we’re just about two weeks away from the hawaii people’s fund annual dinner, on saturday, november 8.

HPF Annual Dinner & Expoif i haven’t mentioned it previously (i’m pretty sure i have), i currently have the honor of serving as a member of it’s board. so, to help let more people know about what the organization does, all (or nearly) of my videos between now and the dinner will highlight some of the great grantee organizations.

common cause hawaii (cch) is a great organization that i’ve personally worked with on projects in the past. if you’re interested in open, transparent, and responsive government, this is the organization for you. cch has been involved in supporting same-day voter registration, online voter registration, and stricter super pac disclosure laws.

playbuilders hawaii is a group of theater makers “who wish, through theater, to create opportunities for effective communication and cultural exchange between many the many diverse peoples of hawaii.” check out their website. they’re currently accepting original scripts for their 2015 festival of original plays and i expect there could be some interesting productions.

movement for aloha no ka aina (mana) is a “movement-building organization established to achieve independence and social justice through direct action, political education, economic development, international diplomacy, and public advocacy, with a cultural and spiritual foundation.” good stuff! check out their platform of unity, too.

hawaii rural development council (hrdc) received a grant from hpf to help produce its documentary seeds of hope, which “tells the story of agriculture and food in hawaii.” i haven’t seen the film, but it definitely sounds interesting and worth a look.


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on the ballot this november, there will be five questions relating to proposed amendments to the hawaii state constitution:

CON AMEND: Relating to Disclosure of Judicial Nominees

“Shall the judicial selection commission, when presenting a list of nominees to the governor or the chief justice to fill a vacancy in the office of the chief justice, supreme court, intermediate appellate court, circuit courts or district courts, be required, at the same time, to disclose that list to the public?”

CON AMEND: Relating to Agricultural Enterprises

“Shall the State be authorized to issue special purpose revenue bonds and use the proceeds from the bonds to assist agricultural enterprises on any type of land, rather than only important agricultural lands?”

CON AMEND: Relating to State Justices and Judges

“Shall the mandatory retirement age for all state court justices and judges by increased from seventy to eighty years of age?”

CON AMEND: Relating to Early Childhood Education

“Shall the appropriation of public funds be permitted for the support or benefit of private early childhood education programs that shall not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex or ancestry, as provided by law?”

CON AMEND: Relating to Dams and Reservoirs

“Shall the State be authorized to issue special purpose revenue bonds and use the proceeds from the bonds to offer loans to qualifying dam and reservoir owners to improve their facilities to protect public safety and provide significant benefits to the general public as important water sources?”

i talk today about the second and fourth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nipjyPWb1Eg

you can find the post here where senator thielen discusses one of these, plus another i don’t talk about.


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…and the referendum vote in scotland to stay part of the united kingdom.

i do my best to stay up on world affairs, but as the world seems to be spinning out of control at an ever-increasing rate, it’s hard to stay engaged knowing there’s little i can do about it without wanting to give up and set the whole thing ablaze.

still last thursday’s historic vote in scotland on whether or not to leave the united kingdom was particularly interesting. i watched patiently as the votes were counted, while political commentators discussed the vote from every angle imaginable. actually, part of what was so entertaining for me was how much the coverage seemed to mimic election coverage here in the states: reporters camped out at the different watch parties, talking to supporters on both side of the issue, and speculating on the outcome.

in the end, somewhere around 90% of scotland voters decided to continue on as a partner in the united kingdom, with both sides promising there would be positive changes in the future.

i know the politics in europe are different than they are here, but i will be nonetheless surprised if there are any real, substantive changes to the benefit of the scotish people….

laborfest was great fun. and what an inspiring way to spend an evening. the keynote speakers were gerald horne, moors professor of history and african-american studies at the university of houston, and steve early, a labor journalist, lawyer, organizer, and union representative. both were entertaining and interesting, but i have to say professor horne was great. i bought his book, fighting paradise: labor unions, racism, and communists in the making of modern hawaii. my friends bart dame and bill puette also participated, as well as others from various backgrounds.

if you’re interested, you can see the whole event broadcast on olelo:Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 3.32.16 PM

also, check out hawaii alliance for progressive action (hapa). it’s an organization from which i expect great things. consider getting involved and help make hawaii a better place for all of us and for future generations.

and stay tuned for exciting news about the new collaboration project with my old friend shawn steiman.

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i tried out recording with the iphone again. it worked well, especially with the new little mic attachment i got. unfortunately, i forgot how the video looks when i hold the phone upright. i’ll remember next time to use it in landscape. and to hold the phone up higher, so you’re not looking up my nose the whole time….

so bills 42, 43, and 46 are all pretty awful, though i can’t say i’m surprised by the outcome. instead of focusing on actually fixing some of the root problems that cause homeless, the city council and mayor have bowed (once again) to the concerns of businesses and the tourist industry, rather than really helping people.

i’d be less critical and disappointed had the city fully implemented a comprehensive housing first program before passing these unfair, oppressive, and cruel bills. and built additional public restrooms in waikiki. instead, they’re going to spend something like $3 million to create a temporary camp near a landfill and land that may very possibly contaminated. but who cares, so long as the tourists don’t have to see these people, or realize that we’re a city like any other, with real issues. we’ll sell the idea of paradise even at the expense of our poorest and most vulnerable.

call your councilperson. call the mayor and tell them how disappointed you are.

here’s the link to the pod cast i mentioned. definitely check it out. i’ll also put a link here to the npr town square episode just as soon as it’s posted on line.


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while browsing (wasting time?) on facebook the other day, i came across a slate.com article about a supreme court ruling having to do with the the fifth amendment rights of individuals. upon closer inspection, i noticed the article was from 2013, as was the court ruling. i’m not sure why i didn’t see this article previously and am curious as to why it’s trending up on facebook now.

to review, here’s the fifth amendment:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

rather than lay out the whole thing in writing, just watch the video…. what it boils down to is this: if you haven’t been arrested and read your miranda rights, you may not have the right to remain silent. if you’re asked questions by law enforcement without having been arrested or mirandized, either decline to answer, or get yourself a lawyer.

also, here’s a link to the court decision, in case you feel so inclined to read it.

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