I’m going to be following this Resolution 22-11 introduced by District 2 City Councilmember Heidi Tsuneyoshi and sharing my misgivings about this flawed process.
The public testimony was conducted at the beginning of the council hearing. Local resident Ben Martin of Ko’olauloa of fifty years also opposed the Resolution. He has known Owner Taufa for thirty years. Perhaps his was sharpest rebuke against Tsuneyoshi’s actions:
“Judicial Foreclosure is drastic. It should be the last resort. And it should not be a way to resolve a problem. Miss Heidi Tsuneyoshi is the protagonist representing the complainants. I’m an attorney by profession. And she’s representing the complainants assuming like they are the victims. But also Pate is a victim of the DPP for the long delays of approving and helping him comply. “
Should the council member be objective and fair to all parties involved? She’s holding a public office and supported by all taxpayers of Oahu.
Martin highlighted the strikes against Owner Taufa. Although Tsuneyoshi should represent ALL of her constituents in solving a community problem, her actions showed her intentions to punish him with the biggest stick the city had – eminent domain.
This is not to say that neighbors cannot complain. Neighbors have the right to complain and address their concerns. Owner Taufa needs to fix his violations and be a good neighbor.
But a city council Resolution to seize private property through eminent domain is a drastic measure that requires careful study of over-arching issues and correct data. Based on my observations, there had been insufficient vetting done prior to this action being adopted.
To make this situation worse, Tsuneyoshi just announced that she was running for Republican nomination for Governor. Her platform – “servant leader,” “her love for the people of Hawaii,” “transparency and accountability in government,” contradicts her actions with her Resolution 22-11.
Tsuneyoshi did not think it was important to do an outreach to this immigrant family. Something as drastic as seizing private property requires a basic courtesy outreach to her constituents.
Tsuneyoshi did not even inform Owner Taufa of the Executive Matters and Legal Affairs (EMLA) Committee Meeting on February 8, 2022. It was the EMLA Chair Tupola from another District who offered that courtesy to Owner Taufa.
The video of the EMLA meeting showed Tsuneyoshi asking for a recess when Tupola announced that Owner Taufa would be coming online to explain himself.
Tsuneyoshi called for a quick recess upon hearing that. Why? Insiders said Tsuneyoshi was upset with the EMLA Chair that she was not told this ( getting Taufa online) was going to happen.
So, was Tsuneyoshi’s strategy to push through this Resolution 22-11 for Eminent Domain under the radar? Note there was no testimony at the EMLA Committee on February 8, 2022.
Honolulu City Council member Heidi Tsuneyoshi is rushing city legislation Resolution 22-011 for the Mayor and the Department of Planning and Permitting ( DPP) to impose “Judicial Foreclosure” on this private property owner. ( It started out as “eminent domain” but was quickly amended to “Judicial Foreclosure”).
I understand there are land-use violations by the owners. Yes, the owner must correct the violations. There is no question about that. Those who know also know that working with DPP takes time.
We need to remember that these past two years also suffered from COVID19 lockdowns and disruption. He has submitted applications to cure his violations. He’s been working with a hired engineer and an architect to cure the violations. Again, these actions take significant time. Processing permits takes time even before the COVID19 pandemic.
But if DPP is told to not issue him permits to cure his violations, it’s a Catch 22. It’s discrimination and retaliation. It’s Big Government wielding its Big Stick that undermines due process.
This is a hardworking immigrant owner from the Island of Tonga. I submit that the cultural differences and lack of understanding need to be part of the deliberations. I’ve recently talked with Hopoate and Annetta Taufa. They did not recognize or understand the severity of these hostile actions till just recently. So now they’re fighting for their land. Unfortunately, Annetta is also fighting literally for her life. She’s under hospice care in their home in Laie.
It’s wrong for Tsuneyoshi to push eminent domain or judicial foreclosure quickly on a small private property. Her actions are abusive and undermine private property rights. Tsuneyoshi has accused the owner of violating for five years to the other city council members and to the Honolulu Star Advertiser with a readership of about 147,959 weekdays 162,287 Sundays. But, the owners acquired this property on November 2019. That’s 2.5 years.
This private property taking is off to hostile and unfair start. Resolutions to seize private property must be carefully and correctly vetted with correct data and correct research. City Council members should be working with their constituents when they’re in trouble, not bully them with severe punishments so quickly. Our immigrant families may need extra help on many levels. Understanding Hawaii’s diversity and showing some compassion is in order, especially for legislators
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that flags flown from vehicles being operated or moved on streets cause distractions and create unsafe driving conditions. The purpose of this Act is to discourage unsafe practices.
We can’t have government incrementally shutting down Free Speech and Civic Participation. Although the State Capitol is one of the most ventilated buildings in Honolulu, it’s still closed to the public. The public cannot hold signs inside its meeting places. And now this shutting down of flags flying.
The Senate Transportation Committee Chair Chris Lee said yesterday that the intent of Bill 1357 was not to infringe on First Amendment Rights. The State Department of Transportation (DOT) submitted an unsigned testimony that it had received “numerous complaints and inquiries from the public about flags and other materials that impair the visibility of other drivers on the road. As such, we support all efforts to eliminate these unnecessary distractions.”
I wonder if DOT also received complaints and enquires about other traffic concerns.
Bill 1357 is not compelling enough except to shut down displays of discontent and public dissension. We must protect Free Speech at all costs.
There are lots of distractions and unsafe driving conditions on the road – Loose dogs. Drunk driving. Driving in opposite directions. Tourist trolleys. Huge vehicles blocking our view planes. Sign Waving. Display of huge banners on buildings along roads and so on.
The item that is most distracting and affecting road safety is the POTHOLES!!
We’re forced to keep our eyes down on the road to avoid the potholes which are EVERYWHERE. Our tires blow out. Cars swerve to try to miss the potholes on busy streets. The underbelly of the vehicles are damaged. POTHOLES are the most dangerous and most distracting.
Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent but our roads have become more and more dangerous. We would like the Hawaii Senate to focus on this huge distraction. It’s time to require a warranty on the road roadwork and so on to promote road safety.
It’s ridiculous that every time it rains, more potholes appear. There is no reason why the state cannot expect basic workmanship for the hundreds of millions that are spent annually.
Please terminate SB 1357 – It’s treacherous to free speech and an open democracy. Focus on the real traffic safety and driving conditions.
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
Niece’s search to end with return of the remains of the uncle she knew only through letters and stories.
In March 1944, 2nd Lt. Vernal J. Bird took flight in his A-20G Havoc bomber in an attack on Japanese airfields in western Papua New Guinea. He was last seen trailing his squadron.
But after his niece, Lorna Bird Snyder, launched a years-long search for her uncle, Vernal Bird’s remains will arrive in Utah this month to be buried with full military honors in the Bird family plot at the Evergreen Cemetery.
For Lorna Bird Snyder, it’s been a long time coming. She began her search in 2003, not knowing at the time that a bone had been found at a crash site in the mountains of western Papua New Guinea two years earlier. After moving into her late mother’s home, she found “boxes and boxes of letters,” including Vernal’s. And she took to the Internet to research the American and Australian offensive against the Japanese.
“Every time I found something, I sent for it,” she said. “It took years, on and off. Spurts of every day, then it would lie for while. My [late] mom and dad were beside me: ‘You’re going to do this, dear. Keep moving.’ “
After hearing the news on Tuesday, she said, “I feel relieved and just immensely grateful. It’s kind of united the family again; cousins we haven’t seen coming together. So, OK, things are moving.”
Vernal Bird, the 12th of 13 children, enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces in 1941. Three years later, he was at an American base in Nadzab, Papua New Guinea, where he wrote frequent letters home.
“I have been assigned to a [squad] up in the forward, area, and, to put it short, this is going to be a sun-of-a-gun,” he wrote on March 3, 1944. “I feel damn lucky to be flying with them. I like our ships, fast and maneuverable, but the [Japanese] don’t like them so well.”
Bird flew with the 5th Air Force’s 13th Bombardment Squadron, which flew B-24 and B-25 heavy bombers, and A-20G light bombers. His A-20G was equipped with machine guns, heavy bombs and the lighter parafrag bombs, which floated down onto the enemy slowly enough to prevent the plane from being caught in the blasts.
The A-20 pilots routinely flew just above the treetops, sometimes even through them as they attacked. That campaign was brutal for both sides, as they fought ferociously in jungles, mud and monsoons.
Lorna Bird Snyder learned that captured U.S. pilots in particular suffered brutal treatment at the hands of the Japanese, who were as exhausted and angry as the Allied forces when they closed in.
On that March 12, the squadron set out for the Japanese base of Boram with the A-20Gs low and fast over and through the the treetops. But Bird and his co-pilot, Staff Sgt. Roy F. Davis, veered toward a mountain range. Then they vanished.
Although a search was begun, it was deemed impractical at the time, according to a report by the Army’s Individual Deceased Personnel File on Vernal Bird.
In the late 1940s, the Army’s American Graves Registration Services searched for and disinterred, the remains of U.S. servicemen in the Pacific Theater for return to their homes. In 1950, the Army “confirmed the finding of non-recoverability for 2nd Lt. Bird.”
But in 2001, a Papuan national named Charles Wintawa found the wreckage of Bird’s plane in the steep, wet jungle. He also found a fibula and took it and the engine identification plates to an American recovery team.
Later, a team from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Hawaii went to the wreckage of Bird’s plane. It cannot be explored, however, until and if a still-attached 500-pound bomb is defused.
Meantime, Lorna Bird Snyder said, “It finally dawned on me — DNA.” Vernal Bird’s sister, Elaine, was the sole surviving sibling, and she gave a sample for testing.
On July 12, Michael Mee of Fort Knox told Lorna Bird Snyder that the fibula matched the DNA sample. The next day, Thomas Holland, scientific director of the Central Identification Laboratory at Hickham Air Force Base in Honolulu, met with her and her husband in Salt Lake City to explain the lengthy and exhaustive process of identification.
“He told us exactly what he’d gone through,” Lorna Bird Snyder said. “It was very impressive, very touching.” Looking over photos in her Springville home, she said that while she’d never known her uncle, he was her father’s little brother.
“He was a constant presence in our house,” she said. “They talked about Vernal all the time, how much they loved him.
“It was a little bit frightening to me, as a little kid, to think he was just gone,” said Lorna Bird Snyder, now 66. “What is a war where they take people and don’t give them back? You could just read the heartache in the parents’ faces.”
In Vernal Bird’s last letter, dated March 10, 1944, he told his brother and sister-in-law that “The sun is setting in our sky and it is really a lovely site. Much more peaceful looking than it really is … I’d like to give you a ride, Nick, along the trees we fly right in the leaves at times. Love to all, Vernal.”
His remains, accompanied by a military escort, will be returned and buried on Sept. 28 in the Evergreen Cemetery with military honors. His military headstone will be close to the memorial stone his family placed in the late 1940s.
One day, if that 500-bomb is rendered safe, Lorna Bird Snyder would like to see the place where her uncle’s remains were found, and “look for the sergeant, too.”
Uncle Vernal’s Last Letter to the Family,
March 10, 1944
Dear Free, Elaine and kids,
The sun is setting in our sky and it is really a lovely site. Much more peaceful looking than it really is. I am now flying with the [illegible] a good bunch of boys. Not much I can say but at times its plenty exciting. I can hardly believe that a few months ago, flying was just my dream, but now, I am flying with some of the So. Pacific aces. Makes you feel plenty good — oh yes, we got our little hut finished. We’ve got plenty of room (3 …. electric lights and water piped in to our back porch, not bad for a bunch of johns like us. We add something new every day, if it’s nothing but a new [illegible] to arrange our mosquito nets ??
Hope you guys are well. I’d like you to write me … letters are damn welcome here, you just don’t know how much.
Hoped to get to [illegible] in a few months for a period of relaxation…
Like to give you a ride, Nick, along the trees we fly right in the leaves at times.
Some landowners of ag-zoned parcels in Oahu received the “ NOTICE TO AFFECTED LANDOWNER IMPORTANT AGRICULTURAL LANDS (IAL) PROJECT” dated December 29, 2016 from the Honolulu City and County’s Department of Planning and Permitting.
That December 29, 2016 letter was probably the first time that many landowners had heard about “IAL”.
Two meetings were made available to the public. One was held in Kapolei and the other was on January 17, 2017 at the Hale‘iwa Elementary School Cafeteria.
Why is the city doing this IAL Project?
Scott Ezer, the consultant hired by the city and county, framed the impetus for this IAL Project as follows:
“To ensure that the best of Oahu’s high-quality farm land is protected and preserved for long-term agricultural use – great lands, for great Oahu farms. The term “Important Agricultural Lands,” or IAL, is a State land use designation that identifies high-quality farm land to be protected and preserved for long-term agricultural use. In compliance with the State law (Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, Chapter 205), the City and County of Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) is conducting a mapping project to identify lands on O‘ahu that meet the statutory requirements for consideration as IAL. DPP is seeking input from landowners, farming interests and residents about the type of land to include in O‘ahu’sfuture inventory of agricultural land. The maps produced as a result of this effort will be submitted to the Honolulu City Council for review and adoption by resolution, before being sent to the State Land Use Commission for final approval. “
If the intent was to “promote agriculture and the conservation of productive agricultural lands in the State”, why exclude the 1,555 acres of fertile Aloun Farms (Ho’opili) which contributed 30% of greens to Oahu and has 4 –season plantings.
Why exclude 760 ag-zoned acres in Koa Ridge?
If its intention was to allow tax credit and incentives, why not offer to ALL farmers?
Does IAL appear to favor the large landowners?
What happens to the 50% of the large landowners’ agricultural lands that CANNOT be designated as IAL?
What happens to all the other agricultural lands that are NOT designated as IAL?
Why are some steep agriculture lands designated as IAL while other fertile lands not designated as IAL?
Why were some landowners not initiated by DPP while others were?
Why is DPP now unilaterally placing small ag-zoned landowners into this IAL Project instead of allowing the small land owners to opt into this IAL Project?
There are contradictory premises in this process. The following opens a little window into some background of this IAL Project:
“According to people familiar with the legislation, this limitation was a last-minute addition that undermines the intent of the act and the need to protect contiguous blocks of land. The Hawai`i Chapter of the Sierra Club noted on its website, “The final bill… contained an 11th-hour amendment – inserted at the behest of large landowners – which prohibits the state from designating more than 50 percent of any landowner’s farmland as ‘important’ unless they request it be designated as such. The Sierra Club believes that the final bill falls far short of what was envisioned by the state constitution and will fail to provide adequate protection for Hawai`i’s important farmlands.”
The Land Use Research Foundation (LURF), which often represents the interests of large landowners before the Legislature, did not respond to inquiries about the 50 percent limitation by press time. However, the measure undoubtedly gives LURF’s constituents who want to develop their ag lands more flexibility. For example, in its 2006 annual report, Alexander & Baldwin notes that of its 59,320 acres of agricultural or pasture lands and 29,270 acres of conservation lands 8,700 acres have “urban potential.” Hawaii Environment Report Feb. 2008.
Written comments can be submitted until March 31, 2017 to:
Re: IAL Mapping Project
733 Bishop Street, Suite 2590
Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96813
Tune in to Country Talk Story – Olelo Channel 54 Sundays 4:00 pm during February to listen to the January 17, 2017 IAL meeting.
Choon James can be reached at 808 293 9111 or ChoonJamesHawaii@gmail.com. www. CountryTalkStory.com
So much effort and financial resources have been spent on mitigating this housing issue here in Honolulu.
I wanted to share my private story as a young girl in Singapore, relating to housing.
Long story very short, my mother’s father warned her not to spend time with the popular and handsome guy in the Holland Road neighborhood. My maternal grandfather was an affluent business trader. My paternal grandfather was also an affluent businessman and community headman. But my young mother ended up eloping with my father; later to find out he already had a wife and children. He would later add a third wife.
My maternal grandfather disowned her; my mother was too proud to seek reconciliation or for help with her children. The father and daughter would reconcile decades later.
I was the seventh child but I don’t remember my father in my early childhood days. He must have visited us at least ten times; I have seven brothers and two sisters!
Mother became a washerwoman – a human traveling washing machine. She was intelligent and spirited but did not attend school because her very traditional father thought it was a “waste of rice” to send daughters to be educated. (In fact, Grandfather was so traditional that when he died, he left all his assets to his first born son only.) I always thought that, if my mother were formally educated, she would have been a great partner with the former Lee Kuan Yew, the Founding Prime Minister of Singapore. They were so much alike. She was very intelligent, spoke many languages, a natural leader, but unlucky with her love life.
I remember living in a rural attap house in my early years. It was supposedly haunted. No one dared to live there so my father moved our family into that house.
(This is a similar style attap house but minus the vehicle. We had no cars.)
We had the best childhood. We were poor but we didn’t know we were poor. My stomping grounds were up in the big tropical trees and exploring the rural surroundings. We walked miles to the public school. Kind neighbors gave us their daily newspapers after they were done. My mother raised pigs, tilapia, chicken, and vegetables. We used a community water well and had an outhouse.
On the other side of our rural neighborhood were huge beautiful concrete homes with indoor plumbing, huge bathtubs, ceramic tiles, and beautiful landscaped yards. These homes were usually occupied by foreign executives or foreign journalists based in Singapore.
When fire burnt our attap house down, we had to relocate.
We moved into this Lengkok Bahru flat below.. The unit was very small – a living room, one bedroom, a small cooking area and one bathroom. It was probably about 700 square feet. It was a corner unit on the fifth floor. The eleven of us moved into that cement block. It was a big adjustment for us.
(This building has always been well maintained. The elevator shaft is a new addition. This is at least 45 years old.)
My assigned sleeping space was on the back open “patio” where my sisters and I slept on the concrete floor. I remember growing out of it when my feet and my head eventually touched the ends of that patio space.
The rent was very cheap; I believe it was 25% or less than what my mother earned as a washerwoman.
The Singapore government provided inexpensive units like these to provide public housing. Singapore was transforming from a third world country then.
Although it was congested; we made do. My mother focused on our education. Although my father was an alcoholic and chain-smoker, none of us emulated him. She took charge of her children’s welfare.
None of us dared to misbehave or become delinquent because she was strict, supervised us, and expected much of us. While other neighbors sent their children to work at hawker stalls or other minimal wage jobs; she sent us to schools. We participated fully in the public school extra-curricular activities. We were avid readers. One of my favorite memories was receiving free reading materials from the American Embassy in Singapore. The printed materials ranged from biographies of American Presidents to Will Rogers to Chief Sitting Bull.
My brothers and sisters all became educated. My first and second brother did not pursue university education so they could support their younger siblings. They became a public school teacher and policeman respectively. The rest went to college and obtained professions like Human Resource Executive with a top American firm; a top executive of the biggest firm in Singapore; a Navy Captain; television business news editor and so forth.
I spent a chunk of my childhood years at the public housing (about ten years) till I left Singapore at the age of seventeen to attend college in Hawaii.
Why am I sharing this personal story?
Life would have been so much more difficult for our family if we did not have an affordable and safe roof over our heads.
We never had to worry about having a roof over our heads. We never had to worry whether the police or county workers will seize our tents or personal papers at 2:00 in the morning. Although it was congested living; our housing was safe and sanitary. That little unit allowed us to feel secure and focus on other pursuits that bettered our lives and allowed us to contribute to society.
There is obviously no one silver bullet to solve homelessness in a mostly “cash” economy.
Homelessness is a complicated and multi-faceted issue. Other various solutions, such as counseling, educational and social support are also needed to address this.
But, we urgently need honest and efficient leadership at City Hall. Incumbent Mayor Kirk Caldwell is failing. There is too much politics and “pay to play” involved.
There is, no doubt, a continuing need for the services of the many non-profit groups that offer counseling and related services. Funds that are ear-marked for addressing such issues must be spent as such and not mismanaged or plundered.
Ultimately, the primary and long-term solution to homelessness boils down to a roof over the head, whether it is in a mental support institution or an ordinary lodging.
One way is to build simple, safe and permanent living quarters and to efficiently manage and maintain them in perpetuity for those in need. Certainly it should never evolve into a generational dependence but these housing resources must be available in a humane society like ours.
So-called partnering with private developers to provide a certain percentage of “affordable units” for 30 or 60 years is inadequate and short-sighted. It’s bad public policy planning.
What will happen in 60 years?
The costs of living in Oahu will surely rise and the housing problem will only get worse.
There are supposedly many real estate holdings owned by the State and City along the proposed 21-square mile Honolulu Rail Transit Corridor.
Why not solidify and consolidate the resources and build affordable rental units now? We have seen high rise buildings appear like mushrooms in Honolulu. Why not focus on affordable rentals now?
Providing and maintaining affordable rentals in perpetuity will help solve a big part of our homeless problem in Oahu.
Note: Some photos are taken from Public Domain. Mahalo.
High school and college graduation ceremonies are coming up. Educational institutions throughout the islands are gearing up for another festive season to celebrate academia, endurance and achievements.
Part of the fun is seeing the types of leis (garlands) showered upon the graduates at the close of a graduation ceremony.
Besides the traditional beautiful flower leis, other styles and materials depend partly on the culture and personality of the creators!
But, first, a Tongan or Samoan mom may stake out a welcome mat for the special grad:
Or if mom is about impending hunger, she will also provide bento lunches for families and relatives who attend the ceremony. This is not counting the big luaus in the next few days or so.
Balloon leis appear to be in vogue!
This “soda lei” around the neck probably weighs as much as an albatross.
We should be impressed by this “quick lunch lei” — saimin noodles, popcorn and lunchmeat! (I was told I missed the bread loaves and the toilet paper roll leis!)
Then there’s the coveted Wall Street headgear for her:
And for him:
Candy, chips and other tropical foliage leis are now an integral part of Hawaii graduations.
Whew! Professors and teachers are off the radar screen. Gone are the midnight raids on the vending machines, last-minute cramming, churning out research papers and projects, asking miracles to inspire an empty mind during exams, juggling social and academic responsibilities, handling love dramas, coming up with solutions to save the world in an hour, and a million other things. The rigors and academia chapter will close. Another exciting chapter will begin.
Whatever type of lei is bestowed upon the graduate, the celebration is: You did it!