Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘The Elephant on the Lanai’ Category

“Right now we have an opportunity to get this remaining part right.” -Karl E. Kim. PhD

As Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at University of Hawai’i Mānoa, Karl Kim PhD has been looking at Hawai’i’s growth from the street level to satellite view and zooming in between for decades. I’ve been a fan of his, but didn’t actually meet Kim until I asked him to be my guest and address Mayor Caldwell’s stunning announcement last week that he is not in favor of continuing HART’s  elevated rail through Honolulu’s urban core as planned.

Whew! It was one thing years ago to contemplate a speeding chariot delivering us from O’ahu’s purgatory of automobile dependence, long commutes, and impossibly expensive housing. To actually SEE what the $2.1 billion spent so far has bought us is pretty terrifying–unless you come from a place which has already been ravaged (as opposed to enhanced) by mass transportation systems– and you think that is the inevitable consequence of “growth.”

How did your grandmother commute to school? My grandmother rode a horse from Niu to Punahou, for instance.  Apply your school transport mode to 50 years from now in Honolulu, and see where that takes you. We are paying over-the-top dollar, raised by taxes on food and medicine for even the poorest, to pay for a massive system that will be antiquated before it’s paid for.

After listening to Kim, I feel so much better about Honolulu and rail.  We really do have  m a n y  alternatives.  Let’s do our part in electing officials who will be brave and smart enough to look at the whole picture of how we actually live today, and want to live when no one can remember what an iPhone app was, instead of what can happen in a 2 or 4 year election cycle. Now is the perfect time.

Additional resources:

Civil Beat’s “What Would Honolulu Save By Pulling The Plug On Rail

Karl Kim’s essay in the Star Advertiser from 6.22.2016

5fixes.1. 5 fixes.3 5 fixes. 2

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Kailua neighborhood board member Vern Hinsvark takes on the most divisive issue in Kailua and many other communities in Hawai’i: resortification.  Do we allow certain entities to profit by providing resort accommodations to tourists in residences, driving up property taxes for everyone, and economically excluding residents?  Do we allow thousands of units of housing to be taken out of the rental market when there is a critical shortage of rentals and a crisis in homelessness?  Are we going to allow entities (foreign or otherwise) by simple virtue of access to financing to “invest in Hawai’i real estate” to the detriment of whole communities? Earlier this year Sen. Laura Thielen  gave powerful insights to the issues on this show, and Vern Hinsvark tells what has happened since.

At its core the issue is political tolerance of individuals (including the corporate ones) gaming the system, believing they are entitled by ownership, regardless of laws, versus those who recognize that profiteering is killing communities and eviscerating aloha. Residential neighborhoods are by definition for residents. As long as greedy profiteering is tolerated, the most desirable areas will continue to be lost to multinational corporate owners who build walled estates, create luxury ghost towns inhabited infrequently by non-resident owners.  Displaced local residents are pushed out of resortified areas to rental housing an hour plus commute from their workplace/schools. And then we need to build billion dollar rail facilities, and subsidize low income housing

After the cameras were off, Hinsvark told a positive story of one of his neighbors who has decided to go legitimate, turning their illegal transient accommodation into a long term rental. In this case the new tenant is a soldier stationed at Kaneohe MCBH. If there are illegal transient rentals in your Kailua neighborhood, you can report it anonymously HERE .

During our conversation Hinsvark mentions several pieces of  relevant legislation:

City Council Bill 22 : Currently being held hostage by Honolulu City Councilmember, Ikaika Anderson is chair of its Zoning and Planning Committee. It passed overwhelmingly, but Anderson is preventing its final approval and implementation.  On the grounds that he is going to come up with a better idea, he has held this legislation captive for 17 months. Bill 22, among other safeguards, requires all transient accommodations to have a non-conforming use certificate, and the number of that certificate included on all advertisements, enables location and enforcement of regulations against illegal transient vacation units. Please call his office, (808) 768-5003 and ask him to release Bill 22 without amendments for final vote.

Act 204 (2015) : State legislation requiring owners to register transient accommodations, pay taxes, have an on-island agent, and include certificate of registration number in all advertisements. Sets fees and fines. Not being enforced.

HB 1850 SD3 (2016)  Passed by 2016 legislature, waiting signing or veto by Gov.Ige (deadline for notice to veto is June 27th). Ask Gov. Ige to veto 1850, maintain transparency, and not forfeit local control to international operators like Airbnb and VRBO.

According to The National Low Income Housing Coalition (http://nlihc.org/)  The hourly wage in Hawai’i to rent a 2 bedroom apartment is $34.22. I think it’s actually higher. Let’s think about that next time we want to pay someone $12 an hour for a job it cost them $ 80,000 to earn the degree for, with $30,000 in debt left to pay.

nlich.org's fa 2016 ctsheet

nlich.org’s fa 2016 ctsheet

OOR_2016_Factsheet

Read Full Post »

 

Depending on your lens, the proposed TMT on Mauna Kea is a likely-to-be-lost opportunity for western style astronomy, or another expression of the unresolved legacy of Hawai’i’s colonization seeking justice.  My guests were Camille Kalama, Staff Attorney at Native Hawaii Legal Corporation, and Dr. Julia Morgan Ph.D, Kauai Community College. Morgan’s father, Dr. Donald Morgan taught physics and astronomy at St. Mary’s University in Winona Minnesota; she grew up with, and loves science, as well as her dad.

Instead of trying to frame the discussion, I’m recommending an extraordinarily well written essay, “Maunakea, technology, and kuleana” by board members and staff of PurpleMaia.org: Donavan Kealoha, Olin Lagon, Kelsey Amos, Kamuela Enos, Nāpali Souza, Forest Frizzell, and Marion Ano.  My description of Poli’au was anemic, this is a good primer: Poliahu, Goddess of Mauna Kea.

LegalObservers.jpg

Camille Kalama, second from left, was one of the official legal observers on Mauna Kea.

 

Read Full Post »

You know it’s a good one when the cameras are off but the discussion continues, out the studio, down the elevator and into the lobby. I’m thankful to New York native Michael Moskowitz for calling it like it is, and Philadelphian Randy Gonce for stepping up to the plate.

Moskowitz oh so politely articulated his observation that the influence of Asian “face saving” culture has manifested in obfuscating who votes for what. In New York, there’s NO SHAME in political debate, or the death of a bill in an honest floor fight.

There are upsides to politeness however. We all agreed Rep. Bob McDermott’s vituperative, anatomically correct but factually incorrect rant about Planned Parenthood on April 18th was a low point.  Gonce said McDermott’s passionate persecution of PP is one of the reasons he decided to run for election.

As always there are things one forgets to mention.  Both my guests mentioned that there were some spectacular conflicts of interest.  In a follow up email, Gonce wrote,”I have only ever seen a legislator call out their conflict of interest and Speaker [of the House of Representatives] say ‘no conflict’ even when there may be a clear conflict. No one has ever removed themselves or chose to not vote based on conflicts of interest.”  Let’s remember that as we communicate with candidates this election season.

Sheldon Galdiera was the Committee Clerk in Rep. Takayama's office. He devised this attaractive and useful chart for navigating the legislative gauntlet.

Sheldon Galdiera was the Committee Clerk in Rep. Takayama’s office. He devised this attractive and useful chart for navigating the legislative gauntlet.

32.2.3.Conf.3

At long last House and Senate meet to discuss bills in conference- the last couple weeks of session. Bills will have passed through 3 votes in each chamber before they arrive here.

32.2.4.Last.conf.1

The Last Conference of the 28th Legislature was in the Finance Committee. The penultimate test of legislation. The Governor’s signature is the very last hurdle.

Read Full Post »

What a show.  In yesterday’s livestream we concentrated on what is there physically, the geography of the facility (first 15 min). In the second section (15-30 min) we discuss leak history and contamination evidence.  Ernie drops a bomb describing an EPA Superfund situation I was not prepared for (start at 25:00.) In the final segment we discuss the current situation on tank repairs, usage, testing.  I was so overcome by the enormity of the situation, I misspoke.  Kākoʻo ʻŌiwi is in He’eia; the issue was runoff from Kahekili Highway, not Kamehameha Highway.

We did not get into the Administrative Order on Consent signed in 2014 which maps the political geography of the situation. That will be our focus next week.  Same time, 3pm HST. Same station, ThinkTechHawaii.com. Same hydro-hero duo, Ernest and Erwin!

I’m attaching the visuals for easy perusal. Here’s the link to Honolulu Board of Water Supply’s web page dedicated to the fuel tank/aquifer issue.

26.1.3.tank diagram 26.1.4.Red Hill tank inside 1 26.2.1.chronology1 26.2.1.Red Hill - monitor well 2 copy 26.2.2.Red Hill - inside tunnel monitor wells 26.2.3.contaminated groundwater 500ft 26.2.4.coresamples 26.3.1.2010Audit 26.3.2corrosionschematic 26.3.3.OahuMap

Read Full Post »

 

It made me cry.  Katie Kamelamela articulates her experience of the recent ‘Aha, a four week long constitutional convention process for Native Hawaiians last month. Approximately 150 Native Hawaiians created a fifteen page constitution based on their understanding of our history.  As groundbreaking as that accomplishment was, the process itself was one of deep transformation for Kamelamela (see video at about 34:00.) To come away  with profound insight into her own being-a way forward as a leader (not something she sought,) recognizing that above all, unity among Hawaiians is the foundation of sovereignty-fully warrants the fraught with hakakā  genesis of this ‘Aha.  Kamelamela’s message of acceptance and courageous embrace of change adds a new stanza to Meleanna Meyer‘s kāhea so beautifully presented last fall.

I thank the Grassroots Institute of Hawaii , and likeminded, for their steadfast efforts to induce Hawaiians to play by rules foisted on our ancestors in a series of opportunistic, unlawful and cruelly hypocritical events.  It is the pain of that injustice gestating over a century, now manifest as kuakoko, which is birthing something of such pure beauty I am moved to tears.

All who love Hawai’i, not just those of Hawaiian ancestry,  will benefit from greater understanding and participation.

Read Full Post »

Katie Kamelamela, Botany PhD.

Katie Kamelamela, Na’i Aupuni ‘Aha participant, UH Manoa Botany PhD candidate

In the summer of 2012 I had the  life altering privilege of participating in the 5 day ‘Ai Pono Ola Pono (healthy eating – healthy living) Huaka’i to Kaho‘olawe Island with ‘Ahahui O Nā Kauka, a gathering of Native Hawaiian doctors, nurses, farmers and other health and food practitioners.

The purpose was to strengthen the connection between healthy local food systems and improved health and wellness outcomes for clinicians. That’s where I met Katie Kamelamela. Then a Botany graduate student at the University of Hawai‘i, Mānoa; she impressed me with her intellectual, scientific, Hawaiian cultural and physical strengths.

A couple of months ago I wrote about her remarkable profile as a Na‘i Aupuni candidate. Friday March 18th at 3pm HST on Think Tech Hawaii she and I will be talking about her experience as a participant in the recent Na‘i Aupuni ‘Aha.  Her voice is clear and compellingly holistic. Watch our livestreamed program to hear a future for Hawai‘i from a refreshing voice.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: