Friday, September 30, 2011

October Issue of Prevailing Winds - Rep. Isaac Choy

Prevailing Winds Vol 3 Issue 9 - October 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

People's Pulse Summer 2011

Now available online.

Pulse Summer 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

House Finance Site Visit

Photo Credit: Rep. Marilyn Lee

Members and staff of the Hawaii House Finance Committee, chaired by Rep. Marcus Oshiro, are visiting sites around the islands to monitor projects that have received state funding, connect with the community on needs and concerns, and to prepare for next legislative session.

On Tuesday, one of the Oahu sites they visited was Kukaniloko, the Birthing Stones at Wahiawa. You can click on the photo to enlarge. Tom Lenchanko gave the committee a tour and history of this sacred place.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Maui Memorial Helipad Dedication

Maui Memorial Helipad Blessing. Left to right: Dr. Colin Lee, Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz, Rep. Gilbert Keith-Agaran, CEO Wes Lo, Rep. Kyle Yamashita, Anthony P. Takitani
- Photo Credit: Wendy Osher

On Thursday, September 22, 2011, Maui Memorial Medical Center dedicated the opening of a new helipad that will allow for faster transport of patients, especially cardiac patients.

The helicopter will begin trial landings on Monday, September 26, 2011. It is expected to save between 10-15 minutes over the previous landing site at the War Memorial Complex in Wailuku. The Maui delegation worked collectively to secure funding through the state legislature, approximately $3 million.

According to MMMC CEO Wes Lo, Maui is now the only neighbor island that is able to treat emergency heart attack victims. Lawmakers praised Wes Lo's vision for the project and his efforts to make it a reality for Maui residents.

See video and more photos at

DHS Confidentiality Policy

Pat McManaman, Director of Human Services, testifies before House Human Services Committee Chair, Rep. John Mizuno

Yesterday, Human Services Director Pat McManaman testified before the House Committee on Human Services on the department's confidentiality policy related to child welfare. At issue was the recent case of an unexplained death of a 9-month-old Hau'ula boy while in state custody.

The child, Jayvid Waa-Ili, was taken from a relative into state custody on August 10, 2011 and then died on August 26th.

Director McManaman defended the current policy to not release information in fatal cases. A full story appeared in today's Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Read here.

Chair John Mizuno has been critical of the previous administration's director Lillian Koller for releasing information on the state's website on fatal cases after seeing first hand how families and friends of the victims are impacted. Yesterday, he said that he liked where the current director is heading, noting that the confidentiality policy allows for flexibility when warranted.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rep. Marcus Oshiro on Record Breaking CSGWest Meeting

George Kam, Brother Noland, Rep. Marcus Oshiro after the Opening Program at the CSGWest 64th Annual Meeting, Sheraton Waikiki

Next up on Jordan's Journal, Rep. Marcus Oshiro, who is the current presiding Chair of Council of State Governments - WEST, talks about the planning and successful completion of the CSGWest 64th annual meeting held in Honolulu July 29 - August 2, 2011.

Jordan's Journal is produced and hosted by Rep. Jo Jordan. The show airs on Olelo Ch. 54 at the following dates/times:

Monday, September 26, 2011 at 1 p.m.
Sunday, October 2, 2011 at 7:30 p.m.
Monday, October 3, 2011 at 1 p.m.

CSGWest is comprised of government officials from the 13 western states. It covers the three branches of government - legislative, executive and judicial. The annual meeting rotates between the western members; the last time the meeting was held in Honolulu was in 2003 when Senator Brian Taniguchi was chair.

Rep. Oshiro shares with us all that went into the extensive planning and preparation to host about 680 registrants, a new attendance record for the organization. Much thought went into ensuring that the aloha spirit was present throughout the meeting, starting with the theme of the conference - Halawai - where leaders gather, and the spectacular opening presented by George Kam, ambassador of Aloha, Brother Noland and the Chinky Mahoe halau.

Hawaii's private sector, including many in Hawaii's agriculture industry, were involved in highlighting local food and products throughout the three-day event.

Chair Oshiro will now be handing over the baton to Wyoming Rep. Rosie Berger who will Chair next year's meeting.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Waianae Town Hall on Education on Olelo

For those unable to attend Rep. Jo Jordan's Town Hall Meeting on Education, held on August 17, 2011, you can watch it on Olelo at the following dates/times:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011, 12 p.m. (noon) on Ch. 49 FOCUS
Friday, September 30, 2011, 4:00 p.m. on Ch. 54 VIEW

Here's the original post on the meeting. Special guests include Lisa DeLong Department of Education Complex Area Superintendent of Nanakuli and Waianae, and Dee Jay Mailer, Kamehameha Schools Chief Executive Officer.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Liz Chun to appear on Kukui Connection - Focus on Early Childhood Education

Elisabeth "Liz" Chun, Executive Director of Good Beginnings Alliance, will appear next Sunday on Kukui Connection, the weekly talk show hosted by Rep. Marilyn Lee. The show airs at 4 p.m., Sunday, September 25th on Olelo Ch. 54. (Repeats on 10/9 and 10/23)

Liz Chun has been with Good Beginnings Alliance for 14 years, but her connection to and experience in early childhood education goes back many years before that. Her education and training is in education, she worked at Headstart, ran a private business for 13 years on consulting with families on how to work with young children, joined the Governor's Office of Children and Youth in 1993, worked at the Department of Human Services in 1996, and then began with Good Beginnings Alliance in 1997.

Good Beginnings is what is called an "intermediary organization". They don't do direct service, but bring community concerns to others who do policy making. Their role is to encourage good policy for young children (0-8), and to help increase resources for this age group. They look at the full spectrum of safety and health, and how well children are ready to succeed in school. This includes prevention of child abuse.

Hawaii has good access to health care for young children, although there are still gap groups. Hawaii does poorly, however, in dental health.

Liz talks about how the poor economy has resulted in great cutbacks which have impacted children's care dramatically. They are working to provide continued support for children through other resources, including starting the children's advocacy project "Be My Voice".

Liz is encouraged that Governor Abercrombie has appointed Terry Lock to be the Early Childhood coordinator, and hopes this may lead to the development of an Early Childhood Education office.

Strategies include community mobilization, social media, and having people speak up and "be a voice."

There are 80,000 children under 5 years in Hawaii, and they can't speak for themselves. These organizations strive to be their voice.

The Good Beginnings website is here.

The Be My Voice campaign website is here.

In 2008, Liz Chun testified on Early Education in Washington DC before the House Committee on Education and Labor. Congresswoman Mazie Hirono introduced her in this video:

What's going on with UH-West Oahu?

Lawmakers are sponsoring a community meeting with UH-West Oahu Chancellor Gene Awakuni and other UH-WO administrators and faculty to share information on the progress of construction at the Kapolei campus, what programs will be offered at the new campus, and the opportunities for the community to partner with the university.

The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, September 21, 2011 from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. at Kapolei High School Cafeteria

The meeting is being sponsored by area legislators Rep. Henry Aquino, Rep. Karen Awana, Rep. Ty Cullen, Rep. Sharon Har, Rep. Jo Jordan, Sen. Mike Gabbard and Sen. Clarence Nishihara.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Lawmakers held summit on substance abuse

Representative John Mizuno, Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland, Representative Faye Hanohano and the Hawaii Substance Abuse Coalition today at the Capitol held a legislative summit and panel discussion on substance abuse.

Topics discussed included adolescent substance abuse, prevention, treatment, intervention, and the criminal justice system.

Panelists included Dr. William Haning, Professor of Psychiatry at UH Manoa John A. Burns School of Medicine; Janice Bennett, Hawaii Drug Court Administrator; Linda Rich, Executive Director of The Salvation Army Family Treatment Services; Alan Shinn, Executive Director of the Coalition for A Drug Free Hawaii; JoAnn Yukimura, Vice Chair of the Central Drug Prevention on Kauai; and a person recovering from drug addition and their family member.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

NCSL press conference on Main Stream Fairness Act

Mahalo to The Thicket for sharing this information.

The ability for states to collect sales tax, or in Hawaii's case, the general excise tax on internet purchases has been an issue across the country. The National Conference of State Legislatures held a news conference at the 2011 annual meeting to encourage Congress to pass a federal streamline sales tax through legislation called the Main Street Fairness Act. Twenty-four states have passed state legislation to collect internet sales tax, but even those states are having a difficult time enforcing the law. Here's what several lawmakers have to say about it:

In the video below, NCSL's Neil Osten explains what the Main Stream Fairness Act is all about and why Congress needs to pass it:

State, Federal Government Must Collaborate on Monk Seal Protection

Rep. Sharon Har's op-ed on Civil Beat:

State, Federal Government Must Collaborate on Monk Seal Protection

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

On September 12, I joined dozens of concerned citizens at a public hearing on the future of Hawaiian monk seal federal recovery actions, currently under review by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) fisheries service.

While I appreciate Civil Beat's coverage of this issue of great concern to fishermen, environmental groups and anyone who enjoys our state's natural resources, I would like to take this opportunity to clarify my testimony as the Vice-Chair of the Hawaii State House of Representatives Committee on Water, Land and Ocean Resources, which I believe was misconstrued by the headline "State Lawmakers Threaten to Fight Proposed Monk Seal Protections."

Read more:
State, Federal Government Must Collaborate on Monk Seal Protection

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

CSGWest Fashionistas

Click on photo to enlarge

That's Speaker Calvin Say in front with Miss Hawaii Lauren Cheape. CSGWest Chair Rep. Marcus Oshiro and incoming Chair, Rep. Rosie Berger, from Wyoming stand right behind them. The four are backed by members of the Hawaii House and Senate in their official CSGWest aloha wear, provided by Iolani Sportswear. The photo was taken at the CSGWest annual meeting held in Hawaii in July/August 2011, on the steps of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel leading to the famous Coconut Grove.

Back row left to right: Sen. Clarence Nishihara, Rep. Derek Kawakami, Rep. Karl Rhoads, Rep. Isaac Choy, Rep. Pono Chong, Rep. Aaron Johanson, Rep. Scott Nishimoto, Sen. Brickwood Galuteria.

Middle row left to right: Rep. Henry Aquino, Rep. Ty Cullen, Rep. Kyle Yamashita, Rep. Gil Riviere.

Front row left to right: Rep. Ryan Yamane, Rep. Jo Jordan, Sen. Brian Taniguchi, Sen. Michelle Kidani, Rep. Karen Awana, Rep. Marcus Oshiro, Rep. Barbara Marumoto, Rep. Mark Nakashima, Rep. Linda Ichiyama, Rep. Corinne Ching with daughter, Sen. Pohai Ryan, Rep. Faye Hanohano.

Very front row left to right: Miss Hawaii Lauren Cheape, Speaker Calvin Say, Rep. Rosie Berger - Wyoming.

Annual Senior Fair at Pearlridge Uptown

More than fifteen non-profit and government organizations - including AARP, the City & County Elderly Affairs Division, St. Francis Healthcare Systems and the State Executive Office on Aging - will be at Pearlridge Centerstage Uptown to provide information on senior living in Hawaii.

WHEN: Saturday, September 17, 2011
9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

PARTICIPANTS: AARP, American Medical Response, The Caregiver Foundation, Catholic Charities Hawaii, City & County Elderly Affairs Division, Hawaii State Public Library; Library for the Blind, Hospice Hawaii, First Hawaiian Bank, In Concierge Service, Long Term Care Advisors, Mobile Notary, St. Francis Healthcare Systems, State Executive Office on Aging, and more.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Council Chair Ernie Martin on Kukui Connection

Honolulu Council Chair Ernie Martin

Next up on the Kukui Connection, Rep. Marilyn Lee talks with Honolulu Council Chair Ernie Martin. The show airs on Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 4 p.m. on Channel 54. It repeats on 10/2 and 10/16 at the same time/channel.

Councilmember Martin represents District 2 - Mililani Mauka, Wahiawa, North Shore to Heeia. It's the largest council district on Oahu. Martin was first elected in 2010 after spending 20 years in the city administration. He talks about the differences between being in the executive branch vs. being an elected official, the biggest difference being a greater presence in and working directly with the community.

He talks about his family. His father served in the military at Schofield. He was the middle child in a family with 9 kids. He is married with 3 kids of his own and 2 dogs.

Council Chair Martin also covers working more closely with the state and legislature in order to leverage resources, and the 2 big issues facing his district, Agriculture and Development.

This is a show you won't want to miss.

Civil Beat's story on "Ernie Martin's Rapid Rise to Power" can be read here.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Legislature's Special Session After 9/11

After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the Hawaii legislature convened for the third special session of 2011 to pass legislation in response to the tragic event. Many of the bills addressed changes to law that would help the state's economic recovery. There were also resolutions expressing sympathy to the families of Hawaii residents who lost their lives in the attacks on New York, Pennsylvania, or Virginia. The legislature was is session from 10/22 to 11/02 of that year.

You can view all the measures introduced here. View the list of Acts passed here.

Here are the bills that passed:

Appropriates $1,000,000 for grants-in-aid to the office of community services to provide food for Hawaii's needy, and $1,000,000 to the housing and community development corporation of Hawaii to provide financial assistance that addresses the housing needs of Hawaii's needy, in light of the recent economic turmoil created by the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

Appropriates funds for CIP. Appropriates funds for debt service. Amends the GO bond declaration to conform to such appropriations.

Establishes the Emergency Environmental Workforce

Raises small purchase procurement exception dollar ceiling temporarily. Provides a state resident preference for certain public contracts.

Provides temporary health insurance for unemployed persons who lost their health insurance on or after September 11, 2001.

Creates a temporary program providing additional benefits to unemployed workers by extending their unemployment insurance benefits.

Increases the filing thresholds for taxpayers filing withholding, general excise, use, transient accommodations, and rental motor vehicle and tour vehicle surcharge tax returns

Imposes the general excise tax, instead of the public service company tax, on transportation service providers.

Amends hotel construction and remodeling tax credit. Provides a residential construction and remodeling tax credit.

Appropriates funds to strengthen security at state airports, state harbors, and state highways. Appropriates funds for other improvements at state airports.

Appropriates tobacco settlement moneys to the Emergency Budget and Reserve Fund to meet increased public health, safety, and welfare needs during the economic emergency caused by the September 11th terrorist attacks.

Authorizes the construction of a new health and wellness center, including a new medical school facility on Oahu. Authorizes the University of Hawaii to issue $150,000,000 in revenue bonds to pay for the facility. Earmarks twenty-eight per cent of the tobacco settlement moneys to the University revenue-undertakings fund to pay principal and interest on revenue bonds to construct the health and wellness center. Appropriates $150,000,000 in private donations and other moneys held by the University of Hawaii to construct the health and wellness center.

Authorizes the governor to declare an economic emergency during the period from 9/11/01 to 4/30/02. Empowers the governor to suspend certain statutes, rules, or orders and adopt rules to provide relief to residents of the State to facilitate continuity of business activity and services, minimize employee layoffs, and prevent endangerment of public health, safety, or welfare. Empowers the governor to suspend, waive, or defer, certain contract obligations owed to the State. Authorizes the governor to waive landing fees and airport system support charges. Requires the governor to convene an advisory committee composed of the president of the senate, the speaker of the house, and the minority leaders of both houses, to inform the public and the legislature of actions taken during an economic emergency. Requires public notices and detailed monthly reports to the legislature of any power exercised.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Rep Choy's Prevailing Winds, September 2011 issue

Prevailing Winds Vol 3 Issue 8 - Sept 2011

Appointees named to Native Hawaiian Roll Commission

Rep. Faye Hanohano and other House and Senate members today joined Gov. Neil Abercrombie at a press conference to announce the five appointees to the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission.

They are: former Governor John D. Waihe'e (At-Large), Lei Kihoi (Hawai'i), Mahealani Perez-Wendt (Maui), Na'alehu Anthony (O'ahu), and Robin Puanani Danner (Kaua'i).

Act 195, signed into law in July, requires the Commission to create a roll of qualified Native Hawaiians, as defined by state law, who would eventually be able to participate in the organization of a Native Hawaiian government.

Read more about it at KITV4.

Safe America

September is National Preparedness Month. The following is a public safety PSA that Rep. Rida Cabanilla taped for the National Foundation of Women Legislators 2011 Conference in Des Moines, Iowa last month. Rep. Cabanilla is the Hawaii State Chair for NFWL for the current membership year. Learn the text message shorthand to use in emergencies:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Happy Ending

A young family who lives in the bushes at Keaau Beach will be going to live in Washington state where the husband will be given work and the mother and child will get the health services they need.

Rep. John Mizuno has been working with Help the Hawaii Homeless, a non-profit organization helping to get services for homeless families and individuals. Together, they have been able to raise funds to purchase one-way airline tickets for 12 homeless people who have a place to stay on the mainland. The latest is this family of three: the mother, age 35, who suffers from fibromyalgia, the husband, and the 4 year old daughter who is autistic.

The family does not want their faces or names revealed as the biological father of the child has been stalking them. The mother recently re-united with her half-brother, whom she hasn't seen in 18 years, through a people-finder site on the internet. The brother offered to house the family and give the husband a job in construction if they were able to fly to Washington state.

Rep. Mizuno has two Facebook accounts - one has 3K followers, the other has 5K followers. He put out a media advisory for a press conference today to ask the public for assistance with airline tickets. He also put it up on Facebook, and early this morning they received a generous donation for the airline tickets and travel expenses. The donor lives on the mainland but is from Hawaii.

The family was forced to live in the bushes after a beach sweep earlier this year. The mother says that the hardest part of taking care of her child is meals. With fibromyalgia, it's difficult to make a fire to cook the meals and keep food from going bad so that she can feed her family.

Watch for news coverage tonight on a very happy ending for this family.

Maintaining Kapolei post office crucial

The following appeared in this morning's Honolulu Star-Advertiser. LInk here. (may require online subscription)

Like many West Oahu residents, I was taken aback by the United States Postal Service's announcement that the Kapolei post station might close, along with three others in Hawaii and nearly 3,650 stations across the country. After all, the continued growth of our "Second City" seemed to distinguish Kapolei from the other communities on the USPS list. As the Star-Advertiser's Aug. 13 editorial maintained ("‘Second city' should have a post office"), it is vital that postal service, in one form or another, remains in our burgeoning community.

However, while maintaining Kapolei's postal service is crucial, it is important to realize that the proposed closures are just another sign of how technology is changing our habits. Just as digital books and online bookstores precipitated Borders' recent closing, our increased reliance on e-mail, online bill payment and other shipping methods have significantly impacted USPS.

As a quasi-independent federal agency, USPS receives no taxpayer-funded appropriations from the U.S. Congress, and instead generates revenue through postage and services. Though the cost of a stamp rose steadily over the last few decades, it has not been enough to turn a profit as the use of services dropped significantly. USPS has also struggled to meet retirement and health care obligations to its employees, all leading to billions in losses in recent years.

In Kapolei, the current station's limited hours and limited parking have made it difficult to adequately meet the community's needs. However, Kapolei may be in better shape than other, more rural areas on the mainland (or the Kalaupapa settlement on Molokai), where the next closest office is at least 20 miles away. The Kalaeloa/Barbers Point post office is less than two miles from the main Kapolei office, and unlike the main station, there is plentiful parking. USPS also owns the Kalaeloa station land, eliminating the expense of costly rents. While hours are currently limited, that could potentially change, particularly if the Kapolei station is closed. Finally, shifting more business to the Kalaeloa location could help boost further economic activity that may accelerate the revitalization of the area.

Another option is a "contract postal unit," in which local businesses offer postal services. Kapolei currently has one small contract postal unit, located in Armac Printing, and depending on the location, size and hours of service of another contract postal unit, these facilities could be a viable alternative to replace the main station or work in partnership with the Kalaeloa station to give better choices to Kapolei businesses and residents.

No matter what type of postal service we envision for our community, it is critically important that we make our opinions known, as the period for public comment draws to a close on Sept. 23. USPS is accepting written comments via mail (District Manager, USPS, 3600 Aolele St., Honolulu, HI 96820), but has received only five letters regarding Kapolei as of this writing. USPS has also mailed a survey to area postal customers, and will host a public meeting on Thursday, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Kapolei High School Cafeteria, so I urge area residents and businesses to take advantage of these opportunities to share their thoughts.

Ultimately, though, our changing habits mean that a full-service postal office in every community may be a thing of the past. It is also clear that the post office still is an important part of many communities, including Kapolei. Though the only certainty is that tomorrow's postal service will not look like yesterday's, or even today's, now is the time to speak up about the best way to keep essential postal services available in Kapolei.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rep Takai honored with Distinguished Service Metal

Photo from Hawaii Reporter. L-R: Brig. Gen. John Walsh, vice chair (air) of the National Guard Association of the United States; Representative Mark Takai; and Col. Murray Hansen, chairman of the National Guard Association of the United States awards committee. Photo taken by Ron Jensen
Last week Monday, the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) Distinguished Service Medal was awarded to Representative K. Mark Takai, who is also a Major in the Hawaii Army National Guard. He was presented the award during the 133 NGAUS General Conference at the Frontier Airlines Center in Milwaukee. The award is given to a member of the Armed Forces who has shown exceptionally outstanding service to the United States Government, to the Armed Forces of the United States or to NGAUS.

Here's an excerpt from news release from the NGAUS:
"Maj. K. Mark Takai is a 12-year member of the Hawaii Army National Guard, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is the current vice president of the Hawaii National Guard Association. He coordinated Hawaii’s winning bid to host NGAUS 2013 in Honolulu.

Maj. Takai is also a 17-year elected Representative of the Hawaii State Legislature and is the Chairman of the National Network of Legislators in the Military. He has served as the NGAUS Congressional Action Contact Officer in Hawaii for six years.

"Through his hard work and inspired vision, Maj. Takai has been steadfast in his support for the military. Much of what he has done for the military and the community goes far beyond his role as an Army officer,” said retired Maj. Gen. Gus L. Hargett, the president of NGAUS..."
"I am deeply touched and humbled by this award,” Takai said. “Citizen-soldiers throughout the country have assumed the call of duty. We proudly serve our nation in times of war, and serve our states during manmade and natural disasters. Being part of the Hawaii Army National Guard has been and continues to be rewarding.”