I’m sure we are all glad that election season is over! (Mango season moa bettah, yeah?)
The only change in our Congressional delegation is Mark Takai, who now has the seat held for one term by Colleen Hanabusa. (Sen. Mazie Hirono was not up for re-election.) Hawai`i’s delegation is all Democrat in a very Republican Congress as they won control of both the House and Senate. I hope we are not in 2 years of gridlock and government shut-downs and other threats. We MUST remind these folks that they all work for the people. As my Mom would say, Hope for the best; Plan for the worst!
In Hawai`i, David Ige won the Governorship over Duke Aiona by 12 points and Mufi Hannemann by 37 points. Now we will see who he appoints to cabinet positions and agency heads. He has promised to LISTEN to the community, to be TRANSPARENT, and INCLUSIVE. These are things to which we can hold him and his administration accountable.
We have three new Senators:
- Gil Riviere is replacing Clayton Hee
- Breene Harimoto is replacing David Ige
- Lorraine Inouye is replacing Malama Solomon
We have six new Representatives:
- Andria Tupola is replacing Karen Awana
- Matt Lopresti is replacing Rida Cabanilla
- Feki Poliha is replacing Richard Fale
- Joy Sanbuenaventura is replacing Faye Hanohano
- Sam Kono is replacing Mark Takai
- Jarrett Keohokalole is replacing Jessica Wooley
In an amazing display of PEOPLE POWER, Maui county passed a GMO initiative despite the chemical companies pouring in $8 million to defeat it. Whatever your position on GMOs, this is a real victory for people power. It shows that money does not always win.
Look at the primary, Gov. Abercrombie spent more than $5 million compared to David Ige’s $500,000 and lost by almost twice the margin of his 2010 win!
I hope this empowers people to see that getting involved and working together for a goal CAN win!
Some other exciting things happened on the U.S. Continent:
Calif. cuts penalties for small drug crimes
Proposition 47 will reclassify simple drug possession, other crimes as misdemeanors
Kristina Davis, U-T San Diego, Nov. 4, 2014
“We are going to move forward now as we realize that warehousing people is not the most effective way to fight crime.” – Retired San Diego Police Chief Bill Lansdowne
“California voters have passed Proposition 47, a law that will reduce simple drug possession and some property crimes to misdemeanors, with 59 percent of the vote, according to statewide ballot returns.
“In San Diego County, voters supported it by 55 percent.
“That means, effectively immediately, California joins about a dozen other states across the country with misdemeanor drug possession laws.
“Lansdowne said the proposition resonated with voters because so many people have family or friends who have been touched by drug addiction.
“’The vote clearly shows they want change, and we need to listen to it.’
“Besides making drug possession for personal use a misdemeanor, the law also focuses on five property crimes under a value of $950: theft, forgery, writing bad checks, receiving stolen property and shoplifting. A misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in jail. …”
Prop 47: As California Goes, So Goes the Nation?
Barry Krisberg, The Crime Report, Nov. 5, 2014
“Last night, Californians resoundingly approved a ballot initiative—Proposition 47, the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act—that will not only have a major impact on California’s prison population, but have significant resonance across the U.S.
“The initiative, which passed with 58.5 percent of the vote, changes many crimes from felonies, which generally require prison terms, to misdemeanors that usually carry penalties of probation, fines or very short jail time. Most instances of drug possession and property crime under $950 are no longer felonies. Current prisoners who were charged with these crimes can now petition to have their sentences reduced.
“The most visible advocates for Prop 47 were San Francisco district attorney George Gascón, Santa Clara district attorney Jeff Rosen and former San Diego Police Chief William Landsdowne. These respected law enforcement officials viewed California’s mass incarceration policies as fiscally unsustainable and harmful to low income communities.
“Even prominent national conservative figures like Newt Gingrich and Rand Paul announced their support for Proposition 47, arguing that current sentencing laws waste taxpayers’ dollars and do not curtail drug use. They prefer a focus on locking up violent offenders. …”
In Hawai`i, a $301 property crime is a Class B Felony = up to 5 years in prison and penalizing taxpayers for up to $250,000! This has not kept pace with inflation since 1986.
Drug policy advances this election
Excerpt from Drug Policy Alliance:
“There was a wider spectrum of drug policy reforms on the ballot this November than ever before. DPA and its sister organization, Drug Policy Action, backed these initiatives by assisting with drafting the laws, providing funding, and helping with voter outreach and other on-the-ground efforts. And we won by significant margins around the country with support from voters across the political spectrum. Here are some of last night’s highlights:
- Oregon voters elected to legalize and regulate marijuana with the passage of Measure 91.
- Alaska became the first “red” state to legalize and regulate marijuana with the passage of Ballot Measure 2.
- Nearly 70% of residents in the nation’s capital voted in favor of Initiative 71 to legalize marijuana possession and personal cultivation.
- California overwhelmingly approved Proposition 47 to end felony sentencing for simple drug possession and other petty crimes.
- New Jersey passed Public Question No. 1 that will reform the broken bail system and reduce the amount of people behind bars for low-level drug law violations.
- Florida became the first state in the South to vote in favor of medical marijuana with 57% approval for Amendment 2, which unfortunately will not be enacted because Florida requires 60% to pass an initiative”
Now it is our job to hold elected folks accountable. We have a right to expect HONESTY, INTEGRITY, TRANSPARENCY, and ACCOUNTABILITY. They won’t just give it…WE MUST DEMAND IT!