Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: We Must Reverse Corporate-Backed Repeal of Net Neutrality

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today released the following statement after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to repeal Title II net neutrality regulations protecting open, fair, and equal Internet access:

 

“Today, the FCC voted to put profits over peoplea slap in the face to our democracy and the millions of Americans that have voiced comments, made calls, and fought to protect net neutrality. Industry giants like Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T will now be able to control the access and speed of websites, stifle competition online, and turn the Internet into a pay-to-play forum.    

“The FCC’s decision today, led by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who used to work for Verizon, highlights the pervasive influence of corporations in our democracy. Congress must take action to reverse this decision, and ensure that the Internet remains an open, level playing field for all. We also must address the corruptive influence of special interests in our government by reforming our campaign finance laws, reversing Citizens United, and slamming shut Washington’s revolving door.” 

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has been a leader in the fight to protect net neutrality, and has cosponsored legislation to prohibit multi-tiered pricing agreements between ISPs and content providers. She has voted against legislative efforts to undermine net neutrality, called on the FCC to maintain net neutrality rules, and urged the American people to voice their opinions during the FCC comment period.

Hawaii Supreme Court Holds Oral Argument at Castle High School

The Hawaii Supreme Court held oral argument today at Castle High School with about 200 Oahu high school students in attendance.

Students from Castle, Farrington, McKinley, and Mililani high schools and Le Jardin Academy participated in the Judiciary’s Courts in the Community outreach program. They prepared to watch the oral argument by working through a curriculum developed by the Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center and the Students for Public Outreach and Civic Education of the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law. Attorneys from the Hawaii State Bar Association also volunteered their time to visit classrooms to assist in preparing students for the argument.

The case heard at Castle, CC vs. DD, is a parentage case involving a former same sex married couple. The issue is whether Appellant has a legal parent/child relationship with the child born to Appellee during the marriage.

The goal of Courts in the Community is to enhance students’ understanding of the Judiciary’s role in government and its function in resolving disputes in a democratic society. The Hawaii Supreme Court convenes in schools to hear oral argument in actual cases pending before the court. Since the program’s inception in 2012, 56 schools and about 3,900 students have participated. This is the 11th oral argument under this program.

“Our Courts in the Community program enables students to discover how our judicial system operates in practice,” said Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald. “Through this experience, we hope that the students realize the judicial process is designed to get to the truth by carefully considering both sides of the case. That understanding of the rule of law is vital to the future of our democracy.

“I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the teachers, the Hawaii State Bar Association, the Hawaii State Bar Foundation, and the volunteer attorneys who helped make this happen. These invaluable partnerships are what make the program a success,” added Chief Justice Recktenwald.

The Hawaii State Bar Association and the Hawaii State Bar Foundation generously provided the students with lunches and transportation to and from their schools.

“The Hawaii State Bar Association would like to thank and congratulate the many dedicated teachers, volunteer attorneys, school and court administrators, and especially the students, who together made the Hawaii Courts in the Community Supreme Court session at Castle High School such an overwhelming success,” said Howard Luke, president-elect of the Hawaii State Bar Association. “The attorneys arguing each side of the many unique, challenging issues presented in this case set the stage for a very spirited question-and-answer session following the Court proceedings.

“It was especially encouraging to see how well prepared and thoroughly engaged the students were, as demonstrated by their very thoughtful, relevant questions to the justices. We are grateful for this wonderful opportunity made possible by our Hawaii Supreme Court,” added Luke.

Oral argument was followed by two separate question-and-answer sessions for the students – one with the attorneys and another with justices.

Hawaii Current and Upcoming Highway Projects

Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Deputy Director for Highways, Ed Sniffen, provided an update today, Dec. 14, 2017, on high visibility current and upcoming highways projects statewide.

Hawaii County

  • Keaau-Pahoa Road – 4-lane restriping and Shower Drive Intersection Improvements
    • Work to add a traffic signal at the intersection of Keaau-Pahoa Road (Highway 130) and Shower Drive and the restriping project, which will remove a restricted shoulder lane and add an unrestricted travel lane through restriping from Keaau Town to Shower Drive, will be substantially completed by the beginning of 2018. An update will be sent out at the close of the project to remind Hawaii Island drivers of the changes to the area as well as the reduction of the speed limit to 45 mph (from 55 mph) on Highway 130 between MP 2.3 and 3.7 and between MP 7.4 to 9.9.
  • Queen Kaahumanu Widening, Phase 2
    • The Queen Kaahumanu Highway Widening Project, Phase 2 to widen the existing two-lane highway to a four-lane divided highway from Kealakehe Parkway to Keahole Airport Access Road is expected to be substantially complete by August 2018. Remaining work on the project includes milling and resurfacing of north bound lanes, pavement extension of the north bound lanes, paving of south bound lanes south of Kealakehe Parkway, construction of swales and median barrier in the south segment, side road transitions, and installation of signage, pavement markings, and landscaping.
  • Queen Kaahumanu Highway Intersection Improvements at Kawaihae Road
    • Bid in December 2017, work expected to begin April 2018
    • Project will widen the intersection to provide a right-turn lane for northbound Queen Kaahumanu Highway traffic, a right-turn lane for east bound Kawaihae Road traffic, an acceleration lane on Kawaihae Road and lengthening the left-turn lane for west bound Kawaihae Road traffic.
  • Hawaii Island rumble strip projects – HDOT to install rumble strips where possible to provide tactile and audible warning for motorists straying from their lane. Planned rumble strip projects for Hawaii Island are:
    • Kohala Mountain Road Safety Improvements, MP 7.2 to MP 9.2
      • Advertised November 2017
      • Est. Cost $1-5 Million
      • Project will add milled rumble strips to centerline and shoulders, high friction surface treatment, pavement markings, signage, and curve ahead signs and beacons
    • Mamalahoa Highway Safety Improvements, MP 3.9 to MP 6.9
      • Will advertise December 2017
      • Est. Cost $1-5 Million
      • Project will install milled rumble strips in the centerline and shoulders, pavement markings, and signage, and will upgrade guardrails
    • Queen Kaahumanu Highway Rumble Strip Improvements, Mahaiula to Kawaihae
      • Construction to begin January 2018, estimated completion May 2018
      • Work includes installation of centerline rumble strips, new pavement markings and striping to enhance lane visibility and will be conducted in five phases to minimize impact to motorists

Maui County

  • Lahaina Bypass Phase 1B-2
    • This bypass phase from the vicinity of Olowalu landfill to Hokiokio is expected to be opened to traffic in March 2018 at which time HDOT will redirect traffic from the existing Honoapiilani Highway. Those that would like to bypass Lahaina town will have a more efficient route that takes them away from slow moving beach and town traffic. Moving the main route to west Maui Mauka in this area also protects the corridor from coastal erosion and inundation and allows for future capacity if funding develops.
  • Honoapiilani Highway Improvements, Kapunakea to Keawe
    • At Keawe Street, to prioritize the bypass movements, the intersection will be adjusted to allow for a free right turn movement off of the bypass to continue north to Kaanapali. To accommodate this movement, the double through movements going northbound from Kapunakea through Keawe will be reduced to a single through movement. In addition, the Makai side of the road will be widened to allow for a double left for southbound traffic from Kaanapali to enter the bypass.
    • These adjustments were based on the traffic studies performed for the original and follow up environmental documents, and by the updated traffic studies. In general, we anticipate 70 percent of the traffic through the area will utilize the bypass from Olowalu to Keawe Street. Keawe Street is considered an interim connector as the bypass plans include an extension toward Kaanapali. At this time, the highways program does not include sufficient funding to program the next phase of the bypass.

City and County of Honolulu

  • Kalanianaole Highway Resurfacing – Interstate H-1 to West Hind Drive
    • Resurfacing of Kalanianaole Highway from where the route meets the H-1 Freeway to its intersection with West Hind Drive is expected to begin in April 2018. Joining of the bike lane in the vicinity of Kalani High School will take place as part of this project. Conceptual drawings including the proposed locations of staging areas for this project are available.
  • Likelike Highway Resurfacing
    • The Likelike Highway Resurfacing, School Street to Emmeline Place is expected to be substantially complete by March 2018. Remaining work includes guardrail installation, curb and gutter work, catch basin installation, traffic signal work, paving, and installation of striping, landscaping, and signage. Night work for this project will be complete prior to the beginning of night closures for the Pali Highway Street Lighting and Resurfacing – Kamehameha to Waokanaka.
  • Pali Highway Street Lighting and Resurfacing – Kamehameha to Waokanaka
    • This project, the first of the planned Pali Highway improvements, will repair or replace street lights from Vineyard Boulevard to Kamehameha Highway and will repave Pali Highway from Waokanaka Street to Kamehameha Highway—including the parallel Waokanaka Street and the Pali Highway/Waokanaka Street intersection—and is estimated to be completed in Winter 2019. More information, including the project schedule and a 24/7 hotline number, can be found at palihighway.org
  • H-1 Additional Eastbound Lane from Waiawa to Halawa
    • HDOT is undergoing the procurement process for this design-build project to rehabilitate the concrete pavement from the vicinity of the Waimalu Viaduct to Halawa and anticipates award of the project to Design-Build Team in January 2018 with notice to proceed following in April 2018. The rehabilitation of the asphalt concrete in this area will widen the current 10-foot shoulder with a 24-foot wide eastbound shoulder that could be used for unrestricted vehicular traffic.
  • H-201/H-1 Additional Westbound Lane: Halawa Interchange to Aiea Pedestrian Overpass
    • Work on the project to repave the H-201 west bound Halawa offramp to the H-1 west bound at the Aiea Pedestrian Overpass began in August following the completion of the Kahekili Highway resurfacing from Hui Iwa Street to Haiku Road and is expected to be completed at the end of the year. This project also creates a third west bound lane to the H-1 through grading, reconstruction of the shoulders, and relocation of guardrails.
  • Kipapa Stream Bridge (Roosevelt) Rehabilitation
    • The partnership project with the Federal Highway Administration – Central Federal Lands Highway Division to rehabilitate the Kipapa Stream Bridge, a 484-foot long bridge built in 1933, is estimated to be completed at the end of May 2018. To complete the bridge rehabilitation, which includes the widening of the bridge to provide a 7-foot mixed use shoulder, requires four more full weekend closures of Kamehameha Highway between Ka Uka Boulevard and Lanikuhana Avenue between January and April. Notification of the closures will go out as they are scheduled.
  • Farrington Highway Safety improvements/Nanakuli contraflow
    • Crews are working day and night to complete the Farrington Highway Intersection Improvements (turning lane) project by the end of the year. The Nanakuli Contraflow will run to the end of this project, which will improve traffic flow on Farrington Highway through the addition of a fifth turning lane at Nanakuli Avenue and Haleakala Avenue. If operational funds are available past the completion of the project, HDOT will consider extending the operation of the Nanakuli Contraflow with modifications to ensure the return of two eastbound lanes in the area.
    • HDOT has been working with the community on safety improvements to coincide with resurfacing projects on Farrington Highway. The ongoing and upcoming Farrington Highway resurfacing projects are:
    • FARRINGTON HIGHWAY RESURFACING, VICINITY OF KILI DRIVE TO SATELLITE TRACKING STATION ROAD
      • Estimated Completion Date: Spring 2017
    • FARRINGTON HIGHWAY RESURFACING, KAHE POWER PLANT TO HAKIMO ROAD, IB & OB
      • Scheduled Advertise Date: 12/2017
    • FARRINGTON HIGHWAY RESURFACING, HAKIMO ROAD TO KILI DRIVE, IB & OB
      • Scheduled Advertise Date: 04/2018

Kauai County

  • Kuhio Highway Resurfacing Kapule Highway to North Leho Drive, Phase 1
    • Project will reconstruct in areas, cold plane, and resurface pavement as well as install channelizing curb and delineators. Project was advertised earlier this month.
  • Kuhio Highway Short Term Improvements
    • This project, currently planned to advertise in June 2018, would widen the south bound 0.64 mile stretch of Kuhio Highway between the Temporary Kapaa Bypass Road and Kuamoo Road from three to four lanes and would extend the existing right-turn storage lane along Kuamoo Road Mauka from its intersection with Kuhio Highway. The widening of this stretch of highway is expected to improve access to Wailua and Kapaa.

Highways project status can be found at any time on the Highways Program Status Map, which was featured at the news conference. This ESRI-powered map highlights current and upcoming construction projects on state highways as well as data on traffic volumes, traffic fatalities, and road conditions.

Data on the state’s 782 bridges will be added to the Highways Program Status Map at the end of the year with construction lane closure information to follow shortly. HDOT also plans to introduce a crowd sourcing app in Spring 2018 that will allow community members to report road issues such as potholes and street lighting outages.

Community Forum on Crime & Drug Abuse in Puna

Concerned about all the crimes being reported on Facebook sites like Big Island Thieves, Big Island Po Po Alert and East Hawaii Watch these days???

A community forum hosted by Rep. Joy San Buenaventura on crime and drug abuse, will be held at the Pahoa Community Center on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018, from 1 to 5 p.m.

Guest speakers scheduled to appear are:

  • Mitch Roth, Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney
  • Brandee Menino, HOPE Services
  • Officer Davy Kamalii and Officer Jeremy Kubojiri, Hawaii County Police Department, Puna District Patrol Division
  • Kat Brady, Community Alliance on Prisons
  • (Tentatively Scheduled) – B.I.S.A.C. (Big Island Substance Abuse Council)
  • Neighborhood Watch

Hawaii Rep Calls On Attorney General to Protrect Net Neutrality

In light of the Federal Communications Commission’s vote today to eliminate the 2015 Open Internet Order by then President Barrack Obama, Representative Matt LoPresti today called on Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin to explore pursuing legal action that would bar the effects of the FCC vote in Hawaii.
“I call on Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin to pursue legal action because the protection and preservation of net neutrality is key to allowing equal access to all forms of internet content. The FCC’s decision erodes such protections and empowers large and powerful internet service providers to control internet content in order to leverage corporate profits. I was pleased to learn that the Democratic Attorneys General Association is exploring this matter and urge Mr. Chin to protect net neutrality for the people of Hawaii.”

County Park Closures 2018 Schedule for Select Hawaii County Parks

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation announces its 2018 closure schedule for ‘Āhalanui Park, Isaac Kepo‘okalani Hale Beach Park, Kahalu‘u Beach Park and Spencer Park at ‘Ōhai‘ula Beach.

Monthly closures are necessary to maintain and repair high-use parks without exposing park patrons to potential hazards associated with large-scale maintenance work.

Located in Puna, ‘Āhalanui Park will be closed between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month, with the exception of the October closure, which will occur on the first Wednesday of that month. The closure dates are:

  • January 10
  • February 14
  • March 14
  • April 11May 9
  • June 13
  • July 11
  • August 8
  • September 12
  • October 3 (first Wednesday due to schools’ Fall Break)
  • November 14
  • December 12

Located in Puna, Isaac Kepo‘okalani Hale Beach Park will be closed on the third Thursday of each month and reopened at 1 p.m. on the following day. Overnight camping permits will not be issued for the night before each closure date. The closure dates are:

  • January 18
  • February 15
  • March 15
  • April 19
  • May 17
  • June 21
  • July 19
  • August 16
  • September 20
  • October 18
  • November 15
  • December 20

Located in North Kona, Kahalu‘u Beach Park will be closed until 10 a.m. on the first or second Tuesday of each month. The closure dates are:

  • January 9
  • February 6
  • March 6
  • April 10
  • May 8
  • June 5
  • July 10
  • August 7
  • September 4
  • October 16
  • November 6
  • December 4

Located in South Kohala, Spencer Park at ‘Ōhai‘ula Beach will be closed all day on the following dates:

  • January 10-11
  • February 7-8
  • March 14-15
  • April 11-12
  • May 15-17
  • June – No scheduled closures
  • July – No scheduled closures
  • August – No scheduled closures
  • September 11-13
  • October 17-18
  • November 14-15
  • December 12-13

The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks the public for its understanding and cooperation during these temporary closures.

For more information, contact Parks & Recreation Administration office at (808) 961-8311 or email parks_recreation@hawaiicounty.gov.

Photos: Haihai Fire Station Grand Opening and Blessing

The Haihai Fire Station Grand Opening and blessing was held this morning. The fire fighters and equipment had moved from the Kawailani Station in the previous few weeks and today they had grand opening, blessing and an open house.

The Master of Ceremony was Assistant Chief Glen Honda.

Welcoming statements were given by County of Hawaii Public Works Project Manager Nolan Eskaran, Kaeo Jones of BCP Construction, Retired Councilman Dennis “Fresh” Onishi, Hawaii Fire Fighters Association Rep from Local 1463 James Pacheco, Hawaii County Mayor Kim and the Fire Chief Darren Rosario.

The blessing was performed by Pastor Sheldon Lacsina of New Hope Hilo.

Attendees were able to tour the station afterwards.

Click on images to enlarge:

 

Hasinger Leaving UH Institute of Astronomy for the European Space Agency

University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy (IfA) Director Günther Hasinger is leaving UH to be the next director of science at the European Space Agency (ESA), Europe’s equivalent to NASA. He will be responsible for the definition, planning and execution of ESA’s science program, which includes working with member countries and international partners like the United States. Hasinger has been with the university since 2011.

Günther Hasinger

“I am extremely honored to have been part of the IfA ʻohana and to have worked with such a talented and dedicated group of people,” said Hasinger, who will be based in Spain and will be closer to his family, including his first grandchild. “I look forward to future partnerships between ESA, NASA and the ground-based observatories, especially those here in Hawaiʻi.”

UH will name an interim director for IfA and begin the search for a new director.

During his tenure, Hasinger led the institute during the ongoing TMT process and regularly represented the university during the proceedings. He also oversaw many significant advances at IfA. The Pan-STARRS1 telescope on Haleakalā, Maui, came into full operation, eventually producing the world’s foremost sky survey, and becoming the world leader in the detection of asteroids, comets and near-Earth objects.

Hasinger also helped shepherd the transfer to UH of the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope and James Clerk Maxwell Telescope on Maunakea. The Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, also on Haleakalā, drew close to completion during his tenure.

Lasting changes to IfA’s education and outreach programs were also made under his leadership. The institute and the UH Mānoa College of Natural Sciences developed a new undergraduate degree program, offering a BA in astronomy and a BS in astrophysics. IfA also worked with the Maunakea observatory community to significantly expand public outreach, including development of the Maunakea Scholars program. IfA now organizes more than 200 events annually, reaching 25,000 people across the state.

For more information, visit: http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/

Common Cause Hawaii Welcomes New Board Member

Common Cause Hawai‘i announces the appointment of David Miyashiro to their board of directors, effective immediately.

David Miyashiro

Miyashiro is the founding executive director of HawaiiKidsCAN, a local education advocacy non-profit organization that works with communities and people of all sectors to promote educational equity in Hawaii. A former Hawai‘i public school special education teacher, previously Miyashiro has also worked with Teach for America, the U.S. Senate and various political campaigns. Miyashiro also serves as an elected member of the Kailua Neighborhood Board.

“We are very honored and proud to welcome David to our board. His leadership skills, energy, and commitment to civic engagement is a welcome addition to our team. His interest and experience in policy and advocacy is a great fit with Common Cause’s mission, and I look forward to exploring new ways to engage more youth with David,” said Corie Tanida, Executive Director of Common Cause Hawai‘i.