Sensible Slate Makes Quiet Revolution on Kapolei Neighborhood Board
Dear Editor, May 24, 2013
The people have spoken. The results of the Neighborhood Board elections have been announced. And a major change has quietly taken place in the key Makakilo-Kapolei-Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board.
Long perceived as a rubber stamp for any development project imagined, voters have reconfigured the Board with a decisive majority who will weigh carefully what is best for the community. Running as "The Sensible Slate" the group was elected because it was greatly concerned about traffic, especially peak hour freeway traffic, opposed the Ho'opili development, supported preserving water and preventing the move to desalinated water, supported GMO labeling, opposed any Bio-hazard lab in Kalaeloa and supported the Makakilo Drive extension.
Mayor Frank Fasi created the Neighborhood Boards as a level of grass roots government, where people and their government interact, and the people's voice is heard. In keeping with the growing concern to "take back our government," the new majority is committed to using the Neighborhood Board for full community discussion of all sides of community issues. Kapolei Board meetings are televised, and they may become the forum the public turns to for full discussion of hot issues.
Members of The Sensible Slate are Jeff Healy, Kioni Dudley, Dean Capelouto, Evelyn Sousa, Marissa Capelouto and James Macey.
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State Surplus is Fake
Dear Editor, May 17, 2013
Governor Abercrombie’s $300 million dollar budget surplus is a fake “paper” surplus. The reality is that the state has a massive deficit of at least $483 million! The state’s Employee Union Trust Fund and Employee Retirement System both have a $15 billion and $9 billion shortfall, respectively. Also there is a $461 million backlog in needed UH repairs of which only $37.5 million will be made up this cycle. So how do you “create” a “surplus” when state finances are so fragile? Simple! You just don’t pay your bills!
The state needs to be paying one billion dollars every budget period to eventually make up for those EUTF and ERS shortfalls for about 30 years. However, it will only pay $217 million this period – by way far too short to address the shortfalls disaster. This is like shorting your mortgage payment so that you can claim to have savings or a “surplus” of cash.
Also, if you accept that the state has “shorted” the UH by not repairing and maintaining to the full $461 million in backlog, then the deficit rises to $906.5 million (hopefully, no building collapses like the state’s Farrington High School Auditorium did).
The concept is easier to see if compared to a family’s household budget. You can increase your savings at the end of the year by simply not paying to repair and maintain your home, make only bare minimum and insufficient payments to your credit cards and mortgage. Quite simply, not paying your bills can temporarily build you a savings account or in the State government’s case – a “surplus”. However, there will be disaster right around the corner as your home crumbles and your debt goes out of control.
While one can argue that the state should have used the surplus for school supplies that teachers are personally paying for or the proposed $22 million UH faculty pay raise, etc. but definitely the state is in financial trouble.
To very loosely paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, “if you fool enough of the people enough of the time …”
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Hawaiian Sinkhole Pond Area Used For PCB, PAH, Chlordane Disposal
Dear Editor, May 9, 2013
PCB, PAH and Chlordane contaminated soil disposal is being done near the ocean and adjacent to a US Fish & Wildlife Hawaiian nature preserve site, according to documents available on-line. Site Location- Former NAS Barbers Point (see attached maps) show where open processing has been on-going since approximately 2003. Contaminated soils and chemical drums have been brought to the site for disposal from Naval facilities all over Oahu.
Nearby this site is a major drainage waterway and the land surface below the site consists of highly ground water permeable Karst (ancient coral reef) which flows into the shoreline surf nearby. This hazardous materials project has been ongoing for about a decade in this remote and largely unknown area of former NAS Barbers Point. It was put there to be "out of the way" a decade ago, but is it meeting safety standards today? Has there been adequate monitoring of the soil and water- and possible human and wildlife contamination?
While the argument can be made that it "has to be done somewhere, "there is a reasonable question that should be examined which is- "is this current process actually meeting current clean air and water standards? And are the people working there, and those within the area of possible exposure to this processing, safe from long term effects of chemicals getting into the air and water?
The EPA and other agencies had numerous concerns about the project in what appears to be a very tightly controlled Navy "comment process" in2003. Clearly the Navy had to dispose of property at former NAS Barbers Point, and this required cleaning up a great deal of contaminated areas. However, this same site was used to truck in a great deal of contaminated and hazardous materials and chemicals from all over Oahu and may in fact be one of the largest hazardous materials processing sites in the State, which likely very few people and local residents know about.
Looking at the volume of processing over 10 years and the apparent open air storage of processed (or unprocessed?) soils, etc., - is this site actually as safe as we all hope it is supposed to be? Kalaeloa seems to attract a great deal of "under the radar" activities and strangely seems to have very little regulation or enforcement of regulations, such as the EPA Clean Water Act, by government agencies which are kept reigned back by powerful political controls at the top level of the State government.
John Bond, Kanehili Cultural Hui
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Blocking Banner Keeps Sister-Isle Patients Flowing to Oahu Hospitals
Dear Editor, May 5, 2013
Why we cannot have complete healthcare on Maui? Make no mistake; this is completely about Oahu keeping Maui medical money.
Banner Health would allow us to have complete healthcare on Maui. Our nurses and other hospital staff would have the pay, education, and benefits they deserve. Banner is not union friendly. I find that good, as HGEA is not Maui worker friendly. HGEA also does not care about Maui patients.
To look at the big picture, you must sometimes dissect the picture piece by piece.
Let’s focus on the executive director of the Hawaii Government Employees Association HGEA, Randy Perreira. While Perreira tries hard to hide his salary, it was $90,906 as of 2008, the last year I can find figures for. Perreira has fought hard to cover up access to information about public employee salaries.
Perreira uses scare tactics within the union to make them fear Banner Health. This helps the Oahu HGEA workers. So Maui union workers, think about this: Perreira is sending your jobs to Oahu. He enables Oahu HGEA workers to have enough patients. He doesn’t care about the health of Maui patients, which includes all Maui HGEA workers.
Perreira is extremely entrenched in Oahu politics having huge conflicts of interest. Sadly, he is also on the “Task Farce to Reform the State Health Planning and Development Agency” (SHPDA). These are the people who block us from improving healthcare on Maui.
Related: Shame on HGEA, Politicians for Rejecting Banner Health
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Removal of "Occupy," an Attack on "International Workers Day"
Dear Editor, May 1, 2013
Years ago politicians used Thomas Square as their soapbox to gather votes. Today citizens of Honolulu find out freedom of speech, press, property, and due process are respected only for those in power. On international workers day, the city and county has exercised their power against the working class poor to hurt all citizens of this island and especially taxpayers. For several months our community has had to suffer because of the city councils ego trip and has exhaust millions of dollars in community resources.
With the 170-year anniversary beautification project of Thomas Square, we should remember Admiral Thomas restored sovereignty to the Hawaiian people. The beautification project should respect cultural practices and indigenous plants to restore Thomas Square to its original state. Don Marín, confidant of King Kamehameha I, established a plant and agricultural base for Hawai'i that should be respectfully adhered to and demonstrated by our elected officials. The mayor has disrespected this with his personal choice of bushes and planter boxes now present on the side and center of the Beretania Pedestrian Use Zone.
I personally will contact the ACLU for first amendment violations, the ADA for ADA violations, and the Hawaiian Civic Club for the proper connections appropriate for historical preservation. I will hold Mayor Caldwell and City Council accountable to preserving the Historic value of Thomas Square as a free speech zone and historical landmark. The bullying and disrespectful tactics of our elected officials will not continue.
Mahalo for your time,
Christopher Nova Smith