Monday, August 31, 2009

Community Happenings: Aiea Book Sale

Have you recently purchased an Amazon Kindle and now wondering what to do with your books that are so last year? If so, I'm sure we can point you in the right direction.

Aiea Public Library will be holding a book sale Saturday, September 12, 2009 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is asking Hawaii residents to donate their unwanted books. You can drop them off at the library or call Representative Blake Oshiro's office at 808-586-6340 to schedule a pick-up.

Are you more of a movie and music buff? Aiea Community Association, the group organizing the book sale, is also collecting CDs and DVDs to sell.

Reps in the News

DOE Reconstituting Schools

Rep. Roy Takumi, chairman of the House Education Committee, weighed in on the issue of the Department of Education "reconstituting" schools. This means that the DOE would have the authority to replace principals and teachers in low performing schools. The Honolulu Advertiser story is here. Superintendent Patricia Hamamoto says that she will seek authority again (legislation failed in 2009) this year to reconstitute schools, knowing that it is an unpopular direction. Here's an excerpt from The Advertiser article today:

Rep. Roy Takumi, chairman of the House Education Committee, said he supports the school reconstitutions and noted that Hamamoto has made it clear that it would be an extreme measure.

"It's just a tool in the tool box that you may or may not use. The superintendent is not going to waltz into every school that is not (performing). ... You need to look at every school on its own merits," he said.

Takumi said the bill ran into roadblocks with the labor unions last session.

"Should we have it as an option? I believe we should and today we don't," he said.


Rep. Rida Cabanilla. Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu and Rep. Maile Shimabukuro all opposed the proposed housing development called Hoopili which came before the Land Use Commission on Friday. The LUC denied the permit request. Here is the Honolulu Star Bulletin article. Here is The Advertiser article on the hearing and the decision. Quotes from the article include:

Shimabukuro, D-45th (Wai'anae, Makaha, Makua), said she was surprised when running for office to find out the chief concern for area residents was traffic. "It really is a daily nightmare for people who live on the West side trying to go to and from work," she said.

Cabanilla, D-42nd ('Ewa, Waipahu, Honouliuli) and chairwoman of the House Housing Committee, said urban development should be focused on areas such as Kaka'ako, McCully and Mo'ili'ili where small buildings can be redeveloped with high density.

Auction-rate securities

Rep. Karl Rhoads is concerned about the fact that the state has $1 billion tied up in auction-rate securities that are currently frozen. Here is the Advertiser article.

"It is disturbing that we have that much money tied up in something like that," said Rep. Karl Rhoads, D-28th (Palama, Downtown, Lower Makiki), who learned of the frozen assets from a constituent. "We knew or should have known it could have become illiquid."

Rhoads said he was concerned about the state's reluctance to write down the investments and wonders if the state should be more aggressive in seeking redress.
"If we've lost $114 million, how come we're not suing to get some of that back because Lord knows, we need the money right now," Rhoads said.

Rep. Rida Cabanilla feature on GMANews TV, a Filipino news channel

Rep. Cabanilla was featured on GMANews TV during one of their segments called "Pinoy Abroad". The story is here. It highlights her accomplishments since emigrating to the U.S. when she was 17 years old.

Replacing a United States Senator

With the passing of U.S. Senator Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy, the State of Massachusetts will be considering new legislation that would allow a speedy replacement for the Senator's seat. Laws covering vacancies in the U.S. Senate vary from state to state. Massachusetts law allows for a special election to fill the seat between 145 and 160 days following the vacancy, with no temporary appointment by the governor.

Here's a chart comparing the replacement process by state.

Hawaii is one of three states, joining Utah and Wyoming, where the governor appoints a temporary replacement who serves until the next regularly scheduled general election. The governor chooses from a list of three names submitted by the political party of the prior incumbent.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Work to begin on Windward Oahu bridge

Representative Jessica Wooley yesterday attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the South Punaluu Stream bridge-replacement project. The current bridge is 83 years old and must be replaced to meet vehicular load, safety and seismic standards. The $15.3 million project will be totally funded with federal dollars under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Work on the bridge is expected to start next month and be completed by September 2011.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Takin' it to the streets

Volunteers and Pearl City community members took to a new street this month to remind drivers to slow down.

In 2004, Rep. Blake Oshiro's office, the Honolulu Police Department, and community members concerned about speeding vehicles in their neighborhoods launched a sign-waving campaign, "Community Traffic Awareness Partnership" (CTAP), to remind drivers to slow down.

Members of the community one day a month wave traffic safety signs on Halawa Heights Rd near Iwaiwa Street where speeding is a problem.

The traffic awareness campaign was expanded to Kaonohi St. after a State Farm agent shared concerns with Rep. Oshiro about a speeding problem in her neighborhood. State Farm agents and employees joined the team on the Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2009 waving signs with messages like "No need to speed" during the early evening drive hour.

Last night the traffic safety crew released another wave of signs at its usual stomping ground on Halawa Heights Rd. Jacce Mikulanec, a staff member from Rep. Oshiro's office, said that they "had a great turnout" and "got lots of shakas and ‘mahalos’ from the neighbors in the area too."

Next month's schedule is:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009
4 - 5 p.m.
Kaonohi St. & Iho Pl. near park

Wednesday, September 23, 2009
4 - 5 p.m.
Halawa Heights Dr. & Iwaiwa St.

Photo by State Farm and taken from The Honolulu Advertiser.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Community Happenings: Waianae 7th graders hold yard sale fundraiser

Wai'anae Intermediate School (WIS) 7th graders will sell donated items at a yard sale to raise funds for 'Ai Pohaku Workshop, a free, 9-week student program that weaves together Hawaiian cultural, aina-based practices, and academic skill-building. It also offers an after-school program and a Garden Club to any WIS student. The funds raised will help to cover program costs, staff wages and supplies. For more information contact Vince Dodge at 808-478-6492 or email him at

September 19 and 20, 2009
8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

86-024 Glenmonger St. (corner of Pokai Bay St. and Glenmonger St.)

Reps in the News

The NELHA gate has been re-opened, allowing access to the beach at Kohanaiki. Rep. Denny Coffman and Sen. Josh Green held a public meeting on the issue a few weeks ago. Here's a report by Here's the previous story by Hawaii247 on the meeting.

Speaker Calvin Say comments on Enterprise's new venture - purchasing a fleet of hybrid rental cars such as the Honda Civic and Insight, and the Toyota Prius.

Lahaina News writes an editorial thanking Rep. Kyle Yamashita and Sen. Shan Tsutsui for helping to keep the Friday Night Lights on for Maui high school football.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fifty years of legislative history at your finger tips

In celebration of our State's 50th anniversary, the House and Senate clerk's offices created a website that compiles brief summations of the five-decade history of the Hawaii State Legislature. It is called "Fifty Years of Legislative History," and a link can be found on the Legislature's main website.

You'll learn about the most important policy issues of each era.

You'll browse through lists of the men and women who have served in the House and Senate.

You'll read about the challenges faced and accomplishments achieved during each decade.

The website will take you on a journey through time, from August 21, 1959 -- the date President Dwight Eisenhower signed the proclamation naming Hawaii the 50th state of the union -- until the new millennium.

Prevailing Winds: Special Edition

Representative Isaac Choy's most recent issue of Prevailing Winds is available online. This special edition is a legislative report outlining the accomplishments of the 2009 Legislature.

The following is a message from the Manoa representative:
To this freshman legislator, the words, “sine die” (no further delays) had such a sweet sound. It was a difficult and arduous time, it was survival at best, and I believe it was the best we could have done. Of course, the state budget took center stage this session; although we did balance in the end. For a first experience, I would say, it was “trial under fire”. As the state, nation and world faces very difficult times, we faced a $2.1 billion dollar revenue shortfall at the start of our session and continue to struggle with the gloomy financial forecast. BUT, we will persevere and work to be fiscally responsible and accountable to the citizen taxpayers who entrusted us with this job. Not all the news is dismal, even with the economy in dire straits; we must look to the future, with measures that will ensure affordable healthcare, energy self-sufficiency, improved public education and protecting our environment. I hope you will take some time to familiarize yourself with what has been enacted this legislative session, as it may affect you and your family, friends and neighbors. We must be ready to move ahead as soon as our economy begins an upward swing. I would like to thank you for allowing me to work and serve you these past few months and I hope you will continue to support me so that I may work for and be an integral part of the community and state. Please feel free to contact me at anytime if I may be of service to you. Your trust in me is indeed a humbling experience.


Isaac W. Choy

Blake's Community Bulletin

Aiea residents can view Representative Blake Oshiro's August 2009 Community Bulletin online. Blake highlights some of the upcoming community events such as town meetings, neighborhood board meetings, book sales and traffic awareness events.

Blake also provides a link to the City and County of Honolulu's Draft 2009 Oahu Bike Plan. The plan, which focuses on improved bicycle safety, greater bicycle amenities, and increased connectivity, has been released for public review and comment. You will have until August 31, 2009 to submit comment.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

MA'O Ma Town Fundraiser, Sept. 5, 2009

Representative Maile Shimabukuro is putting a call out for donations of items or services for an auction being held to raise money for Wai'anae youth to attend college while learning about agricultural sustainability and community development.

The fundraiser, 5th Annual MA'O Ma Town, is scheduled for September 5, 2009 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Hawaii State Art Museum. The event boasts an epicurean feast, grown by MA'O Organic Farms and prepared by Downtown chefs, live entertainment, and silent and live auctions.

Individual tickets are $125. A table for 8 people with bottomless wine is $2,000 and a table for 8 with bottomless wine, champagne and more is $5,000. While individual tickets are selling out quick, event planners say table tickets are still bountiful.

All proceeds from the fundraiser will go to a special fund that will provide scholarships for students enrolled in the 2-year Youth Leadership Training (YLT) College Internship Program at MA'O. Most of them are first in their family to attend college and earn a degree. The monies will also be used for farm land expansion which will in turn help to nurture more young agriculture enthusiasts.

"MA'O Farm is teaching youth how to create a sustainable future – one based on organic agriculture, being good to our bodies and good to the earth," said Rep. Maile Shimabukuro, (D45-Wai'anae, Makaha, Makua), who is a member of the planning committee.

The program offers youth a unique way to start their college careers. While working toward an Associate of Arts degree with a certificate in community food systems at Leeward Community College, interns devote hours to cultivating the farms and learning the trade while participating in Farmer's Markets throughout the year.

During a special report on Hawaii Public Radio, Cheryse Sana, one of 27 student interns, talked about her experience on the farm. "This morning I woke up at 5 o'clock," she said, "We put on our pants, grabbed our hats, than at 6 o'clock the assistant farm manager sends us out to pick the vegetables that we need for the day."

"I actually grow stuff in my backyard from what we grow on the farm and I give it to my whole family," added Jonathan Abell, 19, another student intern. "I take them (the vegetables) to church, and even the people around in my community, and they're like 'eh, you get salads?' and I say, ‘oh yeah, I get’, and I cut them (salads) and give it to them (community members). So, yeah, it's actually getting around."

Last year, the auctions raised $15,000 to support scholarships for MA'O youth to enroll at the college, attend conferences in San Jose and Philadelphia, as well as hold their own conferences for other island youth on Oahu. In total, the event raked in over $34,000. More than $100,000 has been raised in previous events over the years.

"Like fine wine, each year this event just keeps getting better and better," quipped Rep. Shimabukuro.

In order for this year's fundraiser to have the same success, MA'O Ma Town is seeking donations of items or services to be auctioned off. Those who would like to donate items or purchase tickets can contact Wei Fang at or call 808-397-0960 for more information. Credit transactions accepted.

Hawaii helping Micronesia

Over the weekend, Representative Glenn Wakai helped load two 40-foot containers with medical and educational supplies from Shriner's Hospital. The donated items will be sent to two islands in Micronesia, Pohnpei and Palau. Reach out Pacific, a non-profit organization of which the representative is president, will send the items to hospitals in great need of supplies. Reach out Pacific services the Association of Pacific Island Legislature nations.

Some of the equipment donated include a stainless steel kitchen counter, industrial refrigerator, and AC units. All of these items will help hospitals in Micronesia provide their patients with better care.

Check out the story on KHNL News 8.

Monday, August 17, 2009

See you in 25 years

House members and staff today loaded a tiny silver time capsule full of memorabilia representing the past and present of the Hawaii House of Representatives. The House's pill is only one of 50 time capsules that will be buried in different locations statewide. They will be opened on the State's 75th anniversary in 2034.

The following are some of the items that were packed into the capsule:
  • 1959 and 2009-2010 House member composite photos
  • Photo of the House Freshman Class of 2009
  • 2009 House staff directory
  • 2009 legislative pocket directory
  • Lapel pin from SAA inventory
  • Sample bill, resolution, committee report, and certificate
  • House Journal excerpts from 2009 Opening Day, Joint Session for Statehood, and 2009 Adjournment Sine Die day
  • Personal letters from Speaker Emeritus Joe Souki, Speaker Calvin Say, and the six freshmen lawmakers
  • Star Bulletin - Aug. 17, 2009 issue and Jan. 21, 2009 (Obama Inauguration issue)
  • Pacific Business News - dated Aug. 14, 2009
  • 2009 Budget and Fiscal information and Plans
  • Menus from favorite eateries frequented by House members and staff
  • Civil unions (HB444) documents and photos
  • Hamakua Sugar - last sugar producation processed Sept. 1994 (courtesy Rep. Barbara Marumoto)
  • "No Coqui Frogs" fan from Rep. Clift Tsuji
House members also included in the capsule their business cards with a short message written on the back. Some quoted famous authors, others addressed the citizens of the state, and a few even wrote endearing messages to their family members.

Rep. Roy Takumi: Remember what a privilege it is to serve...

Rep. Joey Manahan: I am truly grateful to be able to serve the people of the 29th House district and the people of the State of Hawaii. My decisions are made with you in mind always. Mabuhay.

Rep. Ken Ito: To my grandchildren Tyler, Kerry, James & Daniel. Hope all in good health and productive citizens working to make Hawaii and the world a better place. Love, Grandpa.

Rep. John Mizuno: I love Hawaii!

Rep. Mark Nakashima: Dear Friends, I hope that history will be kind to us...finding that Hawaii is in a better place as a result of the leadership and foresight provided by those of us here today.

Rep. Clift Tsuji: Aloha. Ag sustainability and security. Hope the fruits of our initiatives today will satisfy your palates 50 years from now. "Buy Local, Buy Fresh."

Chief Clerk Pat Shimizu: It has truly been an honor to serve the state House, its members and staff.

Asst. Chief Clerk C.J. Leong: "To know what is right and not to do it is the worst cowardice." -- Confucius

Much mahalo to the staff from the House Chief Clerk's Office for collecting and filling the capsule of items we won't be seeing again for 25 years!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Make strides for breast cancer

Representative Marilyn Lee has started a team to walk for a cure for breast cancer, and she's calling on legislators, capitol people and others interested to join in.

Funds raised from the Making Strides project, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, will be invested in breast cancer research and related initiatives throughout the state of Hawaii and Guam.

The Inaugural 5-Mile Walk is on Saturday, October 3, 2009 in Honolulu, from Richardson Field to Ford Island.

With each step, walkers have the opportunity to honor breast cancer survivors, remember people who have been lost, and raise funds and awareness to help end the disease.
For information, call Rep. Lee's office at 586-9460. To learn more, visit

The Helene H. Hale State Gymnasium

Photo: David Corrigan, Big Island Video News. Left to right: Mayor Billy Kenoi, Senator Russell Kokubun, former Rep. Helene Hale, Rep. Faye Hanohano, Principal Dean Cevallos

Former State Rep. Helene Hale is 91 and has been involved with local politics for over 50 years. From the time she served on the Hawaii County Council through her years as a state representative (2000-2006), she fought for a state gymnasium at Pahoa High School. In fact, Principal Dean Cevallos was quoted as saying that Governor Burns promised the Class of 1972 that the school would get a new gym. Thirty seven years later, there was a groundbreaking.
Big Island Video News has a video clip of the groundbreaking here. The Hawaii Tribune-Herald story (via The Advertiser) is here. You can also view many photos of the groundbreaking on Damon Tucker's blog here.
Rep. Hale was able to attend the groundbreaking of the building that will be named in her honor. And Mayor Kenoi promised to hoist her up so that she can shoot the first basket.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Community Happenings: Waipahu Cane Haul Run and Festival

You can run. You can walk. Or you can just show up for the food. Whatever. The thing is that you are not allowed to forget about the big event happening on August 23, 2009 at Hawaii's Plantation Village in Waipahu. Get it? Got it? Good.

Here's the 411 on the 1st Annual Waipahu Cane Haul Run and Festival.

The celebration includes a 5k Waipahu Cane Haul Run/Walk that will begin at 7 a.m.

The festival will follow the run/walk. It will start at 10 a.m. What to expect? Good food, live entertainment, and plantation tours.

Representative Henry Aquino will be there, and he wants you to come and join him in learning about the sweet and rich history of Waipahu and its people.

Proceeds from this event will be used to support the Waipahu Community Coalition in providing Drug Free events for families and children in the Waipahu Community.

Visit www. to download registration forms for the race (don't let me beat you to it) or call 808-354-3663 for more information.

The House Time Travelers

Standing left to right: Gil Keith-Agaran, Mark Nakashima, Denny Coffman, Henry Aquino. Sitting: Isaac Choy, Jessica Wooley, Chris Lee.
Next week, Hawaii celebrates its 50th anniversary of statehood. To mark the date, the House of Representatives will fill a time capsule with various items reflecting the work of its members, the staff, the session, the legislation, and capitol life. One of the items to be placed in the capsule will be a photo above of the House Freshman Class of 2009.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Major Takai and the 29th Brigade

Photo: Wyoming National Guard via Honolulu Star-Bulletin

The Honolulu Star Bulletin carried a story today on the 29th Brigade officially transferring operation duties in Kuwait to the Wyoming National Guard. Rep. K. Mark Takai is currently serving in the 29th Brigade unit, and is featured in this photo celebrating the transfer. The full story is here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Reps in the News

Rep. Joe Souki sounds the alarm for Maui agriculture and the island's vulnerability to alien species should state inspectors be laid off. Maui news story here.

Rep. Jessica Wooley was interviewed by KHON2 over the weekend on how Windward Oahu is bracing for Felicia. Story by Olena Heu here.

Rep. Marcus Oshiro is featured in a story on prohibiting employers' use of credit history checks for hiring/firing decisions. Hawaii is one of two states to adopt the policy - more states may follow. Story here.

Rep. Kyle Yamashita donated money to help the Maui Interscholastic League so that they can continue playing school football games at night. This allows more of the players' families, friends and supporters to attend the games. Story here.

Retired Justice Souter on the dangerous state of civic education

Retired Supreme Court Justice David Souter spoke to the American Bar Association on August 1, 2009, on the importance of reviving civic education in America. He spoke of his alarm from survey results that 2/3rds of the people in the United States cannot name all three branches of the national government. "This is something to worry about," said Justice Souter. His address to the Opening Assembly can be viewed here.

Here are some highlights from his approximately 18-minute speech. If you have some time, I can highly recommend viewing the video.

Growing up as a boy in New Hampshire, Justice Souter recalls going to the annual town meetings, which he describes as "probably the most radical exercise in American democracy you can find, in which all the voters of the town who want to get together show up to form the town's legislative assembly.

He learned three basic things from the town meetings:

(1) "Although we talk about the government, the government of the town was in fact a divided power. There was a clear sense of the line between the legislative power - the power of the things the town meeting could do - and the power to put the works of the town meeting into effect, the executive power."

(2)"There was also a vertical line - the powers between the town and the state. There was a practical appreciation between local power to affect our town, and state power to affect many towns.

(3)"The people who had the power in the town were expected to treat everyone else decently as they used their power. It didn't matter whether someone was rich or poor, young or old, sensible or foolish, everybody got the same chance to have a say."

Today, if the majority of people do not understand these basic principles, the division of powers, they will not see the importance of preserving an independent judiciary.

"A judge's very job is often to take the unpopular course, to take action at odds with the legislative and executive branches, at odds with the popular will of the moment."

Over 200 years ago, as the story goes, a woman asked Benjamin Franklin what kind of government the new constitution proposed - a monarchy or a republic? "He answered, 'a republic, if you can keep it.' He understood that a republic can be lost, and one way it may be lost is by a kind of erosion in the minds of the people."

"Your president (Obama) is ready - he has pledged himself to support a committee charged with establishing working groups to look into the condition of civic education in each of the 50 states, and to support the legislation and the administration needed, state by state, to ensure that a rising generation will not duplicate the dangerous state of civic knowledge today."

The late judge Richard Arnold made the best case for why we must preserve judicial independence in just seven words: "There has a to be a safe place."

Friday, August 7, 2009

Basic Health Hawaii not good enough

Congressman Neil Abercrombie joined state legislators at the Capitol Friday, August 7 to rally against the governor's new medical plan that will be offered to 7,500 Pacific islanders in lieu of its Quest insurance program.

The plan, Basic Health Hawaii, starting September 1, will cover up to 12 outpatient doctor visits, ten hospital days, six mental health visits, and five generic prescription drugs a month.

The services it does not cover are what concerns lawmakers, health center officials and patients.

These patients, who originate from Chuuk, Palau, the Marshall islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia, will not receive preventive care such as regular dialysis and chemotherapy treatments.

Without preventive care, the governor is putting people's lives in danger said Rep. John Mizuno.
Patients with kidney disease would only be able to receive dialysis treatment at an emergency room when their conditions become critical.

In addition, lawmakers are worried about the cost hospitals will absorb when emergency rooms become flooded with Basic Health Hawaii patients. Community health centers will continue to service patients, but they will not be reimbursed. The cost of an emergency room visit is almost three times the cost of a regular dialysis treatment.

Lawmakers and community members are urging Gov. Linda Lingle to release $12 million in general funds to secure federal matching medicaid funds (SB 423), which can be used to cover dialysis and chemotherapy treatments for all those under the Basic Health Hawaii plan.

Eh, you somebody?

Indeed, he is! That's Neal Shigemura, House Accountant and Xtreme UH sports fan. He's featured in the window of the new Rainbowtique store on Fort Street Mall, scheduled to open next Friday, August 14th. He'll be signing autographs from 11 am - 1 pm.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Community Happenings: Malama 96744

It's that time again, Kaneohe residents! Gather your neighbors and families to help rid the Kaneohe District Park (skate park) of trash and grafitti.

Join Representative Jessica Wooley Saturday, August 8, 2009 from 8 a.m. - 11 a.m. to care for your community. Refreshments will be provided. Don't forget your sunblock!

If you would like to volunteer, call the PACT Kaneohe Community Family Center at 235-7747.

Watch Kukui Connection in August

In August, Rep. Marilyn Lee's "Kukui Connection" will focus on two important community issues - safe biking in Hawaii and caring for the terminally ill. The series airs every Sunday at 4 p.m. on Olelo, Channel 54 (Oahu.)

On Sunday, August 9th, Rep. Lee interviews Natalie Iwasa, shown above, known throughout Honolulu as "Bicycle Mom". The show repeats on August 23rd.
On Sunday, August 16th, Rep. Lee hosts Ken Zeri, president of Hospice Hawaii. The show repeats on August 30th.

TMT is boost to Hawaii economy

Rep. Jerry Chang's (District 2 - Hilo) letter on the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) appeared in the Hawaii Tribune-Herald:

TMT is great news
Published: Wednesday, August 5, 2009 10:13 AM HST

The recent announcement that the Big Island was chosen as the site of the new Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) is the best economic news I have heard all year.

Hawaii is fortunate to have one of the best geographical sites in the world for the study of astronomy, and we should take advantage of this asset and do everything in our power to ensure that the TMT project goes forward as planned.

We are all proud that our state will be home to the largest optical/infrared telescope in the world. I believe that this will further enhance Hawaii's reputation in the global field of astronomy and attract new jobs and related activities beneficial to our community.

I am aware of the concerns on the impact of the telescope on cultural resources. These issues can be resolved given that the Legislature passed HB 1174, giving the University of Hawaii the authority to oversee management of the Mauna Kea lands.This bill, now law, sets the stage for the proper management of Mauna Kea in a way that is respectful to all of its users.

This is Hawaii's opportunity to show the world that we can support the advancement of science while preserving the host culture. It's exciting to think that should our children dream of a career in science, they will be able to pursue those dreams close to home.

I welcome the TMT and appreciate their vote of confidence in Hawaii.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

State Seal

Work crews have been re-installing the two refurbished state seals, in time for the 50th anniversary of statehood on August 21, 2009. This is a photo of the state seal located on the makai side of the capitol, near the Queen Liliuokalani statue.

Parks without ´ōpala: Blaisdell

A message from Majority Leader Blake Oshiro:

On Saturday, Aug. 1, 2009, the office of Representative Mark Takai and I combined forces with community members to clean up Blaisdell Park.

Nearly 50 people worked from 9 a.m. to 12 noon picking up trash and debris from around the park and surrounding bike path to fill more than 50 bags.

Volunteers included members of the Aiea, Pearl City, Waipahu, and Halawa Lions Clubs, Boy Scout Troop 176, Aiea Community Association, and members of the City and County of Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation.

While at the park, I noticed many community members enjoying their weekend. It was nice to see the park being used by so many residents for a variety of activities, including: hula practice, birthday parties, barbecue picnic, hulihuli chicken distribution, ministry, biking, etc.

Thanks to everyone who donated his or her time on Saturday!


Majority Leader Blake Oshiro

Photo (top): A group shot of the community volunteers who help to clean up Blaisdell Park.

Photo (bottom) : Representative Blake Oshiro with Claire Tamamoto, a member of the Aiea Community Association.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Town Hall Meeting at WCC - Aug. 13

Windward Oahu lawmakers will be holding a Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, August 13, 2009 from 7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. at Windward Community College in Hale 'Akoakoa 105.

Come and share your concerns on state issues with Representatives Pono Chong, Ken Ito, Chris Lee and Jessica Wooley and Senators Jill Tokuda and Clayton Hee. Legislators will also discuss the outcome of the 2009 Legislative Session.

Your state leaders are gearing up for the 2010 Legislative Session. Windward residents with ideas for possible legislation should plan to attend the meeting. Let's set the agenda for the next legislative session. Tell your lawmakers what you want to be priority.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Dr. Martin Luther King Address to 1959 Legislature

A photo of Dr. Martin Luther King on the historic freedom march from Selma to Montgomery, 1965. He and his supporters wore lei to symbolize peaceful intentions. Photo taken from Hawaiian Independence Blog.

Dr. Martin Luther King visited the newly formed Hawaii State Legislature on September 17, 1959. His remarks can be found in the House Journal from that year. The text has been retyped in full here.

The focus of his speech was on race relations, and where we were, as a nation. He includes his observations on Hawaii's accomplishments in this area.

Dr. King's speech reveals his work on and approach to solving the problems on racial disharmony, both nationally and internationally, in the decade prior to the turbulent 1960's.

Here are some excerpts:
"I come to you with a great deal of appreciation and great feeling of appreciation, I should say, for what has been accomplished in this beautiful setting and in this beautiful state of our Union. As I think of the struggle that we are engaged in in the South land, we look to you for inspiration and as a noble example, where you have already accomplished in the area of racial harmony and racial justice, what we are struggling to accomplish in other sections of the country, and you can never know what it means to those of us caught for the moment in the tragic and often dark midnight of man’s inhumanity to man, to come to a place where we see the glowing daybreak of freedom and dignity and racial justice."

"Just four months ago, I traveled throughout India and the Middle East and talked with many of the people and leaders of that great country and other people in the Middle East, and these are the things they talked about: That we must solve this problem if we are to stand and to maintain our prestige. And I can remember very vividly meeting people all over Europe and in the Middle East and in the Far East, and even though many of them could not speak English, they knew how to say ‘Little Rock.’

And these are the things that we must be concerned about – we must be concerned about because we love America and we are out to free not only the Negro. This is not our struggle today to free 17,000,000 Negroes. It’s bigger than that. We are seeking to free the soul of America. Segregation debilitates the white man as well as the Negro. We are to free all men, all races and all groups. This is our responsibility and this is our challenge, and we look to this great new state in our Union as the example and as the inspiration. As we move on in this realm, let us move on with the faith that this problem can be solved, and that it will be solved, believing firmly that all reality hinges on moral foundations, and we are struggling for what is right, and we are destined to win.

We have come a long, long way. We have a long, long way to go. I close, if you will permit me, by quoting the words of an old Negro slave preacher. He didn’t quite have his grammar right, but he uttered some words in the form of a prayer with great symbolic profundity and these are the works he said: ‘Lord, we ain’t what we want to be; we ain’t what we ought to be; we ain’t what we gonna be, but thank God, we ain’t what we was.’ Thank you.”