Star-Advertiser Poll Confirms that Majority Oppose Federal Involvement in Native Hawaiian Recognition

A new online poll by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser confirms that despite continued support from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, a significant majority are opposed to the federal government’s involvement in the creation of a Native Hawaiian government.

Advertiser PollThe poll, which appeared on the Star-Advertiser website as a daily poll question for July 15, 2014, asked, “Should the U.S. Department of Interior keep open the process for federal recognition of Native Hawaiians?” An overwhelming 67% of those responding voted “No,” while only 33% supported the continuation of the DOI’s efforts.

In light of the strong opposition voiced at the recent DOI hearings, these results were not a surprise. Support for the nation-building process has waned over the years, but the recent efforts from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the federal response from the Department of the Interior have met with increasing criticism. Many Hawaiian citizens are concerned to see the nation-building process pursued so vigorously despite the many questions that have been raised about it.

“The people of Hawaii have put up a giant flashing ‘Stop’ sign for OHA and the federal government to see” stated Keli’i Akina, Ph.D., President of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. “In every possible venue they are expressing opposition to the state’s race-based nation-building program.   The question shouldn’t be whether the people support a Native Hawaiian government. The question should be whether the State will finally listen to the voice of the people and abandon this wasteful and divisive effort.”

“After the expenditure of millions of dollars and considerable influence, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has still failed to convince the People of the merit of its nation-building effort,” continued Dr. Akina. “How much more will they throw away on this process? These resources could be better spent helping the people of Hawaii in real and substantial ways such as improving educational achievement or job training. Let us hope that OHA finally hears what the citizens of Hawaii have been trying so hard to tell them–it’s time to get out of the nation-building business.”

Commentary – League of Women Voters on Passage of Same-Day Voter Registration Bill

The League of Women Voters-Hawaii applauds the passage of HB 2590, Relating to Elections, known as the same-day voter registration bill, which was signed into law by Governor Neil Abercrombie today.

HB2590HB 2590 permits voter registration at absentee walk-in voting centers in 2016, and voter registration on Election Day at local precinct polling sites in 2018. These changes will make it more convenient to register to vote in Hawaii.

“Governor Abercrombie and the 2014 Legislature are to be congratulated for making voting in Hawaii more accessible to our citizens. By this action, voters in Hawaii will be able to go to the polls in increasing numbers, thus changing the pattern of low voter turnout of recent years,” stated League President Ann Shaver. “Experience has shown that same-day voter registration is also effective in getting younger voters to the polls.”

The League of Women Voters Hawaii has spent more than a decade fighting to improve voter turnout through same-day voter registration. Members have testified, lobbied legislators, and worked to educate the public about the importance of same-day voter registration in increasing voter turnout. The League worked for successful passage of HB 2590 in close collaboration with other civic groups, such as Common Cause Hawaii, and the bill’s primary sponsor, Representative Kaniela Ing.

“Representative Ing’s leadership on this issue was key to the bill’s passage, and we are pleased that we had such a strong ally in the struggle to make voter registration more accessible in our state,” said Shaver.

Several states already permit same-day voter registration, including Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Wyoming, as well as the District of Columbia.

Statement By Admiral Harry Harris Jr., On Opening of RIMPAC

Aloha! Welcome everyone to the Rim of the Pacific exercise. It’s a great day to look across Pearl Harbor and see so many international ships berthed here for RIMPAC 2014. I want to personally welcome every Sailor, Marine, Airman, Soldier and Coastguardsman from all 22 participating nations and from the six observer nations – not only here in Hawaii, but also to the joint forces operating together in Southern California. You may not realize this, but the Southern California RIMPAC phase includes more than 1,000 personnel and seven ships from nine countries.

RIMPAC Line Up

As the world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps our armed forces increase transparency and foster the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring security on the world’s oceans. Everyone standing here with me today recognizes how valuable a cooperative approach can be to sharing the workload and leveraging unique national capabilities.

Today, maritime cooperation is more vital than ever before. For centuries, the world’s oceans kept us apart, but in this increasingly globalized world, they are the pathways that bring us together.

Freedom of the seas is the minimum condition necessary for global prosperity and trade to flourish. This applies to the United States, a maritime nation and a Pacific nation, and it applies to each of the countries participating in RIMPAC.

As the world’s economic center of gravity shifts rapidly toward the Indo-Asia-Pacific, we also note the increasing risks in the region – some man-made, some natural – but all capable of disrupting stability and impacting our collective prosperity. We can all appreciate that conflict and crisis are bad for business. I think it’s important to note that by simply attending RIMPAC, every nation here is making the bold statement that we must improve multinational military cooperation despite disagreements. We can agree to disagree without being disagreeable.

Capable maritime forces enhance stability, security, prosperity and peace around the world, especially in an ocean as vast as the Pacific. The 22 nations who sent forces to RIMPAC have interests in the Pacific, and they know that this exercise will help them improve their capability to operate with each other and contribute to multilateral efforts when needed.

Mutual trust and open lines of communication are critical, but are very challenging to build. That’s why multilateral exercises like RIMPAC are so important. It helps us work together effectively in real world events like the recent search for Malaysia Airliner MH370, or in responding to the devastating typhoon that hit our friends in the Philippines last November. Friends help friends, and often, the fastest response to crisis comes from the sea.

Capable maritime forces matter to all nations.

And they matter to the United States, which is conducting a whole-of-government strategic rebalance to the Pacific. The rebalance is based on a strategy of cooperation and collaboration, and that’s why it is imperative that we work together to build trust and confidence to solve our collective maritime challenges. When great nations work together, we can accomplish great things.

Collaboration and cooperation, that’s why we are here to learn together, operate together and sail together.

There are three great ships that sail on the high seas – friendship, partnership and leadership – all three are exemplified at RIMPAC. Great leadership is also something I get every day from our U.S. Third Fleet commander, Vice Adm. Kenny Floyd, who will serve as the Combined Task Force commander during this exercise.

Adm. Harris is commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Commentary – Stene on Critical Hawaii Highway Projects That are Stalled

I’m very disappointed by the lack of progress on two important (and stalled) Big Island transportation improvements; the second phase of the Queen Kaahumanu Highway  widening and final east side Daniel K. Inouye Highway phase-SR200(3).

These projects will help the Big Island’s struggling construction industry, but neither has started yet. The second phase of the Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening was supposed to start in 2008 and be completed by 2010. However, it’s been held up for the past six years because of two bid protests and a last minute Section 106 consultation process, which is still ongoing with no end in sight.

Mrs. Irene Inouye, Governor Neil Abercrombie and Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi dedicate the former Saddle Road as the Daniel K. Inouye Highway.

Mrs. Irene Inouye, Governor Neil Abercrombie and Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi
dedicate the former Saddle Road as the Daniel K. Inouye Highway.

The final east side Daniel K. Inouye Highway phase, on the other hand, is being held up by a glacial right of way acquisition process. The Hawaii Department of Transportation has acquired the necessary land for this project from twelve out fifteen landowners. The acquisition of the right of way from the remaining three landowners won’t be completed
until September 2015.

Both of these critical highway projects will improve highway safety and provide much-needed jobs and economic stimulus.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

UH Hilo Students Want Answers on UHHSA Senate Meeting

Aloha UH Hilo ​A​dministrators,

​We have ​attended​ and/or watched the Youtube video on​  the so called ‘UHHSA Senate meeting’ in Campus Center ​last Friday May 9th ​where Campus Center Director Ellen Kusano announced the unofficial election results.

We have many questions we would like to address to UH Hilo:

1) Ellen Kusano sent out an email saying:

Please come to an UHHSA Senate meeting tonight, in Campus Center, 2nd floor lobby at 5:30pm.

1a) how could there be an “UHHSA Senate Meeting” when the new UHHSA was supposed to take office on May 1, 2014?

1b) was this an official UHHSA Senate meeting?

2) We were told by Dr. Oaks in an email  (see #2 below) that: Only myself, Mr. Walker, and possibly Interim VC Makuakane-Lundin will have access to the votes. The access we have in VCSA does not allow us to change anything only to view. I will be responsible for communicating the results.

2a) Why were the ​ ‘new election’​ unofficial election results communicated by Campus Center Director Ellen Kusano?

2b) Wasn’t the director of student affairs responsible for the UHHSA ‘new election’ process?

2​c​) We communicated to UH Hilo our concerns of having Ellen Kusano, after the numerous complaints of her mishandling of the first 2014 UHHSA election, involved in the ‘new election.’ Why was she involved in the process?

​2d) Why wasn’t Kelly Oaks or Gail Makuakane-Lundin present when the ‘new election’ unofficial election results were read​?

3) on the UH Hilo website “www.hilo.hawaii.edu/vote as of 7:17pm Friday, May 10th that ‘results will be announced by the Dean of Students’

3a) again, why were the results announced by Campus Center Ellen Kusan​o?​

4) UH Hilo students have yet to receive any information about the 1st UHHSA election​ vote counting process​. Many of us have sent in complaints and questions as to the handling of the 1st election by Ellen Kusano and the UHHSA Election Committee. There has been no response other than the election was ‘nullified.’ Mrs. Kusano said prior to releasing the results said that:

​There were 417 ballots cast in the first election, ​141 invalid ballots (1:45 on youtube video)

She also referenced “We don’t have the number of Senator at Large votes but it was more that it was in the first election.” (video 5:05) ​

Will there be an investigation into the botched election handling? ​

UH Hilo students have yet to receive any information about the 1st UHHSA election. Many of us have sent in complaints and questions as to the handling of the 1st election by Ellen Kusano and the UHHSA Election Committee. There has been no response other than the election was ‘nullified.’

4b​)​Since it is evident that Ellen Kusano and likely that other former election officials have handled the original ballots, we demand that the original ballot results be released to the public; and our previous list of questions regarding the handling of the original ballots be answered.​

5) Ellen Kusano referenced that she will be suggesting that an interim senate come together while the election complaint hearings are being conducted over the next 2 weeks.

5a) Will Mrs. Kusano be acting as faculty adviser once again for UHHSA?​

​6​) We would like to request all available information as to how the 2nd electronic UHHSA election was conducted.

​6a) ​What program was used?

​6b) Is there a paper trail?

​6c) ​What security measures were utilized?

​6d) How can we be assured no questionable activity on behalf of UH Hilo administrators was taking place similar to the first UHHSA election?

We feel like we have been discriminated against and treated unfairly by Ellen Kusano, the UHHSA Election Committee, and UH Hilo. ​We, again, request an investigation into the handling of the first botched election process and for the results of that election. We respectfully request that Campus Center Ellen Kusano not be involved in the organization or structure of UHHSA due to her mishandling of the last election.

Mahalo for addressing our concerns,

These students have filed an ethics complaint against the UH Hilo Election Committee.

These students have filed an ethics complaint against the UH Hilo Election Committee.

Glenn Aanstoos          Ryu Kakazu
Josh Boranian             Chantelle Mashreghy
Jarod Campbell           Ardena Saarinen

 

Commentary – A Giant Tree Almost Killed Me Last Night on HWY 132

I received the following commentary:

Dear Damon,

I really had a close call last night.

Tree Smash

Was driving down on my way home in Kapoho through the tree tunnel by Lava Tree state park. I heard a thunderous crack and saw for a split second a giant branch on it way down directly in front of me…not sure if I hit it first or it hit the road first but I hit it hard.

Tree Smash 2

Airbags went off and smoke filled the cabin…when I came to I was choking from the airbag smoke I got out from the car, dazed. The occupants from the car behind me asked if I was OK and said that they saw the tree come down and I was lucky to be alive…Police said I was lucky to be alive as well.

The force was enough to crack the block on the engine and spray oil and engine parts on the road.

Tree Smash 3I drive through that tree tunnel of old junk albizias every day… So do my loved ones and friends. Almost every local resident has a story of branches of all sizes down in the road and near misses.

I ask why does the county allow such a persistent and inevitable threat to exist? All one has to do is look up at the mass of giant tangled limbs and it not hard to see the gravity of the situation.

Who’s next? Will they be lucky like me? Only sore, bruised and shaken or will they be more gravely injured? 

I am a farmer by trade and don’t think I will be picking up any baskets of ginger for a while.

I will be writing letters to the County of Hawaii public works, road maintenance division as well as our council members asking the same questions above.

Tree Smash 4

In a perfect world my sincere story would be enough to get them moving to take care of this obvious problem, however If you would like to share my story on your blog it may help shine a light on this issue.

Thank you kindly,

Daniel Kelly

Teacher Allegedly Assaults Students at Big Island Charter School

Last night at Hawaii Public Charter School Hawaii Academy of Arts and Sciences (HAAS) a bombshell was dropped on parents, faculty and community members at their local school board meeting as allegations of physical and emotional abuse were told by parents of students attending the school.

Some members of the HAAS School board prepare for the meeting.

Some members of the HAAS School board prepare for the meeting.

Many folks submitted written testimony that was not read at this meeting however a few people read testimony that they had previously prepared while others spoke from their heart about the problems that they were having with the administration at the school and some folks felt that there was a cover up going on and they wanted answers.

Before the meeting began.

Before the meeting began

Puna resident and parent David Marquis started off the testimony and was so upset by the end of the night after hearing others testimony… he went out and protested the school today:

David Marquis shows his disgust with the school and the administration

David Marquis shows his disgust with the school and the administration

Here are a few of the testimonies that were read via verbatim:

Aloha,

I am Dan Biegler, parent of a 4th grader at Mana’olana. I just wanted to give you some background/demographics of the 4th grade classroom at Mana’olana. This 4th grade started with 18 students 7 of which are children of employees at HAAS. 5 students have dropped out since the incidents and 2 of those 5 being children of HAAS employees.

The reason I am coming forward is for the children and parents who may go through this in the future and for those parents and children who are or were enrolled in the 4th grade at Mana’olana. This is why I asked those questions to the board in a previous email.

  1. Would you as parents want to know if there was any kind of abuse going on in your child’s classroom?
  2. Would you as parents want to know if your child has seen any kind of abuse in their classroom?
  3. Would you as a parent want to know if your child was questioned by a school counselor regarding abuse going on in the classroom?

If your answer is yes, then why haven’t the parents of 4th grade Mana’olana been granted these rights?   We have not gotten any information regarding what is happening in the classroom other than letters brought home by students stating “There will be a long term sub till the end of the school year”.

Here is a rough timeline of the incidents at Mana’olana 4th grade:

  • First Semester – The teacher was allowing 10 year old student to do their own lunch/recess supervision. This was causing major conflict between classmates.
  • Teacher showed video of Central Africa current events to show kids how good they have it here. “Dead Africans being loaded into the truck.” Teachers response to my inquiries were “I known the students have seen worse” How dare she make judgements on what 10 year olds have or have not seen.       Isn’t that what parents decide, not teachers.
  • Teacher has children sit on hands to keep them to themselves or to not work ahead. If students took their hands out from underneath them the teacher would say “Keep your hands under you, or I will cut them off” This was repeated many times.
  • The incidents listed below were reported on Wed. January 29th after school. Teacher duct taped another students mouth because he was “whining, I don’t get it” Teacher flicked students ears and hit students in the back of the head.
  • Thursday Jan. 30th – Teacher was allowed to go back into the classroom and work an entire day.
  • Friday Jan. 31 – Teacher on admin. Leave.
  • Three letters go home to parents stating that there will be a long term sub. No other information shared or given to parents.
  • April 9 215. Parent meeting announcement sent home with children. Parent meeting held. 6 parents were present out of 18. No new information was given. I am guessing the purpose of the meeting was to show how good the long term sub was going to be. Administration and counselor sit in the back of the room letting the sub speak almost the entire time. Principal standing in the open door repeating “I’m sorry I have to leave, I have a very important meeting to attend” Three times the sub tried to answer questions for the admin. Admin and counselor get into a dispute. I felt shame and embarrassment for being associated with HAAS. In the meeting, principal states that the long term sub and him had just been introduced to each other the week before at the school wide meeting on April 2nd.
  • At this April 2nd meeting long term sub asks me, “Who should he talk to in regards to curriculum”?   I was shocked to find out that the long term sub had just met the principal April 2nd and he didn’t know who to talk to in regards of 4th grade curriculum two months after the removal of the teacher.
  • May 2nd – HAAS Ho’olaue’a. I see the fired Mana’olana teacher, sitting with HAAS Administrators and teachers enjoying the school function, making contact with her former students. What message does this send the kids, adults, teachers and community?
  • May 5th – A teacher asks me “Why is the fired 4th grade teacher contacting me about curriculum and questionnaires? The teacher asks “If she is back working with HAAS, why doesn’t she take the middle school opening next year?”

So here I am asking about my child’s former teacher and why no information has still not been given to the 4th grade parents. I have stayed impartial and silent for too long. Now I come here for answers. How is it that a teacher gets fired and begins working with the long term sub that is replacing her, the administration that got rid of her, and coworkers that she is no longer coworkers with? Again, what message does this send to the children, parents, faculty and community? It’s ok to bully, threaten, abuse children as long they are hanai daughter to someone at school. As long as parents are kept in the dark on what goes on in the classroom.

This abusive teacher got a 3 month paid vacation, traveled to California, surfed at Pohoiki, while HAAS teachers, parents, children and the greater community has been splintered shamed, kept in the dark. If your not going to take care of your own, who will you take care of? 7 students of employees at HAAS in the 4th grade Mana’olana, 5 are left and they have all been greatly negatively affected by this teacher. They lost their fiends, their school, their trust in speaking out when wrong is being done. I am speaking for all of those families, fiends, colleagues, that are still battling the effects of this one teacher, the administration and now the board. I am also speaking for the silent majority now and in the future who will not speak out, will not be the whistleblower. I ask the board and the administration to protect ours and your children.

Mahalo

Dan Biegler

The next person to testify was Debra Isabel:

My name is Debra Isabel.

I am here to provide factual information as I have witnessed in a situation involving myself and my child that occurred here at Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science where I am uncomfortable saying that I am currently employed.  I have remained silent and entrusted HAAS to conduct a fair investigation while I paid close attention to the details as it unfolded.  It has been 98 days.  I refuse to remain silent any longer.

People want to know details about what has happened in the 4th grade class at Mana’olana.  I am at liberty to share our experience and YOU, the Governing Board and HAAS Administration have an obligation to share YOUR knowledge of the details of what took place with US.  We are concerned parents, community members, tax paying citizens, and we deserve an explanation and have a right to hear the facts so that we may make an INFORMED decision if we want HAAS to be the school of choice for OUR children!

January 29, 2014 is a day my family shall never forget.  It is the day that my 9 year old son, a 4th grade student of HAAS, along with his classmate found the courage to speak out about the torturous behavior they were being subjected to by their teacher since the start of the school year.  Imagine having your child report to you that he was hit from the back by his teacher with a forceful open hand slap to the back of his head in the area that he wears his hearing aids; unprovoked, and completely unprepared.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, imagine hearing that the teacher of this class used duct tape over my child’s mouth as a means to shut him up because he needed help and used a whiny voice to say “I don’t get it”.  It was also the day we realized that the recent changes we were witnessing in my child was a direct result of what he was experiencing at school.  What once was my outgoing, independent, carefree child, was slowly turning in to my worried, needy, scared, angry child.  Having had extremely nurturing and caring teachers in the past, he knew early on that this new teacher was nothing like the others.  In my son’s words, she was “mean” and a “bully.”

This teacher, when concerns were brought to her attention by parents, responded harshly stating that we needed to trust her judgments and actions as a teacher because her possession of a Masters Degree in Education from UCLA somehow made her think that was her ticket to do as she pleased; to inflict physical harm and mentally humiliate and emotionally abuse the students that were assigned to her.

It’s amazing that someone so educated believed that she was invincible.  Does she not recognize that a person with a UCLA degree faces the same legal punishment as a homeless person living on the streets? This teacher was also the mentor and responsible for a Student Teacher studying to become a teacher as well an Aide assigned to that classroom.  Imagine the role modeling that was taking place with this teacher as their guide.  To this teacher, these may have been just students; mere puppets in training. To me, this was my child, the son that we waited 7 years for, the person that completed our family, the youngest grandchild of my parents, our prized possession.  How dare she do that to MY child!

I reported this incident to the School Director immediately after finding out about it on January 29, 2014.  As an educator myself, I recall having attended a workshop being presented by Child Welfare Services here at HAAS where we were trained as mandated reporters to treat incidents of violence seriously.   Having reported to administration that my child and at least one other student was physically and mentally abused by their teacher, I expected this act of violence to be treated seriously.  Instead of a call being placed to the Police, a call was placed to the Ohana Director to handle the situation.

I knew then and there that my report was not being handled properly or taken seriously.  I asked for the assistance of the Campus Safety & Security person who happens to be my relative, a person I know is professionally trained to handle situations like this.  It was at that time that protocol began to take place. My child, with my permission was interviewed providing firsthand information of what he experienced.  Following my child’s interview, I asked my son to hit me exactly like he had recently been hit.  He refused at first saying that he was afraid he would hurt me or get in to trouble.  When I insisted that he proceed, he apologized and hit me with such great force that my head jerked.

Not only was I stunned, I was also in a bit of pain.  This teacher, didn’t pat my son on the head, she hit him with the intent of hurting him! At that moment, I knew administration wasn’t going to do it, so I chose to file a police report and press criminal charges on this teacher myself. The school failed to follow protocol.  They failed to protect my child!  My child complained of headaches and pain in the area that he was hit.  He was seen by his pediatrician the next morning and continues to have recurring headaches.  My son expressed that he was afraid to return to school because the teacher was still there along with the student teacher and the aide assigned to the class.

The following day, with knowledge of these allegations, the school allowed the teacher to return to the classroom.  The school failed to protect the rest of the children in that class! According to administration, that same day the school also told the Safety & Security person that he could no longer perform his job.  They claimed it was a conflict because he was related to my child.  Good and fine.  Instead, they assigned the school counselor, a personal friend of the teacher, to continue the investigation.  Was that not a conflict as well? A person with no education and experience to perform such a task.

I know this for a fact because his first order of business was to call my home attempting to contact my husband.  When my husband was able to speak to him, he told my husband that his purpose for calling was to get his “side of the story”, as if our stories differed.

A week had passed since reporting and there was no communication from the school.  My husband and I requested a meeting with Admin. to get an update on the investigation.  We were told that the teacher had been placed on leave with pay while they continued to investigate.  This meant that she was not allowed on property during this time.  However, the following day my husband happened to drive through the school parking lot and witnessed this teacher in plain view of everyone on campus talking in a carefree manner with the school counselor.

We had been deceived.  According to administration, the school counselor conducted a thorough investigation in to the facts of my child’s allegations by personally interviewing the students at Mana‘olana.  Interesting enough, the school counselor never bothered to interview my son to complete his so-called “thorough“ investigation.

Through the police investigation, information was revealed to me that validated my decision to proceed with criminal charges.  This teacher openly admitted to the School Director and other school personnel that she hit and flicked students and that she threw things at them.  She also admitted to duct taping my son and claimed that it happened so long ago that she almost forgot about it but she recalled that it was so funny. This person, who may have been deserving of the title “teacher” for the past 2 ½ years, had now earned herself the title of “self-reported perpetrator”.

As laymen, we would expect, an allegation of physical abuse accompanied by the admission of the perpetrator would constitute immediate punitive action; so why, at the time of her admission was the Police not contacted?  Was that not sufficient evidence to act upon?  Are the School Director, Ohana Director, and School Counselor exempt from mandated reporting? I know for a fact if it was a parent in this situation, police involvement would take place without hesitation.

Instead, the school’s administration underhandedly dished off that responsibility to the Governing Board, a body of people with partial, one-sided information, and opinions and theories of their own. Is this how personnel disciplinary matters are systematically handled in Charter Schools?  If so, I’d like to see a written policy where that is stated.  If not, what has the Governing Board and HAAS Administration done in the 98 days that has passed to ensure that a policy for employee infractions are clearly written and in place should this repeat itself?

I was informed a month later, by a parent of 2 children in the same class that she too had filed a report with the school counselor about similar incidents involving her children and the perpetrator just a day after my child reported being hit.  Nearly ¼ of the children in the class along with their parents had brought this to the school’s attention.  Instead of investigating the reports by 4 different students individually, they strategically combined the reports.  What did the school do?

When asked, they claim to be restricted to provide us limited information.  At one point, stating that they were in “negotiations” with the perpetrator and her union and was close to a “settlement.”  What if the tables were turned, and MY child physically abused his teacher or a classmate?  There is a clearly defined discipline policy in place called Chapter 19 whereby student consequences for various infractions are mutually understood, clearly written, lawfully supported, and most importantly, non-negotiable. So, the statements of the administration, the actions of the perpetrator and other HAAS employees closely tied to the perpetrator,  has led me to the conclusion that the self-reported perpetrator has been allowed to walk away from an incriminating situation with the consequence of paid administrative leave, the ability to “negotiate” a “settlement offer”, and the possibility to continue to repeat these horrific acts elsewhere.  What power and influence does the perpetrator have over the Governing Board and the school administration?  That is the million dollar question!

In the current school year 2013-2014 brochure explaining HAAS Ohana Programs for Grades K-8 (hold up copy) the following statement appears “Our mission at HAAS is to provide every student an education where learning needs are met by implementing flexible and effective teaching strategies which target the full range of learning styles.”  Unless you consider physical and emotion abuse a “flexible and effective teaching strategy”, I say this statement is FALSE!  Perhaps that is why at an April 2nd Faculty Meeting, before the end of the current school year, the mission of HAAS suddenly changed and any mention of teaching strategies or learning styles conveniently disappeared.

Who was in the leadership position to facilitate that happening at this particular Faculty Meeting?  The hanai relative and mentor(as she refers to herself ) of the self-reported perpetrator!  How’s that for a conflict of interest?! Immediately after the school’s newly adopted vision was created, the change was made to the school’s website.  If the perpetrator has been terminated or removed from her position as a teacher, then why hasn’t THAT change also been made to the school’s website? WHY is the perpetrator being allowed to contact other Staff members about curriculum?  WHY was the perpetrator allowed to attend the Ho’olaule’a where confirmed victims were present, and in the company of HAAS administration and her hanai relative just 6 days ago with absolutely NO reservation about being there full well knowing that a Temporary Restraining Order and a supposed “agreement“ with the school was in place and she was not supposed to be there?

Is it because the school and the Governing Board influenced by people with a conflict of interest continue to keep this perpetrator on the school’s payroll?  Isn‘t that information that we should have access to?

In April, at a Parent Meeting where myself and another reporting parent was mysteriously omitted an invitation to attend, the School Director stated that the “threat” would not be returning to the classroom and that we should “imua”, move forward.  How is that possible when shortly after that when asked what type of counseling service was provided to students involved, the School Counselor stated that he was told by Administration not to discuss the matter with the students?

Because of the school personnel’s inability to conduct a thorough, impartial investigation, their inability to enforce an agreement made with the perpetrator to refrain from being in the presence of victims and on the campus of HAAS sites, this has created a hostile work environment for me as an employee of HAAS.  I do not understand that the stated vision of the Board of Education is : “Hawaii’s Public Schools are institutions of learning that parents want their children to attend and students want to attend.  All schools, regardless of size, are safe, nurturing learning communities where members work together and all students achieve high academic standards and become contributing members of society” yet the Governing Board along with HAAS Administration has chosen to turn the other cheek with knowledge of an admission by an employee to committing illegal acts of violence that placed children in an unsafe, militant environment where the type of learning taking place was a lesson in “do as I say, or get hit, flicked, taped or things thrown at you”.

This is WRONG!  As responsible adults we teach our children to report any instances of illegal or inappropriate behavior they have witnessed or experienced.  Numerous children did exactly that.  What did the school with the Board of Education and the Governing Board as their advisors do to live up to their vision statement?  They sided with the perpetrator and left our children with no choice but to lose trust in the people that are paid to nurture and educate them!
Why, as a community are we not as vocal and passionate about equal accountability for Charter Schools as we are about equal funding for Charter Schools?

Evidently, there is an attempt to cover up what has happened and it’s apparent that the perpetrator is being afforded special privileges by the school and the Governing Board.  So, one last question, what special privileges has the school and the Governing Board afforded the 4th grade students at Mana‘olana?

Debra K. Isabel

The next testimony that I was able to obtain was given by former long term Pahoa Teacher Winnie Enriquez:

My name is Winnie Enriquez

I am a retired elementary school teacher with 35 years of experience, 24 of those years were  at Pahoa Elementary School.  I enjoyed teaching and looked forward going to school all of those years because I realized the importance of my responsibility to those students who were in my classroom.  Each of them were somebody’s child, and therefore, I treated each of them as my own, regardless of their academic level.

The students were my number 1 priority, and it was my responsibility to meet the needs of each individual, make school a happy and pleasant place for learning, become someone they could trust, and provide a safe environment.  Isn’t this what is expected of each teacher?

I am here this evening to speak on behalf of my grandson who was physically and verbally abused by his teacher on several occasions, ONE,in whom we entrusted to enhance his learning ONE, who was trusted to treat each student equally, and ONE to provide a safe learning environment for the students.

Instead, he was humiliated in front of his classmates and other adults present in the classroom that did not take action on behalf of this child, my grandson.  Why was nothing done with these individuals?  Why were they still allowed to continue working in the classroom as if nothing happened?  These acts committed by the teacher has contributed to my grandson’s negative perspective of school to the point where he HATES school.  He HATES SCHOOL!!!!!!! No student should ever HATE school because of a teacher’s willingness to place a student in an unsafe and dangerous environment. As a grandmother, I have seen how my grandson’s demeanor towards school has changed. His level of self-confidence has decreased, he is  afraid to return to school, and he has lost trust in educators that were supposed to care and educate him.

I had put my trust in the administration and the school board of the school to take proper action and act accordingly on  behalf of students who were abused under the care of this teacher,but little has been done.

As an experienced educator with the Department of Education, I am assuming that this teacher was terminated and that her inappropriate behavior has been added to her personnel file. If this not the case, I STRONGLY request  that this teacher be terminated IMMEDIATELY and that this is reported so she is NOT allowed to continue to abuse children and have them suffer emotionally and psychologically for who knows how long. I am witnessing the effects it is causing on my grandson, somebody’s child.

EVERY student should be treated equally in the classroom and be provided with the opportunity to learn in a safe environment. These rules were broken and my trust in this school and the school board has been lost.

HAAS stands for Hawaii Academy of Arts and Sciences.  However, to me, HAAS now stands for Hawaii Academy Abuses Students!!!!!!!

Winnie Enriquez

Other parents spoke up about their kids being abused at the school as well. I wasn’t able to record the meeting because the board stated that no photography or videotaping the meeting was allowed.

I hope a thorough investigation is done by the Hawaii Department of Education and I hope that at some point I will be free to be able to release the teachers name that is allegedly involved in this.

For now… she is off the job without pay.

Serial Predator Catholic Cleric Allegedly Now Lives in Hawaii

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 8627688,SNAPdorris@gmail.com)

A Christian brother, who is accused of molesting dozens of children across the country, is allegedly living in Hawaii. We hope church officials will act responsibly and warn unsuspecting families about this dangerous man.

http://www.seattleweekly.com/home/952352-129/the-final-final-trial-of-edward

Edward Courtney

Edward Courtney

Edward Courtney joined the Christian Brothers of Ireland in 1957 and according to church records immediately started to prey on young boys. That was in New York. Since then he has been a teacher and coach at roughly 10 different schools – Catholic and public – across the US, including IL, MI, WA, and NV.

Transferring predator clergy is one of the most callous and dangerous actions church officials can take. Because of these heartless and irresponsible officials dozens of children were molested. 50 victims of Br. Courtney have come forward; we suspect there are many more suffering in silence and self blame. We urge church officials in Hawaii to warn their flock about Br. Courtney.

We hope anyone who is suffering in silence will speak up and get help. We hope anyone who saw or suspects anything will report to law enforcement. And we hope church officials, in all the places Courtney worked, will publicly disclose his whereabouts, work history and photo.

Open Letter to UH Hilo Regarding the UH Hilo Student Government Election and Election Process

Aloha Dr. Oaks and UH Hilo,

This is an open letter to UH Hilo regarding the UH Hilo student government election and election process. We have not had a clear response from UH Hilo as to why the past election results were ‘nullified.’ We contest that decision and call for the past election results to be made public. We will sign the necessary paperwork to participate in the upcoming ‘new election,’ but we do this in protest.

​We are ​​ greatly concerned as to the way this ‘new election’ is already being handled by UH Hilo staff. Please see the individual complaint made by previously disqualified student candidate Ardena Saarinen below.

We have requested that the ‘new election’ will be fair and transparent. Dr. Oaks responded to our requests as to the handling of the ‘new election’ by saying,

Our campus IT person, Mr. Sunny Walker, has set up a secure system with firewalls and also included measures to protect against hacking and fraud. Only myself, Mr. Walker, and possibly Interim VC Makuakane-Lundin will have access to the votes.

We formally request that information technology specialist, Mike Purvis, be allowed to confirm the accuracy and security of the new voting process. From the handling of the last UH Hilo student government election we do not have confidence that UH Hilo will run a fair, secure, and transparent ‘new election.’

We emailed you a list of questions on April 30, 2014 (attached) regarding questions we have about the last election, and the overall election process . Please answer those questions. We are paying students at UH Hilo, and we have a right to know why we were disenfranchised.

Respectfully submitted,

Disqualified UH Hilo Student Candidates:

Glenn Aanstoos          Ryu Kakazu
Josh Boranian             Chantelle Mashreghy
Jarod Campbell           Ardena Saarinen

These students have filed an ethics complaint against the UH Hilo Election Committee.

These students have filed an ethics complaint against the UH Hilo Election Committee.

Complaint from formally disqualified UH Hilo student candidate on ‘new election’ process:

On Sat, May 3, 2014 at 4:56 PM, Ardena Saarinen <ardena@hawaii.edu> wrote:

Aloha Dr. Oaks, Ms. Makuakane-Lundin, and fellow candidates,

Again I am writing out of great concern for the way this ‘new’ election is already being handled by UHH staff. My previous email to you pointed out that there was supposed to be an email sent out on behalf of UHHSA on Friday 5/2/14 with the attached fair campaign election code to be signed and returned. I did not hear back from you regarding my concern and the promised email was never sent. In fact, no candidates received an email with this promised information.

Seeing as that my confidence in, UHH, UHHSA and Ellen Kusano has already been greatly diminished, I replied to that ‘candidates meeting’ email and requested that UHHSA send me the documents ASAP so that I could sign and return them.

Ms. Kusano then sent me (and only me) all of those documents. I read them, signed the code of conduct as required, and then scanned it and emailed it back yesterday evening 5/2/14. I was then told via email by Ms. Kusano that I still needed to bring in the original copy to her office by Noon on Monday 5/5/14, or if I could not to have someone else do it.

I feel that this is completely inappropriate in today’s technological world, does campus center not utilize their own computers and printers? This is not a legal document for which an original signature would even matter. I wonder why I must spend even more time on this disaster of an election to meet the demands of

Ms. Kusano. There is nothing ANYWHERE that states I must bring in the ORIGINAL document. This, I believe is another tactic to potentially disqualify either myself or even some of the other candidates. And I absolutely feel that there in nothing FAIR or ETHICAL about the unequal treatment we (candidates) are being subjected to especially during the last week of classes and when we are ALL working on final projects and papers.

Mahalo,

Ardena Saarinen,

Student Intern – Land and Property Management, Office of Hawaiian Affairs

 

Disqualified UH Hilo Student Candidates Asking Questions Regarding Unfair Election Process

On April 24, 2014 at least 7 of the 17 student candidates for UH Hilo student government were ‘disqualified’ by the UH Hilo Student Association Election Committee consisting of Yuri Zhuraw and Joyce Pulega Auau under the advice of Campus Center Director Ellen Kusano.

These students have filed an ethics complaint against the UH Hilo Election Committee.

These students have filed an ethics complaint against the UH Hilo Election Committee.

We feel that we have been treated unfairly. We ran a campaign on a platform of reform and transparency at UH Hilo. We believe we are being falsely accused and unfairly treated as a result. Because Ellen Kusano and the Election Committee have been unwilling to answer questions previously from student candidates we will again ask these questions to UH Hilo, students, and to the public:

1)  UNFAIR PROCESS

You claim 5 of us were disqualified for violating the following the election code:

‘SECTION 3. LIMITATIONS.

Candidates and/or their supporters shall neither actively campaign nor allow campaign posters to be displayed within 200 feet of the polling area during the election on April 22 – April 23, 2014 from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm.

1a) Why don’t you give specifics as to how we violated the election code?
1b)  Why were no students running for office warned that they might be in possible violation of the election code?

2)  VOTE COUNTING/ BALLOT BOX HANDLING

The voting ended at 5pm on Wednesday.
2a) Where did the ballot box go at that time?
2b) Who had access to it?
2c) Did anybody have access to it alone?
2d) Where is it now?
2e) Have the votes been counted or handled in any other way?
2f) If the results have been counted what is the result?
2g) Were the votes counted before or after you decided to disqualify the UHHSA candidates?

3) WHO WAS DISQUALIFIED?

As far as we know, you disqualified 7 of the 17 candidates running for UHHSA office, 2 of whom were running unopposed.

3a) Was anybody else outside of the 7 people disqualified?
3b) If so for what reason?

4) UNFAIR DISQUALIFICATION

One student candidate, Ardena Saarinen, was disqualified the day after the election. She had been confirmed via email on April 10, 2014 as a candidate prior to her notice of disqualification. The Election Committee claims that was that she had not completed her initial paperwork correctly. She claims to have filled out her paperwork correctly and asked for what specific paperwork she did not fill out properly and you do not respond to her.
4a) Why are you not responding to her?
4b) Do you think it is fair to disqualify a confirmed candidate the day after the election after they were previously confirmed?

5) PRIVACY AT THE POLLING PLACE

From the UHHSA Election Code:

SECTION 2. BALLOTING.

Voting shall be done by secret ballot.

5a) In past years at UH Hilo students were given a voting booth of sorts to vote in private. Why weren’t students given a private place to vote this year?
5b) Why were election officials verbally influencing students to vote by telling the students they could not reference their private handouts?
5c) Why did election officials encourage students that they “don’t have to mark a vote for a candidate who is uncontested because it doesn’t matter?”

6) LEGITIMATE HAND OUTS

In the election packet it states,

 ‘Consider making hand outs or stickers for campaigning on the VOTING days.’

6a) Why were students being told they could not reference the handout?
6b) Why did Yuri Zhuraw physically grab the handout out of students’ hands?
6c) Why did Ellen Kusano tell Chantelle Masreghy that Chanetelle was acting ‘unethically’ by handing out handouts over 200ft from the poll on election day?
6d) Why did Ellen Kusano advise the election committee initially to tell student voters they could not use the election handout? When candidates objected to Mrs. Kusano arbitrary rule she went to the election table and said (recording available),

‘’If a student comes with one of these[candidate hand outs] please ask them if they will throw it away because it is improper in the voting area, if they don’t want to they don’t have to.’
- UHHSA Adviser Ellen Kusano

6e) Why did Ellen Kusano advise the UHHSA election committee to tell students something that is not in the election code as if it is a rule?

7) UNFAIR TREATMENT

You disqualified one person, Melinda Alles, who was running unopposed for Treasurer. Melinda was on our handout but wasn’t actively campaigning.
7a) Why did you disqualify her?

 CONCLUSION

We believe a hostile working environment is being created by Campus Center Director Ellen Kusano. We believe we are being treated unfairly by the UHHSA Election Committee consisting of Yuri Zhuraw and Joyce Pulega Auau under the advice of Ellen Kusano.

In conclusion we ask:

1) that the votes be counted fairly,
2) that the Election Committee be censured for their unfair behavior,
3) that Ellen Kusano be censured for fostering a hostile and unfair institutional environment,
4) that Ellen Kusano not be allowed to have influence over students in the future,
5) that the legitimate UHHSA be allowed to take office May 1, 2014,
6) that the new UHHSA have the right to:
a) hire a professional student government adviser,
b) hire a professional financial clerk,
c) be allowed autonomy from Ellen Kusano and Campus Center.

Respectfully submitted,

Mahalo,

Disqualified UH Hilo Student Candidates:
Glenn Aanstoos          Ryu Kakazu
Josh Boranian             Chantelle Mashreghy
Jarod Campbell           Ardena Saarinen

 

Commentary – Young and Sober Club First Meeting Pushed Back… Hit By Drunk Driver on Way to Meeting

I would like to announce the first meeting of the Young and Sober Club will be Saturday, May 3, at 3PM at Panaewa Zoo. This group is a social gathering of people ages 16-30 who are drug, alcohol and tobacco free. With all the focus on legalizing marijuana, people forget that you don’t need to be stoned to have fun. The Young and Sober Club is designed to give young people a choice.

This is the second time we are having a first meeting of the club. The last time we were going to meet, a couple of weeks ago, I was hit by a drunk driver at the Pahoa traffic light intersection. How’s that for ironies! Hit by a drunk driver on the way to a Young and Sober Club meeting!

Fortunately, nobody in my car was hurt, although there is more than $10,000 damage to my car. The drunk driver was arrested for DUI and his drunk passenger was sent to the hospital.

At first, our social club was to be for people 18-30 who want to meet other sober friends and have social gatherings where you aren’t having to say no to offers of alcohol, weed, or worse. Growing up in Hawaii is a challenge for someone who is drug and alcohol free. You can smell weed as you pass cars or go to the beach. It’s everywhere, and the pressure to use it is high. Young people need to have healthy ways of having fun, too, and meet other young people who are sober.

But we decided to lower the age to 16 since that’s the age when people start driving. Auto accidents are the number one killer of young people. And the recent accident I just had is a reminder that being sober is not only a personal decision. It affects everyone you come in contact with, especially on the road. (By the way, the guy who hit me was over 30.) Parents are welcome to attend our meetings.

We plan on meeting at different interesting places each week and do all sorts of activities, depending on the interests of the members. This is a FREE event. So come and check us out at the zoo this Saturday at 3. For more information and to find out about future meetings, call me at 443-4750.

Solomon Singer
Pahoa

Hawaii Voters May Be Able to Register to Vote on Election Day

The League of Women Voters of Hawaii is delighted that HB 2590  passed out of conference committee thus paving the way for final reading this Tuesday, April 29th. HB2590

HB 2590 will permit voter registration at absentee walk-in voting centers in 2016, and voter registration on Election Day at local precinct polling sites in 2018. These changes will make it more convenient to register to vote in Hawaii.

“The League congratulates the conferees on taking this important step to help Hawaii vote and urges the Legislature to pass this important measure in final reading,” said Piilani Kaopuiki, President.  “We fully expect our County Clerks will successfully implement these changes for the benefit of voters.  Hawaii is now poised for a turnaround in its poor election turnout of recent years.”

 

Hawaii Wildfire – Close Call! GoPro Evacuation

On a viciously windy day while out running some errands in town we get a call from our friends saying “The backyard is on fire blowing straight towards the house, we’re taking the dogs!”.
Maui Wildfire

They were not kidding. We were 10 minutes away, and by the time we got halfway home we could see the black smoke billowing from the horizon, and we got back just in time to pull our valuables out of the house before the Maui County Fire Department closed off the street completely while they battled the 2 acre blaze being fed by the constant 30mph+ winds coming from the north.

Wildfire Truck

With the assistance of many fire trucks and a helicopter bringing water from the ocean less than 1/2 mile away they were able to bring the flames under control before they got to the neighborhood. Nothing was damaged other than the house smelling like a huge campfire for a few days afterwards thanks to the quick response by fire and police units, it could have been very much worse than it was.

Special thanks to all involved with helping protect our homes, you guys rock!!

Via EpiCapture Productions

Commentary – Hawaii County Housing Violated My Right to a Fair Hearing

This is how Hawaii County Housing violated my right to a fair hearing due to notice of rent increase, by back dating my notice to 03/21/2014 and mailing it out postmarked 04/17/2014.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Not only do I not get a chance to appeal the decision but they only gave me 13 days notice of a rent increase to be effective 05/01/2014, based on the date the notice was postmarked! Is that against the law!

Melissa Morris, County of Hawaii

 

Commentary – Bureau of Interior Wants To Control New Development in North Kona

I’m deeply concerned about the actions of the National Park Service and U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These federal agencies intend to control how much new development happens in North Kona it seems.

For example, the National Park Service wants the State of Hawaii to designate the Keauhou aquifer as a water resource management area and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to assign nearly 19,000 acres of land in North Kona as a critical habitat area.  In addition, the
National Park Service was the first entity to intervene in the stalled Queen Kaahumanu Highway phase 2 widening project’s section 106 process in early 2011.

These requests, if approved, will impact all new developments in North Kona. It strips home rule authority from the County of Hawaii and adds an additional layer of bureaucracy to the entitlement process.

I firmly believe the County and State of Hawaii are in a better position to manage our resources than a bunch of bureaucrats in Washington D.C.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

Commentary – Mahalo Ho’omana Tree Service

I just received the following Facebook comment:

Harry Steele

  • Just wanted to let you know that Ho’omana Tree Service did a great job taking down twenty plus Albezia trees on our acre. Thanks for having them as a sponsor on your Facebook blog page. I would like to write something praising them to post. Please tell me how.

Hoomanu

Commentary: Hawaii Speaker Endorses Jones Act Reform

Commentary from the Grassroots Institute of Hawaii:

The effort to improve Hawaii’s economy has taken an important step forward with the introduction of a series of resolutions supporting a limited exemption to the US-build requirement of the Jones Act. House Speaker Joseph Souki (D) was among the group who introduced HR 113 and HCR 153, which note that the Act, “disproportionately imposes an economic burden on and adversely affects Hawaii.” The resolution goes on to carve out the specifics of the limited exemption, taking care to refute the claim that the Jones Act is necessary to national defense or effective in protecting the US shipbuilding industry.

“This is a great day for both political cooperation and our economy,” stated Dr. Keli’i Akina, President of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. “The Grassroot Institute has long supported Jones Act reform, not only out of principle–for such protectionist legislation reduces our competitiveness and infringes on our liberty–but also out of simple compassion for Hawaii’s citizens and businesses. In cooperation with countless others, including Michael Hansen (President of the Hawaii Shippers Council and an advisor to Grassroot institute), Grassroot has worked hard to educate both legislators and the public on the need for Jones Act reform. The Jones Act is a burden on everyone who lives and works in Hawaii, acting as an invisible tax on every good that comes to our shores. A limited exemption, such as that envisioned by these resolutions, is a tremendous and positive step.”

Dr. Akina continued: “Moreover, we are happy to see that this is an issue that has gained bipartisan support. Not only was Speaker Souki one of the primary introducers, but he was joined by Reps. Ward (R), Brower (D), Cachola (D), Creagan (D), Evans (D) and Kobayashi (D). We also thank Senator Slom (R) for introducing SR 45 and SCR 93, the Senate versions. There should be no question of partisanship when it comes to improving the economy of our state, making it a better and more profitable place to do business and reducing the cost of living for our citizens. It is gratifying to see that this common sense issue is being treated with the gravity it deserves.”

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United Response to John Doe vs. County of Hawaii GMO Lawsuit

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United is aware of the legal action  “John Doe vs. County of Hawaii” filed in State Superior Court against the County of Hawaii…

Farmers and Ranchers UnitedWe “STRONGLY SUPPORT and Stand United with our fellow Farmers in this suit. Brought by Farmers who are frightened by the potential implications of complying with these unjustified and intrusive requirements – specifically, harassment of their family and employees and vandalism of their operations by anti-technology activists.

In John Doe vs. County of Hawaii, the complaint seeks declaratory and injunctive relief from implementing the registration and disclosure provisions of “Hawaii Bill 113.”

Due to the immediacy of the registration deadline, this complaint seeks relief only in connection with the registration and disclosure requirements of Bill 113, even though the entirety of Bill 113 is legally invalid because it stands in direct conflict with numerous federal and state laws.

Signed into law on December 5, 2013, the County enacted Bill 113, which imposes a county-wide ban on the development, propagation, cultivation, and open-air testing of most GE crops.

The registration and disclosure requirements of Bill 113 unfairly target growers of genetically engineered crops, primarily papaya growers, by forcing them to disclose personal and commercially confidential information about themselves and their operations without any scientific or factual justification:

Without any assurances that the County can or will protect the registration information from public disclosure as allowed under Bill 113, these farmers and growers have good reason to believe that providing this information could result in real harm – including the vandalizing of their crops or intimidation or harassment of their family and/or employees.  Unfortunately, in recent years, anti-genetically engineered or anti-GMO agriculture political activism in Hawaiʻi (and throughout the United States) has crossed the line from a spirited debate to extremism, vandalism, and violence.

The lawsuit alleges that the disclosure provision of Bill 113 is in direct conflict with two State laws – the Uniform Information Practices Act and the Uniform Trade Secrets Act – and violates Plaintiff’s rights to privacy and due process under the Constitution of Hawaii.

Accordingly, it asks the court to enjoin or suspend the registration process until the court ultimately determines the lawfulness of the disclosure provision and how this information will be treated under state law.

Senator J. Kalani English’s Statement on Fatal Lanai Plane Crash

Senator J. Kalani English (District 7- Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lāna‘i, Kaho‘olawe), Chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation and International Affairs, today issued the following statement after learning of the fatal plane crash near Lāna‘i Airport:

Sen. J. Kalani English

Sen. J. Kalani English

“It is with great sadness that I extend my most heartfelt condolences to the friends and families of those who passed in last night’s fatal plane crash on Lāna‘i. I continue to keep the survivors who are currently under the care of Queen’s Medical Center in my thoughts and prayers.”

“We lost two officials from Maui County’s Department of Planning and the pilot of the charter plane, with three others injured. They were on their way back from a Lāna‘i Planning Commission meeting that ended at 8:30 p.m. Their flight left around 9:05, about an hour after the last commercial flight leaving Lāna‘i. The Maui Planning Department officials played an integral part in development of the county and will be remembered for their service to the community.”

“Maui County has endured great tragedy in just a few months. We are still grieving the loss of Loretta Fuddy, Hawai‘i’s State health director, to a plane crash off the shores of Kalaupapa, Moloka‘i.

“As a unique and isolated county, small chartered planes are necessary for travel within the county. As such, air travel safety is an issue that is highly important to us. Maui Air had a previously unblemished record and I trust that a thorough investigation of the crash will occur. For those traveling by air to and from Lāna‘i, I want to assure you that services are safe and will continue.”

“We are grateful to the first responders in the crash and for their continued commitment to protecting Hawai‘i and those who visit our state.”

“On behalf of the Hawai‘i State Senate, I offer my sincere condolences to the family and friends of those who lost their lives and will keep the survivors in our thoughts and prayers.”

 

Commentary – “The Coupe Family Single-Handedly Held Up the Mamalahoa Highway Bypass for 11 Years”

The acquisition the of right of way for highway projects is an ongoing issue for the State and County of Hawaii it seems.  Two projects come to mind; the second phase of the Mamalahoa Highway bypass and the final east side phase of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway.

Inouye Highway Photo by Aaron Stene

Daniel K. Inouye Highway.  Photo by Aaron Stene

The Coupe family single-handedly held up the Mamalahoa  Highway bypass for 11 years. They fought the condemnation of  1,500 feet of their property all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The US Supreme Court declined to hear the Coupe’s petition, which ended their battle and paved the way for the county to acquire the necessary right of way for this much-needed highway.

I’m deeply concerned the final east side phase of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway is facing the same fate. Three holdout landowners (Marvin Arruda, Richard Alderson and Rick Towill) refuse to convey part of their lands for this 5.7 mile highway. These parcels are located on the Puna side of the Puainako Street Extension and Country Club Drive.

I’ve tried to ask the Land Transportation Division of the State Attorney General’s office where things stand with the right of way acquisition for this phase, but they refuse to acknowledge my e-mails and hide behind attorney-client privilege.  The Hawaii Department of Transportation response to my inquiries isn’t much better.

The final east side phase of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway is currently unfunded.  I firmly believe its important to finalize the right of way acquisition, so this phase is shovel ready when funding is available.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona