Rep. Mina Morita's Blog

Ike Kuokoa – Liberating Knowledge

Posted in Education,Environmental Protection,Events,General,Oceans/Water,Sustainability by Mina Morita on November 6, 2011

Last week I had the pleasure of giving Dr. Puakea Nogelmeier a ride to a friend’s house for a dinner party.  Although on sabbatical this year, he is feverishly organizing to launch a volunteer drive to typescript Hawaiian -language newspapers to make the entire collection word-searchable.  No language skill is necessary and forgive me for not using okina and kahako in my blog.

I don’t have a scanner so I’m going to practice my typing and accuracy, the desired skills needed for this project, by retyping parts of the brochure describing the project:

Awaiaulu: Hawaiian Literature Project

Ike Kuokoa – Liberating Knowledge

Over 125,000 pages of Hawaiian-language newspapers were printed from 1834 to 1948, equaling a million or more typescript pages of text.  Perhaps the largest native-language cache in the western world, the newspapers were an intentional national repository of knowledge, opinion and historical progess as Hawaii moved through kingdom, constitutional monarchy, republic and territory, yet only 2% of that collection has been integrated into our English-speaking world today.

75,000 of the newspaper pages have been converted to digital images.  15,000 of which have been made into searchable typescript, but 60,000 pages remain unsearchable.  For a decade we have used OCR and paid operators to make quality searchable text, educating every person connected with the process.  The 15,000 pages showed the world the importance of this resource, but funding has continually dwindled.  We face closure of the project or export of the work to Asia.  Instead, we are enlisting an army of volunteers to type those pages word-for-word and make them all searchable.  We plan to liberate knowledge from the archival dust because knowledge liberates everyone.

Volunteers Needed – Be a part of this historical Hawaiian legacy effort

No Language Skill Necessary!

Mounting a locally-based volunteer drive will be a massive effort, with thousands of volunteers and a central coordinating hub to engage volunteers and guide production for reliability and accuracy.  The cost is higher than exporting the work and the effort is daunting but this allows for community engagement, personal investment in Hawaiian knowledge and Hawaii-centered kuleana in the product, supported by hands around the world.

Ike Kuokoa launches on November 28, 2011 (La Kuokoa since 1843) and will finish 60,000 pages on/before July 31, 2012 (La Hoihoi Ea).  Up and web-searchable by La Kuokoa 2012.

For pre-registration and more information go to:

My understanding of the volunteer effort is that a volunteer will “check-out” a newspaper page.  The volunteer will then typescript each article and return the page to the archive when pau.  The articles from the page will be reviewed for accuracy and, if necessary, returned to the volunteer to make corrections.  When completed the typescripted newspaper page will be credited to the volunteer as an acknowledgement of the volunteer’s participation and the volunteer may then “check-out” another page to be typescripted.

Puakea tells me that the Hawaiian Civic Clubs, Kamehameha Schools Alumni Classes, hula halau from around the world are among the groups challenging each other to amass volunteers for this effort.  He estimates that at least 3,000 volunteers are needed.

Most importantly, this cache of over 100 newspaper publications helps to reveal various viewpoints of Hawaiian life during a 100 year period.  Such insight has been invaluable.  For example, of particular interest to the University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program (UH Sea Grant) are articles touching on marine ecosystem management in Hawai‘i, traditional and introduced fishing practices, climatic conditions, and storms and other significant weather events.  Read more about this particular project here.

I excitedly signed up, hope you will too.

Closing One Chapter, Starting A New One

Posted in Events,General,Kauai by Mina Morita on March 20, 2011

On Wednesday, March 9, the Senate Committee on Commerce & Consumer Protection held my confirmation hearing (click here for Governor’s Message No. 523, testimony and committee report) and recommended for approval my appointment to the Public Utilities Commission.  The full Senate confirmation vote was held on Monday, March 14.  Just prior to my vote, former Kauai Senator, Gary Hooser, was also confirmed by the Senate as the Director of the Office of Environmental Quality Control.  Subsequently, after the confirmation vote, I walked back to the House Chambers to meet for the last time with House colleagues and was allowed to make my last statement on the House floor.  I then resigned as the State Representative for District 14 and was sworn in as a Public Utilities Commissioner later that afternoon in the Lieutenant Governor’s conference room.  My first day on the job as the Chair of the Public Utilities Commission was the next day, Tuesday, March 15.

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Setting Our Sights As We Begin A New Year – The Blue Economy

Posted in General,Sustainability by Mina Morita on January 1, 2011

As the new year begins, we will continue to face the many challenges of a struggling economy which will no doubt be exacerbated by rising oil prices. Unfortunately, from my past experience, when the economy is weak expectations are set pretty low at the Legislature for the upcoming session.  However, on the bright side, we have a new Governor.  Governor Abercrombie’s inaugural address portends the sense of hope and optimism as we set our sights on this new year in establishing Hawaii’s future direction.  Here is an excerpt from the address:

This morning the sun rose in paradise, bringing a new day.  What becomes of this day is in our hands—as stewards of our land and water, providers for our families, and citizens of our beloved Hawai‘i.

On this day in Hawai‘i we begin our work on building a sustainable prosperity that can be enjoyed today and for generations to come, we will make investments in the capabilities of our people, and we will build strong communities based on our core values of compassion and unity.

Our first task is accelerating our recovery by restoring and creating good jobs, capitalizing on new opportunities, working smarter and more creatively, and building partnerships to optimize results. We can no longer spend precious time and energy fighting to gain a political edge. Instead we must focus all our efforts on Hawai‘i’s future and our respective roles in it.  Each one of us has important work to do—as laborers and managers, business owners and innovators, public and private sector leaders, educators and caregivers.

We will face challenges, but we will not let these become excuses.

Yes, I am excited to get to work with a leadership team that is focused on aspirations, innovation and values to reshape our economy to one that truly reflects our desire to be prosperous in every aspect of our  lives.

The Enterprise Honolulu (the economic development board of  Oahu) website opens with a photograph of a voyaging canoe in a vast ocean asking, “Will we ever trust our senses again?  No signs, no milemarkers, no GPS.  They knew where home was.  They knew where they wanted to go.”  We are the legacy of “they”, and, hopefully, well embedded in our na’au are all our senses to guide Hawaii to economic and environmental prosperity to enrich our quality of life.  I cannot think of a better way to start of the new year with the hope that the following video will help to stimulate discussions and action on the numerous innovations awaiting to be tapped into in redesigning how we think and do business in Hawaii.

I Miss Molly Ivins

Posted in Elections,General,Uncategorized by Mina Morita on November 1, 2010

I woke up this morning missing Molly Ivins.  I wish I could channel her right now to get her perspective on the absurdity of the 2010 political landscape.  But, she sums it up quite eloquently with this quote:

What stuns me most about contemporary politics is not even that the system has been so badly corrupted by money. It is that so few people get the connection between their lives and what the bozos do in Washington and our state capitols.

In my role as a “politician”, Molly Ivins grounded me because she always spoke the truth – that’s the power of a good journalist.

In this speech at Tulane University, Molly gives the most succinct civics lesson ever and her political commentary is probably more germane than anything you will hear tomorrow night.

Do I Have A Race? Apparently.

Posted in Elections,General by Mina Morita on September 7, 2010

The one question I repeatedly get asked when I am out in the public is the Hamman “filing” and “withdrawal” for the State House District 14 race which resulted in Harry Williams becoming my Republican challenger in the general election.  I hope the following explanation and the attached documents give a better understanding of why the Kauai Democratic Party filed a complaint.

The Kauai Democratic Party’s complaint simply argues the undisputed fact that Hamman did not sign his nomination papers in two places as required by law. (Verified Complaint)  First, Hamman did not sign the oath that he was a partisan candidate, i.e. that he was a member of the Republican Party.  Second, he did not sign the loyalty oath or affirmation. (Hamman Nomination Papers) However, last week Judge Randal Valenciano ruled (Judge’s Findings, Conclusions, Order) that when the County Clerk accepted Hamman’s incomplete nomination papers, he became a “candidate” for the State House District 14 race.  The decision was a disappointment because the law is very clear in stating that incomplete nomination papers are void and shall not be accepted for filing.

Here are excerpts of the Hawaii Revised Statutes that directly apply in this case:

§12-3  Nomination paper; format; limitations. (a)  No candidate’s name shall be printed upon any official ballot to be used at any primary, special primary, or special election unless a nomination paper was filed in the candidate’s behalf and in the name by which the candidate is commonly known.  The nomination paper shall be in a form prescribed and provided by the chief election officer containing substantially the following information . . .

((7)  A sworn certification by self-subscribing oath by a party candidate that the candidate is a member of the party;

and Chapter 12-3 ends with the following:

(f)  Nomination papers which are incomplete and do not contain all of the certifications, signatures, and requirements of this section shall be void and will not be accepted for filing by the chief election officer or clerk. (emphasis added)

There is another section specific to the oath or affirmation:

§12-7  Filing of oath. The name of no candidate for any office shall be printed upon any official ballot, in any election, unless the candidate shall have taken and subscribed to the following written oath or affirmation, and filed the oath with the candidate’s nomination papers . . .

Chapter 3-172-1, Hawaii Administrative Rules defines a “candidate” as follows:

Candidate means an individual who has qualified for placement on the ballot.

Without the required signatures and having withdrawn prior to the filing deadline, Hamman’s nomination papers should have been void on their face making Hamman unqualified to be placed on the ballot.  However, the Office of Elections used the “withdrawal” of the void nomination papers to give the Republican Party of Hawaii additional time to appoint Harry Williams as the “party candidate” after the filing deadline.

The Hawaii statutes allow for challenges to nomination papers (12-8, HRS).  However, the Judge’s ruling seems to made it impossible for this challenge and future challenges to occur, as the erroneous actions of the clerk’s office in “accepting” incomplete nomination papers effectively negated the mandatory requirements of the law.

So, yes, given the lower court’s decision, apparently I do have a race and I intend to win.

Pilgrimage of Compassion – 2010

Posted in Events,General,Kauai,Sustainability by Mina Morita on July 12, 2010

At the foot of the path.

Yesterday I had the privilege of giving remarks at the 10th annual Pilgrimage of Compassion at the Lawai International Center.  In preparing to speak before a large group I like to put everything I say in writing and try to edit what I say as much as possible so I can be up at the mike for as short as a time possible.  I tried all week to write and the pressure was building.  I woke up yesterday morning with nothing in mind and had to leave the house in a couple of hours.  I am not a religious person, nor do I think of myself as spiritual but  my life has been enriched by people I have met like Ramsay Taum, Pono Shim, and Puanani Burgess, who all perpetuate the wisdom of kupuna and practice and share Aloha.  (click here to see a video of Ramsay sharing the meaning of Hawaii, read Pono’s statement to the State Senate and hear Kupuna Paki share the meaning of Aloha)  Suffice it to say, that once I started to focus on their stories to sharing their words for the pilgrimage  it became easier to write.

Pilgrimage of Compassion - 2010

One of 88 shrines.

Many people at the pilgrimage asked for the text of my remarks and given the wonders of WordPress, I can now retell the story here with pictures and special links below.  Also, here is a link to my 2009 remarks  which talks more about Pilahi Paki and Kahu Abraham Akaka’s famous statehood Aloha Ke Akua sermon. LawaiInternationalCenter

Kaua & the Lotus Blossom

Last week I watched my lotus plant flower for the first time.  I wasn’t familiar with the significance of the lotus blossom in Buddhism so went to look it up on the internet.

The roots of a lotus are in the mud, the stem grows up through the water, and the flower blossoms high above the water, reaching for the sunlight. The movement of the stem and bud through the mud represents the progress of the soul from the primeval mud of materialism, through the waters of experience, and into the bright sunshine of enlightenment. And, although there are other water plants that bloom above the water, only the lotus which, owing to the strength of its stem, rises about a foot above the surface of the water.

Learning this reminded me of the Hawaiian creation chant, the Kumulipo where existence begins in darkness and muck.  This is how Kumu Hula, Pualani Kanahele, from Hawaii Island, describes the Kumulipo.

“The Kumulipo is a mele ko‘ihonua (genealogical chant). It is a remembrance from the lipo (dark depth) of our deep past to the lipo of our unknown future. It heralds existence from dawn to dawn or the numerous beginnings and endings. The Kumulipo acknowledges the walewale as the earthy matter from which all forms have ascended. The fundamental images, thoughts, forms and shapes from walewale evolved and increased into familial patterns. It is the organic inception of all family systems . . .

The Kumulipo is the reality of our dim past, the foundation for our present and the pathway into the future. It is a cognizant reminder of our ancestors, their intelligence, failure, defeat and conquest. This chant is a gift which encourages the warrior within us to awake to the contests and challenges, which continue to confront us today, by using ancestral intelligence and experiences with our own intelligence. It is the genealogy which connects the Native Hawaiian to land, sky and ocean.”

A very important part of our heritage that connects Hawaii’s physiological existence to our psychological being is the concept of Aloha.  And, the Lawai International Center’s foundation is embedded in the concept of Aloha.

It is unfortunate that the word Aloha is often misunderstood as only a simple greeting or as just love.  Aloha is a way of being, it is a way of life.  When the word Aloha is broken down into two parts, Alo means to be in the presence of, to join or connect with.  Ha is the breath, the spirit, the essence of one’s being.  So to say Aloha is to be in the presence of, or to join the spirit of the person you are acknowledging.  Aloha also speaks to the notion of connecting to the other life forces, however you define them – god, nature – to live in balance with those forces.  It is the concept of giving and receiving – not giving and taking.  It is the notion that the more you put in, the more you will receive.  It is the notion of leaving people and places better than you found it, leaving people whole, leaving places whole.  Aloha is the essence of our being that connects us to all life forces and humanity.

In our daily lives Aloha is the foundation of all of our actions to make our family, work, communities – local or global – sustainable.  While the western concept of sustainability is balancing people, the planet and profits, I believe the human thoughts and actions required for sustainability are what I call Hawaii’s triple bottomline.  First, Aloha – meaning compassion, respect and reverence for each other and other life forces.  Second, Malama Pono – to do what is right and just.  And, third, Kuleana – acknowledging and taking responsibility.

Like the symbolism of the lotus blossom, Aloha is the spirit of enlightenment at work in you and in me and in the world, overcoming challenges, bringing new light and life to all who sit in the darkness of fear, guiding the feet of mankind into the way of peace.

Shakuhachi Grand Master Riley Lee

Aloha is the guidance Lynn Marumoto has relied on in the establishment of the Lawai International Center.  She and members of the Lawai International Center ohana have a tremendous kuleana (responsibility) to malama (protect and perpetuate) this special puu honua (place of refuge) so that the seeds of aloha may be planted with each step along the hillside during this annual pilgrimage of compassion and to blossom and propagate aloha when we leave this special place today.

It’s Official – I’m Running For Re-election

Posted in General,Legislation/Capitol by Mina Morita on July 8, 2010

I finally filed my nomination papers this afternoon so am now an official candidate for re-election for the State House, District 14, East & North Kauai.  The filing deadline is 4:30 p.m. on July 20.  The staff at the Kauai Office of Elections are hoping that all Kauai candidates will be filing way before the deadline as they are under strict instructions to close at 4:30 on the July 20 to avoid the fiasco that occurred in Honolulu in 2008.

I am running for my eighth two-year term.

Why am I running for re-election?  I was very fortunate that in my second term I was made the Chair of Energy & Environmental Protection (EEP) sort of by default.  At that time, it was unusual that someone only in their second term would get a chairmanship when there other members with more seniority.  My first choice was Water, Land Use & Ocean Resources but some people thought that with my “environmental” leanings I would reek havoc with that chairmanship.  Nobody was fighting over EEP.  Of course, today energy and food security are top of mind issues.  I have a full energy agenda and a broken environmental review process that needs to be fixed.

More importantly, at a time when we need real leadership in a representative democracy, I believe I can and will make the hard and balanced decisions to benefit all sectors of our community and future generations.

I have been in a funk after the Governor’s veto of House Bill 444.  And, I am appalled by her ignorance of representative democracy and the essence of the constitution, deferring to mob-rule mentality instead.  The Honolulu StarAdvertiser editorial and op-ed writer, Cynthia Oi piece hit the nail on the head.  And, there was nothing devious or insidious on how the House proceeded on the final vote of House Bill 444.  What was wrong was how the bill got tabled through a procedural motion in the first place.  Weeks later, the majority of the caucus felt that the public should have a right to know each representative’s position on the bill.  And that we did, going through the final vote and putting our votes on record.  If people think this one issue should be the sole determinant in one’s qualification for office I fear for the future of our Aloha State.  I guess that’s why I am in a funk.

Tipping Point

Posted in Clean Energy,General,Legislation/Capitol,Sustainability by Mina Morita on May 14, 2010

There has been a whirlwind of energy announcements over the past two weeks beginning with Nissan announcing Hawaii as a launch site for the Nissan Leaf electric car.  The next announcement was CT&T, a Korean electric car manufacturer, siting Hawaii as an assembly site creating as much as 400 jobs.

On Wednesday, I drove a fuel cell/hydrogen vehicle as the GM-The Gas Company partnership was announced.  Visionary, Dr. Patrick Takahashi, Emeritus Director of the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, and one of the early drafters of hydrogen research and development legislation in Congress for U.S. Senator Spark Matsunaga covers our shared experience in his May 13 blog.

Yesterday, I participated in the press conference where Hawaii Energy (for electricity customers serviced by HECO and its subsidiaries) and Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (Kauai residents) announced their cash for clunker refrigerator rebate program.  The program will begin on May 24 and last as long as the ARRA grant monies hold out for qualifying refrigerators and proper disposal of the old refrigerator.  The second part of the press conference was an announcement from the Energy Division of the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism of its electric car and recharging system rebate as well as its request for proposals for a systems management approach for the recharging of electric vehicles.

In August 2002 I gave one of my first major speeches at a   Hydrogen Partnering Meeting on the Big Island.  The following month I was quoted in Hawaii Business that I would hope for the day when people would say “hydrogen” and “Hawaii” in the same breath.   That certainly happened this week.  Although I have become a little bit more pragmatic in my approach to a hydrogen economy, I still strongly believe the marriage of renewables and hydrogen can be a pathway to peace.  But more importantly, in the short-term, Hawaii is pushing the envelope in integrating its electricity and transportation sectors in its clean energy policy and incorporating energy efficiency.  That’s a huge tipping point.

Hydrogen Partnering Meeting
Hilton Waikoloa Village Hotel
Hawaii State Representative Hermina Morita
Chair, House Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection
Wednesday, August 28, 2002

The renewable energy, hydrogen and fuel cell technology expertise in this room is overwhelming. I am honored to be here and included; however, I couldn’t help but notice that I am the only politician on the participant list. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I do not presume to have the academic, technological or business expertise to contribute anything significant and I have spent the past week trying to figure out how I can best participate. I have come to the conclusion that I am here for a somewhat obscure purpose — so obscure that the only way they could fit me in was to make me the dinner speaker. However, with the audience mellowed by a few cocktails and a glass of wine at dinner any politician can sound pretty good — perhaps even purposeful and palatable.  But, before everyone gets too mellowed out I hope you are ready to hear about my personal quest to have the words, “hydrogen” and “Hawaii” said in the same breath when anyone speaks of a hydrogen-based economy. When this happens, I know I will have been successful as a politician and in carrying out my obscure purpose. And, I, along with you as partners, will have shaped a preferred future for Hawaii that the rest of the world will model to gain economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and social justice and equity.

My presentation is based on a talk given by Hawaii futurist Dr. James Dator before the House Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection, which I Chair. His message played a pivotal role in my personal development as a Legislator.  Here is a story worth retelling. More than a generation has passed since the Hawaii 2000 Project.

In the late 1960’s, an era typified by the anti-war message of love and peace, mellowed perhaps by an herbal substance, Hawaii’s future looked extremely bright. The Future Studies program at the University of Hawaii, initiated by the Hawaii State Legislature, forged critical links between futurists and decision-makers and decision-makers and Hawaii’s citizens. Funded by the Legislature, Hawaii took an impressive step in “Anticipatory Democracy” – as communities statewide planned their preferred future for the year 2000.  Through this unique partnership progressive legislation flourished – zero population growth, family planning services, the preservation and protection of our natural and cultural resources, universal health care, becoming the first state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and establishing the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute are just some of the few bold steps of the Legislature.

During that same period Hawaii’s own — the late United States Senator Spark Matsunaga — promoted not only renewable energy but laid the ground work for the discussion of hydrogen in Congress. We are so fortunate to have this vision and legacy carried on our present United States Senators Dan Akaka and Dan Inouye.  Hawaii’s Legislators took risks. They thought bold and acted on it. Their primary purpose was maintaining the quality of life for all Hawaii residents.  Then, Hawaii lost its vision and lost its nerve.

First the oil shocks of the 1970’s. In the 1980’s, Hawaii was enticed by Japanese money. This time Legislators boldly reached out – with their hands. They offered little or no resistance to new development and seemingly never met a developer they didn’t like. Despite high interest rates, construction and real estate sales boomed. These activities provided everyone with a false sense of security but created a greater divide between the haves and the have-nots. By the mid-1990’s we, reluctantly, realized that along with boom periods come the bust. The Legislature struggles to just balance the budget.

The year 2000 has come and gone. The great efforts of Hawaii’s citizens in the Hawaii 2000 Project have fallen to the wayside. Instead of living up to the project’s slogan, “Somebody better care about tomorrow”, many decision-makers have been guided by the mantra, “Somebody check out the next poll”. And, I do not believe this is trend is unique to Hawaii. Unfortunately, with this breakdown in the critical links between futurists, decision-makers and Hawaii’s citizens, we have seen a dismantling in not only anticipatory democracy but also participatory democracy. Once we were known for our innovation and daring as a community. We have stopped dreaming and live for the here and now with little regard for future consequences. And, this too is not unique to Hawaii.

So, in these difficult times what should be the role of the Legislature be? What is our obscure purpose?

Dr. Dator puts it succinctly. He says, “Legislators need to become futurists — the applied futurists for our society. As such, they should enable citizens to identify significant trends and emerging issues, to understand the long-range consequences of their actions so as to anticipate alternative futures and to envision preferred futures. And then they must enact legislation.”  He continues, “Politicians should provide strong leadership and vision, not by pretending they know all the answers, but by becoming the social experimenters, by trying out different responses to various problems and opportunities on the basis of the community’s preferred vision. They should be open to change on the basis of experience, new problems and new opportunities.”

In the midst of the Great Depression — and these words should guide leaders today — Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “The country needs, and unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it, if it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But, above all try something.”

I believe the temper of the community I represent, which, hopefully, will be validated by the results of the General Election in November, is a community that desires a clean, renewable energy source based on the principles of sustainable practices. I believe that this temper is not unique to the community I represent but is one shared statewide, nationally and internationally.

However, I am an advocate for a hydrogen economy for a selfish reason. I am Hawaiian and I cannot bear the thought that the Hawaii I knew as a child will be different for my grandchildren. I view the transformation to a hydrogen economy as the only means to protect the natural and cultural heritage of my identity. I am convinced that this is the only answer to sustain Hawaii’s fragile environment and to stabilize and diversify its economy.

Much like Mayor Harry Kim and Senator Dan Inouye in their visions for the Gateway Project, I want the experiences and lessons that Hawaii will learn in this transformation to be a model for the rest of the world. I believe we must move forward because it is the only moral and ethical choice we have. The very existence and survival of many island nations and their people are dependent on this progressive transformation. Island nations, including Hawaii, are the canaries in the mine, gauging the adverse consequences of climate change.

A hydrogen economy that utilizes renewable energy resources captures the basic principles of sustainability in promoting environmental stewardship, economic prosperity and social justice and equity. In Hawaiian we say that this is “pono”, that it, this is right and just.

Hawaii is at a critical juncture. We are all on an outrigger canoe trying to catch a wave. We are dependent not only on an expert steersman to guide the canoe but each paddler doing his or her part to stay just ahead of the breaking wave. With all our combined efforts we can catch that wave to for an exhilarating ride. With the help of my legislative colleagues like Senator Lorraine Inouye, I hope to cultivate the political will to catch that wave on the first attempt. But if not, I and many of my colleagues will definitely try again and again, to do our part to help rebuild a bold Legislature of vision and nerve.

However, in this room, our collective passion for a hydrogen economy is one of the few ways to reestablish the critical partnership between the future, politics and humanity. In this room, our collective passion for a hydrogen economy can rekindle the hopes and desires of all citizens of the world in shaping the preferred future.

But most importantly, in this room, we are not just politicians, scientists, technicians, civil servants or business executives but we are partners in an extraordinary humanitarian effort to build a better future. In this room, we are the somebodies that care about tomorrow.

Posted in General,Sustainability by Mina Morita on April 16, 2010

Check out the latest issue of Green: Hawaii’s Sustainable Living Magazine.

What an honor to be mentioned along with great people like Kapua Sproat, Christina Monroe and Bill Walsh.  It was a pleasure to learn more about the Cookes because we have a connection to PRISM (Providing Resolutions with Integrity for a Sustainable Molokai) and the Molokai students and their incredible teachers, Vicki Newberry and Dara Lukonen, who helped me with the bottle bill.  And, I look forward to meeting Glenda Anderson.  People like Glenda play such an important role in incorporating modern conveniences (lighting) and necessities (climate control) in a cost efficient way while maintaining the historic integrity of a Hawaii treasure like Iolani Place.  My only disappointment: I am a proud tutu of three, not two (must have mixed up the part about being a mother of two).

Here’s a picture of the moopuna.  Left to Right – Halia Rebecca (age 2), Kauanoe (age 5) and Lililehua (age 3) with Bunny.

Sit-in Update

Posted in Education,General,Issues,Legislation/Capitol by Mina Morita on April 9, 2010

The Honolulu Advertiser reports that the sit-in may go through the weekend. I haven’t been upstairs today to see what’s going on but here is the full text of the Governor’s statement which she posted last night.  It is my understanding that the Governor has not been physically present in the negotiations between HSTA and the BOE.  I asked a friend, who is very knowledgeable in the dynamics of negotiations and knowing that her position is well-represented at the table anyway, if her calling a meeting with the parties and being physically present would make a big difference.  He said of course it would.  He said the Governor calls a meeting and you go, mainly out of respect for the office she holds.  But the important point here is that she has been reluctant to call-in the parties to meet. 

This kind of recalcitrant positioning only leaves the those who care about their children’s education feeling ignored and frustrated.  Here is a statement from Michael Doyle of Save our Schools, Defend Hawaii’s Education: 

Good afternoon! 

My name is Michael Doyle and I am writing to you to ask any legislators who are interested in helping to save education and the future of Hawaii to attend a press conference today, Friday April 9th at 4:00pm in the Governor’s office. 

Save our schools has been sitting in the Governor’s office since Wednesday at 2:30pm This morning Governor Lingle spoke with the press to give a statemnet on the issue, but has refused to speak to us on the issue. 

The press confrence is in response to her statements and lack of leadership on this issue. 

I hope that you will be able to make it and give your input. 

Thank you for your support. 

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend the press conference but I think it would just a kind gesture for the Governor to acknowledge that there are a group of people several feet away, on the other side of walls and doors who are representative of many other families in Hawaii who expect real leadership in resolving this pressing issue.  Their position at the bargining table is not represented and she has a duty to make sure that it is.

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