Critical Action Needed to Address Hawaii County Health Services

Briefing Serves as Springboard for Legislators and Island’s Health Leadership to Address Urgent Policy Priorities

The critical importance of improving the availability of healthcare services in Hawaii County – now and in the future – was brought home to state legislators at a recent discussion of health problems, solutions and policy priorities for 2012 sponsored by the Hawaii Island Healthcare Alliance. “Poor access to care just because you live on the Big Island is simply not acceptable,” said one community member.

About 45 health stakeholders met at Tutu’s House in Kamuela on Dec. 7th with Big Island legislators, Sen. Josh Green and Rep. Cindy Evans and Governor’s liaison John Buckstead to discuss how to align efforts to improve Hawaii Island health & healthcare. The briefing focused on the Alliance’s three policy priorities: state funding for the UH Family Medicine Residency program in Hilo, funding hospital capital requirements, and improvements to allow Health Information Exchange (HIE), specifically the harmonization of state and federal regulations.

Hawaii Island has the state’s greatest shortage of primary care physicians, physicians’ assistants, and nurse practitioners, equating to 33 percent fewer than needed to adequately care for the population, according to a presentation by Kelley Withy, MD, PhD, author of the Hawaii Physician Workforce Assessment Project, UH John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) Area Health Education Center. Withy also noted, “This shortage is projected to double by the year 2020, resulting in the island having more than 330 fewer physicians than needed to serve the population.”

“This provider shortage reduces access to healthcare on our island and is associated with higher death rates, lower life expectancy and higher hospital costs,” said Alliance Chair Sharon Vitousek, MD. One of the Alliance’s top priorities to address these disparities is to grow primary care providers through the UH Family Medicine Residency Program on Hawaii Island. Vitousek emphasized the economic as well as health benefits of this strategy. “These Health workforce shortages are in the bigger context of large economic disparities on our island. The provider shortages are in part a result of a poorer rural  economy with higher unemployment and higher uninsured and underinsured on Hawaii Island. But more importantly, since  health providers (hospitals and clinics) are the largest employers in many of our communities, stimulating the health economy through growth of the health workforce would also stimulate economic development and grow jobs on our island.”

Rep. Cindy Evans praised the Alliance for its leadership in uniting the healthcare community. “Our healthcare system is the sum of its parts,” she noted. “Having the Alliance represent agreement on priorities for the Big Island will help us better utilize our resources. We need solutions that will take us into the future, not just temporary fixes.”

Stakeholders agreed that funding of the UH Family Medicine Residency Program represents the most viable option for reversing the primary care provider shortage. Boyd Murayama, Assistant Administrator at Hilo Medical Center, which operates the Hawaii Island Family Health Center (the planned site of the Family Medicine Residency Program), noted that more than 90 students from the UH Schools of Pharmacy and Nursing have rotated through the center this year. The program recently hit a key milestone with the arrival this month of a Program Director. The next milestones are the application for accreditation in 2012 and then Family Medicine Residents will start in 2014. “This will add four new Family Medicine doctors to our island every year thereafter” said Murayama, who has had extensive experience with medical group development at UCSF.

Following the meeting, Sen. Josh Green responded to this immediate need for funding the Residency Program by expediting Hilo Medical Center’s agreement with the State Department of Health to provide $200,000 in funding over 12 months to support the residency program in the next year. This funding enables the State to take advantage of matching funds from TriWest. David McIntyre, President and CEO of TriWest Healthcare Alliance, a strong financial supporter of the Hilo Residency program, has indicated that TriWest’s donations were “designed to ensure access to care for its customers, the Coast Guard and the Army and Air Guard units in Hilo. And, TriWest is pleased that the initiative contributes to improving access to care on the Big Island.” The approximately $2 million TriWest donation is contingent on an ongoing state match of funds for the Residency Program.

Building the primary care workforce is a pillar of the Alliance’s mission. “There is compelling evidence that health care  outcomes and costs in the United States are strongly linked to the availability of primary care physicians. For each incremental primary care physician, there are 1.44 fewer deaths per 10,000 persons,” said Chip Hixon, MD, Department Chair of Family Medicine and Community Health, JABSOM. “Patients with a regular primary care physician have lower overall health care costs than those without one.”

“The current effort to launch the Family Medicine Residency program in Hilo is substantially stronger than the previous effort in the 90s,” said Neal Palafox MD of the UH John A. Burns School of Medicine. “The current effort has better planning, more partners, better funding, better revenue maximization, better leadership and most importantly stronger community support.”

Hawaii Medical Association Director and Alliance member, Dr. Chris Flanders also voiced strong support for the Hilo  Residency program as a key strategy to improve access for the Big Island.

In addressing the Alliance’s HIE priorities, Susan B. Hunt, MHA, Beacon Grant Project Director and CEO, Hawaii Island  Beacon Community, explained that Hawaii Island has the funding, the tools, the relationships and the motivation to build an extraordinary system of health information exchange thanks to the Beacon Cooperative Agreement.

“We need the support of the legislature to ensure that we have laws that provide an adequate level of protection of personal health information, while also allowing this information to flow in a timely and useable manner to improve quality of care and to improve the health of our population while reducing the overall cost of care delivery,” she said.

Jay Kreuzer, HHSC West Hawaii Regional CEO echoed Hunt’s comments, “We have an unprecedented opportunity with the Beacon community that will move our island forward while we address Hawaii’s provider shortage, upgrading facilities and equipment, and implementing new clinical and system technologies.”

Dan Domizio, a Physician’s Assistant, Alliance member and director of the Puna Community Health Center shared progress improving access in Puna through effective use of Physician’s Assistants which has helped save costs by reducing Emergency Room visits. Domizio urged the legislators to support reducing administrative barriers to effective use of mid-level providers.

About the Hawaii Island Healthcare Alliance

The Alliance members include providers, insurers, businesses, policymakers, educators, and government, labor and community leaders.

The briefing’s presentation is available at hawaiihealthcarealliance.org/policymakers (see Building a Healthier Hawaii Island Together – December 2011). The vision of the Hawaii Island Healthcare Alliance is that Hawaii Island residents lead healthy and productive lives and have access to quality healthcare. The mission of the Alliance is to develop dialogue and promote consensus agreements and recommendations for improving access to and the quality of healthcare services on Hawaii Island.

Members include: providers, insurance, business, policymakers, educators, and government, labor and community leaders. The collaborative islandwide effort attempts to leverage community, state and national resources through an inclusive process that is open and transparent. The Hawaii Island Healthcare Alliance fiscal sponsor is Friends of the Future, a 501(c) (3) organization. The website is www.hawaiihealthcarealliance.org

Kamehameha Schools Resolves Lawsuit Against Jane and John Doe and Eric Grant

Aloha mai kākou. As many of you may recall, Kamehameha Schools filed a lawsuit against Jane and John Doe and their former attorney, Eric Grant, in 2008, arising from their breach of our 2007 settlement agreement that ended the Does’ 2003 challenge of Kamehameha’s Hawaiian-preference admissions policy. This message is to let you know that Kamehameha Schools has resolved these claims with a stipulated judgment against the Does and a settlement agreement with their former attorney, Eric Grant. This case is over.

A stipulated judgment against the Does for $1 million plus $400,000 in legal fees and costs has been entered in favor of Kamehameha Schools.

In conjunction with the entry of judgment, the Does apologized to Kamehameha Schools for Mr. Goemans’ disclosure of the settlement terms. The Does, through their attorneys, said: “We deeply regret having become involved in the current litigation with Kamehameha Schools, we are very sorry for the harm caused to the schools, which led to this lawsuit. We are sorry for Mr. Goemans’ actions.”

In conjunction with the settlement, Eric Grant said, “I deeply regret that Kamehameha Schools was deprived of confidentiality, which was an important benefit of the 2007 Settlement Agreement. I likewise regret that my efforts, including procuring a court order barring Mr. Goemans from disclosing the settlement terms, were not enough to prevent him from doing so.”

While we have agreed not to disclose other specific terms of the settlement beyond the points above, we want you to know that we are pleased with this outcome. The settlement provides just compensation to Kamehameha Schools for the wrongful behavior of a member of the Does’ former legal team and for the Does’ and Grant’s expressions of regret. Kamehameha will receive payment from both the Does and Grant for the harm done, and we have avoided the expense and distraction of another time-consuming court case. This settlement ends Kamehameha Schools v. John and Jane Doe and Eric Grant.

We are happy to put this episode behind us, free of any residual drag on our ability and resources to focus on fulfilling the vision of our Founder. We want to express our sincere gratitude to our beneficiaries and community who have stood by Kamehameha Schools throughout.

Most importantly, we mahalo Ke Akua for providing continuing guidance, inspiration and strength at every step along this journey. We are truly thankful and blessed.

Me ka ha‘aha‘a,

J. Douglas Ing, Chair
Micah Kane
Janeen Olds
Corbett Kalama
Diane Plotts
Dee Jay Mailer, CEO

Governor Abercrombie Submits Balanced Budget Aimed at Funding High-Priority Programs and No Tax Increases

The Abercrombie Administration submitted its budget this afternoon with a renewed commitment to providing a secure and promising future for Hawai’i.

Governor Submits Balanced Budget Aimed at Funding High-Priority Programs and No Tax Increases

The balanced budget seeks to achieve a healthy surplus, incorporates savings achieved through solid fiscal management, funds high-priority programs, and does not rely upon any tax increases.   Governor Neil Abercrombie and Budget & Finance Director Kalbert Young announced that a number of New Day priorities will move forward due to the solid foundation laid in the past year.

“One year ago we faced a daunting $1.2 billion deficit forcing us to make tough decisions to rebuild our fiscal situation,” said Governor Abercrombie.  “We worked to make the best use of limited resources, asked for certain but temporary sacrifices, and improved efficiency in every department.  Now, I submit this budget, which is in the black, for the Legislature’s consideration to build on our New Day agenda, which will result in stimulating the economy and creating jobs.”

Through a combination of cost savings on public employee health plans, better management of state finances as exemplified in the state’s recent bond sale to reduce interest costs, and a retooling of state departments, the state entered the new fiscal year with a positive general fund balance for the first time in three years.

The fiscal year (FY) 2012 – 2013 Executive Supplemental Budget includes proposed amendments that total $119.9 million, an increase of 1.7 percent.  However, the Administration is also identifying $85.9 million in savings, the result of which will be a net request for general funds totaling only $35 million. This net request is less than 1 percent of the general fund budget.  Although the budget is balanced in consideration of the Council of Revenues’ projection for a 14.5% increase in revenues during the current fiscal year (FY 2012), the budget takes a conservative view of these projections.

“While we appear to be turning the corner fiscally, it does not mean that we can ignore our obligations such as paying our bills on time, paying taxpayers what they are owed, nor obviate our responsibility to fund those core services that the public relies upon,” said Director Young.  “We must continue to be fiscally prudent in our management of funds and expenditure of monies.  Our goal is to continuously achieve positive cash balances at the end of each year going forward.”

In alignment with his New Day Plan, the Governor’s FY 2013 Supplemental Budget proposes to do the following:

  • Restore the Safety Net
  • Provide for Education
  • Maintain Essential Services
  • Execute New Day Initiatives

The Governor’s Budget proposes to restore $174 million to the Hurricane Relief and Rainy Day funds during the current biennium with $75 million in the current fiscal year.  Contrary to the misunderstanding of some, this repayment is not through bonds, but by premiums buyers paid to the state in the recent sale of its highly-sought bonds.

“This is another example of our financial prudency and conservatism,” noted Director Young. “The bond transaction enables us to begin recapitalizing the reserves.  To be clear, this is not by assuming more ‘debt.’”

The Budget also includes additional Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) that would require another $300 million of General Obligation Bonds.

The CIP projects address critical infrastructure needs that are shovel-ready and will provide the most immediate impact and job creation.

In his first year in office, Governor Neil Abercrombie set forth a comprehensive plan, “A New Day in Hawai’i, to invest in education and rebuild our economy; sustain our Hawai’i for future generations; and to restore public confidence.

“It will take time to restore faith in government but we are working hard to make things right and move Hawai’i forward,” stated Governor Abercrombie.  “We now have a clear understanding of our finances and have established unprecedented collaboration to initiate projects that have immediate impact and solve various issues including homelessness, education, and social services.”

The Executive Supplemental Budget can be viewed at http://hawaii.gov/budget.

Thousands of Pounds of Coffee Cherries Stripped Off Trees in Agriculture Theft on the Big Island

Big Island police are investigating the theft of coffee cherries from trees in the Kaʻū District.

One or more persons entered a property off an old cane haul road above Pāhala sometime between 5:30 p.m. December 9 and 7:30 a.m. December 11. They stripped off between 2,000 and 4,000 pounds of coffee cherries, causing damage to the trees. Estimated damages were between $3,300 and $6,600.

Police ask that anyone with information on this case call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Founder’s Day 2011 Marks Start of Festivities Celebrating 125th Anniversary of Kamehameha Schools

Aloha kākou!

On Nov. 4, 1887, on a dusty rocky field in Kalihi, the vision of a Hawaiian princess was born when the Kamehameha School for Boys opened its doors to a handful of Hawaiian students.

Today, Founder’s Day 2011 — the 180th anniversary of the birth of Ke Ali‘i Bernice Pauahi Bishop — marks the beginning of a yearlong celebration of the 125th anniversary of the establishment of Kamehameha Schools.

The theme of the celebration year, “Ho‘ōla Lāhui, Ho‘oulu Pae ‘Āina — Vibrant People, Thriving Lands,” reflects Pauahi’s enduring legacy. We know that through our mission of enhancing the capability and well-being of Native Hawaiians through education, we are creating a future that is vibrant and thriving for our people.

The 125th year will be observed from Founder’s Day, Dec. 19, 2011 to Founder’s Day, Dec. 19, 2012. Here are some of the commemorative items and activities that will be undertaken by Kamehameha Schools honoring the educational legacy that Pauahi founded.

Wall Calendar: Available for $10 through Kamehameha Publishing at kamehamehapublishing.org, this commemorative calendar features a collection of photos of Kamehameha Schools’ lands and the educational and conservation programs being supported on those lands. All proceeds will benefit the Ke Ali‘i Pauahi Foundation.
Digital Recording: Scheduled for release in October 2012, the recording will feature a collection of new mele composed by an array of haku mele (composers) honoring Pauahi, and key people and events associated with Kamehameha Schools.
“Our Story” Commemorative Publication: Scheduled for release in December 2012, the book will celebrate Pauahi’s legacy and the efforts being undertaken to ensure a vibrant future for Native Hawaiians as well as the vitality of members of the Kamehameha family who continue to fulfill her vision.

“Ho‘ōla Lāhui, Ho‘oulu Pae ‘Āina — Vibrant People, Thriving Lands” will also be the theme for the Pre-Show and Hō‘ike at Song Contest 2012, where the choral song selections will feature new mele composed in honor of Pauahi. Kamehameha’s participation in both the Kamehameha Day Lei Draping ceremony in June 2012 and Founder’s Day 2012 will also revolve around this theme.

For the latest information on the festivities, Kamehameha parents and alumni may visit www.ksbe.edu/125.

Additionally, this anniversary year provides the opportunity for us to share some of the good stories about Kamehameha’s current educational and stewardship efforts. Told through an external communications campaign, the stories will underscore the theme for our celebration — “Vibrant People, Thriving Lands” — and hopefully move people to support Kamehameha Schools’ commitment to achieve its mission.

Be on the lookout for television and radio messages to begin airing in late January and continue throughout 2012.

From that handful of boys who comprised the first class in 1887, Kamehameha Schools 125 years later has grown into an educational system with three K-12 campuses on three islands, 31 preschool sites located across the state, a strong extension education program, and millions of dollars awarded each year in scholarships and financial aid and going toward supporting Hawaiian students in the public school system.

I’m sure that Pauahi and her husband Charles Reed Bishop would be more than proud of Kamehameha Schools today.

I Mua Kamehameha!

Dee Jay Mailer

Manager and Chief Engineer of the County Department of Water Supply Named

Quirino Antonio has been named by the County Water Board as the new Manager and Chief Engineer of the Department of Water Supply. He replaces Milton Pavao, who is retiring at the end of the year.

Having worked with the Department for 37 years, Antonio’s qualifications and experience extend far beyond the minimum requirements of the position. He has been a registered professional engineer for 31 years, and has 17 years of direct administrative experience having been the deputy of the department since 1995. Immediately prior, Antonio served as the Head of the Water Resources and Planning Branch in the Department’s Engineering Division for 13 years.

Antonio has developed in-depth understanding and knowledge of the potable drinking water industry, applicable federal and state laws, county codes and ordinances, departmental rules and regulations and various other policies. “Through all my work experience, I’ve dealt with individuals and entities in the public and private sectors that has given me great awareness of how things work.”

Originally from Pepe‘ekeo, Antonio has lived on Hawaii island all of his life.

Mayor Billy Kenoi said Antonio’s appointment brings with it many years of valuable experience and institutional knowledge of the Department of Water Supply. “The Water Department is in good hands,” Kenoi said. “And because of Quirino’s experience, this should be a seamless transition.”

Contact Kanani Aton Keliikoa at (808) 961-8050 ext. 204 for more information.

Big Island Police Seeking Male Wanted for Attempted Sex Assault in Puna

Big Island police are requesting the public’s help in identifying and locating an unknown male wanted for the attempted sexual assault of an adult female with the use of a weapon. The attempted assault occurred on Sunday (December 18) at approximately 12:45 a.m. in the Puna District’s Leilani Estates subdivision.

The male is described as possibly Caucasian, about 5-foot-9, age unknown. The weapon is described as a knife.

Detectives with the Juvenile Aid Section—which investigates all sexual assault cases—are continuing this investigation.

Police ask that anyone with information on this case call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 15-Year-Old Hilo Girl

*12-22-11 UPDATE*  She has been located.

Big Island police are searching for a 15-year-old Hilo girl reported as missing.

Miosoti Santiago-Militao

Miosoti Santiago-Militao was last seen in Hilo on December 12.

She is described as African-American, 5-foot-4, 160 pounds with brown eyes and brown shoulder-length hair.

Police ask that anyone with information on her whereabouts call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

The Historic Hawaiʻi Foundation Honored Herb Kawainui Kāne as its 2011 Kamaʻāina of the Year

The Historic Hawaiʻi Foundation honored Herb Kawainui Kāne as its 2011 Kamaʻāina of the Year for his contributions in reviving Hawaiian culture as an artist, historian, and author. As one of the founders of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, Kāne was instrumental in the revival of non-instrument navigation, which had been lost in Hawaiʻi for centuries.

Following traditional designs, the deep-sea canoe Hōkūleʻa first travelled to Tahiti in 1976. In the subsequent years, the vessel linked the islands of the Pacific and will soon circumnavigate the globe.

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This revival of ancient wayfinding inspired a cultural reawakening among Native Hawaiians as interest in hula, language, education, arts, and self-determination flourished. Although he is most well known for fantastic paintings depicting ancient Hawaiʻi, Kāne’s greatest legacy is his influence on the generations of Hawaiians who continue to practice their culture.

Vampires in Hawaii? The 2011 Miss Vamp Hawaii Pageant

So I guess there are vampires in Hawaii!

DJ Nocturna and Lana Saldania produced another spectacular Miss Vamp Hawaii 2011 Beauty Pageant, this time the 2nd Annual event was held at the graceful and historic Hawaii Theatre in downtown Honolulu.

The evening flowed with the talents, on stage questions, and, of course, the moon bathing lingerie of each of the delectable fanged vampire contestants.

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Please join us in this video from bats to werewolves, from beauty to the living dead, from the crypt to the skull throne. If you are interested in running for Miss Vamp Hawaii 2012 in October, please contact DJ Nocturna at djnocturna@gmail.com or log on to www.djnocturnaandlana.com

Big Island Police Still Looking for Assailants in Wailoa State Park Attack

Big Island police are renewing their request for information about an assault on October 24 at Wailoa State Park in Hilo.


At approximately 7:30 p.m., an 18-year-old Hilo man, a 19-year-old Hilo man and a 17-year-old Pāhoa boy were in the parking lot near the large pavilion when four vehicles drove into the park and six to eight men wielding baseball bats got out and attacked them.

One of the suspects is described as Micronesian, about 5-foot-7 to 5-foot-8, 160 to 170 pounds with a long, braided pony tail to his mid-back.

Police ask that anyone who may have witnessed the assault or who knows the identity of any of the attackers call Detective Robert Almeida at 961-2386 or the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Hawaii County Meth Pledge Competition Winner Announced

The Hawaii Isle Police Activities League (HI-PAL) held its second annual “Meth Pledge” competition for middle school students. More than 80 entries were received and a panel of judges selected the winning entry.

Bohdi Amar from Kohala Middle School

Bohdi Amar from Kohala Middle School submitted the winning entry: “I pledge not to do meth. Not now, not tomorrow, not ever. I will live a healthy life and help others to not do meth.”

This pledge will be featured on the back of the shirts given to all the competitors.

The writer of the winning pledge will be recognized on December 27 at the HI-PAL Winter Basketball Classic “Skills Challenge” held at the Hilo Civic Auditorium, where all of the attendees will be invited to take the pledge against meth.

The Hawaiʻi Police Department thanks all the students who took the time and submitted their entries. We encourage them to try again next year.

For more information about the HI-PAL Winter Basketball Classic, please call Officer Joseph Botelho at 961-2220.

Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of Lesbian Couple Rejected by Hawaii Bed and Breakfast

Lambda Legal filed a discrimination lawsuit today in the First Circuit Court of Hawaii on behalf of a lesbian couple rejected by a commercial business establishment, Aloha Bed & Breakfast, because of the owner’s personal anti gay beliefs.

“When you open the doors of your business to the public, Hawaii law absolutely forbids you from discriminating against your customers. You can’t roll up the welcome mat when you see a lesbian or gay couple, just as you can’t refuse to do business with Jewish customers, African-American customers, or disabled customers,” said Peter Renn, staff attorney at Lambda Legal. “No business owner is above the law. If you choose to open a business, then you must play by the same rules that apply to everyone else – you don’t get to pick and choose the laws that you like.”

Lambda Legal represents Diane Cervelli and Taeko Bufford, a lesbian couple who were denied public accommodation because of their sexual orientation by Aloha Bed & Breakfast, located in Hawaii Kai. Hawaii’s public accommodation law prohibits any inn or “other establishment that provides lodging to transient guests” from discriminating based on sexual orientation, race, sex, gender identity or expression, religion, ancestry, or disability.

Cervelli and Bufford were traveling to Hawaii to visit a close friend and her newborn baby. The friend recommended Aloha Bed & Breakfast based on its proximity to the friend’s residence. In their first call to the business, the owner wanted to know whether Cervelli and Bufford were lesbians. When they answered truthfully, the owner refused to rent them a room because they were a lesbian couple.

Cervelli and Bufford filed discrimination complaints with the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, which conducted an investigation and found reasonable cause to believe that illegal discrimination had occurred. During the investigation, the owner admitted that she turned the couple away because they were lesbians. She explained her personal belief that same-sex relationships are “detestable” and that they “defile our land.”

In another development today, the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission moved to intervene in the lawsuit as a plaintiff in order to protect and enforce the state antidiscrimination law, which Aloha Bed & Breakfast claims does not and cannot constrain its conduct.

“I can’t tell you how much it hurt to be essentially told, ‘we don’t do business with your kind of people.’ We don’t want anyone else to experience that and made to feel like they have no place in society. It still stings to this day,” Cervelli said. “We aren’t asking the owner to change her beliefs; we just want her to follow the law applicable to all Hawaii businesses and not to deny us the same roof over our head that she provides to every other paying customer. We worked hard to save money to be able to visit our friend and her baby. We thought the days when business owners would say ‘we’re open to the public – but not to you’ was a thing of the past.”

Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Peter Renn is representing Diane Cervelli and Taeko Bufford with co-counsel Jay Handlin and Lindsay McAneeley at Carlsmith Ball LLP. The case is Cervelli v. Aloha Bed & Breakfast