Governor Abercrombie Expedites 3 Appointments to Boards and Commissions with Several Vacancies

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the nominations of Jonathan Scheuer to the Land Use Commission (LUC), as well as Rona Fukumoto and Edwin Taira to the Board of Directors of the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation (HHFDC), effective immediately. All are interim appointments subject to state Senate approval.

Scheuer was appointed to an at-large seat and is the first LUC appointee to fill vacancies left by five recent resignations on the nine-member commission.

For HHFDC, Fukumoto was appointed to the “community advocate for low-income housing affiliated with a private nonprofit” seat, and Taira to the Hawaii County seat. Two vacancies remain on HHFDC, also a nine-member board, which likewise had multiple resignations recently.

“Filling vacancies on the Land Use Commission is a top priority for the administration right now so commissioners can resume decision-making,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “The appointments to HHFDC were expedited to avoid interruption of its duties. I thank Jonathan, Rona and Ed for quickly stepping up to accept their nominations to ensure that the public continues to be served.”

Jonathan ScheuerJonathan Scheuer of Honolulu has 25 years of experience in policy and land management in the public, nonprofit and private sectors. Since 1990, he has run his own consulting practice helping clients manage conflicts over natural resources. Scheuer was also land management director for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) from 2006 to 2010 and a policy analyst for OHA from 2004 to 2006. He has been a lecturer at the University of Hawaii (UH) at Manoa, a fellow with the Land Assets Division of Kamehameha Schools, staff lead for the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Natural Area Reserves System Commission, and a legislative aide to Rep. Jim Shon. Scheuer currently serves on the Board of the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust and with the Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter. His previous public service includes serving as vice chair of the Oahu Island Burial Council and work with the Oahu Land Trust, Malama Manoa and Malama Hawaii. An Iolani School graduate, Scheuer holds bachelor’s and Ph.D. degrees in environmental studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a master’s degree from the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Rona Fukumoto

Rona Fukumoto of Honolulu is currently division administrator for Catholic Charities Hawaii’s Housing Assistance and Referral Programs, and is the nonprofit’s former director of intake, information and referral. Prior to that, she worked her way up from employment specialist to vice president and director of employment and community programs at Winners at Work from 1995 to 2004. Fukumoto also served as an educational specialist and office assistant at UH Manoa’s KOKUA Program. She currently volunteers as a member of the Catholic Charities Housing Development Corporation and Hawaii State Department of Human Services Financial Assistance Advisory Council, and is a former member of the Hawaii Parkinson Association. Fukumoto also volunteers for Project Dana, providing respite care through home visits to elderly individuals. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in public administration from UH Manoa.

Edwin Taira, a resident of Hilo, has more than 30 years of housing experience that includes management, program and development background. He previously served as housing administrator, assistant housing administrator and development division head for Hawaii County’s Office of Housing and Community Development. While there, Taira gained experience with the U.S. Department of Labor Workforce Investment Act, along with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 8 and Community Development Block Grant programs. His development experience includes numerous affordable for sale and rental projects. Taira has served on the Hawaii Community Reinvestment Corporation and the Rental Housing Trust Fund Commission, and has been a private consultant for HHFDC and private developers. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from UH Manoa.

Land Use Commission

The State Land Use Law was adopted in 1961, establishing a framework of land use management and regulation in which all state lands are classified into urban, rural, agricultural or conservation districts. The Legislature established the Land Use Commission to administer this statewide zoning law. The commission is responsible for preserving and protecting Hawaii’s lands and encouraging those uses to which the lands are best suited.

Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation

The mission of the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation is to increase and preserve the supply of workforce and affordable housing statewide by providing leadership, tools and resources to facilitate housing development.

The Office of the Governor oversees more than 180 boards and commissions established by the state constitution, statutes or executive orders.

Historical Kakaako Pumping Station to be Rehabilitated and Refurbished

Gov. Neil Abercrombie yesterday announced the release of $1 million in capital improvement grant funds to the Pacific Gateway Center (PGC) to rehabilitate and refurbish the historical Kakaako Pumping Station into a community resource center.

The once historic Kakaako Pumping Station

The once historic Kakaako Pumping Station

Identified by the state Legislature, these funds will create a new facility that will focus on services for the elderly and specifically on inter-generational programs, in which Hawaii’s youth will be engaged to help older adults with workshops and services, such as teaching computer skills or assisting with lifelong learning opportunities.

“After 35 years of neglect, this administration is transforming Kakaako into a vibrant community with affordable housing options that Hawaii needs,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “The Kakaako Pumping Station is the latest example of a facility that had fallen into disuse but now will be preserved and given the opportunity for a second life, providing area residents with a gathering place for kupuna and keiki as the community grows.”

PGC was founded in 1973 and has since developed a 40-year track record of delivering critical need-based services and designing innovative social enterprises to support the community. It offers a wide range of direct and support services to approximately 5,000 clients per year.

Senator Ruderman Hosts Meeting With Governor Abercrombie in Pahoa

Senator Russell Ruderman hosted a meeting with Governor Neil Abercrombie including about twenty-five Puna community leaders. This was the first time in several years that the Governor has visited Puna to specifically listen and address concerns of the district. The meeting was held at Hawaii Academy of Arts and Sciences school in Kea’au on Saturday, July 12th.

Ruderman Abercrombie

It was a productive meeting, with both the Governor’s staff and Puna leaders expressing great appreciation for the opportunity to meet directly with one another to address community concerns.

Governor Abercrombie intently listened as the issues of the Puna District, such as substandard subdivisions and the problems they are facing including roads and other necessary infrastructure; emergency access; geothermal; need for social & medical services; unsafe highways; safe access to medical marijuana; charter schools; and a variety of other concerns were presented by those in attendance. The governor acknowledged their concerns, asked questions, and agreed that Puna is in need of long-denied attention and resources.

One theme emerged repeatedly, as Senator Ruderman explained, “Puna is the state’s fastest-growing district, and includes some of the state’s poorest population areas, yet it has received less funding than other districts for several decades.”

Ruderman at Haas

One example of the problems this has caused is that Lower Puna has only one road for access and emergencies (Highway 130) and this overburdened highway is the most dangerous road in the state. As Community leader Jon Olson said “We’re dying out here, literally, on the unsafe state highway.”

The Governor stated, “This is the 21st Century, and we need to look at things anew.” The old assumptions about our subdivisions, roads, and what Puna residents deserve must be re-evaluated. The Governor agreed to focus more attention on our needs and will follow up with more communication.

Senator Ruderman coordinated this meeting to create a productive avenue of communication between the administration and the Puna community, which has been lacking in recent years. Senator Ruderman said “For this meeting, we put aside the most contentious issues and focused instead on all the other basic issues so desperately in need of attention in Puna. I am thankful for this renewed dialog between my community and the administration.”

Governor Abercrombie Appoints Members to State Ethics Commission

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the reappointment of David O’Neal as well as the appointment of Melinda Wood to the State Ethics Commission (SEC), effective immediately.

“David O’Neal and Melinda Wood have proven themselves to be great leaders, equipped with knowledge, insights, and experience from which our state will directly benefit,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “I am confident the Ethics Commission’s mission will be well served.”

David O'neal

David O’neal

David O’Neal, a resident of Waipahu, brings more than 20 years of experience as a general manager, president and entrepreneur for multiple local business and associations, including Shop and Ship Hawaii LLC, Healthcare Directive Partners LLC, Hawaii Dental Partners/Akamai Dentals, Hawaii Dental Group, Hawaii Family Dental Centers, and Hawaii Medical Service Association. Since 2011, he has served as general manager for the Mililani Town Association. O’Neal is also president of the Waipahu Community Foundation, serving since 2009. Previously, he volunteered as a Waipahu Neighborhood Board member, was a member of the Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Citizen Advisory Committee, and served as part of the Kaleiopuu Elementary School Community Council. O’Neal earned a bachelor’s degree in health administration and a minor in accounting from the University of Hawaii (UH) – West Oahu.

Melinda Wood

Melinda Wood

Melinda Wood of Honolulu is currently the grants development specialist at the East-West Center. She has worked in the field of higher education for nearly 40 years in Hawaii and abroad, specializing in international relations and academic affairs. Wood’s community service includes former president and board member for Planned Parenthood of Hawaii, current board member and former chair of Planned Parenthood of Hawaii Action Network, and as a volunteer at the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children. Wood received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from Colorado State University, a master’s degree in applied communications from the University of Denver, and a Ph.D. in educational administration from UH Manoa. She is the recipient of the Margaret Y. Oda Scholarship for Doctoral Students in Educational Administration and was awarded the Fulbright Grant for Administrators in International Education Seminar in Germany.

State Ethics Commission

Since its establishment in 1960, the SEC has promoted and enforced high standards of ethical conduct in state government and has preserve public confidence in public servants. Responsibilities of the commission include administering and enforcing State of Hawaii governmental ethics and lobbying laws. The commission’s duties include issuing advisory opinions, investigating and considering charges of alleged violations of the ethics and lobbying laws, and educating state government officials and employees and the citizenry on matters relating to ethics in government.

The Office of the Governor oversees more than 180 boards and commissions established by the state constitution, statues or executive orders.

Hawaii’s State and County Leaders Formalize Joint Sustainability Commitment

“Aloha+ Challenge” Sets 6 Targets by 2030

Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Hawaii’s four county mayors, and Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) leadership jointly launched the Aloha+ Challenge: A Culture of Sustainability – He Nohona ‘Ae‘oia at a declaration signing held today at the Hawaii State Capitol. The statewide joint leadership commitment sets clear targets for clean energy transformation, local food production, natural resource management, waste reduction, smart growth, climate resilience, green jobs and education by 2030.

Government leaders sign the Aloha+ Challenge.

Government leaders sign the Aloha+ Challenge.

“The Aloha+ Challenge brings us all together across jurisdictions, agencies, sectors and communities to build a sustainable Hawaii for current and future generations,” said Gov. Abercrombie, who as a member of President Obama’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience is in a strong position to provide recommendations on how the federal government can support local efforts outlined today. “The targets transcend political timelines with a longer-term vision that also calls upon us to take bold action now. As a microcosm of the world’s sustainability challenges, it is time for Hawaii to become a global model of how to develop innovative and collaborative solutions.”

The Hawaii State Legislature unanimously passed the Aloha+ Challenge through resolution this year. Hawaii Green Growth, which brings together key leaders from federal, state, county, business and nonprofit organizations, hosted the declaration signing to show broad support.

Photo by Sen. J Kalani English

Photo by Sen. J Kalani English

Hawaii’s commitment to the Aloha+ Challenge is already creating international attention. With the U.S. Department of State, Hawaii has been invited to announce the Aloha+ Challenge on the world stage at a high-level Global Island Partnership event in Samoa this September, during the United Nations’ International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which focuses on sustainable development.

“Alternative energy sources like H-Power, solar and wind, combined with fewer car trips and reduced energy consumption, will help us sustain our island for future generations,” said City and County of Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “We have to invest in our future, and now is the time to do it.”

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi at the Aloha+ Challenge Dedication Signing and Press Conference.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi at the Aloha+ Challenge Dedication Signing and Press Conference.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi said: “The Aloha+ Challenge is about protecting our Hawaii and maximizing our resources to improve the quality of life for our communities. It reinforces that our decision-making as a state must focus on sustaining our resources for generations to come, and must be rooted in aloha.”

“The Aloha+ Challenge is about leading by example,” Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa said. “Our goal is to provide a higher quality of life for our children, and to build a community for our grandchildren that they can be proud of.”

“We are a state separated by ocean, but we are connected in so many ways – by families, by businesses and by shared values and traditions,” said Mayor Bernard Carvahlo of Kauai County. “It is important for us to always remember that. When our leadership focuses on one vision, we are united.”

“We must honor our past while also preparing for our future,” said Kamana‘opono Crabbe, chief executive officer for OHA. “The active participation of the community partners in this effort will also play a major role in bringing about a better, brighter future for all people of Hawaii.”

Photo from Gov. Abercrombie's Twitter feed.

Photo from Gov. Abercrombie’s Twitter feed.

In addition to sharing tools and knowledge and expanding partnerships, Hawaii’s top elected officials have agreed to develop a joint system of tracking progress and to increase long-term financing mechanisms for conservation and sustainability programs geared towards reaching the 2030 targets.

The Aloha+ Challenge commits Hawaii to reaching six targets by 2030:

  1. Clean Energy: 70 percent clean energy – 40 percent from renewables and 30 percent from efficiency (reinforcing the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative)
  2. Local Food: At least double local food production – 20 to 30 percent of food consumed is grown locally
  3. Natural Resource Management: Reverse the trend of natural resource loss mauka to makai by increasing freshwater security, watershed protection, community-based marine management, invasive species control and native species restoration
  4. Waste Reduction: Reduce the solid waste stream prior to disposal by 70 percent through source reduction, recycling, bioconversion and landfill diversion methods
  5. Smart Sustainable Communities: Increase livability and resilience in the built environment through planning and implementation at state and county levels
  6. Green Workforce and Education: Increase local green jobs and education to implement these targets

In 2011, Gov. Abercrombie signed Act 181, which established sustainability as a priority in the Hawaii State Plan and incorporated the definition, goals and principles of sustainability from the Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan into Chapter 226. More than 10,000 citizens participated in the Hawaii 2050 planning process.

Governor’s Chief Advisor for Technology and Cybersecurity Wins National ‘Government Innovator of the Year’ Award

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today commended Sanjeev “Sonny” Bhagowalia, his chief advisor for technology and cybersecurity, for earning the 2014 Government Technology Research Alliance (GTRA) “Government Innovator of the Year” award. Bhagowalia received the award for facilitating Hawaii’s business and technology transformation, launched in 2011 under the Abercrombie Administration.

Sonny

“This prestigious award recognizes the finest leaders and innovators in government,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “Under Sonny’s innovative leadership, Hawaii has developed an ambitious business and technology plan, established a stable technology foundation, launched key programs to transform delivery of online services, and significantly improved transparency and accountability. Our state government is now being recognized as a leader in the nation for our steady and incremental transformation gains.”

Bhagowalia received the honor amid a field of nominees from federal, state, local and tribal governments. Hawaii was the sole state recipient in the “Government Innovator of the Year” category, beating out two federal finalists from the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The award was one of 24 handed out at this week’s GTRA GOVTek Executive Government Technology Awards Gala, which celebrates and recognizes government and industry information technology (IT) leaders whose vision, innovation and remarkable accomplishments have improved efficiency, the delivery of government services, citizen engagement, information sharing, and national security.

Bhagowalia was nominated for his accomplishments as the first leader of state Office of Information Management Technology (OIMT) and his achievements over the past year in transforming business and technology in the state through the innovative use of enterprise architectures, strategic planning, program management, transparency and personal transformation.

After being appointed by Gov. Abercrombie as the State of Hawaii’s first chief information officer (CIO) and serving in that capacity for three years, Bhagowalia was promoted to Governor’s chief advisor for technology and cybersecurity in February 2014. The new executive leadership position was created to establish Hawaii as a premier technology and cybersecurity hub in the Asia-Pacific region, and to strengthen ties between Hawaii and Washington, D.C. in support of the state’s business and technology transformation.

Bhagowalia is working with the new state CIO, Keone Kali, and other stakeholders to publish a cybersecurity report on Hawaii’s next steps to align with the National Cybersecurity Framework and establish itself as a world-class cybersecurity center of excellence for the emerging 21st Century Asia-Pacific region.

“Hawaii is on track and being recognized at the national level for making steady progress in modernizing and securing our technology infrastructure and reengineering the way government does business – online versus waiting in line,” Bhagowalia said. “A cybersecurity framework of cooperation and investment will be required by government, industry and academia with local, national and international representation to help Hawaii realize its promise as a crossroads of the Pacific in the Information Age.”

For more information on the GTRA Awards, visit: http://june2014.gtra.org/awards/

Governor Abercrombie Signs 10 Bills Relating to Criminal Justice

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed ten criminal justice-related measures (Acts 112 to 121) addressing sex abuse, prostitution, crimes against children, violation of privacy, domestic violence, property crime, human trafficking, parking violations and law enforcement misconduct.

capital

“As I said in my State of the State Address in January, ‘Crimes against our common humanity will not be tolerated in Hawaii,’” Gov. Abercrombie said. “I commend the Legislature for addressing many areas of criminal justice as we work together to protect our citizens, especially our keiki.”

  • Senate Bill 2687 (Relating to Limitation of Actions) extends the period by an additional two years that a victim of child sexual abuse may bring an otherwise time-barred civil action against an abuser or entity with a duty or care, including the state and counties.
  • House Bill 2034 (Relating to Sexual Assault) removes the statute of limitations for criminal actions of sexual assault in the first and second degrees, as well as the continuous sexual assault of a minor under the age of 14.
  • House Bill 1926 (Relating to Crime) amends the offense of solicitation of a minor for prostitution and the offense of prostitution to include sadomasochistic abuse under the definition of sexual conduct, including clarification that a law enforcement officer shall not be exempt from the offense while acting in the course and scope of duties. This measure also amends the applicability of a deferred acceptance of a guilty or nolo contendere plea and clarifies sentencing of repeat offenders and enhanced sentences for repeat violent and sexual offenders.
  • Senate Bill 702 (Relating to Child Abuse), known as “Alicia’s Law,” establishes an internet crimes against children special fund and an internet crimes against children fee of up to $100 for each felony or misdemeanor conviction. Fees will be deposited into the special fund, which will be used by the Department of the Attorney General to combat internet crimes against children. This measure also appropriates $62,500 into the new special fund.
  • House Bill 1750 (Relating to Public Order) expands the offense of violation of privacy in the first degree to include the disclosure of an image or video of another identifiable person either in the nude or engaging in sexual conduct without the consent of the depicted person with intent to harm substantially the depicted person.
  • House Bill 1993 (Relating to Domestic Violence) requires a police officer to make a reasonable inquiry of witnesses or household members when physical abuse or harm is suspected and order a no-contact period of 48 hours. This measure also makes the commission of physical abuse in the presence of a family or household member under the age of 14 a class C felony.
  • House Bill 2205 (Relating to Crime) imposes a mandatory minimum term of one year imprisonment upon conviction of habitual property crime and authorizes probation only for a first conviction.
  • House Bill 2038 (Relating to Human Trafficking) establishes the human trafficking victims services fund to be administered by the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to provide support and services to human trafficking victims. This measure also imposes human trafficking victim fees to be imposed upon persons convicted of labor trafficking and prostitution offenses.
  • House Bill 1706 (Relating to Illegal Parking Upon Bikeways) sets a fixed fine of $200 for parking a vehicle on a bicycle lane or pathway.
  • Senate Bill 2591 (Relating to Law Enforcement), requires additional information from county police departments in their annual report to the Legislature of misconduct incidents that resulted in the suspension or discharge of an officer. This measure also allows the disclosure of certain information regarding officer misconduct in cases that result in discharge, after 90 days have passed following the issuance of the decision.

Governor Abercrombie Signs Bill Updating Hawaii’s Emergency Management Laws

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed House Bill 849 (Act 111), a measure that updates the state’s emergency management statues, including clarification of the relationship between state and county emergency management agencies and the emergency management functions and powers of the governor and mayors.

hb849

The bill was introduced in the 2013 legislative session and updates laws more than 60 years old that were primarily focused on nuclear attack and civil unrest.

“This measure will ensure that the state is better prepared for all catastrophic events, both natural and manmade, in safeguarding the people of Hawaii,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “In addition, this act will better integrate state and county disaster response planning and reorganizes the authorities and responsibilities of government leaders, providing the public with increased clarity during difficult and uncertain circumstances.”

The signing of this bill also changes the name of State Civil Defense to the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency. Hawaii was the last state to retain the use of civil defense in reference to its emergency management agency. This change brings Hawaii in line with modern best practices and updates the outdated language and references used in prior statutes.

Act 111 also establishes an Emergency Reserve Corps and authorizes the 24/7 State Warning Point, both critical increases in the state’s readiness to respond to hazards. It does not significantly change the governor’s emergency powers, but it does vest county mayors with emergency authorities independent of the state emergency management structure.

Governor Abercrombie Signs Bills in Support of Agriculture

Joined by Board of Agriculture Chair Scott Enright, legislators and Hawaii agriculture industry stakeholders, Gov. Neil Abercrombie yesterday signed six agriculture and land-related measures into law that address agricultural enterprises, invasive species, the makeup of the state Land Board, and clarifications to the agricultural cost tax credit. Ag Bill Signing

“Agriculture is a crucial component of our state’s sustainability, essential to keeping our dollars here in Hawaii and supporting thriving rural communities,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “These bills are important for the defense of our unique ecosystem, natural resources and economy. It is also our duty to care and protect the land beneath our feet, which gives us life and defines our culture.”

Click here for the list of bills

After signing what are now Acts 100 through 105, the Governor proclaimed June 16-22, 2014, “Pollinator Week in Hawaii,” coinciding with National Pollinator Week. The observance is held to promote awareness of valuable crop pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, beetles, ants and flies, with benefits ranging from crop pollination to ensuring healthy watershed.

Since 2010, the Abercrombie Administration has built a substantial record of achievement in support of agriculture and the people of Hawaii. Learn more about these and other accomplishments here.

 

Governor’s Statement on U.S. Interior Department’s Proposal to Reestablish Government-to-Government Relationship with Native Hawaiian Community

Hawaiian Sovereignty Sign

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today released the following statement regarding the U.S. Department of the Interior’s procedures to reestablish a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community:

“We look forward to welcoming representatives of the U.S. Departments of the Interior and Justice to discuss ideas for updating federal policy on Native Hawaiian self-determination.

“I commend the Obama Administration for recognizing and supporting Native Hawaiians as it works to reconcile its relationship with Native Hawaiians at the federal level.”

Governor Abercrombie on the Big Island Tomorrow

Governor Neil Abercrombie will be at the Laupahoehoe School Band Room TOMORROW TUESDAY June 17th from 4-6PM to talk story with the community.

abercrombie-062

Please join the Governor for light refreshments with family, friends and neighbors to discuss issues that matter to you and other community members in the North Hilo District.
For more information please call 808-498-4272

Governor Abercrombie Appoints Members to Tourism, Land Boards

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the nominations of Sean Dee to the board of directors of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) and Wesley Furtado to the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR). Both are interim appointments subject to state Senate approval. The term for Dee’s at-large HTA seat begins July 1, while Furtado’s at-large BLNR seat is effective immediately.

abercrombieheader

“Sean and Wes are proven leaders who each bring extensive knowledge and insight to state government,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “I am confident their experience and leadership will be vital in guiding state government as we work to sustain our thriving visitor industry and manage and protect our natural assets.”

Sean Dee of Honolulu is currently executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Outrigger Enterprises Group, Hawaii’s largest locally owned hotel company, and has more than 67 years in Hawaii’s visitor industry. As a key member of Outrigger’s leadership team, he is responsible for developing and deploying global marketing and brand strategies for the company’s portfolio of premier resorts and accommodation choices in Hawaii and across the Asia-Pacific region and the Indian Ocean. From 2009 to 2013, Dee served as executive vice president, chief marketing officer and president of global branding for Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), one of the leading sports and entertainment presenters in the world. While at AEG, Dee was appointed to the board of directors and executive committee for L.A. Inc. (now known as Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board), a nonprofit that oversees all tourism and convention center sales and marketing efforts on behalf of the city and county of Los Angeles. Prior to AEG, Dee was chief marketing officer for Hard Rock International, Inc. from 2004 to 2009, global digital marketing director and vice president of brand marketing at Levi Strauss & Co. from 1996 to 2002, and vice president and director of digital development at Foote, Cone & Belding from 1989 to 1996. Dee earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Stanford University.

Wesley Furtado, a resident of Kailua, brings to the BLNR more than 26 years of work experience at the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). Since 2000, he has been ILWU International Vice President, Hawaii, responsible for directing and administering ILWU programs and policies at both a national and local level in Hawaii. In addition, he works with the state’s ILWU affiliates, Locals 142 and 160, along with the Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific, Hawaii Region. Furtado is a member of the ILWU International Executive Board and participates on the ILWU Local 142 Executive Board. He is also a member of the Executive Boards of the Hawaii State AFL-CIO and the Asian Pacific Labor Alliance. A second generation longshoreman, Furtado was a shop steward, longshore unit officer and longshore negotiating committee member. An ILWU organizer from 1987 to 1989, he worked on and led campaigns to organize workers in Hawaii in various industries. From 1989 to 2000, Furtado was an international representative for ILWU, organizing companies and negotiating first contracts and contract renewals.

Line-Item Reduction of State Budget Needed

Line-Item Reduction of State Budget Needed, Budget Bill (HB1700) and Bond Declaration Bill (HB1712) Not in Alignment

Gov. Neil Abercrombie, along with Attorney General David Louie and Finance Director Kalbert Young, announced a plan yesterday to address an inconsistency in the amount of approximately $444 million between the budget bill and the bond authorization bill passed by the Legislature that is preventing each bill from being signed into law.

abercrombieheader“The proposed solution is the most efficient path to resolving this situation without the need for any additional costs to the taxpayer,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “I have consulted with the Speaker of the House, Senate President and the Department of Education. Working together, we believe we can enter the new fiscal year with a functional budget.”

The Department of the Attorney General and the Department of Budget and Finance advised the governor that the projects authorized in the Budget Bill (HB1700) exceed the amount certified in the Bond Declaration Bill (HB1712).

“Due to legal issues, I have advised the governor that he would not be able to sign the executive supplemental budget bill for fiscal year 2015 in its current form,” said Attorney General David Louie. “In addition, once the budget bill is reconciled, the Bond Declaration Bill could be signed no earlier than July 1, 2014.”

The Department of Budget and Finance reviewed the appropriations and declaration bills and was able to identify that the sources of the discrepancies were in the areas of state educational facilities improvement (SEFI) authorizations, the Judiciary budget, standalone appropriation bills and lapsed projects.

“We were able to pinpoint specific areas that were omitted in the bills passed by the Legislature and have concluded that it will require the governor to reconcile these bills in order to begin the new fiscal year, which starts July 1, with a working supplemental budget,” said Director of Finance, Kalbert Young.

Working with legislative leaders and the Department of Education (DOE), Gov. Abercrombie’s proposed solution would temporarily reduce the general obligation bond appropriation of SEFI projects through a line-item reduction in the budget bill. The total amount of bond projects authorized in HB1700 will therefore not exceed the amount certified in the bond declaration bill HB1712. This would be predicated on the need that the Legislature make-whole the amount reduced from the SEFI authorization when it reconvenes in regular session in January 2015. The DOE confirmed that it will plan to minimize impacts on projects already in the queue. This will necessitate a degree of project management and coordination that was not previously anticipated.

Hawaii Applauds Obama Administration’s Climate Change for Power Plants – Rest of the Country Following Hawaii’s Lead

The White House today released new rules under the Clean Air Act governing what existing power plants must do to reduce earth-warming greenhouse gas emissions.  These rules provide states flexibility to utilize energy efficiency and renewable energy, such as outlined in the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI), as compliance measures.

President Barack Obama, with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, center, talks with EPA staff members who worked on the power-plant emissions standards, in the Rose Garden of the White House, June 2, 2014.

President Barack Obama, with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, center, talks with EPA staff members who worked on the power-plant emissions standards, in the Rose Garden of the White House, June 2, 2014.

Gov. Abercrombie applauded the new rules, stating, “Hawaii is at the forefront of responding to climate change through our Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, which serves as a substantial economic driver while reducing our dependence on imported oil.  By building such flexibility into the rules, President Obama is encouraging the rest of the country to follow Hawaii’s lead in pursuing clean energy.”

New financial tools under development by the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) to increase deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures are well-timed to empower the state’s energy consumers to contribute to greenhouse gas reductions through use of renewable energy like rooftop solar.

“Hawaii’s Green Energy Market Securitization financing tool, or GEMS, will expand low-cost financing to clean energy solutions while helping the state gain credit for reducing carbon through lesser use of petroleum products to generate electricity,” said DBEDT Director Richard Lim.

Proposed by the governor in his 2013 State of the State address and signed into law later that year, GEMS is an innovative, clean energy financing program designed to make clean energy improvements affordable and accessible to Hawaii consumers, especially underserved markets such as low- and moderate-income homeowners, renters and nonprofits.

These new rules requiring carbon dioxide emissions reductions from power plants were issued pursuant to Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.  During the its extensive process to hear from stakeholders throughout the nation the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reached out to Hawaii.  The state submitted a set of consolidated comments developed by the Hawaii Department of Health, Hawaii State Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and DBEDT regarding state plans to meet federal carbon emission reduction targets for existing electricity generation units.

Mark Glick, the administrator of the State Energy Office, acknowledged EPA’s innovative approach and outreach to Hawaii.  “EPA is clearly recognizing innovative policies like the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, by allowing states to utilize energy efficiency and renewable energy as greenhouse gas compliance measures.   Hawaii is able to comply with little or no financial impact on our businesses and residents by allowing our ongoing clean energy agenda to count for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions,” Glick said.

Gov. Abercrombie added:  “Hawaii is working with the Obama Administration to align our state’s commitment to go beyond 40 percent renewable energy in the electrical power sector by 2030 and our federal and state policies to reduce our carbon footprint.   As a leading test bed for clean energy, Hawaii can demonstrate to the world how to stimulate our economy while improving the environment for future generations.”

The new EPA rules allow states to employ a range of measures to meet carbon emission targets, including renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. In Hawaii, numerous such initiatives are underway in the power generation sector under the umbrella of the HCEI.

Ongoing PUC dockets include those relating to energy efficiency portfolio standards, requests for proposals for renewable energy production, and interconnection matters. In addition, the PUC and DBEDT are working with the Hawaiian Electric Companies to better align the utility’s business model with consumer interests and the state’s public policy’s goals.

Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia Depart Hilo Bay for Worldwide Voyage

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today commented on the departure of voyaging canoes Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia, as crew members embark on the first leg of their 36-month worldwide voyage.

Hokulea in Radio Bay

Hokulea in Radio Bay

Gov. Abercrombie stated:

“We congratulate Hōkūle‘a, Hikianalia and crew members for today’s successful launch and wish them fair winds and following seas throughout their Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage. This journey is living proof that the ocean connects us rather than divides us and it is our hope that people around the globe take this as an opportunity to unite in the spirit of aloha and mālama honua.”

Special Message from Governor Neil Abercrombie In Recognition of 9th Annual Big Island Film Festival

Governor Neil Abercrombie has this special message for filmmakers, sponsors, guests and patrons of the 9th Annual Big Island Film Festival that began last night at the Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii.
Abercrombie BIFF Recognition

Tonight’s Free Family Films at The Shops at Mauna Lani are: Poison Apple, Shadow, and Sophia Grace & Rosie’s Royal Adventure (with special permission from Warner Bros.)

The Festival Films at the Fairmont Orchid Plantation estate begin at 7:30 with screenings of Day For Night, The New Neighbor and The Haumana. At 9:30 the films Solace, If We Were Adults, and Druid Peak will be shown.

Festival films are $16 or $12 Kama’aina rate. Late films only are $7.50.   Upgraded seating is available for an additional $10, space available only.

There will be concessions available.

Governor Launches Domestic Worker Public Education Campaign

The Abercrombie Administration yesterday launched a multilingual public education campaign about a new law that establishes long-overdue equity for Hawaii’s domestic workers.

Domestic Workers

Signed by Gov. Abercrombie last year, Act 248, Session Laws of Hawaii 2013, provides for minimum wage, overtime, discrimination, and harassment protections for domestic workers. Prior to Act 248, domestic workers were excluded from these basic protections of state wage, hour, and fair employment laws afforded to others.

“Hawaii is the second state to pass laws that protect domestic workers from discrimination at work and provide overtime and minimum wage protections that all workers deserve,” said Gov. Abercrombie. “The goal of the ‘Domestic Workers Have Rights’ public education campaign is to raise awareness because these new protections are meaningless if workers and their employers do not know about them.”

“This education campaign is about peace and justice in the home,” said Dr. Nancie Caraway, First Lady of the State of Hawaii and chair of the Domestic Workers Have Rights Working Group. “It’s about showing the humanity of a long devalued kind of work.”

Mila Kaahanui, executive director of the Office of Community Services (OCS), added: “Workers protected under this law include housekeepers, childcare workers, caretakers, maids, and gardeners among others that work in the home of their employers. These workers are often hidden from view and many may have limited English proficiency.”

The Domestic Workers Have Rights campaign has created informational material in 10 different languages and English. The campaign will reach out into the community through OCS’s Immigrant Resource Centers on Kauai, Oahu and Hawaii. Educational material will also be posted on TheBus, available on the DLIR website, and disseminated through community organizations. In addition, complementary radio spots will begin running on select radio stations later this month.

For more information about the new laws and the Domestic Workers Have Right campaign, visit: http://labor.hawaii.gov/domestic-workers-rights/

Governor Releases $1.5 Million for Kahilu Theatre Improvements

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of $1.5 million in capital improvement grant funds for the Kahilu Theatre Foundation (KTF) on Hawaii Island.

The Kahilu Theatre photo by Jane Sibbett

The Kahilu Theatre photo by Jane Sibbett

Identified by the state Legislature, these funds will finance design and construction costs for improvements at the 33-year-old Kahilu Theatre in Waimea.

“The Kahilu Theatre has not had significant upgrades or repairs since it was built in 1981,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “This grant will fully fund much-needed improvements at the facility, reducing its operating costs in the future and strengthening the financial sustainability of this artistic and educational venue for many Big Island communities.”

This project will repair or replace the 20,000-square-foot building’s roof, stage and auditorium curtains and scrim, auditorium seats, steps leading to the stage, and stairways and hand railings leading to the front entrance. In addition, the electrical system, sound system and Kohala-side restrooms will be upgraded at the 490-seat theatre. A new emergency generator will also be installed. Local contractors will be used for these projects and the majority of construction is planned for this summer. Jess Turnbull of Construction Dynamics has been hired as Project Manager, and that Rhoady Lee Architecture and Design has been engaged as lead architect.

Kahilu Theatre Foundation Staff, left to right: Tim Bostock, Managing and Artistic Director, Dayva Keolanui, Director of Marketing and Development, Molly Hui, Box Office Manager, Mimi Kerley, Board President, Alva Kamalani, Operations Director, Paul Buckley, Technical Director.  (Photo by Jane Sibbett)

Kahilu Theatre Foundation Staff, left to right: Tim Bostock, Managing and Artistic Director, Dayva Keolanui, Director of Marketing and Development, Molly Hui, Box Office Manager, Mimi Kerley, Board President, Alva Kamalani, Operations Director, Paul Buckley, Technical Director. (Photo by Jane Sibbett)

Incorporated in 1980 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, KTF is responsible for the management and operations of Kahilu Theatre. The mission of KTF is making a place where community, creativity and inspiration thrive. The facility presents a wide array of performances and events, including music, dance, drama, film and visual arts. The theatre will present a full 2014-2015 season, launching this July, which includes free public events. Various arts education programs for youth at KTF impact over 8,000 students each year.

“These improvements would not be possible without the committed support of our community, who wrote over 200 letters to the legislature, and the determination of Senator Malama Solomon. Kahilu belongs to the people of Waimea; with this grant we can look after the Theatre for present and future generations. We look forward to presenting an exciting 2014-2015 season under a roof with no leaks!” said Tim Bostock, Managing and Artistic Director, Kahilu Theatre Foundation

KTF has a 20-year lease for land and building from Parker Ranch. Kahilu Theatre was founded by Parker Ranch air Richard Smart, but is not funded by the Ranch.  Dutch Kuyper, President and CEO of Parker Ranch, Inc. commented “We are grateful for the grant from the State of Hawaii.  We very much look forward to many residents and neighbors rediscovering the Kahilu Theatre as a cultural, educational and entertainment centerpiece of Waimea town.”

 

Governor Abercrombie Releases $618,000 for New Volcano School of Arts & Sciences Campus

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of $618,000 in capital improvement grant funds for the Friends of the Volcano School of Arts & Sciences on Hawaii Island.

Volcano School Of Arts and Sciences

Volcano School Of Arts and Sciences

Identified by the state Legislature, these funds will finance the planning and design needed to construct a new campus for the Volcano School of Arts & Sciences (VSAS) in Volcano Village. The campus will be built on a 3.5-acre site at the historic Keakealani School, which VSAS is currently leasing from the state Department of Education for its grade 5-8 classes.

“When this project is complete, the Volcano community will finally have a permanent education facility at a consolidated public charter school,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “In the meantime, this grant will generate immediate employment opportunities on the Big Island.”

This project will allow VSAS to consolidate its grade K-4 classes (currently located on Old Volcano Road) with its grade 5-8 classes so the school’s students will be together on one campus. The nonprofit Friends of the Volcano School of Arts & Sciences is expected to fund the construction phase of the project privately through donations, foundation grants, loans and possible federal assistance.

Governor Abercrombie Signs Bill Making Kindergarten Mandatory for All 5 Year Olds

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed Senate Bill 2768 (Act 76), a measure that makes kindergarten mandatory for children who will be at least 5 years of age on or before July 31 of the school year, unless otherwise exempt.

SB2768 Signing Ceremony

SB2768 Signing Ceremony

“Mandatory kindergarten builds on this administration’s early childhood education initiative by providing continuity in a child’s learning experience,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “This legislation assists in implementation of Common Core State Standards designed for kindergarten to grade 12, and places our students on the path to success in today’s global marketplace.”

“This bill aligns with the Department of Education goals and supports our young children so they may be successful learners,” stated Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.

“Now that Hawaii has finally joined the vast majority of states that have a state-funded prekindergarten, it is critical that kindergarten be seen as the logical and required next step,” said state Executive Office on Early Learning Director GG Weisenfeld. “With the rigors of the Common Core State Standards that are in place starting in kindergarten, we have to ensure our children get off to a good start, and this will really help every child to be successful.”

State Senate Education Committee Chair Sen. Jill Tokuda said, “High-quality kindergarten establishes a firm foundation for a child’s educational future, helping to ensure growth and success as they move forward. Establishing mandatory kindergarten is an important part of creating our early learning system, especially as we call upon students to develop deeper levels of understanding through the Common Core.”

“There is no greater core function of government than providing our children the opportunity to succeed in life through public education,” House Education Committee Chair Rep. Roy Takumi said. “Mandatory kindergarten is a key part of this effort and a timely one at that. Until now, there has not been a need to require all families to enroll their children in kindergarten. But as we establish the first foundations of Hawaii’s early learning system, we need this important support to bridge the way for our children to succeed from prekindergarten throughout their school careers.”

Act 76 will take effect by the upcoming 2014-2015 school year. It amends the Hawaii Revised Statutes, Section 302A-411 and 302A-1132, which lists exemptions from mandatory attendance.