Friday, November 30, 2007
When: Monday, December 3 - 2:00 p.m.
Where: State Capitol, Room 309
Rep. Marilyn Lee always comes up with issues for Kukui Connection that make an impact on people's lives, and sometimes they are issues that we may try to deny. For December, the subject is aging. She'll be talking with former state representative Jim Shon. They'll have a conversation about aging, particularly aging in place. It's a pertinent subject for island families who want to keep their parents in the home for as long as possible. Shon was a legislator for 12 years, and served as Chair of the Health Committee for 6 of those years.
Also, Brandon Mitsuda will appear to talk about the Lanakila Meals on Wheels program. As you may recall, this critical service to homebound seniors faced a serious funding issue this past summer. Find out how they are doing today.
Kukui Connection airs on Sundays at 4:00 p.m., Oceanic Time Warner Cable, Channel 54.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I ran into these three representatives heading out to lunch. That's Rep. Ryan Yamane on the left, Rep. Kirk Caldwell on the right, and Rep. Marcus O'shiro in the middle. Marcus has dyed his hair green, not for an early St. Paddy's Day, not even for the UH game on Saturday, but for the big Leilehua vs. St. Louis rivalry game on Friday. Leilehua is green and gold. When I met with Rep. Oshiro later in the afternoon on another matter, he seemed to be getting greener as the day wore on as his face was paint-dabbed green. Hmmm...I can't wait to see him tomorrow. Click on the photo and it gets really scary.
The group was unsuccessful during the 2007 legislative session in getting their bills heard in committee. It seems like the bills got lost amidst the thousands that are introduced each year, and, according to Barbara Kashiwabara, Director of Pharmaceutical Services at Kaiser Permanente, there was a lack of information on what telepharmacy is (and is not), and how it would help folks in isolated and rural areas of Hawaii. I stopped by at the end of day, and they were kind enough to stay late and give me a quick review. This is my understanding on how it might work:
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
The room was packed and the hotel had to bring in an extra table for lunch. If that is any indication of the interest for or against a proposed shield law, the bill should receive a lot of thoughtful and engaging discussion at the 2008 legislature. Thanks to the Honolulu Media Council for putting on a great program. I did not record it, but here are my notes:
The panelists at the main table were Professor Jon Van Dyke from the UH William S. Richardson School of Law; Jim Dooley from The Honolulu Advertiser; Ian Lind, former Honolulu Star-Bulletin reporter, currently a free-lance writer and political blogger at ilind.net; Jeff Portney, attorney; Marie Milks, former state judge, who served as moderator; and Gerald Kato, head of the journalism department at UH.
Jon Van Dyke started off with a powerpoint on the history and background of the shield law issue. He summarized pertinent case law starting with the US Supreme Court case Branzburg v. Hayes (1972) and ending with Jenkins v. Liberty Newspapers (1999). He also provided the status of the federal shield law bill which passed easily in the U.S. House, 398-21. Hawaii Congressman Neil Abercrombie was the only Democrat to vote against the bill, and there was a brief discussion on his stated opposition -- that it was unconstitutional -- and whether the constitution even addresses the protection. Van Dyke believes it does not - that there is no absolute privilege for journalists, and that the press is expected to cooperate in criminal investigations.
Jeff Portnoy believes that a shield law for Hawaii is necessary and required. He described a conversation that he had with City Prosecutor Peter Carlisle, who apparently does not believe a shield law is necessary. That's because, Portnoy claims, he and Carlisle have always been able to negotiate a reasonable solution whenever there have been subpoenas of reporters. Portnoy argues, however, that there will come a day when Carlisle will not be prosecutor and he will not be doing the same thing he's doing, so why leave it up to chance that others will be able to work so collaboratively. Besides, it has not always been the case - remember the time Matt Levi was put in jail for refusing to identify a source?
Portnoy said that the legislature will have the hardest time defining what is a journalist and what is a blogger. Also, how extensive should the law be? Should it extend to Grand Juries? He believes the shield law should be as absolute as possible with some minor exceptions.
Jim Dooley pointed out that he was the only working journalist at the table, and his comments were based on whether such a law would impact on his daily work. I'm not clear on whether he favors a law or not. I got the sense that there are certain situations in which the protection would help to get sources to talk more freely and to not fear that a reporter would "rat him out" when push came to shove. On the other hand, he does not feel comfortable with government licensing or even defining journalists.
Portnoy added that it would be a mistake to frame the issue around the protection of confidential sources, because the real need is to protect the reporter's day to day work product - the notes, the computer files, the photographs, the footage, etc.
Ian provided a different perspective. I'm sure that he will go into greater detail of his position on his own blog. He offered the perspective that if the shield law did not include bloggers, that it would mainly be a protection for corporate media, and a step toward the government licensing of media. And in that sense, it would be unconstitutional.
Dave Briscoe from the AP offered an opinion that he did not want government to define what a journalist is or is not and asked whether it was possible to shield the product rather than who produces it.
If there are others who attended today, please feel free to add to this.
Rep. Mizuno has worked all year to improve the health of children in Hawaii. In addition to sponsoring legislation that will help keep kids away from tobacco and cigarettes, he authored and introduced HB 1008, the Keiki Care bill, that provides basic healthcare to all children in Hawaii. Mizuno also authored bills that will help the mental health of children by providing Statewide Youth Suicide Prevention, and a bill that will encourage families to lead a healthy lifestyle by reimbursing middle-to-low income families with a Food/Exercise Tax Credit. He was the legislative champion to secure support from both the Senate and House in a successful override of Gov. Lingle's veto of his Baby Safe Haven bill, to save the lives of abandoned babies.
The Coalition's award has been given to a top lawmaker since 1993. Rep. Mizuno is the first freshman legislator to win the award. In addition to his Health Committee vice chairmanship, he serves as a member on the Committee on Finance, Human Services and Housing, and International Affairs. He is also the Assistant Majority Floor Leader, Co-Chair of the Legislature's Keiki and Kupuna Caucuses, and a Majority Policy Advisory Member.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
"That all the People may with united Hearts on that Day express a just Sense of His unmerited Favors:
...Particularly in that it hath pleased Him, by His overruling Providence to support us in a just and necessary War for the Defense of our Rights and Liberties; ...by defeating the Councils and evil Designs of our Enemies, and giving us Victory over their Troops ...and by the Continuance of that Union among these States, which by his Blessing, will be their future Strength & Glory."
Most Americans, however, learned the story of Thanksgiving from this wise man:
Linus Van Pelt: "In the year 1621, the Pilgrims held their first Thanksgiving feast. They invited the great Indian chief Massasoit, who brought ninety of his brave Indians and a great abundance of food. Governor William Bradford and Captain Miles Standish were honored guests. Elder William Brewster, who was a minister, said a prayer that went something like this: 'We thank God for our homes and our food and our safety in a new land. We thank God for the opportunity to create a new world for freedom and justice."
Peppermint Patty: "Amen."
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
(I stand corrected. The author informs me that the following was not from the radio commentary, but as an opinion piece, written in response to a 2/2/05 Honolulu Advertiser editorial, "Get cigarette butts out of our beaches." It was published in an edited version as a letter to the editor. That's what happens when you fret about blogging and pie crust at the same time.)
Will the legislators adjourn this year and congratulate themselves on passing a bill that further criminalizes a minor offense? Will they? One can hope not.
One can hope that, instead, they will address real issues, suburban sprawl, Byzantine traffic, and outdated sewage systems. One can hope.
Of all the sources of pollution in our state, smoking is certainly the most easily identifiable, but clearly it is a minor one. The perpetrators are visible and might even be a minority. In the contemporary climate of Puritanical repression, they are also cowed by do-gooder vigilantism, excessively taxed, socially marginalized, and publicly ostracized. Why not go after them? They are easy targets.
Much easier than going after real polluters.
The shameless use of an image of toddlers munching on cigarette butts may move the holier than thou to rally around this ersatz issue, but it was intellectually dishonest.
When you say, "Let's reclaim the beaches and parks for healthy living. Isn't that what Hawaii is all about?"; shouldn't we ask, is that all Hawaii is about?
If this idea is a slavish copy of the ludicrous repression one now finds in newly-Calvinist San Francisco, shouldn't we ask the question - are we in California? Thankfully, no, we are not.
We followed their lead and covered our land with tract homes that no one can afford, and highways that slash through the land, now this?
The police might soon be empowered to cite and maybe even arrest and jail these tobacco miscreants. By criminalizing smoking in parks, we can also make arrest statistics much better. What next? Reinstating stocks in the public square? Flogging? Stoning? Might the police not be better employed in fighting real crime?
One is reminded of former Mayor Anderson's ill-fated rounding up of innocent beer-drinkers on the beaches. That went well, didn't it? For those who have forgotten, she was not re-elected.
Pass a bill like this and then what? A return to Prohibition? Banning hibachis?
Enough is enough. This isn't Singapore.
Monday, November 19, 2007
The kukui became the official state tree on May 1, 1959. The 30th Territorial Legislature adopted Joint Resolution #3 that read in part:
WHEREAS, the kukui tree is a native tree to all the islands of Hawai'i and,
WHEREAS, the multiplicity of its uses to the ancient Hawai'ians for light, fuel, medicine, dye, and ornament and to the continued value to the people of modern Hawai'i, as well as the distinctive beauty of its light green foliage which embellishes many of the slopes of our beloved mountains, causes the kukui tree to be especially treasured by the people of the Fiftieth State of the United States as an arboreal symbol of Hawai'i...
Hawaii became the first state in the country to establish an official state Peace Day, to be celebrated each year on September 21st, in coordination with the United Nations International Day of Peace.
Here's some interesting items on the matter from Linda Chiem's PBN story, 11/16 issue:
- The Department of Health spent $340,000 on its public awareness campaign.
- Littering has become a problem because smokers who are standing 20 ft. away from a building don't have ashtrays to use.
- Compliance has been good, and in most cases, the law did not significantly change the way a business was doing business.
- The hardest hit businesses, of course, are the bars. The Hawaii Bar Association filed a lawsuit earlier this year, but the lawsuit was dismissed in Circuit Court.
- The Department of Health has still not approved rules giving it the authority to cite and fine violators. The DOH received 523 complaints and issued 396 notices of violation and letters of warning.
Friday, November 16, 2007
As usual, I walked out to lunch and passed through the Iolani Palace grounds. Every Friday, the Royal Hawaiian Band plays a concert for the residents and visitors at the Palace.
But today, a young hula halau gathered on the side of the palace, twittering like yellow canaries, excited about their performance. They were enthusiastic, full of energy and promise for Hawaii's future.
I approached the girls to ask if I could take a picture, and the boys proudly stepped into the shot too. They exuded not only pride, but confidence, in their Hawaiian culture. You can just see it in their faces, can't you?
As recommended by a thoughtful reader, click on the photos to see the kids really beam.
There was a fair amount of tension between the legislature and the governor this session.... The interface between the legislative and executive process, it's (the admin.) refusing to release substantial appropriations made by the 2007 legislature. So what's going on and can you help us to understand this kind of tension and why, and will it continue in the 2008 session?
My constituents don't really care if we're Democrat or Republican, they just want us to do a good job. As far as releasing the money is concerned, I think there is a problem. Our schools are dilapidated, our schools are falling apart. In Waimanalo, it's so sad, I helped paint the classrooms through the 3R's project. We had to move the furniture out of the way.
You personally helped?
Yeah, it was such a great experience and I encourage anyone who can help, through 3R's, to do it. But when we were moving furniture, the carpet fell apart in our hands, if you can imagine, and the kids have to sit on that. And, it's shameful. It's shameful. And people in Waimanalo, they don't know what other schools have...and they think they are the stepchild and only the kids in Waimanalo have schools this bad. And the legislature appropriated, what was it Marcus, $75 million?
$75 million and $25 million for schools.
$100 million altogether?
Yes, and the money isn't being released. And what do I tell my constituents when their kids are sitting on chairs that are broken, sitting on carpets that are so bad...
What is the reason?
I don't know. I don't know.
Is there anything you can do about it? Is there anything the legislature can do when the executive declines to implement an appropriation that all you hundreds of people decided to do?
It's a legal question but it's also a checks and balances, three branches of government question. It's not only a problem in our state but even at the federal level. I think the drafters of the constitution intended it that way. It's kind of like give and take. You can appropriate the money, but you can't force the executive to actually spend it....
...Think about this, and this is where we're troubled. We have a governor who is saying I don't want to release $100 million for our schools, for our children, but during the session and at the end of session she came on strong against the majority of the House and Senate for not supporting a $300 million tax break. So, she wanted to say we have enough money to return $300 million to the taxpayers, which we didn't agree with...but now there's not any money to repair our schools? Something doesn't add up.
Tommy: I beg. I've done that. When I needed money for the Waimanalo Health Center, I've begged! Please release the money. I get my constituents to write letters to the governor.
Marcus: It's 110 million dollars out there. We made it a priority. We said that we're going to put our money where our mouth is, in education, and in basic repair and maintenance in all schools statewide. And the Governor refuses to release the money.
Jay: If you made a bill that was vetoed, you could override it, and then resurrect it that way. But when you make a bill to give 110 million dollars, and it doesn't get spent, I don't understand, you can't do anything?
Marcus: That's the power of the executive branch to make the allocation and the allotment and to release the money, and execute on the legislator's public policy decision on the appropriation.
Jay: I got a question from a listener, Steve, from Punahou. It says, "DOE can't spend the money it already has, why would you appropriate more?
Marcus: Well, the 110 million dollars is cash, it's not bond financing, and cash can be easily spent, broken down by various schools and various needs to the classrooms. So the money can be spent immediately and for meaningful purposes in the classroom.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
District 7 - North Kona, South Kohala
Chair - House Committee on Public Safety and Military Affairs
I will be hosting a series of West Hawaii community forums on depleted uranium discovered at Pohakuloa Training Area. Guest speakers include Col. Killian from the Army Installation Management Command and Mr. Russ Tanaka from the Department of Health - Noise, Radiation and Indoor Air Quality Division. West Hawaii residents are downwind of Pohakuloa. We need to know what is present and what is being done to protect us from harmful effects. The public is invited to take part in the following meetings:
Friday, November 16, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., Waikoloa Library Workroom
Saturday, November 17, 9:00 - 11:00 a.m., Hokuloa United Church of Christ (69-1600 Puako Beach Rd.)
Saturday, November 17, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m., Kealakehe High School Cafeteria
Sunday, November 18, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m., Waimea Senior Center (next to Post Office).
If you have any questions, please call my office manager, Tommie Suganuma, at 808-586-8510.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Imagine traveling far from home and being struck by vandalism, robbery, illness, or even the death of a loved one. The Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii (VASH) was formed 10 years ago and helps about 2000 traumatized visitors a year. They help by providing hotel rooms, contacting relatives, guidance with hospital care, government assistance, funeral arrangements, and more. There is even a bereavement team in place. "Aloha" is more than a word or a concept in these situations.
Last Friday, Rep. Tom Brower, who represents Waikiki, presented a certificate of appreciation from the Hawaii State Legislature to VASH and Jessica Lani Rich, President and Executive Director, during a luncheon to honor the organization on its 10th anniversary. Rich empathizes with visitors who suffer a crisis while traveling. Thirty years ago, her father was honeymooning in El Salvador and saw his wife struggling in the water. While assisting her to shore, he suffered a heart attack and died. Today, the organization is run with the help of two full-time and eight part-time staffers, and 90 volunteers. If you'd like to be trained as a volunteer, contact www.visitoralohasocietyofhawaii.org or call 926-8274.
The question on whether Hawaii needs to hold a Constitutional Convention has been popping up more frequently these days. On the 2008 ballot, Hawaii voters will be asked, "Should there be a convention to propose a revision of or amendments to the Constitution?" Yes or No. If yes, the Con Con would be held in 2010. The legislature must consider finding the significant funds to pay for a Con Con, which Speaker Say estimated in an interview a few weeks ago as being in the $24-32 million range.
Many consider the 1978 Hawaii State Constitional Convention to be the political event that shaped modern day Hawaii and produced future political stars, including Governors Waihee and Cayetano, and Mayor Jeremy Harris. At last week's Think Tech Hawaii public radio show, the question came before three state representatives, Kirk Caldwell, Marcus Oshiro and Tommy Waters, not during the broadcast but during the taping of the podcast, what they call the "Aftershow". Click here for the link. About 16:20 in, host Jay Fidell asks: "So what do you think about ConCon?" Here's what they said:
Waters: I'm open.
Caldwell: When you think about it...let people decide how to change the Constitution, sounds pretty democratic, pretty all American. On the other hand you could argue that the United States Constitution has stayed pretty much the same, there are a number of amendments, but not that many over 230 years. I like the stability that a constitution brings on broad policy levels. A ConCon, it's supposed to be every 10 years, and we haven't had one in 30 years, but I surely would hate to see our constitution turn into what the Texas constitution looks like, which is kind of like Hawaii Revised Statutes, it's 30 volumes of constitutional amendments, and that's why we have an HRS. So, I'm a little bit more troubled. I do think we want citizen participation. I think we need to work on getting people out to vote more, and we have to revisit why people aren't voting as much as they were in the past. But, to amend our constitution, holus-bolus, with all kinds of things that are specific driven gets me worried.
Marcus Oshiro: I have grave concerns, esp. in light of the Superferry debacle. We came into a special session not more than 65 days after the Supreme Court issued a 5-0 opinion, and we made a substantial policy decision in such a short period of time. And the media swayed a lot of hearts and minds and created this illusion of a crisis that we needed to "save" this business that is being run by multi-millionaires and someone like John Lehman who was the Asst. Secretary of the Navy, and that they needed to be saved. So, I have concerns about how any special interest group with money and with a good pr firm can manipulate public opinion, and sway even wise, smart policy makers. So, I have concerns about going back to our organic document like the Constitution and have it influenced by special interests.
Why: Because it's Jan.
Friday, November 9, 2007
Now that uber assistant Kim is off and running, I've been putting the word out that the House Majority is looking for a new assistant communications director. With the 2008 session just around the corner, I'd like to have someone in place before Christmas. Session is exciting, chaotic, intense, condensed, draining, and oddly addictive. Would be nice for the new person to have a few weeks around the Capitol under his/her belt before the gavel is struck.
I'm looking for someone who LOVES to write. Not just the usual press releases, media advisories, opinion pieces, etc. but also as a voice of and contributor to this blog. Once session starts, we'll be using the blog to update the community on what's happening and what's coming up, and we'll be covering the floor session in as much detail as possible. Which leads me to...a keen interest in politics, government and local issues is highly desirable, if not a must. An artistic eye for capturing the sights and personalities of the legislature through digital photography will be appreciated. Knowledge of and experience working with local media is also a plus. This is a full-time, year-round position, not just during session. Excellent state benefits and health insurance package.
So, if you are interested, or know someone who might be, here's the process and an approximate time frame: Please send me your resume and a cover letter, preferably by email. Deadline is next Friday, November 16th. I'll gather all of the resumes and review them while I'm on vacation (yay!) during Thanksgiving week, and I'll start interviews during the week of November 26th. If you have any questions, email or call me. Here's my contact info:
Communications Director - House of Representatives
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 445
Telephone: 808-586-6133 or Cell: 808-341-5043
Photo: Honolulu Advertiser. "I thought you said vote down!" Nah, this is actually a photo of Hawaii stunt man Colin Fong who performed a motion picture stunt jumping off the second floor railing of the State Capitol to promote the local talents of the film industry.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Photo: Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Left to right: Governors Ben Cayetano, John Waihee and George AriyoshiOn the Democratic majority state legislature:
Ariyoshi: We're a big party. We encourage different thoughts and opinions. And that's what’s got to happen at the state legislature. We should not expect compliance with a particular train of thought.
Waihee: I was with a bunch of young people, and they were talking about how nice they were because they were getting along with the Democratic legislators, and I said, "You know that's wonderful, but when I was your age, I was trying to beat those guys. I wanted to kick them out of office. I was there trying to make revolution." Isn't there any young people in this world who want to overthrow the system anymore?
Cayetano: When I started in 1974, one of the things that I realized was that this is going to end one day, and while I'm in it, I'm going to do everything that I think should be done, and say everything that I think should be said. That's not happening today. The leadership, as far as I'm concerned, in the legislature is weak.
Later, Majority Leader Kirk Caldwell responded: In the end, it's more than party. Today, here, in this convention room, we can be partisan, and we can talk tough, but when we leave the room and go out as elected officials, we have to worry about the broader good.
Critical issues for the future:
Ariyoshi: At one time, the homeless in Hawaii were people who came from California who looked for the opportunity to camp on the beaches for a few days. Today, the homeless people are our own people, people who have jobs, who have families, who have children, and can't pay for a place to rent.
Cayetano: There's such an imbalance in the service type jobs to the rest of the job market here. And my own view is that someone needs to really take a good look at how many hotels we're going to allow to be built here. Ever since sugar and pineapple went out, they've been replaced by a new plantation, and that plantation is the hotel industry.
Waihee: One of the most important issues is how we co-exist with each other. And that issues like native Hawaiian rights, like the homeless, bring with them the potential for divisiveness. And I think that the next ten years we're going to see more stress placed on that ideal more than ever before.
Democratic nominee for President:
Ariyoshi: On this particular issue, I don't want to influence anybody. And I think I prefer to keep my support, at least at this point, very personal, and give the people an opportunity to express themselves and make a selection.
Waihee: Well, everybody is going to assume, and they're right, that I'm supporting Hillary Clinton. That's who I support!
Cayetano: I'm supporting Obama. But you know, whoever the Democratic nominee is, I'm going to strongly support that person too.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
My experience working in the two-person House communications "office" over the last year has been both enjoyable and extremely valuable. If you think about it, this is not an easy job. For one thing, you have several dozen "clients" to represent, and they're a pretty diverse bunch. During the legislative session, a zillion things are happening each day and it's difficult to know what's going to go off next. It's also not rare for us to be in the spotlight over here – which is just as awesome as it is nerve-wracking.
The public perceptions of and misconceptions about this body might be what make this job most difficult. Before I started working at the legislature last December, it was very easy for me to buy into negative images of Hawaii politics and the people who work in state government. Actually being in the midst of it over the last year has taught me a great deal about the legislature and the political system and has deepened my appreciation for the biggest issues facing Hawaii today. I'm by no means an expert, but this experience enabled me to meet people and to be involved in the process instead of simply observing and drawing conclusions while standing on the outside.
The Hawaii House Blog has been one of the most interesting projects I worked on. I'm thrilled at how this blog has taken shape, especially in recent weeks. I envisioned this site to be a place where we could create more interest in the legislature and put forward a different face than we usually do, that is, through traditional news releases or press conferences. The Special Session gave us an opportunity to try blogging from the front lines, and I hope we'll continue to receive encouragement and feedback from visitors throughout the 2008 session.
Blogs and other online media are truly changing the nature of communication, particularly between players in government and politics, and I believe they'll also change the functions of this communications office. From what I've seen in the last year, I am confident that the people in this building will be more than up to the challenge.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Georgette Deemer - House Communications Director
And, while this probably had nothing to do with Think Tech's invitation for these three to appear on the show, Caldwell, MOshiro and Waters happen to comprise the House Surfing Caucus, so if the high surf continues to pound the south shore....
Photo: Honolulu Advertiser
Monday, November 5, 2007
Rep. Carroll, who represents East Maui, Moloka'i, Lana'i, Kaho'olawe and Molokini, was selected by the Council of State Governments-WEST for this highly competitive program because of her commitment to public service, desire to improve personal legislative effectiveness and interest in improving legislative process.
She'll be there for 3.5 days of intensive training in subjects including the legislative institution, ethics, team building, communications, legislative strategies and working relationships, negotiations and time management.
Participating faculty include the Eagleton Institute's Alan Rosenthal, a nationally recognized authority on state legislatures; Washington, D.C. communications expert Arch Lustberg, and a leading retired U.S. Air Force trainer in team building. Experienced Western Legislative leaders will also discuss legislative strategies and working relationships.
One of the weirdest things about working at the Capitol is that it's like a bustling city one day (in session) and a ghost town the next (out of session). Such was the case after the recent special session, but it's worthwhile to see the blog community continuing a lively discussion on what will surely be the #1 news story of 2008. Rep. Kirk Caldwell's op-ed piece in Sunday's Star-Bulletin seemed to touch a nerve in Disappeared News and The Kong Blog. Rep. Tom Brower has a viewpoint on Hawaii Reporter today.
Friday, November 2, 2007
According to the newspaper, data compiled by the National Cancer Institute over the past two decades showed that the melanoma incidence in Hawaii has risen more sharply than the U.S. overall upward trend, suggesting more local awareness is needed:
Clearly, there's a need for better public outreach -- particularly to children, who have a lifetime of preventive care ahead of them. Skin damage is cumulative, so early intervention is critical.
Parents hold a key responsibility here, but the state should help reinforce this. The Health Department has run skin-awareness campaigns with televised spots, but a more sustained program is needed.
Skin cancer is the most preventable form of that deadly disease. A state drenched in sun throughout the year needs to get that message out as loudly and clearly as possible.
I wanted to let everyone know that the 'aha kiole advisory committee has been selected by Governor Lingle. The are: Timothy Bailey from Maui, Vanda Hanakahi from Moloka‘i, Winifred Basques from Lana‘i, Sharon Pomroy from Kaua‘i, Ilei Beniamina from Ni‘ihau, Hugh Lovell from Hawai‘i, Charlie Kapua from O‘ahu, and Les Kuloloio representing Kaho‘olawe. I'm very pleased with the selection of the first 'aha kiole advisory committee members. They have an important task ahead and will play a critical role in maintaining the state's land and natural resources. I look forward to working with them.
What is the 'aha kiole committee? In the 2007 legislative session, the legislature passed SB 1853, establishing an ‘aha kiole advisory committee to advise the legislature in creating an ‘Aha Moku Council Commission to assist in the formation of regional 'aha moku councils. These councils shall give advisory assistance to the Department of Land and Natural Resources on all matters regarding the management of the State's natural resources. The bill was signed into law as Act 212. The committee is required to submit their first report to the legislature 20 days prior to the 2008 legislative session.
Given that my district covers Kahoolawe, Molokini, Lanai, Molokai, Keanae, Wailua, Nahiku, and Hana, I was a strong advocate for this bill throughout the 2007 session. I also serve as the Chair of the legislature's Hawaiian Caucus, and as Vice Chair of the Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection.
Over the past 200 years, Hawai‘i has seen and experienced severe changes. These include the deterioration of the Hawaiian culture, language, values, and land tenure system, which have in part resulted in the over-development of the coastline, alteration of fresh water streams, destruction of the life-giving watersheds, decimation of the coral reefs, and the decline of endemic marine and terrestrial species.
The purpose of this Act is to create a system of best practices based on the indigenous resource management practices of moku (regional) boundaries, acknowledging the natural contours of land, the specific resources located within those areas, and the methodology necessary to sustain resources and the community.
Kupuna Les Kuloloio, who will represent the island of Kahoolawe, helped us on the creation of the legislation. He told me, "I felt we all had a tremendous opportunity to ensure that our Hawaiian resources would be protected through a system of best practices. It's a responsibility that should be embraced and taken seriously by many generations to come."
The ‘aha moku council system will foster understanding and practical use of knowledge, including native Hawaiian methodology and expertise, to assure responsible stewardship and awareness of the interconnectedness of the clouds, forests, valleys, land, streams, fishponds, and sea. The council system will include the use of community expertise and establish programs and projects to improve communication, education, provide training on stewardship issues throughout the region (moku), and increase education. This measure also appropriates funds for the advisory committee to carry out its duties.
Photo - Front Row, left to right: Auntie Winifred Basques, Vanda Hanakahi, Ilei Beniamina, Sharon Pomroy. Back Row, left to right: Rep. Mele Carroll, Charlie Kapua, Timmy Bailey, Les Kuloloio, and Hugh "Buttons" Lovell.
Native Hawaiian culture has knowledge that has been passed on for generations, and is still living for the purposes of perpetuating traditional protocols, caring for and protecting the environment, and strengthening cultural and spiritual connections. It is through the ‘aha moku council that native Hawaiians protected their environment and sustained the abundance of resources that they depended upon for thousands of years.
The ahupua'a is an ancient Hawaiian land division system which contained strips of land that extended from the mountain to the kupapaku (ocean floor). The ahupua'a supported a self-contained and ola (life giving) community working with a spirit of cooperation of caring and revering the land to meet the needs of all.
Tim Bailey, who will represent Maui, said: "There are many in my generation who want to do the right thing and understand the importance of studying ancient practices. It is a great honor to be selected to serve on the 'aha kiole advisory committee. Working together with the members of the committee, the Legislature, and the Department of Land and Natural Resources, we can and will preserve these practices that make Hawaii unique in all creation."
By studying the ancient Hawaiian ahupua'a, the biological and non-biological factors and their interactions, this bill hopes to identify those elements which supported the success of that ecological system. Learning to build on those elements and not rival nature but to cooperate and live in harmony with her to build a sustainable future is the goal of this measure.
Today, many Hawaiian communities are being revitalized by using the knowledge of cultural practitioners passed down through kupuna, experienced farmers (mahi'ai) and fishers (lawai'a) to engage and enhance sustainability, subsistence and self-sufficiency.
Many Hawaiian communities are also interested, concerned, involved, willing, and able to advise the departments, agencies, organizations and other groups in integrating traditional knowledge, and ahupua'a management practices.
The goal of this measure is consistent with the Hawaii State Constitution which reaffirms and protects all rights, customarily and traditionally exercised for subsistence, cultural and religious purposes and possessed by ahupua'a tenants who are descendants of native Hawaiians who inhabited the Hawaiian Islands prior to 1778, subject to the rights of the State to regulate such rights.
The 2005 Hawaii Ocean Resources Management Plan report to the 2006 legislature identified, under the protection of natural and cultural resources section, the need for a system for assessing management needs and developing management practices which drew collectively on regulatory, science-based, traditional and cultural, community-based and political systems such as the konohiki or ahupua'a concept. The 'aha moku councils provide meaningful feedback.
Above Photo: I'ao Ridgeline - Maui, Blue Hawaiian Helicopters