From a press release Friday (May 24):
The March to Save Hawaii is ohana style, a safe and peaceful march which will begin staging at Saratoga and Kalakaua in Waikiki on May 25th at 10:30AM with a pre-rally beginning at 11:00AM.
Two makai lanes of Kalakaua will be closed off and and HPD will accompany with a motorcycle brigade. Da Hui will lead and secure the perimeter, hosted by Uncle Walter Ritte, Daniel Anthony of Mana Ai, Seeds of Truth, Babes Against Biotech, Sustainable Coastlines and GMO Free USA with participation from dozens of groups across Oahu standing up to GMOs.
All people against GMOs are welcome to join, wear green, be green, bring reusable water bottles, non-GMO snacks, signs and bathing suits to jump in the water!
A scholar. A fundraiser. A speaker. A leader. A team player.
These are some of the qualities that University of Hawaii faculty members, union leaders and members of the public told the Board of Regents on Friday that they wanted to see in the next UH president.
The board went behind closed doors for two hours to discuss the pending retirement of UH President M.R.C. Greenwood and specific candidates that have been put forth for consideration to replace her.
The board released this statement after the meeting:
The Board of Regents met this afternoon to initiate the process of selecting the next President of the University of Hawaiʻi. The Board appointed a task group, chaired by John Holzman and including Regents Saedene Ota and Jan Sullivan, to report on the logistics of the presidential search.
The Board respects the University’s numerous constituents and acknowledges the importance of soliciting public input. The Board made no substantive decisions about the selection process at this meeting and will hold a public, facilitated meeting in early June to consider the process for the selection of the University’s next leader.
At that time, the Board will appoint a selection committee composed of Board members.
Greenwood announced earlier this month that she would be stepping down in September for personal reasons.
After becoming president in 2009, she spent much of the past year fighting for the university’s reputation which was marred by the handling of the “Wonder Blunder,” perks for board members, escalating faculty salaries and soaring tuition costs.
UHPA Executive Director J.N. Musto told board members Friday that they should once again consider a reorganization of the duties and responsibilities of the president to reflect issues of statewide concern, such as the development of a UH system budget and its presentation to the governor and Legislature, rather than operational control over individual campuses.
Other testimony underscored the need for the next president to have at his or her core the belief that UH’s success depends on an approach tailored to the system’s unique environment in the islands.
“We need someone who has humility as well as self-confidence,” said Sharon Rowe, a UH professor and University of Hawaii Professional Assembly president. “Hawaii does not respond well to typical mainland approaches.”
Shannon Wood, whose husband was a UH faculty member, told the board that she has filed a formal complaint with the Office of Information Practices.
She said the board should not be holding these meetings about the president in executive session. Later in the process when it’s down to a couple candidates, she said that’d be understandable. But early on, she said the public should be privy to the conversation over how the board plans to pick a new president.
Board Chair Eric Martinson said he is aware of the concerns raised with OIP, but believes its within the board’s purview to go behind closed doors because the intent is to discuss personnel matters, Greenwood’s retirement and specific candidates for the job.
— Nathan Eagle
Below: Shannon Wood and Sharon Rowe testify before the UH Board of Regents, Friday, May 24, 2013, at Bachman Hall. (Photos by Nathan Eagle/Honolulu Civil Beat)
A large floating container, possibly made of metal, has been spotted off of windward Oahu.
The debris poses a hazard to other boats and if it washes up on shore, could damage coral reef or introduce invasive species, according to a press release from Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources.
The container is approximately 20-feet long, 8-feet wide and 8-feet high and painted light blue. It’s not clear if it’s debris from the Japanese tsunami.
The public is asked to contact DLNR if they sight the container. Phone: 808-587-0400; Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first sighting of the container was reported on Saturday, May 18, 21 nautical miles off Ilio Point, Molokai. On Sunday, May 19, another party reported seeing it about 30 miles from the head buoy at Kaneohe. On Tuesday, May 21, another report came in that it was sighted somewhere near MM FAD buoy off windward Oahu; however, no new sightings have since been reported.
Considering prevailing winds and currents, it could either move toward the windward Oahu shoreline or in a more westerly direction, possibly passing north of Oahu instead. Exactly where it will float to and when is very difficult to accurately predict.
— Sophie Cocke
The fight to keep Hawaii free of snakes continues with the latest discovery of an ornate tree snake at Hickam Air Force Base.
Military personnel found the snake in a bay near the airfield Thursday, according to Hawaii’s Department of Agriculture.
The ornate tree snake is related to the dreaded brown tree snake, which has devastated the ecosystem in Guam and even caused power outages. The snakes like to crawl through electrical cables.
(Photo credit: Dr. Allen Allison, Bishop Museum)
— Sophie Cocke
A new state law, signed by the governor this week, requires everyone in a car to wear a seatbelt. Children under seven must ride in age appropriate safety and booster seats. But already the new law has detractors.
Dale Evans, President of Charley’s Taxi said nearly three-quarters of the families that called for cabs this week have been “stranded due to this new law.”
“We have always provided infant and toddler car seats to passengers on request,” he said. “The problem is that with all the luggage and other cargo our vehicles carry, we can not keep car seats and boosters in every car. So families need to know that they need to request them in advance.”
Rearward-facing, forward-facing, convertible, infant, toddler, child, booster…the list of car seat models goes on. For some, this a lot to keep up with. Enacted on Monday, the law now applies to commercial transportation outfits that were previously exempt.
— Sherley Wetherhold
Photo via RussellHarrison.
Senator Brian Schatz’s campaign says it will announce its latest endorsement on Sunday — this time from the National Association of Letter Carriers.
His campaign said today he’ll be addressing the union’s convention Sunday morning at the Waikiki Marriott.
Schatz was a co-sponsor of a Senate bill to maintain Saturday service. Hanabusa, though, co-sponsored a House resolution saying the U.S. Postal Service resolution saying the U.S. Postal Service should take all appropriate steps to continue Saturday mail delivery.
The union is classified as a “Heavy Hitter” by the Center for Responsive Politics, which means it was one of the top 140 contributors in the last federal elections. The union gave $2.9 million to candidates, including $10,000 to Sen. Mazie Hirono.
The endorsement is the latest in a number of Schatz has garnered thus far, including many from labor groups including he Hawaii Firefighters Association, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 480, Hawaii Building & Construction Trades Council, Plumbers Local 675, Elevator Constructors Local 126, Drywall, Tapers and Finishers Local 1944, Glaziers Local 1889, Boilermakers Local 204, Painters and Allied Trades Local 1791, IBEW Local 1186, Heat and Frost Insulators Local 132, Teamsters Local 996, Roofers Local 221, Iron Workers Local 625, IBEW Local 1260, University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, and the National Weather Service Employees Organization.
— Kery Murakami
The Lanai tree snail, haha plant and more than 30 other species in Hawaii have gained federal protection under the Endangered Species Act.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published new rules that require the agency to protect their critical habitat and prevent their possession, sale or transport, according to The Hill.
The listings follow a lawsuit brought by WildEarth Guardians and the Center for Biological Diversity which sought to force the federal agency to review and act on more than 700 cases nationally.
From the Center for Biological Diversity:
The plants protected today are a stunning variety of colorful geraniums, sunflowers, bellflowers, vines, shrubs and trees from coastal, lowland, subalpine and cliff environments. They include the hala pepe, popolo, kookoolau, ‘awikiwiki and haha nui, among others. For some of the plant species, only a few individuals survive.
The three mollusks protected today include two species of Lanai tree snail and Newcomb’s tree snail. The snails are found only on wet cliffs where they live on specific host plants and eat fungus and algae. The Lanai tree snails are up to an inch tall and can live for 20 years, giving birth to four to six live young per year.
(Photo: Lanai tree snail, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources)
— Sophie Cocke
The FilAm Metro D.C. has this report. Excerpt:
Come January 15, 2015, the U.S. Congress may be welcoming its first member of full Filipino heritage.
That could be the case if Hawaii State Senator Will Espero wins his primary election. Espero, a long-time Hawaii Democrat who represents one of the heaviest Filipino populations in the state, recently announced that he is seriously exploring a potential campaign for the 1st Congressional District, the seat that U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa will be vacating to run against U.S. Senator Brian Schatz.
“I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from people throughout the district, urging me to run for Congress – I’m grateful for their trust of my 25 years of public service and my experience of getting the job done in the state legislature,” said Espero, who is now serving in his third term in the Hawaii State Senate. “I care deeply about the people of Hawaii – they need an experienced leader who can advocate effectively for them in Washington, and I am taking the necessary steps in exploring a possible campaign. …”
From West Hawaii Today:
Hawaii Island and the other neighbor islands are catching up steadily to the economic recovery first experienced on Oahu, according to a 42-page report released today by the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization.
“We’re optimistic about where the Hawaii Island economy is headed, despite areas where the island has lagged,” Byron Gangnes, UHERO senior research fellow, told West Hawaii Today on Thursday. “Last year saw broad-based improvement in the Big Island economy. There was job growth in nearly all of the major sectors that we track.”
The report cited “robust” visitor growth, number of airline seats and income growth as pluses for the Big Island, while residential construction, hotel occupancy and overall employment experienced slower gains. Read the full story.
And here’s the latest in other neighbor isle gov’t and politics:
Photo courtesy Blake Handley.
With Honolulu’s rail project comes transit-oriented development.
For Kakaako that means buildings reaching as high as 700 feet as well as traffic improvements that improve pedestrian mobility.
The Hawaii Community Development Authority released its transit-oriented development plan for Kakaako today.
Take a look at it here.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell believes residents might have rail “fatigue” after an election in which the topic was front and center.
But the city’s $5.26 billion project is still the state’s largest.
Caldwell spoke with Beth Ann Kozlovich on Hawaii Public Radio’s “Town Square” about rail.
He was joined by Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation CEO Dan Grabauskas.
The three will be discussing rail until 6 p.m. Tune in here.
An overflow crowd listened to the Senate Tourism and Hawaiian Affairs Committee ask pointed questions about a recent audit of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands’ Homestead Services Division.
The audit, released in April, detailed failures in meeting fiduciary obligations and lax management of lessee loans.
Committee Chairman Brickwood Galuteria said the Legislature wants to be convinced that DHHL has begun to correct problems found in the audit — that “today we start recalibrating DHHL’s loan program.”
Sen. Clayton Hee took issue with what he described as the audit’s underlying determination that beneficiaries with delinquent leases be evicted — “taking a Hawaiian away from the land.” Noting the Legislature’s recent efforts to push loan mitigation, Hee argued that homesteaders deserve similar help.
DHHL Director Jobie Masagatani said she agreed loan mitigation is “the way to go” and said that the department is implementing steps to address the audit’s findings.
Galuteria said he looked forward to DHHL’s report back on progress later this year.
As 5:10 p.m., the briefing was well into its third hour and the crowd had dwindled. But discussion was nearing an end.
Show promo for Thursday (May 23 — tonight):
Dan Boylan moderates this discussion on food security. Studies estimate as much as 90 percent of Hawaii’s food is imported, placing the islands at the mercy of shipping interruptions and natural disasters. Guests will explore what can be done to reduce Hawaii’s dependence on imports and encourage local food production.
Scheduled to appear: Michelle Galimba, cattle rancher at Kuahiwi Ranch; Shin Ho, farmer at Ho Farms; Lynette Larson, General Manager of Kokua Market; and Fred Lau, aquaponics farmer at Mari’s Gardens.
Photo courtesy Kanu Hawaii.
From a press statement Thursday (May 23):
HONOLULU – Billy Rayl, director of field service, Aloha Council, Boy Scouts of America (BSA), released a statement following a national vote by local leaders of Boy Scouts of America to revise its membership policy.
“The Aloha Council, Boy Scouts of America supported the national resolution because we believe Scouting should be available to all young people.
“The policy revision reinforces our mission to prepare young people to become responsible, participating citizens and leaders in our communities.
“The conversations that have been taking place within the BSA nationally mirror the dialogue that is occurring across the country, including here in Hawaii. They reflect the changing world that we live in and expectations of our community that Scouting continues to be a place for all young people to develop life skills, leadership and citizenship.”
For more than a century, Scouting has brought together individuals and organizations with varied backgrounds and beliefs to help young people grow into adulthood. These Scouts have had a profound, positive impact on our communities and society, supported by committed volunteers, parents and sponsoring organizations.
The Aloha Council is one of 290 councils that collectively make up the Boy Scouts of America. The Aloha Council serves 13,000 young people each year in Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa and across the Pacific and is supported by 5,000 adult volunteers and community members.
Photo courtesy Jinx!.
From the Senate Communications Thursday (May 23):
Statement in response to questions regarding Senate President Donna Mercado Kim’s inquiry into her son’s application to the University of Hawaii Richardson School of Law:
“The inquiry regarding the status of my son’s application, in my opinion, was not a violation of the State Ethics Code or Senate Rules. The inquiry was made in my role as a concerned mother from home. There was no possibility of influence because I was simply calling to see whether his application was received and the call was made after the notification for admission went out. My call to the President was an inquiry on whether or not I could get this information and I told her I would understand if I was not able to. The bottom line is no application was submitted and there was clearly no influence in the school’s decision-making process.”
Read Civil Beat’s related story, Did Hawaii’s Senate President Violate The State Ethics Code?