Tag Archives: advocacy efforts

Suggest Issues

We need to start preparing for the next session.  As chair of the Natural Resources Committee (NRC) I am asking you to comment on this post.  The NRC is kind of a catch all committee.  If it doesnʻt fall in the Clean Energy Committee or the Small Farms and Sustainablility Committee it comes to the NRC.

Shoreline set back, near shore fishery recovery and control of invasive species are examples.  Please suggest issues and legislation that you are tracking or you think should be addressed.

We had a few successes at the legislature.  We passed the vulnerable users bill which puts some teeth in the penalties relating to a vehicle accident between a car and a pedestrian or bicyclist.  It passed due to very effective lobbying by the Hawaii Bicycle League and their supporters.

If you have legislation you want passed at the next session, now is the time to start building support both at the legislature and with the grass roots public.  The Caucus can help you do that, but we cannot do it for you.

We need people who are passionate about an issue and will work to see it resolved.


Complete Street Waialae Ave

This message is being forwarded at the request of Daniel Alexander of Cycle Manoa and may be of interest to Complete Streets supporters, cyclists, and residents in the Waialae area.

The Environmental Caucus supports non-motorized transportation and has been working to make Hawaii more bicycle friendly.  Complete streets and protecting vulnerable users are an important part projects of the Environmental Caucus.

Aloha community members,

Your voices in rallies, community meetings, and everyday conversations has created a movement for a complete Waialae Avenue with bike lanes!  Change is at our fingertips!  Yet, we must do more to push the balance!  Join us to present the petition for bike lanes on Waialae Avenue that has been signed by over 1,000!

Complete Our Street Waialae Petition Rally
Thursday 4/5 12:00PM
@ Honolulu Hale Inner Courtyard

We will be presenting the petition to the Mayor, City Council Members and department directors.  Rally at 12:00PM, immediately followed by petition presentation.  After the Waialae event, stick around to give testimony at 1:00PM City Council hearing on a Complete Streets ordinance.

– Complete Our Street: Waialae Avenue Team


SB2277 SD1 HD1 passes out of final committee

BACKGROUND Courtesy of David Henkin, Earth Justice In 1997, when the Legislature amended the state’s endangered species law to allow for the incidental “take” (killing, harming, wounding, and harassing) of endangered and threatened species through safe harbor agreements (SHAs) and … Continue reading

School Garden resolution


A high priority of the environmental caucus is the expansion of the school garden program.  Submit testimony by:

To submit testimony

1) go to this site:  http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/submittestimony.aspx

2) Type in “HB1893” in the box under “enter a measure” and click on “submit”

3) The date, time, etc. for the hearing will appear in green

4) Then enter your personal information, click on “individual” and click “oppose”

5) Then scroll down to the “additional comments” box, add your personal comments/
sentences into the box (OR write up your comments and save as a document, use the “browser” box, and it will upload for you).

6) Then click the little “I agree to terms” box at the bottom, and hit “SUBMIT”

It will automatically be sent to the Chair of the Committee.

GMO Labling

Tuesday April 3 9am C&C committee on Safety, Economic Development and Government Affairs – Resolution 12-57 is to be heard that tries to get foodstuffs that contain Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) properly labeled so consumers know what they are buying- so they have a choice – so they can make an informed decision on such purchases. It is simply called, “The Right to Know.” The right to know is not about making a claim GMO’s are good or bad, rather, it is about advancing consumer rights.

Testify in support of Olelo – deadline April 5

We ask you to submit testimony to the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) in support of Oleloʻs application for a license to continue providing public access TV to Oahu.

You can email catv@dcca.hawaii.gov, fax 586-2625, or mail DCCA-CATV, P.O. Box 541, Honolulu, HI 96809

Some points you may want to cover are:

•    Why is public access important to you?
•    What is your personal experience with Olelo’s staff and services?
•    How has Olelo made a difference in your life? To your organization?
•    What additional service would you like Olelo to add?
•    Why should the DCCA renew Olelo’s contract?
Whatever you can do to help Olelo secure a new contract and protect public access in Hawaii is greatly appreciated.

Why is Olelo important to the Environmental Caucus?

Because Olelo produces our workshops that are broadcast live on the Internet so our members statewide can participate in our meetings.  I then edit these shows into half hour segments that Olelo can continue to broadcast and stream to the internet.  OLELO IS OUR VOICE TO HAWAII.

I attended the DCCA. Thursday evening March 27 and gave personal testimony as an Olelo producer. We listen to oceanic Time Warner call Olelo a corrupt, ineffective organization that should have its budget slashed and its organization dismembered. Their testimony was countered by about 30 very passionate Olelo producers who recounted how positively Olelo has affected their lives. Olelo is the voice of our community.

Be aware that Oceanic Time Warner is a very powerful foe of public access television in Hawaii. Every year, Oceanic introduces legislation designed to both breakup Olelo as an organization and to slash the Olelo budget. Oceanic takes every opportunity to attack Olelo as they did last night in the DCCA hearing.

Only your voice can preserve our axis to community-based public television. Take a moment now to express your support for Olelo to the DCCA. The deadline for your testimony is April 5. For more information go to FreeSpeechHawaii.org.

Farm Land in double jeprody

Posting courtesy of Laura Thielen.

Please read this, and if you are concerned about what is happening, cut and paste the email addresses at the bottom and send an email to the Legislature TODAY.

The Legislature is poised to pass two bills that will eradicate more high quality farmland than Ho’opili.

SB 2341 allows vacation rentals on agricultural lands, including the highest production lands.  Even worse, vacation rentals can be the primary use, no farming is required.

SB 2350 doubles the number of houses permitted on agricultural lots with one ohana dwelling for each farm dwelling.*

If these bills pass, the number of houses built on agricultural lands will dramatically increase and agricultural lots will be priced for their vacation rental value, not their farming potential.

The expansion of tourism has already transformed other areas, like Windward Oahu.  The density of some communities doubled when ohana units were allowed.  The vacation rental market dominates many neighborhoods, affecting home prices.

Nearly 16,000 acres of farmland on Oahu’s North Shore are being marketed for great views or access to the ocean.  These qualities aren’t relevant to farming; they’re relevant to tourism.  The bill permitting vacation rentals as a primary use will destroy any ability to assure these lands remain available for agricultural production.

The price of Oahu farmland is nearly out of reach for food farms today.  These bills will make it impossible for food farms to operate.  The vast majority of Oahu’s food is grown on rented land.  Will landlords force farms to close when neighboring vacation rentals complain about noise, or when they realize they can increase their rental income by transforming all or some of the property to vacation rentals?

The Department of Agriculture, Office of Planning, and City and County of Honolulu have all testified against these bills and the Farm Bureau has raised serious concerns.

Our Constitution requires the State to assure the availability of agricultural lands for agriculture.  The law requires directing non-agricultural uses away from the best farmland.  Several bills before the Legislature this session support increasing local food production.

How is it that the Legislature on one hand says it supports agriculture, but on the other hand takes action to pass laws that will transform the agricultural district into the rural tourist district?

The Senate unanimously passed both bills.  They are now at the House Committee on Water Land and Ocean Resources.

Contact legislators at the links below and tell them to stop SB 2341 and SB 2350.

Email addresses for Chair Jerry Chang, Vice Chair Sharon Har and Committee members:

repchang@capitol.hawaii.gov; rephar@capitol.hawaii.gov; repcabanilla@capitol.hawaii.gov; repcarroll@capitol.hawaii.gov; repcoffman@capitol.hawaii.gov; repherkes@capitol.hawaii.gov; repito@capitol.hawaii.gov; repkawakami@capitol.hawaii.gov, repnakashima@capitol.hawaii.gov, repriviere@capitol.hawaii.gov, repthielen@capitol.hawaii.gov

* While the ohana unit bill was amended to take out Oahu, it just as easily can be put back in, now or next year.

Environmental advocates needed

We just emailed the December Newsletter. If you didn’t get it you need to join the Environmental Caucus Mailing list http://goo.gl/uLSWQ.

When you want to add your thoughts to an issue currently before the Environmental Council go to our discussion of issues at http://goo.gl/b73SW. You will need to log into your Google account. If an issue you would like to have discussed is not in this list, or if you have problems, contact Bill Sager at bsager42@gmail.com.

When you want to advocate for or against legislation there are two tools that are indispensable. You need to understand how to use the Hawaii Policy Portal and you need to know how to track legislation using the Legislative Reference Bureau’s website.  Email bsager42@gmail.com when you need help. One of the primary goals of the Environmental Caucus is to help you become a more effective Environmental Advocate.

When you are working on any environmental issue, please let us know what it is.  If it is an issue the Environmental Caucus supports, we can help you.  There is strength in numbers, and our goal is to Malama Hawaii by supporting the environmental community’s advocacy efforts, initiating our own legislation when needed, enabling a strong environmental commitment in the Democratic Party platform and by developing a strong cadre of environmental advocates.  We need to work together.