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Posts Tagged ‘Think Tech Hawaii’

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

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As wonderful as life can be in Hawai’i,  our systems of property and politics have resulted in housing becoming a luxury for too many in our community. Pastor Tim Mason of Calvary by the Sea Lutheran Church in ʻĀina Haina has been on the frontline for twelve years.  It can seem overwhelming, but through faith and a holistic approach he has found a way to keep open to helping many, cheerfully.

Angel Network Charities is one of the ways the Calvary by the Sea community directly assists. The church has other programs for emotional support.  They also have programs for environmental action.  Little wonder that it has been my church home since I was in the 2nd grade.

If you haven’t seen or read Diana Kim’s photo essay on Honolulu’s homeless, finding her father among them, it’s a beautiful example of what Pastor Tim describes in conquering fear.

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Only two months since our first show, Palaka Politics’ Millennial Evolution, Asami Kobayashi and Cameron Sato are on their way (pending fundraising) to Philadelphia as official delegates to the Democratic National Convention. We all had a great time imbedded in a steep learning curve at the State Democratic Convention last weekend. Click the link, enjoy getting to know two excited, smart and hardworking young progressive political activists. And if you can spare a little kala to help send Kobayashi to Philadelphia, click HERE.

 

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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.

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

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Click on the image above to watch video.  My bad, the visuals did not get to Think Tech’s Tech Goddess Zuri Bender in time.  But you are here, and so are they, so it’s all good!  My guests were three accomplished scientists who go above and beyond to protect airborne wildlife: Keith Swindle, Certified Wildlife Biologist with The Wildlife Society, Christine Ogura; Oahu Seabird Group and Jenny Hoskins; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Migratory Birds and Habitat Programs.  This is a crash course in migratory native birds, especially the Manu o Kū.  The festival is also celebrating the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaties.

If you find a stranded chick, or any other native bird in distress, the number to call is  (503) 872-2715, follow link for more details on bird rehabilitation.

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Manu o Kū chick. They don’t build nests, chicks just do their best to hang on with webbed feet. Photo: Christine Ogura

Put the party at the Palace on your calendar for May 14th, 11am to 3pm.  Outstanding free music, citizen science demos, bird tours, nature costumes (all ages)  and great projects and games for kids.  Bring a picnic or grab one of Raul’s amazing brick-oven-food-truck The Garden Oven pizzas.

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Hoskins provided some great graphics to illustrate how much milage seabirds log.

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Pacific golden plovers were fitted with geolocators by Dr. Oscar Johnson. PAGP breed in Alaska. Some winter in Hawaii and that is the extent of their migration. Other individuals travel much farther, using Hawaii as a stopover on their way to islands in the South Pacific.

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The yellow and orange tracks show movements made by sooty shearwaters during migration. The blue tracks show local movements made around the breeding grounds.

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Many species of migratory birds follow one of the general flyway patterns shown on this map. There are some exceptions, as we saw on the previous two images.

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These are examples of birds found in Hawaii that are federally protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Many people are aware that birds listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act are federally protected. They may not be aware that almost all native birds are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, whether they are listed under ESA or not. The complete list of birds protected under MBTA can be found by visiting http://www.fws.gov/birds, and clicking on the Laws/Legislation tab. The list of Hawaiian birds protected under MBTA can be found at http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands, by selecting the link “Celebrating 100 years of Migratory Bird Conservation” on the right side of the page.

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Rock dove (city pigeon) and cattle egret are the other all-white birds that might be found in Honolulu, which people could confuse with white terns. Terns forage at sea, so won’t be found on the ground unless they are injured or sick. They are slender and streamlined in appearance, with a sharp, bluish-black bill. Rock doves are similar in size to white terns but stockier, with a short bill, and frequently found on the ground or hotel balconies, begging for food. They can be a variety of colors – white doves are sometimes released at ceremonies like weddings. Cattle egrets roost and nest in large, noisy tree colonies, but disperse to forage. They are larger than terns, with a yellow bill, and are frequently seen on the ground hunting for rodents, fish or frogs, or other birds (like endangered waterbirds).

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Rene Tillich is one of those quiet currents running beneath the surface in our town; energetic juice in the emotional mycelial layer. For more than forty years, his clinic, King Kalakaua Center has been providing the space to cultivate peace and harmony at the core of people’s lives.  It is hard to be really effective out there “in the world” when home base is a battle ground or desolate wasteland.   We all know sparkle corrodes if not addressed.  Tillich gives some theory and practical stratagems for romantic rust prevention and removal. He gets into a couple of the biggies of mature relationships; infidelity and empty nests.  Enjoy this rare “public” appearance from a Harvard and Berkeley (in the 60’s!) trained octogenarian psychologist.

 

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None of this makes logical sense. You don’t build the world’s largest fuel storage facility 100 ft above a sole source aquifer.  Except in wartime, with no significant populated areas nearby. That was the case when these were built in the 1940’s.

Now it seems we are in a new war, over natural resources and public safety vs the Navy’s inertia.  It’s not like there aren’t alternatives. The Administrative Order on Consent (last 15 min) is supposed to look at alternatives. It’s really hard to fathom the cost of building new state of the art above ground storage tanks will be more expensive than building more monitoring wells, repairing and maintaining the tanks, implementing “new” (Watada mentions the 16 year old safety upgrades specifically designed for the tanks have yet to be implemented.)  Certainly MORE jobs would be created since in addition to building new facility/facilities we still have to deal with the clean up of toxic waste and pollution at the old one.

I found Tina Quizon’s hard hitting 15 minute interview with then (Sept 2015) Department of Health Chair Gary Gill.  While Gill tries to put a positive spin on it all, he fully corroborates the concerns of Watada and Lau.  BWS says they have formally requested that DOH share any information received from the Navy, and as we heard, that just is not happening.  Gill says several additional things equally as hair-raising as BWS.  For time reasons, we didn’t even get into the scariness of the tunnel, for instance, but Gill puts it right out there:

Tracy Burgo, the BWS Communications Officer has promised to keep me in the loop on the June meeting. A strong showing of public support for BWS’s efforts to protect our drinking water would give Dept. of Health, EPA, and the Navy a clear message that the current pace and scope of efforts is simply unacceptable. We go!

EPA 2014 leak, AOC, latest updates,  Superfund site

Department of Health,  Solid and Hazardous Waste Branch Red Hill Report.

Letters Re reduction of contaminants tested for:

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Steve Chang and Bob PallarinoEPA.BWS

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4.Steve Chang and Bob PallarinoEPA.BWS

Here are the visuals from this week.

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timeline227.2.1.diagJPG 27.2.2.insidetank 27.2.3.JAN13.2014leak 27.2.4.tankcorrosionrepair 27.2.5.leak detection 27.2.6.monitor well 2 27.3.1.timeline3 27.3.2.AOC 27.3.3.BWSconsernsAOC.

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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

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Red Hill WellsLast Friday I spent an hour and a half with three senior members of the Honolulu Board of Water supply, Ernest Y.W. Lau, P.E.; Manager and Chief Engineer, Erwin Kawata; Program Administrator, Water Quality Division and Tracy Burgo; Information Specialist.

Here’s what I learned. There are 20 WWII era tanks with a combined fuel storage capacity of 250,000,000 gallons which have been leaking irregularly since built. The leaky tanks are 100 feet above the aquifer that provides drinking water to Oahuans from Moanalua to Hawaii Kai. Even though it was April 1st, none of them were fooling.

Tomorrow Lau and Kawata will go over some staggering data. Join us at 3pm HST. on Think Tech Hawaii for livestreamed coverage. If  YOU have a question, tweet us @ThinkTechHI. If you can’t watch live, I will post the YouTube video within  24 hours here at KauiLucas.com

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