Know Your Stuff When It Comes To Alarm Salesmen – McDermott’s Message

November 12, 2014

midweekMidweek   November 05, 2014  - McDermott’s Message

Recently, our Ewa neighborhoods have been swarmed with door-to-door alarm salesmen.

This seems to happen every summer.

My office has gotten several calls, and I have been asked to help some folks get out of some bad door-to-door alarm contracts, so I thought some advice in this matter would be useful.

First, please remember: If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is!

Here’s one scenario. You answer the knock on the door and find two nicely dressed gentlemen, who say they just installed a terrific state-of-the-art alarm system with the very latest technology in your neighbor’s house, and they thought that you might be interested, too.

These part-time college summer hires seem to be experts on security systems. They explain that the alarm system is a terrific deal, offering free installation with a small activation fee.

“You won’t want to miss this great opportunity,” says one of the salesmen. “Since we are already in the neighborhood, can we come in right now and show the system to you? Otherwise, you will miss out on this fantastic deal,” says the other salesman with a smile.

Second, these state-of the-art alarm systems, in most cases, are offered by door-to-door salesmen whose companies are located on the Mainland, with no local offices in the Islands.

These companies simply subcontract the installation done at your house.

The contract you sign is generally assignable, and is often sold to another company so they can get money quickly to pay for equipment, salespeople and installers.

Third, if you decide to purchase a system from a door-to-door vendor, you will have to give these total strangers your Social Security number and bank account information.

They will do a credit check and set up automatic deductions from your bank account, right then and there. Yikes!

After you sign a contact, if you stop paying for any reason, these companies will have little sympathy for you and simply will report a negative entry to your credit report.

Eventually you will have to settle with the company holding your contract.

My recommendations are the following: Check with Better Business Bureau for unresolved complaints; ask the salespeople if they have local offices and then verify the physical location; execute a Google search and do your own research to ascertain if the company is reputable.

If all of the above points are met, and the deal is right for you, then begin negotiations.

Be wise. Otherwise, you may end up a very unhappy customer.

McDermott oleloState Rep. Bob McDermott represents District 40 (Ewa, Ewa Beach and Iroquois Point). He can be reached by calling 586-9730 or emailing

Storage Is Key to Hawaii’s Energy Independence By Representative Cynthia Thielen

October 27, 2014

civil_beat_logoOctober 27, 2014

But HECO has been slow to move forward, preventing residents from reducing their monthly utility bills.

 The Energy Storage North America (ESNA) Expo and Conference in San Jose was the largest gathering of energy storage leaders, government officials and utilities addressing grid-connected energy storage.  I was one of the invited keynote panelists, along with PUC Commissioner Lorraine Akiba, Hawaiian Electric VP Colton Ching, and moderator, Leslie Cole Brooks, Executive Director of Hawaii Solar Energy Association.  The room was filled as we discussed the role of energy storage in achieving Hawaii’s Clean Energy Initiative.

The first point to make is that energy storage is a mature, commercially available technology in use nationally and internationally.  Check out Germany to see how its leading this revolution.

The second point to make is that Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) has known about this technology for some time and only recently put out a request for energy storage proposals.

Courtesy: Island Pacific Energy

solar battery storage

Solar battery storage units

As I explained to the 1,500 plus ESNA attendees, HECO halted all photovoltaic (PV) hook-ups on Oahu a year ago, leaving 4,500 residential customers stranded.  With the federal tax credit expiring the end of 2016, and an additional thousands of residents also wanting to install PV before that deadline, HECO has prevented our local families from taking control over their energy production and reducing monthly utility bills.

Setting a roadmap for Hawaii, the state of California through AB 2514 created energy storage targets, a step yet to be enacted by the Hawaii Legislature.  (SB 2932 stalled in Conference Committee.  The bill would have established energy storage portfolio standards.)

HECO’s moratorium on PV and its delay in integrating available energy storage shows the company still relies upon its antiquated roadmap which uses the Model-T instead of the Tesla.  Using the most fossil fuel of any state, importing this oil from foreign countries and exporting billions out of Hawaii’s economy, is an outmoded, ill-conceived corporate plan that needs to change.

ESNA did provide hope for the 4,500 and counting families in the HECO queue and shows a sound course for the future.  Energy storage provides an immediate solution to HECO’s grid stability, allowing it to accept more renewable energy power.  HECO can, if willing, integrate storage, and partner with residents as they obtain power from Hawaii’s natural resources.

Another immediate solution is for HECO to honor its commitment made at the recent Legislative hearing and let residential customers hook up PV systems  in “three weeks” as promised by Jim Alberts, Executive  VP, if these systems do not export power to the grid.

In the alternative, residential-sized battery systems, about the size of a broom closet, coupled with PV even now can deliver and store adequate power for homes, enabling residents to leave HECO and the grid.  Battery storage and PV companies together will be able to empower residents to switch their energy production into the hands of their household at more affordable cost.

This day is coming faster than HECO anticipates.  The global investment bank, HSBC, states in its analysis —Energy Storage, Power to the People:  “conventional energy generators will be the biggest losers from the upcoming energy storage boom….”  Instead of depending on HECO’s century old telephone-pole electric grid to deliver power to homes, local families will shortly be able to install stand-alone affordable battery storage systems with their PV and reduce costs in the process.

HECO either can choose the Tesla model or cling to its century old fossil fuel plan.  Its decision will determine if the utility can survive.

About the Author

 headshot dec 2011

Cynthia Thielen

Rep. Cynthia Thielen is Ranking Member on the Judiciary, Energy and Environmental Protection, and the Water, Land and Ocean Resources Committees, and serves on the Committees for Housing and Consumer Protection and Commerce. In her 20th year in the Legislature, Rep. Thielen sponsors bills to protect Hawaii’s environment and to improve the quality of life for Hawaii’s women and children. She is a tireless advocate for the implementation of wave energy in Hawaii, and recently co-sponsored legislation which enables the state to aggressively pursue the goals set forth in the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative. She is a member of the Women’s, Keiki, and Kupuna Caucuses.

Use the RSS feed to subscribe to Cynthia Thielen’s posts today

A Word with Ward Host Gene Ward – Oct 2014

October 10, 2014

Representative Gene Ward discusses Hawaiian sovereignty with Peter Apo.

Peter Apo and Rep. WardContact:

Legislators on the Move – Host Cynthia Thielen – Oct 2014

October 10, 2014

Representative Cynthia Thielen talks about energy with Jay Fidell

Jay Fidell and Rep Theieln Oct 2014Contact:

Hawaii’s out-of-control living costs can be beat By Rep. Gene Ward

September 16, 2014

Hawaii reporter LogoTuesday, September 16, 2014

One of the easiest and most doable things to lower our cost of living in Hawaii is an esoteric act passed by Congress almost 100 years ago and is called by an innocuous name that makes people’s eyes glaze over when they hear it, i.e. “The Jones Act.”  This 1920 law makes the cost of shipping 4 to 5 times more expensive than it has to be because it eliminates any competition in our shipping industry between here and the mainland.

Exempting Hawaii from the Jones Act could lower our cost of living by 25%-35% by not requiring that ships delivering goods to Hawaii from the mainland to use ships built, owned, crewed, and flagged by Americans.  In other words, let the thousands of ships that dump their cargo on the West Coast and then bypass Hawaii empty, carry their goods to Hawaii on their way back to Asia at a fraction of the cost we now pay for this service – and we must import over 85% of everything we consume.

Lowering the cost of living in Hawaii is really that simple. Instead the people of Hawaii are paying thousands of dollars more per family to subsidize this act.  We need what the Congress gave to American Samoa, Saipan, and the Virgin Islands, who were given exemptions, but we have to ask for it first.

Opponents cite national defense and play the fear card on how this act protects us from not having to rely on foreign ships during a time of war.  What they fail to mention is that taking Hawaii out of the shipping equation will not weaken America’s defense poster and the biggest threat to Hawaii’s supply chain has always been shipping strikes, not wars.

The reality is that America is pretty much out of the maritime business with over 90% of our ship building facilities having been closed and the only new ships we produce are military vessels.   The bottom line is that the Jones Act still exists unmodified because of a quintessential lack of political will.  Our leaders know its downsides but have gotten away with not asking for an exemption because they know few people have heard of the act and even fewer understand what it is doing to them.  But times are changing and every time we pay $5 for a gallon of milk or gas, and then read our electrical bill, we know something has to be done.

As citizens awaken to how anti-Hawaii and damaging this law is, the cries of national defense will weaken and be seen as a disguise for the invisible hand that keeps taking an increasingly large portion of the food off the table of our poor and our senior citizens.


Representative Gene Ward, Ph.D., Minority Leader Emeritus, is a member of the House Finance Committee and Co-Chair of the Small Business Caucus and has worked as a small business expert with the United Nations International Labor Office.

A Word with Ward – Expedition to Loihi Seamount

September 12, 2014

Representative Gene wards specks with Brian T. Glazer, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Oceanography, University of Hawaii at Manoa on  the most recent expedition to Loihi Seamount in the summer of 2014.  Brian T. Glazer, Ph.D. and rep Ward # 2Contact:

A Word with Ward – Drones

September 3, 2014

Representative Gene Ward discusses “Drones” with Lawrence E. ‘Larry’ Osborn, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Member of the Board of Directors DreamHammer, Inc

Larry Osborn and Rep. Ward OleloContact:

Heavy Air Traffic Over Ewa Should Let Up Next Month

August 30, 2014

midweekMcDermott’s Message…Rep. Bob McDermott

Air Traffic Over Ewa

My office has received numerous telephone calls regarding the aircraft noise generated by planes flying over our Ewa homes. According to many residents, it occurs at all hours of the night.

After investigating this situation, the state Department of Transportation (DOT) reported to my office that in order to accomplish much-needed repairs to runway 4R-22L at Honolulu International Airport, DOT needs to close the runway at night. The department has posted an advisory on its website, which states Ewa residents can expect an increase in air traffic over the area because of airfield maintenance work at the airport.

Runway 4R-22L will be closed for pavement replacement Sunday through Thursday, from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m., through Sept. 30. During this time, flight patterns will be modified, resulting in increased air traffic over the Ewa area.

The runway is the third-longest of four runways at the airport, spanning a distance of 9,000 feet. Runway 4R is our primary nighttime arrival runway, and closing it at night forces those arrivals to be routed to Runway 8L.

According to DOT, there are no other workable options available.

Football Fun In Ewa

Football season is here, and we have several youth teams in the area.

Ewa CrushMy two boys played with Ewa Beach Crush for several years and had a great experience.

The Crush team and cheer squad are both run by the indefatigable Lola Tripp. Lola is a bundle of positive energy and always is willing to work with parents to ensure their children have a fantastic experience.

The cost is very reasonable, and they get several months of football and cheer conditioning and coaching by people who are driven by nothing more than a desire to help these young players develop teamwork, athletic skills and perseverance.

What impressed me the most about Ewa Crush was the genuine love and affection the coaches develop for the children. These are neighborhood parents coaching neighborhood children. It is a unique situation that creates an unmistakable bond among the kids.

The coach who stood out to me the most was Larry Toro. An elder whom everyone looks up to when he speaks with his gravelly voice, Coach Larry is loved by the kids!

If you are looking for a fun activity for your boys and girls this season, I recommend the Crush. For more information, go to

State Rep. Bob McDermott represents District 40 Ewa, Ewa Beach and Iroquois Point. He can be reached by calling 586-9730 or emailing

Hawaii’s Little Fire Ants – hosted by Rep.Beth Fukumoto Chang

August 13, 2014

Representative Beth Fukumoto Chang discusses Hawaii’s Little Fire Ants with Rob Curtiss, Acting Plant Pest Control Branch Manager, Hawaii Department of Agriculture and Dr. Cas Vanderwoude, Hawaii ant Lab , UH Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit.

Rep Fukumoto Rob curtiss Dr Vanderwoude

Contact: Telephone 808-586-9460

Hawaii Ant Lab website:


August 12, 2014

Rep. Gene Ward (R-Hawaii Kai – Kalama Valley) plans to introduce legislation that will make it legal for a terminally ill patient to access investigational drugs. The bill, modeled after a Colorado law that allows terminally ill patients to use experimental drugs without getting federal approval, addresses issues that may arise when terminally ill patients seek to use a medication whose safety and effectiveness is still being tested in clinical trials. Such “right to try” laws have also been passed in Louisiana and Missouri, and will be put to Arizona voters this November as a ballot proposition.

“The bottom line is that, whether it be through speeding up valuable research, or by encouraging the FDA to support expanded access to experimental treatments, this bill is all about saving lives,” Ward said.

According to the Goldwater Institute, fewer than three percent of the sickest patients are able to access investigational drugs through clinical trials, and more than one million Americans die from a terminal illness each year.

This legislation does not require manufacturers to make investigational products available to terminally ill patients, but gives them the “Right to Try” to access potentially life-saving investigational drugs. “The terminally ill patient must assume ultimate responsibility for any consequences resulting from taking the investigational medicine, good or bad, but people should have that choice, and giving them that option is the hallmark of a compassionate society,” Ward said.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAFor further information contact:

 Rep. Gene Ward, Minority Leader Emeritus



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