Elections 2022: Campaign Finance Reform can begin with our vote

The Honolulu Star Advertiser hosted a digital town hall on June 29, 2022 for the top three presumptive gubernatorial candidates – Vicky Cayetano, Josh Green, and Kai Kahele.

Yunji de Nies and Ryan Kalei Tsuji hosted the hour-long program.

For those who did not watch the Star Advertiser Spotlight Forum, I’m highlighting the Campaign Finance Reform issue.

About the 50:00 timeline, Representative Kai Kahele retorted at Lt. Governor Green’s comments about leading by example:

” … for the Lt Gov Green to talk about leading by example, frankly, it’s a joke because his (Green) campaign is funded by hundreds of thousands of dollars by outside mainland donors, corporations, special interests, big pharma, maxed dollar donors , wealthy individuals from the mainland that want to control the economic and political life of this state.”

Green was visibly irritated and quickly responded that he was disappointed by Kahele’s “attack” and it was not appropriate as he (Green) was a “hardworking doctor and Lt. governor “.

Green again implemented the red herring fallacy to distract from his own record and accused Kahele of “sensationalism”. Green proceeded to accusing Kahele’s of donations from indicted Mitsunaga and others.

However, it must be noted that this federal indictment case is very specific. It’s focused on the Honolulu City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro who received donations from Mitsunaga & Associates to prosecute one of Dennis Mitsunaga’s former employee.

Kahele should have brought up Green’s most egregious Pay to Play quid pro quo . The Carpenter’s Union donated about $1M at the last minute to Green in 2018 to edge over Jill Tokuda.

Green in turn dutifully appointed one of its union officials as his Chief of Staff.

Is money buying elections?

Isn’t this a blatant example of PAY TO PLAY?

Green’s action is very significant because the Chief of Staff controls the office of the Lt. Governor and its operations.

I didn’t take it as an “attack” when Kahele highlighted Green’s donations from the mainland interests, unions, maxed out donors, big pharma, and so on.

Candidates cannot run away nor be offended by their own record. The Public has every right to question and raise concerns to hold the candidate accountable.

This is why Campaign Finance Reform is so critical. If this cancer is not controlled, candidates who are willing to play along with special interests groups will continue to receive donations. With these big donations, candidates are able to hire staff for their campaign, pay for expensive social media, television ads and so forth.

Candidates can literally reinvent themselves with sophisticated media propaganda and manipulated narratives for their desired outcome. The Status Quo continues.

Voters may feel outgunned and overwhelmed by campaign finance concerns. But elections are won vote by vote.

Voters have the power. Voters can make a conscious choice to boycott candidates with big donations from special interests.

Voters also need not feel the pressure to tell any one who they voted for.

Happy 4th of July!

Elections 2022: Finance Reform to prevent Big Money buying elections

It’s best to read into each candidate. Those with money can swarm the airwaves with 30-seconds soundbites to reinvent themselves as candidates of change. Money is buying elections.

People need to be reminded about this candidate. Past behavior is a good predicator of future actions.

West Hawaii Today reported this on December 6, 2018.

” HONOLULU — Lt. Gov. Josh Green has appointed a former carpenters’ union official to be his chief of staff months after a super PAC funded by the union spent over $1 million supporting his candidacy in the Democratic Party primary.

Brooke Wilson most recently served as political and education director for the Hawaii Regional Council of Carpenters. She’s the only incoming staff member from the carpenters’ union. “

Ko’olauloa has another major water break today, again.

Another water pipe burst happened again! This time it was a little more harrowing than just disrupting lives and creating property damages. The infrastructure on this side of the island is aging and maintenance is lacking.

Photo by M Kehau Kamaks. Punalu’u
Photo by Kehau Kamaks: M Kehau Kamaks

” The aunty is safe. No one else was in the car. She was a little in shock but my brother pulled her out right before her car went into the hole.”

Ko’olauloa residents are always at the best helping each other. Here is a conversation from Facebook:

Georgieann Kahawaii Vave HUGE HUGE HUGE HUGE HUGE MAHALO TO whomever helped my mom out of her car. MY OHANA & I MAHALO YOU! 🥺🥺🥺❤️❤️❤️❤️🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🥰🥰

Photo by Kehau Kamaks

Patsy Takemoto Mink honored on June 23, 2022

You can see the beautiful lean Patsy Takemoto Mink monument outside the Hawaiʻi State Library. This ceremony marked the 50th anniversary of the landmark Title IX legislation (1972) that Mink championed.

statue with lei
Patsy T. Mink monument outside of the Hawaii State Library

Although Title IX is often referred to in sports, it also opened the doors to all student in other areas. It forces fairness of gender in recruitment, financial aid, admissions, housing, and athletics. Mink co-authored Title IX using the big stick to ban U.S. schools and universities from receiving federal funds if they were involved in discrimination.

woman speaking
 Hawaiʻi Supreme Court Associate Justice Sabrina McKenna sharing her gratitude
to benefiting from Title IX.

Photos from UH News

Elections 2022: Honolulu City Council District 2 has five candidates

First term 2018-2022 City Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi has chosen to run for Governor instead of running for a second term at Honolulu Hale.

City Council Candidates for Elections 2022

It’s interesting to note that Chad Tsuneyoshi, the husband of present City Councilmember Heidi Tsuneyoshi, filed to run for the same office at the very last minute. The couple recently underwent a divorce. However, political cynics question if this was a convenience for the gubernatorial candidate to not have to address any further background questions relating to Chad Tsuneyoshi’s past criminal record.

A question of his filing is whether Chad Tsuneyoshi thinks he could capitalize on the name recognition in Council District 2. Incumbent politicians always have a huge advantage in re-elections due to name recognition unless there is a huge monumental scandal or corruption. (However, incumbent CM Heidi Tsuneyoshi, has made some very troublesome decisions as the District 2 council member.)

Here is some information about Chad Tsuneyoshi from public records.

Apparently, Chad Tsuneyoshi has been working very hard with political campaigns, including Ernie Martin, Charles Djou, Trevor Ozawa, his wife’s city council campaign in 2018 and perhaps other candidates.’

Editor Andrew Walden from Hawaii Free Press described Chad Tsuneyoshi as such:

Convicted cocaine dealer Chad Tsuneyoshi is taking over as Honolulu Council Chair Ernie Martin’s Campaign Treasurer

My own personal experiences with the Chad and Heidi Tsuneyoshi were from my city council campaign in 2018. Chad Tsuneyoshi was managing his wife’s campaign.

We had one of the more nasty campaigns that included anonymous negative attacks through USPO mailings and email, stolen and vandalized political banners, mass facebook messaging behind our backs, social media trolls injecting fabricated rumours and smears in conversations, and so on.

This was a period that had one of those “in your face” tactics that everybody could logically guess which campaign camp the perpetrators were from. But nobody had the time or resources to get to the bottom of it.

UGLY TACTICS

CIVIL BEAT: Envelopes sent with no return address arrived at homes across north Oahu this summer. Inside were flyers criticizing the political record of Robert “Bobby” Bunda, one of four candidates in the Honolulu City Council District 2 race.

Dave Burlew, a Kahuku farmer also running for the seat, was shocked to receive one of these letters and even more surprised to find “VOTE DAVE BURLEW FOR CITY COUNCIL!!” at the bottom of the flyer along with his P.O. box number.

“That’s when it got ugly,” Burlew said.

Burlew said he does not know who is responsible for the flyers. Heidi Tsuneyoshi and Choon James, the two other candidates in the race, also say they have no knowledge of where the letters come from. “

Logic told us that Robert Bunda could not be the person to smear himself. Dave Burlew and I (Choon James) were friends with similar values. Both of us knew 100% we did not do that. So, who was left?

Unite Local 5 which endorsed Robert Bunda in 2018 had this to say:

“July 2018 – Some may disagree with our support of Bobby Bunda, and that’s ok. But we’re confident Bobby is the best candidate for Council District 2.

Bobby has never shied away from criticism, but he has also been subject to a series of unfair, illegal and anonymous mailers that do not reflect the values of our hard working families in District 2. The sender of these mailers want you to believe they came from Dave Burlew, another candidate in the race, but he sent a statement to the State Campaign Spending Commission saying he had nothing to do with the mailers.

Before you vote, or even if you have already voted, you should know the whole truth behind each candidate. Google search Heidi Tsuneyoshi, Dave Burlew, Choon James and Bobby Bunda and start learning the facts. Also, ask yourself which candidate has enough money to pay for an expensive mass mailing campaign and stands to gain the most from attacking Bobby Bunda?

Tsuneyoshi’s Donations for her City Council race included these:

Heidi Tsuneyoshi was one of the very few selected candidates who received donations from indicted organized crime boss Michael Miske. Tsuneyoshi did not respond to Civil Beat’s request for comment.

Tsuneyoshi also received $31,950 from Mitsunaga & Associates whose principals have recently been indicted along with City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro for charges of conspiracy and bribery practices.

2022 Hawaii Elections

Today is the Deadline for Filling to run for office. The Office of Elections currently has a list of candidates who have taken out nominations issued to them. But not every one has filed to complete the papers by today June 7, 2022 4:30 pm.

We have not heard any last-minute controversies of having signatures rejected that would disqualify a candidate.

It’s said that generally when there are a large amounts of candidates, the citizenry are unhappy and unsatisfied with the state of affairs.

The US Congressional Senate position has 19 citizens obtained nomination papers to run for the position currently held by Senator Brian Schatz. Ten candidates have filed their papers.

The US Congressional House Representative position has 10 citizens obtained nomination papers, currently held by Representative Kai Kahele. Seven candidates have filed their nomination papers.

Governor David Ige defeated then 1-term Governor Neil Abercrombie in 2014 and was reelected on 2018. His is term-out this election year.

The Gubernatorial race has 38 obtained nomination papers! There are 19 candidates who have filed by today. They include Duke Aiona, Vicky Cayetano, Josh Green, Kai Kahele and 15 other candidates.

Our District 2 in the Honolulu City Council position has 5 candidates. I will elaborate on this District in my next post.

Memorial Day 2022

2022: For many, the pain, strength, and pride of Memorial Day is very personal and real.

CW-2 (Apache Pilot) Kirk Takeshi Fuchigami Jr. of Keaau, Hawaii.

EOW: 20 Nov 2019 Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Takeshi was a BYU-Hawaii student and worked at Laie Ace Hardware.

Here is McKenzie Norman Fuchigami – a very young and strong widow’s post – on Facebook:

“McKenzie Norman Fuchigami is with Takeshi Fuchigami at Memorial Day.

Another Memorial Day in the books, and another day without him. Of course I want to take this opportunity to remember his beautiful soul.

Takeshi proudly served his country and I know he would not hesitate to do it again even given the outcome.

But I also cannot help on this day to remember what was lost.

It’s daunting and frankly SOUL CRUSHING thinking about living the rest of my life without him. Never hearing his voice again or seeing his face light up, making my heart whole. What’s worse? Knowing I missed my short chance of making him a Dad, sharing a family with him. I’ll never be able to get that chance back, something my brain knows, but my heart just won’t accept.

Memorial Day is a painful one, thinking about all of the thousands of lives that are forever altered.

The high price of freedom I’m reminded by daily. And even though it’s painful, I will take this day and every day to remember his irreplaceable presence, and the life we could have had.

To those who will always have a permanent hole in their heart, I hope this Memorial Day reminds you of the love that we got to have even if it was short lived.”

HB1434 must be rejected by the Hawaii State Legislature

This is part of Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s legislative package for 2022 – the power to use NON-JUDICIAL Foreclosures of private properties based on civil fines. This affects all Counties in Hawaii, if approved.

Conference Committee scheduled to be heard on April 29, 2022 at 4:00 pm

2022 has been a whirlwind of legislation. The entire State of Hawaii is just beginning to get adjusted to the last two years of COVID19 upheaval and adjustment in all different levels of society.

HB 1434 is premature and too dangerous to pass this legislative year. There are many unanswered questions. Fundamentally, it egregiously lacks public engagement, and in providing an open and transparent government. It’s one of the best-kept secrets this session. The supporting testimonials come from the DPP Director and five Honolulu City Council members.

To adopt such a groundbreaking and severe legislative decision WITHOUT each legislator warning or educating or engaging with his/her affected residents is malfeasance and sorely lacking in representation.

Hb1434 is not just some customary budget or public work or social support issue, this is about the quick taking of private property by the government who already has immense powers.

The two case-in-point used in written testimonies to the State Legislature are not entirely accurate. Even if they are accurate, such public policy cannot be taken lightly or without significant research on the facts and findings from various and different sources, especially the most affected parties.  

Regarding the cited Hauula case of which we’re very familiar with. We’re not saying that the family does not have violations to correct. They have submitted building applications to DPP which takes time, even before COVID 19. The long process compounded their daily fines. Some violations were incorrect because there is a difference between Agriculture-zone and residential-zone properties.

City Council District 2 Heidi Tsuneyoshi pushed through Resolution 22-11 to enforce “Eminent Domain” and then “Judicial Foreclosure” in 25 working days! This family was used as a scapegoat.

Overly ambitious Council member Heidi Tsuneyoshi accused the family of violations for the past 5 years when the family had only acquired their farm 2.5 years ago in November 2019. The family was also issued inaccurate violations but the fines tripled and compounded. DPP was also told not to give permits. How is a resident supposed to correct violations without obtaining a permit?

She did not even reach out to her constituent who is an immigrant family from the Kingdom of Tonga. There are many extenuating circumstances. The young wife was suffering from cancer relapses during the past few years and under hospice care recently. She died on April 2, 2022.

When a constituent is in trouble, we expect our city council members to reach out and lend a helping hand, not rush to quickly slam them and seize their private property.

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On the State level, adopting HB 1434 would be akin to simply throwing the baby out with the bath water with no thought of the unintended consequences or property rights. Why give immense blanket powers to address a few “problematic” properties?

The Hawaii State Legislature cannot eliminate Due ProcessPrivate Property Rights, and Equity and Fairness from our residents with this HB1434.

The handwriting is on the wall that HB 1434 will inevitably punish the unsophisticated residents and those without powers and connections to fight or fend for themself. Legal fees are expensive.

Those who are affluent and connected will always find a way out.

There must be robust discussions on all fundamental facts, accuracy of information, and especially the unintended consequences that will inevitably occur should this bill is adopted.

It’s a known fact that most of our property owners work and sacrifice much to own a private property. Not many are born with a silver spoon in their mouths.

The OAHU Honolulu County (although NOTHING is heard from the other affected Hawaii counties of Maui, Kauai, Hawaii Island, Lanai, Moloka’i) apparently wants to bypass and circumvent constitutional due process of “eminent domain”.

It even wants to skip “Judicial Foreclosure” and hurry on to fast track the takings of private property through “NON-Judicial Foreclosure.

This is alarming! This agenda cannot be taken lightly. How many States are adopting this kind of powers?

The only fair and democratic and pono way is for all legislators to warn, educate, and engage with their constituents first prior to adoption of this HB 1343/SB 2110.

The public at large remains in the dark and are unaware of this severe and transformational legislation. This will come back and haunt the decision-makers in the near future.

There are also many unanswered questions as to the unconstitutional infringement on DUE PROCESS, PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS and FAIRNESS.

It also violates the Honolulu City Charter Purpose, principles, and intent to serve the people in the best way possible and in fair and equitable ways.

The State Legislature must REJECT HB 1434/SB2110 this session. Engage, educate, and warn the people in ALL COUNTIES first. That’s the only democratic route to take on this one. Restore Trust in Government.