Jay Fidel and Duke Oishi highlight a conference put on by Think Tech, Hawaii Venture Capital Association and Pacific New Media covering housing in Hawaii.
A range of topics concerning housing were discussed by the members of the conference, who include Christine Camp of Avalon Hawaii, David Callies of the UH Law School, Robert Harris of the Sierra Club, Lee Sichter of Belts Collins Hawaii, Jun Yang of Faith Action for Community Equity, Panos Prevedouros from the UH School of Engineering, Senator Donovan Dela Cruz the Chair of the Seante Housing Committee, Ben Kudo of Imanaka, Kudo & Fujimoto, Gil Barden of Pacific Island Investments, Jon Wallenstrom of Forest City Hawaii, Ann Bouslog of Mikiko Corporation, Peter Savio of Hawaiian Island Homes, Paul Quintilani of Kamehameha Schools, Cheryl Soon of SSFM International, Marc Alexander the Covernor’s Homelessness Coordinator, Micah Kane of Kamehameha Schools, Billy Kenoi the Big Island Mayor, Emilia Noordhoek from Sustainable Molokai and Harry Saunders of Castle & Cooke. Also includes a Spensation from Bill Spencer about the program on Reciprocal China Investment.
The Hawaii law is effective January 1, 2016.
Hawaii Gov. David Ige has signed a bill into law that creates a limited purpose driver’s license for people who don’t have documents to prove they are legally allowed to live in the U.S.
The governor signed the measure, House Bill 1007, on Tuesday, according to a press release.
The measure was backed by the Hawaii Coalition for Immigration Reform and Filipino community advocacy groups such as the Filipino American Citizens League. But in addition to immigrants, the law applies to a range of drivers including homeless people and domestic violence victims who may not have the proper documentation.
The law becomes effective January 1, 2016.
Discrimination against foreign-born residents was alleged when translation of some exams was discontinued.
The Hawaii Department of Transportation and the nonprofit Faith Action for Community Equity (FACE) said Friday that a lawsuit was settled regarding the translation of driver’s examinations for vehicle licenses.
United States District Court Judge Susan Oki Mollway approved the settlement.
In 2013, FACE said it was concerned that speakers of Marshallese, Chuukese and Ilocano were being disenfranchised because exams were not available in those languages.
Translations of the driver’s test began in 2001, but they were later suspended after new state laws led to changes in the test. The DOT did, however, provide translations into eight other languages including Japanese and Tagalog.
FACE filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that the DOT discriminated against foreign-born residents of Hawaii “by not offering a translated exam for a period of more than five years after previously existing translations were removed from service when additional questions needed to be added to the exam,” according to a joint press release.
For its part, the DOT says it consistently disputed that there was “any discriminatory motive” involved in decision-making about the translated exams. In a statement, DOT Director Ford Fuchigami said his department is committed “to serving all of Hawaii’s residents regardless of who they are or where they are from.”
The DOT currently offers the examination in 13 languages, said to make Hawaii the only state under 2 million people to offer the exam in more than 10 languages, including Hawaiian.
FACE said it is pleased with the outcome of the case.
POSTED on StarAdvertiser.com: 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 19, 2014
So much demand, so little supply. That’s the dire bottom line when it comes to truly affordable housing for Hawaii’s families — and unless work on policy changes begins today to address the shortfall, a growing number of keiki o ka aina of this and future generations will be forced out of Hawaii.
This alarm in the local housing crisis was sounded at Saturday’s daylong Housing Summit, focusing on how to produce and retain housing, especially rentals, that local workers can afford. It drew some 220 people with diverse interests, including government officials, politicians, developers and ministers.
A gamut of things must start taking root today — including the political will and leadership to drive harder bargains to produce housing that more closely reflects Hawaii’s working-family realities. Some 24,000 more housing units are needed in the coming years, with three-fourths of that needed for those earning less than 80 percent of area median income (AMI), or about $76,650 for a family of four.
Essential will be creative thinking as well as favorable eyes on new options, such as:
» Easing restrictions on Oahu homeowners on the number and types of accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, allowed on their property.
Now gaining momentum in the City Council and city administration, this idea to help address the affordable rental demand would open the ADUprocess to more neighborhoods, allow for detached-unit ADUs, and make units available to nonrelatives. Under current “ohana zoning” allowed in certain Oahu neighborhoods, an ADU must be attached or part of an existing dwelling, and be occupied by relatives.
More discussion will be needed, of course, on the ramifications of easing ADU rules: How far it should go and what parameters should be set so as not to unduly burden and disrupt residential neighborhoods. But it’s a concept worth pursuing, and the Caldwell administration rightly sees it as a major component of its Islandwide Housing Strategy.
» Increasing the length of time that affordable units must remain affordable, and lowering the definition of “affordable” and “reserved” housing.
Currently, government mostly requires that affordability be retained anywhere between just five to 15 years; that needs to increase to at least 30 to 60 years, as boldly proposed by the city administration. Also, project approvals should be conditioned with a higher percentage of units in the target 80 percent AMI range.
In Kakaako, the “reserved housing” definition is too high: up to 140 percent of AMI. It is here, in fact, that Gov.-elect David Ige has publicly pledged more help for working families.
In 2012, FACE’s Education Team fought to protect junior kindergarten, giving the state time to come up with a better plan for our keiki. In September 2014, FACE hosted Dr. Cliff Tanabe of the UH Education Department, Joan Husted former HSTA Exec Director and members of Parents for Public Schools to debate the value of “Question 4”, the constitutional amendment that would allow public funds to be spent on private early childhood education programs.
At the end of the session, the group voted to recommend a “no” vote on the amendment. FACE leader Mary Weir explains her reservations about Amendment #4 in her October 28 Op Ed in Civil Beat.
FACE (Faith Action for Community Equity) hosted a meeting on October 15, 2010 with gubernatorial candidate and former Representative Neil Abercrombie to discuss the issue of faith in public life with an audience of clergy. Mr. Abercrombie addressed certain criticisms that have been leveled at him and other candidates for office, critiquing whether they have the right credentials of faith and religion to be in a leadership position in government.
In Neil Abercrombie’s response, you will find a depth of thinking and reflection that I find rare as a public official. After all, how many politicians do you know who study and quote such lights as Thomas Merton, the Dalai Lama, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Mahatma Gandhi, Paul Tillich, or Rheinhold Neibhur?
(Note: This video is unedited. The breaks in the video come from the camera cutting off after 5 minutes or so – a limitation in writing .avi files on Nikon equipment.)