maria Walczuk of Hilo’s Connections Public Charter School, and 18 students from the mainland focused on the Khmer Rouge Tribunal as a case study, analyzing the role of journalism in covering an event of international importance and the role of media in the democratic process.

They also met with other students and worked on global peace, friendship, sister-state relationships, and sustainability for the future. They're now working on a video and power-point presentation of their experience...we'll provide a link as soon as those are online.

The Global Youth Center, a non-profit program at the UH-Manoa East-West Center, is a place for youth to meet and collaboratively work together to attain world peace, sustainability, and productivity for future generations. The Center functions at the East-West Center under the leadership of coordinator Dr. Teresita G. Bernales. The Cambodia trip was made possible with support from Stephanie Reford and Roland Lagareta, Ron and Manjit Reddick, Dr. Stephen Leahy and other anonymous donors.

Rep. John Mizuno presented certificates of appreciation to Mid-Pac students Ross and Aoyagi (Walczuk, the third student, wasn't able to attend) and leaders of the Global Youth Center this morning.

View the East-West Center's media release on the trip here.

Photos (from top): Rep. Mizuno joins leaders and students of the GYC ; Ross, Aoyagi and GYC coordinator Dr. Teresita G. Bernales stand with Rep. Mizuno after receiving their certificates; a snapshot of Angkor Wat, the famous temple in Angkor, Cambodia, which was built for King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as his state temple and capital city (photo coutesy of

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

10 Good Tips for Elected Officials

The Utah Senate Site posted this on their blog today, and it seems like good advice for elected officials, no matter what state or political party.

And Nancy Cook Lauer at Stephens Media Group shared these tips for freshmen lawmakers...

10. Never change the ground rules in the middle of the game.
9. Always be 100-percent right in a confrontation with the media.
8. Never wear dark glasses during an interview.
7. Be organized. Be in charge of the interview.
6. Never say “No comment.” (at least without explaining why).
5. Always get your story out first. Truth never catches up to a lie.
4. Record all sensitive media interviews.
3. Be alert for the “waiting tactic” – the silence the reporter hopes you’ll fill with something off-the-cuff.
2. Don’t fight with people who have ink delivered by the tank car.

And the #1 hint if you don’t want to see your transgressions detailed in the evening news or on the top of the front page: 1. Don’t screw up on a slow news day.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Superferry and the state's financial liability

As we wait for Judge Cardoza's ruling on whether the Superferry must stop operations pending the outcome of an environmental assessment, House Finance will be looking further into the state's financial liability for the Hawaii Superferry. In 2005, HB100, the state budget bill, included $40 million for harbor improvements statewide to enable the Superferry to begin operations. The improvements were mainly to build ramps for on and off loading. As it appears that most of the improvements have been completed on all major islands, the money has been spent.

The $40 million was appropriated as reimbursable bonds, to be paid from Department of Transportation's special fund for state harbors. Harbor users and vendors contribute to the special fund; if and when the Superferry becomes operational, they will also contribute to the special fund. If the Superferry does not go forward, the state remains liable for the $40 million, but whether there would be enough funds in the special fund to pay for the bond obligation, without revenues generated from the Superferry, is the question. If not, what then?

This week's hearings/briefings...

Thursday, September 13th

Info Briefing on the State's economic outlook and a report from the Council on Revenues. 10:00 A.M. at the State Capitol Auditorium. House Finance/Senate Ways and Means Informational Briefing. State economist Pearl Imada Iboshi and Carl Bonham, Exec. Director of the UH Economic Research Organization (UHERO) will present their outlook for Hawaii's economy. Also, Paul Brewbaker, Chair of the State Council on Revenues, will elaborate on the latest projections from the COR.

Smart Growth Task Force Meeting. 10:00 A.M., State Capitol, Room 325.

Friday, September 14th

Bureau of Conveyances Joint Investigative Hearing. 10:00 A.M., State Capitol, Room 325. The committee will receive subpoenaed documents from Title Guaranty of Hawaii, and receive testimony from Bradford Ishida, Fidelity National Title.

Mark Your Calendars for Children and Youth Day

The Keiki Caucus and its co-chairs, Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland and Rep. John Mizuno, invite you to celebrate Hawaii's Children and Youth Month starting with "Children and Youth Day" on Oct. 7.
The fun starts at 10 a.m. and goes until 3 p.m. at the State Capitol, Honolulu Hale, Kalanimoku Building Grounds, Hawaii State Art Museum, Iolani Palace and Washington Place. Events include lauhala weaving, hands-on art activities with recyclable materials and a film festival featuring Hawaii's top young filmmakers. (You can even check out where we work on a free tour of the State Capitol.)
Click here for a full list of events throughout the month, including a 22-foot giant slide, cyclone swing, toymaking and robotics, train rides around the State Capitol and a Yu-Gi-Oh card game Tournament with a Nintendo DS giveaway. (Best way to find out what that means might be to ask your kids...)
The Keiki Caucus was created in 1994 and is made up of Senators and Representatives. They sponsor Children and Youth Month each year, dedicated to events that inspire Hawaii's keiki. The best part is, it's FREE.
For more information, please call 586-6130.
Photo: Students from Kalihi Uka Elementary School with Reps. John Mizuno and Karen Awana enjoyed Students' Day at the Capitol earlier this year. Photo courtesy of Rep. Mizuno.

Kauai groups: "We're not against the Superferry, we're against the process"

Kauai groups concerned about the Hawaii Superferry's service to their island took their message to the State Capitol this morning.

A 12-year-old student, teachers, and representatives from People for the Protection of Kauai and Malama Kauai spoke about the Aug. 27 protests in Nawiliwili Harbor and the reasons behind their concern, including why they felt the ferry should not proceed without an environmental assessment.

The speakers attracted a crowd in front the Capitol's reflecting pool on the makai side of the building.

"I'm not used to standing in front of the media," said Dennis Chun, a kumu at Kauai Community College in Lihue, adding that he felt it neccessary for people like himself, who might normally be hesitant about speaking out in public, to voice their thoughts about the Superferry issue.

Mehana Blaich Vaughan, a teacher and student from Kauai, assured those gathered that some residents' vocal opposition to the ferry didn't mean that Kauai doesn't welcome visitors. Instead, she said, residents want to make sure the island's special environment is preserved.

Friday, September 7, 2007

What 9/11 taught us about the environment

As Hawaii struggles with the environmental impact issues surrounding the Hawaii Superferry, and as we approach the 6th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the two events have an interesting nexus. The PBS series NOVA this past week featured a story called "Dimming the Sun" about climate change. In the 3 days following 9/11, when all the planes were grounded, the scientific community saw an unprecedented opportunity -- to measure the temperature of the earth's atmosphere and to determine what impact airplane vapor trails have, if any, on global warming.

The results were significant. From midday 9/11 to midday 9/14, the nights became cooler and the days became warmer by an average overall range of about 2 degrees F, with the assumption of a net warming. They suggest that airplane contrails do have the capability of increasing temperatures to account for a warming trend in the United States, however, there is on-going debate as to whether we should be concerned. The more significant impact of airplanes on our environment is carbon dioxide emissions rather than vapor trails.

Still, the potential impact is being taken seriously, and NOVA reports that the British government is considering requiring planes to fly at lower altitudes (decreasing condensation) over Great Britain, the effect of which will be fewer contrails in the atmosphere.

The point being, Hawaii is currently focused on the environmental impact of the Superferry. Airline carriers have their environmental impacts as well. All might be well considered within a larger context of the scope of our transportation needs, and the environmental impacts of all the various modes of transportation, in our island eco-system.

Rep. Morita challenges PUC Superferry permit

Rep. Hermina Morita filed a complaint this week with the state Public Utilities Commission requesting that it suspend its operating certificate for the Hawaii Superferry until the company can show that it has complied with state environmental law.

"I would appreciate your expeditious review of this complaint, as I believe the public's health, safety and welfare is at risk with the continued illegal operation of the Hawaii SuperFerry, Inc.," she said in a letter to the commission.

Read the story in today's Honolulu Advertiser.

Just a friendly reminder...

All submissions for Hawaii's very first Peace Day art contest must be postmarked by the end of today! Please see details for submissions below.

Peace Day is Sept. 21, which is celebrated throughout the world as the United Nations International Day of Peace. We've been busy helping with the preparations for this exciting first-time event -- a celebration of peace through speeches and performances. Please join us for the event at the State Capitol on Sept. 21. We'll have more details soon.
For more on Peace Day, visit the Peace Day wesbite.

Peace Day Art Contest

People of all ages from around the state are invited to submit an artistic expression of what "peace" means to them. The art work will be displayed at the Capitol and award winners will be announced at a special ceremony.
Here's how to submit expressions of peace:
Format: For this first year, art work format will be limited to 2-dimensional art such as paintings, drawing, prints or posters; and literary submissions 500 words or less, such as stories, essays and poetry.
Eligibility: Everyone! People of all ages are encouraged to participate.
Information required: Please include your name, age, mailing address and telephone number. If desired, you may also include a brief bio and explanation of the piece submitted.
Mail to: Dr. Jeannie Lum, Matsunaga Institute for Peace, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Saunders Hall #723, 2424 Maile Way, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822.
Or drop off in person to: Office of Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu, State Capitol, Room 427.
Questions? Call Rep. Karamatsu's office at (808) 586-8490 or email at

Questions about a Special Session

On the House side, there has been absolutely no talk of a special session related to the Hawaii Superferry or the state's environmental review law. That said, KITV reported last night that unnamed lawmakers are exploring the possibility, and that it would cost approximately $20,000 to bring back House and Senate for a session that would require 5 days.

Majority Leader, Rep. Kirk Caldwell is quoted as saying it would set a bad precedent. "Then the argument could be made down the road, 'Can we still build a hotel without doing an environmental assessment? You did it for the Superferry.' It's a huge political landmine..."

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Rep. Tsuji aims to promote Agricultural Tourism

Photo: West Hawaii Today
The protea were in bloom when Agriculture Chair Rep. Clift Tsuji and other members of the House toured the Mealani Research Station in Kamuela on the Big Island Wednesday. Here's the West Hawaii Today story and the Hawaii Tribune Herald story.

Look for a number of proposals to support and develop agricultural tourism in the 2008 session. Tsuji commented that tourism would serve as another form of revenue for farmers and would take agriculture to a new level.

Rep. Souki weighs in on Superferry debate

Rep. Joe Souki, Speaker Emeritus and Chairman of the House Transportation Committee, sent his Hawaii Superferry opinion piece to Hawaii daily newspapers yesterday. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin was first to publish it today. While much of the piece focuses on the divisiveness of the issue, there is a section that may be of particular interest to those who followed SB1276 last session. That's the bill that requires an environmental impact statement for state harbor improvements for any vessel carrying passengers and vehicles between islands. Souki says:

"The bill required that a full environmental impact statement was necessary prior to the Superferry's launch. Contrary to what has been reported, the bill that crossed over to the House still required the EIS prior to the ferry's start of operations, and was not a so-called compromise bill. The bill's language was ambiguous, and I received no communication from the Senate to clarify it.
At that time, I chose not to hear the bill in the House. I didn't want to jeopardize the Superferry's ability to start operations this summer by reversing the state's decision at about the same time as the scheduled launch. It would have been a terrible message to send to business. Also, the Superferry had conducted environmental studies outside the formal assessment process. That said, the Supreme Court has ruled that the EA is required, and we must respectfully accept that ruling."

SB1276 is still alive. It has been carried over to the 2008 regular session.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Feral Pig Meeting set for next Saturday, Sept. 15

Feral pigs have been rooting up a storm of concerns in recent years among Manoa, Makiki and Tantalus residents and trail users.

The public is invited to hear about and comment on updates to the Department of Land and Natural Resources' feral pig hunt program on Saturday, Sept. 15. Councilmember Ann Kobayashi, Senator Brian Taniguchi, along with Majority Leader Kirk Caldwell (Manoa) and Rep. Della Au Belatti (Makiki, Tantalus, McCully) and David Smith, Oahu Branch Biologist from DLNR, will also be there.

The meeting will be at Manoa Elementary School cafeteria (3155 Manoa Road) from 10 a.m. to noon.

During DLNR's first pig hunt in 2002, 15 feral pigs were caught. In 2004/2005, 22 pigs were captured. Neighbors had complained about feral pig rooting and the resulting mud run-off and were worried about watershed quality and public safety.

For more info, call Rep. Caldwell's office at 586-8475 or via email:

Photo courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey.

Ethics Task Force gets some expert insight

Gridlock and confidentiality of complaints were among the issues discussed yesterday by a House task force assigned to evaluate whether or not a permanent ethics committee should be set up in the House of Representatives.

The House Task Force on Standards of Conduct sat down yesterday with Professor Alan Rosenthal of the Eagleton Institute at Rutgers University, and Jack Maskell, Legislative Attorney of the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress via teleconference.

The ethics committee would tackle complaints issued against members of the House that might not fall under the jurisdiction of the state Ethics Commission. Some of the issues the task force considered yesterday were whether the ethics committee should be equal parts Democrat and Republican and how to avoid potential gridlock in that situation.

The question of confidentiality and who would be allowed to submit complaints were two concerns. Although members of the ethics committee would have to keep complaints confidential, it would be difficult to impose the same rule upon groups or individuals outside the legislature filing complaints.

Maskell and members of the task force also talked about how to handle unfair complaints lodged in the few months before an election.

Rosenthal advised that an ethics committee take a preventive, not policing role. It would be up to the House leadership to make judicious appointments to the committee, he said.

He added that about one third of ethics committees in state legislatures are joint House-Senate committees.

In the past, the House has formed special committees to investigate claims against lawmakers when they come up. House members abide by an internal code of conduct, but a permanent committee on standards of conduct would be a first.

Majority Leader Kirk Caldwell, who is heading up the task force, requested that members begin drafting some wording for the measure before the next meeting on Sept. 19 at 10:00 a.m.

Smart, honest, hard working and relatively young...

Those are some of the criteria former Rep. Brian Schatz used to single out four legislators as most promising in his "Straight Schatz" column in the current Honolulu Weekly. Here are some selected comments by Schatz on each one:
Photo: Karl Rhoads at press conference to announce Kukui Gardens appropriation. Honolulu Star-Bulletin

Rep Karl Rhoads (Democrat - Downtown, Kakaako, Iwilei). "You either choose to be an outcast rebel with no internal traction, or you have to sell your soul to the whims of party leaders. Rep. Rhoads reminds us that not all bargains are necessarily Faustian."

Rep. Lynn Finnegan (Republican - Lower Pearlridge, Aiea). "Despite her talent for articulating the Republican philosophy and her ability to reach across the aisle, the number of her colleagues are dwindling. She's a thoughtful, real conservative, and while I can't think of a major issue on which we agree, she comes by her positions with integrity and clarity."

Sen. Jill Tokuda (Democrat - Kaneohe). "She doesn't gravitate toward the easy issues -- in fact, the thornier it is , the more she puts herself in the middle of the mix. This has earned the respect of her colleagues and will pay off in the long run, even though she's taking some lumps now."

Rep. Ryan Yamane (Democrat - Mililani). "He doesn't get caught up in internal politics, and is in political service, in my estimation, for the same reasons that he is a social worker--he wants to help people. He's smart, but does not have the politician's compulsion to prove he's the smartest guy in the room."

Photo: Ryan Yamane greets Barack Obama
Agree? Disagree?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Man sentenced in Hawaii's first copper theft felony

Breaking news from The Honolulu Advertiser - Judge Steven Alm has sentenced a 45-year-old man to 5 years in prison and $4,500 in restitution for copper theft. This is Hawaii's first case in which copper theft is considered a felony following the passage of HB1246 . The new law makes copper theft a class C felony and requires scrap sellers to disclose where and from whom they obtained the metal.

House committees focus on Big Island farmers and businesses

By Rep. Clift Tsuji

Three House of Representatives committees that make up the economic development bracket will visit Big Island farms and businesses over a three-day period. Starting Wednesday, the Agriculture, Economic Development & Business, and Tourism & Culture committees will meet with Hawaii island communities to talk about issues, problems and concerns, and needed legislation for the next legislative session.

The more information we have about the Big Island, the better we'll be able to introduce meaningful bills that will help our farms and businesses. As chair of the House Agriculture Committee, I'm very proud of our innovative, hard working people, and I want to ensure that the Legislature recognizes their contributions and importance to our state economy. We are scheduled to visit the following locations:

Wednesday – September 5, 2007
Kona Coffee Living History Farm – Captain Cook
Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii – Kailua Kona
Kamuela Vacuum Cooling Plant – Kamuela
UH – College of Tropical Agriculture, Mealani Station – Kamuela

Thursday – September 6, 2007
Waipio Valley
Hawaiian Vanilla Company – Paauilo
Hamakua Springs Country Farms – Pepeekeo
UH – College of Tropical Agriculture, Ag complex - Stainback Highway

Friday – September 7, 2007
Waiakea High School – Robotics Team
Shipman Industrial Park
Puna Geothermal Ventures
Greenpoint Nurseries – Mountain View