Category Archives for "Politics"

October 30, 2017

A message from Save Our Neighborhoods

Dear SONnies and Friends of O’ahu’s residential neighborhoods,

Please forward this important call to everyone in your email list


PLEASE SEND TESTIMONY, ATTEND AND TESTIFY at this important Council Meeting:

Wednesday, Nov 1  10:00 am  Council Chambers Honolulu Hale (these resolutions are well down the agenda, so you should be safe arriving at 1:30 which is the end of the scheduled lunch recess)

Last week, the Honolulu City Council Committee on Zoning kicked the can down the road to the full council by passing ALL FOUR STR (Short-Term Rental) resolutions to this Wednesday’s meeting.

Many of you submitted testimony and testified in-person at the Zoning Committee meeting – thanks very much.  Many of you did not.


The 9,000 + illegal STRs are not only a blight on neighborhood life, STRs are one of the major causes of high rents and homelessness for the working poor.


These bills are the showdown for our neighborhoods and housing for everyone living O’ahu.  For a quick estimate of how many short-term rentals (STR) are in your neighborhood, click and type in your 5-digit zip code.  Then scout around other O’ahu zip codes and you will see that there are THOUSANDS more.  This site may not be 100% accurate but also does not cover all hosting platforms – many operators are not listed on the major hosting platforms and are not shown.  Remember, most of these are ILLEGAL under Honolulu zoning law and are removing much-needed rental housing from local families.


There are two forces at work here; 1) Those trying to turn our residential neighborhoods into mini-hotels.  They will be supporting 163 and 301.  They include current-illegal operators, those providing services to illegal operators or otherwise making $$ from them, and their political backers who have friends/supporters in this industry, and 2) Those of us working to preserve/return residential-zoned housing for O’ahu’s families and insisting that the City enforce the existing law forbidding short-term rentals.  We support 052 & 164.



Resolution 17-052 CD-1 (Menor – our favorite Reso)

  • Changes the basis of the existing law from “provide” (a Short-term rental) to “offer”, which will allow advertising to be used as proof.
  • Allows neighbor to go to state court to force the DPP to enforce the law against illegal vacation rentals
  • Fine proceeds to go to the DPP for enforcement
  • Makes DPP’s records on enforcement open to public scrutiny
  • Allow neighbor to directly sue the offending STR operator
  • Requires hosting platforms to report STR property information to the DPP

Resolution 17-163 (Martin – permitting – boo)

  • Adds a permitting process for new TVRs
  • No neighbor community input in permitting process
  • No specified limits on # of permits.
  • Holds owner responsible for advertising content, which cannot be enforced without major investigation effort
  • Adds Enforcement techniques untried and unlikely to work

Resolution 17-164 (Martin – enforcement only)

  • Stricter rules for advertising
  • Makes it easier for City to collect fines and liens against offenders
  • Could be a good starting point for discussion.
  • Some enforcement measures

Resolution 17-301 (Anderson – permitting – boo)

  • No community input.
  • Would turn R5 neighborhoods into resorts without proper rezoning. Would work against long-term rentals and affordable housing. Also would work against the ADU bills just passed by the city.
  • Who would enforce to ensure that the owner actually lives there and is on site full-time?
  • Forcing people to have to file police complaints means they have to take time off of work to go to court. Puts additional burden on the police and takes them away from investigating serious crime.

This is the last step in the Council.  Resolutions passed will be transmitted to the Honolulu Planning Commission and then back to the Council in bill form for final consideration and then to the mayor for signing into law.




The main problem with enforcement has been lack of political willpower on the part of administration/corporation counsel/DPP over the past 20 years of the Internet.  For example, in a recent letter from the mayor to a neighborhood board member, Caldwell writes: “As you may know, the public is currently divided on whether short term rentals in stable residential neighborhoods is a good idea.”   This is just not true.  Over the past 10 years, public opinion has swayed the Council and the Legislature in numerous showdowns that the residential public is adamantly opposed to this invasion of our residential neighborhoods, loss of housing, disruption, and the constant flow of overnight strangers.




Even if you do not sign up in advance or at the meeting, you can still testify after all the registered speakers testify.


For the past 12 years, SONHawai’i has been pushing the city to enforce the land use laws to shut down these illegal hotel operations in our residential neighborhoods.  SONHawai’i’s and the residential public’s position is reasonable and clear:




That means shutting down the thousands of currently-illegal operations and putting the horse back in front of the cart.  Two of these resolutions (052 & 164) will help make that possible.


One minute PER Agenda item – 4 min total.


Please also right now Submit the testimony form and add your own comments. This does not have to be word-for-word the same testimony that you give in person at the meeting. Remember, there are FOUR items to submit testimony, so submit the form FOUR times, once for 17-052 (SUPPORT), once for 17-163 (OPPOSE), once for 17-164 (SUPPORT and add comment to combine with 052) and lastly for 17-301 (OPPOSE).  The link to the testimony form is: which is sometimes slow to load – after you ‘submit’ for one item, hit the  <  (back button) to return to the previous page, change the reso number, fill the form again then click ‘submit’ again.


Some of last week’s testimonies submitted through the above portal did not get posted on the Council website!


So, to make sure that all nine councilmembers see your written testimony, send them all an email of your testimony by pasting all the following addresses in the “to” line of your email:;;;;;;;;

Submit right away so that councilmembers will see it in time!


Please forward this important call to everyone in your email list. Include associations, housing & homelessness advocates, social organizations and neighborhood groups – this affects us all.

Like us on Facebook

   We have prevailed each time in the past, but it takes some effort – especially YOUR effort

Please, help right now to Save O’ahu’s Neighborhoods

Larry Bartley,

Executive Director

Congressional Mischief? Wildfire Management and new urban forestry

This is an excellent article on wildfires in the Western United States. It points out the problems facing new urban forestry and the effects of climate change caused mega-wildfires.

The problem is immense. Over half the Forest Service Budget goes to fighting wildfires. As summers become longer fuels dryout sooner and uncontrollable wildfires rage. The interface between homes and forests become a disaster waiting to happen and many forest ecologist predict that over half of western forests will be converted to grassland in the next 50 years.

Thinning and fuel reduction can help reduce the danger in the urban forest interface, but this article points out the problems generated when lobbyist promote logging company interest over sound forest management.

August 23, 2017

Are social justice issues a concern for environmentalists?

Henry Curtis in his article about modern slavery in the United States points out that many environmental organizations build silos around their activities. The Sierra Club was formed to protect the Wilderness. The Conservation Council for Hawaii tries to protect Hawaiian ecosystems. The World Wildlife Fund works to protect large vertebrate animals. The Nature Conservancy buys land they think is important to protect but that does little to protect animals that must range over large areas like wolves and grizzly bears. There are good reasons for environmental organizations to compartmentalize. It helps them focus their mission.

I was first introduced to social justice by the National Wildlife Federation. At one of their annual meeting field trips, they took us into a low-income neighborhood where pollutants from a military base were contaminating their water supply.  The problem was discovered when epidemiologist saw a spike in cancer cases in their community. It was a clear example of environmental pollution becoming a social justice issue.

The world is a big and complex place. I consider conflict and climate change to be the two biggest contributors to environmental degradation. We have done a lousy job of dealing with either one.

Locally, I went to a Sierra Club workshop on political action. I am not a Sierra Club member and I am known for wanting to establish a local chapter of the League of Conservation Voters. A Sierra Club member pointed out to me that the Sierra Club puts a great deal of effort into evaluating the voting record of local politicians and asked why I wanted to duplicate that effort with a local LCV chapter.  It was an excellent question and I did a poor job of answering it.

I believe in community-based management. Modern science combined with local knowledge can lead to the best results for the community. Local communities know their politicians best. Nationally, the LCV seeks the advice of their local chapters when making Congressional endorsements. Locally, a state wide coalition of environmentally concerned citizens can have a major impact on local elections. Having a local organization that can discuss local issues, reach a consensus, and educate the public about the pros and cons of those issues can bring focus to local conservation issues.

That is the purpose of this website. So, what do you think about:

  • Building on beach front property
  • Eliminating rats from Lehua Island
  • Using biocontrol to combat invasive strawberry guava
  • Controlling mosquitoes that carry dengue fever and zika virus
  • Repairing leaking fuel tanks at Red Hill
  • Returning water to major streams and particularly to kalo farmers
  • Establishing and enforcing rules for the sustainable management of our reefs and near shore fishery
  • Establishing a local chapter of the LCV

The list goes on so add your own issue and let’s get some action going.

November 30, 2016

Dangerous Herbicide Drift endangers Hawaii Residents

Governor David Ige: Take action now to protect the people!

I signed a petition on Action Network telling Hawai‘i Governor David Ige to Demand the State of Hawai`i act now to protect the people!.

The world’s largest chemical corporations are using the Hawaiian Islands for open air testing of pesticides tied to experimental genetically engineered seeds.

In the last three years, thousands of Hawai`i residents marched, testified, and went door-to-door to pass laws in the counties of Kaua`i, Maui and Hawai`i to protect our communities from harmful pesticides.  And we won, despite millions of dollars of industry opposition. But the chemical companies sued our counties to block enforcement, and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that only the State of Hawai`i, and not the counties, has the power and responsibility to protect Hawaii’s people and environment from pesticides.

The message from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is clear: The power and responsibility to protect Hawaii’s people and our environment from pesticides is in Governor Ige’s hands.

In May 2016, a report funded by the State called for the following actions to protect the health of Hawaii’s people and land:

  • Create and enforce statewide pesticide Buffer Zones Statewide mandatory and thorough disclosure of pesticide use (both restricted use and general use)
  • Collect more accurate health data that helps scientists identify links between pesticides and health impacts on children, babies and families Air, soil and water testing

The State has ignored its own advisors.  The report was written by a panel of experts after a year-long “Joint Fact-Finding” process and yet it has ignored their recommendations.

We  demand immediate action by the Governor to implement basic protections recommended by the State’s own State-funded report. Governor Ige could enact every single one of the recommendations, while not affecting jobs. Moreover, the state legislature has already appropriated $500,000 to implement the recommendations of the JFFG report.

Sign the petition today to demand the State step up and meet its responsibility to the people of Hawai`i now!

Join me and take action! Click Here


November 6, 2016

Thomas Square – What the City Doesn’t want you to know.

The Mayor has a crazy idea to commercialize Thomas Square, which is a public park and a special historic site for the Hawaiian Nation. The City is going through the process of getting public input by Monday, November 7. We encourage you to testify “against” this idea to the address at the bottom of this message. Help us keep Thomas Square a Public Park that we can all use freely. Mahalo Nui Loa for your help. Dave & Sherry.

Thomas Square must remain a public park.




Thomas Square Park fountain to be destroyed

Thomas Square is being transferred from the City’s Department of Parks and Recreation to the Department of Enterprise Services, and is facing major renovation.


Amongst other things, this means:


  • Thomas Square (Hawaiʻiʻs oldest park) will essentially No Longer Be a Public Park.
  • The “Hawaiian Flag” walkway pattern, the fountain, and other major features Will Be Destroyed.
  • There will be a COMMERCIAL focus. The Department of Enterprise Services is a “self-sustaining” department, meaning it is designed to create its own revenue.
  • Goals include making Thomas Square a “World Class Destination” and part of the newly gentrified “Arts District” of Honolulu.
  • The Houseless (including many Kanaka Maoli with roots in the area) will be chased from the area to make it more “presentable”. “Food Not Bombs” (our longstanding five year weekly Potluck and Music Jam for the Houseless) will be kicked out of Thomas Square Park.
  • Thomas Square Will Be Closed for an essentially undetermined length of time while renovation takes place.


Here’s an article by H. Doug Matsuoka that can be helpful for your comment: “What The City Doesn’t Want You To Know About Thomas Square”


Please Comment on the Draft EA:




Written Comments are to be Postmarked by Monday, November 7, 2016
Robert J. Kroning, P.E.
650 South King Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
If you can’t get it together to physically mail your comment you can email it. They may not accept email as official testimony, but if many folks do this, the City will see the amount of public concern, which is a win for us.


Email Comments to:
Cate Cullison at
Robert Kroning at
You must include your name and physical home address in your email.



October 24, 2016

Mililani Trask OHA potential conflict of interest

I support Chris Lee. IMO, He is smart, conscientious and has done good things for his district and the State.

I have always felt Mililani Trask was more interested in her power than in serving the community. Now I feel I have collaboration for what till now was simply a gut feeling. Representative Lee’s letter follows. It is very revealing of what I believe is a pattern of behavior.

From Rep. Chris K C Lee Oct. 20 2016

I wouldn’t be writing today if it wasn’t critically important.

There is a race I’m writing to ask for your consideration for get
involved with. I argue it’s the most important race in Hawaii this
election year. That’s because it’s outcome will determine whether we
will retain our ability to continue pushing on environmental issues, or
if everything will become exponentially harder. Our biggest wins in
recent years – (and many wouldn’t have been possible without groups like the Sierra Club –
from our 100% renewable mandate, to our water issues, to the
Papahanumokuakea expansion), were only possible because of the support of
Native Hawaiian leaders.

OHA doesn’t represent all Native Hawaiian
voices, but they do represent a significant voice from that community.
Without public support from OHA, I can promise you these victories would
not have been possible, or would have been severely watered down.
Politically, that voice supportive of our issues is about to be silenced.

With the credibility of the S C and other environmental groups already
diminished because there’s no longer involvement with elections, I’ve
been cashing in my political capital along with a few others, in order
to keep pushing things forward. But there’s only so much of that to go
around and after this election cycle, there won’t be much political
leverage left. The most painful nail in the coffin will be the loss of
regular support of OHA for our issues. That group’s support alone isn’t
going to pass legislation, but without it, it will certainly stop things
from moving. That’s because opponents look for any reason to kill a
bill, and if there’s a question about where the Native Hawaiian
community falls, it’s one of the easiest ways to stop a bill or
initiative in it’s tracks.

This year Mililani Trask is challenging Bob Lindsey for an OHA seat (on Big Island). She
won the primary election with slightly more votes than Bob ( Bo Kahui got ). If Mililani
wins, as an incredibly loud and outspoken voice on issues, she could
realistically neutralize OHA from taking a position on much of anything.
Bob has been on the right side of most things, but more importantly,
he’s logical, reasonable, smart, and most of all he isn’t in it for

I have to disclose I’ve had Mililani Trask come after me and accuse me
of all sorts of crazy things from being a racist to “anti-renewable
energy” and everything in-between. She has clearly made things up about
people when it is convenient, but worst of all, appears to have a
serious conflict of interest in some issues because she has a personal
financial stake in her agenda.

Here’s Ian Lind’s blog coverage of that:

Rep. Chris Lee drawn into pre-election exchange with Mililani Trask, OHA candidate

Here’s what I wrote laying it all out:

IDG lobbyist Mililani Trask unhappy I chose our community over her employer

This is the single, most important race of the year, because it could
have profound and long-lasting effects on our ability to do anything
significant to protect our environment in Hawaii. It’s late in the
election cycle with just weeks to go. But now is the most critical time
to get involved, and a statement or endorsement means more now than it
ever would before. I’ve spent a LOT of my own political capital and
taken serious personal risks getting involved with this, but it’s that
important and I refuse to stand idly by while our ability to protect the
things we cherish most about this state is flushed away.

I’m asking for your help to reach out to other SC board members and
consider getting involved. Forward this along to the other board members
if it helps. This is the most important election this year and we need
to do something about it. Feel free to call me anytime if you want to
talk, or I’m happy to meet to discuss.

Thanks for your time and consideration,
Chris Lee”

July 23, 2016

Industrial hemp is not for getting high.

Hemp Hemp Hooray! Congratulations Cynthia Thielen

The Governor recently approved Act 228 – establishing a 5-year program to grow industrial hemp in Hawaii. This exciting program paves the way for a vibrant, local industry based on this versatile crop with over 25,000 uses/products, including building materials, nutritional and health care products, soil remediation, animal feed, with beneficial ripple-effects for our local business sector, economy and environment.

I want to thank Civil Beat for their excellent coverage of this development, and for their nice comments about my effectiveness as a Legislator:

“Beneficial circumstances and the dogged persistence of one legislator over many years intersected in this year’s legislative session in the form of Senate Bill 2659 — aka the Hemp Bill, which Gov. David Ige wisely signed into law. 

“Talk of legalizing hemp cultivation had kicked around the Legislature for many sessions, with state Rep. Cynthia Thielen keeping the conversation alive year to year…Sometimes, the good guys and the right ideas win out.

And once again, Cynthia Thielen needs our support and your vote in the upcoming August 13th Primary Election. There is no Democratic opposition and she is opposed in the primary by an ultra-conservative, tea party candidate.  This is serious. In the last election, Cynthia won by a little over 300 votes.  Joan Hood, her challenger has spent the last two years registering voters amongst her base.

If you vote Absentee, keep an eye out for your ballot as these will be mailed on July 22.

For your vote for Cynthia to be valid, be sure to fill in the box by “Republican Party” at the top left of the ballot and vote only for Republican candidates…or your ballot will not be counted. The Mayor’s race is nonpartisan so you can vote for any nonpartisan candidate as well. No Democratic candidate on the ballot has any significant opposition.

If you want to be represented in the State House by an advocate for our environment and who sincerely cares about people your choice is clear.

Vote for Cynthia Thielen.

Please share this with you Kailua friends and your social media.

‘A’ohe hana nui ke alu ‘ia. — No task is too big when done together by all.

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