Sabers JV Basketball Team Rallies To Help Neighbor

Clean up McDermott

McDermott’s Message …Rep. Bob McDermott

midweekDecember 2014

Lourdes Torres didn’t know who to call for help. Her yard had become seriously overgrown. But at her age, she no longer had the energy to take on the rigorous work of climbing, trimming and hauling the clippings from her yard.

“It is just too much,” said Torres when she called me. “You are the only person I could think of calling who might be able to help me.”

Although I normally don’t see yard service as part of my legislative job description, I always try to help my constituents, no matter what their problems might be. I have been known to clean roadsides, haul old mattresses, corral stray dogs and even guard crosswalks. I also know a great network of community volunteers who help their neighbors in Ewa, and I can always count on them to be there when called upon.

I knew the answer was to call District 50′s Ewa Beach Lions Club. So I picked up the phone and called the president, Kurt Fevella. He immediately contacted his friend Joe Atinma, who in turn rounded up some of his JV basketball players from Campbell High School.

The team of community volunteers was hard at work when I arrived at Torres’ house. With hedge clippers and other yard work paraphernalia in hand, everyone was hacking and hauling away. There were overgrown hedges, dead branches and weeds. The yard was indeed overgrown and needed a lot of attention, but the team met the challenge with gleeful hearts. Mrs. Torres was so happy to have her yard in order.

As we finish celebrating this holiday season, it’s reassuring to know that when the call goes out, the Ewa Beach community is full of members who always stand ready to help their neighbors. I’m proud to be part of this community, and I’m thankful for generous people like Kurt, Joe and the young high school boys from Campbell who are willing to step up and do the right thing. In Ewa Beach, this spirit of caring and giving is not just a holiday ritual, it is a daily practice!

From Ewa, let us be among the first to wish you Hau‘oli Makahiki Hou!

State refuses support to private general aviation at Kalaeloa

Hawaii reporter Logo January 07, 2015

McDermott Head shot blue shirtState Representative Bob McDermott called on Governor Ige to reverse a short sighted money grab instituted by the outgoing Abercrombie administration in the waning days of his term.

McDermott said, “Gov. Ige seems like a reasonable man; surely he will see a 439% percent increase in rents – overnight – is unreasonable and foolish. General aviation is a clean and technologically advanced industry and everyone from airplane mechanics and hangar janitors depends on these pilots to keep flying.   This Abercrombie policy will kill the industry to the parts suppliers overnight and make it truly accessible for only the super-rich. I ask Gov. Ige to restore common sense and reverse this Abercrombie money grab.”

K airportIn 1999, Kalaeloa was obtained from the US Navy and designated as the general aviation reliever airport for Honolulu International.  The mix of large and small aircraft operations at the Honolulu airport has been identified as a safety hazard for many years.  In 1998, the Department of Transportation Airports, (DOT-A) estimated that by 2020, nearly 200 aircraft would be based at Kalaeloa.  This same estimate predicted that 60% of the small and light twin aircraft based at Honolulu would move to Kalaeloa by 2020.  To illustrate how poorly DOT-A has accommodated general aviation, at the end of 2014, nearly 75% of the time has elapsed towards that 2020 goal and the general aviation based at Kalaeloa is at about 10% of the estimate.  The crowding of Honolulu International only gets worse with no reasonable solution in sight.  Aircraft formerly based at Kalaeloa have actually moved to Honolulu because of lack of support from DOT-A.

Hangar space at Kalaeloa is limited and any prospective hangar builder is faced with insurmountable hurdles and obstacles.  In the time that DOT-A has managed Kalaeloa, only four private hangars have been built with many prospective tenants having given up at the thought of building and others moving away from the state – entirely because of DOT-A’s unreasonableness.

DOT-A has provided no incentive for general aviation aircraft to move to Kalaeloa.

There is a complete lack of transparent objective guidance for construction of private general aviation hangars at Kalaeloa.  Current and prospective tenants have had to deal with an unreasonable and often times hostile staff at DOT-A.  Current and prospective tenants have attempted to negotiate in good faith and as good neighbors in developing reasonable guidance and standards for private hangar construction.  The end result would have been a safer Honolulu International due to less small aircraft traffic and a growing general aviation community that contributes to the local economy.  These efforts have been met with resistance and one road block after another.  It’s readily apparent that DOT-A views general aviation as burdensome and as an unwanted activity in the State of Hawaii.

To further compound the Kalaeloa hangar issues, as a result of DOT-A having had a statewide airport property assessment done, current and prospective tenants at Kalaeloa are faced with outrageous lease rates increases. For current tenants, this lease increase could be as high as 439%.  A property tax rate increase several years ago resulted in a nearly 10% increase of rental rates.  Again, it must be stressed that this at an airport where the current lease rate has only attracted four private hangars.  This outrageous lease increase may very well put an end to general aviation at Kalaeloa.

Since 1999, federal funding at Kalaeloa has been in excess of $35,000,000.  The FAA recently ruled in favor of a local aviation company due to the non-responsiveness of DOT-A.  Federal funding for all Hawaii airports may be at risk because of this complaint and will continue to be at risk should DOT-A continue their uncooperative attitude towards private general aviation.

Hawaii Republican Caucus has grown socially conservative

Star Advertiser Sunday January 03, 2015

By Representative Cynthia Thielen

When I joined the Republican Party in college during the 1950s, President Dwight Eisenhower notably stated: “In all those things which deal with people, be liberal, be human. In all those things which deal with people’s money, or their economy, or their form of government, be conservative.”

Republican leaders promoted freedom for all (President Abraham Lincoln), worked to preserve America’s natural resources (President Theodore Roosevelt), and supported “gays serving in the military” (Senator Barry Goldwater). This is the party I joined.

In the early 1990s, social conservatives took over the Hawaii Republican Party, electing their GOP national committee members. While the party currently is governed by moderate Republicans led by respected former Congresswoman Patricia Saiki, social conservatives now have become the majority in the House Republican Caucus.

What does this mean? Most important, compromise is looked at by a few of the minority caucus members as abandoning social conservative principles. One member is still trying to overturn the marriage equality law. Yet it is the very Democrat-Republican cooperation that resulted in the last two years of positive legislative action, earning the Legislature its first “B” grade ever. So much was accomplished by working together. Time and energy was saved from endless politicking and posturing, and most of us became united in doing what we were elected to do — serve our constituents.

Working on solutions for our state can’t be done in a “my way or nothing” approach. Good governing requires working together to develop good policy. This means that Democrats and Republicans set aside partisan bickering, and this is what most of us did in the last two years, when we had the bipartisan coalition.

Democrat and Republican leadership formed the coalition, and three minority leaders served as vice chairs of important committees. The coalition was disbanded this year because the House majority no longer needed House minority votes to maintain the current majority leadership.

In my opinion, this was a mistake. The public good was better served through bipartisan governance. I believe that this successful cooperative experiment provided an important model for our young people, many who are jaded against the traditional political process. As noted in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, “it’s too bad that the little test run of bipartisan leadership was so short-lived.”

Now, with social conservatives in control of the House minority due to former Minority Leader Aaron Johanson becoming a Democrat, our caucus primarily has become one-sided. Yet our broader community is much more diverse and noted for its tolerance. Democrat-Republican cooperation will be abandoned, mirroring the past gridlocked Congress with its ideological battles.

If the Republican Party ever is to flourish in Hawaii, it must expand by reaching out to moderates, returning to its Eisenhower roots, focusing and growing the economy, embracing Teddy Roosevelt’s commitment to environmental protections and promoting good governance.

To the dismay of some — but I hope the pleasure of many — I intend to stay a member of the Republican Party. I ask moderates in Hawaii to join me, so we can go back to the Lincoln, T. Roosevelt, Eisenhower and Goldwater roots of the Grand Old Party. Will you?

On vacation: On Politics columnist Richard Borreca is on vacation. His column returns Jan. 6.