Archive for January, 2008


January 30, 2008

 Representative Barbara Marumoto wants minors to wear helmets when operating ATVs.  House Bill 2364 has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.  To support this imports bill please send an e-mail to Representative Tommy Waters, Chair of Judiciary at

“We must protect our children,” said Representative Marumoto.  “A children’s hospital in Arkansas reports that out of 500 consecutive injuries from ATV (all-terrain vehicles) accidents, children (ages 6 through 19 years) suffered the following injuries.

Head injuries included:  85 skull fractures, 66 cases of hemorrhage, 59 brain injuries.

Spinal injuries included: 21 spine fractures, 5 spinal cord injuries. Also, there were:  36 lung injuries, 70 injuries to the spleen, liver, kidneys or pancreas extremity fractures were found in 208 children with broken legs being the most common.  In addition there were 12 amputations.  

The youngest patient was a 6 month-old infant riding with his mother.  His thigh bone was fractured.  Lastly there were 6 fatalities and several cases of long-term disabilities.  “If we are going to allow children to operate ATVs, then we must, at the minimum, mandate helmet use,” concluded Marumoto.

Representative Cynthia Thielen Explains Wave Energy

January 30, 2008

 Representative Cynthia Thielen explains the importance use of wave
energy for Hawaii’s future.
Governor Linda Lingle and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Assistant
Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Alexander Karsner
today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish the
Hawai’i Clean Energy Initiative, a long-term partnership designed to
accelerate the transformation of Hawai’i into one of the world’s first
economies based primarily on clean energy resources.

The goal of the Hawai’i Clean Energy Initiative is to use renewable
resources – such as wind, sun, ocean, geothermal, and bioenergy – to
supply 70 percent or more of Hawai’i’s energy needs by 2030.  This
will reduce the state’s dependence on imported oil and help bring
energy price stability to Hawai’i consumers.


January 23, 2008

It has been nine long months since Ertell was allegedly raped and murdered by her 15 year-old neighbor.  Since her murder, agencies including the City Prosecutor’s Office, HPD’s CID Detectives, her family, her good friends and hundreds of good hearted residents from Ewa Beach and elsewhere, have spent the majority of their time trying to work within the system to convince Senior Family Court Judge, Frances Q.F. Wong to rule that the alleged 15 year-old juvenile offender be tried as an adult.  “Time spent on a crime as heinous and brutal as this, should be spent solving the crime by proving guilt or innocence rather than which court a juvenile offender should be tried in,” said Representative Pine.  McLellan and the rest of Karen’s family, discouraged with trying to go though the usual channels to see justice done, called on Representative Kymberly Pine for assistance.  She asked for help in bringing public focus back to the pending case.  Citing the fact that the case has now been delayed three times, Melanie asked Representative Pine to introduce legislation that would change the current laws that protect juvenile offenders who have committed heinous crimes, including those committed in Karen’s case.  Representative Pine stated that current laws are outdated, adding that the legislative body needs to write new laws designed to protect the people of Hawaii, and bring justice for the victims, despite the attacker’s young age.  She added that juvenile offenders are getting younger and progressively more violent in the nature of the crimes they commit.  In addition, statistics show that juveniles who commit first or second degree murder or first degree sexual assault, know at the outset that they are protected and have a real chance that they will not be prosecuted to the full letter of the law because of their age.  Representative Pine stated that it is clearly time that policy issues be re-examined.  “Current archaic laws are definitely ripe for review,” she said. Juvenile offenders accused in cases of first and second degree murder and first and second degree sexual assault as well as other heinous crimes are protected by a system that denies the public from ever knowing the crime they committed.  Typically, they are held in a juvenile facility until the age of 19 and then released back into society.  Their record is sealed or expunged.  In addition, under the current laws, school leaders are not given privileged information concerning violent students.                                                    Karen’s Ertell’s alleged murderer attended school along with his classmates at Ilima Intermediate School, no one the wiser, including the school’s principal, of his previous criminal background.  Information has also been given to Representative Pine claiming that the youth allegedly committed crimes in countries that he lived in before moving to Hawaii, raising additional immigration concerns.  On May 25, 2007, Karen Elise Ertell was brutally raped and murdered in her home in Ewa Beach.  Karen Ertell was the only real mother that her Foster daughter, Melanie McLellan had ever known.  Karen Ertell, described as a giving, loving person who saw the best in people, was a vibrant woman whose life was very full.  She owned her own business – Koko Crater Coffee Roasters – and she was expecting her first grandchild – Melanie was nine months pregnant with Karen’s grandson.  Her senseless murder also left behind her loving partner – Kevin Callahan, her heart-broken mother and family, and hundreds of friends and business associates.   Karen’s daughter Melanie has stated that her mother knew her murderer – he was her neighbor.  Karen’s daughter said that the 15 year-old neighbor broke into the Ertell home on numerous occasions, but that Karen had offered him numerous second chances to change his ways.  “She offered him second chances left and right and he didn’t take them,” says McLellan.  Ertell’s family and friends hope that the family Court system will not offer the juvenile offender yet another break.  The alleged offender would later confess to the crime.  Representative Pine’s office has received numerous unconfirmed reports that the alleged juvenile offender is accused of Murder in the First Degree, Sexual Assault in the First Degree, Robbery in the Second Degree, Burglary in the First Degree, Unauthorized Control of a Propelled Vehicle (Auto Theft), Unauthorized Computer Access in the Second Degree, Driving Without a License, Unauthorized Possession of Confidential Personal Information, Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card, and Credit Card Theft. Sadly, Karen Elise Ertell is gone, but her memory will never be forgotten by her family and it is their hope that she will not have died in vain; it is their hope that lawmakers will reach deep into the policy issues and return a better, more current law that will better fit the way in which we deal with juvenile offenders.  It is their hope that “Karen’s Law” will be the first important step in sparing others their personal pain. 

Healthy Steps for Good Government

January 16, 2008

 In a joint press conference with the House of Representatives and Senate Republicans, Representative Gene Ward spoke on the necessity for a Constitutional Convention in Hawaii. Representative Barbara Marumoto speaks on reforming the Grants in Aid process and the need for ethics and transparency in the Legislature.

FACT SHEET – Gift DisclosureCurrent Law[1]Separate annual gift disclosures must be filed if:·        The legislator, his spouse or dependent children received gifts worth more than $200 in a year.·        The source has interests that may be affected by official action.·        The gift is neither from a relative, a campaign contribution, a thing distributed to the public without regard to the official status of the recipient, returned to the giver within 30 days, or part of an equal value exchange on special occasions.  Disclosures must include: gift description, value estimate, date of receipt, and identity source.Who Must File Gift Disclosures?[2]In Hawaii, the Legislator, spouse, and dependent children or any person receiving income for the benefit of the legislator.Recent Legislation to Lower the Amount for Disclosures from $200 to $100 (House Side)HB 286: 2003 Legislative Session- Introducer Calvin Say (Part of  House Majority Package)Lowers the value of a gift that must be reported by a legislator or government employee, spouse or dependent child of a legislator or government employee from $200 to $100.[3]Result: Passed Third Reading in the House.  Referred to TMG on the Senate side. No Action.HB 851: 2005 Legislative Session- Introducer Blake OshiroLowers the value of a gift that must be reported by a legislator or government employee, spouse or dependent child of a legislator or government employee from $200 to $100.[4]Result: Referred to LMG, JUD.  No Action Taken.  Basic InformationHonorarium Restrictions[5]States are almost equally divided between prohibiting and allowing honorarium for legislators. Twenty-five states prohibit honorarium if it is offered in connection with a legislator’s official duties. Meaning, a legislator could accept honorarium for services performed in relation to their private profession or occupation if unrelated to the legislator’s duties as a member of the Legislature. Additionally, most states which prohibit honorarium do allow for reimbursement for travel, lodging, and necessary expenses.Twenty-five states allow honorarium or do not specifically address honorarium in statute. These states typically allow honorarium as long as it does not influence a legislator’s official duties. Georgia is one state that only allows honorariums up to a certain amount. At least 15 states that allow honorariums do require that they be disclosed.  Hawaii Gift Exemptions[6]Exceptions to gift reporting statute:·        Gifts received by will or intestate succession;·        Gifts received by way of distribution of any inter vivos or testamentary trust established by a spouse or ancestor;·        Gifts from a spouse, fiancé, fiancée, any relative within four degrees of consanguinity or the spouse, fiancé, or fiancée of such a relative. A gift from any such person is a reportable gift if the person is acting as an agent or intermediary for any person not covered by this paragraph;·        Political campaign contributions that comply with state law;·        Anything available to or distributed to the public generally without regard to the official status of the recipient;·        Gifts that, within thirty days after receipt, are returned to the giver or delivered to a public body or to a bona fide educational or charitable organization without the donation being claimed as a charitable contribution for tax purposes;·        Exchanges of approximately equal value on holidays, birthday, or special occasions.  

[1] NCSL: Ethics: Personal Financial Disclosure for Legislators: Gift Honorarium Requirements

[2] NCSL: Ethics: Personal Financial Disclosure for Legislators: Household Member Requirements.

[6] NCSL: Ethics: Legislative Gift Exemptions:

Tax Reduction and Renewable Energy In Hawaii

January 15, 2008

In a joint Republican Caucus Package Press Conference, Senator Sam Slom addresses tax reduction ideas and solutions for Hawaii citizens. Representative Cynthia Thielen speaks on the need for renewable energy in Hawaii.

Fact Sheet On Renewable Energy In Hawaii Present Energy Uses In Hawaii Hawaii‘s Present Energy Situation: 

  • In its 2006 Annual Report, the Department of Business Economic Development And Tourism’s Energy Resources Coordinator identified Hawaii as the most oil-dependent of the 50 states.  (Department of Business Economic Development And Tourism, “State Of Hawaii Energy resources coordinator Annual Report 2006,” pg 1)


  • Nearly 77% of the state’s electricity and over 99% of its transportation fuels are produced from petroleum fuels.  (Department of Business Economic Development And Tourism, “State Of Hawaii Energy resources coordinator Annual Report 2007,” pg 1)



 Costs Of Present Energy Situation: 

 Ø      Residential Electricity (Cents per kwh-September 2007): o       State Average – 23.51o       National Average – 10.94o       Hawaii vs. Nation – 114.9%(U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, Ø      Gasoline o       State Average – $3.36o       National Average – $2.99o       Hawaii vs. Nation – 12.4%(AAA Fuel Gauge Report, December 20, 2007)) 

  • Consumers spent an estimated 6.17 billion for energy in 2006-12% more than in 2005.  This is primarily due to high oil prices.  (Department of Business Economic Development And Tourism, “State Of Hawaii Energy resources coordinator Annual Report 2007,” pg 2)

  The Need For Renewable Energy: 

  • Energy—its supply and use— is critical to Hawaii’s economy. How much fuel is imported and how efficiently it is used impacts each resident’s personal life and business activities. A stable energy supply is essential to continued prosperity.  (Department of Business Economic Development And Tourism, “State Of Hawaii Energy resources coordinator Annual Report 2006,” pg 1)


  • Every barrel of oil saved translates to more dollars available in the local economy, in addition to the many environmental benefits.  (Department of Business Economic Development And Tourism, “State Of Hawaii Energy resources coordinator Annual Report 2006,” pg 1)

 Present Renewable Uses: 



 Renewable Energy Sources Breakdown  Solar Thermal Energy System: 

  • In “solar thermal” systems, the sun heats up a fluid. The most common example is a solar water heater. 






 Wind Energy: 

  • Energy from the wind used to produce electricity.


  • Wind energy systems are one of the most cost-effective homebased renewable energy systems.  (U.S. Department Of Energy, “Small Wind Electric Systems: A Hawaii Consumers Guide,


  • Depending on the wind resource, a small wind energy system can lower electricity bill by 50% to 90%, to help avoid the high costs of extending utility power lines to remote locations, prevent power interruptions, and it is nonpolluting.  (U.S. Department Of Energy, “Small Wind Electric Systems: A Hawaii Consumers Guide,


  • Although wind energy systems involve a significant initial investment, they can be competitive with conventional energy sources when accounting for a lifetime of reduced or avoided utility costs.  (U.S. Department Of Energy, “Small Wind Electric Systems: A Hawaii Consumers Guide,


  • There has been a huge increase in wind production due to electricity from new facilities, Kaheawa Wind Power, and Hawaii Renewable development.  Result is that wind generated 69 billion Btu in 2005, rising to 846 billion Btu in 2006. 



  • Accomplishments and proposal to increase wind power usage in the state:

 Ø      The Pakini Nui wind farm at South point on the Big Island began exporting electricity to HELCO in 2007. The facility is capable of generating 20MW.  (Department of Business Economic Development And Tourism, “State Of Hawaii Energy resources coordinator Annual Report 2007,” pg 10) Ø      The state’s largest renewable energy plant-a wind farm of up to 400 MW-has been proposed for Lanai.  Electricity from the facility would be exported to Oahu via submarine cable, and the wind turbines could provide up to 20% of Oahu’s power requirements.  (Department of Business Economic Development And Tourism, “State Of Hawaii Energy resources coordinator Annual Report 2007,” pg 10) Photovoltaic: 

  • In “photovoltaic” (PV) systems, solar cells convert the sun’s light (not its heat) into electricity. A common example is a solar cell on a solar-powered calculator.



  • Although hard data is not available, it is believed that the County of Hawaii has thousands of photovoltaic systems, mostly in remote subdivisions not serviced by the electric utility, more than any other comparable area in the U.S. (Department of Business Economic Development And Tourism, “Photovoltaic Energy In Hawaii,” pg.2)


  • Data on PV costs and performance in Hawaii are very limited. In Hawaii, only a relatively few PV systems, primarily but not exclusively those installed with electric utility sponsorship, have been monitored to document their electricity output.  (Department of Business Economic Development And Tourism, “Photovoltaic Energy In Hawaii,” pg. 2)


  • The U.S. Department of Energy, in one of its publications, asserts that PV prices are cost-effective in Hawaii today:

 Ø      If utility electricity rates are $0.20 per kilowatt-hour, the breakeven PV price is given as $9.70 per watt14.   Ø      Residential electricity rates are already above that level on all islands except Oahu, and the typical installed cost of a residential grid-tied PV system appear to be near or below the USDOE’s breakeven point. (Department of Business Economic Development And Tourism, “Photovoltaic Energy In Hawaii,” pg 11-12) 

  • In its report on photovoltaic, DBEDT made the following observation. State incentives to accelerate the adoption of solar electric technologies will be very helpful in reducing this barrier, particularly on Oahu where rates are lower than they are on the other islands. Raising the ceiling for photovoltaic tax credits will make this incentive more meaningful, given typical installation costs for both residential and commercial systems.  (Department of Business Economic Development And Tourism, “Photovoltaic Energy In Hawaii,” 12-13 )


  • Accomplishments and proposal to increase PV usage in the state:

 Ø      The largest solar power plant in Hawaii was proposed for the island of Lanai in 2007.  A contract o build the 1.5 MW PV facility has been signed and approvals are being sought.  The plant could provide 30% of Lanai’s electricity. (Department of Business Economic Development And Tourism, “State Of Hawaii Energy resources coordinator Annual Report 2007,” pg 10) Ø      Rooftop PV systems for thousands of military homes are being installed on Oahu; combined they will total 6 MW over the next decade.  (Department of Business Economic Development And Tourism, “State Of Hawaii Energy resources coordinator Annual Report 2007,” pg 10) Ø      Niihau Island School became the state’s first solar-powered educational institution through the installation of a 10.4-KW PV system.  (Department of Business Economic Development And Tourism, “State Of Hawaii Energy resources coordinator Annual Report 2007,” pg 10) Wave Energy: 

  • Energy from ocean waves, tides, or currents can be used to produce electricity. 




  • According to a study completed in 1992, the annual wave energy resource off the northern shores of the Hawaiian Islands far exceeds the electricity demand of all but one of the major islands.   (Department of Business Economic Development And Tourism, “Wave Energy In Hawaii,” April 2006,

 Ø      The exception is Oahu, which has a large population and high electricity demand which is comparable to two-thirds of the available wave energy resource.  (Department of Business Economic Development And Tourism, “Wave Energy In Hawaii,” April 2006, 

Reducing Drunk Driving and Pedestrian’s Safety

January 15, 2008

 In a joint Republican Caucus Package Press Conference, Representative Colleen Meyer, speaks on the Republican lawmakers focus on reducing drunk driving in Hawaii. Representative Corinne Ching and Senator Sam Gordon Trimble address pedestrian safety.


DUI StatisticsThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration cites that Hawaii has steadily increased in Alcohol-Related Crashes since 2002. reported that Hawaii tops the nation in the percentage of traffic deaths at 52%.  In data collected in November by the Honolulu Police Department. 3,622 people were arrested on Oahu on suspicion of operating a vehicle under the influence.  1,488 or 41% of those suspected had a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 or higher.  That is nearly twice the state’s legal limit of 0.8.  In 2006, 63 of 161 crash fatalities were contributed to drivers who had a blood-alcohol level over the 0.8 limit. Number of Arrest on Oahu on Suspicion of Driving Under the Influence[1]2007: 3,622* (Through November)2006: 3,4322005: 3,2822004: 3,0092003: 2,3412002: 2,188 Highly Intoxicated DriversThrough November, 3,622 people were arrested on Oahu on suspicion of operating a vehicle under the influence.  Of those, 1,488 drivers, or 41% had a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 or higher.  That is nearly twice the state’ legal limit of 0.8.[2]Fatal Accidents that Involved AlcoholOf the 59 fatal accidents this year, 23 have involved alcohol. (As of November)In 2006, 20 of the 80 fatal accidents that year involved alcohol, according to police.In 2005, 26 of the 72 fatal accidents that year involved alcohol, according to DOT[3]     Pedestrian Statistics          Hawaii had the fifth highest pedestrian fatality rate from traffic crashes in the United States over the           2001-2005 period, and by far the highest rate among senior-aged pedestrians (65 years and older). The     5-year rate for Hawaii senior-aged pedestrians (40.2 deaths/100,000 senior-aged residents) was nearly   3 times higher than that for the rest of the United States (14.1). A total of 150 pedestrians were killed in        Hawaii over the 2001-2005 period, accounting for 22 percent of all traffic-related fatalities. In addition to             the 30 pedestrians who are killed each year in the state, another 540 are involved in major traffic          crashes. Senior pedestrians have the highest rates of fatal injuries, but the highest rates for non-fatal         pedestrian crashes were computed for 5 to 19 year age range, with especially high rates among 10 to14    year-olds.[4]Pedestrian Safety Deaths[5]2001: 302002: 522003: 222004: 312005: 362006[6]: 29 Bicycle Statistics          Hawaii had the second highest average annual fatality rate for bicyclists (4.5 deaths/million residents) in    the country from 2001-2005, nearly twice that for the rest of the States (2.4). There were 29 deaths from           2001-2005, representing 4 percent of all traffic-related fatalities. While there was no trend in the annual number of fatal injuries, the number of bicyclists involved in non-fatal crashes generally increased, from         280 in 2001 to 329in 2005.          Bicyclists Death[7]          2001: 7`         2002: 4          2003: 6          2004: 7          2005: 5 

[1] Star Bulletin: “Hawaii DUI Arrest on Rise.” December 20, 2007.

[2] Star Bulletin: “Hawaii DUI Arrest on Rise.” December 20, 2007.

[3] Star Bulletin: “Hawaii DUI Arrest on Rise.” December 20, 2007.

[4] DOT: Hawaii Strategic Highway Safety Plan 2007-2012:           

[6] Star Bulletin: “Fatal Crossings: December 31, 2006.

Republicans Demand Reform of the Grants-In-Aid Process

January 2, 2008

Honolulu- “We demand reform of the Grants In Aid (GIA) process; one that achieves effectiveness with built in accountability measures,” said Minority Leader Representative Lynn Finnegan.  We are concerned with the lack of formal criteria and it is vital that the public is able to participate in a process that has independent reviews, checks and balances with formal guidelines,” continued Representative Lynn Finnegan.   Representative Colleen Meyer will also be requesting an investigation by the Speaker of the House, Calvin Say, of Representative Michael Magaoay’s position as the Grants-in-Aid sub committee chair in relation to his campaign fundraising.    Representative Thielen will be requesting that Representative Magaoay return campaign funds that were raised from non-profit connections. “It is never good when the public is left with a “pay for play” taste in their mouths,” said Representative Colleen Meyer.  “We demand change and offer our support in an effort to rise above a flawed process,” concluded Representative Lynn Finnegan.  The three Honolulu Advertiser articles that have prompted the House of Representatives Republican reply are: Rob Prerez Articles of December 23rd, 24th and 25th, 2007.    Hawaii nonprofit grant funding a mystery Hawaii House grants job a lucrative post Hawaii nonprofit funding unusual The House of Representatives Republicans are offering a resolution and asking for 51 signatures to promote a more open procedure for the Grants-in-Aide process.