Opening Day Reflections

Kat’s reflections on opening day:

Today’s post will start off with a Civil Beat story on opening day at the 2016 Hawai`i  Legislature. I have been advocating there for 20 years and I can say that this was the strangest opening day I have ever experienced.

Usually there is some of music in both the House and Senate chambers and, in the old days, there were musicians strolling around the upper floors with legislators greeting people and offering snacks. This year there was no music in either chamber. I was in the Senate, where the speeches were uninspiring and lacking in energy. Interestingly, Senate President Kouchi  spoke about the need for civil discourse. He basically said that democracy is not about who screams the loudest. He said, “But at the end of the day, the function of the democracy is that the majority must carry the day and move forward.”  I heard the House was a bit better, although neither chamber said anything about justice.

The best part of the day, however, was the PEOPLE OVER PROFITS rally in the rotunda. Walter Ritte said it best at the rally when he said,  “These guys need hearing aids!”   What can the community do when lobbyist/corporate money speaks louder than the people legislators are elected to represent?

We have our work cut out for us this session. The big justice issue is going to be funding the new prison (moving ahead with no due diligence, no analysis, and absolutely NO COMMUNITY INPUT. We must raise our voices and condemn hiding social problems rather than working on solutions to strengthen our communities. 

So, we start with the Civil Beat article and follow that with a notice for a PUBLIC SAFETY INFORMATIONAL BRIEFING ON THEIR NEW PRISON DREAM NEXT THURSDAY, JANUARY 28TH IN ROOM 309.

***

Lawmakers Shrug Off Election Year To Propose ‘Bold’ Ideas
Leaders called for converting commercial leasehold lands to direct ownership, building a methane biodigester on Maui and giving a bigger slice of the hotel tax to counties, among other ideas. 
Chad Blair, Nathan Eagle, January 20, 2016

***

HOUSE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY

SENATE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY, INTERGOVERNMENTAL, AND MILITARY AFFAIRS

NOTICE OF INFORMATIONAL BRIEFING

DATE: Thursday, January 28, 2016

TIME: 10:00 AM

PLACE: Conference Room 309

Download Notice here.

The purpose of this informational briefing is to discuss the proposed improvements to Hawaii’s correctional facilities, including replacement of the Oahu Community Correctional Center and planned means of financing the new OCCC.

Representatives of Hawaii State agencies invited to speak at this Informational Briefing includes:

  • Nolan Espinda, Director, State Department of Public Safety; and
  • Douglas Murdock, Comptroller, State Department of Accounting and General Services.

No public testimony will be accepted during this Informational Briefing.

It is really important for the public to show up for this briefing. The department is saying that there is universal acceptance for a new prison. CAP has been saying that BEFORE WE BUILD, we must know who should actually be in there. There has been no publicly available analysis of this type to date. Is this a responsible way to handle taxpayer money? NO! Please read the quote at the end as it is very pertinent to the proposed prison.

Folks, I’m gonna hop onto my soapbox now and say that we MUST BE VOCAL; WE MUST SHOW UP;  AND WE MUST SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER.

“Much of the self-righteous nonsense that abounds on so many subjects cannot stand up to three questions: (1) Compared to what? (2) At what cost? and (3) What are the hard facts?”

– Thomas Sowell (American Writer and Economist, b.1930)

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