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Ian Lind • Online daily from Kaaawa, Hawaii

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Trask: Geothermal “is key to economic sovereignty for our people”

August 22nd, 2014 · 1 Comment

Honolulu attorney and Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee candidate, Mililani Trask, has responded to Tuesday’s post about her somewhat heated public exchange with state Rep. Chris Lee.

It’s certainly no secret that “I believe geothermal energy development is key to economic sovereignty for our people,” Trask wrote. But Trask said she is not a single-issue candidate, and is also concerned about other fundamental issues, including “education, health and management of our land assets.”

According to Trask:

Any google search of my name will bring up multiple published pieces and testimony in which I disclose repeatedly that I am the Principal of my own consulting firm, Indigenous Consultants. There is no secret there. And the forms that were filed by my campaign staff show me as earning income from that consulting practice. Regrettably, we should, in hindsight also have checked the box that follows that asks if I “own a business.” My staff did not, thinking that the “business” had already been reported in the answer to the preceding question that referenced my source of income as “Indigenous Consultants. “

The other two businesses cited in the post are valued at less than the $5,000 threshold for reporting in the required candidate financial disclosure, Trask said. One has not conducted business activity since 2007-2008, according to her response.

In addition, Trask wrote:

My professional life in Hawaii for the past few decades has been as an advocate for community issues, including advancing renewable energy. I believe it to be a matter of
critical urgency that we get Hawaii off its dangerous dependence on imported fossil fuels for which we send more than $6 billion out of the state annually.

Hawaii would benefit from greater scrutiny of HECO’s monopoly on energy development and distribution. It would benefit from more questions being asked about why our legislature and regulatory bodies have not done more to advance Hawaii’s energy independence.

Trask’s full response can be read here.

→ 1 CommentTags: General

Feline Friday: Greetings from Harriet and the rest of the gang

August 22nd, 2014 · 2 Comments

Ms. HarrietMs. Harriet welcomes you to another Feline Friday. She’s in a familiar position–sprawled out in the middle of our dining table as we served dinner one evening last weekend. She’s isn’t a passive observer of the meal, however. She does go into active betting mode. Ms. Annie does the same, but she’s usually on the floor next to the table.

This was a pretty good meal from the cats point of view. Chicken breasts in a wine & garlic sauce, just a spot of thyme, mashed red potatoes, and a couple of nice artichokes. And, yes, Harriet did get a few bites.

–> See all of today’s Friday Felines!

→ 2 CommentsTags: Cats · Photographs

An educator struggles with new law allowing armed students in class

August 21st, 2014 · 2 Comments

I have a cousin who is a history professor at Boise State University.

She’s in a funk about the beginning of their fall semester, and she blogged about the reasons at her personal site, The Clutter Museum.

It stems from a new Idaho law allowing students to carry concealed weapons on the university campus. She feels strongly that armed students will necessarily, and unfortunately, degrade the educational experience of all students.

She says it, though, with much more grace and style.

I hope she excuses me for quoting at some length:

If I were a better historian and less emotionally exhausted, I might provide a brief history of how guns have been used again and again to subjugate already marginalized individuals and communities. I need not remind my readers of this: Gun violence and the threat of gun violence are all over the news this week, here and abroad, in Iraq, Syria, and Gaza. Gun rights activists in the U.S. like to speak of tyrants who are coming for their guns, but let’s be clear–the ones talking about bringing guns into the context of everyday life are the most dangerous. Those who suggest guns have a place in the college classroom are tyrannical, for the presence of gun—or the suggestion or possibility of its presence—renders exceptionally difficult the free and open exchange of ideas.

Last spring, when my colleagues and I stood on Boise State’s central campus raising students’ awareness about the guns-on-campus bill, I spoke with several students who couldn’t wait to bring guns into the classroom and in fact admitted they had already concealed weapons in Boise State’s classrooms. These young white men envisioned themselves as potential vigilante heroes in an “active shooter” situation they believe is inevitable in any “gun-free zone.”

. . .

The reality is this: there are going to be guns in my classroom, and there’s nothing I can do about it. This reality will change my relationship with students. It will diminish teaching and learning.

There’s much more in her post, reflecting her intellectual and emotional struggle with this corrosive aspect of modern Americanism.

I highly recommend taking the time to check it out.

→ 2 CommentsTags: Education · Politics

Throwback Thursday: Waipahu 1948

August 21st, 2014 · No Comments

For this week’s look back, a family portrait, believed to be in my grandparents yard in Waipahu (that’s my mom’s parents).

My grandparents, Duke and Heleualani Yonge, are in back. My mom is on the right, as you look at the photo, with me on her lap. My sister, Bonnie, is in front, second from the left. And my mom’s sister, Marguerite Shipp, who was visiting from the mainland, is on the left, with daughters (my cousins) Moana and Lani. This old photo was both underexposed and faded, and I feel fortunate to have gotten a reasonable reproduction from it.

As usual, you can click to see a larger version.

The Yonges of Waipahu

→ No CommentsTags: History · Photographs

Locating complaint procedures & info on the HPD website

August 20th, 2014 · 3 Comments

The actions of the police are very much in the news these days, from the police shooting and subsequent street protests in Ferguson, Missouri, to the recent series of fatal police shootings here in Honolulu.

David Johnson, a UH Professor of Sociology who specializes in the study of criminology, law and social policy, addressed the issue of police accountability in an op-ed which appeared in Sunday’s Star-Advertiser (“Accountability must accompany police power“).

Police in Honolulu have shot and killed eight people in the past five years. This is, per capita, about double the national average of “justifiable killings” by police. As this newspaper has reported, police protocol in lethal force cases is “wholly internal” (“HPD transparency, oversight lacking,” Our View, Aug. 13). The names of officers who use lethal force are not released to the public, and neither are the results of the police department’s own internal investigations — unless someone is fired.

Civil Beat has also reported extensively on the lack of routine accountability when it comes to Hawaii’s police.

So I wondered whether the Honolulu Police Department provides information to assist someone who wants to file a complaint about a police officer’s actions or report unprofessional behavior.

I turned to the HPD website (http://honolulupd.org/).

It’s a pretty extensive site with lots of diverse information. the site map has more than 50 links to different kinds of information. You can read about the department’s history, get a list of former chiefs, see the patrol districts, learn about each police division, read statistical reports, get information on domestic violence, and read the department’s annual reports. You can get info on the police activities league, get a calendar of police events, learn about the Ride-Along program or the Police Museum, etc., etc.

What you won’t see is a direct link to information on complaints about police officers.

On my second time through the site, you can find the basic complaint procedures if you first click on the link titled simply “FAQ” for “frequently asked questions.”

And there, down at #4 in the list: “How do I file a complaint on an officer.”

A notarized statement is required as part of the police union’s collective bargaining agreement. Links to the forms are listed here under the Professional Standards Office section.

If you wish to remain anonymous, your complaint will be reviewed and/or investigated in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement and departmental policy.

You may mail a notarized statement to the above address or you may appear in person and a statement will be taken by a Professional Standards Office detective and notarized at that time. Be sure to bring a proper identification card (state ID, driver’s license, passport, etc.). [emphasis added]

Information about the Police Commission and its complaint process is also buried. You first have to click a link, “Department,” and then the last of five tabs, “Commission.” Of course, if you didn’t already know that one of the duties of the commission is to investigate charges by the public against the department or any of its officers, then you wouldn’t know that “Commission” would yield useful information.

And when I browsed the commission’s most recent annual report, I found the “Complaint Classification Guidelines,” essentially a list of do’s and don’ts of police behavior.

The report also contains some statistics regarding complaints, but nothing regarding the substance of complaints, even those that have been sustained following an investigation.

As Professor Johnson wrote in his op-ed:

In Hawaii, police accountability is all but absent because the Legislature has caved in to pressure from the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers (SHOPO), the union that represents the state’s four city and county forces. Public reporting requirements for police in Hawaii are far more limited than those in most states. Under an exemption SHOPO received in 1995, police are merely required to send the Legislature an annual summary of cases in which an officer has been suspended or discharged for misconduct. Each summary is only a few words long, and there are no names, places or dates.

Not a good situation. The police should be accountable, and far more transparent.

→ 3 CommentsTags: Politics · Sunshine