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Friday, January 27, 2017
January 27, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:56 PM :: 4784 Views

Honolulu 7th Most Expensive Housing on Earth

Governor says treat symptoms, not causes of our economic woes

Homeless Community Outreach Court is Now Open

OHA Audit: Trustee says it’s time to reassure beneficiaries

Hawaii 8th Largest Educational Attainment Gap

OHA Corruption: FBI, Hackers, and Botox 

SA:  Chairwoman Rowena Akana emerged from a closed-door trustees’ meeting to say that her idea was tabled with only Keli‘i Akina, Carmen Hulu Lindsey and herself supporting paid leave….

A narrow board majority, led by Akana, voted Jan. 8 to enter negotiations to buy out Crabbe’s three-year, $150,000-a-year contract. But the ultimate fate of Crabbe is far from certain because six votes are needed to remove the chief executive officer.

Thursday’s closed session ended relatively quickly for the nine-member board after it lost its quorum….

Akana said the board minority refuses to budge even though she has obtained documentation of misconduct that implicates Crabbe.

She said the documents, some secretly passed to her by OHA employees, indicate Crabbe’s lieutenants hacked into the trustee server and published online some confidential legal documents and falsified records. One falsehood, she said, accuses her of using her trustee allowance to pay for Botox treatments.

Akana added that she might have to sue the trustees to stop the “malfeasance” and “corruption” they continue to allow at OHA….

Some spoke up for Crabbe, while others offered support for Akana. There were also accusations of corruption and mismanagement. Bumpy Kanahele and Mililani Trask said the FBI should be called.

Others endorsed the forensic audit Akana is proposing. Forensic audits could lead to criminal prosecution if anything illegal is uncovered….

read … Proposal to put OHA chief Crabbe on paid leave fails

Money: Schatz Tentacles Reach into P-20, UH Administration

SA: …At UH, Schatz will be the director of Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education, a statewide educational partnership between the University of Hawaii, Department of Education and the Executive Office on Early Learning. The organization, which is based at the university, has a mission of strengthening the “education pipeline” from early childhood through higher education so that all students can achieve college and career success.

A Jan. 17 memorandum that sought approval from UH President David Lassner to appoint Schatz says the position is “crucial to the mission of the UH system and the 10 campuses of UH to prepare more students to enroll, persist and complete college certificates and degrees and to reach the statewide goal of having 55 percent of working age adults achieve a 2-year or 4-year college degree by the year 2025.”

Schatz’s appointment is effective March 1, with an annual salary of $166,008. He will be replacing Karen Lee….

Best Comment: “Politics is the family business. S. Schatz isn’t “jumping ship”, he’s moving from one office to another in the State-monopoly Pre-K-PhD indoctrination industry.”

Ignore This: University of Hawaii: Report Trump Voters to Campus Police

read … Politicized

Mrs Brian Schatz is ‘Project Manager’ for Illegal North Shore Commercial Activities

HNN: A permitting dispute is intensifying on Oahu's North Shore, where city officials have issued a third notice of violation for a controversial commercial development near Sharks Cove.

The city's Department of Planning and Permitting has ordered Hanapohaku LLC to immediately remove several illegal structures, including food trucks, eating areas and temporary toilets.

The landowner reportedly apologized to the community last April for developing the three lots, totaling nearly three acres, without the proper permits. But little has changed since then.

"Since that point, we've seen increased commercial activity and increased violations on the property," said Maxx Phillips, managing director for Malama Pupukea-Waimea. "We haven't seen their promise come to full fruition,"

Company officials maintain that they've been taking steps to address the concerns.

"There actually has been a dialing back," said Linda Schatz, (aka Mrs. Brian Schatz) project manager for Hanapohaku LLC. "They actually had gotten rid of a couple of tenants during that period, and they've dialed back some of the built items that were not permitted."

Hanapohaku sole ‘Member’ is YANI,ANDREW D, co-founder of Bonterra which went out of business last year

PDF: Notice of Violation

read … Schatz Crime Family

Judiciary seems recent target of lawmakers, chief justice says

SA: State Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald says lawmakers have advanced some troubling bills in recent years to make dramatic changes in the selection, retention and pensions of state judges but that he doesn’t know if the measures were designed to convey some message of disapproval to the state Judiciary.

In an interview with the Star-Advertiser editorial board Thursday, Recktenwald said he cannot discuss specific court cases with lawmakers or anyone else, and he does not know if lawmakers are upset with some decision or another aspect of Judiciary operations.

However, given the series of bills lawmakers proposed and debated last year that were strongly opposed by the Judiciary, “it would seem there is a reaction to something,” Recktenwald said. “It appears that something is happening.” ….

The bills that alarmed the Judiciary have fueled speculation at the Capitol that lawmakers were using those measures to express frustration with the courts.

Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee Chairman Gil Keith-Agaran said he has heard that same speculation, but dismissed any suggestion that lawmakers advanced the pension or other bills to convey unhappiness with judges’ decisions.

“I think people just love to gossip around here, especially the bar,” he said in reference to Hawaii lawyers. “The bar is such a closed group, I think there’s too much of this. It’s like people who just hang out at the Legislature all the time.” 

ILind: Judiciary column proved to be timely

read … Target

Embattled tourism agency Hides Sports Entertainment Spending

SA: The proposed changes (pretend to) address recent complaints from visitor industry stakeholders and lawmakers, who said the HTA’s disclosure policies and reliance on lengthy executive sessions make it impossible to evaluate public spending. The agency gets $82 million in transient accommodation taxes for marketing and operations, and another $26.5 million for the Hawai‘i Convention Center….

The HTA came under scrutiny earlier this month when it told members of the Senate Ways and Means Committee that it would not provide them with a full budget because some items were “competitively sensitive.” During that hearing, state Sen. Glenn Wakai (D, Kalihi-Salt Lake), chairman of the Senate’s Economic Development, Tourism, and Technology Committee, said he had been waiting more than five weeks for the HTA to fulfill his open records request for the budget. After getting blasted by Wakai and other senators, the agency agreed to provide certain lawmakers with budget information if they promised to withhold it from the public.

Fried offered a similar deal to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Thursday in response to a request for information on HTA spending on sporting events.

“I’ve been authorized by the board to offer to provide you with the prices of the eight remaining sporting events provided that you sign a (non-disclosure agreement)” Fried said. “The offer is so you know that there’s no funny business going on.”

The newspaper declined the offer. The Star-Advertiser wants the HTA to release the prices for individual sporting events for 2016 and 2017. On Jan. 12, the HTA provided prices for some sporting contracts but withheld costs for eight. The HTA sent the newspaper a redacted Los Angeles Clippers contract Friday that was scrubbed of all price information.

The eight events in question are the PGA Tour, Ironman World Championship, LPGA, Team Unlimited Xterra/Xduro, Kemper Sports Maui Invitational, soccer-related events, rugby-related events and tennis-related events….

Wakai said he doesn’t buy the HTA’s argument that disclosure would harm “competitive advantage.”

“The public has a right to know what’s been spent. Once the deal is inked, it should be disclosed,” he said. “The Pro Bowl had a long run, and we all knew what they paid for it.”

read … Transparency Desperation

Settlement in polygraph suit may cost state $400K

SA: Elizabeth Freitas, a retired police officer living on Kauai, had been getting paid to administer thousands of polygraph tests for years, including examinations for Hawaii’s Department of Public Safety. But all of a sudden the flow of state contracts stopped.

She would later discover that Leanne Gillespie, a worker at the state Department of Public Safety, had used her power to push contracts to her husband by falsely claiming he was the only polygraph examiner in Hawaii who was qualified to contract with the department, according to a lawsuit that Freitas and her Lihue-based firm, Freitas &Freitas Investigations, filed against the state and Gillespie in 2014.

Hawaii taxpayers might now be on the hook for $400,000 to settle the case. The state Attorney General’s Office submitted the proposed settlement to the Legislature this week for approval.

Gillespie is still employed with the Department of Public Safety….

read … Another Day in the Nei

State opts not to send new funds to program that kept 1000s from streets

HNN: A program responsible for keeping thousands of people from ending up on the streets is almost out of money.

Since April, Aloha United Way has been in the business of housing. That's when the state called on the nonprofit to dole out nearly $5 million in emergency funds to residents on the brink of homelessness.

The program used $779,032 to help 577 homeless adults and 383 homeless children move into permanent housing.

But the majority of the funding — $2.3 million — has gone towards keeping people in their homes by providing them with three months of rental assistance.

And over the past nine months, the program has far exceeded goals, helping 987 households (1,681 adults and 1,597 children) keep a roof over their heads with an average payout of $2,200 per household.

The program was so successful it got a special mention in Gov. David Ige's State of the State.

But the state says it has no plan to fund the program again….

State officials point out that it still supports homeless prevention, with $7 million proposed in the governor's budget.  Meanwhile, AUW is trying to find donors to keep its program afloat.

read … State opts not to send new funds to program that kept 1000s from streets

Medicaid Funds Pay to Help Homeless Stay in Housing?

AP: …Representatives from the state’s two largest insurers — Kaiser Permanente and Hawaii Medical Services Association — and the chairwoman of the legislative committee that will first consider the bill declined comment, saying they have not had time to review it.

National homelessness experts said they are unaware of any other U.S. state attempt to classify homelessness as a medical condition.

But more than a dozen states — including California, Louisiana, New York and Texas — have found alternative ways to use Medicaid money for social services to help people stay in housing, like employment services or counseling, according to the Corporation for Supportive Housing, a New York-based group.

And New York is searching for ways to redirect the state-funded portion of its Medicaid budget toward housing payments.

“To date, no one is able to pay for rent using Medicaid. That’s the line in the sand,” said Barbara DiPietro, senior director of policy at the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, referring to federal Medicaid money.

Green’s idea is in line with an ongoing push in in Hawaii to expand Medicaid coverage so it will pay for services such as social workers who help people secure housing….

The Queens’ Health System, a Honolulu hospital, billed $80 million for treating homeless people in 2014 and $89 million in 2015, said Lyndsey Garcia, a hospital legislative analyst. More than $10 million goes uncompensated annually, she said.

Some homeless patients visit emergency rooms dozens of times per year, Green said.

“I’ve heard it described as you go to Queens as a two-day vacation,” he said. “It’s going to cost probably $2,000 to $3,000 per day, so Queens is going to eat that cost, just for basic shelter.”

AP: Hawaii bill would classify homelessness as medical condition

CSM: Bill introduced by a Hawaii state senator could free up Medicaid dollars to use on a proven approach for ending homelessness.

read … Pay Rent?

Lawsuit: Police Commission Broke The Law With Secret Meetings

CB: Hawaii’s Sunshine Law requires the public’s business — including the decision to pay the outgoing police chief $250,000 — must be done openly, a legal challenge contends….

PDF:  Lawsuit Text

read … Lawsuit

SB1292: Save Hilo from Economic Decline Caused by State-Owned Land Management

HTH: Senate Bill 1292, introduced Wednesday in the Senate by Kai Kahele, D-Hilo, and companion House Bill 1479, introduced in the House by Rep. Mark Nakashima, D-Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo, and Rep. Chris Todd, D-Keaukaha, Hilo, Panaewa, Waiakea, would create the first-ever community economic district on the Big Island — or on any neighbor island, for that matter….

The community economic district would include the Banyan Drive peninsula, Wailoa River State Park and Wailoa estuary and the Kanoelehua Industrial Area.

In each of these places, the state is the majority landowner. Many leases throughout the proposed district are due to expire within the next 10 years.

“Due to the uncertainty regarding tenancy, improvements have not been made and infrastructure has deteriorated,” SB 1292 states. The bill was co-sponsored by Sen. Lorraine Inouye, D-Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona, and Oahu Sens. Donovan Dela Cruz, Brickwood Galuteria, Michelle Kidani and Glenn Wakai.

Creating a community economic district would shuffle management of the area in question to the Hawaii Community Development Authority, itself an agency within the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism….

HTH: Arm injury keeps Kim from meeting with lawmakers

read … Leasehold

HECO Seeks Re-Start for Overpriced Solar Farms

SA: …“We’re working on it,” Kelly said. “It’s pretty close … Right now we’re trying to make a deal with them to try to get those projects back under construction.”

NRG Energy acquired the projects in November after SunEdison filed for bankruptcy last April. Kelly said HECO is working to negotiate a lower price than the SunEdison contract.

SunEdison’s facilities would have sold solar power to HECO for approximately 14 cents a kilowatt-hour for the duration of their 22-year lifespans….

Related: HECO Pays Isles’ largest solar farm 40% More Than Mainland Retail

read … Laughing all the way to the bank

Senate Energy Chair: HECO Must Agree to Bills Before I Hear Them

SA: The chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Transportation and Energy said Thursday she would not consider bills about Hawaiian Electric Co. if the utility was not included in the process.

During an informational briefing about the Sustainable Hawaii Initiative, Sen. Lorraine Inouye (D, Waikoloa-Waimea-North Hilo) said she would not consider a bill proposed by the Department of Business, Economic Development &Tourism if the department did not collaborate with HECO first.

Inouye said collaboration between the electric utility and other stakeholders is important and she wouldn’t consider bills, “until such time that the utility company is going to agree to make the changes. … Instead of using us policymakers to force the industry to do that. There should be some compromise.” ….

read … HECO Political Monopoly

Phony Baloney: Will Lawmakers Change Feel Good ‘Renewable’ Energy Formula?

CB: …Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism Director Luis Salaveria told lawmakers that they can make a few strategic changes to statutes that will help with the state mandate of getting 100 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources.

The state is at about 25 percent right now, he said, which puts it ahead of schedule. The next benchmark is 30 percent by 2020.

One of the changes Salveria said he wants the Legislature to make is the definition of “renewable portfolio standard,” which is what’s used to calculate the percentage of renewable energy.

“It’s incorrect,” he said. “It’s based upon sales versus generation.”

Efforts to change the formula last year were unsuccessful.

Salaveria said the state is also working aggressively with utility companies on a power supply improvement plan that looks at future electricity generation.

read … Dr Feel Good

Dozens of Energy Bills Introduced in 2017 Hawai`i Legislative Session

IM: Representative Lee introduced HB 1582 which would amend the State Constitution. (“Proposes a constitutional amendment to ensure access to clean drinking water, meaningful health care, and a quality education are among the inherent and inalienable rights of individuals.”)….

Senator Baker introduced SB 376 to repeal the interisland cable regulatory system.

Representative Lowen introduced HB 903 and Senator introduced SB 782 to offer simply fixes to the definition of Renewable Portfolio Standards, the measure by which our success to achieving 100 percent renewable electricity is measured. Currently the RPS law applies only to electric utilities, but Representative Saiki introduced HB 1253 and Senator Rhoads introduced SB 155 to extend the RPS law to gas utilities.

Buildings use a lot of energy. Energy management systems and energy efficiency can greatly reduce the demand, and then on-site renewable energy systems can make the building a net zero or even net producer of energy. Representative Lowen introduced HB 1249 and Senator Espero introduced SB 571 to bring about the transition to net zero buildings.

Representative Quinlin introduced HB 1294 to end the practice of “open-door air conditioning”, whereby some boutiques seek to cool the sidewalk to encourage customers to enter their stores.

Senator Chang introduced SB 1121 which would make it much harder to rely on gas instead of solar for heating water in new buildings….

Representative Dela Cruz introduced HB 1336 and Senator introduced SB 1207 to examine whether a Lake Wilson pumped-storage hydroelectricity is feasible….

Representative Lowen introduced HB 1248 to establish two microgrid demonstration projects, one at the Kaleloa and the other at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai`i (NELHA).

Representative Matsumoto introduced HB 1167 to require wind developers to decommission wind energy facilities at the end of their commercial life. The bill would also require that offshore floating wind generation facilities be at least ten-miles from the coastline.

Two bills were introduced on climate change/ Senator English introduced SB 559 which would require that Hawai`i adopt the Paris agreement. Senator Rhoads introduced SB 154which would require that greenhouse gas emissions are 100 percent below 1990 levels….

Senator Gabbard introduced SB 1092 which would prohibit utilities from restricting independent power producers sell electricity to the HECO companies.

Intervening in regulator proceedings is difficult, costly, and time consuming. Some States offer Intervenor Compensation when the intervenor`s actions have help the Commission to make a better decision, or saved ratepayers some money. Representative Lee introduced HB 805 to create this mechanism in Hawai`i.

Senator Inouye introduced SB 361 and SB 365 to incentives energy storage.

Senator Baker introduced SB 382 to update and overhaul the Public Utilities Commission….

Senator Inouye introduced SB 661 which would block some county geothermal laws in favor of a less stringent regulatory process.

Bills to restrict the use of Contested Case Proceedings were introduced by Representative Kobayashi, HB 1385, and Senator Kouchi, SB 1233….

IM: Several identical campus microgrid bills have been introduced

read … Dozens of Energy Bills Introduced in 2017 Hawai`i Legislative Session

Capitol sees renewed push to legalize marijuana in Hawaii

KHON: English wants to give it another shot, calling to legalize one ounce of marijuana for personal use, and taking away all criminal and civil fines for having that small amount for anyone 21 or older….

Sen. Josh Green also introduced a bill that would allow people to have one ounce or less of marijuana, but it would also create a civil penalty if the person is caught with the marijuana on school property….

Bills that relate to decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana in Hawaii:

HB205 – Personal Use of Marijuana; Licenses to Cultivate, Manufacture, Test, or Sell Marijuana

HB251 – Marijuana; County Authorization to Legalize

HB449 – Marijuana; Legalization; Regulation; Taxation

HB1358 – Marijuana; Marijuana Concentrate; Personal Use

SB16 – Marijuana; Possession; Decriminalization; School Zones

SB169 – Marijuana; Marijuana Concentrate; Personal Use

SB548 – Marijuana; Legalization

SB575 – Marijuana; Legalization; Study; LRB; Appropriation

SB814 – Marijuana; County Authorization to Legalize

read… Keep the People Drugged

Mega Prison to Bulk up UPW-Prison Industrial Complex 

KITV: …Waiawa is a minimum security facility that sits on nearly 200 acres of land in central O’ahu.  There are upwards of 300 inmates housed there on any given day.

A bill going through the legislature calls for a prison to be built there to house three thousand inmates.

Representative Gregg Takayama introduced the bill.

“My idea is to take advantage of the fact that we have space there. Build a prison there, build a prison that’s large enough to house one thousand or so inmates we have at Halawa Prison, bring back the Arizona inmates.”  (Thus creating 1000s of UPW jobs and costing the State Millions in higher incarceration costs and litigation costs for all the corrupt things UPW guards do.)   It would also house the Waiawa inmates as well.

The bill proposes relocating the aging Oahu Community Correctional Center in Kalihi to the present Halawa prison site…

There are issues.  The site lacks infrastructure. And the 192 acre property is not all flat land.

read … Mega prison for Waiawa?

Suicide Squad Working to Kill off Expensive Patients, Save HMSA Millions

ILind: Tuesday, January 31, 2017 5:30 – 7 p.m.  Hawaii State Capitol Auditorium…

read … You’re not worth it, just die

Ige’s Food Goal: Two Times ‘I don’t know’

HNN: "It's an aspirational goal," said Scott Enright, Chair of the Department of Agriculture. "The governor wanted the Department of Agriculture to get into hyper-drive, to see if they can move those numbers forward." ….

Part of the problem, Enright says, is that the department doesn't know exactly how much local food the state is currently producing, or how many farmers are growing food for a living.

"The answer is 'I don't know.' So we're going to double 'I don't know,' which is 'I don't know' times two. What's the metric we're going to be using?" Rep. Matt LoPresti asked….

Even if they could measure all their progress, local farmers still find difficulty in securing loans and finding enough land, water, and qualified workers. …

HP: HuffPo Helps Anti-GMO Morons Shift to Pesticide Activism

read … Lawmakers question governor's goals for local food production

City has no data on whether plastic bag ban has reduced litter or plastic bag waste

CB: The city has no data on whether the ban has reduced litter or plastic bag waste, and a bill to strengthen the restriction is languishing in the City Council….

Councilman Brandon Elefante of Aiea introduced Bill 59 in October to close a loophole in the law that allows companies like ABC Stores and Longs Drugs to continue putting customers’ purchases in plastic bags…. it hasn’t been scheduled for a hearing….

many who supported the bill were confused and frustrated because the law allows stores to give out thicker plastic bags in checkout lines.

A city survey of 5,000 stores found that while most claim they are exempt from the ban or don’t give out plastic bags, more than 1,000 stores said they provide thicker plastic bags, reusable bags or a combination of paper and plastic bags.

The Surfrider Foundation’s Coleman said he never anticipated that some businesses would simply switch to thicker plastic bags.  (IQ test failed.)

Elefante’s proposal is facing pushback from the business community. Neil Ishida of ABC Stores stated in written testimony that the current ban is adequate and changing it would increase the already high cost of doing business in Hawaii.

The Retail Merchants of Hawaii also opposes the bill.

“We should allow the new ordinance to have a chance,” wrote Tina Yamaki, the president of the organization, contending that Elefante’s proposal would impose an “undue burden” on businesses….

Lauren Zirbel from the Hawaii Food Industry Association also doesn’t like Elefante’s bill, and says that changing the law would be unfair to business owners who spent years preparing for the current law.

She has a different idea for the best way to reduce plastic bag waste. Zirbel wants Hawaii to adopt the same type of bag ban that’s in place in California, where stores are required to charge customers a fee for each single-use bag they provide to discourage their use.  (A real money spinner screw the consumers thanks to the enviros.)

read … Does Honolulu’s Plastic Bag Ban Go Far Enough?

SB18: DUI at 0.05%—Big Money Spinner for Lawyers

KHON: …Right now, the legal limit is 0.08, but an effort is underway to lower that threshold to 0.05. It’s a new standard the National Transportation Safety Board is pushing for in all states.

Sen. Josh Green is behind this plan once again (Senate Bill 18)….

“It invites a lot of litigation from the defense bar if it passes,” said attorney David Fanelli. “That litigation will tie up some of the appeal courts, puts certain cases on hold and definitely, the courts will be flooded with extra cases of people who are over 0.05 but under 0.08.”….

read … Drunk at 0.05

Transportation Department Pushes for $1500 Speeding Ticket

HNN: Fines for distracted driving offenses would triple, under several bills before lawmakers….

A first offense for excessive speeding would jump from $500 to $1,500

A first offense for drunk driving would leap from $150 to $450

And getting ticketed for talking on a cell phone while driving would get you a $750 ticket, or a $900 fine if ticketed near schools or construction zones.

read … Money

Gambling Measures Surface At The Hawaii Legislature

CB: Souki is backing another gaming measure this year, one that establishes regulatory framework for licensed shipboard gaming in state waters….

Vice Speaker John Mizuno wants to set up a commission to analyze the possibility of gaming in Hawaii….

Rep. Scott Nishimoto, meanwhile, has a bill calling for an online fantasy sports contests registration and monitoring program to be housed under the Department of the Attorney General. It’s inspired by websites such as FanDuel and DraftKings….

A similar fantasy sports measure has been introduced by Senate Vice President Michelle Kidani.

The senator has also introduced a bill on behalf of another, unidentified party that would establish a Hawaii “internet lottery and gaming corporation” so internet gambling would be permitted in the state….

read … Gambling

Women’s Legislative Caucus targets health care, sex assault, pay gap

KHON: The Hawaii Women’s Legislative Caucus has advocated for women, children and families for the last 20 years. It consists of female members from the state Senate and House and county councils.

Click here for a full list of official measures and see a summary below….

PBN: Paid leave, family tax credit focus of Hawaii women’s legislative package

CB: Measures Aim To Help Domestic Violence Victims Get Help

(Clue: If you want to reduce domestic violence, enact a tax cut for the poor.  Financial difficulties are a leading cause of domestic discord.)

read … Targets

Senator Brickwood Galuteria Loves Donald Trump

CB: My witness to history began as I left Hawaii on Wednesday evening to attend the inauguration of Donald J. Trump who was to be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America….

…my feeling is we must respect the Office of the President…. 

During the flight, I sat with two women from California who were clearly throwback vintage activists of the ’60s and ’70s heading to Washington, D.C., to engage with others and found it exciting to be able to participate in this type of civic demonstration again. We shared a laugh when they said their “marching” would be more like a “waddle” at their age….

Upon arrival in D.C., I was awash in a sea of red “Make America Great Again” caps and I knew this would be an interesting few days….

It’s apparent that although our U.S. senators from Hawaii have disagreements with the incoming administration, they are willing to look for common ground where possible….

I struck up a conversation with a wonderful kupuna from North Carolina and although our politics were very contrary to each other, we prepared to enjoy the special event together….

The scene was incredibly impressive. The ceremony began with fanfare and speeches, moved onto the swearing-in of Vice President Mike Pence, more beautiful music, the historical swearing-in of President Trump followed by his inaugural address. The wheels of democracy were turning.

The inauguration speech could be interpreted in several ways. “Optimistic” by those who felt that to “make America great again” one simply had to, in local words, “false crack” all who preceded this incoming administration….

American muscularity is quite appealing when compared with strongmen around the world flexing their political trapezoids….

If there was a highlight for me, it was the President’s commitment to building up infrastructure throughout the country. As a sitting state senator I am pleased with the thought of massive upticks in federal infrastructure spending in our islands.

As the ceremony came to a close, several thoughts came to mind. While our new President’s style is not for me, I respect the office he now holds. If this administration can join us in making Hawaii safer and more prosperous, I’m good with it. Hard to argue with that one….

I left D.C. on Saturday morning as the Women’s March on Washington was beginning….  For me it was time to say Aloha to Washington D.C.  My witness to history was complete.

read … Trump Love

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