HPD Chief Cancels Meeting with Hawaii Women’s Caucus and Women Honolulu City Councilmembers

The Hawaii Women’s Legislative Caucus today announced that they received a call from the Honolulu Police Department’s (HPD) Chief of Police’s office canceling Thursday’s meeting with the Women’s State Legislative Caucus and three women members of the Honolulu City Council.

A representative of the Women’s Caucus spoke with the office of Chief of Police Louis M. Kealoha to ask that the commitment to meet with the women on Thursday be honored.

“The purpose of Thursday’s meeting was for the Women’s Legislative Caucus and the three women city councilmembers to have the opportunity to speak with Chief Kealoha directly,” said Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, a member of the Women’s Caucus. “We hoped to work cooperatively with the police to strengthen efforts to end domestic violence and keep victims safe. We wanted to discuss concerns and questions about HPD’s internal policies and procedures regarding domestic violence cases, especially when one of their own officers is a suspect that has been brought to us by victims’ service providers.”

“The Women’s Legislative Caucus and women Honolulu City Councilmembers asked for the opportunity to discuss these issues with Chief Kealoha prior to the public informational briefing so that he could be prepared to respond fully in public, and to, hopefully, open the door to improved partnerships and outcomes in domestic violence cases,” said Senate President Kim.

A representative of the Women’s Caucus was told the meeting was cancelled because the internal investigation was not yet completed. “We made it clear that the Women’s Caucus understands that personnel investigations are confidential and that we have no intention of interfering in that matter,” stated Senator Laura Thielen, a member of the Women’s Caucus. “We told Chief Kealoha’s office that our concern and our meeting is to be focused on the broader HPD policies and response to domestic violence incidents.”

The cancellation was completely unexpected. “Many of us rearranged our schedules to suit the Police Chief’s requested meeting date and time. We are disappointed at his unexpected cancellation,” stated Senate President Kim. “We sincerely hope this is not a sign of the lack of importance the department places on the issue of domestic violence. But it’s perplexing to us why he would cancel such an important meeting with so many women leaders.”

Members of the Hawaii Women’s State Legislative Caucus are:

REP. KAREN LEINANI AWANA
REP. DELLA AU BELATTI
REP. RIDA CABANILLA
REP. MELE CARROLL
REP. LAUREN MATSUMOTO
REP. CINDY EVANS
REP. BETH FUKUMOTO
REP. FAYE HANOHANO
REP. SHARON HAR
REP. LINDA ICHIYAMA
REP. GEORGETTE “JO” JORDAN
REP. NICOLE LOWEN
REP. SYLVIA LUKE
REP. DAYNETTE “DEE” MORIKAWA
REP. CYNTHIA THIELEN
SEN. ROZ BAKER
SEN. SUZANNE CHUN OAKLAND
SEN. MICHELLE KIDANI
SEN. DONNA MERCADO KIM
SEN. MAILE SHIMABUKURO
SEN. MALAMA SOLOMON
SEN. LAURA THIELEN
SEN. JILL TOKUDA

Women members of the Honolulu City Council are:

COUNCILMEMBER ANN H. KOBAYASHI
COUNCILMEMBER CAROL FUKUNAGA
COUNCILMEMBER KYMBERLY MARCOS PINE

 

Women’s Legislative Caucus Calls for Accountability of HPD

Following the public release of a surveillance video showing a Honolulu Police Department (HPD) sergeant allegedly brutally beating his girlfriend in a Waipahu restaurant, the Hawaii Women’s State Legislative Caucus and the three women members of the Honolulu City Council are calling on HPD to explain its policies and procedures for handling criminal actions involving its own officers and how the failure to act that occurred earlier this week is not repeated.

According to reports, HPD officers responding to the scene did not arrest the sergeant, nor did they file any reports of the incident that night. It was only on the following day, after a citizen provided HPD and the press with the surveillance video, that HPD took action to remove the sergeant of his police powers and begin an internal investigation into the incident, according to a Hawaii News Now report.

The Joint Women’s Legislative Caucus and City Council members released the following statement:

“We are calling for a meeting with the Chief of Police, followed by an informational briefing with the Honolulu Police Department and Police Commission. The public has a right to know the department’s policies and procedures for response to domestic violence or any other crimes when the offender is a police officer, particularly one who serves in a supervisory role.

“HPD officials must explain to the public why the alleged assailant was not charged and arrested given evidence of probable cause, including multiple witnesses who had to come to the woman’s aide and a video surveillance depicting the appalling domestic violence assault.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that HPD officers chose not to enforce our domestic violence laws. The fact that the woman denied the incident is to be expected under the circumstances. Indeed, the responding officers’ failure to take action clearly communicated that her safety will not be protected by them. If similar situations have occurred in the past, any victim of violence would deny it out of fear of retaliation.
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“This incident sends a dark message to victims of domestic violence and all residents of Oahu, that members of HPD, who are supposed to serve and protect, may turn a blind eye to domestic violence or other criminal acts committed by of one of their officers.

“The integrity of HPD has been mired and trust has been lost. We demand public accountability.”

Members of the Hawaii Women’s State Legislative Caucus are:

REP. KAREN LEINANI AWANA
REP. DELLA AU BELATTI
REP. RIDA CABANILLA
REP. MELE CARROLL
REP. LAUREN CHEAPE
REP. CINDY EVANS
REP. BETH FUKUMOTO
REP. FAYE HANOHANO
REP. SHARON HAR
REP. LINDA ICHIYAMA
REP. GEORGETTE “JO” JORDAN
REP. NICOLE LOWEN
REP. SYLVIA LUKE
REP. DAYNETTE “DEE” MORIKAWA
REP. CYNTHIA THIELEN
SEN. ROZ BAKER
SEN. SUZANNE CHUN OAKLAND
SEN. MICHELLE KIDANI
SEN. DONNA MERCADO KIM
SEN. MAILE SHIMABUKURO
SEN. MALAMA SOLOMON
SEN. LAURA THIELEN
SEN. JILL TOKUDA

Women members of the Honolulu City Council are:

COUNCILMEMBER ANN H. KOBAYASHI
COUNCILMEMBER CAROL FUKUNAGA
COUNCILMEMBER KYMBERLY MARCOS PINE

DOH Director and State Hospital Employees Subpoenaed to Testify at Senate Hearing

6/18/2014 Investigative Committee on the State Hospital Hearing

Special Investigative Committee on the State Hospital Hearing held on June 18, 2014

The Senate Special Investigative Committee will continue its investigation into allegations of misconduct at the Hawaii State Hospital Tuesday, Sept. 16 at 12 p.m. in Room 016

The investigation has been ongoing as senators take a wide-ranging and in-depth look at the Hawaii State Hospital to address the safety of workers and allegations of administrative improprieties, and failure to conform to established employment policies and practices including nepotism.

The committee, co-chaired by Senator Clayton Hee and Senator Josh Green, will receive testimony from the following individuals for which subpoenas were issued:

• Linda Rosen, Director of the Department of Health
• Leona Guest, Director of Nursing
• Candace Sullivan, Nurse Manager
• Kalford Keanu, Psychiatric Technician
• Ryan Oyama, Psychiatric Technician
• Joshua Akeo, Registered Nurse

**For more information, please visit http://capitol.hawaii.gov/specialcommittee.aspx?comm=hsh

New Senior Center Groundbreaking in Kakaako

The historic Kakaako Pumping Station was given new life today, as community members came together to celebrate the groundbreaking and blessing of the new Na Kupuna Makamae (The Beloved Kupuna) Center off Ala Moana Boulevard. The 114-year-old building has been vacant for decades, with numerous proposals for its revival failing to reach completion.

9/10/2014 Na Kupuna Makamae Groundbreaking

Sen. Galuteria, who represents Kakaako and surrounding areas, addresses community members and other state leaders and offices.

In June, the Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA) voted to approve the preparation of an environmental assessment and special management area permit for non-profit Pacific Gateway Center (PGC) to move forward with plans to renovate the historic building into a community resource center. In July, Gov. Neil Abercrombie released $1 million in capital improvement grant funds identified by the state Legislature for the refurbishment project.

9/10/2014 Na Kupuna Makamae Groundbreaking

Sen. Pres. Donna Mercado Kim with Kimo Kahoano, who acted as master of ceremonies for the groundbreaking

“We’re excited to give this iconic building back to the public so that it can have new life serving our kupuna and future generations,” said HCDA Executive Director Tony Ching.

“It’s a great feeling being the Senator who represents such a historic and evolving community,” said Sen. Brickwood Galuteria (District 12 – Waikiki, Ala Moana, Kakaako, McCully, Moiliili). “This day is as much about honoring the essence of our past as it is celebrating a new beginning.”

9/10/2014 Na Kupuna Makamae Groundbreaking

Kahu Curtis Kekuna with (L-R) Rep. Karl Rhoads, PGC Executive Director Myaing Thein, Marlene Sai, Sen. President Donna Mercado Kim, Governor Neil Abercrombie, Sen. Brickwood Galuteria, and HCDA Board Chair Brian Lee.

The new facility is expected to serve as a learning and gathering place for the many kupuna who call Kakaako home. The Na Kupuna Makamae Center will focus on services for the elderly and specifically on intergenerational programs, in which Hawaii’s youth will be engaged to help older adults with workshops and services, such as teaching computer skills or assisting with lifelong learning opportunities.

9/10/2014 Na Kupuna Makamae Groundbreaking

Na Hiwa Hiwa perform Kalakaua He Noa

“We are extremely excited and honored to have a role in the reawakening of Kakaako through the preservation of the building that will now house the programs of Na Kupuna,” said Dr. Myaing Thein, PGC executive director.

Founded in 1973, PGC has developed a 40-year track record of delivering critical need-based services and designing innovative social enterprises to support the community. It offers a wide range of direct and support services to approximately 5,000 clients per year.

9/10/2014 Na Kupuna Makamae Groundbreaking

The historic Kakaako Pumping Station will be revitalized, refurbished and renewed to become the Na Kupuna Makamae Center, or the Beloved Kupuna Center.

 

Senators Honor Recipient of a National Hispanic Caucus Scholarship

8-27-14 National Hispanic Caucus Scholarship Check Presentation to Isis Usborne

From L-R: Mililani High School Principal Fred Murphy, NHCSL scholarship recipient Isis Usborne, Sen. Michelle Kidani and Dane Wicker, representing the office of Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz

A Mililani High School graduate is one of just eleven students from across the U.S. selected to receive a college scholarship award from the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislatures (NHCSL).

Isis Usborne, a valedictorian from the MHS Class of 2014, will use the $3,000 grant to help with tuition and expenses as she enrolls at UH Manoa for the fall semester. The John S. Martinez Closing the Achievement Gap Scholarship was created in memory of the late Connecticut State Representative and former NHCSL President John S. Martinez to recognize the values most important to him – leadership, innovation, compassion and public service.

Applications for the award are accepted from high school seniors of Hispanic ethnicity who attend schools in legislative districts represented by state lawmakers who are also of Hispanic descent. Mililani High School is located in Senate District 18, represented by Senator Michelle Kidani who is of Puerto Rican descent. The school also serves students and families in the adjacent District 22, represented by Senator Donovan Dela Cruz, also of Puerto Rican descent. Both Senators are active members of the National Hispanic Caucus.

“Mililani is a diverse community where we celebrate and share each other’s heritage,” Senator Kidani said. “I encourage Hispanic students in my district to apply for this prestigious award each year, and we are so pleased to congratulate Isis for her outstanding accomplishments that easily qualified her for the Martinez scholarship.”

Isis has displayed admirable leadership, academic excellence and a passionate commitment to community. She was a Valedictorian in her graduating class with a 4.089 GPA – achieved while successfully completing six Advanced Placement classes. She received multiple honors for her academic work, including awards at district and state science and engineering fairs, and as a member of the Mililani High School We the People constitutional studies team that travelled to Washington, D.C. for national competitive events.

In her community, Isis has been a legislative intern and participated in numerous service activities – including tutoring and mentoring fellow students, campus beautification programs and events to promote health and environmental awareness. “Students like Isis who are high achievers always have a terrific support team behind them,” Senator Kidani added. “We are grateful to her dedicated teachers and mentors at Mililani High School and to her family and friends who have been with her through the last four years.”

Sen. Kidani last week presented the scholarship check to Isis. She offered the following remarks during the check presentation:

Thank you for being here today – especially our guest of honor, Isis Usborne, who has taken some time out of her class schedule for this presentation. Introduce Principal Fred Murphy and Rep Lauren Matsumoto.

Let me proceed with a little background about the John S. Martinez ‘Closing the Achievement Scholarship’ that I am honored to present today.

This is a National Scholarship Award and Isis is one of only 11 students selected nationally by the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislatures from scholarships funded by the Comcast Foundation through Comcast NBC Universal.

The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislatures is an organization of legislators from across the U.S. I, as well as my colleague Senator Donovan Dela Cruz, both have Puerto Rican ethnicity in our backgrounds, and have been active participants in this Hispanic Caucus organization which allows us to identify issues of importance to this growing segment of Hawaii’s population.

Census figures from 2013 indicate that residents of the islands who identify as Hispanic or Latino background represent almost ten percent of Hawaii’s population . . . and the numbers are rising, just as they are in mainland states.

The Scholarship Award we present today is named to remember the late John S. Martinez – a state legislator from Connecticut, who also served as the Hispanic Caucus President. Representative Martinez knew that education – especially education beyond high school – is vital to empowering individuals and developing leadership skills, nurturing innovative and critical thinking, and a citizens’ lifestyle that includes a commitment to public service.

The Martinez Scholarship is awarded each year to just eleven students who have demonstrated academic excellence, leadership and a commitment to community service. The other criteria are that the student be of Hispanic background, and that she or he attend school in a district represented by a lawmaker of Hispanic background. Mililani High School from where Isis recently graduated serves students in both Mililani Town and Mililani Mauka – the districts which Senator Dela Cruz and I serve as Senators.

Isis Usborne is one of the eleven students from across the country chosen to receive the Martinez Scholarship.

Isis has more than qualified for this award during her years at Mililani High School. I would like to read just one paragraph from the Senate Certificate we have prepared to recognize her accomplishments:

  • Isis was a valedictorian in her graduating class with a 4.089 GPA – achieved while successfully completing six Advanced Placement classes. She received multiple honors for her academic work, including awards at district and state science and engineering fairs, and as a member of the Mililani High School We the People constitutional studies team that travelled to Washington, D.C. for national competitive events.
  • In her community, she has been a legislative intern and participated in numerous service activities – including tutoring and mentoring fellow students, campus beautification programs and events to promote health and environmental awareness. She will use the $3,000 scholarship award to support her studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa beginning this fall.

I am told that Isis has not declared a major yet – and that she wants to “explore” political science, performing arts, earth sciences, astronomy and the humanities. In other words, she wants to do it all.

It is a pleasure to present this prestigious award to Isis Usborne with every good wish for success in the years ahead.

Sen. Solomon Announces Release of $1 Million for Kohala Hospital Repairs

Sen. Malama Solomon today announced the release of $1,000,000 in capital improvement funds for repairs and updates to Kohala Hospital. She issued the following statement:

“Mahalo to Governor Abercrombie for releasing the funding for much-needed repairs and improvements to Kohala Hospital,” said Senator Malama Solomon (District 4, Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona). “The hospital has served the small community for almost 100 years, and with these funds we can bring Kohala into the future and keep up with changes in healthcare.”

Kohala Hospital is a 28-bed Critical Access Hospital (CAH) with 24 hour emergency services. It has serving the North Kohala community since 1917.

Statement from Senate President Donna Mercado Kim on the Passing of Former Hawaii Island Lawmaker Robert “Bob” Herkes

Senate President Donna Mercado Kim today issued the following remarks on the passing of former lawmaker Robert “Bob” Herkes, who passed this week at 83:

“I am saddened to learRep Herkes Christmas 2011n of the passing of former lawmaker Robert “Bob” Herkes and my thoughts and prayers are with Jo-Anna and their family. Our state lost a revered man who dedicated his life to public service, and we were lucky to have him serve as a state senator, state representative and Hawaii County Council member. Even after leaving the Legislature, Bob never stopped contributing to the well-being of our state. The Senate in April confirmed him as a member of the Hawaii Tourism Authority Board and he was scheduled to attend his first meeting just a few days ago. Until the end, he was committed to improving the lives of Hawaii’s people.

“Bob cared deeply about his home and its people. He fought tirelessly to strengthen our communities and create a better life for all. Many will remember him for effectively passing legislation helping homeowners during the mortgage foreclosure crisis, and spearheading efforts to address the impacts of VOG on health and safety, agriculture, the economy and tourism. Because of his work, Hawaii Island received a mobile medical van that acts as a roving clinic in under-served areas.

“He was a respected lawmaker, sharp businessman and compassionate mentor and friend. We will miss him dearly.

“On behalf of the Hawaii State Senate, we offer our deepest condolences to his wife Jo-Anna, sons Bob, Ken and Dough, and all family and friends at this difficult time.”

Mililani High School Valedictorian Receives Scholarship From National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislatures

A Mililani High School graduate is one of just eleven students from across the U.S. selected to receive a college scholarship award from the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislatures (NHCSL).

Isis Usborne, a valedictorian from the MHS Class of 2014, will use the $3,000 grant to help with tuition and expenses as she enrolls at UH Manoa for the fall semester. The John S. Martinez Closing the Achievement Gap Scholarship was created in memory of the late Connecticut State Representative and former NHCSL President John S. Martinez to recognize the values most important to him – leadership, innovation, compassion and public service.

Applications for the award are accepted from high school seniors of Hispanic ethnicity who attend schools in legislative districts represented by state lawmakers who are also of Hispanic descent. Mililani High School is located in Senate District 18, represented by Senator Michelle Kidani who is of Puerto Rican descent. The school also serves students and families in the adjacent District 22, represented by Senator Donovan Dela Cruz, also of Puerto Rican descent. Both Senators are active members of the National Hispanic Caucus.

“Mililani is a diverse community where we celebrate and share each other’s heritage,” Senator Kidani said. “I encourage Hispanic students in my district to apply for this prestigious award each year, and we are so pleased to congratulate Isis for her outstanding accomplishments that easily qualified her for the Martinez scholarship.”

Isis has displayed admirable leadership, academic excellence and a passionate commitment to community. She was a Valedictorian in her graduating class with a 4.089 GPA – achieved while successfully completing six Advanced Placement classes. She received multiple honors for her academic work, including awards at district and state science and engineering fairs, and as a member of the Mililani High School We the People constitutional studies team that travelled to Washington, D.C. for national competitive events.

In her community, Isis has been a legislative intern and participated in numerous service activities – including tutoring and mentoring fellow students, campus beautification programs and events to promote health and environmental awareness. “Students like Isis who are high achievers always have a terrific support team behind them,” Senator Kidani added. “We are grateful to her dedicated teachers and mentors at Mililani High School and to her family and friends who have been with her through the last four years.”

Hawaii Island Receives $300,000 for Wastewater and Highway Improvements

Senator Malama Solomon (District 4 – Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona) released the following statement on the administration’s release of nearly $300,000 for wastewater and highway capital improvement projects on Hawaii Island:

• $47,000 for transportation improvements to Queen Kaahumanu Highway at the intersection of Kawaihae Road
• $250,000 for design and construction at Waimea Baseyard Wastewater Systems

“These projects are important to the people of Hawaii Island and I’m glad the governor released the funding for these much-needed improvements.

“Although there has been delays in work at Kawaihae Road and Queen Kaahumanu Highway intersection for a variety of reasons, I’m looking forward to its completion as changes will help with the flow of trafSen.MalamaSolomon_2013Legislature_Final(Cropped)fic and address safety concerns shared by the community.

“I’m proud of the work my colleagues and I did to ensure money flowed to projects such as the quarter of a million dollars for upgrades to wastewater systems in Waimea. Making these necessary upgrades will help create a more safe and effective sewer complex through the modernization of aging sewage treatment facilities.

 

LEGISLATIVE OFFICES WILL BE CLOSED FRIDAY AS TROPICAL STORMS ISELLE AND JULIO HEAD TO OAHU

House Speaker Joseph M. Souki and Senate President Donna Mercado Kim today announced that Legislative offices will be closed on Friday, August 8, 2014.  All non-essential legislative personnel are being asked to stay at home and off the roads as tropical storms Iselle and Julio bear down on Oahu.

Employees are encouraged to take precautions for their personal safety and follow media reports for up to date information on the pending storms.

The State Capitol will also be closed on Saturday, August 9 as both house chambers will be used by the Office of Elections as its Control and Counting Center Operations.

Normal office hours are expected to resume on Monday, August 11th unless otherwise directed.

 

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