Archive for September, 2014

Rep. Ward Speaks Out Regarding Homeless Situation in Hawaii Kai

Hawaii News Now

September 26th 2014

By: Chelsea Davis


East Oahu lawmakers are outraged following a report of a homeless man flashing a child at a neighborhood park on Friday.


Representative Gene Ward has a stern warning for the offender.


“Don’t come around our neighborhood if you expect to get away with this stuff,” he said.


The Kamiloiki Elementary School principal immediately sent out a letter to parents warning them of the incident.


The letter said the school received a call before the start of school Friday morning from someone who witnessed a “homeless” person expose himself to a child wearing a Kamiloiki School shirt at the adjoining park. The caller said she saw the man yelling at the kid. She said she intervened and called 911.


“Certainly we want to have compassion for the homeless and try to find a solution. But our first concern is the safety of our residents and particularly our children,” said Senator Sam Slom.


Both Slom and Ward say homelessness is a growing problem, even in Hawaii Kai.


“It shows that the numbers in Waikiki have expanded to the point where they’re exporting these individuals to various parts in our community,” said Ward.


Ward says he is upset because this isn’t the first time an incident like this has happened in their backyard.


In November 2013, Kaiser High School sent out an alert to parents after one of its students was groped as she was walking home from school.


“I don’t think it’s the same person, but if this is the same person, there should be some really swift action so this doesn’t happen again,” Ward said.


The homeless man described to Kamiloiki Elementary School officials couldn’t be found. The school beefed up security on campus for the day.



Hawaii’s out-of-control living costs can be beat

Hawaii Reporter

Sept. 16th 2014
By: Rep. Gene Ward
One of the easiest and most doable things to lower our cost of living in Hawaii is an esoteric act passed by Congress almost 100 years ago and is called by an innocuous name that makes people’s eyes glaze over when they hear it, i.e. “The Jones Act.” This 1920 law makes the cost of shipping 4 to 5 times more expensive than it has to be because it eliminates any competition in our shipping industry between here and the mainland.
Exempting Hawaii from the Jones Act could lower our cost of living by 25%-35% by not requiring that ships delivering goods to Hawaii from the mainland to use ships built, owned, crewed, and flagged by Americans. In other words, let the thousands of ships that dump their cargo on the West Coast and then bypass Hawaii empty, carry their goods to Hawaii on their way back to Asia at a fraction of the cost we now pay for this service – and we must import over 85% of everything we consume.
Lowering the cost of living in Hawaii is really that simple. Instead the people of Hawaii are paying thousands of dollars more per family to subsidize this act. We need what the Congress gave to American Samoa, Saipan, and the Virgin Islands, who were given exemptions, but we have to ask for it first.
Opponents cite national defense and play the fear card on how this act protects us from not having to rely on foreign ships during a time of war. What they fail to mention is that taking Hawaii out of the shipping equation will not weaken America’s defense poster and the biggest threat to Hawaii’s supply chain has always been shipping strikes, not wars.
The reality is that America is pretty much out of the maritime business with over 90% of our ship building facilities having been closed and the only new ships we produce are military vessels. The bottom line is that the Jones Act still exists unmodified because of a quintessential lack of political will. Our leaders know its downsides but have gotten away with not asking for an exemption because they know few people have heard of the act and even fewer understand what it is doing to them. But times are changing and every time we pay $5 for a gallon of milk or gas, and then read our electrical bill, we know something has to be done.
As citizens awaken to how anti-Hawaii and damaging this law is, the cries of national defense will weaken and be seen as a disguise for the invisible hand that keeps taking an increasingly large portion of the food off the table of our poor and our senior citizens.