/div>
Hawaiian Charter Schools grant money sees second hearing

Due to significant resistance from the Charter Schools community, a follow-up meeting has been scheduled for October 11 at 10 a.m.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) Resource Management Committee will meet tomorrow, October 11, 2017, at 10a.m. to determine whether or not to approve Hawaiian Focus Charter Schools (HFCS) grant monies that were initially awarded to the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA). The committee may also elect to reset and revisit the HFCS grant award process.

Although the $3 million grant in question went through a standard competitive bidding process, it was revealed at the September 27 Beneficiary Advocacy and Empowerment (BAE) Committee meeting that OHA’s Administration awarded the HFCS grant before getting approval by the OHA Board of Trustees. That approval is a necessary part of the process, but was sidestepped in this instance. The OHA “Letter of Interest Solicitation” for the HFCS grant specifically states that “Recommendations for award will be presented to OHA’s Board of Trustees for Approval.” After hours of discussion and testimony, and after being questioned by the Trustees, OHA Chief Executive Officer Kamana‘opono Crabbe and a grants personnel representative admitted that the HFCS grants process was not followed.

Indeed, when it was revealed on September 6 that the money would be going to CNHA, OHA Chair Collette Machado expressed shock, claiming OHA had been “hoodwinked” into approving the monies.

HFCS administrators, staff, parents, students and community submitted powerful oral testimony at the BAE meeting, urging OHA to reconsider the matter of the educational grant and speaking out against awarding monies to CNHA. In past years, that grant has been administered by Kanu O Ka ‘Āina Learning ‘Ohana. Much of the testimony centered on several important cultural and procedural errors, such as the failure by CNHA to consult with all 17 Hawaiian Charter Schools before applying to receive millions of dollars on their behalf.

Hālau Kū Māna Principal, Dr. Brandon Bunag, said, “Regardless of what the application did or did not require, it is best practice—pono—to at least inform schools of an intent or desire to support our school by administering a grant that has been managed by another organization for so many years.”

Once the award of the grant was made public, hundreds of letters from HFCS parents and community members from throughout the state were sent to CEO Crabbe, and the Board of Trustees, asking them to reconsider awarding the $3 million HFCS grant to CNHA. At the heart of community concern is a lack of trust toward CNHA, an organization that has advocated relentlessly and ambitiously for Federal Recognition.

Read
Kauai doctor, ACLU, sue over federal restrictions on abortion medication

Lawsuit challenges medically unjustified FDA restrictions that push abortion medication out of reach of those who need it most.

Read
A hoppy balance to Hawaii’s alcohol tax

Beer drinkers pay a higher rate than wine or spirit drinkers in terms of alcohol per gallon, and tend to be working class folks.

Representative Kaniela Ing plans to introduce a bill during the next legislative session that would cut taxes Hawaiʻi residents pay for beer by more than half, from 93 cents a gallon to 42 cents a gallon.

“While it may appear that beer is taxed at a lower rate per gallon when compared to wine or spirits, if you break down the amount of alcohol per average gallon of beer versus wine or spirits, beer drinkers are taxed at a much higher rate,” said Rep. Ing. “The goal here is to level out the taxes so that each type of alcoholic beverage is taxed equitably.”

Rep. Ing says he is not much of an alcohol drinker himself, and his proposed tax cut is simply a matter of class fairness.

“Working people tend to drink beer more often than other types of alcoholic beverages,” he said. “But today they are taxed more per ounce of alcohol than someone drinking wine. When you look at it that way, the current system is incredibly unjust.”

Compared to other states, Hawaiʻi’s alcohol taxes rank second highest for beer, 11th for wine and 23rd for spirits.

Ing believes this proposal makes sense from an economic and business standpoint as well.

“Hawaiʻi’s beer industry is growing and has resulted in hundreds of new jobs, diversified tourism and a stronger economy,” Ing said. “If you look at other states, this local industry has a lot of room to grow. We should encourage the growth of local business to allow them to compete in the national marketplace.”

Read
Honolulu City Council to hold special rail meeting on Friday

A joint budget and transportation meeting tomorrow will decide whether resolution goes before full council.

The Honolulu City Council will be deciding on whether or not to approve the “Rail Recovery Plan” outlined by Transportation chair Ikaika Anderson and submitted to the FTA on September 15. Tomorrow (Tuesday, October 3, 2017), a joint Committee on Budget and Transportation and Planning meeting will be held at at 9 a.m. The council may or may not take action on the resolution or any amendments proposed thereto at a special council meeting to be held on Friday, October 6, 2017, also at 9 a.m.

Resolution 17-266: Approving the Recovery Plan for the Honolulu Rail Transit Project submitted to the Federal Transit Administration on September 15, 2017.

Submit testimony here.

Read
A dreamer’s reality

The story of one of Hawaiʻi’s 315 DACA recipients and his family’s struggle to thrive in America

Read
Will Caron
MA‘O Organic Farms receives federal money for farming, training facility

The grant will create an estimated 200 badly-needed new jobs in the economically-depressed and underserved Wai‘anae community.

Above: High school interns work on MA‘O Organic Farms during their winter break || Will Caron, Summit magazine, Issue 3.0, 2017


The Hawai‘i congressional delegation announced today that the Economic Development Administration (EDA) will award $1.6 million in federal funding to MA‘O Organic Farms in Wai‘anae to fund the construction of a new agricultural produce processing and farmer training facility. The new facility is expected to create 200 new jobs in west O‘ahu.

“Sixteen-years ago we started with 5 acres and handful of Wai‘anae college interns. Now we farm 25 acres, produce almost 100 tons of organic food per year, and support hundreds of youth in our college–career pathway. The graduates of this program have become leaders in the community,” said Gary Maunakea-Forth, Co-Founder and Managing Director of MAʻO Organic Farms. “The new processing/training facility allows us to produce more food, train more young people, and create critically needed green industry careers.”

The funding from the EDA will improve economic capacity and assets that will make it possible for entrepreneurs and small business enterprises to be more operationally efficient, resulting in an expected 200 jobs for the region—but it will also help rekindle the connection between the Wai‘anae community and the land. MA’O Organic Farms operation helps to implement the Waiʻanae Community Re-Development Corporation (WCRC)‘s mission to stimulate economic growth through education and respect for Native Hawaiian agricultural and land management practices.

“Food security is one of the greatest challenges facing Hawaiʻi, as our state still imports more than 85 percent of its food. [Our state is] also facing an aging farming population. This funding will bring jobs and investment to the Waiʻanae coast along with critical training for the next generation of local farmers and agriculture producers,” said U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard. “Over the years, MA‘O Organic Farms and WCRC have worked to empower our Waiʻanae community by preserving and protecting our ‘āina and resources, promoting opportunities for our keiki and community, developing affordable housing, fostering local agriculture, and so much more. This funding will help to continue and expand their important mission.”

“Agriculture is part of Hawai‘i’s history, and this funding will help it be part of our future, too,” said U.S. Senator Brian Schatz. “It gives MA‘O Organic Farms the resources to carry out its mission and enhance farming operations in Wai‘anae, and that’s going to create jobs and create a stronger industry overall.”

“Investing in community projects that support locally grown agriculture is critical to advancing towards a more sustainable and food-secure future for Hawai‘i,” agreed U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono. “By funding projects like the new facility at MA‘O Organic Farms in Wai‘anae, we are providing local communities the tools they need to develop innovative solutions, create new jobs, and train our next-generation agricultural workforce.”

“These critical funds will help farmers in Wai‘anae overcome the many obstacles to economically viable farming on O‘ahu,” added U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa.  “Hawai‘i needs sustainable agriculture and these funds will make a positive difference. Congratulations to MA‘O Organic Farms.” 

“The new facility is emblematic of the power of partnerships,” said Maunakea-Forth. “We thank our congressional delegation and the folks at EDA, especially the tireless Gail Fujita, and acknowledge our healthy food systems/healthy community collaborators at Kamehameha Schools, the Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation, the Atherton Foundation, the Hawai‘i Community Foundation, the University of Hawai‘i and Leeward Community College.”

Read
Hālau Kū Māna parents organize to oppose OHA-CNHA grant

The HKM parents sent out a press release outlining their concerns with a OHA charter school grant being awarded to the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement

The press release is as follows:

As parents of current Hālau Kū Māna (HKM) students, we will be attending the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board meeting this Thursday, September 21, 2017 to express our support of Hawaiian Focus Charter Schools (HFCS) and our concerns with the Council [for] Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) receiving a $1.5 million dollar Office of Hawaiian Affairs grant on our school’s behalf and on behalf of the 16 other HFCS schools. These monies are vital to the success and survival of HFCS schools, all of which are community-based schools that use culturally responsive curriculum. Many of us have been a part of the HKM community and/or involved with other Hawaiian educational organizations for many years.

While we understand that CNHA won the competitive bid process, this organization did not consult with our po’o kumu or with the Hawaiian charter school leaders, as a collective, before applying to take this kuleana. In years past, this grant has been awarded to Kanu o ka ʻĀina Learning ʻOhana (KALO) whose mission is to serve and perpetuate “sustainable Hawaiian communities through Education with Aloha.” KALO has supported our schools since the very beginning, respecting each school’s autonomy while providing services and organizing events that have brought us together. Programs KALO has spearheaded and provided include the Hālau Wānana teacher certification program, Ke Ea Hawaiʻi interscholastic student council, an MEdT program for rising school leaders, and the Ku’i ka Lono conference for haumāna, kumu, po’o and our communities. In contrast, CNHA leaders did not even seek basic consent from our schools to receive these monies on our behalf. In the words of HKM’s principal, Brandon Bunag, “As an organization, CNHA has been absent from ongoing discussions and advocacy and out of touch on our priorities as a collective.”

We are deeply concerned about the way that CNHA has approached this relationship, and we feel that our school is being forced into a relationship with an organization that is not aligned with our values as a learning community. The HKM ‘Aha Mākua met on Thursday, September 14, 2017 and voted unanimously to oppose CNHA administering OHA funding for Hawaiian charter schools. As of this morning, over 160 letters from parents from 13 Hawaiian Charter Schools [have been] submitted in opposition to CNHA administering the OHA HFCS grant and an additional 60 parent letters were sent to CNHA asking them not to accept the grant.

We are also asking OHA to revise the request for proposals in the future to limit to or prioritize nonprofit organizations that make Hawaiian education central to their mission and operations, or to grant the monies directly to the schools themselves or the schools’ supporting nonprofits.

Read
‘I‘iwi receives protection under the endangered species act

Once one of the most common forest birds in the Hawaiian Islands, the ‘i‘iwi, also known as the scarlet honeycreeper, will be protected as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that listing was warranted based on a review of the best information available for the ‘i‘iwi, gained through exhaustive research, public comments and independent scientific peer reviews.

In the past, ‘i‘iwi could be found from the coastal lowlands where they foraged for food to the high mountain forests where they nested. Today, ninety percent of the ‘i‘iwi population is confined to a narrow band of forest on East Maui and the windward slopes of the island of Hawaii, between 4,265 and 6,234 feet (1,300 and 1,900 meters) in elevation. The birds are virtually gone from the islands of Lanai, Oahu, Molokai and west Maui, while the population on Kauai is in steep decline.

“In recent years, the ‘i‘iwi population has been in sharp decline, due to threats from habitat loss, invasive species and avian diseases, particularly avian malaria,” said Mary Abrams, project leader for the Service’s Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office. “These threats have affected all forest birds, not just the ‘i‘iwi. Conservation that benefits the ‘i‘iwi will undoubtedly benefit other Hawaiian forest birds.”

Avian malaria, carried by invasive mosquitos, is the primary driver in the decline in of the ‘i‘iwi population, and has already caused the decimation of dozens of other Hawaiian forest birds. The disease kills approximately ninety-five percent of infected ‘i‘iwi. Mosquitos, which are not native to the Hawaiian Islands, breed and thrive at lower and warmer elevations where they infect birds like the ‘i’iwi with avian malaria and pox.

“‘I‘iwi have virtually disappeared from any habitat where mosquitoes are found,” said Abrams. “This has caused their range to shrink dramatically – they are almost entirely limited to higher elevation ‘ōhi‘a forests for their habitat, dietary, and nesting needs.

Higher and cooler elevation ‘ōhi‘a forests, where mosquitoes do not thrive, remain the only habitat for the ‘i‘iwi, but even those areas are under threat. As temperatures rise, mosquitoes, and the avian diseases they carry, are able to survive at higher elevations and spread upwards into the mountains, further constricting the ‘i‘iwi’s range.

‘I‘iwi are dependent for their survival on forests of native ‘ōhi‘a. On the island of Hawaii, home to 90 percent of the remaining ‘i‘iwi population, those ‘ōhi‘a forests have been under attack from rapid ‘ōhi‘a death, an invasive tree pathogen.

“Working with the state, our conservation partners and the public will be crucial as we work to recover the ‘i‘iwi, said Abrams. “The Service is committed to building on our record of collaborative conservation to protect Hawaii’s native species.”

The Service’s final listing rule will be published in the Federal Register on Sept 20, 2017, and will become effective on Sept 20, 2017. Next steps include development of a recovery plan, which will be bolstered by input from other federal and state agencies, other conservation partners and the public.

More information, including the final listing, can be found here.
Photos of ‘i’iwi can be found here.

Read
Holding Hawaiian education hostage

OHA is poised to award vital education monies to a non-profit with non-existent expertise in supporting the mission of Hawaiian education and a track record of strong-arming the Hawaiian community into supporting its political views.

Read
Healani Sonoda-Pale
Neo-Nazi web forum domain seized

Network Solutions’ decision to seize Stormfront.org’s domain comes in the wake of the Charlottesville Unite the Right (UTR) rally, which resulted in the death of Heather Heyer.

From the Souther Poverty Law Center (SPLC):

A group known as the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed a notice with Network Solutions on August 21, 2017 informing them that www.stormfront.org (Stormfront), a website using Network Solutions’ domain registration services, violates the provision of your Acceptable Use Policy “AUP” ...

Stormfront was caught in the crossfire due to its longstanding associations with White Nationalism, and particularly the Daily Stormer. As the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law’s complaint noted:

The AUP prohibits “utilizing the Services in a manner deemed, in Company’s sole discretion, to display bigotry, racism, discrimination, or hatred in any manner whatsoever.” Since its creation, Stormfront has been consistently recognized as a site for racial hatred and was even the subject of a documentary on the subject entitled Hate.com. The Stormfront website was use along with dailystormer.org to organize and encourage participation in the violent and fatal “Unite the Right” rally held in Charlottesville , Virginia last weekend. A representative sample of posts on the site refer to interracial coupled by slurs, share racist caricatures, or otherwise dehumanize minorities by referring to them as “creatures” or “ethnics.

Read the full post here

Read