Hawaii Reporter June 24, 2014


 KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERARepresentative Gene Ward (R-Hawaii Kai – Kalama Valley) has sent a letter to the Department of Transportation questioning the repaving plan slated to begin on Monday, June 23.

Ward questioned the lane closures plan as well as the length of the project. “It took 4 years to add 2 lanes to the old 4-lane Kalanianaole Highway while at the same time paving 6 lanes, acquiring land, moving and relocating underground utilities, and other related electrical, telephone, and sewer problems. This same 5-mile stretch of road is now said to take almost 2 years (20 months) to just resurface. Is this an accurate calculation,” Ward questioned.

Ward also noted that the outrage among his constituents during the Kalanianaole Highway Widening Project of the early 1990’s was resolved by the formation of a Kalanianaole Highway Task Force. The task force was comprised of East Oahu elected officials, the DOT, and paving contractors and resolved such issues as implementing a hotline, the first-ever contraflow in East Honolulu, and placement of irrigated trees in the middle of the medial strip rather than rocks and cement proposed by the DOT.

“If we’ve learned anything from what my community went through in the last paving project, it’s for the DOT to be receptive and not defensive, and just listen to the community and history will never be repeated.” Ward concluded by proposing the reactivation of such a task force.

Concerns from the letter:

  • LANE CLOSURES: According to your department’s plans, two lanes will be closed from 9 am to 3 pm for the purpose of accommodating rush hour traffic. Are the two closed lanes in the same or opposite directions? If in the same direction, I am concerned that the closing 2 of 3 lanes going or coming in the same direction could be traumatic for our residents in East Honolulu. While these closures appear to be the biggest hardship for our seniors with medical appointments during the daytime, I am concerned that the lane closures are subject to change without public input. On your Department of Transportation’s website for example, it notes upfront in its Lane Closures section it warns: Lane closure schedules may change at any time without further notice. That is a bit scary given what our community went through with highway improvements over the past 20 years.
  • LENGTH OF PROJECT: It took 4 years to add 2 lanes to the old 4-lane Kalanianaole Highway while at the same time paving 6 lanes, acquiring land, moving and relocating underground utilities, rebuilding sidewalks and bike lanes and host of other related electrical, telephone, and sewer arrangements. This same 5-mile stretch of road is now said to take almost 2 years (20 months) to just resurface. Is this an accurate calculation? Does this number include anticipated delays, or is this the actual build time to be used by the contractor?   While we were warned about these lane closures ahead of time, there had been no previous timeline announcements that this repaving project will take this long to complete. Again, this is reminiscent of the Kalanianaole Highway Widening project of the 1990’s that took over 4 years to complete, and was cruel and unusual punishment for our community, and this one appears to be too long of a project for just repaving. Please explain.
  • COMMUNITY MONITORING OF PROJECT: Lastly I am concerned that history is going to repeat itself between the DOT and the Hawaii Kai community and communications are going to break down in the midst of a barrage of complaints. The solution to this problem would be to do what we did under DOT Director, Rex Johnson, and formed the Kalanianaole Highway Task Force comprised of elected officials from East Honolulu, the DOT and its contractors.

 Some of the good things that came out of the Task Force’s monthly meetings included:

  1. An informed public who had a hotline to voice their suggestions and complaints;
  2. An informed elected and DOT leadership that kept the be no trees planted and watered on the medial strip between Aina Haina and Hawaii Kai on Kalanianaole Highway as they are now.
  3. It created a contra flow near the end of the project that appeared to be impossible at the beginning of the project.
  4. Lastly, the Task Force can be attributed to have improved the quality of the highway paving by its complaints about the rough and undulating Dillingham paving by between Aina Haina and Niu Valley and the smoother later phase completed by Kiewit between Niu Valley and Hawaii Kai.

Do you concur we establish another task force? Thank you for your attention to these concerns.

Read the Article in the Hawaii Reporter

A Word With Ward and Alfred Castle

Representatives Gene Ward talks with Alfred Castle. Mr. Castle is Executive Director of one of America’s oldest charitable foundations, the Samuel N. and Mary Castle Foundation. He also serves as Hawaii Manager of the St Louis, Missouri-based Pettus Foundation and as a trustee of the Martha S. Trimble Charitable Trust in Colorado. As a director of the Federal Philanthropy Fund and the Early Educational Funders Collaborative in Washington, DC, , he is active with national foundations in supporting greater public and private investments in pre-school education.

Alfred Castle has authored 3 books and some 60 professional journal articles, book reviews and encyclopedia essays in the fields of philosophy, history and the management of non-profits.

Alfred Castle and WardContact: repward@capitol.hawaii.gov

Campbell JROTC Cadets Are Learning How To Lead

midweekMcDermott’s Message … by Rep. Bob McDermott   June 04 2014

Campbell High School’s Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) teaches values of citizenship, service to the country, personal responsibility and a sense of accomplishment.

The NJROTC program was established by public law in 1964. The program is conducted at accredited secondary schools throughout the nation, including Campbell High, and is led by instructors who are retired Coast Guard officers, Marine Corps, Navy and enlisted personnel.

The curriculum emphasizes citizenship and leadership development, as well as our maritime heritage.

Topics include the fundamentals of naval operations, seamanship, significance of sea power, navigation and meteorology.

JROTC Cadet Aryha Silvas

State Rep. Bob McDermott with Campbell High School cadet Aryha Silvas. Photo from Rep. McDermott’s office.

Classroom instruction is augmented throughout the year by community service activities, drill competition, field meets, flights, naval activities visits, marksmanship training and other military training. Uniforms, textbooks, training aides, travel allowance and a substantial portion of instructors’ salaries are provided by the U.S. Navy.

As a former U.S. Marine officer, I appreciate the Junior ROTC programs being in our schools. I do everything I can to help recognize its contribution to developing our youths, while providing a strong framework where young men and women can develop valuable discipline and skills.

The mission of JROTC is “to motivate young people to become better citizens.” JROTC offers students challenges and opportunities to:

* Develop citizenship and patriotism

* Develop self-reliance and responsiveness to all authority

* Improve the ability to communicate well both orally and in writing

* Develop an appreciation of the importance of physical fitness

* Increase respect for the role of the U.S. Armed Forces in support of national objectives

* Develop a knowledge of team-building skills and basic military skills

* Rank higher if they pursue a military career.

JROTC is partly funded by the United States Department of Defense with an allocation in the military budget of approximately $340 million for fiscal year 2007.

Instructors continue to receive retirement pay from the federal government, but in addition, the schools pay the difference from what the instructors would receive if they were on active duty.

JROTC programs in schools like Campbell High and elsewhere in Hawaii are particularly active and successful because of our communities’ close association with the military. Hawaii has a long and deep relationship with all branches of the U.S. military, and their contribution to our Islands has always been one of good citizenship.

State Rep. Bob McDermott represents District 40 Ewa, Ewa Beach and Iroquois Point. Readers may him at 586-9730 or email repmcdermott@capitol.hawaii.gov.