Rep. Mina Morita's Blog


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.

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Nuclear Energy – possibility or distraction for Hawaii? – reposted

Posted in Clean Energy,Legislation/Capitol by Mina Morita on August 25, 2010

Note:  I was contacted by Lena Tran of Civil Beat who advised me that I could not post the article in its entirety.  The link that she referred me to only has the first part of the article, to read the rest you have to be subscriber, however, since I am allowed to “print” an excerpt of the article, here is the part that describes what happened in the Legislature in 2009 on the issue plus the contact info for Michael Levine, how to subscribe or participate in the discussion on-line.  House Concurrent Resolution 196 summarizes the issues that need to be addressed for a “thoughtful” decision on the topic.

House Leader: Nuclear Power DOA in Hawaii

Rep. Hermina Morita, chair of the Energy and Environmental Protection Committee that voted 9-0 to kill HB1, said last week that the idea of nuclear power in Hawaii has never gotten a full analysis and has typically turned into a distraction.

“There are too many things stacked against nuclear to have any kind of real possibility to move forward,” she said, pointing to the high costs and potential dangers of the technology. She also said nuclear would not achieve the primary goal of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative: moving away from imported fuel and reducing the risk of supply disruption.

“If you go nuclear, you’re still reliant on imported fuel, and if the rest of the world moves more toward nuclear, we’re going to be competing for fuel again,” she said.

That tone was echoed by DBEDT Director Ted Liu in one of many written testimonies [pdf] that raised concerns about HB1.

“As the demand for nuclear energy increases throughout the world, it is likely that the cost of uranium will also increase. For instance between 2004 and 2007, the spot price of uranium more than quadrupled, reaching more than $140/lb before falling sharply in the past several months to less than $80/lb,” Liu wrote. “Switching from one commodity, petroleum, subject to speculative swings to another, uranium, would not appear to effectively address Hawaii’s goal of energy independence.”

After House Bill 1 stalled in committee, Morita and Water, Land and Ocean Resources Committee Chair Ken Ito introduced House Concurrent Resolution 196, requesting that the Hawaii Energy Policy Forum study the benefits and risks of nuclear power. The resolution did not move forward.

DISCUSSION Should Hawaii consider pursuing nuclear energy? Join the conversation and learn more about energy in Hawaii.


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Race Update

Posted in Elections,Kauai by Mina Morita on July 22, 2010

Republicans named Harry R. Williams as the replacement candidate.  According to Derrick DePledge’s blog post, he is a Kapaa contractor.

Thanks for the e-mails, comments and phone calls I received throughout the day and the little chats while I was at post office and Foodland this evening.  Many of you have said, “It’s okay I know you will win.”  I really appreciate everyone’s confidence in my campaign and my ability as your State Representative.  I would have welcomed a race against a legitimate candidate, however, in this case there was no Republican candidate in the District 14 House race at the close of filing.  The Chief Election Officer misinterpreted the section of the law (11-117, HRS and 11-118, HRS) that deals with a candidate’s withdrawal, perpetuating this David Hamman fraud and scam.

At the time of the filing deadline (4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 20), David Hamman was a candidate for the Senate seat, having filed his nomination papers for that race after withdrawing from the District 14 House race on Monday, July 19.  According to the Hawaii Administrative Rules, which governs the Office of Elections, Chapter 3-172-1, HAR  defines “candidate” as “an individual who has qualified for placement on the ballot.”  And, an individual is qualified only if he files his nomination papers in accordance with Chapter 12-6, HRS.  Hamman qualified as a candidate for the Kauai Senate race having filed his nomination papers for that race by the filing deadline.  The section of the law that the Chief Election Officer is relying on would apply only if Hamman was withdrawing from the Senate race.

Simply put, Hamman did not file nomination papers for the District 14 House race by the close of the filing deadline because he withdrew on July 19.  And, there was no way he could because he filed his nomination papers for the Senate race and a person cannot run in more than one race.  The Republicans did not have a candidate qualified for the ballot for the District 14 House race at the close of the filing deadline, therefore, no candidate vacancy exists to allow Harry R. Williams to run as a legitimate candidate.

Someone commented that it would be a waste of State resources to pursue this.  I was surprised by that attitude because that’s the same logic that proponents of the SuperFerry were using when people questioned and challenged the Administration’s interpretation of Hawaii’s environmental laws and the process.  And, you all know the outcome of that fiasco.

Do I have a race? – Update/DePledge’s article

Posted in Uncategorized by Mina Morita on July 22, 2010

Here’s Derrick DePledge’s article that appeared in this morning’s paper.

Do I have a race? I think not.

Posted in Uncategorized by Mina Morita on July 21, 2010

The filing deadline for the 2010 elections was yesterday at 4:30 p.m.  David Hamman, a Republican living in Princeville, pulled nomination papers for the House District 14 seat on July 13.  He filed the House nomination papers on July 19 and withdrew his nomination papers that same day.  Then on that same day, July 19, he pulled nomination papers for the Senate District 7 seat and filed his nomination papers that same day.  I believe he had no intention of running for the House seat because his website announced his candidacy for the Kauai Senate seat before July 13.

Today I learned that Scott Nago, the Chief Elections Officer, has made a decision that would give the Republican Party of Hawaii an extra three days to field a Republican candidate against me because of Hamman’s withdrawal.   The law does allow for a Party to fill a “vacancy” by a  candidate who withdraws from a race after filing.  However, since Hamman withdrew from the House race prior to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 20, the filing deadline, he was no longer a candidate. I believe the Chief Elections Officer misinterpreted the law in a way that would make the filing deadline meaningless.  I have sent a request to the Office of Elections asking for the legal basis for this decision.

In Memoriam – Dr. Stephen Schneider

Posted in Clean Energy,Education,Environmental Protection,Sustainability by Mina Morita on July 20, 2010

Typically, climate change is not a top of mind issue for me because if we keep to the implementation of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative objectives we can anticipate greenhouse gas emissions reductions of 38.7% below 1990 target levels by 2020 (GHGTaskForceworkplans).  But today I found two climate change concerns disturbing and sad.

First, I heard this story on Poison Ivy Growing Faster, More Virulent because of rising carbon dioxide levels and forest disruptions.

Second, climatologist Dr. Stephen Schneider died yesterday.  The brilliance of Dr. Schneider was his ability to explain the science and political complexities of climate change in plain English.  I first met Dr. Schneider when we were both participating in a 2007 conference convened by Blue Planet Foundation at Ko Olina.  By chance, the night before the conference started, I sat next to him at dinner not knowing anything about his background or accomplishments.  Had I known I probably would have been too intimidated to carry a conversation with a Nobel Prize winner.  He was funny, delightful and unassuming.  His presentation on climate change risk management and its solution reflecting our value judgement was practical and thought provoking and has helped me to better frame energy/environmental issues.  I could not find his video on the Blue Planet website but I did find a similar presentation without the powerpoint on YouTube.

After the Ko Olina conference, Dr. Schneider made several other trips back to Hawaii to lecture and had hoped to vacation on Kauai.  His passing is a huge loss for humanity.  Here is an excerpt from Peter H. Gleich, Co-Founder & President of the Pacific Institute, post:

But his contributions extend far, far beyond his superb science: Schneider was perhaps the most important communicator on climate science issues to the public and to policymakers. Steve was committed to challenging those who deny the realities of climate change because he understood that their abuse and misuse of climate science threatens the health of humans and the planet itself . . . He taught me and many others he mentored to understand and honor the science, but he also taught us the importance of speaking up in defense of the integrity of science and the public interest.

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.

Clean Energy Transformation Takes More Than “Green” Jobs

Posted in Clean Energy,Kauai,Sustainability,Uncategorized by Mina Morita on July 2, 2010

Yesterday The Garden Island ran an article about the Kauai Planning & Action Alliance’s annual meeting where I gave a presentation at last Thursday.  While I understand the challenge to write an article on an issue as complex as the clean energy economy and its focus on green jobs, I thought the article missed the gist of my presentation, Hawaii’s Clean Energy Transformation, Creating & Identifying Green Jobs (KPAA62410finalnotes).

Throughout the article were snippets in quotes which did not fully convey and may have inadvertently misstate what was actually said.  For example, went I used the term “energy junkies” it was in the context that we really needed to broaden outreach to include all sectors of community, not just preach to the choir which I described as the “energy junkies”.  And, I use that term in an endearing way as these are the clean energy advocates I can count on to be involved and who already understand the importance of a clean energy economy.  But in order for a clean energy transformation to occur the reach has to be far beyond the choir and immediate congregation.

In my presentation I reference the essay The Death of Environmentalism and the book that resulted from that essay, Break Through.  I bring these two references up because both are provocative in pointing out that the stakes are too high to continue with a business as usual scenario and environmentalism alone will not save the planet.  However, reframing issues to engage a larger stakeholder groups can lead to greater buy-in and participation demonstrating a good solution has multiple benefits.

A Hawaii clean energy economy transformation is both technical and social engineering at its best.  And, unless we can gain confidence in this long-term strategy from a broad base of Hawaii residents and businesses a transformation will be almost impossible to bring to fruition.

CPPW – Hanalei Relay For Life

Posted in Events,Health by Mina Morita on June 7, 2010

Just before the Memorial Day weekend, I attended a workshop in San Diego related to an initiative called Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) which I blogged about several weeks ago.  Part of my assignment at the workshop was to attend the media training sessions to be an effective spokesperson.  One of the assignments was to come up with a succinct message diamond, three sentences that capture what we are suppose to be doing:

Good health is essential to quality of life. Communities Putting Prevention to Work links and empowers communities throughout the nation with local solutions to prevent disease and illness from tobacco use and obesity. Thriving communities begin with good and affordable access to healthy foods and physical activity as part of our daily routine.

It was a great workshop and I learned lots about strategies to change social norms.  Unfortunately, as soon as I got home I reverted back to my normal couch potato routine.  So much for the spokesperson who suppose to motivate people to take control of their life for the sake of good health!  But as I was sitting on my behind staring at the computer this morning, I heard this story on NPR’s Morning Edition.  Here is a portion of the transcript and here is the link where you can listen to the story or read the entire transcript.

Prof. BAUMAN: Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for death and for illness. It contributes to about one-sixth of heart disease, cardiovascular disease, about the same for diabetes, about 12 percent per fold(ph) in the elderly, and about a 10th of all breast cancer and colon cancer are attributable to being physically inactive.

SILBERNER: Bauman says getting people up and moving is more than about just motivating individuals. He says it’s going to take a coordinated effort, like the one that’s driven down smoking rates. And he says the payoff will be on a similar scale.

The gist of the interview was 100 years ago exercise was blended in our daily lives, through physical labor, housework, farming/gardening, hunting/gathering (food preparation in general) and minimal transportation options (we walked alot).  Today, all that is being asked is to get up and move for 30 minutes a day.

Can’t wrap my head around the 30 minutes a day yet but I will commit 12 hours on Saturday, June 12, 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., to do the Hanalei Relay For Life at Waioli Park.  Prior to the Relay, I will be at Hanalei Center asking for donations to win a Zip & Dip Package for two donated by Princeville Ranch Adventures to support Team Roselani, and my former Kong Lung co-workers, Jenny Conley and Vanessa Fujiyama, both breast cancer survivors.  Breast cancer is my family’s nemesis.  My mother who is now deceased had breast cancer.  Two sisters and three sister-in-laws are breast cancer survivors.

I hope you will find these two recent stories inspirational to lend your support to the Hanalei Relay For Life.  One appeared in the Kauai People and the other I found as I was logging on to WordPress to blog.  Let me know if you want to donate to the drawing ($1.00 per entry) or please make a donation to Team Roselani.

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