Obama does not represent Hawaii

When it comes to the Obama Presidential Library, we're better off without it.

Tyler Greenhill
Ching v. Ailā: protecting public trust lands at Pōhakuloa

The lawsuit seeks to force the State of Hawaiʻi to fulfill its obligations to protect public trust lands currently used by the United States military at Pōhakuloa by preventing the BLNR from renewing its lease there.

Bianca Isaki
Maui GMO case: SHAKA is in, Kurren is out

Maui-based sustainability group SHAKA Movement will be allowed to intervene in Maui County's GMO case; Judge Kurren has reassigned the case.

The group that wrote the language for Maui County’s new GMO-moratorium law has won standing to intervene in the current federal lawsuit challenging the measure.

According to Michael Carroll, an attorney for the group SHAKA Movement (Sustainable Hawaiian Agriculture for the Keiki and the Aina), Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren ruled Monday that the group would be allowed to file its own motions and to respond to motions filed by the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit was filed last month against Maui County by Monsanto Co. and a unit of Dow Chemical Co. after voters in that county passed the law by ballot initiative on November 4. The law bans the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) until scientific studies can be completed on potential health risks that might be involved with the production of such crops. According to the law, the moratorium can be lifted only after a vote by the Maui County Council.

Earlier this year, Kurren struck down a Kauai County law requiring biotech companies like Monsanto and Dow to disclose their pesticide use and creating a buffer zone around schools and hospitals where pesticides cannot be sprayed. The biotech companies filed a similar lawsuit against Kauai County.

Kurren also overturned a Hawaii County law prohibiting genetically engineered farming, with the exception of existing crops such as papayas. In that case, Big Island farmers and flower growers joined the Biotech Industry Organization, a national trade organization representing companies like Monsanto to sue the county.

In both of those cases, Kurren ruled that the state, not the counties, has jurisdiction over the issue.

But shortly after his ruling Monday, Kurren reassigned the Maui case to Chief Judge Susan Oki Mollway. The plaintiffs and defendants had agreed earlier to allow a magistrate judge to try the case, but SHAKA Movement did not.

PBN rebuttal misses the significance of Fuller’s “snarky shot” at Hawaii

“We should take this moment of feeling annoyed and even angered by this Washington Post article to reflect a little on how we talk about Hawaii, to other people and to each other.”

Kelsey Amos
Report: Municipalities advance LGBT equality ahead of states, federal government

The state of LGBT equality in cities across the nation, including five Hawaii cities, is detailed in HRC’s 2014 Municipal Equality Index.

Will Caron
Schatz, colleagues urge no train-and-equip for Syrian opposition forces

The U.S. has trained and equipped militant groups in the past in the hopes they would help defeat our enemies, only to have the strategy backfire tragically.

U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) have filed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2015 that would remove Section 1209 of the bill granting the Department of Defense two-year authority to train and equip vetted Syrian opposition.

U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) joined their effort to block the authority from becoming law until the entire Congress has debated the policy. 

“The strategy for defeating the Islamic State in Syria has still not been well-articulated,” Senator Schatz said. “I remain deeply skeptical that training and equipping the Syrian opposition is an effective course of action. For most of these fighters their primary goal is to overthrow Bashar al-Assad, giving us no assurances that they will actually fight the Islamic State. Empowering them risks worsening the violent conditions that have given rise to the Islamic State ... This authority should not be buried in a must pass defense authorization bill. Congress should have a full debate on the potential consequences that this train-and-equip provision could have on U.S. policy in Syria and the broader region.

“The President does not have the authority under the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) to conduct an open-ended war in Syria,” added Schatz. “Congress ought to revoke these AUMFs and debate a new, more tailored authorization for the use of force against the Islamic State.”

“It is critical to combat the grave threat posed by ISIS, but authorizing and funding a train-and-equip program without proper debate and an Authorization for the Use of Military Force is a disservice to our service men and women who are risking their lives carrying out this campaign,” said Senator Booker. “That is why I am joining my colleagues in co-sponsoring this amendment. A debate on a new authorization to defeat ISIS is overdue.”

Last week, Senators Schatz and Baldwin sent a letter to President Obama to immediately submit for Congressional consideration a proposed Authorization for the Use of Military Force specific to the war against the Islamic State. In the letter, the Senators said that they believe this action will allow Congress to properly evaluate the President’s vision and strategy for combat operations and will foster the critical debate that the American public deserves.

On balance, American empire in world is a negative

A rebuttal to Thomas D. Farrell's November 23, 2014 "Island Voices" column in Honolulu Star Advertiser entitled "On balance, Army in Hawaii is a positive"

Dr. Boyce Brown
UH settles First Amendment lawsuit

Students no longer have to restrict protests to "free speech zones," seek administration approval for demonstrations.

Will Caron
‘Iolani grad named Deputy Secretary of U.S. HUD

Nani Coloretti becomes the highest ranking Filipino-American in the Obama Administration.

On December 2, Nani Coloretti received Senate confirmation as the new Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), becoming the highest ranking Filipino-American in the Obama Administration. Coloretti hails from Kapahulu and graduated from ‘Iolani School in 1987. 

Coloretti’s most recent position was as Assistant Secretary for Management at the U.S. Department of Treasury, a position she has held since November 2012. From 2009 to 2012, she served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Management and Budget at Treasury. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Coloretti worked in the San Francisco Mayor’s office from 2005 until 2009, most recently serving as Budget Director. Previously, Coloretti served as the Director of Policy, Planning, and Budget for the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth, and Their Families from 1999 to 2005.

#NCOTweetup: empowering you through neighborhood boards

This Sunday, community members can receive updates and information regarding the neighborhood boards using the hashtag #NCOTweetup.

The Neighborhood Commission Office (NCO) will hold the its second “Tweetup” on Tuesday, December 9, 5:00-7:30 p.m. The event will gather social media trenders, board members and members of the public to provide updates and information regarding 2015 Neighborhood Board Elections(especially candidate registration and membership) and the role of the boards within the wider community.

Users participating online may follow the conversation via the #NCOTweetup hashtag. Follow the NCO on Twitter (@HNLNCO), Facebook, and Instagram (@HNLNCO). Participate in the Tweetchat by following and using #NCOTweetup on Tuesday, December 9, 5:00pm-7:30pm (HST).