Sen. Shimabukuro Interviewed re Waianae Inter. Violence 2/24/20

School violence data shows areas of persistent trouble
by Gina Mangieri
KHON2, Feb 24, 2020

The stabbings at Mililani High School on Monday happened at a campus that has a relatively low rate of both violent and disciplinary incidents. Always Investigating and dug into the data for a statewide perspective.

The Mililani incident shows that safety issues can and do happen anywhere, while campuses with continually higher rates of violence continue to struggle.

Always Investigating worked for months to get school-by-school numbers from the Department of Education about both serious violence, as well as bullying and misconduct, for every public school campus.

According to the last complete school year’s data, there were nearly 4,000 “Class a” violence incidents statewide. These are things like assault, fighting, terroristic threatening and sexual offenses.

There were an average 15 Class A offenses reported per school for 2018-19, a range of none for many schools, and as high as 201 — the equivalent of more than 1 every school day. Mililani High School is below average for Class A’s with only 8 reported last school year.

There were more than 3,100 “Class B” incidents statewide for 2018-19, things like bullying, cyberbullying, disorderly conduct and hazing. There were an average of 12 per campus, and a range of none to 161. Mililani High School reported just two of those last school year.

Nonetheless, lawmakers still have questions for the DOE.

“We will be looking at this incident closely and talking with the principal, parents and Department of Education staff to see if there is anything that could have been done to prevent this attack or incidents like this in the future,” Rep. Justin Woodson, the chairman of the state House Education Committee, told KHON2..

Taking statewide Class A and B offense numbers together, the campuses with the highest counts in 2018-19 were mostly middle schools, and Waianae Intermediate School had the highest count: 293 in just one school year, followed by Waipahu Intermediate (247), Campbell High School (235), Kalama Intermediate (198), and Keaau Middle (181).

“We definitely need to do everything we can as a state to put more resources toward Waianae Intermediate School,” said Sen. Maile Shimabukuro, who represents the Waianae area in the state Senate.

Shimabukuro says she hopes things like the new higher teacher pay in this and other hard-to-staff regions, and more onsite resources such as truancy court, a mental and physical health clinic, even schoolwide air conditioning will make a difference in temperament.

“I hope we’re going to start to see this reverse,” Shimabukuro said, “and just know that the community really is trying to come together to address the problems that are happening at the school.”

Whether schools are at the high, middle or low range of the incident count though, one need remains constant for students across Hawaii: “Making sure they have easy access to mental health care as well as education about how to handle conflict peacefully, how to deal with difficult emotions,” Shimabukuro said.

We’ll continue to follow up with the Department of Education and lawmakers on what they’re doing to curb everything from serious violence to bullying statewide. And we’ll watch the numbers for signs of progress.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Keani, Kelly and Kayla at HAIS District Science Fair 2/15/20

Kayla, Keani, & Kelly participated in the HAIS District Science Fair competition on 02/15/20.

Keani is an Island Pacific Academy 6th grader. Although he did not advance to the state competition, Keani had this to say: “Sadly I didn’t make it to states, but I now have an idea of what it will be like if I ever choose to go there again!”

Kelly, an Iolani junior, is going to advance to the state competition.

Kayla, an Iolani junior, is on the waitlist for the state competition.

Most of the Island Pacific Academy students who participated in the district competition.

Senator Shimabukuro Amends SB42 (CB 2/11/20)

Lawmakers Limit Scope of Bill Banning AG’s Probe of Hawaiian Nonprofit
By Blaze Lovell, Civil Beat, 11 Feb. 2020

A key Senate panel unanimously voted Tuesday to narrow the extent to which the state Attorney General’s Office can investigate certain nonprofits.

The Hawaiian Affairs Committee amended Senate Bill 42 to prohibit AG investigations from conflicting with Native Hawaiian cultural rights protected under the state constitution.

The proposal in front of lawmakers is a reaction to the AG’s probe of KAHEA: The Hawaiian Environmental Alliance. The state subpoenaed financial documents related to the nonprofit’s support of protests that have halted the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea.

The bill originally would have prohibited the AG from investigating any nonprofit that engages in acts of civil disobedience, which state lawyers raised objections to because it could essentially tie the state’s hands in investigating any nonprofit.

“Our intent is not to hinder the AG from doing its job,” said Sen. Maile Shimabukuro, chair of the Hawaiian Affairs Committee.

Shimabukuro introduced the measure by putting its contents into a blank bill last week. She amended the bill to include the narrower language involving conflicts, which was put forward by University of Hawaii law professor Ken Lawson.

In KAHEA’s case, the state is conflicted, Lawson said, because it has an interest in seeing TMT built on Mauna Kea, a mountain considered sacred by many Native Hawaiians.  Continue reading

Bill to Eliminate Reconstructed Vehicle Inspection

Bill would eliminate special inspections for lowriders, lifted vehicles
By Lisa Kubota, HNN, February 12, 2020

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – Many car enthusiasts hope that a proposal to get rid of a special inspection for reconstructed vehicles gets the green light from state lawmakers.

They’re tracking Senate Bill 213, which was passed by the Senate Transportation Committee last week.  Continue reading

NPR: DHHL to Buy $8M Mōʻiliʻili Property for Housing

Ku`uwehi Hiraishi, “DHHL to Buy $8M Property in Mōʻiliʻili from Kamehameha Schools for Housing” (HPR, 1/28/20).

UPDATED: 1/28/20, 5:33 p.m.

A new land deal in Mōʻiliʻili struck by the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands could take potentially hundreds of Native Hawaiians off the homestead wait list in urban Honolulu.

The Hawaiian Homes Commission (HHC) voted yesterday to buy almost $8 million in Mōʻiliʻili property from Kamehameha Schools for future housing development. The purchase could help address the growing waitlist for Hawaiian homestead lots on Oʻahu, where more than 10,000 applicants are still waiting.  Continue reading

Sen. Shimabukuro: City Should Reduce Its Reliance on Landfills 1/7/20

Ashley Mizuo, “Oahu Grapples With Where To Place Its Next Landfill As It Confronts Its Waste Dilemma” (HPR, 7 Jan. 2020).

About 30 trucks roll down Farrington Highway on the west side of Oahu every day to dump waste at the City and County of Honolulu’s only municipal landfill, Waimanalo Gulch. Now after 30 years, the State Land Use Commission has ordered the landfill to close its doors for good by 2028.

The landfill symbolizes Oahu’s continuing struggle to reduce the waste generated by about 1 million residents and visitors on any given day. On one hand, H-Power — the waste-to-energy incinerator in Kapolei — has allowed the city to divert a significant portion of its trash. Yet the island still needs a location to dump ash from H-Power and the remaining mountain of waste that the plant canʻt process.

Now, the city must decide how it will deal with the island’s burgeoning waste in the future. This reckoning is not solely due to the approaching land use deadline and environmental pressures surrounding Waimanalo Gulch, but mounting opposition to the location of waste facilities in Leeward Oahu, where many residents say they have had enough.

Waianae Sen. Maile Shimabukuro said the land use commissonʻs order to close Waimanalo Gulch is long overdue.

“The community’s been told time and time again the landfill would in fact close. But each time the closure date comes around, the city seeks an extension,” she said. “There’s definitely a feeling of — just in general — environmental injustice for our whole coastline.”   Continue reading

Mauna Lahilahi Botanical Garden Saved by Community 1/28/20

Brittany Lyte, “How These Makaha Neighbors Saved a County Park from Crime and Weeds” (Honolulu Civil Beat, 1/28/20).

When police and social services agencies couldn’t help, this small band of neighbors took matters into their own hands. And it worked.

What happens when a treasured public gathering place becomes a hotbed of crime and vagrancy?

When it happened to Mauna Lahilahi Botanical Garden on Oahu’s Waianae Coast, a gutsy, bootstrap community group moved in, instituted a zero tolerance policy for criminal and unhealthy activity and reclaimed the county park from the brink of delinquency.

Of course, it wasn’t so easy. But when complaints to police and politicians did little to solve the problem, the park’s neighbors decided to shift their perspective.

Instead of begging for better law enforcement, they invested hundreds of hours to establish a neighborhood watch group and a monthly cleanup event series. They forged partnerships with the cops and county government, which facilitated green waste pickup and a homeless sweep.

Slowly, they squeezed out illicit activity and replaced it with wholesome recreation — fishing, hiking, swimming and picnicking.

There’s much work to be done to fully restore the park’s beauty. But a year after the neighbors took on responsibility for the park’s condition, families that had given up on the place are returning.  Continue reading