What oppresses Native Hawaiians oppresses us all

In recognizing that neoliberalism oppresses us all, and connecting the ways in which it does, we can learn to break free of its destructive hold over our society, both here in Hawaii, and globally as well.

Tyler Greenhill
What killed Hawaii’s sex trafficking bill?

A step in the right direction toward combating sex trafficking in Hawaii has been torpedoed by some of the very people trying to end the exploitive practice; the evidence points to internal political squabbling as the reason.

Will Caron
State attempts to torpedo Kapu Aloha

A proposed “emergency rule” on the BLNR’s Friday meeting agenda is aimed at breaking up the encampment of protesters on Mauna Kea—the only thing stopping the Thirty-Meter Telescope from being built right now.

Will Caron
Sex trafficking ban must become law

If the governor vetoes Hawaii's proposed anti-sex trafficking law, the 50th state will remain the only state in the union without such a ban, and the islands will remain open for "business" to pimps and johns.

Kris Coffield
Maintaining Kapu Aloha even in the face of violence

At least two incidents of vehicular violence have been committed atop Mauna Kea against its protectors, even as state agencies accuse protectors of endangering public safety through their blockade.

Kuʻokoʻa Alo
Prosecutor pushes governor to veto anti-sex trafficking bill

Hawaii's progressive sex-trafficking bill is in danger of being vetoed by the governor, at the Honolulu prosecutor's urging.

Will Caron
Grad student unionization bill in danger of veto

Governor Ige has put HB 533, which would allow grad students to unionize, on his veto list.

The state legislature passed a bill (HB 553) that would allow graduate assistants at the University the right to collectively bargain, but the governor informed the legislature of his intent to veto the bill on June 29.

“This is an historic development that has the potential to greatly improve the financial and employment situations of graduate students at UH and is the result of several decades of efforts from the Graduate Student Organization,” said Jonathan Dial, who became president of the organization at the end of the 2015 semester. “However, I was notified at a meeting with members of the governor’s staff that HB 553 will be placed on a list of bills that will possibly be vetoed as a result of potential complications with the implementation of the measure. While I understand that implementation will not be an easy task, I firmly believe that the benefits to grad students, higher education, and the state of Hawaii, from passing this legislation far outweigh the costs of overcoming these obstacles.

“Graduate education is a cornerstone of higher education, and higher education is crucial in the development of a strong economy and industries for any state,” continued Dial. “Given the poor treatment that grad students have historically received and are currently experiencing at UH, it is no surprise that efforts to unionize have been ongoing for several decades. Furthermore, the poor conditions for graduate assistants make it more appealing for local students to seek their educations elsewhere, thereby taking any potential benefits for Hawaii from their educations with them. This essentially sets up the possibility of prolonged ‘brain drain’ for the entire state. With the passing of HB 553 by the legislature this session, there is hope that the state recognizes the importance of graduate education and is actively working to improve our situations and Hawaii’s professional community.

“However, the possibility of a veto suggests otherwise, jeopardizes the efforts of past and present graduate students in Hawaii to improve their own situations, and that of higher education in Hawaii, and endangers economic growth. The unwillingness to put forth that necessary effort suggests a low valuation of higher education and its benefits for the state,” Dial concluded.

Graduate students and other Hawaii residents can write to Governor Ige or call (808) 586-0034 to encourage him to sign HB 553 into law and demonstrate that he supports graduate students and higher education. 

Will Caron
Gov. Ige: Mauna Kea road must remain open

Governor David Ige released the following statement about recent incidents on Mauna Kea:

We are a patient people in Hawai‘i. We listen to and understand differing points of view, and we respect the many cultures of this land, especially that of the host culture. I have done my very best to follow this process in the case of Mauna Kea and set forth a way forward that I believe is reasonable.

We expected there to be a protest when construction resumed, and there was. We hoped we would not have to arrest people but were prepared to do so, and we did when they blocked the roadway. We also saw, in what amounts to an act of vandalism, the roadway blocked with rocks and boulders. We deployed to remove the rocks and boulders, but the protesters wisely chose to remove them themselves.

And then we saw more attempts to control the road. That is not lawful or acceptable to the people of Hawai‘i. So let me be very direct: The roads belong to all the people of Hawai‘i and they will remain open. We will do whatever is necessary to ensure lawful access. We expect there to be more types of challenges, good and bad days, and we are in this for the long run. We value TMT and the contributions of science and technology to our society, and we continue our support of the project’s right to proceed.

We are currently working to find ways to enable the TMT project to proceed safely without putting workers, protestors and the general public at risk.

Boulders cleared, Mauna Kea road remains closed

An update from the office of the governor

The boulders and rock structures that were found on the gravel road leading to the summit of Mauna Kea have been removed. The Office of Mauna Kea Management (OMKM) worked collaboratively with volunteers to ensure the rocks were safely and properly cleared from the roadway. The state continues to assess and monitor the situation to ensure the safety of the people on Mauna Kea.

The road has been temporarily closed until further notice. The Mauna Kea Comprehensive Management Plan authorizes the University of Hawai‘i to close the road in the event of hazardous conditions and emergencies.

Questions regarding the grading of the road leading to the summit have also been raised during this time. It is routine practice for OMKM to conduct regular road gradings twice a week to ensure the safety and integrity of the road.

The Mauna Kea Visitors Center is also closed until further notice.

Look for notices from OMKM on the status of the access road to Mauna Kea and the Mauna Kea Visitors Center.