The ‘Ewa Development Plan is based on a more-than-thirty-year-old vision of a “second-city;” a new urban center in Kapolei and the ‘Ewa plains – long before “sustainability,” “urban sprawl” and “food security” were terms on people’s lips.
A plan for the future that is based solely on the past will not serve the present. In 1996, the ʻEwa Development Plan (EDP) was created based on a more-than-thirty-year-old vision of a “second-city;” a new urban center in Kapolei and the ʻewa plains. This vision was set during a time of booming development, long before “sustainability,” “urban sprawl” and “food security” were terms on people’s lips. No one then could have imagined the Honolulu we have today.
Hawaiʻi politicians have shown that they are unwilling to adapt to changing times, stand up to correct a mistake or change the out-of-date plan for Oʻahu’s future. At the Honolulu City Council’s July 10 third reading of Bill 65 (which endorses the EDP), councilmember Breene Harimoto said that he agreed with a lot of the testimony he heard (which was overwhelmingly against the bill) but essentially told the audience that the EDP ship had sailed years ago and that the council didn’t have much choice but to go along with it by passing Bill 65. The rest of the council apparently agreed as all nine members voted to pass.
The EDP sounds reasonable enough. It aims to keep the country, country “by providing a larger long-term supply of land for urban uses in the Secondary Urban Center and in the urban fringe areas of ʻEwa and Central Oʻahu, thereby avoiding the necessity of urbanizing lands in other areas - especially rural areas, such as the North Shore, which have limited infrastructure and/or environmental resources.” But it’s based on a premise that is no longer valid: That the need for more suburbs to house people is more important than preserving agricultural land.
3,300 is the number of acres the EDP sets aside for prime ag land preservation in the ‘ewa plains area. 8,700 is the number of acres set aside for residential development, retail and office development and industrial development in that same area. However, the “Urban Growth Boundary” (UGB), part of the EDP, extends well beyond that, allowing for further development down the road.
Take a look at a Google Map shot of Oʻahu. From Kahala to Waipahu is a solid block of urban sprawl. With efforts in place specifically designed to prevent further sprawl by “building vertical” in areas like Kakaʻako, how is it that the ʻEwa Plan still calls for the opposite?
The UGB extends past the Waipahu suburbs West along Farrington Highway and down throughout ʻEwa Beach and the ʻewa plain and North up the valley through Mililani all the way to Wahiawa and Schofield Barracks. This area totals an approximate 69.5 square miles; nearly the same as the approximate area from Kahala to Waipahu (71 square miles). This plan, therefore, would allow for a potential doubling of the amount of urban sprawl on Oʻahu while only reserving 5.1563 square miles (3,300 acres) of land for agricultural use.
The UGB is there to supposedly protect lands designated as “Priority 1 for agricultural use.” In the EDP this includes “lands mauka of H-1 Freeway and on the Waiʻanae side of Kunia Road, and lands in the Blast Zone of the West Loch Naval Magazine”—former Oahu Sugar Company ag land. The Kunia lands have a productive capacity rating of A or B (the highest possible) and the Magazine lands have a rating of B or C: “These 3,300 acres have been rated, in the most authoritative studies, as potentially among the most productive lands for diversified agriculture in the State.” It should be noted, however, that those studies are from 1977 and 1972.
On February 15, 2012 the City Council passed Resolution 12-23 CD1 FD1, introduced by councilwoman Ann Kobayashi. The resolution urges the city’s agricultural liaison to expedite the identifying and mapping of important ag lands and to ensure the City works to preserve them. Furthermore: “the process of identification and mapping of important agricultural lands [shall] also consider agriculturally productive lands within urban growth boundaries that are classified as prime agricultural lands, provided adequate water supply is available.”
What is now called Hoʻopili has much more recently been given the A or B productive capacity rating and is included inside the Urban Growth Boundary, so why does it not qualify for protection under Kobayashi’s resolution? The developers say there’s no water at Hoʻopili. Leon Sollenberger disagrees.
“There are lots of places on Oʻahu that have good level soils, lots of places on Oʻahu that have water, lots of places where various crops will grow. Hoʻopili is unique because it has a combination of those factors,” says Sollenberger, who has worked for years with Oʻahu’s soils from Pearl Harbor to the North Shore. “Hoʻopili has almost year-round sunshine and year-round good temperatures and water is the next ingredient. Water is something Hoʻopili has. When you put those factors together, you have a very productive piece of land.”
The EDP notes that “a portion of the lands indicated for development are in the State Agricultural Land Use District, and will have to be approved for transfer to the State Urban District by the State Land Use Commission (LUC) before they can be developed.”
The EDP conveniently leaves farming to a piece of land inside a blast zone on B and C land and A and B land on the slopes of Kunia, while the better ag land inside the UGB at Hoʻopili was always slated for conversion to urban use. Why? Because Hoʻopili is flat and easy to build on.
Could the Sierra Club have really stopped the LUC from reclassifying Hoʻopili when the commission’s decision was already written in the EDP for them 16 years before? Clearly money-making is the priority.
A number of concerns with the EDP have been brought up by a wide range of people ranging from food security to traffic congestion to what sprawl and a second city will mean for the economy. For each concern there are experts on both sides with conflicting versions of what the EDP will mean. So who do we believe?
Walter Ritte may have been talking about GMO’s at the time he said this, but his point is still valid: “You get scientists on one side that say, ‘yes.’ You got scientists on another side that say, ‘no.’ They cancel themselves out. Sooner or later we’re going to have to depend on ourselves as people to realize what the hell is going on in our communities.”
Read the EDP yourself. Look at the maps. Listen to the presentations and testimony. Engage yourself in your own future before it is too late to make it a better one. The Hawaii Independent will continue to provide analysis on some of the most contested aspects of the EDP. Stay tuned.
One vote never made a difference?
If you ever thought your voice did not really matter in an election, consider this: during the primary election, seven races were decided by fewer than 300 votes.
In the State Senate 4th District (Kaupulehu – Waimea – North Hilo) Malama Solomon beat Lorraine Inouye by 69 votes.
In the State House 6th District (Holualoa – Kailua-Kona – Honokohau) Nicole Lowen beat Kalei Akaka by 45 votes.
In the 30th District (Sand Island – Kalihi – Airport) Romy Cachola beat Nicole Velasco by 120 votes. (NOTE: Civil Beat reports there is some concern over the extremely high amount of absentee votes for Cachola, and reports of the candidate visiting voters homes and pressuring voters to fill out absentee ballots)
In the 34th District (Pearl City – Waimalu – Pacific Palisades) Gregg Takayama beat Eloise Tungpalan by 232 votes.
In the 40th District (Ewa Beach – Iroquois Point) Chris Manabat beat Rose Martinez by 201 votes. Romy Mindo came in third 29 votes behind Martinez and Kurt Fevella only had 50 votes less than Mindo.
In the 43rd District (Kalaeloa – Ko Olina – Maili) Karen Awana beat Hanalei Aipoalani by 287 votes.
And finally in the Hawaii Council 1st District (Hamakua – North Hilo) Valerie Poindexter beat Chelsea Yagong by 93 votes.
These races display just how crucial each and every vote is.
In the following commentary on traffic congestion, Pano Prevedouros, University of Hawaii civil engineering professor and former candidate for Honolulu mayor, describes potential traffic alternatives and its impact on high profile events, tourism, and energy in the islands.
What would rail do for future major conventions like the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Asia Development Bank?
Nothing! Remember that the rail dead-ends at Ala Moana Center. Rail is promoted in order to create many temporary jobs. It won’t be well used because the bulk of its ridership comes from deleted bus lines. Rail cannot even go next to the Hawaii Convention Center for security reasons. If there is a rail line next to Honolulu Community College, then security-sensitive events cannot take place there, which defeats the purpose of HCC.
What if we had high occupancy and toll lanes (HOT) Lanes instead of rail?
HOT lanes (the toll applies to low occupancy vehicles) would be about 11 miles long, between the H-1/H-2 freeway merge and Iwilei with exits at Aloha Stadium, Honolulu International Airport, Kalihi, and Downtown.
Tampa built elevated reversible toll lanes (town-bound in the morning, out-of-town bound in the afternoon) in six years for less than $350 Million; it opened in 2007. Tampa’s reversible express lanes (REL) solved a big part of its congestion problem for the same cost that Honolulu is spending on rail design and promotion.
With HOT Lanes, during major events such as APEC, we would have problem-free travel between the H-1/H-2 freeway merge and Downtown regardless of H-1 freeway closures. There would be no visible blight because HOT lanes run mostly next to H-1 freeway and terminate one half mile before the waterfront.
As a bonus, HOT lanes have no part in the destruction of Aloun Farms and the prime agricultural land that is planned to become an approximately 13,000 residential Transit Oriented Development (TOD) in the Ewa plains.
What will rail do for Oahu during a hurricane?
Rail will shut down. It’s standard procedure. After hurricane Ike on September 13, 2008, Houston highways recovered in two-to-three days. It took its rail transit two weeks to operate fully.
During a hurricane or other major storm, HOT lanes can be converted to be a resilient backbone for emergency and special services only. HOT ;anes will be elevated for 11 miles so they won’t flood or get clogged by debris. They can be designed with resiliency in mind so light poles and signs won’t collapse and block the roadway. They will aid in quick response and recovery for Oahu.
What will rail do for Waikiki and tourism and the UH Manoa campus?
Nothing. Rail dead ends at Ala Moana Center. Over one billion dollars will be needed to backtrack to Kapiolani Boulevard to get to Waikiki. Rail will permanently blight the Honolulu Convention Center and the spine of Waikiki: With the elevated rail and stations, sun will barely reach Kuhio Avenue.
Rail to the UH Manoa campus is another $1 billion waste without justification. UH Manoa is in full session only 150 days a year. The rest of the time, it’s in summer session, final exam weeks, breaks, holidays, and weekends. How does one justify $1 billion for such partial usage?
In contrast, a substantial portion of traffic from the H-1 freeway will divert onto the HOT Lanes (similar to the relief of Likelike Highway by the opening of the H-3 freeway). This will result in less congested travel to Waikiki and UH. With HOT lanes, traffic on the H-1 freeway will be as if UH is in recess permanently.
What will rail do in terms of climate change?
It will promote global warming. The Final EIS for the rail shows that the project will save 396 million British thermal units (BTU) of energy each day, or 144,540 million BTU per year, based on the City’s rosy forecasts of ridership. On the other hand, the rail’s guideway and station construction will require 7,480,000 million BTU to be constructed. Dividing 7,480,000 by 144,540 gives 51.75, or about 52 years. That’s how many years it will take to make up the construction energy loss by the assumed energy savings. But in 52 years, rail will need multiple component replacements, repairs, and refurbishments. So it is an energy black hole. In 2025, rail will be absurdly un-green compared to third generation plug-in hybrid vehicles.
In contrast, HOT lanes reduce congestion and fuel consumption. HOT lanes can promote green technologies by having a reduced or zero toll for electric vehicles. Their pavement can be retrofitted with conduit for contactless battery recharging for hybrid buses and electric mini-buses. HOT Lanes are in large part transit and high-occupancy vehicle facilities. Some call them “virtually exclusive busways” because they are built to serve express buses and vanpools, and the excess capacity is then sold to lower occupancy vehicles through a toll charge.
Former-Mayor Mufi Hannemann used some retired directors of transportation to convey the message that “we can’t build any more roads on Oahu.” Nothing is further from the truth. The proposed HOT lanes will be about 33 lane miles in total size including their shoulder lane. In the last 10 years, over 100 brand new lane miles of highways were built on Oahu, such as the Kalanianaole Highway widening, Fort Weaver Road widening, North-South Road, and two large freeway interchanges and new streets in Kapolei.
HOT lanes, with their intelligent management center, automatic reversibility to serve morning and evening traffic, and accommodation for hi-tech cars and buses would be a prime technological demonstrator for traffic-clogged cities in Asia. In contrast, nobody from Asia would visit Honolulu to learn from its archaic and noisy steel-on-steel elevated rail.
What do HOT lanes cost?
Costs are a “moving target” because they are affected by final design, energy cost, and materials pricing. In approximate 2010 terms, the HOT lanes should cost under $2 billion, while the rail will cost over $5 billion.
Significantly, the HOT lanes can be done in large part with private investment funds leaving the taxpayer with a less than $1 Billion tax liability. In contrast, all of the rail’s $5 billion cost is taxpayer funded. Most HOT lanes in the United States were built as public-private partnerships with shared investor-taxpayer risk.
Rail’s construction cost will be followed by huge taxpayer financed subsidies, which if operation, maintenance and equipment replacement costs are totaled would be over $250 million per year (forever). In contrast, the operating costs of the HOT lanes are relatively minimal, similar to those for the H-3 freeway.
KAPOLEI—The City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting will hold a public information meeting on the results and recommended changes of its review of the Ewa Development Plan and implementation process. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 1, at Kapolei Hale. Registration and a talk-story session with City planners will begin at 6:00 p.m., with the formal meeting starting at 7:00 p.m.
The review is in response to public comments and suggestions collected from five public workshops, more than 20 community interviews, and over 60 letters and emails. Following the presentation, City planners will be available to answer questions and collect comments and suggestions for improvements to the proposed revised Plan and implementation.
The Ewa Development Plan is a long-range land use and infrastructure plan and is a guide for public and private decisions about Ewa’s future. The Ewa Development Plan is one of eight development and sustainable communities being planned on Oahu.
The review report and the proposed draft adopting ordinance are available online at www.honoluludpp.org. The documents are also available at the Kapolei Satellite City Hall, Kapolei Public Library, and the Ewa Beach Public Library.
with Beth-Ann Kozlovich
It’s nice work if you can get it. And the Hawaii Tourism Association (HITA) seems keen on getting it—even at its own expense. The group’s founder and president, Juergen Thomas Steinmetz, routinely flys off to faraway destinations. His mission is to entice travel industry professionals to keep Hawaii top of mind.
Before Steinmetz’s current trip ends in November, he will have visted India, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Russia, Qatar, Germany, Italy, Egypt, Canada, and New York. The 20-year Haleiwa resident—and publisher of eTurboNews, Inc., which he says has 235,000 travel industry subscribers worldwide—is now appointing and training a corps of Aloha Ambassadors stationed around the globe in places not on the State’s top priority list. Among them are India, Columbia, Russia, and the Middle East.
Steinmetz says he has been ruminating about the ambassaor corps idea for several years and recently decided to put it into practice. The purpose behind the program is to get Hawaii tourism officials to look at new potential tourist sources. And the group appears to be in a show-not-tell mode.
“HITA is not affiliated with the State,” Steinmetz says. “We are an organizationion of volunters who live in Hawaii and we wanted to help the tourism industry to reach out to nontraditional markets.”
Perhaps HITA will have to do something else to get the State-operated Hawaii Tourism Authority’s attention, or wait until there are hard numbers to quantify its efforts.
Hawaii Tourism Authority’s president and chief executive officer Mike McCartney commented on HITA’s efforts in between meetings regarding APEC through his Communications and Tourism Brand Manager, Momi Akimseu. “We don’t have details about what Steinmetz is doing,” McCartney states. “We can’t comment on the ambassador program.”
The State does have its own hard numbers, however. According to the most recent report, the average per person, per trip amount spent is almost $1,700 over a period of a little more than nine days.
Considering that HITA’s efforts aren’t costing the State, you have to wonder why HITA hasn’t been given any attention.
Steinmetz doesn’t seem to care: “So far, this project is all about giving back to the community and to share our international connections and knowledge about the global tourism industry with our ohana in Hawaii.”
Steinmetz’s publication and past experience provided the model and the talent pool for finding the ambassadors. He spent his professional life in tourism, starting as a travel agent when he was still a teen in Germany. Now his list of current and former associations can be measured in inches on a page as well as in years. He counts his membership in many travel organizations, entities, and NGOs among his accomplishments. Included are his status as a member of the Executive Committee for the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) International Task Force to Protect Children in Tourism. Steinmetz is also a strategic partner for the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism. Currently, he is the appointee of the Kingdom of Bhutan, home of the Gross National Happiness index, to represent the Bhutan Tourism Council in the United States.
Locating potential ambassadors began with a survey to assess the interest of his online service’s travel agent subscribers about the idea and possible personal involvement. He received responses from 88 countries. Using his existing network of industry people and journalists around the world who conribute to his online trade journal has paid off before.
“I helped the tourism board of the Seychelles to build their ambassador and ‘friends of the media’ program,” Steinmetz says. “It’s the key for success for Seychelles tourism.”
The template for a successful ambassador hinges on “tour operators that can easily reach out to travel trade and travel agents in their region and establish a program for Hawaii,” Steinmetz explains. Those operators are largely CEOs of niche tour firms with a wide network and a passion for and some connection to Hawaii.
Key, too, is the ability to be trained. And Steinmetz says that works both ways.
“We want our ambassadors to understand how we think in Hawaii, what we’re selling,” Steinmetz says. “But we also want the industry in Hawaii to understand the same when we get guests in Hawaii from India, from Singapore, from Columbia, or perhaps from the Middle East, what these guests are looking for when they travel to Hawaii to make it an excellent experience and so they can go home and tell everyone else about Hawaii so we get more visitors from those countries.
The latest country in which HITA will have an Aloha Ambassador is Qatar. Steinmetz says he has just concluded an agreement with an operator whose son attended Hawaii Pacific University. More importantly, the man has operations in Qatar, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Kuwait and is the biggest exhibitor at the Arabian Travel Market, the largest annual travel industry event in Dubai.
Clearly, Steinmetz has high expectations. “He pledged to have an entire segment next time dedicated to Hawaii,” Steinmetz says of the latest Aloha Ambassador. “So he’s inviting people from the business in Hawaii to travel to Dubai next year without any exhibitor cost to exhibit under his umbrella.”
While that market is substantial with no apparent downside, according to Steinmetz, he still doesn’t expect to see hundreds of thousands of visitors from this region. He believes the money spent by those who do come will more than offset the lack of volume. That strategy is in line with the State’s Hawaii Tourism Authority, which has said it wants to attract a higher dollar-per-day visitor rather than simply a high number of arrivals.
“If we get a good number of visitors, it will expand quite a bit,” Steinmetz says. “Plus the per day spending for visitors from this part of the world is about 25 times higher than even China. And we [the travel industry] have talked a lot about China.”
If that does happen, it might send Steinmetz, and those who depend on tourism in Hawaii, to a happy place, even if it’s not one defined by Bhutan.
KAPOLEI – In honor of the Barber’s Point Naval Air Museum’s Centennial Celebration and the Ten Year Remembrance of September 11, Pacific Roller Derby (Pacific) will host a military-themed ‘Tribute to our Troops’ scrimmage featuring Sailors vs. Soldiers at the US Coast Guard Air Station at Barber’s Point on Saturday, September 17.
The scrimmage begins at 4pm and will feature live action roller derby in the tennis-court ‘cage’ at The Hideaway Club. Many of the league’s participants are directly involved with the armed forces including the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Coast Guard. The roller derby league has become an ‘ohana to many incoming military families by offering a supportive athletic environment for military spouses and active duty members.
Many of the league’s skaters are military wives and have found a close-knit group of friends through New Girl Training, Boot Camp, Derby Middle School, and participation as a skater on the league’s home teams, the Oahu Hula-gans travel team, and the Pacific All-Stars travel team.
Pacific Roller Derby will continue to accept donations of new and gently used school supplies at the scrimmage. Fans are encouraged to bring donations in support of Pacific’s participation in the Hawaii Jaycee’s 4th Annual Adopt A School Day, a statewide grassroots effort to establish awareness and service to Hawaii’s schools.
Non-military fans are required to RSVP at www.pacificrollerderby.com by midnight on Friday, September 16, to gain access to Coast Guard Air Station for the afternoon event, or be sponsored by an active military duty member.
“Tribute to Our Troops” Roller Derby
Saturday, September 17, 4:00 p.m.
The Hideaway Club, USCG Air Station
$7 General, $5 Military
Pacific Roller Derby has joined the Hawaii Jaycees to support the 4th Annual Adopt A School Day, a statewide grassroots effort to establish awareness and service to Hawaii’s schools.
This call for service hits close to home for the hip-checking rollergirls—many of whom are mothers and teachers. Rookie rollergirl Kuchi 2Sox is a teacher at Leihoku Elementary school in Waianae. After completing the Pacific’s roller derby boot camp, an intensive 6-to-8 week training program that prepares skaters to pass a required minimum skills test, Kuchi compared student time in the classroom to teacher time on the flat-track.
“I can’t help to think that my kids go through the same thing,” Kuchi said. “The same anxiety, the same uncertainty, and the same feeling of excitement and joy when they finally complete a task.”
Kuchi said that roller derby has taught her to be more patient and confident and that the sport reminds her to continue encouraging her own students to do their best.
Skaters will kick off their pledge to support Leeward-based elementary schools by hosting a “Back to School Daze” scrimmage and school supply drive this Saturday featuring Lunch Ladies and Gym Teachers in the feared “roller derby cage” at The Hideaway Club. Fans are encouraged to bring new or gently used school supplies ranging from pens and pencils to binders, backpacks, and more, to this Saturday’s family friendly event.
Admission is $7 for the general public, $5 for military fans with a valid ID, and free for keiki 12 and under. Non-military fans are required to RSVP at www.pacificrollerderby.com by midnight on Friday, August 26 to gain access to the Coast Guard Air Station for the afternoon event, or be sponsored by an active military duty member.
Fans are encouraged to bring beach chairs for seating and can enjoy live roller derby, a bake sale, and show league support by purchasing Pacific Roller Derby t-shirts, aprons, and more. Doors open at 3:30 p.m. and the bout begins at 4:00 p.m., followed by live music by local rockers Boy and Sea and Ever After Ever.
The all-ages event turns into an 18-and-up event after sunset, and fans are invited to stay and talk story with their favorite derby girls, referees, and non-skating officials.
For more information, visit www.pacificrollerderby.com.
Back to School Daze Scrimmage
Saturday, August 27 at 4:00 p.m.
The Hideaway Club, USCG Air Station at Barber’s Point
1 Coral Sea Street
HONOLULU—A Honolulu City Council bill would authorize the use of overt video monitoring on Oahu for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings.
The purpose of the surveillance under Resolution 11-229 is to deter “criminal activity and to achieve a legitimate law enforcement objective and a legitimate public purpose.”
Video cameras would be installed throughout the island, including Waikiki, Downtown, and Ko Olina and be monitored from the bill’s passage through November 15. APEC runs from November 7 to 13. The newly installed cameras and current cameras will be utilized by the Honolulu Police Department and other City agencies.
Resolution 11-229 is scheduled to be heard by the City Council on Tuesday, August 30.
with Beth-Ann Kozlovich
HONOLULU—We like to think we live in a state where we care about each other, that we’re moral and upstanding. We talk a lot about living with aloha. Now the trial of the Sou brothers, which will have its first full week this week, brings the tragedy of human trafficking in Hawaii squarely into our consciousness.
“Traditionally people have thought of human trafficking as a form of slavery,” says attorney Melissa Vincenty, ”Our ideas of slavery go back hundreds and hundreds of years and our opinions are formed on that.”
But, Vincenty explains, human trafficking encompasses more than just the element of forced labor. It has its roots in exploiting the dreams of lower class people to better themselves and their families. And that makes them ripe and vulnerable for traffickers.
“Not only will they do just about anything,” Vincenty says, “but they will put themselves in positions that will cause later problems because they trust people to do the right thing once they [immigrants] are here.”
Along with co-counsel, Clare Hanusz, Vincenty is currently representing over 100 victims of human trafficking and their families in the Aloun Farms and Global Horizons cases.
Vincenty says many of us in Hawaii delude ourselves into complacency: “The modern age has allowed many of us to put up blinders.”
We believe that since our technology allows us to virtually cross borders, she explains, we must certainly have access to more information about what is actually happening around the world, including the status of labor trafficking into our own state.
“It’s happening now more than it has ever happened because going across borders is much easier now, transporting people back and forth,” Vincenty says. “Getting on an airplane and coming to Hawaii is easier than having had to get on a ship. We do have this myth that things have died down in terms of trafficking, but the situation has grown alarmingly worse over the past couple of years especially.”
Vincenty says large movements of people can happen far more anonymously than ever before. Technology has benefited the recruiters and businesses who would exploit workers of whatever type. Exploitation is far from new.
In combating the sex trade, Kathryn Xian has seen progress in the fact that the understanding of human trafficking continues to increase—she no longer gets questions confusing the “trafficking” issue with people in cars, which she says was frequently the case as recently as 2000. Xian, who heads the Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery, GirlFest Hawaii, and who is a 2010 Weinberg Fellow, says she is grateful that the trial of the Sou brothers is spotlighting human trafficking of all types, including prostituted persons—a term she prefers to “prostitutes.”
“There’s a lot of discussion and a lot of care coming from the community now that they’re hearing more about it and that’s because of the Aloun Farms and the Global Horizons cases,” Xian says. “Without that kind of care, on a microcosmic level you wouldn’t have these globally stellar cases.”
And global they are, judging by those who are watching. The Aloun and Global cases have been picked up by international news sources including the New York Times and Al Jazeera. Regardless of what happens in each of the cases, and the volume of them at a time when Hawaii least needs bad press, there are still eyes looking to catch the Aloha State in potential hypocrisy. Vincenty and Xian take that as a hopeful sign that change is on the way, albeit slowly.
“There was a paradigm of, well, if the system ain’t broke, don’t fix it, but the system doesn’t recognize what a victim looks like or is,” Xian says. “The old definitions aren’t proper. You can’t just see these people as illegal aliens or prostitutes, you’ve got to see them as something more.”
Traditional definitions surrounding prostitution, immigration, or human smuggling don’t apply. And that’s what Xian says her organization and others have fought so hard clarify in human trafficking statutes and on the law books. It’s also why education about trafficking must begin at an early age—in middle school. The average age of entry into prostitution is 13.
“If we’re not talking to kids about what a healthy relationship looks like, preventing sex trafficking, preventing enticement into prostitution, then we’re just leaving them susceptible to the pimps out in the malls and the streets and wherever there are kids,” Xian says. “They [pimps] talk to the kids about this stuff.”
Regardless of the cases’ outcomes, there are several action items we can each take to disarm the predators: Talk to our kids early and often. And don’t let fears of making them paranoid inhibit us—it may be preferable that a little paranoia dulls an innocence that someone else may utterly shatter. Kids need to know who they can truly trust, and how to have a very healthy skepticism about everyone else; even in our culture that purports to treat everyone as extended family.
As for someone else’s kids on the streets right now, if you can give your time and/or money, Xian says her organization and others who work to get kids clean and to safety need plenty of both.
This is not Victorian England. We don’t have to turn a blind eye toward exploitation masked by a veneer of propriety to marginalize those most vulnerable. To start, we can get a little ugly and ask each other tough, uncomfortable questions, like why we teach our kids that slavery is wrong and abolished 150 years ago, but can still exist as indentured servitude in 2011 either in the sex trade or on the farm.
And we can ask pointed, impertinent questions of vendors at farmers markets, warehouse stores, and supermarkets: Where did this come from, what farm grew it?
And then we have to do something more if the answers aren’t satisfactory: Be willing to walk away and advocate with our wallets.
The entire conversation with Kathryn Xian and Melissa Vincenty is on the Town Square archive at www.hawaiipublicradio.org.
The following video of the O’ahu Island Burial Council’s July 13 meeting and letter relates to proceedings over the ancient Hawaiian burial complex discovered in the areas stretching from east of One’ula Beach Park, which is located just before Barber’s Point Naval Air Station.
What [Yvonne] Izu is dreading in the Oneula contested case hearing is this.
Haseko Ewa Inc. is liable for the wanton destruction of our Hawaiian cultural practice of our gathering limu and near shore fishing due to the blocking off the freshwater water source of the twin Waipouli karst system. Ewa is historically known as the House of limu and was known in Kuali’i's chant at Kanehili Ewa to pick lipoa limu and other limu.
Limu gathering is a highly valued subsistence food and traditional medicinal healing source. A natural fresh water source from the mountains to the Honouliuli underground aquifer that runs underground in the Waipouli system, which brings nitrates that expand and increase the abundance of endemic Hawaiian algae or limu, has been sealed off by Haseko Ewa Inc. The abundant seasonal blooming of limu attracts shrimp, which attract small fish, which attract larger schools of fish. We have seen a large decline in this traditionally rich area.
Waipouli is the protective shield of this important source of increasing abundance of sea life invertebrate to vertebrate fish sources due to a rich algae blooms no more.
This is a death sentence to our traditional Hawaiian gathering rights and practices that are well documented in book Sites of Oahu and newspaper articles and books.
Haseko is obligated to make reparations to this Hawaiian cultural practitioner who’s family (Kuali’i) have been gathering in Ewa in documentation for limu 550 years. That is why my bio for the native Hawaiian practitioner, the Kuali’i chant and my royal Hawaiian genealogy is vital for standing and proof that I have suffered a loss under Article 12, section 7 of the Hawai’i State Constitution.
This continues with the Waipouli karst aqueduct as a Royal Kapu Heiau for Ali’i Aimoku iwi are burial places for the highest ali’i of O’ahu, which are my family. Kamehameha I’s wife Kaomileika’ahumanu as the true biological mother of Kamehameha III is proof that in the shrinkage of the Ewa Marina, a cover up of significant royal iwi has taken place as well as an ongoing destruction plan of Hawaii’s history and the most sacred site in all of Oahu found at the opening of the purposed Ewa Marina entrance channel.
As my genealogical record shows, I, as Kahu of my royal families burial grounds, it is my Hawai’i State constitutional right under article 12 section 7 to protect our family’s treasure our iwi kupuna, which Queen Mikahela Kekauonohi my fourth great aunt did in Waipouli karst with her husband the last prince of Kauai in the 1840s.
Haseko Ewa Inc. has never denied my Akaku (vision) that they broke into my royal family burial site and removed a valuable ki’i of Pele and other funerary objects in their documents. And to this date they have not returned them to me and my family to be sealed back where they belong.
This cover-up must stop and the truth exposed in this contested case hearing on July 26 and 27 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 132 of the Kalanimoku Building, the BLNR board room on the first floor.
Michael Kumukauoha Lee