Senator Recommends Charter Amendments on Police Commission

State Senator Will Espero (Dist. 19 – ʻEwa, Ocean Pointe, ʻEwa by Gentry, Iroquois Point) testified on Wednesday, October 14, 2015 before the City and County of Honolulu’s Charter Commission at Honolulu Hale asking the commissioners to consider two charter amendments to be voted on by the public next year.

Honolulu Police Commission

The first amendment would give the Police Commission the power and authority to punish and penalize police officers for police misconduct or bad behavior. Currently, the Police Commission can sustain a complaint against an officer, but only the Police Department has the authority to discipline an officer.

If the department disagrees with the Police Commission findings, it can choose to disregard the Police Commission decision. The Charter does state that the Commission cannot interfere in the administrative affairs of the department.

This was the case regarding John Helms III and his friend who were hiking and were assaulted by police officers due to being misidentified by the police. Following a lawsuit, the C & C did give the hikers a settlement, and it is our understanding the police officers involved were not punished.

The second amendment would allow the mayor to terminate the employment of the police chief with the majority support of the Police Commission. Currently, the Police Commission hires and fires the police chief. As the Mayor is the head of the county government and can fire other department heads, he should be able to do the same with the police and fire chiefs with the support of the hiring authority.

“These two charter amendments will strengthen civilian oversight of our police department,” said Sen. Espero. “If passed, they will also help to rebuild public trust and confidence in the police department, which has been plagued by an increasing number of police-involved crimes and negative stories over the past few years.”

Commentary – UH Hilo’s Secret Student Government

University of Hawaii Hilo Student Association (UHHSA) seems to be getting more and more secretive these days.

Last night, for the first time, they posted these signs in front of the meeting:

UHHSA2Only students and faculty with a UH ID were permitted to enter. A student was denied access because he didn’t have his ID. What is going on over there?


From the UHHSA Constitution:

The UH Hilo Student Association Senate has a responsibility and obligation to provide open government. All meetings shall be open and publicized. Communication shall be accomplished by the publication of the UHHSA Constitution and By-Laws, budget, meeting agendas, meeting minutes, and schedule of UHHSA and committee meetings in a timely manner for the purpose of informing and encouraging student participation in student government.

UHHSA Constitution lead
Why are they not following their own constitution? What’s the big secret?


University of Hawaii Student Union

Officials to Brief Legislators on Progress of Medical Marijuana Dispensary System

Officials to Brief Joint Committees on Progress of Medical Marijuana Dispensary System

Medical MarijuanaThe purpose of this informational briefing is to discuss the process and progress on the implementation of Act 241, relating to medical marijuana, and to discuss best practices and identify areas of further policy development related to medical marijuana dispensaries.

Part I of this briefing will include an update from the State Department of Health on the medical marijuana registry program and the Department’s efforts to implement Act 241.  Invitees from the Department of Health are as follows:

  • Virginia Pressler, M.D., Director, Department of Health
  • Danette Wong Tomiyasu, Deputy Director, Health Resources Administration and/or a Designated representatives of the Hawaii Department of Health.

Part II of this briefing will feature presentations from the following individuals who have extensive experience with the development of legislation, rules and regulations, and public policy related to the cultivation, manufacturing, and dispensing of medical marijuana to qualified patients in other states:

  • Graham Boyd, Esq., Former Fellow, Third Way
  • Robert Morgan, Esq., Former Statewide Project Coordinator, Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program; & Special Counsel, Much Shelist, P.C.
  • Tyler Anthony, Esq., Former Legal Counsel, Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program; & Attorney, Harris Moure
  • Mitzi Vaughn, Esq., Founding Board Member, National Cannabis Bar Association; & Managing Attorney, Greenbridge Corporate Counsel

WHO:             House Committee on Health Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health

WHAT:          Informational Briefing

WHEN:          Thursday, October 22, 2015 – 9:30 a.m.

WHERE:       Conference Room 329, State Capitol