I was a young mother with a 2-year-old boy living at Wymount Terrace on the BYU Provo campus. I was at the laundry room with Robbie when a tall dark man walked into the laundry room.
I don’t know what his nationality was. He could have been a black-American citizen or a “foreigner”. But he did have a particularly dark pigment.
When Robbie saw him, his quick response was to point to him and said loudly, “Mom, what is that?”
That was awkward.
But I immediately told Robbie that he was our friend who had a darker skin than us. I said it loud enough so our visitor could hear it. We smiled at each other .
Our kind visitor understood a child. He did not get offended. He did not blame me for my child’s actions. He did not start lecturing me.
I think about that incident once in a while. Someone who had no exposure to a black person could naturally react the way he did. I appreciate that good man with a kind understanding nature. It makes life less complicated.
I consider myself fortunate to grow up in Singapore till I was seventeen. We lived happily and peacefully with so many different races, cultures, customs, languages, religions, cuisine, and so forth.
My childhood friends were Chinese, Malays, Indians, Tamils, and others. Some of my best childhood friends were Muslims. A neighboring Malay mother nursed me in addition to her own infant when my mother fell ill for a time and could not lactate.
My father’s drinking buddy was a Hindu Indian who spoke the Hokkien dialect. When Chandra died, mother was mad at him; she said that he did not cry his heart out for his own parents like he did for Chandra.
It was not that there were no racial conflicts or unrest. I remember the Malays and Chinese tensions headlines. (But there was no friction in our own community.) I’m guessing it was during the Singapore merger with Malaysia in 1963 or thereabouts. We were living on a farm off Holland Road area. I recall one night witnessing the menfolks together with their changkols. They were building underground pits with grass-top covers to prepare for possible raids from the outside.
All in all, with the Singapore government’s concerted efforts to unify and achieve racial harmony and equality, those racial tensions dissipated to a minimal.
I can’t recall any politician in my youth in Singapore stoking the flames of racial disruptions or exploiting one race or group against another. The message was always clear and precise: We were Singaporeans first. We must live in harmony, respect each other, and focus on the meritocracy of the individual.
So it was easy for me to live a simple life with a basic philosophy – to always respect others. Racial peace, respect, and understanding must begin with me.
Certainly, Hawaii is a wonderful place to be living in . Aloha abounds. A few mainland states may explode but let us always be anchored in the spirit of aloha in our island home.
Judge Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed on October 26, 2020 Monday night by the US Senate voted 52-48. It was strictly along party line. None of the Democrats casted a vote for her. Susan Collins (R) from Maine opposed.
“The oath that I have solemnly taken tonight means, at its core, that I will do my job without any fear or favor, and that I will do so independently of both the political branches and of my own preferences. I love the Constitution and the democratic republic that it establishes, and I will devote myself to preserving it
Putting the partisanship aside, Justice Barrett’s advice to young women during the hearings is memorable and applicable to all:
“You shouldn’t let life just happen to you. Make a deliberated decision of what you want to be.”
Here are a few of my personal takes of the nomination process:
There was an overload of partisanship and showmanship. So many were playing to the camera and their targeted audience rather than focused on the subject matter at hand. I watched part of the process on C-Span to escape those relentless talking heads from both parties.
There is no guarantee that the 48-years-old Justice Barrett will live to be 87 years old. Or she may live longer than that. Will she retire early? Who knows? Who can see into the future?
Remembrance of history could tame some divisiveness. Did the nomination process seem fast and unfair today? Blame it on Democrat Harry Reid of Nevada who was Senate Majority Leader in 2012. Reid championed the rules to prevent the minority party from slowing passage of legislation and nominations. The table turned in 2020 for the Republicans.
It’s not surprising that a sitting POTUS will nominate a Justice who reflects his ideology. The opportunities to nominate have opened to both Democrat and Republican Presidents.
Supreme Court Justices have proven that they can “surprise” legal observers with their decisions. After all, their job is to implement the rule of law and the US Constitution.
This is not easily over-turned. Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction. How can we as a Society help our women improve their social and economic standing to prevent unwanted pregnancies?
Whether we agree with Justice Barrett or not, her scholarship, intellect and keen recollection of cases and laws are noteworthy and remarkable. The American Bar Association (ABA) has rated Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett as “well qualified,” based on her integrity, professional competence and judicial temperament.
We are deeply disappointed that we
have received the silent treatment from Governor David Ige at this point.
“The most affected people and the most affected community have been opposing these additional eight (8) industrial turbines for over ten (10) years. The answer to the authorities had always been ‘no’ to the Fortune 500 Corporations, HECO and also those involved in the Environment Review Process.
However, their voices have
consistently been ignored and dissed.
Kahuku already has twelve (12)
industrial turbines. It is already bearing the disproportionate burden of wind
energy. Its residents have already been
suffering the health impacts from these existing turbines.
The PUC action of December 31, 2014
was a blatant violation of Hawaii’s renowned Environmental Laws specifically
contained in the HAR Chapter 343. Consultation with the affected community is
the first of several elements of public participation in the environmental
review process established under Chapter 343.
The centrality of public participation to rational environmental
management has long been recognized as good policy, and it is explicitly
identified as a founding principle in the legislative findings that preface the
§343-1 Findings and purpose. The legislature finds that the quality of
humanity’s environment is critical to humanity’s well being, that humanity’s
activities have broad and profound effects upon the interrelations of all
components of the environment, and that an environmental review process will
integrate the review of environmental concerns with existing planning processes
of the State and counties and alert decision makers to significant
environmental effects which may result from the implementation of certain
actions. The legislature further finds
that the process of reviewing environmental effects is desirable because
environmental consciousness is enhanced, cooperation and coordination are
encouraged, and public participation during the review process benefits all
parties involved and society as a whole.
To further violate the standing
environmental laws to the face of the most affected people, the Public
Utilities Commission further violated the laws by approving the contract
between HECO and then Champlin/GEI in order to assist the corporations in its
federal tax incentives deadline.
Recently, a former PUC Counsel revealed that he counseled against the December 31, 2014 decision because the EIS for this project was pending and NOT completed yet.
Furthermore, the Hawaii Consumer Advocate at the time, Jeffrey Ono, also advised for
PUC to wait for the environmental review to be completed before approving the
wind farm. Mr.Ono’s opinion was that the “EIS
could inform a decision on whether the project was in the public interest:
specifically whether its benefits outweighed its negative impacts on the
Because of the flawed process, there continues to be controversies. Approximately 200 residents were arrested in resistance to this process.
Keep the North Shore Country has filed a lawsuit challenging the Hawaii
Board of Land and Natural Resources’ acceptance of a conservation plan and
license to kill certain numbers of endangered Hawaiian hoary bats as an
incidental side effect of the project.
Life of the Land’s challenge focuses on the PUC’s approval of the
contract between the wind farm and HECO, which the PUC approved.
statement by his communications team that “we were told
Despite all the known facts about
this flawed process, the AES COO, Mark Miller continues his arrogant and
robotic PR answer to all compelling concerns:
“We remain in close touch with people throughout the North Shore
community – including those who have lingering questions about our project. We
are here and ready to talk to anyone interested in learning more.” But he
pushing onward and forward and not taking “no” for an answer.
On October 16, 2019 to the Star
Advertiser, “The company planning to
build a wind farm in Kahuku “should be allowed to proceed,” Gov. David
We call on Governor Ige to take
care of his primary kuleana – to put the public interest nor the well being of
his constituents’, including the children, interests and well-being. The
industrial turbines will be too close to the Kahuku Elementary School, the
Kahuku High School, residential homes, hospital and farmer’s dwellings, and
also the Bobby Benson Center.
What are residents supposed to do
if the very government regulatory agencies that must protect the process and
the public interest violated its very laws and rules on the books?
When residents exercise their
desperate protests to be heard, they are met with the strong force of the HPD
We call on Governor Ige to implement
pono leadership on these irreparable damages being done to his constituents
1. To allow the citizen’s various
legal pending processes to be heard before allowing further deliveries to the
2, to direct the Attorney General
to expunge the approx.127 arrests made thus far. The people were simply trying
to be heard because the very agencies that are supposed to protect them broke
its own laws and regulations.
Hawaii has one of the best
environmental laws in the nation. If all state and county agencies had adhered
to the laws in the books, these acrimonious and actions could have been easily
Kahuku residents cannot continue to
be guinea pigs. Green Energy is important for our island home but environment
justice and social justice must integral parts of this movement.
NOTE: HAR 11-200-9(C) requires
agencies proposing an action to analyze alternatives to the nominal project
proposal in the environmental assessment.
Consideration of alternatives is a
core element of the environmental planning process and offers one of the key
tools available to achieve the purpose of environmental impact
minimization. The OEQC Guidebook
includes specific instructions regarding the discussion of alternatives.
Consider alternative methods and
modes of your project, and discuss them in the draft EA. Select the one with the least detrimental
effect to the environment. Alternatives
to consider include:
Different sites: is one site less
likely to infringe on an environment
that needs protection, such as a wetlands or an historic district?
Different facility configurations:
is one configuration less likely to intrude on scenic viewplanes?
Different implementation methods:
can a rocky area be cleared by backhoe removal rather than blasting?
Alternative analysis should include
input from the community. Community
members may be aware of concerns and impacts that make a particular alternative
more or less desirable. [OEQC Guidebook, p.15]
The Guidebook also offers insight
into what’s expected in an EA in the way of alternatives analysis in its
discussion of questions to ask when reviewing an EA.
Are alternatives to the proposed project (including no project at all) adequately explored? Are there other ways to carry out the project which may be less damaging to the environment? Are different designs or approaches discussed sufficiently? What basic improvements can you suggest? [OEQC Guidebook, p.9]
Thus, alternatives to discuss include not just the no action case, but also actions of a significantly different nature that would provide similar benefits with different minimal impacts, different designs or project details, different locations, different facility configurations, and even the alternative of postponing an action pending development of a more viable proposal.
The latest proposed 18-story $1.4 billion telescope addition to the Mauna Kea Summit was bound to create a tipping point in Hawaiian history.
It’s no secret that Hawaii residents constantly have to protest against the intransigence (unwillingness to listen) of big government and/or private corporations who have the backing of big government in many projects.
Yes, the State of Hawaii has significant and purposeful checks and balances in its environmental review process – Environmental Assessment ( EA) or Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) – for major projects. But adherence to the entire prescribed rules and regulations and process is inconsistent.
Project owners get to choose and compensate their own environmental review company. Environmental review processes are regularly pushed through the status quo food chain despite public concerns over multiplier negative impacts like traffic, loss of fertile farm lands, social upheaval, fiscal impropriety, cultural damages, and so forth.
“Consultation” and “Public Participation” with the most affected parties are mandated core requisites in the environmental review process, but often ignored and subverted in real life.
Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR) Section 11-200-5 requires an agency to “assess at the earliest practicable time the significance of potential impacts of its actions, including the overall cumulative impact in light of related actions in the region and further actions contemplated.”
HAR §11-200-9(1) explicitly states
that the agency must also consult with “those
citizen groups and individuals which the approving agency reasonably believes
to be affected.”
The intent of the term, “consult” in the context of the Hawai‘i EIS Law is clear. The clarification is found in the 1997 Guidebook for the Hawai‘i State Environmental Review Process, prepared by the Office of Environmental Quality Control (OEQC):
Prior to preparing your draft EA it is important to consult with the community regarding your proposed activity as well as agencies. [emphasis in the original] Groups, individuals and organizations that have expertise in the field, have an interest or will be affected by the activity you are proposing should be consulted. Immediate neighbors or neighboring landowners must be contacted. Consultation with the local planning department is required. The local planning office can also direct you to other necessary agency contacts. [OEQC Guidebook, p.13]
“Consultation” with the affected community is the
first of several elements of public
participation in the environmental review process established under Chapter
“Public participation” is the core value to rational
environmental management and has long been recognized as good policy. It is
explicitly identified as a founding principle in the legislative findings that
preface the environmental review law:
§343-1 Findings and purpose. The legislature finds that the quality of humanity’s environment is critical to humanity’s well being, that humanity’s activities have broad and profound effects upon the interrelations of all components of the environment, and that an environmental review process will integrate the review of environmental concerns with existing planning processes of the State and counties and alert decision makers to significant environmental effects which may result from the implementation of certain actions.
The legislature further finds that the process of reviewing environmental effects is desirable because environmental consciousness is enhanced, cooperation and coordination are encouraged, and public participation during the review process benefits all parties involved and society as a whole.
Both the Rules and the Guidebook provide that consultations with the community should occur at the outset of the process, prior to assembly of the actual draft EA. This assures that both concerns of the community and its intimate knowledge of the site of proposed actions are understood and incorporated into the planning process.
Furthermore, HAR 11-200-9(C) requires agencies proposing an action to analyze alternatives to the nominal project proposal in the environmental assessment.
Consideration of alternatives is another core element of the environmental planning process and offers one of the key tools available to achieve the purpose of environmental impact minimization. The OEQC Guidebook includes specific instructions regarding the discussion of alternatives:
Consider alternative methods and modes of your project, and discuss them in the draft EA. Select the one with the least detrimental effect to the environment. Alternatives to consider include:
• Different sites: is one site less likely to infringe on an environment that needs protection, such as a wetlands or an historic district?
• Different facility configurations: is one configuration less likely to intrude on scenic view planes?
Alternative analysis should include input from the community. Community members may be aware of concerns and impacts that make a particular alternative more or less desirable. [OEQC Guidebook, p.15]
The Guidebook also offers insight into what’s
expected in an EA in the way of alternatives analysis in its discussion of
questions to ask when reviewing an EA.
Are alternatives to the proposed project (including no project at all) adequately explored? Are there other ways to carry out the project which may be less damaging to the environment? Are different designs or approaches discussed sufficiently? What basic improvements can you suggest? [OEQC Guidebook, p.9]
Thus, alternatives to discuss include not just the no action case, but also actions of a significantly different nature that would provide similar benefits with different minimal impacts, different designs or project details, different locations, different facility configurations, and even the alternative of postponing an action pending development of a more viable proposal. (Bold added for emphasis)
The Mauna Kea’s 18-story telescope’s environment review process and other related procedures inevitably became more complicated through the years.
Opponents were forced into the courts to be recognized. Conflicts of interests relating to the State Hearing Officer relating to permit issuance were fought over. and so on. Yet, the powers-that-be continued its intransigent behavior. Subsequent elected officials continued the same intransigent pattern.
History shows that in August 2008, Star Advertiser’s Kevin Dayton reported:
“U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye is pressing to have a huge new telescope project built on Mauna Kea that is almost certain to be controversial among Native Hawaiians. But he is also proposing steps such as scholarships for Hawaiian students as part of an initiative to garner public support for the project.
The loss of the TMT project to a competing site in Chile “would not bode well for us as a nation, and could very well signal an end to any major astronomy investment on American soil,” Inouye wrote in the letter.
TMT Observatory Corp. — a partnership between the University of California, California Institute of Technology and an organization of Canadian universities — selected Mauna Kea and Cerro Armazones in Chile as the two potential locations for the telescope it hopes to build by 2018.”
Kevin Dayton further reported a significant piece of information about the review process then:
“Sierra Club’s Mauna Kea Issues Committee Co-chair Nelson Ho said no one knows the “carrying capacity” of the mountain, or the point at which the development overwhelms the natural resources there.
“I think the senator is ignoring a lot of widespread sentiment that Big Islanders don’t want more telescopes on the mountain, let alone the TMT,” Ho said. “It’s a huge monstrosity at a time when there are still too many unresolved issues on the table.”
Obviously Nelson Ho, an informed and local activist’s
opinions were insufficient to be acknowledged as part of the “consultation” and
“public participation” review process.
A stream of public concerns from various groups and peoples would continue. Unfortunately, the TMT site had been pre-selected and pre-determined. Big government would steamroll the project through no matter what.
It’s time for the oligarchs of Hawaii to play fair, not strong-arm politics. The Mauna Kea project is not the sole irritation in Hawaii.
The Mauna Kea Project’s history of intransigence- – ignoring “consulting” and “public participation” during the review process also does not adequately address many other unanswered questions about Hawaii’s crown and ceded lands, the cultural, historical and social impacts, the “conservation” zoned land use and management and so forth
Yet, on July 14, 2019, there was an orchestrated display of force by Hawaii’s Oligarchs. In addition to DOCARE police, sheriffs, and National Guards, more police presence would be deployed from Oahu and Maui. The presence of LRAD, or “sound cannon,” tear gas, raid gear, batons and so on were also present as reported by observers.
Subsequently, on July 17, 2019, law enforcement arrested 38 peaceful opponents of the Project. The Governor then issued a State of Emergency through his media communications team:
HONOLULU – Gov. David Ige today issued an emergency proclamation to protect the health, safety,
and welfare of the people on Hawai‘i Island and across the State of Hawai‘i, to
also ensure the execution of the law, prevent lawless violence, and the
obstruction of the execution of the law.
proclamation gives law enforcement increased flexibility and authority to close
more areas and restrict access on Mauna Kea. This will allow law enforcement to
improve its management of the site and surrounding areas and ensure public
“Our top priority is
the safety and security of our communities and the TMT construction teams. This
is a long-term process and we are committed to enforcing the law and seeing
this project through,” said Ige.
practicing fortitude and Kapu Aloha,
has been peaceful and non violent as all visiting observers have attested to.
A fair-minded person should be extremely concerned with the chronic intransigent pattern in undermining values of “consultation” and “public participation” of the most affected parties, the flaunting and abuse of big government powers and resources towards the Mauna Kea Resistance thus far.
What may be deemed legal may not always be just or pono.
Choon James has been a community advocate for decades. She has also been a real estate broker for over 30 years. She can be reached at ChoonJamesHawaii@gmail.com Photos by Nate Yuen. Special mahalo to John Harrison, PHD UH Manoa Environmental Center (Retired).
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell obviously has a public Face Book page. Like a typical politician, a reader can see spin and disinformation. As case in point is the above post on Kuly 10, 2019 by the Mayor’s Communications Team.
But Honolulu residents has their own opinions. See some of the comments.
City and County of Honolulu City Council adopted Bill 89 and Bill 85 on June
17, 2019 after many long and contentious hearings.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed Bill 89 into law on June 25, 2019. On July 3, the
City Council chose not to address Bill 85 Veto.
Here is the
information provided by the Department of Planning and Permitting:
June 21, 2019
City Department of Planning and Permitting
Regulations on Short-Term Rentals
Bill 89 CD2
was adopted by City Council on Monday, June 17. It is awaiting action by Mayor
Kirk Caldwell. Its main points:
_Allows a limited number of new Bed and Breakfast Homes
(B&B) in non-resort areas under a new registration process, with annual
_Continues to prohibit Transient Vacation Units, or
“unhosted” rentals, in non-resort areas, unless the dwelling has a
Nonconforming Use Certificate (NUC).
_Regulates hosting platforms, such as Expedia or Airbnb,
requiring monthly reports to be filed with the Department of Planning and
Permitting, which will share the information with City Council.
illegal any form of advertising short-term rentals which are not in compliance
with zoning regulations as provided in Bill 89. Bill 89 CD2:
Questions and Answers are based on the assumption that Bill 89 CD2 will shortly
be enacted into law.
I own an
unhosted, “whole house,” or Transient Vacation Unit. I pay taxes. Can I
continue to advertise online and in the local newspaper?
Only if the
dwelling has a NUC or is located in a resort district.
the department start enforcing the new advertising restrictions?
August 1, 2019.
the fines for illegal advertising?
Owners of the
property involved in illegal advertising will be notified, and if the
advertisement is taken down in 7 days, no fine will be imposed for a first
offense. If not taken down within this deadline, fines of between $1,000 and
$10,000 can be imposed for each day the advertisement remains on display.
If the management company
for my property places an illegal ad, will the company get cited?
They may be cited, but Bill 89
CD2 says, “The burden of proof is on the owner of the subject real property to
establish that the property is not being used as a bed and breakfast home or
transient vacation unit or that the advertisement was placed without the
property owner’s knowledge or consent.”
REGISTRATION OF NEW BED AND
I have been operating a Bed
and Breakfast Home for several years. Do I still have to obtain a registration
Yes, unless you have a NUC.
I only rent out my house for
more than 30 days at a time. Do I need to register?
I only rent my house while
my family spends 2 weeks each year visiting family on the mainland. Do I need
to register? When can I register?
Registration will begin no
sooner than October 1, 2020.
Why do we have to wait more
than year to register?
The time is required for the
Department to develop more specific procedures for implementing Bill 89 CD2,
including the adoption of rules, and creating the software to help with
enforcement and the registration process. If necessary, it provides time to
acquire more staff and to train them.
What are the registration
There are more than a dozen
requirements. Most notable:
_Applicants must be “natural persons,” and not an organization or company
_Applicants must have a home exemption granted under real property tax law
_There must be insurance coverage for bed and breakfast use
_The initial registration fee is $1,000. For annual renewals, the fee is $2,000
_No more than 2 bedrooms can be used for visitor accommodations
_Quiet hours must be observed between 10 pm and 8 am
_If part of a homeowners or apartment owners association, approval by that
association must be obtained
_Neighbors within 250 feet
must be given a phone number to contact to make complaints 24 hours a day
Not registered to vote? No Problem! REGISTER to vote here!
PETITIONS TO IMPEACH MAYOR KIRK CALDWELL
Persons of contact: Choon James 808 293 8888 Kapohuolahaina Moniz Pa Dave Moskowitz 203 8898 EMAIL: ImpeachMayorCaldwell2019@gmail.com
We are severely concerned with
the malfeasance, misfeasance, and non-feasance behavior that have been
happening at City Hall.
We have watched with horror the escalating
mismanagement and runaway costs of the mismanaged and outdated Honolulu Rail Transit
project. The Rail project was grossly under-estimated at $2.7 BILLION in 2006.
Today, it’s escalating to $10 Billion with unknown costs. Even the Operations
& Maintenance costs and ridership revenues are unknown. The Rail project is
now under federal investigations. There are relentless reports of mismanagement
and fiscal mishaps about the rail but Mayor Caldwell acts oblivious to them.
Consequently, core services are being undermined while
our taxes and fees are escalating. GET/property taxes have increased. “Residential
A” property taxes for local landlords who provide services to long-term renters
have tripled, triggering rent increases. Other fees like vehicle registrations,
sewer and water fees have increased. Our mainstream residents are struggling
with these escalating costs of living.
The last two years had more Hawaii residents LEAVING,
due mostly to “high costs of living”. We’re being priced out of our house and
The list of Mayor Caldwell’s arrogance, corruption,
and mismanagement includes, but not limited to, the following: The independent
Ethics Commission Director Mr. Chuck Totto was ousted. The former Honolulu
Police Chief Louis Kealoha is on trial at the federal courts. The Mayor’s chief
Corporation Counsel Donna Leong is on paid leave, related to the Kealoha federal investigations. The city’s
Prosecutor is being investigated and on paid leave.
Homelessness, crime, environmental degradation,
monster homes, violations of residents’ civil rights, violations of state and
US Constitution that force the city to pay for settlement awards, abuse of the
Community Development Block Grants and so on. Mayor Caldwell is not responding
to severe land-use and planning concerns relating to, but not limited to, the
Ala Moana Regional Beach Park, the Sherwood Forest Beach Park in Waimanalo. The
cries of residents to have basic clean and well-managed beach parks and other
public facilities in ALL parts of Oahu are ignored.
Every day, we see the Mayor’s bad behavior and we feel
angry but helpless. We see our beloved island worsening. We see ourselves being
forced to pay the price for his bad management and bad decisions.
We cannot afford to give Mayor Caldwell any more time
to further destroy our island and price us out of our homes and island.
Today, we’re taking a stand and rising up. We need and
want new leadership of honesty and transparency and putting RESIDENTS FIRST!
We want fairness, even application of the law and
city’s funds across Oahu.
We want to do away with political “pay to play” games
at the taxpayers’ expense.
We want our neighborhoods to be clean and safe.
We want to
protect Oahu’s overarching environment, sustainability, safety, and prosperity
for our children and their future.
We want to live in our beautiful island and not be priced
We want to take our government back!!!
kokua. Stand up and be counted! Please sign the petition to impeach Mayor
Caldwell to send him a message that we’re not happy with the direction Oahu is
The Waimanalo General Public was alarmed when they noticed bulldozers grubbing the wooded Sherwoods Forest Beach Park on and around mid-April 2019. The Waimanalo Bay Beach Park Master Plan Environmental Assessment (EA) was completed on June 12, 2012
Date: May 23, 2019
To: Office of the Mayor City and County of Honolulu 530 South King Street, Room 300 Honolulu, Hawai`i 96813
We are writing in support of community efforts to obtain consultation and clarification on the 2012 Waimānalo Bay Beach Park Master Plan. Our groups support community engagement with public processes and proper review of environmental impacts of projects planned on public lands and especially our treasured beach parks. Many longtime Waimānalo residents and leaders, including Nā Kuaʻāina o Waimānalo, expressed that this plan does not reflect todayʻs community needs and priorities.
We understand a final environmental assessment was accepted in 2012, but since that time the community, Waimanalo, and even the Master Plan project have undergone significant changes.
– The Plan identified uses of R-1 water, but the Waimanalo water treatment plant does not recycle water to an R-1 level. Where will the water be sourced from?
– How will new traffic projects planned for areas adjacent to the park exacerbate the previously reviewed environmental impacts?
– The initial project provided that grubbing wouldn’t occur between April 15 and August 15 to avoid interfering with the breeding season of the endangered ʻōpeʻapeʻa (Hawaiian hoary bat). However, the final plans changed the time period to June 1 to September 15 without a clear explanation. How is the City certain that this important species will be protected?
– The community has documented instances of archaeological monitoring violations during grubbing. How can the community be better assured iwi and historical sites are protected?
Communities that value Waimanalo beach park have many concerns. Neither the Master Plan nor the environmental review documents have answered them. We urge project proponents to immediately cease tree-clearing and call together a public hearing to answer the community’s cogent questions. Further environmental review and consultation is prudent and needed.
We are a coalition of Hawai‘i-based nonprofit groups organized around protection of our communities’ parks, open spaces, and cultural resources. – Nā Kuaʻāina o Waimānalo is a community association of ʻaloha ʻāina assembled to protect Waimanalo. – KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance has been advocating for the rights of Hawaiian communities in our precious natural resources since 2000. – Hawaii’s Thousand Friends is a non-profit environmental, land and water use organization dedicated to ensuring that Hawaii’s natural and cultural resources are protected for present and future generations. – O‘ahu Island Parks Conservancy advocates for sustained protection and preservation of public landscapes and open spaces including historic parks, scenic byways, greenways, natural spaces, and related view planes, to benefit the people of Hawai‘i and future generations. – The Outdoor Circle’s mission is to conserve and enhance the natural beauty and resources of our islands for future generations by providing and promoting environmental education and activities that cultivate respect and appreciation for Hawai‘i’s unique natural environment. – The Hawai`i Alliance for Progressive Action seeks to catalyze community empowerment and systemic change towards valuing ʻāina and people ahead of corporate profit. – Save Ala Moana Beach Park Hui is a community association dedicated to principles of preserving our public park spaces. – The Hawaii Audubon Society has been fostering community values that result in protection and restoration of native wildlife and ecosystems and conservation of natural resources through education, science and advocacy in Hawaii and the Pacific since 1939.
Mahalo for considering our concerns.
Please contact Kalani Kalima , Donna Wong or Bianca Isaki email@example.com with any questions.
Me ke aloha,
Kalani Kalima, Nā Kuaʻāina o Waimānalo Bianca Isaki, KAHEA: The Hawaiian Environmental Alliance Donna Wong, Hawaii’s Thousand Friends Michelle Matson, O‘ahu Island Parks Conservancy Winston Welch, The Outdoor Circle Anne Frederick, Hawai`i Alliance for Progressive Action Shar Chun-Lum, Save Ala Moana Beach Park Hui Linda Paul, Hawai`i Audubon Society
Cc: Council chair Ikaika Anderson Councilmember Heidi Tsuneyoshi Councilmember Tommy Waters Councilmember Anny Kobayashi Councilmember Carol Fukunaga Councilmember Joey Manahan Councilmember Brandon Elefante Councilmember Ron Menor Councilmember Kymberly Pine Kamakana Ferreira, Office of Hawaiian Affairs Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, O`ahu Island Burial Council Alan Downer, State Historic Preservation Division Senator Laura Thielen Representative Cynthia Thielen Representative Chris Lee