Term Limits In Hawai’i – Shortening the long game for state legislators

As the 2022 legislative session begins anew, it’s time also to begin a statewide conversation about term limits.

Few are pleased with the status quo. Though our current legislative leadership posses decades of experience, clearly that’s not enough.

“We already have term limits, they’re called elections” is the stock response, and until relatively recently, the position I subscribed to.

However, after 20 years of working within the system, I’ve come to believe differently.

Term limits will put a stop to the do-nothing, take no risk, keep your head down, go along to get along, “long game” strategy that too often infects those who aspire to serve in elected office.

The problems and challenges facing us today are far too urgent to play the long game or any games at all. An 8-year term is plenty enough time for new elected leaders to make their mark, and to set and accomplish their goals.

The barriers to entry for new candidates are formidable. Money, name recognition and a conscious manipulation of the system by those already in power give incumbents an overwhelming advantage while keeping newcomers out.

The basic cost to run a campaign for the state Legislature can run between $40,000 to $100,000, sometimes more. Because there’s no cap on the amount incumbents can raise, some sit on “war chests” approaching $1 million, much of it raised during the legislative session from the very interests they are charged to regulate.

Legislators, by virtue of their position, are frequently in the public spotlight. They are constantly cutting ribbons or “breaking ground” at some new school, highway or community center. They hold press conferences and issue press releases. In recent years, state legislators have taken to sending out glossy mailers under the guise of constituent surveys or a “report to the district.” These taxpayer-funded mailings conveniently become more frequent in the months preceding an election.

As if money and name recognition were not enough, incumbents are further protected via a deliberate manipulation of the law-making process itself. The rules and actions of the legislative body are designed to “protect the members” from negative political exposure that comes with “hard votes.” Controversial issues rarely get voted on until they’re severely diluted, endlessly delayed, or pushed off to a task force.

An especially egregious example of the system being manipulated to favor incumbent legislators is the current process of district reapportionment. Legislators attempting to improve their electoral opportunities are at this very moment, actively lobbying the Reapportionment

Commission. The commission has been given the home address of sitting legislators, even though the State Constitution says explicitly that the drawing of the maps should avoid “favoring” anyone. The ongoing delays favor incumbents and hamstring challengers whose campaigns are awaiting the final maps.

Yes, the cards are stacked high against new candidates, new voices, new ideas, and new leadership.

The governor, lieutenant governor, mayor and all Council members in all counties already serve with term limitations. These term limits have not caused the weakening of government operations, nor have they empowered the deep state, or created a dearth of expertise.

What term limits do is create an opportunity for change. Our elected leaders are given eight years to pursue their goals and then they move on, creating space for others to step up.

There is no shortage of other opportunities to serve. Those “termed out” can work elsewhere in the public, private or nonprofit sectors, if indeed service is their primary focus and motivation.

Fifteen states including California and Colorado currently limit the terms of state legislators. It’s time for Hawaii to join them.

To accomplish this goal requires a constitutional amendment. This means incumbent legislators must vote to place this question on the ballot and allow the people to vote it up or down.

A heavy lift perhaps — but the conversation needs to be had.

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My birthday, a shameless ask, and 8 totally awesome Hawaiʻi candidates

Today is my 68th birthday and I’m shamelessly and unabashedly asking you to help me celebrate by supporting the Pono Hawaiʻi Initiative (PHI) with an online contribution.

Yes, lunch, coffee, or another suitable libation would be fun too and perhaps in the not too distant future, when the craziness of this moment passes – we can carve out some quality time for that as well 😉

As you likely already know, I’m the Executive Director of PHI. Because we are aggressively involved in both legislative advocacy and electoral politics – contributions are not tax-deductible but they make a deep impact on the local political landscape. Whether $6.80, $68 or $680 (or anything really) any help you can offer today with an online contribution will be put to good use.

There. I did it. Made the hard ask for help, and now I can move on.

At 68, I am not quite older than dirt and prefer to think I’m just entering my prime. My health is good, I love my work, and I’m surrounded and supported by family and friends.

I’m fired up and ready to go! Gotta lose a few pounds and exercise more (or at least some), but overall, I’m good, getting better, and headed for awesome.

My primary goal, for the coming year is to help create systemic change at all levels of government – State, County, and yes, Federal.

The upcoming August 13th primary election creates just such an opportunity.

Kim Coco Iwamoto’s election to the State House of Representatives would by itself, shake the very foundations of the big square building on Beretania Street.

Electing new candidates Corey Rosenlee, Shannon Matson, Elle Cochran, Vickie Kam, and Gary Gill to join with Kim Coco Iwamoto and the strong progressive incumbents already serving in the House would result in an unequivocal people and the planet first policy agenda.

Re-electing Big Island Senator Laura Acasio and another strong progressive for the seat being vacated by retiring Senator Brian Taniguchi – would ensure that the voices of working families and environmental protection are well represented in the Senate.

Ikaika Hussey’s election to the Honolulu City Council would tilt the dynamics of that body decidedly in favor of progressive, forward-thinking, community-based policymaking.

Electing Carol Lee Kamekona to the Maui County Council would seal the deal on their already awesome progressive majority.

On Kauai, there are at least 2 yet to be named mana wahine who are considering throwing their hats in the ring, and should they ultimately decide to run – would be game-changers.

The Hawaiʻi County Council also has great potential to move further toward a more progressive majority.

With continued growing grassroots support, Sergio Alcubilla can beat Ed Case. Because of the very slim majority Democrats hold now in Congress, Sergio’s election would alter the very basic internal dynamics of the U.S. House. Sergio is the real deal and we all must step up and volunteer to help him. Read my short blog piece – Why Choose Sergio Alcubilla Over Ed Case.

I list above by name only those candidates who I know personally are strong in their core values, and who are unafraid of speaking truth to power. Each on their own is a force to be reckoned with, and each has the strength of character sufficient to withstand the urge to “go along to get along”.

Please help if you can. We can win big on August 13th, but to do so, we must give it everything we’ve got.

Sincerely,
Gary Hooser
Pono Hawaiʻi Initiative (PHI)
*follow me on Twitter @garyhooser

Fundraising: Please accept my apologies if you’ve given recently or if you are not in a position to give. But, I have to ask. The cost of Mail Chimp’s email service alone is $900 per month. My hope today is to raise the funds needed for our basic first quarter budget (about $10,000), PLUS an additional $10,000 for a targeted campaign (social media and direct mail) encouraging specific legislators to support living wage, food self-sufficiency, and environmental protection legislation. I know the goal is ambitious, but I gotta ask.

PHI Endorsements: PHI will soon be formally reviewing and endorsing candidates in all races. The above-listed candidates represent a snapshot of some of my personal favorite “new candidates” however they have not been formally endorsed, and it’s not all-inclusive. ALL CANDIDATES INTERESTED IN BEING ENDORSED should send an email by March 1st to info@ponohawaiiinitiative.org describing in 600 words or less your qualifications and values, and discussing briefly why you are running for election.

** Please consider “opting-in” to my email list – Hawaii Policy & Politics at – https://policy-and-politics.mailchimpsites.com It’s free, it’s easy, and it’s secure. And I promise not to deluge you with meaningless pap. I will however send you occasional messages on political and policy stuff. Trust me, I will only send you items that will add value to your understanding of policy and politics and/or will make you smile and think a bit.

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Legal Housing Discrimination In Hawai’i Has To Be Made Illegal

The pandemic has left many people in a place they never thought they’d be – “accepting government assistance”.
 
We all know someone who has suffered an unexpected illness, job loss, or death in the family that’s left them struggling to pay their bills. For many, this was a realization that forces beyond our control can turn our housing security upside down, no matter how responsible we were.
 
There is a critical lifeline to keep our friends, neighbors, and sometimes ourselves from becoming houseless: It’s called Section 8.

Unfortunately, if you’ve looked for a home to rent lately, you will notice that some of them advertise ”No Section 8” or “No HUD”.
 
According to affordablehousingonline.com/ 
“The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program is a federal rental assistance program that helps low-income renters pay a portion of their income for rent. Program participants choose their own unit to use the voucher, and pay 30% to 40% of the household’s adjusted monthly income toward rent. The rest is paid directly to the landlord by the Public Housing Agency that manages the household’s voucher.”
 
There’s often a waiting list but those in need should contact their local County Housing Agency to determine if assistance is available.
 
But, making it to the top of the waiting list is only half the battle, because voucher holders are often told that they are not welcome to apply for homes advertised for rent. The reason? Because the landlord has chosen not to even consider renting to a person who utilizes a voucher.

For the lucky ones, this discrimination means spending more time doubled up with friends, or maybe even in a homeless shelter. For others, it means they are out in the cold, waiting for some landlord to give them a chance.
 
Imagine if landlords refused to accept renters whose primary income was social security. Imagine if grocery stores refused to accept EBT.
 
It’s flat-out wrong and discrimination against renters based on their voucher status should be prohibited by law.
 
In fact, in at least thirteen states including California and the District of Columbia, it is against the law. These states and numerous municipalities have passed laws prohibiting housing discrimination based on the source of income.
 
It’s time for Hawai’i to join them.
 
Yes, a landlord should be able to select renters who are able to pay the rent, have a history of paying it on time, and who will take care of the property. This determination should be based however on the renter’s past performance, and other relevant factors, not simply because they are on public assistance.
 
The state legislature has repeatedly turned its back on legislation to protect houseless and low to middle-income working families. However, there is a simple and free way for our legislators to get serious about addressing the housing crisis: by passing a bill that fully outlaws housing voucher discrimination.
 
A strong no-nonsense measure is needed and legislators must reject attempts to prohibit discrimination “in advertisement only” but in reality allowing the practice to continue without penalty.
 
During the opening day ceremonies that take place today January 19th, there will be talk about increasing Hawaii’s minimum wage, paid family leave, and affordable housing. We must also make sure that housing cannot be denied to our neighbors who need vouchers as we work toward our goal of “one job should be enough”.
 
The Chair of the Housing Committee in the House is Representative Nadine Nakamura repnakamura@Capitol.hawaii.gov and in the Senate, it’s Senator Stanley Chang senchang@Capitol.hawaii.gov
 
Please take a moment to email and ask them to end housing “housing voucher discrimination” in Hawai’i.

** Please also consider “opting-in” to my email list – Hawaii Policy & Politics at – https://policy-and-politics.mailchimpsites.com It’s free, it’s easy, and it’s secure. And I promise not to deluge you with meaningless pap. I will however send you occasional messages on political and policy stuff. Trust me, I will only send you items that will add value to your understanding of policy and politics and/or will make you smile and think a bit.

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Into the weeds – Kauaʻi specific but likely to interest all policy nerds, candidates, and attorneys with too much time on their hands

To be a candidate for the Kauaʻi County Council you must be a resident and a “qualified voter” for two years preceding the election.

On the surface this seems like a reasonable requirement. However, it’s the most restrictive in Hawai’i and disenfranchises over 30% of Kauaʻi residents.

You could have been born and raised on Kauaʻi, perhaps a recent graduate or a veteran returning home, who has not yet registered to vote, and you would be declared ineligible.

However, you could move to Honolulu and run for election to the Council there, tomorrow. You could also possibly run for election to be a State Senator, State Representative, or even a member of the U.S. Congress. None of which have a minimum district residency requirement.

But unless you’ve been registered to vote on Kauaʻi for two years prior to being elected, you cannot run for the Kauaʻi County Council.

At least that’s what it looks like at first glance. Upon a second and third glance, the aforementioned conclusion becomes a bit muddy.

I must warn readers. The balance of this column will likely interest only policy nerds, prospective candidates, and possibly attorney’s with too much time on their hands.

According to the Office of Election, the qualifications needed are as follows: https://elections.hawaii.gov/candidates/candidate-filing/

* Kauaʻi County Council: Qualified voter of Kauai County at least 2 years prior to election
* City and County of Honolulu: Resident and registered voter of the appropriate Council District
* Hawai’i County Council: Resident and registered voter of the Council District at least 90 days prior to primary election, qualified voter of Hawai’i County for a least 1 year prior to election.
* Maui County Council: Resident in the area of the county from which the person seeks to be elected for a period of 1 year before filing, qualified voter of Maui County.

It’s my understanding that the Office of Elections for purposes of evaluating the qualification of new candidates for the Kauaʻi Council, interprets the words qualified and registered, as essentially synonyms. I’m not aware if this has ever been challenged in court.

You will see that “qualified voter” is used in relation to the Kauaʻi requirement. For Honolulu it’s “resident and registered voter”, and for Maui it’s “resident and qualified voter”. Hawaii County uses both “registered voter” and “qualified voter”, implying that they have different meanings.

So, is there a difference between a qualified voter and a registered voter?

Yes, we are digging down into the weeds, but in policymaking, the weeds are important and often where the rubber meets the road.

Being “registered to vote” seems pretty clear. You have filled out a form and have the paper to prove it. Being “qualified to vote” however could be interpreted as being of age and being a resident, thus qualified to be a voter, but not having yet registered.

To further confuse things, the actual Kauaʻi County Charter Section 3.04. does not use the word registered voter or qualified voter but rather says, “To be eligible for the council, a person must be a citizen of the United States and must have been a duly qualified elector of the county for at least two years immediately preceding his election or appointment.”

Why the Office of Elections chooses to use language different from that contained within the Kauaʻi Charter, I do not know.

Oxford defines the word “elector” as “a person who has the right to vote in an election.”

It would seem that all adult residents of Kauaʻi have the right to vote in our elections.

Yes, words matter. In this case, the prevailing interpretation of the words would appear to prevent otherwise qualified residents from running and serving on the Kauaʻi County Council.

Attorneys and residents out there who care about this kind of stuff – what say you?

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Breaking: Democratic Party of Hawai’i says Blue Dog Ed Case’s actions do not reflect the values of the Party

This is really remarkable news: On Saturday, January 8th, the Democratic Party of Hawai’i State Central Committee (SCC) passed a Resolution expressing disappointment with Blue Dog Democrat Congressman Ed Case over his position, action, and inaction with regards to the national Build Back Better agenda. (complete Resolution is copied below) The vote was 46 – 19.

As a long-time member and former Vice-Chair of the Party, I don’t recall the SCC ever taking such an action before. The Resolution speaks for itself and I encourage all to read it through to the end.

Here: I’ll help you get to the end by jumping there now –

“WHEREAS, Congressman Ed Case’s actions have resulted in Build Back Better legislation that will likely contain fewer benefits to Hawai’i’s working families, including weaker provisions regarding Medicare programs accessed by retirees, less robust early child care support for Hawai’i keiki, a lack of free community college and trade schools, and limited paid family leave insurance; now, therefore

BE IT RESOLVED that the Democratic Party of Hawai’i expresses its disappointment in the actions of Congressman Ed Case regarding passage of the Build Back Better agenda; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Democratic Party of Hawai’i hereby notes that the actions of Congressman Ed Case with regard to the passage of Build Back Better legislation do not reflect the values and principles of the Democratic Party of Hawai’i as outlined in our platform, prior adopted resolutions, and mission statement;”

Mahalo to SCC member and public school teacher Justin Hughey for taking the initiative to introduce the Resolution.

The full Resolution is as follows:

WHEREAS, the passage of the Build Back Better Act is the top priority of President Biden and an overwhelming majority of Democrats in both chambers of Congress; and

WHEREAS, the original version of Build Back Better Act contained provisions to support workers, families, children, students, retirees, affordable housing, climate change mitigation, and additional components that were described by analysts as transformative for America’s social safety net, infrastructure, and climate action plans; and

WHEREAS, Democrats currently hold a slim majority in the United States House of Representatives; and

WHEREAS, Hawai’i Congressman Ed Case is Co-Chair of the Blue Dog Coalition in the United States House of Representatives; and

WHEREAS, numerous media sources have reported and Congressman Ed Case has acknowledged that Blue Dog Coalition members leveraged their disproportionate power stemming from the slim Democratic majority to delay the passage of the Build Back Better Act in the United States House of Representatives; and

WHEREAS, delaying passage of the Build Back Better agenda has contributed greatly to the weakening of that agenda, which has been modified from a $6 trillion proposal to a $1.75 trillion proposal through the elimination of core ideas, such as making college more affordable; and

WHEREAS, Congressman Ed Case further contributed to the weakening of the Build Back Better program by supporting efforts to delink passage of its initiatives to strengthen the United States’ social safety net from provisions funding infrastructure improvements; and

WHEREAS, all other members of the Hawai’i congressional delegation have publicly supported and sought to strengthen each of the components contained in the original Build Back Better legislation; and

WHEREAS, Congressman Ed Case’s actions have resulted in Build Back Better legislation that will likely contain fewer benefits to Hawai’i’s working families, including weaker provisions regarding Medicare programs accessed by retirees, less robust early child care support for Hawai’i keiki, a lack of free community college and trade schools, and limited paid family leave insurance; now, therefore

BE IT RESOLVED that the Democratic Party of Hawai’i expresses its disappointment in the actions of Congressman Ed Case regarding passage of the Build Back Better agenda; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Democratic Party of Hawai’i hereby notes that the actions of Congressman Ed Case with regard to the passage of Build Back Better legislation do not reflect the values and principles of the Democratic Party of Hawai’i as outlined in our platform, prior adopted resolutions, and mission statement; and

BE IT RESOLVED that copies of this resolution shall be distributed to President Biden, United States House Speaker Pelosi, all Members of Congress who are Democrats, all members of the Democratic National Committee, local and national press organizations, and be posted prominently on the Democratic Party of Hawai’i website and social media pages.

Full Disclosure: I am a member of the SCC, and while not a sponsor of the Resolution, I did vote in enthusiastic support of its passage. It is also common knowledge that I am a supporter of Sergio Alcubilla who is challenging Ed Case in the upcoming August 13 primary election. If you are interested in finding out why I am supporting Sergio, please read “Why Choose Challenger Sergio Alcubilla Over Blue Dog Ed Case?” https://garyhooser.blog/2021/12/10/hawaiis-congressional-cd1-why-choose-challenger-sergio-alcubilla-over-blue-dog-ed-case/


Please “opt-in” to “Policy and Politics” – an email list with an attitude https://policy-and-politics.mailchimpsites.com

Please also follow me on Twitter @garyhooser

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The Hawai’i reapportionment process: Does anyone else find this objectionable and inappropriate, if not downright in violation of the state constitution?

According to the Hawai’i state constitution Article 4 (Reapportionment) Section 6 #2 states – “No district shall be so drawn as to unduly favor a person or political faction.”

Yet:

1) The members of the reapportionment commission responsible for drawing the new maps were provided with the home addresses of House and Senate members early in the process.

2) Various members of the House and Senate have and are actively lobbying commission members both in private and in public.

3) The criteria being used by commissioners to “redraw the maps” actively and consciously considers the possible impact on various legislators.

4) The most powerful State Senator in Hawai’i, WAM Chair Donovan Dela Cruz with the assistance of Government Affairs Chair Senator Sharon Moriwaki has scheduled a formal Senate briefing for Monday, January 10th at 10 am to “examine the data and methodology used and the bases (sic) for the Reapportionment Commissions decision to provide an accurate count of “permanent residents”.
https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2022/hearingnotices/HEARING_GVO_01-10-22_INFO_.HTM

Does anyone else find this objectionable and inappropriate, if not downright in violation of the state constitution?

Why would the reapportionment committee need or want the home addresses of legislative members when the law prohibits favoring them in the process?

Why is WAM even participating in the briefing as there are no budget impacts or fiscal implications involved?

One would think that if the law requires the process to not “unduly favor any person or party”, that those who are indeed most likely to be impacted would be prohibited from lobbying the commissioners or otherwise attempting to influence the outcome.

One would also think that the commission would at least attempt to conduct the process without plugging in the addresses of those who would be most impacted, and would further resist changing district lines in response to pressure from those likely to be impacted.

One would think.

gh

*Note: If anyone wants to challenge the facts stated above, please do so (either publicly via commenting here or privately to my email at garylhooser@gmail.com). I am more than willing to make a correction or clarify if I have misstated any of the facts or circumstances involved.

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Public policy goals for 2022 – Your thoughts?

It goes without saying that if we don’t set goals, we are sure not to achieve them.

With that in mind, here are 13 public policy goals for your consideration.

* Term limits for state legislators
* Passage of true living wage legislation
* Closing of Red Hill on Oʻahu and reevaluation of military impacts statewide
* Repeal HB499/Act 236 – Relating to lease extensions on public land.
* Criminal justice/Cash Bail reform
* Leadership on climate change
* Increased public funding of state and county elections
* Legalizing the responsible adult use of cannabis
* Affordable housing for ALL local residents
* Food and energy self-sufficiency
* Protection of our streams, coastlines, and mountains
* Ensure Hawai’i teachers are the highest paid, most qualified, and best in the world
* A tax structure that protects local residents and requires offshore investors and the wealthy – to pay their fair share.

It sounds like a lot, but it’s not really.

None of these goals are radical, or ground-breaking. There are models already in place elsewhere – we just need the political will and leadership to make it happen. This should be a slam dunk for a legislature dominated by Democrats such as exists here in Hawai’i.

Term limits would need to be approved by voters but must be put on the ballot by the legislature. 15 states including California presently have legislative term limits.

18 states have legalized the responsible adult use of cannabis.

23 other states have a higher minimum wage.

If a majority of our legislative leaders and the congressional delegation were willing to stand with the public at the gates of Pearl Harbor (either literally or figuratively) until the Navy agreed, you can be assured Red Hill would be closed tomorrow.

There has never been a thorough evaluation of the military’s collective impact in Hawai’i. Hawai’i residents deserve to know what those impacts are, and they deserve a say in whether or not additional future expansion is needed or wanted.

Affordable housing, food and energy self-sufficiency, and protection of our natural environment require a long-term commitment, solid planning, and eternal vigilance.

Attracting and retaining highly qualified teachers is the single most important thing we can do to ensure the positive development of our children.

Tax fairness can be achieved literally with the stroke of a pen. In past legislative sessions numerous proposals were put forth and passed, but then vetoed by the Governor. Without exaggeration 100’s of millions of dollars are being left on the table each year.

Hawai’i is flush with cash and just days ago Governor Ige announced his intention to put a billion dollars into the state’s “rainy day fund”.

Yes, that’s correct. We have a billion dollars extra on hand now and hundreds of millions more each year we are missing out on.

We have the money, but just lack the political leadership to spend it where it needs to be spent – paying teachers more and building more affordable housing would be a good place to start.

Citizen involvement is a prerequisite of political will. Without active citizen participation, the politicians are left only with the voice of big money and big business.

Please. Trust me on this one. Make two calls and send two emails. One to your Representative and another to your Senator.

Share with them your thoughts, your goals, and your expectations. You can find out who they are and their contact information by entering your address at https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/fyl/

If you have more time and energy, please also contact ALL Representatives and ALL Senators.

The legislative session opens on January 19th and adjourns May 5, sine die.

On March 1st candidate filing opens and on June 7th it closes for those running for election in the August 13 primary election. Serious candidates of course will have already begun their campaigns by now or will be starting very soon.

Please get involved. Take ownership of your government. Take action. It’s important.

Sincerely,
Gary Hooser
* Please follow me on Twitter! @garyhooser

**Mahalo to all for your support of Sergio Alcubilla for Congress and for the Pono Hawai’i Initiative. Because of your help, both made their year-end fundraising goals! More to follow…If you are curious as to Why I am supporting Sergio Alcubilla for Congress over Ed Case – this blog piece I wrote recently pretty much explains it. https://garyhooser.blog/2021/12/10/hawaiis-congressional-cd1-why-choose-challenger-sergio-alcubilla-over-blue-dog-ed-case/

***Final note – In the coming days and weeks, I will begin featuring candidates running for election in 2022 – statewide. My focus initially will be focusing on “new” candidates (non-incumbents). Later, I will shift to highlighting those incumbents now in office who share the core values of putting people and the planet above corporate profits, AND whose actions and votes while serving demonstrate that.

Here’s to a great 2022!

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My Top Ten 2021 Blog Posts – musings elaborated and quantified

One of my top goals for 2022 is to write more. Perhaps I will start that book. There is no shortage of topics, both real and imagined 😉

My intention for the moment is that the Hooser Blog will be a general repository for the various columns and missives I write (and occasionally for the writing of others). However achieving this goal gets complicated as most major media such as Civil Beat, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, and all national publications – require “exclusivity” which sometimes precludes them from being duplicated in blogs, etc. I also write a weekly column on Wednesdays for The Garden Island newspaper, and sometimes I repost those columns here in the blog and other times neglect to do so. My bad.

On top of it all – Hawaii Policy and Politics – the email “newsletter” (I hate the term and it’s not really a newsletter) that I send out regularly also occasionally contains stuff that I fail to repost here on the blog. Most are reposted, but not all. I will try to be better in the future! But if you want it all and you want it on time, the best way to make that happen is to “opt-in” to my regular email at https://policy-and-politics.mailchimpsites.com

Top Ten Hooser Blog Posts of 2021 (according to number of viewers)

1) If you live on a neighbor island, HB1286 will impact you and the health of your island. (effort by House Speaker Scott Saiki to take away County authority.) https://garyhooser.blog/2021/01/28/if-you-live-on-a-neighbor-island-hb1286-will-impact-you-and-the-health-of-your-island/

2) The Political Power You Don’t Know You Have https://garyhooser.blog/2021/02/16/the-political-power-you-dont-know-you-have/

3) E Pluribus Unum by Glenn Shockley – gh note – a good and thoughtful read. I encourage all to take the time to do so. https://garyhooser.blog/2020/12/26/e-pluribus-unum-by-glenn-shockley-gh-note-a-good-read-if-a-bit-dense-and-a-rough-cut-i-found-this-to-be-a-bit-of-a-fascinating-read/

4) The quiet unassuming grip of systemic racism https://garyhooser.blog/2021/07/29/the-quiet-unassuming-grip-of-systemic-racism-laid-bare/

5) Blowing Smoke On Cannabis Legalization – Pulling back the curtain on SB767 https://garyhooser.blog/2021/03/15/blowing-smoke-on-cannabis-legalization-pulling-back-the-curtain-on-sb767/

6) The Hawaii Case Against President Biden’s “Build Back Better Agenda” https://garyhooser.blog/2021/09/16/the-case-against-president-bidens-build-back-better-agenda/

7) Legislative Updates: Cannabis, Criminal Justice, Food/Farms, Reproductive Rights https://garyhooser.blog/2021/02/27/legislative-updates-cannabis-criminal-justice-food-farms-reproductive-rights/

8) Hawaii Policy and Politics – an email list with an attitude. https://garyhooser.blog/2021/08/08/whittling-down-my-email-list-please-subscribe-if-you-want-to-continue-getting-my-policy-and-politics-email/

9) House subterfuge attempts to block County Covid rules (another attempt to subvert County authority by House Leadership) https://garyhooser.blog/2021/03/30/house-subterfuge-attempts-to-block-county-covid-rules/

10) The Myth of Democrats Controlling Politics and Government in Hawaii https://garyhooser.blog/2021/09/21/the-myth-of-democrats-controlling-politics-and-government-in-hawaii/

*** Best read ever with 5,005 views is The Mauna is sacred. Say the words. published in September of 2019 https://garyhooser.blog/2019/09/13/the-mauna-is-sacred-say-the-words/

Additional writings published elsewhere and never posted here on the blog are below:

HOOSER: Sometimes leading means stepping back TGI – Dec. 22, 2021 https://www.thegardenisland.com/2021/12/22/opinion/hooser-sometimes-leading-means-stepping-back/

HOOSER: 10 things to do in 2022 TGI Dec. 15, 2021 https://www.thegardenisland.com/2021/12/15/opinion/hooser-10-things-to-do-in-2022/

HOOSER: Understanding and reading between the lines TGI Dec. 08, 2021 https://www.thegardenisland.com/2021/12/08/opinion/hooser-understanding-and-reading-between-the-lines/

Hooser: Making democracy work – We need you in 2022 TGI Dec. 01, 2021 https://www.thegardenisland.com/2021/12/01/opinion/hooser-making-democracy-work-we-need-you-in-2022/

HOOSER: Bill No. 2491, 8 years later TGI Nov. 24, 2021 https://www.thegardenisland.com/2021/11/24/opinion/hooser-bill-no-2491-8-years-later/

Five Ways To Make The Hawaii Legislature More Accountable Civil Beat (a must-read for those serious about understanding and working within the current legislative process) https://www.civilbeat.org/2021/12/five-ways-to-make-the-hawaii-legislature-more-accountable/

9 other pieces published during the past 2 years in Civil Beat
https://www.civilbeat.org/author/gary-hooser/

My hope is that you have enjoyed and benefited from some of my words and thoughts. If so, please share them with friends and family and encourage others to opt-in at https://policy-and-politics.mailchimpsites.com

Happy New Year!
Gary Hooser

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Red Hill, collateral damage, a bigger picture

The Hawaiʻi Congressional delegation must do what’s necessary to ensure that the U.S. military comply with the order of Governor David Ige to shut down Red Hill.

Furthermore, until the U.S. Military demonstrates they can be trusted to operate in Hawaiʻi without further jeopardizing the health and welfare of our community, all lease extensions, and expanded military operations now under review, must also be put on hold.

The military officials responsible for the safety and integrity of the Red Hill facility have consciously, actively, and continuously misled the public, the Department of Health, (DOH), and the Board of Water Supply (BWS), as to the frequency and seriousness of past and present fuel leaks.

Those who know the history of Kaho’olawe, Pōhakuloa, and Mākua, will tell you nothing has changed.

A look at recent and ongoing global actions of the U.S. Military will only reinforce the fact that they are by nature secretive and destructive – with little to no accountability for civilian or environmental collateral damage.

That’s what the contamination of Hawaiʻi drinking water is to the U.S. Military – collateral damage. Like the multitude of drone strikes that kill thousands of innocent civilians in countries all over the world, the poisoning of people and the environment in Hawaiʻi is simply collateral damage necessary to maintain national security.

It’s time we say no more.

The U.S. military presence in Hawaiʻi has continually expanded since the first naval station was established at Pearl Harbor in 1908 until today when the military controls 22% of all land on Oʻahu, with approximately 206,000 acres and over 20 installations located throughout all the islands.

To be clear, I am not a pacifist. I believe we need a strong military to defend us against the bad guys of the world.

But enough is enough already. The United States is the largest arms dealer in the world. We maintain troops and weapons on 750 bases in at least 80 countries around the world and spend more on our military weaponry than the next 10 countries combined.

Numerous proposals to expand or extend the military presence in Hawaii are being pushed forward now by the U.S. Military and Hawaiʻi’ Congressional delegation including; thousands of acres at the Poamoho Training Area in the Ko’olau mountains in north-central Oʻahu, the Kahuku Training Area and the Mākua Military Reservation on Oʻahu, the Pōhakuloa Training Area on Hawaiʻi Island, and a proposed $1.9 billion radar expansion at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauaʻi.

Each of these projects must comply with the Federal and State laws governing the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) process which requires an evaluation of direct, indirect, secondary, and cumulative impacts. The law also prohibits the segmenting and piecemeal review of related projects.

In addition to environmental, health, economic and cultural impacts – a comprehensive EIS must include an analysis and thorough evaluation of Hawaii’s potential role in any future global conflict.

There is no more important secondary impact than the increased likelihood of Hawaiʻi being a military target because of the growing U.S. military presence in the islands.

Until the U.S. military is willing to agree to this level of disclosure and said disclosure is accepted and agreed to by the residents of the State of Hawaiʻi, any and all expansion must stop.

Please take the time today to call; Senator Brian Schatz (202) 228-1153, Senator Mazie Hirono (202) 224-6361, Representative Ed Case (202) 225-2726, and Representative Kaiali’i Kahele (202) 225-4906.

Stop Red Hill. Stop it all. Enough already.

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Hawaii’s Congressional CD1 – Why Choose Challenger Sergio Alcubilla Over Blue Dog Ed Case?

I’m supporting public interest attorney Sergio Alcubilla in his campaign to unseat Representative Ed Case in the CD1 because Sergio shares my core values, and Ed does not.

Sergio is not beholden to big business, the military, nor to any private special interest groups or friends in high places.

From day #1 Sergio has called for the shutting down of Red Hill.

Ed Case who represents CD1 where Red Hill is located has known about the leaks and the risk for years but has done nothing of any substance. He finally stepped up with half-hearted statements of concern, but only after the entire issue blew up in the media, and only after Congressman Kahele from CD2 went public with his outrage.

Ed’s default position is to support the military and protect big business.

Sergio’s default position is to support the community and protect the environment.

Representative Case and his small group of blue dog democrats in the House have totally screwed up President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. Because of his actions and insisting on the delinking of the infrastructure bill vote, he has brought tangible harm to people and the planet.

This is not hyperbole.

Ed Case is Co-Chair of the Blue Dog Coalition. Because of their actions delaying and weakening the Build Back Better agenda, 67 million senior citizens will not receive dental or vision coverage via the proposed expansion of Medicare. 35 million families will receive less support for child care and early childhood education, and every single high school graduate will lose out on the opportunity to attend community college or trade school regardless of their ability to pay.

Like far too many in Congress, Ed Case looks at the world through the lens of money and privilege. His prior occupation was as a corporate attorney whose clients were hotels and resorts. His family roots extend into Hawaii’s plantation history. His cousin, Steve Case is one of the largest landowners in Hawaii (Maui Land and Pineapple and Grove Farm Corporation). His sister Suzanne Case is the Chair of the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR).

Sergio Alcubilla looks at the world through the lens of working families, sacrifice, and commitment to the community. His prior occupation was as an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii working directly with Hawaii workers and families. Sergio is a first-generation immigrant with family roots in the Philippines. He is a graduate of the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law. As an attorney, he has never represented a hotel or resort, but he has worked with hotel workers. It’s safe to say that Sergio does not have friends or relatives who are billionaires, large Hawaii landowners, or who hold high positions in the corporate or government world.

Sergio is the real deal. He understands the problems and challenges of real people, and he’s committed to serving and making a positive difference for people and the planet.

This is why I’m supporting Sergio. This is why I’m encouraging you today to also offer him your support.

Unlike Ed Case, Sergio has pledged not to accept any campaign donations from big business or corporate PACs. He is committed to running a people-powered campaign, funded by small donors like you and me.

Please join me today by going to his website at https://www.sergio4hawaii.com and offering him an online contribution of $22 or whatever amount is comfortable for your budget. Like you, my finances are stretched pretty thin this time of year, but I dug deep and donated $250 myself.

Mahalo in advance for your help in supporting Sergio Alcubilla!
https://www.sergio4hawaii.com

Note: The most important thing to me in evaluating a candidate is “core values” and the “lens” through which they look at the world. Whose interests do they serve?

However, I understand specific issues, and where the candidate stands on these issues is also an important factor. Please visit the issue section of his website and spend a little bit of time reviewing the issue details if you like.

Online contributions to the campaign made prior to December 30th are especially needed. The campaign is determined to win via people power, so please know that no contribution is too small – all are welcome!

For those that prefer to mail in their contribution: Sergio Alcubilla for Congress, P.O. Box 1991, Honolulu, HI 96805

Sincerely,

Gary Hooser

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