Congressional Candidate Bob Marx… “Rail is the Least Worries”

Today marked the first concrete pouring for Honolulu’s rail project, but according to Bob Marx, candidate for Hawaiʻi’s Second Congressional District, “Rail is the least of worries [for the State].” Honolulu’s rail project is now projected to cost over US $5 Billion, according to the project-financing plan prepared for the Federal Transit Administration.

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx

Honolulu’s rail project is billed as a way to reduce traffic congestion on the freeways and generate local jobs, but research done shows that these claims are at best dubious. According to the final Environmental Impact Statement for the project, whether rail is built or not, population growth will add around 476,000 cars to the road by 2030. The rail project would reduce congestion by an insignificant 1.3%.

Speaking to a group of supporters in University Heights Thursday evening, Marx stated, “Spending over five billion on rail for one city is a waste of money, considering the various other transportation problems we have on the neighbor islands.” Forty-seven percent of rail funding comes from an excise tax increase for all Oʻahu residents, yet very few residents living on Oʻahu will benefit from the rail project. Despite this fact, even people who do not live in the area served by rail will still be paying for Honolulu’s bloated project.

Rural roads in the state of Hawaiʻi are ranked among the poorest in the nation. In September 2011, a report published by TRIP, a non-profit national transportation research group, ranked 29% of Hawaiʻi’s rural roads in poor condition. The report also ranked 16% of bridges in Rural Hawaiʻi as structurally deficient. Furthermore, poor planning and design of roads leads to increased accidents and traffic fatalities. According to a state report, in the County of Hawaiʻi, Highway 130 has accident rate nearly twice the state average, and 66% of accidents are fatalities. Marx stated that “traffic accidents in our communities can be prevented with regular maintenance and improvements to our roads…If elected, I will ensure that Hawaiʻi’s roads are improved.” With the $5 billion allocated to the rail project, the DOT could instead update transportation infrastructure, and road fatalities could be significantly reduced. For example, the same report stated that with $138 million in funds, the accident rate on Highway 130 could be reduced by 25%.

It is not just the roads that need improvement. The State of Hawaiʻi imports 80% of all its goods, and harbors in Hawaiʻi account for 98% of imports. “Our harbors need to grow as population increases, and improvements to the most needed sites in Kawaihae and Hilo will cost $423 million. Whereas these projects are essential to Hawaiʻi’s growth, the Honolulu Rail project costs significantly more and produces exponentially less benefit,” Marx said.

With more pressing transportation concerns throughout the state, one might ask why the Rail project is being built at all. Marx criticized proponents of rail as “individuals beholden to special interests.” Of the expenditures to date on the Rail Project, over $90 million was paid to Parsons Brinkerhoff, an international engineering and management firm. According to FEC campaign contribution reports, Parsons Brinkerhoff has regularly contributed large amounts of money to Mufi Hannemann, the former Honolulu mayor who initiated the Rail Project and is now running for Congress in the Second District.

When discussing the frivolity of the rail project, Marx remarked, “The rail project is a waste of money, we have real problems to solve in this state. Unlike [Hannemann], I am not beholden to any special interests. I have not taken any money from PACs. If elected, I will represent the people—that is what congress should do, that’s what I will do.”

3.0 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Volcano Area of the Big Island… No Tsunami Threat Reported

UPDATE this has been downgraded to a 2.8

A 3.0 magnitude earthquake just shook the Volcano are of the Big Island:

Magnitude 3.0
  • Friday, May 18, 2012 at 03:48:42 PM at epicenter
Location 19.428°N, 155.274°W
Depth 1.4 km (~0.9 mile)
  • 5 km (3 miles) WSW (239°) from Volcano, HI
  • 16 km (10 miles) WSW (252°) from Fern Forest, HI
  • 19 km (12 miles) SW (228°) from Mountain View, HI
  • 37 km (23 miles) SSW (213°) from Hilo, HI
  • 338 km (210 miles) SE (128°) from Honolulu, HI
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 0.2 km (0.1 miles); depth +/- 0.2 km (0.1 miles)
Parameters Nph= 27, Dmin=1 km, Rmss=0.1 sec, Gp= 97°,
M-type=duration magnitude (Md), Version=1
Event ID hv60345346

Fish Thieves Leave Hawaii Taxpayers on the Hook

As the June 16 opening of Koke‘e trout season approaches, the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is asking for the public’s help with catching what appears to be fish thieves who left taxpayers on the hook.

DLNR is seeking information that may assist an ongoing investigation into the possible theft of rainbow trout that the Division of Aquatic Resources was holding in pens at the Pu‘u Lua Reservoir at Koke‘e, Kaua‘i.

On March 28, 2012, a DLNR employee discovered trout missing; he estimated that the pen held 3,000 fewer fish than in the previous week. Subsequently, a report was made to the Kaua‘i Police Department that individuals were observed near the floating pens in the reservoir. Damage to the pens was also observed, and obstacles placed on roadways to the reservoir had been moved.

“We are very concerned about this action, which harms the opportunity for many Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i families who look forward to the opening of Koke‘e trout fishing on June 16,” said William Aila Jr., DLNR Chairperson.

Anyone who may have seen persons in or around the reservoir in March is asked to contact the Kaua‘i Police Department or the state Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement (DOCARE) on Kaua‘i at 274-3521. Also, anyone seeing non-state employees around the reservoir before the trout season opens should also immediately call these numbers.

“The Department encourages the public to comply with state regulations and to stop from damaging  valuable equipment used in the rearing of the trout,” said Aila. “We still expect a good fishing season come June 16, although not as good as if we were able to release an additional 3,000 trout for fishing.”

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park June 2012 Hawaiian Cultural & After Dark in the Park Programs

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park continues its tradition of sharing Hawaiian culture and After Dark in the Park programs with the community and visitors throughout June.  These programs are free, but park entrance fees may apply. Mark your calendars for these upcoming events:

‘Ike Kū‘oko‘a: Liberating Knowledge. More than 100 Hawaiian language newspapers were printed from 1834 to 1948, possibly the largest native-language cache in the western world. The papers were a repository of knowledge, opinion, and the historical progress of Hawaii, yet only two percent of the cache was readily available to the public. ‘Ike Kū‘oko‘a is an effort to open up the resource to all.

Puakea Nogelmeier

Join Puakea Nogelmeier as he describes the exciting project, and how you can get involved. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.
When: Tues., June 5, 7 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Kenneth Makuakāne Live in Concert. Join 12-time Nā Hoku Hanohano award-winning singer, songwriter, and producer Kenneth Makuakāne as he shares songs from his latest albums, The Dash, White Bath Tub, Makuakāne, and other compositions.

Kenneth Makuakane

Kenneth Makuakane

A prolific songwriter, his songs are performed at the Merrie Monarch Festival and his music is featured on the soundtracks for motion pictures including Honeymoon in Las Vegas and Parent Trap in Paradise. Kenneth is widely recognized as an innovator in Hawaiian music and has more than 100 albums to his producing credit.  Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing Nā Leo Manu “Heavenly Voices” presentations. Free.
When: Wed., June 20 from 10 a.m. to noon
Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Kai Hoopii, An Evening of Hawaiian Music. Listen to the sweet voice of Kai Ho‘opi‘i, sharing the music of his ohana from Kahakuloa, Maui.Kai Ho‘opi‘i is an Aloha Festivals Hawaiian falsetto contest winner. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing Nā Leo Manu “Heavenly Voices” presentations. Free.
When: Wed., June 20, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Hawaii Island: In the Line of Fire! Increased drought, development near wilderness areas, an influx of invasive vegetation, and human-caused ignitions, all create hazardous conditions and place many human and ecological communities at risk for wildfire.

Volcano fire (Picture NPS)

The Hawaii Wildlife Management Organization (HWMO) works collaboratively with agencies, landowners, communities and researchers to plan and implement projects to reduce the risks and impact of wildfires. HWMO Executive Director Elizabeth Pickett shows what residents and communities can do to prepare their families and protect their homes from future wildfire events. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.
When: Tues., June 26, 7 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Feather Kāhili-Making. Join park rangers Keoki Wells and Jaeneise Cuison as they demonstrate the art of making a feather kāhili, a symbol of Hawaiian royalty. Simply watch and learn, or join in and make your own kāhili to take home. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.
When: Wed., June. 27 from 10 a.m. to noon
Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Freaky Friday – Another Bipalium Kwense

Or what I have named in the past… A “Butt Ugly” worm

17th Annual Keiki Surf for the Earth Event is Tomorrow at Kohaniki

Tomorrow, Saturday, is the 17th Annual Keiki Surf for the Earth Event at Kohanaiki.  Sixty-four keiki, under age of 14, and their families are participating in this fun filled event.