Archive for February, 2015
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.