Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Rep. Takai featured by Sierra Club Compass

Rep. K. Mark Takai is featured in the current edition of the Sierra Club Compass, the U.S. Sierra Club blog. Read the full interview here.

The post is on Rep. Takai's efforts to transition to alternative energy in his own household. Two years ago, the Takais installed photovoltaic panels on their home roof top. Their electricity bill dropped significantly, from $170/month to about $18/month. In anticipation of getting a Nissan LEAF, he installed 10 more panels.

Since getting the Leaf, Takai estimates that the family saves about $240 per month on gasoline. Rep. Takai represents District 34: Newtown, Waiau, Pearl City, Waimalu. As his average commute is about 50 miles per day, range is a concern, but things seem to be okay as long as the LEAF gets plugged in every evening.

Learn more about this family's efforts in energy conservation.

Vic Gustafson - State Civil Defense

Air dates: Sunday, December 4, 2011, 7:30 p.m.
Repeats: Monday, December 5 & 12, 2011, 1:00 p.m.
Channel: Olelo, Ch. 54

Next up on Jordan's Journal, Rep. Jo Jordan talks with Vic Gustafson, interim vice director at State Civil Defense. The vice director is responsible for managing the state's emergency and homeland security activities.

The agency is under the Governor's Office with a staff of 62 people. They prepare for emergencies and establish warning systems. They coordinate with the four county civil defense agencies which respond to emergencies through county police and fire. They assess damage, and, if needed, they also coordinate with FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to receive assistance if a situation has been declared an emergency by the President.

Waianae flooding in 2008 - photo via Maile21, Senator Maile Shimabukuro

Given that Rep. Jordan represents District 45 - Waianae, Makaha, Makua - she asks Gustafson to talk specifically about the civil defense response for the massive rain and flooding on the Waianae Coast in 2008.

*Learn about man-made causes of flooding and how residents can help to alleviate extensive flooding.

*Learn how to get out of harm's way. Two inches of flowing water on a roadway can sweep cars into streams.

*Learn about the upcoming Puuhulu Stream Cleanup, December 10, 2011, 8 a.m. to 12 noon. Puuhulu Stream is in the Lualualei area.

*Learn about how to get information on disposing unwanted items the proper way. Let others know that there is an alternative to illegal dumping that contributes to clogging up our streams and roadways.

For more information on this show, contact Rep. Jordan at 808-586-8460 or email at

Rep Jordan's videos on other subjects may be viewed on Vimeo.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Info Briefing Debrief: Clean and Sober Living Programs

Photo courtesy of May Mizuno
The House Committees on House, Human Services and Judiciary today held an informational briefing to discuss clean and sober living programs in Hawaii as an option to better address homelessness, focusing on those who suffer from mental illness and/ or substance addiction, policy and possible legislation.

Clean and sober homes are self-operated, generally self-funded, and drug free or supportive-type homes that provide individuals recovering from an addiction or behavioral health issues with a supportive network to promote sobriety.
Organizations who provided testimony and answered lawmakers’ questions were the Department of Human Services (DHS), Alahou Clean and Sober Program, Hina Mauka, and Harm Reduction Hawaii.

The following are some of the highlights from the briefing:

Sandra McCoy of Alahou Clean and Sober Program stated that more state funding is needed for programs on the Big Island.

Alahou expressed the need for state funding for Clean and Sober Programs. It cost $18 per bed to house clients; the program is currently only able to cover $13 per day.

Testifiers claim that there is an extreme need for more clean and sober programs as an estimated 4,000-5,000 people come through each year.

DHS does not fund or maintain any clean and sober facilities. There is “no direct funding for substance abuse.” The Department does not contract for direct services, but for the shelter and outreach services that provide the case management for homeless persons.

More than 50 percent of people in the programs are “dually diagnosed,” which means they suffer from significant mental illness and substance abuse. Alan Johnson, CEO of Hina Mauka, also said that it is most likely that 80-90 percent are mildly “dually diagnosed.”

It was suggested that all requested departmental studies filed on any subject be submitted to the reference bureau to avoid study duplication.

Patricia McManaman, Director of DHS, said that although clean and sober programs are important, there is also a large need for more “wet houses,” or homes where people can come into off the streets with an addiction, with the intent to transfer them to clean and sober houses.

Sandra McCoy, Alahou Clean and Sober Program, stated that her organization doesn’t turn anyone away, though people must have the intention to make a lifestyle change.

Rep. John Mizuno asked about the $1 million funding for Housing First, its progress, and if funding can be provided to clean and sober programs. Sandy Miyoshi said that by definition Housing First doesn’t have to be clean and sober programs; it is permanent housing to deal with issues of mental health and substance abuse. Because of limited funding and no promise of continued funding, the Department decided to focus on the urban core of Honolulu, where there are more chronically homeless. The Department did not want to spread funds out to wide without indication of sustainability and support.

It was suggested that the state provide financial mapping for service providers to determine who has funds to support/sustain broad variety of services.

Rep. Jordan expressed her concern of homelessness and clean and sober facilities on the Waianae Coast. She said that she was upset that we’re only dealing with the urban core and asked how the state can make it a balanced system.

It was suggested that a registry of all clean and sober homes be created for a clearer picture of what we are looking at in terms of services providers.

Alan Johnson, Hina Mauka, wrote in written testimony that “clean and sober housing arrangements are cost effective means to engage community support that helps transition recovering individuals back into the community. While quality could improve if government could afford to establish and monitor performance criteria, the self-run houses are a vast improvement over no housing arrangements.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Andrea Anderson, Planned Parenthood

Rep. Marilyn Lee (left) and Andrea Anderson, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Hawaii

Andrea Anderson believes she has been groomed for her career for much of her life. She comes from a midwest family of Danish descent, one that has always been open to learning and education about sexuality and body issues. Andrea is the next guest on The Kukui Connection, a weekly conversation show hosted by Rep. Marilyn Lee.

The show airs this Sunday, November 27, 2011 at 4 p.m. on Olelo Channel 54. It repeats at the same time of December 4th and 11th.

Some of the points of interest include:

*The history of Planned Parenthood, which has been in existence for over 90 years nationally, and 45 years in Hawaii

*Learn about Planned Parenthood offices in Hawaii - Honolulu, Kahului and Kona. They will be expanding to Kauai in 2012

*Legislative advocacy

*Hear about the PPHI team, comprised of 40 staff on three islands and the services and educational programs they provide to thousands across the state

*Diverse funding stream

*The "We Believe" campaign

*Social media sites: Website. Facebook page. Twitter.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Robotics at APEC makes national news

Rep. Angus McKelvey shared the following good news on the Robotics event at the Hawaii Convention Center, held during APEC week. Rep. McKelvey was involved with Speaker Calvin Say in establishing the event as a tie-in with the APEC activities.

NASA worked with Hawaii's UH Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) to set up a real-time demonstration of NASA rovers at a Lunar/Mars site on the Big Island. The rovers were driven remotely by elementary students from the Big Island. Even some of the APEC delegates got to drive the rovers by remote at the end of the day.

The full story can be read on NASA's website.

Here are some pictures of the demonstration at the convention center, and some of the VIP guests that dropped by:

Photos courtesy of Rep. Mark Nakashima

Robotics Organizing Committee - Hawaii

Governor Abercrombie learning how to drive VEX robots

Rep. Mark Nakashima visiting ROC exhibit

Henk Rogers speaking with students

Monday, November 21, 2011

Rep. Pono Chong named House Majority Leader

House Speaker Calvin Say announced today that he has selected Representative Pono Chong to replace Blake Oshiro as the Majority Leader for the Hawaii House of Representatives.

"Pono Chong is my choice to replace Blake as Majority Leader," said Speaker Say. "Pono has worked very hard for the people of Hawaii and the House of Representatives, especially during the budget crisis of the past three years. As Majority Whip during those years, he was a major contributor in resolving the crisis through a balanced approach of budget cuts and revenue enhancement. Blake has recommended Pono as Majority Leader. I am confident that Pono will continue the standard set by Blake."

Pono Chong represents District 49 -- Maunawili, Olomana, Enchanted Lake, and Kaneohe. He began serving as the Representative for that District in 2005. At present, he is a Majority Whip and Vice Chair of the Housing Committee.

Blake Oshiro will be leaving the House of Representatives on December 7, 2011 to serve as Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Abercrombie.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Rep. Linda Ichiyama appears on Jordan's Journal

Rep. Jo Jordan interviews fellow freshman Rep. Linda Ichiyama (at right) on the next episode of "Jordan's Journal". The show airs on Sunday, November 20th at 7:30 p.m.. It repeats on Monday 11/21 and 11/28 at 1:00 p.m., all on Olelo Channel 54.

Rep. Ichiyama represents the 31st House district, Salt Lake, Moanalua, and Aliamanu. She was elected for the first time in 2010. She is currently Vice Chair of the House Transportation Committee, and also sits on the Finance Committee, Labor & Public Employment Committee, and Public Safety & Military Affairs Committee.

Rep. Ichiyama shares her thoughts on being on the Finance Committee, including learning more about state government through the bills, especially the budget bill.

She talks about doing interim work with the Finance Committee, such as going out into the community on site visits to observe projects first hand, and meeting with workers and businesses in person. For example, the committee recently went to several locations in West Oahu: Ma'o Farms, the new Kroc Community Center, and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

Finance just completed site visits to the neighbor islands as well. Rep. Ichiyama describes her "take away" from some of the islands: The Big Island - innovation; Maui - the importance of water for the farmers; and the overall kinship between islands based on working together and learning from each other.

For further information, contact Rep. Jo Jordan at 586-8460

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sister Sister

Kippen de Alba Chu, Carlos Jarez, Rep. Karen Awana, Jose Luis Silva Martinot and wife, Noelia R. Paez, Rep. Mark Hashem
Jose Luis Silva Martinot, the Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism for Peru, recently met with Hawaii lawmakers and tourism officials to discuss establishing a sister-state relationship with the Province of Lima, Peru.

It was one of several meetings held during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Conference to build bridges and positive relationships between Hawaii and Peru for economic growth that will benefit both governments.

Participating in Monday’s meeting with Minister Martinot were Rep. Karen Awana, Chair of the International Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives; Rep. Mark Hashem, District 18 (Hahaione, Kuliouou, Niu Valley, Hawaii Loa Ridge, Aina Haina, Wailupe, Kahala); and Mike McCartney, President and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

The Legislature last session passed a resolution requesting the Governor to establish the sister-state relationship through the Hawaii sister-state committee. Rep. Mark Hashem introduced the bill.

The bill was introduced to expand the state's international ties by developing goodwill, friendship, and economic relations with other countries. Hawaii has maintained 15 sister-state relationships, mostly between Asia and the Pacific.

Impressed by the Hawaii State Convention, Martinot met with state officials to learn about how it was established and the possibility of creating a government-owned convention center of their own in Peru.

“This is what APEC is all about,” said Rep. Karen Awana. “It gave us an opportunity to meet with leaders of other countries and participate in a discourse to share and learn about each other’s economies and cultures while building and fostering new ties.”

Monday, November 14, 2011

Legislature hosts U.S. - China CEO Forum on Clean Energy

Speaker Calvin Say exchanges business cards with China executives.

On Sunday, November 13, 2011, as part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism coordinated a major energy forum with participants from top business leaders from China and the United States. The event started with a reception at Washington Place, hosted by Governor Abercrombie, and then a formal program at the State Capitol in the House of Representatives chamber.

Here is the agenda:

Emcee: Mark Glick, Administrator, DBEDT, State Energy Office

Welcome remarks by The Honorable Calvin K.Y. Say, Speaker, Hawaii State House of Representatives

Opening remarks by The Honorable Neil Abercrombie, Governor, State of Hawaii

Session 1: China Go-global Strategies on Clean Energy
Speaker: Han Meiquing, Deputy Director General, China Council for Promotion of International Trade

Session 2: U.S. Department of Defense in Hawaii: Transforming to Clean Energy
Speaker: Dr. George Kailiwai, U.S. Pacific Command, Director, Resources and Assessment

Session 3: Hawaii Clean Energy Progress: Leading the Way
Speaker: Richard C. Lim, Director, Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism

Session 4: China's Energy Market & Practices
Speaker: Wang Donghai, Chairman, Bestsun Energy Group

Closing Remarks by The Honorable J. Kalani English, Senator, Hawaii State Senate

UPDATE: As a result of the forum, DBEDT reports that "Governor Abercrombie signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the China Council for Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT). This commitment is the beginning of furthering our efforts toward mutally beneficial initiatives in renewable energy programs between Hawaii and China."

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Big Island Bikers Rock n Roll for Hawaii Keiki

Photo: Rep. Jerry Chang rode with his Rock and Roll Motorcycle Club to help Santa deliver presents and good cheer to the Waianae homeless shelter. (2009)
Big Island residents should plan on heading to the Naniloa Volcano Resort Crown Room on Saturday, November 12 for the 6th Annual "Rock and Roll Revival" benefit concert put on by The Rock and Roll Motorcycle Club, Hilo Chapter. Doors open at 5 p.m., with the program beginning at 6 p.m. and ending at 11:30 p.m.

Money raised from the concert will be used to purchase toys, which will be distributed to local and state organizations that help disadvantaged children. Toys and other gifts will also be collected and purchased for a Toys for Tots Rally that will be held on December 11 at 10 a.m. at Aunt Sally's Luau House.

Representative Jerry Chang, of the Big Island, is a member of the The Rock and Roll Motorcycle Club, which is one of the few biker clubs in the state that is a 501c3 non-profit corporation. Chang explained in an article in the Big Island Weekly that the club's primary purpose is to support underprivileged children. "Riding is secondary to working on community service projects," he said.

“The concert started in 2005 because we were looking for other ways to support and raise funds for our Toys for Tots Motorcade and Rally that we put on every year," Chang explained in the article. "We wanted it to be fun and showcase our local talents with the original idea of a "Battle of the Bands," which was popular back in the good old days, but in discussing the concept with the bands, it became obvious they liked the idea of contributing their time and talents to the cause, but did not want to compete in a competition. I believe that was a good idea, as it would have put a different feel to the event. It has grown in popularity not only with bikers and their families but all types who love music and dancing. They look forward to this event, especially this year we will be back in the newly renovated Crown room.”

Rep. Chang (far right)with other members of the Rock and Roll Motorcycle Club

Performers will include Grammy Award winner Pauline "Abong" Wilson, and dance bands such as Friday Night Band 2, Crescent City Band, and The Spin and Vizion 20/20.

Purchase tickets for the Rock n Roll Revival Concert at Ellsworth's Custom Cycles located at 969 Kinoole Street, across from Furnitureland. For more info, call 808-935-5519.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"We the Powerful" heads to Kauai

2011 Flyer Kauai Workshops

Monday, November 7, 2011

Prevailing Winds November 2011

Prevailing Winds November 2011

Rep. Blake Oshiro Named Governor's Deputy Chief of Staff

Governor Abercrombie stands with Rep. Blake Oshiro, Lt. Governor Schatz, Representatives and Senators and House Chief Clerk Pat Mau-Shimizu.

Speaker Say's statement:

"I congratulate Blake for his appointment as Governor Abercrombie's Deputy Chief of Staff. Although Blake's departure is a big loss to the House, his appointment to a major executive branch policy position represents a much bigger gain for the State of Hawaii. Blake's dedication, intelligence, common sense, and compassion will be great attributes to achieve the betterment of all Hawaii. I will miss Blake as a Majority Leader and colleague. I will miss his daily advice and observations. Most importantly, I will miss his principles, unselfishness, and political courage which, even after 34 years in politics, were an inspiration to me."

School Sell Out

Rep. Chris Lee opposes the Department of Education's support of a plan to allow advertising on Hawaii school campuses. He discusses the issue in a guest column in today's issue of the Star Advertiser.

Schools are for education, not advertising

The state Department of Education is supporting a plan to allow advertising in our public schools to raise money ("DOE backs plan to allow limited ads on school campuses," Star-Advertiser, Nov. 2).

"For example, a company might want to say … ‘Congratulations, graduates,' along with their logo," says Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.

But what happens when that company logo is Philip Morris or Marlboro?

No matter the corporate sponsor, advertising in our public schools blurs the line between education and indoctrination. Children are often too young and too impressionable to recognize the difference between the two. Public schools are the one place where children are supposed to have an unadulterated education, and we must not let that be compromised by corporate advertising just to make a quick buck.

This proposal suggests that advertising will be installed in "non-instructional areas" such as hallways and libraries. However, that is a distinction that only an adult would recognize. Children are often too young to distinguish between what they are shown inside a classroom and what they are shown when they step into the hallway.

Other states have found that advertising in schools can compromise education. An in-school TV network used in about 8,000 mainland middle and high schools has been sharply criticized because it brought advertising into the classroom. A follow-up study in Pediatrics found that students actually remember more from the ads than from the educational content.

Even if advertising is limited to corporate logos and brief messages, these often can contradict messages schools are trying to promote. For example, logos such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi are specifically designed to be instantly recognizable and associated with the consumption of sugary sodas. What message would that send on the wall of a school hallway next to an official school poster promoting healthy diets?

Children and parents are two of the most lucrative retail markets that also are most often exploited. Responsible parents can turn off the TV and limit their children's exposure to the deluge of corporate advertising designed to make them want to buy every new thing. Advertising in our schools prevents parents from doing that.

If ever there was the danger for a slippery slope, this is it. Schools around the country have fought the introduction of advertising, but once the door to advertising is opened, schools can change rapidly. Just last month in Massachusetts, school administrators approved selling advertising space on permission slips and other notices that go home to parents.

There is no question that our schools could use more money. However, instead of resorting to bringing private corporations into our public schools, the state Board of Education should insist that our schools be properly funded by the state to begin with. After all, providing our children a good education is one of the most important reasons we all pay taxes — we must see to it that money is put to the best use.

Learning at a young age is more than a classroom experience — it is interacting with the entire campus environment. We cannot reasonably expect a 9-year-old to distinguish between education and indoctrination. We cannot reasonably expect advertising in our schools, whether in classrooms or hallways, to have no effect on our children's learning experience and education.

After all, if advertising had no effect, corporations would not be so eager to advertise in our schools.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Hawaii State Bar Association swears in our newest attorneys

Congratulations to HMSO staffers Nelisa Asato, Ryan Sakuda and Rep. Linda Ichiyama!

Left to right: Rep. Pono Chong, Speaker Calvin Say, Rep. Linda Ichiyama, Pat Mau-Shimizu and Rep. Mark Hashem

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Speaker Calvin Say and members of the Hawaii House of Representatives were invited to visit Taiwan last month to learn about the country and to discuss trade and cultural opportunities. (Photos provided by Rep. Tom Brower)

Seated - Speaker Calvin Say (right) and the Taiwan Foreign Minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Standing (left to right) are Representatives Gene Ward, Ken Ito, Tom Brower, Karen Awana, James Kunane Tokioka, John Mizuno, Clift Tsuji, Sharon Har and Kyle Yamashita.

Members visited the National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. Left to right: Tom Brower, Karen Awana, Sharon Har, Ken Ito, Calvin Say, John Mizuno, Gene Ward, Clift Tsuji, James Kunane Tokioka.

Members visited the "Lifayuan" or Legislative Yuan, which means "Law making Court". Left to right: Kyle Yamashita, Gene Ward, Sharon Har, Calvin Say, Karen Awana, Ken Ito, Tom Brower, Clift Tsuji, James Kunane Tokioka, John Mizuno and a Taiwan Representative.