Letter: Join Bernie’s Supporters at Gay Pride Parade

You and all your friends are invited to come walk with me and the Bernie Sanders crew in the Pride Parade this Saturday in Hilo, 10am, with park festival to follow. I am also singing with PMC in the bandstand at noon (some Beatles tunes and other songs, only 5 this time). Wear purple if you want; many Sanders supporters will be in purple. I’d recommend an umbrella too, in case of rain or blazing sun. Parade line-up between 9:30 and 9:50am this Saturday in the Ben Franklin parking lot or somewhere very nearby there. Great chow available at the festival. Should be a fun day! PS: Mark your calendar: 20DEC Christmas show at the Palace, Puna Mens Chorus & audience singing! It is a fund-raiser for Palace air conditioning system. Will have the PIPE ORGAN to accompany PMC! Please join us!

–Aloha Steven


Letter: Council Resolution would Support Amendment to Counter Citizen’s United

Dear One,

We worked HARD to get CLEAN ELECTIONS for our island. And it was GREAT! Now Karen Eoff is proposing a Resolution to get rid of Citizens United through the nationwide group: MOVETOAMEND.
Please come on Wed. Sept 2nd to the County building and testify in support of this resolution. Municipalities and states all over the nation are starting this groundwork to amend the US Constitution to clarify that Corporations are not “people” and that money is not speech. The future of our democracy depends on our getting this cleared up. Please pass on this message to your progressive friends. Aloha,

Noelie Rodriguez



Editor’s Note:  The Council meeting takes place in Hilo starting at 9 a.m. with live connections for video testimony at the Council’s satellite offices around the island.  Text of the resolution is below:


WHEREAS, the United States Constitution was written and approved with the intention of protecting the rights of individual human beings (“natural persons”); and

WHEREAS, corporations are not mentioned in the Constitution, and the people of the Unites States (“The People”) have never granted constitutional rights to corporations, nor decreed that corporations have authority that exceeds the authority of The People; and

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court, in Austin v. Michigan Chamber of commerce (1990), recognized as a threat to a republican form of government “the corrosive and distorting effects of immense aggregations of wealth that are accumulated with the help of the corporate form and that have little or no correlation to the public’s support for the corporation’s political ideas”; and

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) (“Citizens United”) reversed the decision in Austin by rolling back legal limits on corporate spending in the electoral process and allowing unlimited corporate spending to sway votes and influence elections, candidate selection, and policy decisions; and

WHEREAS, the majority decision in Citizens United was recognized as a serious threat to self-government by the four dissenting justices. Corporations have special advantages not enjoyed by natural persons, such as limited liability, perpetual life, and favorable treatment of the accumulation and distribution of assets. These advantages allow them to amass and spend prodigious sums on campaign messages that often have far greater reach and influence than messages from individuals; and

WHEREAS, federal courts in Buckley v. Valeo (1976) and in SpeechNow.org v. FED (2010) overturned limits on independent expenditures because the “corruption or perception of corruption” rationale was only applicable to direct contributions to candidates; and

WHEREAS, Unites States Supreme Court in Justice Stevens observed in Nixon v. Shrink Missouri Government PAC (2000) that “money is property, it is not speech”; and

WHEREAS, Article V of the United States Constitution allows The People of the various states to amend the U.S. Constitution to correct those egregiously wrong decisions of the United States Supreme Court that challenge our democratic principles and the republican form of self-government; and

WHEREAS, there is widespread opposition to the Citizens United ruling that money is speech and that independent corporate campaign spending cannot be limited; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE COUNTY OF HAWAI‘I that it urges Hawai’i’s congressional delegation to propose and pass an amendment clarifying that corporations are not people with constitutional rights, and that unlimited campaign spending is not free speech.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the County Clerk shall forward copies of this resolution to United States Senator Brian Schatz, United States Senator Mazie Hirono, United States Representative Mark Takai, United States representative Tulsi Gabbard, Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho, Jr., Governor David Y. Ige, State Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi, and Speaker of the State House of Representatives Joe Souki, and the Honorable Mayor William P. Kenoi.


Letter: More on the Roundabout

Dear Russell, Gregor, Joy, Daniel, Billy, Gov. Ige (DOT and Editors),

I am sorry to be a big pain in the ass, but I think you as our elected officials are making a big mistake by not actively trying to stop this or at least force the original 2-lane design (without crosswalks of any type) so we are increasing the size of our one road in and out of Pahoa and not adding pedestrians to the mix.  

As our elected representatives of the residents who will be impacted by the Roundabout, I am asking you to please truly look at the DOT plans and not let politics get in the way of safety. Mr. Sniffin told community members at that last meeting they are installing the one-lane roundabout first, they are not allowed to install the 2-lane, because they don’t know if it [roundabout] will work.  

There should be no experimentation done with our only road.  We as a community already have been squeezed for years and we have the potential for live lava flowing in the area at any time.  We finally get a crosswalk – and it is in the middle of our roundabout???  The crosswalks needs to be by Hawaiian Beaches and Post Office Road.   We need to be able to get in and out of Pahoa without waiting for pedestrians needing to cross the street and 3 inputs of traffic merging in circles.  

What happens when there is an accident and rescue personnel are trapped inside Pahoa with an ambulance needing to get to Hilo hospital?  We can’t wait for 2 hours for someone to unlock the gate in Nanawale.  You are all being notified again that this is an wasteful and unsafe plan to build some roundabout speculating that it might work.  This should be unacceptable to you.

Thank you for your concern for the people of Pahoa and not shmoozing with fancy shirts on this.


Sara Steiner

Letter: Another Take on the TMT

The debate over the Thirty Meter Telescope has become extremely divisive for our community. I’ve lost several long time friends because I support this telescope project. This has spread to the community at large. These ongoing protests segued from protecting Mauna Kea to a debate over the restoration of the Hawaiian Kingdom and questioning the legitimacy of the State of Hawaii. The lack of enforcement by Hawaii County and the State of Hawaii isn’t helping matters. Governor Ige’s administration is the prime culprit for the latter. His administration is afraid taking on the protesters head on and waiting for the courts to do the dirty work for them it seems like. The Hawaii Supreme Court is slated to hear oral arguments on August 27th, 2015 for one of these lawsuits. It’s questioning the legality of the Thirty Meter Telescope’s conservation district use permit.. In addition, the Hawaii Supreme Court has a pending decision involving the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, which may have legal ramifications for the Thirty Meter Telescope. The problem with this course of action is two-fold. The TMT has legally binding permits to start construction now. The lack of enforcement on the part of the State of Hawaii shows they’re catering to the whims of the protesters. This has given Hawaii huge black eye on the world stage. Why would anyone want to invest in Hawaii? The State of Hawaii has shown its content with siting on their hands instead of enforcing the law. This doesn’t bode well for Hawaii’s future. We need to diversify our economy away from unsustainable industries, such as tourism, real estate/construction, and the military. I strongly believe we all need to take a long hard look at what Hawaii’s future should look like. The latter is being completely ignored by the anti-TMT protesters. They’re hell-bent on stopping this telescope project, but haven’t stated any economic alternatives to improve the future of Hawaii. Aaron Stene Kailua-Kona

Letter Roundabout Runaround.

Dear Department of Transportation,Concerned Elected and Emergency Officials, News Editors,

I tried to attend the informational meeting on the Pahoa Roundabout last evening but had to leave once the announcement was made Pahoa has no choice in the matter.  Perusing the roundabout design, I fail to see how one lane circling is a safe exit for Pahoa and lower Puna in general, much less in an emergency.  To be clear, the DOT is telling us, the residents of Pahoa, that they are spending multi-millions of dollars on our safety?  

Look at what is being proposed.  As it is now, at least we have separate lanes coming and going, a turn lane, and a merge now at Malama.  In the event of a disaster you all are are expecting an orderly evacuation on that one lane cattle-chute roundabout?  Just one accident and the cars are going to be pinned in a circle, backing up very quickly, and the emergency responders won’t be able to access, they will have to walk in and no one will be able to get out of town.  Eventually the roundabout gets increased to two lanes…

Pahoa can’t wait for eventualities anymore.  It is time to help Pahoa with modernizing the entrances to Malama, Woodland Center, Hawaiian Beaches and Post Office Road immediately.  You can use the money for the roundabout to accomplish all those projects.  We have been waiting for years and years to get our fair representation and a decent road for Pahoa.  Do we have to file more civil rights complaints to get fair treatment?  I’d like an answer to this letter at your earliest convenience.

Very Sincerely,

Sara Steiner

Meeting July 29 to Discuss Pahoa Roundabout Plans

Letter: Cultural Practitioners’ Access to Mauna Kea Restricted

To:  Interested Parties
From:  Lanny Sinkin, Ali’i Mana’o Nui, Kingdom of Hawai’i

On Thursday, July 2, I received an email informing me that Office of Mauna Kea Management Rangers were allowing those engaged in spiritual practice on Mauna a Wakea to ascend the Mountain only at 1:00 p.m. each day, limiting the number of people that could ascend to ten, and requiring a Ranger be present to accompany the practitioners.

Meanwhile cars and trucks of non-practitioners traveled up and down the Mountain with no restrictions.

I went to the 9,000 foot level and interviewed various Protectors who confirmed what I had been told.

I had no question that the restrictions amounted to an unconstitutional restriction on the rights to religious practice guaranteed by the First Amendment and that the allowing of non-practitioners to ascend the Mountain constituted discrimination against the spiritual practitioners in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of equality before the law.

I discussed the situation with the Kahuna of the Temple of Lono.  He agreed to pursue legal action to stop the latest instance of persecution of the traditional faith by the State.  I prepared pleadings to request a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction prohibiting the enforcement of the unconstitutional restrictions.  The Federal Court in Honolulu was closed on Friday through Sunday, so I came to Honolulu today to file the action.

Attached are the cover letter to the Attorney General and the pleadings I filed today.  United States District Court, Honolulu  CV 15 00254.

Judge Watson did not have time to address the TRO today.  I am expecting to hear from him tomorrow.


–Lanny  Sinkin

Copy of Letter to Gov. Ige: PLEASE VETO HB321 (DISPENSARY BILL)

Dear Editor,

This bill is very bad, it is not for the people of Hawaii.  This bill is so over regulated and the compliance terms are so over-kill that any medical marijuana product sold there will be unaffordable for the common person, much less sick people who lived on fixed incomes.  

I have a feeling the legislation has been severely influenced by large corporations who have several million available to invest and the criminal and legal profession who still wants to make arrests, prosecute and jail people for cannabis.

This law is discriminatory against regular Hawaii residents from the amount of money needed too pre-qualify down to the idiotic micro-management requirements from seed to plant to consumer.  I beg you Mr. Ige, please VETO HB321!  

Very sincerely,

Sara Steiner
P.O. Box 2011
Pahoa, HI 96778

Letter: Supreme Court Rules for Justice for all–Finally.

The recent Supreme Court ruling that the U.S. Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry is an historic victory not only for gay and lesbian Americans but for all Americans who cherish equality, liberty, and justice for all.

Reassuringly, this ruling bears witness that “equal justice under law”—words that are etched into stone on the front of the Supreme Court—has at long last triumphed over discrimination and inequity.

With the landmark ruling, same-sex marriage now becomes legal in all 50 states. My guess is we’ll get used to it in no time.



Michael Ra Bouchard, Ph.D.

Clinical Sexologist

Pahoa , Hawaii


Letter: New Coalition Opposes those who “Blunt Progress.”

Dear Editor:

The purpose of the Big Island Community Coalition is to work towards reduced electrical energy costs on the Island of Hawaii – where we pay up to four times the national average for our power.  We are particularly sensitive to electric power rates as very high rates serve essentially as a regressive tax on our population while greatly reducing the probability of generating jobs in any sector that is dependent on electricity.

There are occasions when events are so alarming that groups such as ours feel compelled to move beyond our primary task.  This is such a time.

We have observed with increasing alarm as our community has taken steps that inexorably blunt the forward movement of our economy and even move us backwards.  These include:

1.     Anti-Geothermal activists encouraged County government to ban nighttime drilling, effectively stopping expansion of a major source of renewable and inexpensive electric power beyond already-existing permits.  This action was taken despite the existing plant meeting all applicable noise standards.  It appears that government officials took this action without first going to the site to verify that the noise was disruptive.  Once they did go to the site, some years later, government found that the noise was less than other environmental sounds (i.e., coqui frogs) and essentially no more than typical background noise.

2.     Anti-GMO activists lobbied to stop any new GMO products from being grown on the island – despite the fact that the vast majority of scientific, peer-reviewed studies found such products to be as safe, and in some cases more nutritious, as their non-GMO counterparts.  Legislation even prohibited GMO flowers – not consumed by anyone – from being grown on the island.  Thus family farmers lost the most effective new tools needed to reduce pesticide and herbicide usage while increasing productivity needed to keep their farms competitive.

3.     Now we have anti-Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) activists taking steps to stop construction of the most advanced telescope in the world.  If successful in stopping TMT, despite its sponsors following every legal requirement over a seven-year period, we will lose our world leading advantage in understanding the universe.

All of these actions share similar characteristics:

·      The arguments used to justify such actions are consistently anti-scientific.

·      “Anti” groups often obscure the lack of scientific evidence to support their position by using emotional pleas intended to incite fear.

·      The only “win” for many of these groups is to completely stop, thereby making them completely unwilling to consider any facts that refute their position or to make any reasonable compromise.

·      Long-term consequences are significant both culturally and economically.

Cultures that survive and thrive embrace new technologies carefully, thoughtfully and steadily.  Cultures and economies that thrive are innovative beccause they generate ideas and solutions, solve problems and take calculated but careful risks.

Cultures that fall backwards are those that fear advancement, fear change and cling to a mythicized view of yesteryear.  The net result is loss of their brightest and most hard working youth.  Those youth that remain find fewer and fewer jobs – those jobs having greatly diminished economic value and lower wages.  The downward spiral becomes inexorable.

As we look to tomorrow, we need to ask ourselves whether we wish to give our children the exciting and invigorating job market typified by Silicon Valley or a job market that is much closer to the poorer regions of third world countries.  It is up to us to point one way or another.  Driving TMT out will be one more major step to cultural and economic poverty.


Big Island Community Coalition

Richard Ha, President,

David DeLuz Jr., Rockne Freitas, Michelle Galimba, Wallace Ishibashi, Noe Kalipi, H.R “Monty” Richards, William Walter

Letter: Questions about the TMT

Dear Editor,

Why did the dolphins disappear?

At the last Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) meeting on Hawai’i Island, economist Paul Brewbaker presented a dizzying array of charts and graphs showing the billions of dollars TMT would generate.

Someone asked: What do you consider sacred? He paused. Then he recalled a special place where he used to see spinner dolphins—till, one day, they disappeared.

How much money would an economist sell his mother for?

If Mauna Kea were not here, could we imagine it, or build it?

Can we know the right answers before we know the right questions?

 Why did the dolphins disappear?

 Cory (Martha) Harden

Hilo, Hawaii

Letter: About the Budget

Dear Editor,

I woke up at 5 this morning, drank coffee, finished some notes and headed out to testify on the Mayor’s budget.  Of course I was a day late, so after reminiscing with another guy who had also thought Tuesday, I’m sending out some thoughts while they are fresh in mind.

I’ll try to summarize, and am rounding off numbers and mostly going by the actual costs of 2013-14 because we don’t know the actual costs of this current fiscal year.  I believe the totality of the mayor’s budget is less than 6% increase from the previous year.  Right away I find several conflicts, mainly the projected increase of employee pensions and contributions rises from $56.5M (13-14) to 87.2M in 2017-18.  That alone is an average of 6.14M a year, more than 6% increase.

Add to that the police budget from 121.3M in 2014-15 to 134.1M in 15-16.  That is a 12.7M increase in one year.  It is explained in the letter accompanying the budget as mostly an increase in subsidized vehicle insurance, buying 100 mobile data terminals (cell phones?) and replacing 100 guns.

I looked into the written goals of the police department: to protect life and property, involve the community in crime prevention, gather evidence to solve crimes, return stolen property, aid in prosecutions and at the bottom of the list are enforce traffic laws and other.   

Then I noticed further goals for the different departments, and the actual completion rates for these goals.  I was horrified, and I did mention it in my testimony last month, that the Hawaii County Police Department only has goals of 30% in solving Burglaries and Thefts, 60% Robbery and 80% Sexual Assaults?  I’m not sure what the goal of solving murders is, but I saw where they responded to 3 murders, and are giving evidence on 1 to the prosecution.  That seems about 33% to me.

As I dug further I was wondering why they are not able to solve more crimes?  After all, we hear it is the same people in many subdivision thefts, and we hear about the same crack houses operating for years at a time in the same location, how hard can some of it be?  

Well, I think I figured something out.  First off, there are only like 3 criminalists and 37 detectives, while there are 306 patrol officers.  And our Federal and State governments ensure that those 306 patrol officers are busy overtime performing revenue generating, seat-belt checks, DUI checks, cell phone stings, and so forth.  Don’t tell me they don’t have quotas.  The police received 16 grants this year, 9 of them are for traffic revenue compliance operations totaling almost $550K.  Additionally there were 3 grants for crimes against women for $150K, 1 Tobacco/eCig sting grant of $8K, 1 grant for Meth operations $125K, 1 grant for State Narcotics Task Force of $125K to eradicate 60,000 pot plants which is supposed to be taken of the budget as it is a mistake, and 1 Justice System Grant for technical equipment and training which perhaps will not happen now that Obama declared a stop to militarizing the police.

I notice that there were supposed to be a number of hard drug investigations initiated, as well as attendance at some hard drug conventions, which were not attended. There seem to be no grants forthcoming and no money to be made solving actual crimes, but plenty to be made by extorting the drivers in Hawaii County, and forfeiture of real property if the opportunity presents itself.

I think it would be nice if the County Council would decline those traffic related revenue grants, and instead have the police follow their stated goals, and see if we can actually solve more real crime in line with their stated intent.


Sara Steiner

Letter: The Public Had the Their Chance on the TMT

I’ve followed the Thirty Meter Telescope public vetting process over the past seven years. The unprecedented public protests against this project caused me to write this commentary.

The public had equal opportunity to give comments about this telescope
project. It underwent an extended contested case hearing process before the Board of Land and Natural Resources granted the conservation district use permit in 2013. In addition, Governor Lingle accepted the FEIS in 2010. There was a 60 day window to contest the FEIS after acceptance. No one stepped forward to do this during that window.

The hearing officer determined the Thirty Meter Telescope met all eight criteria to develop their project in the conservation district. In addition, he noted the Hawaii Administrative Rules #13-5-24c permits the construction of astronomy facilities in the conservation district, as long there is a management plan in place.

In short, the Thirty Meter Telescope Corporation has bent over backwards
to address all concerns about their project over the last seven years.
This is why it would be huge mistake to revoke their vested permits after they’ve been granted. The TMT relied on these permits to start construction on their telescope.

The possible revocation of their legally obtained permits would bring up eerie parallels to the Hokuli’a project in South Kona. Judge Ibarra invalidated their permits after four years of construction and after Oceanside spent 350 million dollars on their project. However, the big difference between these two project is the fact TMT followed the law when obtaining their entitlements, Oceanside (Hokuli’a) did not.

Judge Ibarra placed an injunction on Hokulia project for 2.5 years until a settlement agreement allowed construction to resume in 2006. I foresee a similar scenario happening with the TMT project. The Mauna Kea stakeholders need to reach a global settlement that would allow construction to resume on this telescope.

The Mauna Kea Comprehensive Management Plan contains an excellent framework to get this process started. For example, the TMT will be last new telescope on Mauna Kea. All new telescope projects after the TMT will recycle existing sites. However, I believe any global settlement needs to go further.

The University Hawaii and the other owners of the Mauna Kea telescopes
should reevaluate the telescope decommissioning plan for the science reserve area. The Hawaii Tribune Herald reported the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope, James Maxwell Clerk Telescope and Very Low Baseline Array are facing possible decommissioning before the Mauna Kea science reserve master lease expires in 2033. This is on top of the scheduled decommissioning of the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory slated to begin 2016.

The University of Hawaii also needs to indefinitely delay any attempts to extend the master lease for the science reserve area. The current lease expires in 2033, which means all telescopes on Mauna Kea face decommissioning between 2025 and 2033.

The university naturally wants the lease extended another 65 years.I believe more discussion between all Mauna Kea stakeholders is necessary before this proposal moves forward. If this doesn’t happen, the University of Hawaii risks turning an ugly situation into something uglier.

Mauna Kea’s telescopes have contributed 92 million dollars of direct economic impact in Hawaii County per year. This figure cannot be understated. If all the Mauna Kea telescopes were removed, it would be a huge economic hit to this island.

This is another reason why all the Mauna Kea stakeholders need to come to together and discuss a mutually agreeable plan for Mauna Kea’s future. These discussion need to occur in a face to face environment and not through social media. The latter has poisoned all civil discussion regarding the Thirty Meter Telescope project and future of Mauna Kea.

Aaron Stene

Letter: Marijuana Hypocrisy

Dear Josh Green, the rest of the Hawaii Legislators, Governor Ige:

I’d like to take this opportunity to be straight with you and to the point.  I’m sorry if my bluntness may offend you, but you, the Hawaii Legislature (encouraged by the Hawaii Police Department/Narcotics Enforcement Division) have been denying access of cannabis for medicine since  “Compassionately” creating the program in the year 2000.

Regarding your worries about the federal government coming to bust Hawaii Dispensaries, don’t be afraid, they have been calling off the dogs on the dispensaries for awhile now so let’s keep that in mind, and their deplorable marijuana laws are going to bite them in the okole, as they are hypocrites of the worst degree taking out patent on THC as medicine while incarcerating millions.  The States need to stand up to the Feds for their residents rights to use a plant, for goodness sakes, and the police/NED need to mind their own business, stop making medical decisions for patients and stop persecuting cannabis doctors.

As far as either version, if you really give a damn about creating a locally owned industry, with an affordable product (not taxed to hell), you will use HB321, giving it only the “edibles” from SB682 and you will have the best of both bills.  Throw the rest of those amendments and all of all versions of SB682 far away, as it is a set-up for an absolute out-of-state corporate monopoly, and you all know it.

One license for one person for one aspect.  Give as many residents a chance to help themselves and the State will benefit accordingly.   Don’t forget,  If anyone any age can be a cannabis patient (with a recommendation), and anyone over 18 can grow their own medicine, you cannot go backwards and take away a patients right to have a caregiver of their own choosing.

We do not need the overkill of countless taxes, super-redundant paperwork, security measures, and unattainable-for-the-local-person fee structures with the resulting $35 an ounce top shelf (like in Washington state) because it only turns the State of Hawaii into a drug dealer, and does nothing to decrease the black market.

Please, please, I am begging on my knees for you do what is right for the people of Hawaii Nei!

It is easy, pass the original HB321 with “edibles” and that is it!


Sara Steiner
P.O. Box 2011
Pahoa, Hawaii 96778

Letter: Oppose William Balfour’s Renomination to the Commission on Water Resource Management

Aloha, everyone. William Balfour’s response to questions by the Senate Water and Land Committee today at his confirmation hearing was disappointing to put it mildly. It is very hard for me to believe the Governor nominated Mr. Balfour to serve yet another term on the Commission on Water Resource Management (CWRM). Mr. Balfour did not know about the hierarchy of water uses or constitutionally protected rights and uses under the State Water Code, nor was he concerned that he did not know about this most important tenet of the code.

Five major decisions by CWRM have been reversed by the courts in the last decade or so. Most if not all of them involved stream diversions, Native Hawaiian water rights, and superior uses. As a past water commissioner, Mr. Balfour voted on two important decisions that were reversed by the Hawai‘i Supreme Court in the Na Wai ‘Eha and East Maui stream cases.

The Committee is meeting again this Friday, April 17, 2015 at 1:15 pm in Room 225 to give Mr. Balfour another opportunity to address the code’s hierarchy of water uses and rights under the code. Even if he does his homework in the next two days, his past record as a water commissioner speaks louder than any recitation of the State Water Code.

Please call and email members of the Senate Committee on Water and Land before Friday noon. Respectfully ask them to oppose GM 820 and the nomination of William Balfour, Jr. to serve on the Commission on Water Resource Management. Be sure to contact your own state senator too (see contact information for the committee and all senators below). Please share with others and broadcast far and wide. Mahalo!

We must not give up opposing this ill-advised nomination.

Our state senators are the only ones with the power to decide whether Mr. Balfour serves on the CWRM for another 4 years or if the people deserve someone who is committed to upholding the State Water Code and the state constitution, and righting the wrongs of the past.

Mr. Balfour already had his turn on CWRM. If he is confirmed for another 4 years, he will be voting on matters as they come back to CWRM as ordered by the courts. It is inappropriate for him to serve on CWRM again.

This is a new time, and the paradigm is shifting towards a more just and sustainable water management regime in the islands.

Mr. Balfour represents the old way of exploiting water at the expense of native stream ecosystems, estuaries, and fisheries, and on the backs of Native Hawaiian practitioners and kalo farmers.

The old way perpetuates illegal stream diversions that were so cruel and complete, they are beyond belief, and which continue to this day. The old way is not the way forward.

Mr. Balfour is also a climate change denier, and will hinder efforts by CWRM to mitigate impacts to our water resources.

Senate Committee on Water and Land Members:

Chair Laura Thielen
Phone 808-587-8388
Fax 808-587-7240
E-Mail: senthielen@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 25 Kailua, Lanikai, Enchanted Lake, Keolu Hills, Maunawili, Waimanalo, Hawai‘i Kai, Portlock

Vice Chair Brickwood Galuteria
Phone 808-586-6740
Fax 808-586-6829
E-Mail: sengaluteria@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 12 Waikiki, Ala Moana, Kaka‘ako, McCully, Mo‘ili‘ili

Les Ihara, Jr.
Phone 808-586-6250
Fax 808-586-6251
E-Mail: senihara@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 10 Kaimuki, Kapahulu, Palolo, Maunalani Heights, St. Louis Heights, Mo‘ili‘ili, Ala Wai

Gil Riviere
Phone 808-586-7330
Fax 808-586-7334
E-Mail: senriviere@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 23 Kane‘ohe , Ka‘a‘awa, Hau‘ula, La‘ie, Kahuku, Waialua, Hale‘iwa, Wahiawa, Schofield Barracks, Kunia

Russell Ruderman
Phone 808-586-6890
Fax 808-586-6899
E-Mail: senruderman@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 2 Puna, Ka‘u

Maile Shimabukuro
Phone 808-586-7793
Fax 808-586-7797
E-Mail: senshimabukuro@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 21 Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Ko ‘Olina, Nanakuli, Ma‘ili, Wai‘anae, Makaha, Makua

Sam Slom
Phone 808-586-8420
Fax 808-586-8426
E-Mail: senslom@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 9 Hawai‘i Kai, Kuli‘ou‘ou, Niu, ‘Aina Haina, Wai‘alae-Kahala, Diamond Head

–Marjorie Ziegler

Letter: A Message from the Temple of Lono, re Mauna Kea

A Message from the Temple of Lono
And the Hale O Papa

A member of the Human Family emerges from darkness to take a place in the chain of life.

Human survival relies upon the fertility of the land and the oceans.

The Gods were Ku (the Ocean), Kanaloa (the Sun), Lono (the Earth) and Kane (the fresh water). These Gods established the faith and foundation upon which our customs and civilization were built. These four Gods give breath to all things and provide the staff of life to feed all of us. Because the essential role of food is preserving and sustaining life, we worship food. That is why our temples are square, a constant reminder of the faith in these four elements.

As an island people, we would always need a secure source of food. The land dedicated to growing food was cultivated as a sacred responsibility and protected and honored as a center of peace within the greater civilization. This land is the Pu’uhonua. The life of the land is preserved in righteousness.

The kuleana: The areas of responsibility. The King had the power to take a life. The Tahunas were the priests, the doctors, and the teachers. The maka’ainana were the people who kept the garden healthy and productive for seven generations.

The Hawaiian understanding of the hydrologic cycle served to inform the unfolding of the religion, a personal matter — the huna mana for each household to pursue in a form that suited their avocation, first as an ‘ohana and then their role in the garden The study of the Gods led to an intricate and deep understanding of natural processes. We had more than a thousand years of observation.

Thus, when the missionaries arrived in the islands, they encountered a very sophisticated civilization founded on a strong faith rooted deeply in the people’s understanding of natural processes. On that foundation of faith, the Hawaiians had developed a complex social system suitable for an island civilization and a highly effective economic system that sustainably supported hundreds of thousands of people.

While there were acts that Hawaiians considered wrong and even evil, there was no Devil in the islands. The missionaries taught the Hawaiians to believe in the Devil, superimposed the missionary Devil on to the traditional Hawaiian faith, and then taught the Christian Hawaiians to turn against their own faith as proof they rejected the Devil. The suppression included the passing of the Moe Kolohe Law, which banned numerous practices and customs, including the worship of ancestors – a central tenet of the faith. This law still stands. The passing of such a law today would be equivalent to forbidding our Asian brothers and sisters to hold Bon dances that honor their ancestral dead.

The suppression of the traditional faith has been a long-standing practice of the State of Hawaii. In a country that prides itself on the freedom of religion, this interplay of traditional faith with state disrespect is nothing new to the Temple of Lono and the faith of our people. The Temple found out a long time ago that the State of Hawaii does not think we are a people of faith. If they did our Temples wouldn’t be historical sites for tourists.

In 1978, based on the passage of United States Public Law 95-341, the Temple of Lono emerged from decades of suppression to reclaim the Pu’uhonua Lehua at Kualoa. For this law said that we, as a people of faith, had the right to our sacred lands. The Temple rebuilt the Ma Pele at Kualoa to reconnect with the practice of Moe Ohane — talking to our ancestors.

The State of Hawai’i brought in its bulldozers to destroy Sam Lono’s work and arrested him for camping without a permit. After years of forcing him through one court proceeding after another and spending hundreds of thousands of public dollars, the State levied a $5 fine for the offense.

Do you see the people being arrested now on Mauna Kea because they are trying to protect that sacred mountain from the destructive actions of those seeking to put yet another telescope on sacred land?

The challenge is not about lease payments or terms. The challenge is about the right of a faith to be respected and practiced in its own homeland. The altar of the Temple of Lono is still in place at the Hale O Keawe in the Pu’uhonua O Honaunau. That Pu’uhonua, however, is now part of a national park operated as a tourist attraction by the United States National Park Service. The Temple is “allowed” to go into the Pu’uhonua to hold ceremony subject to the limitations of the park on the time and duration of worship.

The failure of the occupying power and even our own people to recognize the traditional faith of our people calls for a reconciliation. That reconciliation includes the recognition of the key role that the Pu’uhonua played in establishing the jurisdiction of the Kingdom.

Watching the Hawaiian landscape, the Temple of Lono witnessed various people stepping forward to reclaim the position of King or Queen. One measure of the validity of such a claim would be their relationship with the Pu’uhonua.

Only one embraced that relationship by acknowledging that the King’s kuleana is based on the foundation of the Pu’uhonua. King Edmund Keli’i Silva, Jr. claimed his rightful position as protector and sovereign over the Pu’uhonua O Honaunau. The King put the issue of restoring the sacred land base directly before the National Park Service.

The King announced his intention to enter the Pu’uhonua and remain there for an extended period to engage in spiritual practice, seek reconciliation, and confirm his claim to the spiritual land base.

The response was to threaten to arrest the King should he over stay the time period the National Park Service would allow him to enter and remain on the Pu’uhonua.

The foundation of the faith in the Pu’uhonua reaches to the heights of Mauna Kea. From the sustenance of food provided by the Pu’uhonua to the realm of the Gods on Mauna Kea, the faith encompassed all.

When the time is right, the King, supported by the Temple of Lono and others who recognize the need to reconcile the religious schism created within the Hawaiian community by the teachings of the missionaries, will enter and reclaim the Pu’uhonua. On that day, a great step forward will take place in renewing the civilization that once provided an example of wise stewardship of our Earthly Garden.

Tahuna Frank Kamealoha Anuumealani Nobriga
Temple of Lono

Darlene Pabre
Hale O Papa
Submitted by Lanny Sinkin, for the Temple of Lono and Hale O Papa