April 29, 2015
By Ron Mizutani
Imagine a child having the time of his life, running wild on a white sandy beach, but then suddenly falling to his knees in excruciating pain.
Now imagine the source of that pain: a rusty old nail.
Never mind imagining. Sadly, it is a scenario that’s happened before along scenic Ka Iwi coastline in East Honolulu.
“Too many people are leaving their trash behind and wreaking havoc on what is otherwise a beautiful stretch of coastline,” says state Rep. Gene Ward of Hawaii Kai. “And many people are leaving behind dangerous trash. Some people are burning big pallets and leaving behind the nails from those pallets on the sand. I’ve heard many horror stories of young kids stepping on nails, and that’s unacceptable!”
It’s one of many reasons that Ward has hosted an annual beach cleanup near Alan Davis Beach. This year marked the seventh community-based event.
“Every year, in celebration of Earth Day, my office organizes a beach cleanup,” explains Ward. “This year we had more than 50 people combing the sand and cleaning the area of nails, plywood, pallets and broken beer bottles. We had a great turnout!”
In addition to Boy Scouts from Troop 101, Ward says volunteers from the Peace Corps, Kaiser High School and constituents from his district took part in the daylong event.
“We had a new group that joined us this year called 808 Clean Ups,” says an excited Ward. “The man leading that group (Michael David Loftin) is doing a great job making a difference and partnering with communities. I wish we could have a cleanup like this once a month!”
Gloves and trash bags were provided. Volunteers were encouraged to bring their own magnets to pick up nails that often are hidden in the sand. The final numbers are mind-boggling.
“This year we collected 432 pounds of rusty nails, burned crates and wood, glass bottles and plastic,” says Ward. “Yes, there’s a lot of stuff being left out there! Hopefully, we left the beach so clean that the next party that goes to the beach will think twice about what they’re doing and clean up after themselves.”
Clearly this is a “local” problem, not a tourist problem.
The battle to keep Ka Iwi coastline free of development has gone on for decades. There have been numerous ideas introduced through the years, including proposals to build hotels and resort-style cabins overlooking the ocean. There even was a plan to create a golf academy on the precious land.
None has come to fruition. The good fight has been won — so far — but the battle to keep the area free of garbage and dangerous debris continues.
Ward says the state Department of Land and Natural Resources doesn’t have the staff or officers to constantly monitor this area and enforce laws that are in place, so it is imperative that the community does its part.
“As we progress and continue to keep the Ka Iwi coastline undeveloped and the land mauka pristine, there is still one glaring issue that we have not properly addressed — and that’s trash that we’re leaving behind,” says a concerned Ward.
“It is one of the last pristine areas on Oahu, and we have to take care of it. We need to make sure that this coastline stays the way it is with no housing and no development. It’s about preservation, but it’s also about beautification.”
And it’s also about keeping the area safe and clean for our keiki and the next generation. No one should have to worry about stepping on an old rusty nail.
Rep. Ward is right. That’s unacceptable, and that’s something we can control.
REPRESENTATIVE GENE WARD, PH.D.
Minority Leader Emeritus HAWAI‘I STATE CAPITOL, Room 318 – HONOLULU, HAWAI‘I
February 6, 2015
The Honorable Kirk Caldwell
Mayor, City and County Honolulu
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
REQUEST FOR LED UPGRADE OF KALANIANAOLE HIGHWAY CROSSWALK
Dear Mayor Caldwell,
I am writing to you regarding a very dangerous Hawaii Kai crosswalk. Last month, a 12-year old girl was hit by a car while crossing Kalanianaole Highway near Portlock Road in Hawaii Kai. She was in the designated crosswalk area, but since the road has been repaved, the crosswalk has not been repainted. In light of the recent accident, and the countless others in past years at this same location it is time to update the crosswalk to the most recent LED technology in order to keep our citizens safe from harm.
LED lit crosswalks flash during the day as well as at night. The flashing lights become visible only once the pedestrian button is activated. The repaving of Kalanianaole Highway presents an opportunity for the City and County of Honolulu to update the crosswalks to make the roads safer and more reliable for pedestrians.
Although flashing LED crosswalks are more costly than simply painting stripes on the pavement they are necessary for Hawaii to continue moving forward in traffic safety technology.
As our mayor I request that you put the crosswalk safety foremost on your agenda for Hawaii Kai. Please install a LED crosswalk at the intersection of Kalanianaole Highway and Portlock Road and let it be the beginning of many updated crosswalks by the City and County of Honolulu on the island of Oahu.
I look forward to your favorable consideration of this request.
Representative Gene Ward
Hawaii Kai – Kalama Valley
Rep. Gene Ward Introduces HB 1495 – to increase voter turnout Representative Gene Ward (R-Hawaii Kai – Kalama Valley) introduced HB 1495 legislation to increase voter turnout in the state of Hawaii, which in the last election was the lowest in the nation. “We’ve slipped to such a low-level of voter turn-out that only about 32% of eligible voters determine who our leaders will be. It may just be time to go “down under” for some lessons from Australia where you are fined for not voting; in my bill it will cost you $100 to skip your vote on election day,“ Ward explained. Voting has been compulsory in Australia since 1912 and appears to have reached about 94% voter turn-out in most elections. For Americans the Australian model has been rather controversial; major arguments for and against compulsory voting are: ADVANTAGES OF MANDATORY VOTING:
- Voting is a civic duty comparable to other mandatory duties citizens performed by citizens e.g. taxation, compulsory education, jury duty, the military draft, etc.
- Compulsory voting teaches the benefits of political participation
- Elected officials may more accurately the “will of the electorate” (than minority controlled democracies)
- With mail-in voting becoming increasingly popular, mandatory voting becomes easier
- Candidates can concentrate their campaigning energies on issues rather than encouraging voter registration and voter turn-out at the polls
- The voter isn’t actually compelled to vote for anyone because voting is by secret ballot.
DISADVANTAGES OF MANDATORY VOTING:
- It is undemocratic to force people to vote – an infringement of liberty
- The ill-informed and those with little interest in politics are forced to the polls and may elect the ‘wrong people.’
- It may increase the number of informal votes
- It may increase the number of safe seats for incumbents with low-information voters
- Resources must be allocated to determine whether those who failed to vote have “valid and sufficient” reasons.
In Ward’s proposed legislation, people who fail to vote are given the opportunity to be excused from voting and not be fined $100 for not voting. “My intent is to get Hawaii back into the voting booth and is the
State Rep. Gene Ward (R-Hawaii Kai) pointed to new rules in the city’s latest contract to operate the Koko Crater Stables, which has been operating for decades, offering trail rides and lessons and hosting equestrian events.
“The horses that are there — there’s 30 now — cannot use, in this new contract, any of the trails,” said Ward. “It’s like you get a car but you can’t drive it outside the driveway.”
Representative Gene Ward, Ph.D. spoke with Dr. Emogene Yoshimura of the Koko Crater Equestrian Center.The city has told the Koko Crater Equestrian that they have 3 days to move 30 horses. Koko Crater Botanical Garden is a 60-acre basin inside the landmark Koko Crater on the eastern end of the island.
Representative Ward address a House Concurrent Resolution to strongly oppose the U.S. Army’s proposed force reduction of Schofield Barracks and Fort Shafter Bases.
“You two have a lot on your shoulders,” Rep. Gene Ward (R-Hawai’i Kai)… The Chancellor and Dean are working to shore up finances at the UH Cancer Center, among other goals in the years ahead.