2% Land Fund: NOTHING HAS BEEN DONE since the November 2020 election to implement two 2% Land Fund Open Space charter amendments

Does your vote really count?  Ten months ago, on November 3, 2021, you voted for President of the United States, a new Mayor, and several new County Council members. You also voted for 2 charter amendments to change the 2% Open Space Land Fund Program. It was our goal to get the County to hire someone to work on the 2% Land Fund Program and to streamline the Maintenance Fund Stewardship grants to empower the volunteers who care for the 2% Lands.  I have asked the Mayor and Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources (PONC) staff several times to implement these changes. Nothing has happened to make the changes that you voted for!

Our group of thoughtful, committed volunteers proposed these changes to the existing charter because we believe that the money in the Land Fund should be used more responsibly to protect places deemed of high value by the respected PONC process of prioritizing.   Both the Kim and Kenoi administrations have had staff work only part time on PONC issues, while our island’s treasured places that have been chosen and proposed for acquisition, come up for sale, were purchased by private parties and lost for community use. The same policy continues in the Roth administration. Ten months after you voted FOR these changes nothing has been done.  We were told by staff it could take 2 years to fill this important new position and streamline the Stewardship grant process.   WHY?  There is $21,465,389 sitting in the Land Fund and no properties have been purchased in 2021.  Only 2 properties were purchased in 2020. There were 16 properties recommended by the Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources commission for acquisition for 2020.  There are 17 properties on the list for 2021, which will be included in the 2021 Report to the mayor.  To see this list of properties go to: https://debbiehecht.com/2021/09/18/the-great-success-of-the-2-land-fund/.   There is more than $3 million sitting in the Maintenance Fund, and only some of the non-profit volunteer groups who care for these lands have just received grant money they applied for in 2019.  No funds have been issued since then. Stewardship grants are two years behind! This means that volunteers are using their own money to care for these lands.

Voters voiced their strong support for the 2% Land Fund repeatedly in 2006, 2010, 2012 and yet again in 2020.  When will our elected officials see how much benefit citizens get out of having open space and parklands for healthy recreation?  The land is what makes our island one of the most beautiful places in the world and attracts tourists.  Once acquired, these lands can be enjoyed forever by our keiki and grandchildren.  These lands are our legacy as a caring community!

We worked hard to get these amendments approved by the Charter Commission and on the ballot.  This involved many hours of preparation, research, education and writing communications. The Charter Commission met for almost a year, and we attended all but 2 of their meetings.  Ardent 2% supporters sent in 92% of all communications and testimony to the Charter Commission.  10-15 people showed up at most monthly Charter Commission meetings.    These two amendments made changes to the 2% Land Fund Program:

  1. 2% Land Fund Charter Amendment- This amendment instructs the government to hire staff to work on the 2% Land Fund Program with the goal to acquire more properties, obtain more matching funds, and fund more grants to the non-profits who care for these lands. The salary or wages would be paid out of the 2% Land Fund, so there is no extra money needed from the County budget. 
  2. The Maintenance Fund Charter Amendment- The goal of the Maintenance Fund is to get funding to the “boots on the ground” volunteer groups who care for these lands.  The County was not doing the maintenance on 2% Lands.  From 2013-2018 only 9% of all the money in the Maintenance Fund was received by the non-profits. This was a dismal failure!  Today the non-profits have not received money from their 2019 and 2020 applications. The grants are bogged down in the Parks and Recreation Department. We were told that it would take 2 years to transfer the Maintenance Fund Stewardship program to the Department of Finance.  WHY? It should have been done by now!

We worked with Charter Commissioner Sally Rice to make these changes through this amendment: 

  • Move administration of the Maintenance Fund stewardship grants from the Department of Parks and Recreation to the Department of Finance,
  • Streamline the Stewardship Grant process,
  • Give the PONC Commission and the Department of Finance Department oversight on Stewardship Grants,
  • Allow the non-profits to build, rent or lease toilet facilities, paths, trails and small structures for education purposes or the storage of equipment,
  • Allow the non-profit stewardship groups to pay workers for their work caring for the land. 

Make your vote count! Please send an email to the Mayor and Council member and ask them to make these changes to the 2% Land Fund program as we voted 10 months ago and as they are now required by law in the Hawaii County Charter. Help save Hawaii County’s treasured lands! Cut and paste this email list to send an email:  aaron.chung@hawaiicounty.gov, heather.kimball@hawaiicounty.gov, sue.leeloy@hawaiicounty.gov, ashley.kierkiewicz@hawaiicounty.gov, matt.kanealii-kleinfelder@hawaiicounty.gov, Maile.David@hawaiicounty.govrebecca.villegas@hawaiicounty.gov, tim.richards@hawaiicounty.gov, mitch.roth@hawaiicounty.gov, holeka.inaba@hawaiicounty.gov

For more information on the 2% Land Fund Success go to:  https://debbiehecht.com/2021/09/18/the-great-success-of-the-2-land-fund/

Museums on the Big Island of Hawai’i

Anna RanchKamuelaBig IslandHistoric houseHistoric ranch
Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Space CenterNorth KonaBig IslandScienceLocated at Kona International Airport, space science and artifacts of astronaut Ellison Onizuka
East Hawaii Cultural CenterHiloBig IslandArtIn historic building that served as District Courthouse and Police Station
Greenwell StoreSouth KonaBig IslandLivingOperated by the Kona Historical Society, site of Henry Nicholas Greenwell (1826–1891) store
Hawaii Science and Technology MuseumHiloBig IslandSciencewebsite, mobile science museum
Huliheʻe PalaceKailua-KonaBig IslandHistoric houseFormer vacation home of Hawaiian royalty (see photo below)
ʻImiloa Astronomy CenterHiloBig IslandAstronomyHawaiian culture and history, astronomy (particularly at the Mauna Kea Observatories), and the overlap between the two
­­­­Isaacs Art CenterWaimeaBig IslandArtArt museum of early and mid twentieth century Hawaii artists, also retail gallery, operated by the Hawaii Preparatory Academy
Jaggar MuseumKilaueaBig IslandScienceGeological museum dedicated to seismology & volcanology, at Kīlauea in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park CLOSED
Kona Coffee Living History FarmSouth KonaBig IslandLivingOperated by the Kona Historical Society, depicts coffee pioneer’s story with daily lives of early Japanese immigrants during the period of 1920-1945
Lyman House Memorial MuseumHiloBig IslandNatural historyFeatures Hawaiian culture, shells and minerals
Mokupāpapa Discovery CenterHiloBig IslandNatural historyExhibits on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, now a National Monument, including fish and coral life
Nani Mau GardensHiloBig IslandNatural historyBotanical garden with museum about tropical plants and their role in Hawaiian culture
Onizuka Center for International AstronomySaddle RoadBig IslandAstronomyOn the slopes of Mauna Kea, stargazing programs, information about the telescopes and astronomical work done there
Pacific Tsunami MuseumHiloBig IslandScienceHistory of the April 1, 1946 Pacific tsunami and the May 23, 1960 Chilean tsunami which affected Hilo
Parker RanchWaimeaBig IslandHistoric houseWorking ranch with tours of two historic houses
Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical ParkHōnaunauBig IslandArchaeologyPark with complex of archeological sites and reconstructed temple and thatched structures
Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic SiteKohalaBig IslandArchaeologyTemple ruins and exhibits

Photo of Hulihe’e Palace on Ali’i Drive in Kailua-Kona
Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site

Hawai’i Volcanos National Park

The great success of the 2% Land Fund

“…. We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” 
― Aldo Leopold

MY name is Debbie Hecht.   It has been the greatest honor of my life to work on this campaign for the last 16 years.  I have written most of the legislation since 2005, with Brenda Ford. I have been a Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Commissioner. I wrote a Process paper for the commission.  Just recently, I submitted a Suggestion Form for acquisition for the Kaloko Trail in North Kona. I have experienced the 2% Land Fund program from all different ways.   I hope we can have more trails acquired island wide.   In August 2021, Kapainaia was acquired in North Kohala.   Wai’ele in Puna,  is under contract and I know there is an ancient trail there.

I have met so many intelligent, heartfelt people who deeply care about the places on Hawai’i island that make our island home one of the most beautiful places in the world.  I learned that kuleana communities are built around Hawaii island’s treasured places.  Building community is the greatest benefit that has grown out of the challenges of the 2% Land Fund.   Out of the love of the land, there are non-profit community groups that are volunteering their time and using their own money to care for these special places.  Out of this campaign for the last 16 years, people have forged great friendships that have resulted in great acquisitions to protect our treasured places. 

Hawai’i County Acqusitions as of 9.18.2021

PROPERTIES ACQUIRED as of 9.18.2021

  1. Pohoiki Bay, Puna
  2. Waipi‘o Valley Lookout,Hāmākua
  3. Halawa,North Kohala
  4. Hāwī Banyan Trees,North Kohala
  5. Pa‘o‘o, North Kohala
  6. Kaiholena, North Kohala
  7. Kaiholena, South Kohala
  8. ‘O‘oma, North Kona
  9. Puapua’a, North Kona
  10. Kipapa Park, North Kona
  11. White Sands Mauka, North Kona
  12. Amy Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden, CE, South Kona
  13. Kahuku Coastal, Ka‘ū
  14. Waikapuna CE, Ka‘ū
  15. Kahua Olohu, Ka‘ū
  16. Kāwā, Ka‘ū Kawa‘a, Ka‘ū.       (CE = Conservation Easement)
  17. Kapanaia, which is 93+ acres in North Kohala on the coast.
  18. NOTE: Wa’ile is under negotiation 158 acres in Puna with ancient access to coast.

The 2021 Report to the Mayor comes out in December of 2021. Here is the list of priorities for 2021, anything with 50% approval or more will make the Report to the Mayor and could possibly be acquired: 

GRASS ROOTS ORGANIZING PROCESS with our wonderful volunteers to pass the 3 ballot measures:

  • During the Petition Initiative process, the Save Our Lands Citizen Committee had over 100 people who collected signatures of more than 50 signatures in 2006.
  • The Committee has a 2,200 personal email list, which we use to keep supporters informed, or if we need emails sent to elected officials, or to ask people to show up for public meetings or to lobby their County Council members.   They represent a large portion of the voting public on the island. Historically, there have been approximately 100,000 voters registered for the County of Hawaii, usually about 33,000 of these registered voters actually vote.  Our grassroots efforts asked supporters to forward our emails to friends and family.  We learned a lot about grassroots organizing and petitions!

QUICK HISTORY OF THE LEGISLATION FROM 2005 through 2020:

  1. Where did the 2% amount come from?   In 2004 and early 2005 the Trust for Public Lands (TPL) did a survey of Hawaii County residents to ask if they would like to see a 1% Land Fund or 2% Land Fund. A large majority of residents said they would want a 2% Land Fund because land is so expensive on the Big Island.   Sammie Stanbro donated the money to TPL for this survey. Sammie was also a huge supporter with time and effort to talk to people, collect signatures and make and deliver signs.  Her son, Josh Stanbro was the original driving sources along with attorney David Kimo Frankel. 
  2. The Save Our Lands Citizen’s Committee Petition Initiative drive collected 9,600 signatures from April to July of 2006. We only needed 4,400. This was during Harry Kim’s first term. Mayor Kim was adamantly against setting aside 2% of property taxes for land acquisition, even though it was only 1.5% of the total income for the County.   County Clerk Connie Kiriu and County Counsel Lincoln Ashida (both Kim appointees) disqualified almost 6,000 signatures for leaving off  Pl, St. or Rd, or if husband and wife used ditto marks for their address when signing under each other or if the year was left off, (we collected signatures from May to July so it was only during 2005 which made the year implied and not including it was irrelevant).
  3. We needed 4,400 signatures, but because of the disqualifications we got less than 4,000.   The County Council, under Chair Stacy Higa decided to place the ballot measure on the ballot for 2006 anyway.  Stacy supported us; I remember him saying that if all those people cared enough to sign we should put it on the ballot. 
  4. Despite the Corporation Counsel submitting confusing ballot language using double negatives, the amendment to the Code passed by 63% of voters who voted on the issue and become part of the Hawaii County Code.
  5. In 2008- Mayor Kenoi and the County Council suspended deposits to the Fund for two years as his very first piece of legislation after taking office because the legislation was part of the Hawaii County Code and could be changed by the Council. On a tip by a friendly council staffer, we learned there were more than 260 funded but unfilled jobs in the county budget totally around $14 million.  Despite this source of possible funding, Mayor Kenoi failed to reinstate payments to the 2% Land Fund after cutting these budget entries
  6. In 2010, the Charter Commission put the Land Fund on the ballot again, but only as the 1% Land Fund. WE lobbied hard to get the 2% amount.  Again the Land Fund passed by 63% of voters, who voted on the measure.
  7. In 2012, to honor all the people who signed the petitions at 2% and worked so hard over the years, Debbie Hecht and Brenda Ford realized we needed to put the 2% Land Fund back on the ballot as a Charter Amendment, together with a 1/4% Maintenance Fund. We wanted to make sure the Council and Mayor couldn’t stop funding deposits. A charter amendment can only be changed by a vote of the people.  Again, 63% of voters approved both measures.
  8. THE PERPETUITY CLAUSE: As part of the 2% Land Fund legislation in 2012, every property obtained with the 2% Land Fund, which is taxpayer funds, shall have a covenant that runs with the land that states:  “This property (or easement) was acquired with money from the Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Preservation Fund.  It shall be held in perpetuity for the use and enjoyment of the people of Hawai’i County and may not be sold, mortgaged, traded or transferred in any way.” This has already blocked a proposed land trade with the State of Hawaii for Hapuna Beach State Park.
  9. THE IMPORTANCE OF THE PERPETUITY CLAUSE: 
    • To make sure that 2% Land Fund monies and Maintenance Fund monies are used for the public benefit.  They are public tax dollars.
    • To protect matching funds by making sure that matching funds are spent as originally promised.
  10. The Maintenance Fund was clarified in the Hawaii County Code in 2016 to allow the PONC Commission to review Stewardship Grants and to recommend which grants to approve to the Director of Finance.  This legislation was written by then Council member Karen Eoff.
  11. In November of 2020, citizens once again passed two charter amendment to approve the 2% Land Fund and the Maintenance Fund.  The results are: 
  12. Charter amendment to pay for Staff from the 2% Land Fund– This proposed charter amendment will allow the 2% Open Space Fund to pay a staff person to dedicate their time to the 2% LAND FUND PROGRAM.  We are trusting that the county will not deplete the purchasing power of the 2% Land Fund by paying out more than 1 salary, wages or benefits.   The intent is to have:
    • more properties purchased,
    • more matching funds obtained and
    • more Maintenance Funds granted to the non-profits to care for lands purchased with 2% funds.
  13. Charter Amendment for the Maintenance Fund– This proposed charter amendment will allow the non-profits who care for lands obtained with 2% Land Fund money to increase their good works. The Stewardship Grant process will be improved by:
    • Moving the administration of the  Maintenance Fund to the Department of Finance from the Department of Parks and Recreation.
    • Streamlining, and further defining and expediting the Stewardship Grant process.
    • Giving the Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Commission AND the Department of Finance Department  oversight for Stewardship Grants.
    • Allowing the non-profits to build, rent or lease toilet facilities, paths, trails and small structures for education purposes or the storage of equipment.
    • Allowing the non-profit stewardship groups to pay workers for their duties caring for the land.

The 2021 Report to the Mayor comes out in December of 2021. 

To see the 2020 Report to the Mayor by the Public Access and Open Space Commission (PONC), which lists this year’s top properties recommended for acquisition go to:  http://records.hawaiicounty.gov/weblink/1/doc/110224/Page1.aspx

Another great gift of the 2% Land Fund is the capacity to apply for matching funds. The County frequently applies for an gets money for matching funds from State Legacy Lands and US Fish and Wildlife Service.  So far, the County has received approximately 25% of the purchase price of the acquired properties.

MONIES IN THE FUND:  As of September 2021 there is $21, 465,000 in the 2% Land Fund.  Here is a summary of all the monies spent from the 2% Land Fund acquisition fund since the inception TO July 2020:   http://records.hawaiicounty.gov/weblink/1/doc/107797/Page1.aspx

This panel shows money in the fund from January 2021 to September 1, 2021.  http://records.hawaiicounty.gov/weblink/1/doc/112378/Page1.aspx

THE MAINTENANCE FUND CHARTER AMENDMENT was on the ballot in 2012. Council member Brenda Ford and I wrote the legislation creating the 2% Maintenance Fund to care for the lands obtained by the 2% Land Fund. Maintenance Fund grants are available to community groups who are maintaining Hawai’i Islands treasured lands. The goal is to empower these groups to continue their good work and to enable and encourage kuleana and the building of community for these lands.  The County has used these funds for studies, goat tending for weeds, surveys, fencing, luas etc . But in the 5-year period of 2013- 2018, there have only been 6 groups that have obtained these funds for a total of $343,800.00  There was $3,833,000 that has been deposited during the same time period 2013- 2018.  THAT MEANS THAT LESS THAN 9% OF FUNDS WERE OBTAINED BY THE NON-PROFITS THEY WERE INTENDED FOR- WHY?  Here is the information:  Maintenance Fund with Critique 1.31.2019   https://debbiehechtdotcom.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/maintenance-fund-with-critique-1.31.2019.pdf

I called every group that had applied for funding to get their input on the process.  I worked with Brenda Ford to make changes to the Maintenance Fund to accomplish the original goal:  to get funding to help the non-profits manage the lands. 

Charter Commissioner Sally Rice was our champion on the Charter Commission to get the changes that were requested by the non-profits and to move the administration of the Maintenance Fund to the Department of finance.     Voters approved this measure at the polls in November 2020.This should help get these funds to community groups! 

I was a PONC commissioner, and these volunteers are strong advocates for land conservation and maintenance. Get in touch with your PONC Commissioner and ask their help to obtain Maintenance Funds or how to suggest lands for preservation in your community.     Who is your PONC representative for your District?  http://records.hawaiicounty.gov/weblink/1/edoc/107784/2020%20Bios%20Commissioners.pdf    There are several openings for PONC commissioners, please consider applying. 

An information sheet on PROPERTY ACQUISITION PROCESS is available here: http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/weblink/browse.aspx?dbid=1&startid=13770

The 2020 Report to the Mayor contains:  The Report is located here: http://records.hawaiicounty.gov/weblink/1/doc/110224/Page1.aspx

The Public Access and Open Space and Natural Resourses Commission’s

STEWARDSHIP GRANT: Properties that are acquired with Land Fund monies can apply for maintenance funds. Here is a link to apply: http://records.hawaiicounty.gov/weblink/1/edoc/111868/2022%20Stewardship%20Grant%20Application%20(non%20fillable.pdf

*MATCHING FUNDS- My opinion: The highest and best use of 2% of taxpayer’s funds is to use the 2% Land Fund to get dollar for dollar matching funds. To date the County has only received 1 dollar for every 3 dollars spent for taxpayers OR only 32% of the money spent is from grants.   The ultimate goal would be to get dollar for dollar matching funds.

Citizens have proposed 180+ properties for acquisition:  This will be updated once the County updates their information (7.20.2020)

  • Puna area: 16 properties
  • South Hilo area: 16 properties
  • North Hilo: 7 properties
  • Hamakua: 26 properties
  • North Kohala: 29 properties
  • South Kohala: 18 properties
  • North Kona: 27 properties
  • South Kona: 14 properties
  • Ka’u: 27 properties

THE HAWAII COUNTY CHARTER AND THE HAWAII COUNTY CODE: which regulates the 2% Land Fund (PONC) and the PONC Maintenance Fund go to: http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/weblink/browse.aspx?startid=13770&dbid=1

Submitted by Debbie Hecht, Campaign Coordinator Save Our Lands Citizen’s Committee Hecht.deb@gmail.com 808-989-3222

More information on Debbie: https://debbiehecht.com/about/

Join our email list to stay informed and keep your family and friends informed on this important issue.  hecht.deb@gmail.com

The KALOKO TRAIL has made the prioritized list of the Hawai’i County’s Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Commission (PONC) and will appear in the 2021 Report to the Mayor.

The proposed steeper trail route was proposed by owner Gary Watts. The existing trail is noted in white broken lines. The existing trail is the preferred route because it is generally level and easier for less experienced hikers, kapuna and keiki. This trail provides a gentle access into the Forest Preserve. The sign below was posted at the Ha’o Street entrance to the existing trail. The map below shows the existing Kaloko Trail access to the trails in the State of Hawai’i’s Honua’ula Forest Preserve and Hualalai’s unique cloud forest habitat.

February 26, 2021

Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Commission 25 Aupuni Street
Hilo, HI 96720

Aloha Commissioners-

The acquisition of the Kaloko Trail would be a wonderful opportunity to open the door to more trail access island wide. I believe this would be the first trail acquisition by the PONC Fund. This would help to fulfill the Commission’s mandate, which is also part of the name PUBLIC ACCESS, Open Space and Natural Resources. In the pages to follow you will find this acquisition will fulfill the 2% Land Fund legislation that describes the properties that can be acquired:

(c) Monies in this fund shall be used solely to:
(1) Purchase or otherwise acquire lands and easements in the County of
Hawai‘i for public outdoor recreation and education, including:

(A) Access to beaches and mountains.
(B) Preservation of historic or culturally important land areas and sites.
(C) Protection of natural resources, significant habitat or eco-systems, including buffer zones.
(D) Preservation of forests, beaches, coastal areas, natural beauty and agricultural lands; and
(E) Protection of watershed lands to preserve water quality and water supply.

The real opportunity would occur if the County is able to use a Trail Easement or a Grant of Public Access Easement, which would be significantly less expensive. This stretches the PONC funds to go farther to purchase more properties. This trail should be a comparatively inexpensive acquisition of approximately 10 acres, even if purchased fee simple. As a condition of sale, the landowners may require fencing.

We ask your help to acquire this trail for recreation and exploration of the cloud forest’s unique habitat. This trail is easier for seniors and kids since most of the trail is wide and located at 2,800 feet of elevation. By comparison, the upper Makahi Trail, is much steeper, winds back and forth, and is covered in tree roots from the dense forest canopy which frequently keeps it muddy. Immersion in nature is important to all ages! It is important to note that this property would be preserved forever for the use and enjoyment of the citizens of Hawaii county.

Please look at the maps, the history, and make special note that the trails were built in the 1990s by Jeff McDevitt and Grant Miller who maintain the trails today. They are working to form a 501c3 to be able to apply for grants from the Maintenance Fund.

We ask your support to rate this trail with the highest of marks. Mahalo nui loa,

Debbie Hecht, Former PONC commissioner
Co-author of the 2% Land Fund Program Legislation
And Campaign Manager for the 2% Land Fund Ballot Measures since 2006

ATTACHMENT B- KALOKO TRAIL SUMMARY OF BENEFITS

RE: Attachment B: Provide a clear statement detailing how public acquisition would fulfill one or more of the above purposes. Also, explain the intent, long-term vision, and/or strategy of this proposed acquisition or project.

Kaloko property owners and the greater Kona Community have been hiking and biking the Kaloko Trail System for the last 30+ years. This acquisition would provide outdoor recreation for all ages, a place for families to foster a love of the outdoors for their children from an early age and to protect a beautiful portion of the cloud forest jungle on Hualālai mountain. This would help to preserve the natural beauty and watershed of the area by educating the public about this unique type of habitat.

The Kaloko Trail starts on Parcel 3 and crosses Parcel 2 and Parcel 1. See the Proposed Trail Map and the USGS map showing access to the Kaloko Trail to the Honu’a Forest Reserve (both are part of Attachment B). The Kaloko Trail is one of the only trails that is fairly level, with not much elevation change, that is usable for older people and children, making it ideal for a family outing. The trail is located at approximately 2,400 feet of elevation which makes it the perfect place for a cool summer hike. There is another entry to this trail system about 1.5 miles mauka at Makahi Street. This trail commonly known as the Jurassic Trail is very steep and very rugged over tree roots that winds through the forest/ jungle habitat. See the Trail Map It is a narrow, single person, trail where the Kaloko Trail is much wider and better for small groups. The two trails are an entirely different hiking and biking experience. Most hiker systems rate the Kaloko Trail as easy and the Makahi Street trail as moderate to difficult.

Within the last 3 years, The Kaloko Trail was closed off by the new landowner of Parcel 3. No Trespassing signs have gone up at the trailhead on Ha’o Street just north of Kaloko ( see photo included in Attachment B). The Kaloko community, bikers and hikers from Kona seeking mellow day hiking were up in arms. Sadly, many people keep trespassing. The landowner is very concerned with invasive species brought in by hikers, bikers, dogs and feral pigs and intends to fence the entire property. Property owners also very concerned with people hiking or biking in case someone is hurt and decides to sue. It would be advantageous if the liability was lifted off the landowner.

The landowner of Parcel 3 has been approached several times with offers to purchase the entire property. He has so far declined these offers. As sponsors of this Suggestion Form to PONC, we are presently working with all 3 property owners to craft an all- win situation. We believe this can be achieved if the terms of acquisition are to fence part of the properties and eliminate the liability of having a public trail on their properties. We believe that the landowners can then assist the public with easy access to the Honu’a Ul’a Forest Preserve.

STEWARDSHIP and MAINTENANCE: We are currently getting letters of support from Community organizations and Kaloko neighbors. Several have been provided here from 2015 and from current supporters to show wide based ongoing support. Jeff McDevitt, a local doctor and Grant Miller, owner of Bikewerks have been actively maintaining these trails since the 1990s. (see 2 letters included in Attachment D) Please see Jeff’s History of the Trail System included in Attachment B. We have agreed to establish a 501c3 non-profit to apply for Maintenance Funds to maintain the trails and recruit more people for this purpose. Jeff and Grant are standing by to relocate the trail if the owner of Parcel 3 at the beginning of the trail on Ha’o Street agrees to relocate the trail. See their statements of support. It is the long-term vision for this non-profit to steward other trail acquisitions around the island. It would be the long-term goal of this non-profit to help with island-wide trail acquisition and maintenance. We see a great need to preserve, create and maintain more trails on Hawai’i Island.

The following in italics is part of the Charter Amendment that lists the attributes or types of properties that may be acquired with the 2% Land Fund Monies.

The Kaloko Trail property fits almost every criterion (see bold and underlined):

“(c) Monies in this fund shall be used solely to:
(1) Purchase or otherwise acquire lands and easements in the County of
Hawai‘i for public outdoor recreation and education, including:

(A) Access to beaches and mountains;
(B) Preservation of historic or culturally important land areas and sites;
(C) Protection of natural resources, significant habitat or eco-systems, including buffer zones;
(D) Preservation of forests, beaches, coastal areas, natural beauty and agricultural lands; and
(E) Protection of watershed lands to preserve water quality and water supply.”

The Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Fund has fallen short on acquiring trail access. Portions of the Ala Kahakai Trail have been acquired as part of the large parcels in North Kohala and Ka’u have been purchased. To my knowledge, the Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Program has not used Trail Easements or Grants of Public Access Easements as a method of acquisition (samples of these documents can be supplied upon request). Theoretically, this acquisition could be a 30-foot strip of land leading through someone’s property and use only a small amount of PONC funds. We are hoping that this will be the first of many Trail Easements or Grants of Public Access Easements that can be used island wide.

We ask your support to preserve this important hiking jewel for the Kona Community, indeed the entire island to provide recreation for residents, young and old and for visitors. We imagine they could tour the Cloud Forest first and then have a cloud forest immersion experience to hike or bike the Kaloko Trail with greater appreciation.

Mahalo for your service and your interest to preserve public access, open space and natural resources on Hawai’i Island.

Sincerely,
Debbie Hecht, Campaign Coordinator for the 2% Land Fund Program since 2005, former PONC Commissioner, Chair of Moku O’ Keawe Land Conservancy and avid Kona Hiker.

_________________________________________________________

History of the trail system in the Honu’a Ul’a forest reserve

By Jeff McDevitt, head trail builder and trail maintenance since the mid-1990s

In the mid-1920s, Pu’uwa’awa’a ranch owners wanted to begin raising cattle but had no water source, with their land being entirely on a dry forest. They made an agreement with Palani ranch to run a 3 inch galvanized pipe from their well on the south side of Hualalai, northward across the entire mountain at about 3000′ elevation, to their watering station near the Pu’uwa’awa’a cinder cone, quite an amazing accomplishment. The 2 parties acquired an easement to build a section of the trail that crosses land that has in modern time become residentially developed, the Kaloko subdivision.

Many years after this pipeline trail was originally built, the agreement between the two ranches fell through and the pipeline was disassembled. A small 1.5 mile section of the original trail that crosses this present day Kaloko subdivision continued to be used for recreation by the public however which kept it from growing over completely. Portions of the disassembled pipe can be seen to this day just off the mauka side of this trail, which benefited from even greater public usage after the Kaloko residential subdivision road construction made the entrance point to the 1.5 mile section of trail at Hao St. more easily accessible.

In the mid-1990’s, the state of Hawaii took back the lease of certain portions of land from Hualalai Ranch to form forest reserves for recreational purposes in the Kona community. The 1365 acre Honu’a Ul’a Forest reserve, on the northern border of the Kaloko subdivision, was dedicated for hiking and mountain biking. The above described original pipeline trail crosses that forest reserve, an extension of the short 1.5 mile section of trail that crosses the Kaloko residential subdivision. The Department of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), the Hawaii State branch of DLNR, asked the TREE nonprofit (Tropical Reforestation and Ecological Education) to put trails into the forest reserve for hiking and mountain biking. They had no trail building experience, but they knew of 2 mtn bikers with trail building experience, Jeff McDevitt and Grant Miller, in the PATH non profit. They approached PATH to put in mountain biking trails, while they would attempt to build hiking trails. The PATH trail builders subsequently put in 6 miles of trails in the forest reserve with hand tools over the next 10 years, joining into the 1.5 mile section through Kaloko subdivision. This was done after the DOFAW head botanist, Lyman Perry, walked the proposed trails with the trail builders, presented his findings to the top guys of DOFAW, who subsequently gave the go ahead to build the 6 total miles of trails. DOFAW was subsequently folded into DLNR. Shortly afterward, an MOA was signed between DLNR & PATH designating the PATH trail crew as the officially sanctioned trail building/trail maintenance organization for this trail system.

Sadly, the TREE nonprofit lost its funding and the hiking trails never got built so the mountain biking trails have become multi-use for everyone. For the next 15 years Big Island hikers and mountain bikers enjoyed this trail system with two entrances, one at Hao Street crossing private land for the small first section then continuing on the state forest reserve land, and one at the very end of Makahi St. entering the reserve directly.

While PATH was initially the official sponsor, the actual trail maintenance group is actually a loosely organized group of mountain bikers who also happen to be PATH members. They built and have maintained the trails for the past 28 years that they have been in use. This group intends to continue this service for the community indefinitely. They are presently forming their own nonprofit organization specifically for this purpose since the PATH organization has had to break off their sponsorship due to significant cutbacks in their funding w/ the Covid pandemic.

As mentioned above, a portion of the original Pipeline trail now crosses three private residential properties in the Kaloko subdivision and joins into the 6 miles of forest reserve trails which are on State land. However, it is important to understand that the trail portion crossing the three properties is on private land. Over the many years since the subdivision was built none of the three landowners whose property the trail crosses have objected to the community use of the trail for recreation. Recently, one of these three 10 acre properties was purchased by a new owner. 90% of the short section of this old trail that crosses the Kaloko subdivision is on this new homeowner’s property, with only the remaining 10% divided between the other two private residential parcels. The new owner wishes to close his property off to public use so he can remove all invasive species and restore the forest to its native vegetation only. While this is certainly a worthwhile endeavor, it takes away from the community the most easily hikeable, level portion of the trail system and a second entrance into the trail system. There is now a no trespassing sign at the entrance on Hao Street to the trail system. The trails have become extremely popular in the Kona area for recreation during the pandemic. Hikers are repeatedly asking trail maintenance crew why the section of trail from Hao Street has been taken away from us and requesting that it be restored.

This History of the Trail System has been compiled by Jeff McDevitt, the head trail builder of the original PATH trail crew and submitted to Debbie Hecht on 2/22/21. It is accurate to the best of my knowledge.

Attachment C: Provide, if available, additional community endorsements for this proposed acquisition o r project through letters of support (simply reference any additional documents). In addition, please identify community organizations, land trusts, or individuals that could be contacted for further information about this proposed acquisition or project.

Letters from neighbors’ hikers and bikers: This trail has been used since the 1990s by hikers, bikers, Kaloko neighbors and the Kona Community. The previous landowner allowed access and the community enjoyed the trail. The property was purchased within the last 5 years and shut off to the community, which is the reason for this Suggestion to the Public Access and Open Space Commission. I have been hiking this trail since the early 2000s and also the upper trail off of Makahi Street. Both trails provide access to the Makaula-O’oma Section of the Honua’ula Forest Reserve which is managed by the state of Hawaii and maintained by Na ala Hele. This pristine, native forest has is pristine native plants in the cloud forest elevation. It is truly a world away from the shoreline lava hikes and only 15 minutes from downtown Kona

As I grow older, I miss hiking the lower trail because of the gentle slope that rarely vary from 2,800 feet. There is no better place to hike on hot summer days. The trail goes about 2 miles to the Makalei Golf Course boundary. The upper Makahi Trail is much harder to hike because it is narrow, of the elevation change and extensive roots to trip on. The Kaloko Trail is much easier for older people and kids. Please take the time to read the letters of testimony. We are planning on doing a petition to show the overwhelming support for this trail. Please contact me for more information at hecht.deb@gmail.com or 808-989-3222. Mahalo for your service to the community!

Please click the link below, to read the letters of support, including: former Council member Karen Eoff, Tina Clothier former E.D. of PATH, Deborah Chang, former planner County of Hawaii, Hawaii State Division of Forestry and Wildlife-Steve Bergfield,
Kaloko neighborhood organizer Lydia Weiss (808) 960-3800, Kona Hiking Club Leaders Joan Kinchla and Ruby Tzimeas, Karen Eberly, Kathryn and Neil Simms, Alice Jenkins, the Newkolds, Dr. Carol Hendrix, Dr. Glenn Brasington, Winfield Chang, Caroline Carlson, Laura Weaver, Tamara Gouveia, Scott and Karen Susman, Linda Lesley, and many more. other letters to follow that will be passed to the Commission by Communication. They will all be posted on the website by March 1.

Kaloko / Hao Street Trail, support from Neighbors (more to follow)

NOTE:  Also included are some letters from supporters from 2015, when then Council member Karen Eoff worked with Tina Clouthier, then Executive Director for PATH (People’s Advocacy for Trails Hawaii), Deborah Chang, well known and respected for trail expertise.

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From:  Lydia Weiss (808) 960-3800 and  <aloha.lydia.w@gmail.com>

February 23, 2021

Dear friends at Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Commission,

Re: LOWER KALOKO TRAIL ACQUISITION 

Acquiring the Hao Street trail for the public would be a BIG plus. The only other public trail in Kaloko, Makahi St trail, has become overused with lots of people and cars since this lower trail has been closed due to private ownership.

I’ve been walking these trails for over 35 years. 

I appreciate whatever you can do to help those of us who enjoy being out in the fresh air and staying healthy. 

Mahalo,

Lydia Weiss

________________________________

Aloha to the Open Space & Natural Resource Commission !  

Being raised in Kona for the last 28 years I grew walking the trails up Kaloko, my native Hawaiian Husband and I love it so much we purchased land at Kaloko Makai Place and want to raise our daughter and generations on this beautiful Ahapua’a. We went on our first date on the trail, and when I was pregnant would walk there most mornings before work. It’s perfect to escape a hot day in town and do something healthy. Our 5 year old daughter recognizes most of the Native plants on the trail, she learned how to walk on those trails. We understand how unique it is on the Kona side to have access to the mountain & forrest without trespassing, and the educational value of having trails to bring our children and grandchildren into nature is priceless and vital to their physical & mental health. Study after study show the benefit of being in nature, one of my favorite books is “Last held in the Woods” . The whole Kaloko Ahapua’a is an amazing opportunity for educating Kama’aina & Visitors on what a healthy ahapua’a should look like hands on, with volunteers we can keep this a treasure for the community. I support the purchase of this new Trail 100% and hope the commission sees the value and urgency for securing it for future generations. Makalo Nui Loa !!

Sincerely,

Moriah Smith Kramer 

Kaloko Coffee, an Organic Farm 

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FROM RICCI BEZONA:

Aloha PONC  Commissioners,

I have been hiking the Kaloko Trail since I found it by accident, back in 1996. I would see people entering the trail on their horses, so I decided to check it out one day. Since then, I have recorded running at least 10,000 miles on that trail, with no exaggeration. I live about a half mile down the road, and this has been part of my usual running route for the past 16 years, since I finally moved up here in 2005. I have used this trail to run both of my dogs, Lulu and Ernie, which I am sad to say, are now both deceased. I credit this trail for helping me through major crises in my life, such as the loss of my Grandmother Phyllis in 2010, and my brother Tim, in 2015. It has also been a place where I can wind down from a hard day of work, and get a good hard work out, away from the heat down below at lower elevations.

I have used this trail as a botanical study, and to keep in practice with identifying the native, as well as alien species along the trail. I also know all of the ups an downs of this trail, including the mud holes, and the rocks I have tripped over more than once. I have enjoyed running this trail in the beautiful sunshine, and at sunset, when just the tops of the trees are lit. I have run the trail with my head light at night, and under a full moon. I have run this trail early in the morning, when I know I am the first person of the day, because I am clearing spider webs along the way. In some case I have been completely amazed seeing spider webs spanning a distance of over 20 feet. One time I ran the trail in a thunder storm and the rain turned to hail. There was a beehive I ran by for over 10 years, toward the end of the trail, that I recently witnessed the bees vacating. I have it on video if anyone wants to see it. I have limped 2 miles in the dark after tripping on a rock and flying down a hill. I watched endangered tree species die after someone sprayed glyphosate toward the end of the trail. I have come within 10 feet of startled pigs as I rounded a corner, only to see them relax a little, when they realize it is only me, and I don’t have a gun. And by the way, the avocado tree a little over 1 mile from the road, has excellent tasting avocados. Summing it up, this trail has been a huge blessing to me, and a big part of my life!

What I see happening now seems somewhat similar to what I witnessed happening in the 1970s. As properties along the coastline were being bought up and developed, we lost more and more of our favorite camping spots, and access to our shorelines. The land owners always think it is their right to keep people off of their property. Luckily we had a few good politicians who helped fight for shore line access every few hundred feet. Otherwise many of our favorite surfing and diving spots would no longer be accessible by the general public. The Makaula-O’oma Honu’ala Forest Reserve is public land, meant to be enjoyed by all of us! Access to this forest treasure should not be limited to just 1 or 2 locations. And the Ha’o Street trail is a logical access point to keep, since it has been in place for at least 100 years.

I would also like to mention, in all of the years I have spent running on the trail, everyone has been warm and friendly.  This goes for the regulars I see all of the time, to the people who are lost, wondering which way it is to the main road. If the problem is all of the cars, or the shady people hanging out on the road near the trail head. Then let’s focus on minimizing the negative effects in that area. Blocking the entire trail off is not the right answer. There are a lot of criminals whom I believe would not be criminals, if they had the opportunity to spend more time in the forest.

I could write much more, and if I had more time I would fine tune the letter to be much more eloquently written. I am busy running my own business and taking care of my own responsibilities. But keeping this trail open to the public, is not only very important for my sake. It is a treasure that should be shared with the public to help make all of our lives a little better.

Please support the Kaloko Trail for acquisition with 2% Land Fund monies. Thank you very much for your consideration!

Sincerely,

Ricci Bezona
Owner/President | ISA #: WE-8785A

P.O. Box 3096 | Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96745
Nursery +1.808.325.1034 | Cell +1.808.960.4946
http://www.bezonabotanical.com/

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To:Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Commission

RE: The lower Kaloko Trail Acquisition

To Whom it May Concern,

I have been visiting the Big Island since 1986 and have been a permanent resident since 2001.

My husband and I own a home in Kailua Kona.  During that time we were fortunate to be introduced to the Lower Kaloko Trail.  It is a very special place and unique in Kailua Kona surroundings.  We have been hiking it on a regular basis for the last 16 years.

In the last 2 o 3  years we were quite shocked that access from lower Hao Rd had been closed off. Apparently a private landowner chose to do this and I understand that it is his right.It came to my attention that a group may want to purchase the easement that would again allow access from Lower Hao Rd. I would certainly be in favor of this.

This trail is unlike any other in this area of North Kona.  The flora and fauna that is present is more typical of that in the Volcanoes National Park region.  Those of us who don’t choose to or can’t drive the 4 hour round trip to Volcanoes are fortunate to have this area to appreciate.

We have taken countless friends and family members who have been visiting us from around the world because it is so” special “. There are many native birds and native plants and orchids that i have photographed over the years. 

There are so many public trails that have been closed off in the last 10 years that there are not many places for local people to get out and enjoy what we may have moved here to appreciate. Many of the trails where I used to hike can only be accessed by paying a private company such as Hawaii Forest and Trail.  While I want to support local businesses, it is too costly for me  to do this for my hiking experience.  Hence my choice of trails is diminishing yearly.

I would encourage you to consider this proposal of purchasing and maintaining the easement off of Hao Rd.

Thank You,

Barbara Pool

Kailua Kona, HI

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February 23, 2021

Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Commission

Re: Lower Kaloko Trail Acquisition

Aloha,

I am writing in support of extending access to the Makaula O’oma Trail from Hao Street. Having access from Hao Street would provide hikers who are not capable of hiking up hills an opportunity to enjoy the Honua’ula Forest Reserve, the Hawaiian song birds, native vegetation, and experience a rainforest.

When the lower access trail to Makaula O’oma Trail was open, I met a group of preschoolers who were learning about the plants along the trail. This was a great opportunity for 3 and 4 year olds to engage in a rainforest environment. This lower access trail is close to Kailua-Kona thus providing easy access to an outdoor classroom by students of the many preschool and lower elementary grades. These students are not physically capable of walking the steep and lengthy trails accessible from Makahi Street.

Kapuna and physically impaired people who enjoy being in nature, are bird lovers and hobby botanists, currently do not have access to the Makaula O’oma Trail and Honua’loa Forest Reserve. Having access from Hao Street would provide access to these people. From what I know about hiking trails, the Makaula O’oma Trail is the only forested trail in the Kailua-Kona vicinity and West Hawaii.

The Makaula O’oma Trail, unlike the lower elevation trails, the temperature does not got too hot for hikers. It provides a variety of birds and native vegetation for hikers to enjoy, as well as a tranquil environment.

Please take the necessary action to restore access from Hao Street to Makaula O’oma Trail. Makaula O’oma and Honua’loa Forest Reserve are an educational resource, restore one’s mana, and provide a cool place for non-strenuous exercise for residents and visitors in Kona and West Hawaii.

Mahalo piha,

Karen Peitz-Eberle  PO Box 697

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To:  Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Commission

Re:  Lower Kaloko Trail Acquisition

The Lower Kaloko Trail off Hao Street is a gem for all us local hikers and visitors.  I was very sad when the owner cut off access.  It’s relatively level (good for aging hikers) and has more shade than most West Hawaii trails.  It’s one of few rainforest trails in West Hawaii.  Most of West Hawaii is private property, so any public trails are very much needed.  I urge you to acquire public access to this trail and fence it off.

Sincerely,

Alice Jenkins

67-1296 Laikealoha Street

Kamuela, HI 96743

_______________________________________

2.23.2021

Aloha PONC,
Please put the Hao Street trail (Kaloko Mauka) on the acquisition list for 2021. Easements on this lower portion of the trail hopefully will maintain access to the full trail.

The freedom to hike the beautiful trails of the Big Island is such a blessing and privilege.  It should not be lost.

Mahalo for your consideration.
Colleen Meyer
Keauhou Bay

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February 24, 2021

To whom it may concern on the acquisition committee,

Please register this plea on behalf of my wife and I, Ulrike and Richard Newkold, of 525A Wainaku Street, Hilo, HI 96720:  We ask and urge the Committee to make the purchase of a trail easement on the Lower Kaloko Trail at your next sitting.  Although we live in Hilo, we hike all corners and elevations of our beloved Big Island. We’ve hiked the Lower Kaloko Trail several times, prior to its closure, with friends we met in the Kona Hiking Club.  It is a beautiful trail and gives access to a part of the island poorly served by other public access. 

Richard and Ulrike Newkold

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Note: The following letters are from Ruby Tzimeas along with Joan Kinchla, who  were founding members of the KONA HIKING CLUB, this is what she wrote on Feb 23, 2021:

To the members of the Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Commission:

I am writing in support of the use of PONC funds to acquire easements to the lower portion of the hiking/biking trail located in Kaloko Mauka.  I have been hiking this trail since I moved to Kona, over 20 years ago.  It is the only mauka trail, close to town, that is even partially open to the public. 

I remember when I first discovered it, one hot summer day.  It was a revelation to learn that there was a refreshingly cool place that I could take my dog to hike that did not require an hour in the car to get to!  There is nothing else within miles that compares to the luxurious forest of hapu’u fern, ‘ohi’a, koa, and and kahili ginger growing there.  (Although it is true that the ginger is invasive, the scent is truly intoxicating when it is in bloom.)  There are also many other native plants and forest birds along the trail, as well. 

Walking just a few minutes from your car here, is like stepping out of the “big city” of Kailua-Kona, back into Jurassic times.  Perhaps this is why the mountain biking community has christened the trail Jurassics, although I personally think the Hawaiian name of the ahupua’a, ’O’oma (posted at the upper trailhead), is far more appropriate.

As a past leader (2005 – 2009) of the Kona Hiking Club, I can tell you that this trail is very important to many members of our community.  Encouraging outdoor activity is something that our community leaders (including all of you!) should be doing to the greatest extent possible.  Kona is known for it’s healthy, active, lifestyle, but far too many of our trails have been lost to public use in the past 20 years.  You have an opportunity now to help preserve one more that is in danger of being lost.

Originally, the trail was a loop, with access from both Hao Street and Makahi Street.  But parts of the lower (Hao Street) portion cross private property, and have been posted “No Trespassing”.   Unfortunately, this removes the loop option for the hike.  More importantly, the lower portion is wider and flatter, more comfortable for older hikers and families with young children.  If this access was to be permanently lost, a large segment of our community will no longer find it safe to  hike there.

When hiking in other parts of the country, it is very common for trails to cross back and forth over undeveloped public and private lands.  It is less common here in Hawai’i, perhaps because property owners have liability concerns.  If the County of Hawai’i were to purchase these easements, it would eliminate these concerns to a large degree.  I hope that you will see fit to include it as a high priority for purchase, on this year’s list!

Mahalo nui loa,

Ruby Tzimeas. rubyolili@hotmail.com

73-1401 Kaika Place

Kailua-Kona, HI 96740

____________________________________________________

Joan Kinchla

77-6393 Kaheiau Street

Kailua-Kona, HI 96740

808-987-1869

February 24, 2021

Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Commission

Dear Commission:

I am a full time resident of Kailua Kona and fully support PONC to consider purchasing the lower portion of Koloko mauka trail (off Old Hao Road) as an easement for public access. It would be an excellent addition to PONC.  This mauka trail access is so important to those of us who enjoy hiking in cooler temps in the summer.  The Big Island has so few mauka trails that are open to the public.  It is a wonderful, relatively flat trail for those of all ages (families) to enjoy, not to mention the variety of vegetation:  ohia trees, ginger, etc.

As a former Kona Hiking Club leader, I have seen too many coastal trails be relocated or fenced off completely (i.e., private developers and/or second home buyers from mainland) which is an incredible loss for both local kama’aina and visitors alike.  The time to protect this section of the Koloko trail and make available for public access is NOW.  Hikers, walkers, mountain bikers and hunters have, in the past, utilized this area and it would be wonderful to secure and maintain this trail for all to enjoy in the future.  I hope PONC will seriously consider purchasing this important easement.

Mahalo for your consideration.

Respectfully,

Joan Kinchla

808-987-1869

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To:Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Commission

RE: The lower Kaloko Trail Acquisition

To Whom it May Concern,

I have recently become aware of interest in the Lower Kaloko Trail Acquisition.  I fully support any effort on behalf of public access to our beautiful island.  

Over the past 20 years I have watched as more and more access  to our public lands being hindered by development or person gain.  The “Kaloko Trail” is one of the last public access areas within a short drive from Kailua Kona.  Over the years I have hiked the trails, brought visitors to area and found peace from the sometimes hectic tourist areas.  The area is pristine and the volunteers that have maintained the trails have done an excellent job.  The trails are safe and free from liter.  

I believe that purchasing an easement for public access, working with the local property owners and perhaps fencing-off the private lands will  benefit everyone.  No one wants to infringe on the rights of private property owners, but working together we can keep the area open and still provide protection to the property owners.  

Please consider helping us keep such a beautiful area open to all.  It would be  such a pity that we should have to drive hours to experience this type of solitude that sits just 20 minutes from most Kona areas.

Thank you for your consideration.

Respectfully submitted,

Ken Pool 

Kailua Kona, HI

_________________________________________________________________

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Lower Kaloko Trail

2/24/2021

Since over 15 years my favorite activity is to hike in Kaloko. It keeps me healthy physical and gives me mental relaxation from hectic day to day life. I really miss my walks on the lower Kaloko trail! I used to hike 3-4 times a week with friends as well as alone.  Please open this trail up again for the public. I feel so connected to Hawaii and it’s culture when I am in this cloud forest. 

Aloha 

Ursula Vietze 

P.O. Box 2652

Kailua Kona, HI 96745 

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Part of Attachment D. Attachment D: Provide verification of community organizations, land trusts, or individuals, who are. willing to be part of the long-term management /maintenance of this property.

RE: ONGOING KALOKO TRAIL MAINTENANCE since the 1990s

by JEFF McDEVITT and GRANT MILLER

TO: Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Commission

Dear commissioners,

This is to verify that Grant Miller and Jeff McDevitt, members of PATH, Peoples Advocacy for Trails Hawaii, were asked by DOFAW, department of Forestry and Wildlife, to build hiking and biking trails in the newly commissioned forest reserve at the end of Makahi Street adjacent to the Kaloko residential subdivision in the mid-1900s. PATH is a nonprofit who graciously agreed to be the sponsor for this volunteer, community work including necessary bookkeeping. The two above PATH members had trail building experience and agreed to become the leaders of the volunteer trail building/maintenance crew, designing and building these trails. DLNR subsequently established an MOA with PATH, designating it to be the official trail maintenance crew for the forest reserve trail system, but we maintained an adjoining, small section of trail that crossed through 3 private Ag parcels in the Kaloko subdivision as well (explained below).The main trail in the system was originally built to carry a historic water pipeline traversing Hualalai Mountain from Palani Ranch to Puuwaawaa Ranch in the 1920s, as I have more completely explained in the history of the trails which is included in the application.

A short remnant of that historic trail remains in modern times and has been used heavily by the community for hiking and biking with a sole entrance at Hao St, that initially traversed three private Ag parcels and then continued northward across the adjacent forest reserve. The trail system in the forest reserve was an extension of this old Pipeline trail. We designed the entire trail system in the forest reserve as an extension off of this small segment crossing private land, but included in the design a second, direct entrance into the reserve at the end of Makahi street, the next street up above Hao. The three private land owners did not object to the public continuing to use this old historic trail traversing their properties for the past 30 years or more, which of course predates the building of the entire subdivision anyway. However we encouraged the hikers and bikers to use the Makahi entrance in the future.

It should be noted that this small portion of the trail with entrance at Hao street that crosses the three private residential parcels is on County land in the Kaloko subdivision, then transitions to State land in the forest reserve immediately adjacent to the subdivision border. So while we are talking about two separate areas, the trail crew has maintained the entire system for the benefit of the community over the years.

However, in the last two years one of the 3 private parcels was sold and the new owner has posted no trespassing signs, intends to fence it off, and remove it from use by the public forever. We are hoping to purchase an easement from this owner that would allow us to move the trail to the very end of his property and still allow entrance for the hikers. The trail entrance at Makahi Street is very steep, rugged and difficult for hikers. We just didn’t have good terrain to work with but it was the only access point from the roadway directly into the reserve. Hikers sorely miss the level terrain of the old entrance at Hao Street that they have used for the past 30 years. Many of them pleaded with us to bring it back and so we are trying.

Regarding our commitment to maintaining the trails: Grant Miller and I have maintained these trails ever since they were built beginning in 1993. We are both avid mountain bikers and these are no other trails available for hiking/biking in the Kona district forests that I am aware of. I can assure you that we are committed to continuing this effort indefinitely. We have a long track record of consistent and physically taxing trail work, so you can be assured we will continue in the future. Our nonprofit will also plan to expand the effort to other trail systems such as Kalopa State Park to assist the Rangers there with trail maintenance and hopefully Kulani forest in Hilo.

The hikers love us for the work we do on these trails. I chat with them every time they pass me while working on the trail, and we have a good relationship. With the pandemic, trail usage increased dramatically as being in this beautiful forest induces serenity and peace of mind.

Sadly, the PATH nonprofit recently came under severe financial pressure and had to cut back many functions including sponsoring our trail maintenance effort, since they depend on donations and grants to function and this money dried up significantly with the pandemic.

We are going to form our own 501(c)(3) to continue caring for the trails, including the small section of the trail which is now closed, which is the subject of this application, in the hopes that the new owner will agree to sell an easement or a small fee simple acquisition at the end of his property to continue allowing the trail to be used by the community. Debbie Hecht is graciously helping us in to finding funding for purchasing this easement and fencing it off via this application to PONC. If approved by the commission, we will reroute the trail entrance to the far west end of the Ha’o Street landowners property to make this more agreeable to him and to hook up to the trail crossing the two other landowners to reach the Homua’ula Forest Reserve.

We are hopeful that you will understand how much the hikers and bikers treasure this forest reserve in Kona and look favorably upon our application for the grant money and the easement. I would encourage all of you to take a hike on our trails and see how beautiful it is in the forest.

Submitted respectfully by Jeff McDevitt on 2/24/21. Jeffmcd65@gmail.com

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February 24, 2021
To: Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Commission.

From: Grant Miller, owner of Bike Works, avid mountain biker and member of trail maintenance crew since 1990s.

RE: Acquisition of Kaloko Trail

Dear Commissioners,
I am writing today to request that the 2% Land Fund purchase a small piece of land that the public has been using for around 30 years to gain access into the Makaula O’oma section of the Honua’ula Forest Reserve.

Jeff Mcdevitt and myself have been maintaining the trails in this forest since the early 1990’s at the request of the DOFAW. For the majority of the life of this trail system, most people found that the best way to access the trails was from Hao St using an old water pipe right of way (many people called this section the Hao St Trail). About two years ago the parcel with this right of way on it, was sold and the new owner has closed off the use of this entry way. This forces everyone to use the upper trail entrance on Makahi Street which is very rugged and restricts access to anyone with physical challenges -mainly really young kids or the elderly. I would like to see the Kaloko Trail open back up as it will allow more access and also alleviate the congestion of parking that we get with only one entrance.

I would like to ensure assure this commission that Jeff and I are going through the process of forming a 501c3 so we can formally apply for stewardship funds of to continue maintaining this parcel. It would be a natural and easy addition to the much larger trail system in the forest reserve that we maintain already. We are committed to this responsibility for as long as we are able. There are many other volunteers from the biking and hiking communities that will help also.

Lastly, the west side of the Big Island really needs all the help it can get to help open up “mauka” parks and trails. We have many parks along the ocean but only one that I know of in the rainforest. Let’s make this forest trail one of the best on the islands with more then one entrance and one that can be used by all of us in our community.

Thanks for your time,
Grant Miller. grant@bikeworkskona.com

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Attachment E: Provide summaries or abstracts instead of full reports. Include within the summary, citations or links to reference the documentation related to the suggested site or project. This would assist the Commission in their assessments.

1) How would the general public benefit from this proposed acquisition or project?

The public would benefit from the proposed acquisition in the following ways:

  • Restore access to a much used and beloved fairly level, wide trail for hiking, biking, nature walks, bird watching, for exploration and preservation of natural vegetation and animal habitat, into perpetuity for citizens and visitors. Most of the trail is at 2,800 feet in elevation. Please see maps in Attachments A and B.
  • Responsible stewardship through a 501c3 organization led by long term maintenance and trail builders Jeff McDevitt and Grant Miller, who will ensure proper upkeep and maintenance so the trail system can be available at all times for use by residents and visitors, as a place for nature immersion for generations to come. See Grant and Jeff’s statements in Attachment D
  • The Kaloko Trail hooks up to the larger trail system on Hawaii State lands of Makula-O’oma Section of the Honua’ula Forest Reserve trail system, maintained by Na Ala Hele.
  • Outdoor recreation contributes to the economic vitality of the Kona community by attracting citizens and visitors to enjoy the natural beauty of the Island, as a living classroom for recreation and exercise.
  • 2) Describe any significant historic, cultural or natural resources of the property. There are extensive lists of unique plants and animals that inhabit this area of Hualālai Mountain’s jungle cloud forest habitat. The Makaula-O’oma Section of the Honua’ula Forest Reserve is a 1,252-acre section of quality native forest frequented by native birds, which is the only publicly owned forest reserve on Hualālai mountain that is open to the public. Other publicly owned sections are landlocked by private property. Extensive planting in this area of Koa and other native trees are enhancing critical native habitat for rare and endangered native species. Because the Ha’o Street entrance onto the trail makes it accessible to people of all ages, school groups and seniors this area could be a living cloud forest classroom and immersion together with great recreation.
  • 2)  Describe and include maps showing a significant relationship to larger historical ,cultural and or natural landscape: This trail would link to the larger trail system Makula-O’oma Section of the 1,252-acre Honua’ula Forest Reserve Trail System. See maps in Section B.
  • 3)  Describe level of urgency(i.e., is property currently on the market /for how long, has an active re-zoning/subdivision application been filed, high public use, etc.)
    • The proposed trail easement would cross Parcels 1, 2 and 3 as shown on the Proposed Trail Map in Attachment B
    • The owner of Parcel 3 is moving forward with plans to fence his 21+ acres to fence out the public and restore plant life and control the habitat. If PONC approves this parcel the trail could be moved before he restores the habitat on the property and the trail fenced off. Parcels 1 and 2 would be less impacted but are more willing to help the public with access.
    • Parcel 3 is not currently on the market however the current owner of Parcel 3 has been approached with offers to sell the property outright and has not yet been in agreement. The homeowner plans to build on the portion closer to Kaloko. If we can relocate the trail and fence it off from the southern homesite portion, we believe the landowner may be in agreement.
    • Discussions are currently underway with the owners of Parcels 1, 2 and 3 to purchase outright acquisition OR establishment of a Trail Easement or Grant of Public Access Easements.
    • There is some urgency, and we hope to be considered for the late 2021 Report to the Mayor, to move forward on acquisition, fencing and restoring the trail to public use before massive restoration and fencing take place. We believe this will result in a win/win for the property owners and for the public.
  • 5)  Describe any special opportunities for acquisition that presently exist.(Special funding available, etc.)
    • It is the applicant’s intent to access the 2% Land Fund to acquire land and/or purchase a Trail Easement or Grant of Public Access Easement. No other source(s) of funding have been identified at this time however research is underway to secure other funding sources that may be utilized, such as grants. We do not anticipate this to be a large expenditure for the 2% Land Fund, especially if a Grant of Public Access Easement is used for acquisition.
    • Once the acquisition or easement process has been completed, a Maintenance Fund Stewardship grant will be applied for upkeep, physical improvements, such as parking and bathrooms and to offset the costs of volunteer work as is allowed by County Charter.
    • BIG PICTURE TRAIL ACQUISITION: Another special opportunity is the use of Trail Easements or Grant of Public Access Easements. To my knowledge this has never been done. When I wrote the original legislation in 2006 with Council member Brenda Ford we hoped more trails would be opened island-wide, hence the name Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources. I personally hope that this acquisition would pave the way for more trails. (My opinion- Debbie Hecht)
  • 6)  Has partnering with other government agencies, private or nonprofit entities to leverage resources (funding, grants, managing partnerships) been identified? Yes X No Unknown If yes, please describe
    • The applicant is in discussion with several, local nongovernmental entities to support this application and to form the 501c3 non-profit that will be responsible for stewardship and maintenance
    • These include, but are not limited to the Kona Hiking Club, Moku O’ Keawe Land Conservancy, and a soon to be incorporated 501c3. In the past this group has worked with PATH (People’s Advocacy Trails Hawaii) and Na Ala Hele.
    • The formation of the private non-profit is a work-in-progress and its formation, development will parallel the efforts to obtain the Commission’s approval of the proposed acquisition.
  • 7)  Is/Are the landowner(s) aware of this suggestion and willing to participate? XX Yes No Unknown If yes, please submit a letter form the landowner (s). The three landowners are currently aware of this proposal and discussions are underway for acquisition. Substantive discussions are currently underway as noted in item 4 above, in efforts to reach mutually acceptable terms for all parties. We believe that this acquisition will involve a contractual commitment by the County to fence part of Parcel 3 and relocate the trail on that property to a more northern location.

8) Is/Are the property(s) or property easement(s) available for acquisition? Yes No XX Unknown If yes, please describe.
• As noted in item 7 above, discussions are ongoing for property easement or acquisition. We are committed to this process and will update and notify the Commission of our progress.

9) Are there any covenants, encumbrances, restrictions (i.e. association or maintenance), or easements? If yes, please describe.

• To the best of our knowledge there are no covenants, encumbrances or restrictions on any of the three parcels in question that would preclude successful implementation of the proposed trail easement or alignment. As more information becomes available we will update the Commission.

Please check back for content and pictures.

The Doctor Shortage in Hawai’i

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HAWAII’S DOCTOR SHORTAGE

People move from the outer islands to Honolulu, or leave the state entirely when they get older and need more medical care, because of the shortage of doctors. This is an economic problem for doctors and the islands. There is always a shortage of doctors. What can be done to retain doctors in the Islands?

IDEAS TO RETAIN DOCTORS and PROPOSED LEGISLATIVE CHANGES:  

US REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS COULD PROPOSE TO:

  • Negotiate new Medicare Reimbursement Rates to include Hawaii in the same class as California or Alaska. Right now the Medicare reimbursement is gauged by population density, so Hawaii is included with rural areas such as Guam and Louisiana, who have a much less expensive standard of living. The reimbursement rate is only 92% of the actual cost. This is the basic reason why doctors can’t stay in Hawaii.  THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT CHANGE THAT CAN BE MADE. 
  • Institute a national licensing program for doctors and nurses. Streamline and reduce licensing tests for doctors. Have reciprocity for medical licensing with other states.  It takes 3-6 months to obtain a license in Hawaii.  Telemedicine is starting to become important due to the pandemic and could be a model for this.
  • Forgive student loan debt for doctors, nurses and medical staff who serve in rural areas like Hawaii that are suffering  with doctor shortages. There is a similar program for doctors who work on Indian Reservations.
  • Increase medical coverage for poor people in a basic healthcare system, so people are more likely to go to the doctor when they first get sick.

STATE OF HAWAI’I REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS COULD PROPOSE TO:

  • Insurance companies must validate pay- for- service or your insurance model must require that the insurance companies  reimburse for service based on actual cost in the State of Hawaii for reimbursement by HMSA, Aloha Care, United etc.
  • Eliminate the GET tax for medical services. Medical services, doctors, labs and drugs are a necessity.  It is against the law for doctors to pass this tax on to patients, this cost further reduces doctor’s income.  This tax affects poor people as a larger percentage of their income.
  • Cap Malpractice claims at $1 million: From a ER doctor who explains it perfectly: “Without malpractice caps all our hard earned assets are at risk with each malpractice suit. We are covered for one million per case. If the award is over one million it comes out of our personal assets. The longer you practice the more likely you will be sued. One every ten years, statistically. So we want to retire so our assets, needed to retire, are not at risk. Hawaii has several suits with a $3-5 million award.  The caps need to align with the malpractice insurance caps. This is a huge and worrisome disconnect.”
  • Streamline and reduce the licensing test for doctors. Have reciprocity for medical licensing with other states.  It takes 3-6 months to obtain a license in Hawaii. This is a disencentive and makes it more difficult.
  • Help aspiring primary care physicians to work in Hawaii  to increase the general care to people.  Too many people use Urgent Care as their primary care entry to the system.
  • The Hawaii State legislature could create an annuity fund to pay a stipend to each doctor. The goal would be to help pay Hawaii doctors the same as their peers on the mainland.
  • Increase medical coverage for poor people in a basic healthcare system, so people are more likely to go to the doctor when they first get sick.

HAWAI’I COUNTY COUNCILS AND LOCAL LEADERS COULD PROPOSE TO:

  • Eliminate the GET tax for medical services. Medical services, doctors, labs and drugs are a necessity.  It is against the law for doctors to pass this tax on to patients, this cost further reduces doctor’s income.  This tax affects poor people as a larger percentage of their income.
  • The County Council and Local Chambers of Commerce could fund an annuity to pay partial scholarships for medical students that would require then to stay for 4 years on Hawaii island for loan forgiveness.

The report by the Hawaii Physician Workforce Assessment Project found

  • More than 150 doctors left the state in 2019, another 91 physicians retired,  while 123 decreased their work hours, with the highest shortages happening in primary care.
  • The decrease represents about 8% of Hawaii’s physician workforce.
  • Hawaii needs to add as many as 820 doctors to a pool of 3,484 physicians actively providing care to satisfy the need for services, the report said.
  • The physician population in Hawaii is aging. Not enough new doctors are being recruited, with about half of active physicians aged at least 55, while nearly 1 in 4 are age 65 or older, the report said.
  • The shortages mean people throughout the state are waiting longer for health care and at times facing life-threatening consequences, said Dr. Kelley Withy, lead investigator for the report.

Annual Report on Findings from the Hawai‘i Physician Workforce Assessment Project for the 2020 Legislative Session from the  Executive Summary:  “There are currently 3,484 active physicians providing patient care to patients in Hawaiʻi for a total of 2,974 Full Time Equivalents (FTEs) of direct care to patients. The national demand model applied to the State of Hawaiʻi indicates a need for 3,483 total FTEs or a shortage of 509.  However, when island geography and unmet specialty specific needs by county are examined,the estimated unmet need for physicians (accounting for geographic distance and air travel)increases to 820 FTEs (up from 797 last year). Primary care is the largest shortage statewide (300 FTEs needed), and on all islands, with Infectious Disease (72%), Pathology (58%),  Pulmonology (56%), Colorectal Surgery (52%), Hematology/Oncology (47%), Thoracic Surgery (45%), and Allergy & Immunology (43%) being the largest subspecialty shortages statewide by percent of estimated unmet need.” From the Annual Report on Findings from the Hawai‘i Physician Workforce Assessment Project for the 2020 Legislative Session https://www.hawaii.edu/govrel/docs/reports/2020/act18-sslh2009_2020_physician-workforce_annual-report.pdf https://www.hawaii.edu/govrel/docs/reports/2020/act18-sslh2009_2020_physician-workforce_annual-report.pdf

Doctors leave Hawaii for a variety of reasons, including the high cost of living and lower average pay, limited job prospects for spouses and dissatisfaction with the medical community, see more:   https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/hawaii/articles/2019-12-26/hawaii-experiencing-shortage-as-more-doctors-leave-state   

“So, from the Big Island, we’re very much in a state of crisis there. We have a 44% shortage of physicians on the Big Island. About 230 doctors is the number of physicians that we’re short of and of the remaining practicing physicians 32%, or basically a third of the remaining doctors, are 65 years old or older.”  From Dr. Scott Grosskreutz<https://www.linkedin.com/in/scott-grosskreutz-a87b0913b/> is a radiologist with Hawaii Radiologic Associates   and is a member of the Hawaii Physician Shortage Crisis Task Force. He joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss doctor shortages on the Big Island.

This report was compiled from research and conversations and multiple doctors.

Questions or Comments?   Debbie Hecht hecht.deb@gmail.com

RACISM & HEALING THE RACIAL DIVIDE

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WHITE PRIVILEGE: Anyone born in the dominant culture or perceived as white has white privilege. Even if you were poor or had a hard life, if you grew up white you have white privilege.   The BLACK LIVES MATTER movement elevates the systemic ways our culture keeps black and brown people down. The don’t start the race of life at the same place that white people do.  Don’t bury your head in the sand and dismiss this by saying All Lives Matter, of course they do. If you care about other people, PLEASE EDUCATE YOURSELF TO WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP.

Claudia Rankin: “They’ll anxiously insist, “I’m not racist.” Well, yes, you are. We all have biases—only I don’t have power behind mine. If we can understand that racism is an active force, we can figure out how we got here. Think about sexism. Until some men could admit that it existed, men and women couldn’t have a dialogue about it.”

Erikka Knuti, a political strategist, said, “Part of white privilege has been the ability to not know that your privilege exists. If you benefit from racism, do you really want to know that?” I can see where it would be uncomfortable for people to admit that their lives are shaped by unearned advantages, especially in an environment where those advantages may be beginning to slip away, but the blindness itself is a part of the problem. White people have duties as part of the American community. They must be honest with themselves and their co-citizens and admit that white privilege shapes a lot of life in this country. They must understand that the truly pernicious, life-defining sort of racism is not interpersonal, it’s institutional. The systems that shape who lives where, who gets educated, who gets jobs, who gets arrested, and so on, these things shape lives, and they are all heavily weighted in white people’s favor. To ignore all of that is to misunderstand America. If white people admit those things, it will be plain that they are not, in any way, victims”

How is our culture “white skewed” by supporting white supremacy and white privilege? Our society is white skewed because of population demographics, the legal system, our educational institutions, the healthcare system and our real estate and tax systems, to name a few.

Tim Wise, anti-racist educator says, “When you’ve had the luxury of presuming yourself to be the norm, the prototype of an American, any change in the demographic and cultural realities in your society will strike you as outsized attacks on your status. You’ve been the king of the hill and never had to share shit with anyone, what is really just an adjustment to a more representative, pluralistic, shared society seems like discrimination. When you’re used to 90 percent or more of the pie, having to settle for only 75 or 70 percent? Oh my God, it’s like the end of the world.”

 Be respectful:  Should you say, “Do I say Black people or  Afro- American”? 

Emmanuel Acho: …. “The simplest and short answer Is black. Because it’s not only most accurate, it’s also least offensive.  Keep in mind not all black people in America are African.  there are Jamaicans, there are Cubans, but, also there are some black people that don’t identify as African because that heritage got stripped from them during slavery.  So, just a quick short answer, I know so many of y’all ask that question.”  From Conversations with a Black Man Episode 2. 

 Great social change awaits us, but it will only come at a great cost and will require a great effort. This will mean having uncomfortable, heartfelt conversations to understand the lives of others and the suffering caused by white privilege, racism and “othering”.

I believe that if human beings are willing to see each other in the fullness of their humanity, we can live in harmony. What does that mean? It means listening, looking at each other in full acceptance by being vulnerable, empathetic and compassionate. This belief or value does not deny, excuse or devalue the cultural differences between races, religions or classes.

IF YOU WOULD RATHER HEAR A LECTURE ON THIS PLEASE CLICK HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5qkqvnHWwc&feature=youtu.be

Through understanding we can heal the racial divide. Try to understand the depth of our country’s racism: 

The 2016 US election was a wakeup call. Trump’s rhetoric has unleashed the simmering hatred of racism hiding just below the surface of civility in this country. White Supremacy and white privilege are alive and well in the United States. The shock waves of this election have emboldened White Supremacists and exposed great divides among citizens racially, economically and socially. It has become acceptable to incite violence and spew hatred. In just the 2 years from 2014 to 2016, Hate Groups have increased by 14.5% (from the Southern Poverty Law Centers Hate Map- see Bibliography).  In 2019, there were 940 hate groups in the US.

President Trump exacerbates the situation with racists groups by seeming to approve their actions and encouraging harm against Black Lives Matter protestors.  In Spring, 2020 amid wide spread community protests against the death of George Floyd and other unarmed black Americans, President Trump took to Twitter on May 29, 2020, calling protesters “thugs” and warning, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”  There have been reports of groups such as “The Boogaloo movement ….The boog is not the people vs the people, the boog is the people vs the government. It’s a revolution, not a civil war,” a member wrote on their Facebook Page.    Right-wing extremists have previously responded to Trump’s  calls with violence and have already responded favorably to his tweets threatening “shooting,” raising fears that some may act amid the violence and tension surrounding public health closures amid the ongoing global pandemic.

 How is our culture “white skewed” by supporting white supremacy and white privilege? Our society is white skewed because of population demographics, the legal system, our educational institutions and our economic and tax systems, to name a few.

I believe that if human beings are willing to see each other in the fullness of their humanity, we can live in harmony. What does that mean? It means listening, looking at each other in full acceptance by being vulnerable, empathetic and compassionate. This belief or value does not deny, excuse or devalue the cultural differences between races, religions or classes. I fervently believe that being vulnerable to each other and reaching for a bond of understanding rooted in equality will heal the racial divide. We need to start with this openness of belief. This I believe.  WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE?   

Try to understand the depth of our country’s racism:  

THE POPULATION DEMOGRAPHICS support WHITE SUPREMACY: According to the 2014 Census projections: Whites are the supreme/ dominant race in the United States, being the largest portion of the population at  76.9%, although some percentage of white people are  also considered Hispanic which is 15.9%.   Hispanics are the largest minority at 17.8%, African Americans are 13.3%, and Asians are 5.7%, American Indians/ Alaska Native 1.3%, native Hawaiians .2%.

On a personal note, I apologize for the simplistic nature of this essay. I think it’s important to disclose my fundamental beliefs and biases. First, I believe that we all have some degree of racism. For most whites it is unconscious white privilege.  For people of color it could be anger at white and generalizing that all white people are bad. My intent is to help to bring embedded, unconscious racism to  consciousness, so that people can watch, and hopefully temper their own racial biases. I hope that essay  this will open the door to the hard conversations that may stir thinking and problem solving along the road to friendship, respect, collaboration and change in how our society treats people of color.   I admit that I have said some of the quotes on the Racism Scale below.  The Scale helped me to assess where I am and where I have to grow.

raRacism Scale

THE LEGAL SYSTEM:  The basis of our legal system is the Constitution that was written by white slave owners. The Constitution and our first laws were written to uphold the plantation system, which was dependent upon slave labor. In 1865, the 13th Amendment abolished slavery and ended the plantation way of life in the south. It states: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” 152 years after the passage of the 13th Amendment, the United States still supports an unconscious social and cultural system called racism.

 SLAVERY IN THE PRISONS: Slavery is still allowed in prisons and benefits corporations.  “At least thirty-seven states have legalized the contracting of prison labor by private corporations that mount their operations inside state prisons. The list of such companies contains the cream of U.S. corporate society: IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Northern Telecom, TWA, Nordstrom’s, Revlon, Macy’s, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores, and many more…. All of these businesses are excited about the economic boom generation by prison labor. Just between 1980 and 1994, profits went up from $392 million to $1.31 billion. Inmates in state penitentiaries generally receive the minimum wage for their work, but not all; in Colorado, they get about $2 per hour, well under the minimum. And in privately run prisons, they receive as little as 17 cents per hour for a maximum of six hours a day, the equivalent of $20 per month. The highest-paying private prison is CCA (Corrections Corporation of America) in Tennessee, where prisoners receive 50 cents per hour for what they call “highly skilled positions.” At those rates, it is no surprise that inmates find the pay in federal prisons to be very generous. There, they can earn $1.25 an hour and work eight hours a day, and sometimes overtime. They can send home $200-$300 per month… Ninety-seven percent of 125,000 federal inmates have been convicted of non-violent crimes. It is believed that more than half of the 623,000 inmates in municipal or county jails are innocent of the crimes they are accused of. Of these, the majority are awaiting trial. Two-thirds of the one million state prisoners have committed non-violent offenses. Sixteen percent of the country’s 2 million prisoners suffer from mental illness.”  We are perpetuating a whole new sub-class of working poor who cannot support their families and are not learning valuable skills for when they return to society.

Slavery is the worst form of “othering”. In order to buy/sell, beat, kill, breed human beings, slaves had to be dehumanized. Slave owners needed slaves to work the southern plantations. Somewhat the same happened with indentured servitude in Hawaii with the sugar plantations, but under the guise of corporate domination, where the sugar plantation owners paid wages, but deducted money for housing, things bought at the country store etc. “Othering” means that they are not one of us, they are not like us.

PARENTS PROTECTING OUR CHILDREN AND THE POLICE:  As a white kid growing up in an all-white middle to upper middle-class neighborhood, my parents told me, “If you ever need help or you’re lost find a policeman, he will help you.” I thought every kid would do this, which is the perfect example OF WHITE PRIVILEGE!

HERE’S WHAT BLACK PARENTS TELL THEIR KIDS ABOUT POLICE: From YouTube’s clip of Gray’s Anatomy: Bailey and Ben talk to their son about what to do if the police stop you-  “Put your hands on your head. They always need to know where your hands are, or they’ll think you’re going for a gun or knife. “Always say, what you’re doing before you do it. Be in control of your emotions, be polite, and be respectful. Don’t fight back, do not talk back, and do not make any sudden movements. Remember your only goal is to get home safely. If you get detained, don’t sign anything, don’t write anything. Wait for a parent before you talk. If your white friends are saying things or mouthing off, know that you cannot. You can’t go climbing through windows, play with toy guns, and throw rocks. And you cannot run away from them, no matter how afraid you are. Never, never, never run.”   Season 14 Episode 10 of Gray’s Anatomy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkaByBZbTCo

From my Asbury Park High School (NJ) classmate Ida, who is African American: “I have a son and 2 daughters…talked to them for years about just this issue…took them to Dr Kings memorials and taught them black history…APHS was integrated but every summer we drove south to Georgia…my cousins went to segregated schools in the 60s…60s they were building highway 95 as blacks we were not permitted to stay in hotels or eat in restaurant…if you went to Washington DC in 8th grade we stayed outside of Wash DC…because DC was segregated…here in America we have a long way to go…in the 90s Virginia elected a black governor…we went to Busch gardens…we were told to stick to the main highway95…not to drive back roads…so sad.”

YOUR KIDS ARE NOT TO YOUNG TO TALK ABOUT RACE https://www.prettygooddesign.org/blog/Blog%20Post%20Title%20One-5new4?fbclid=IwAR2Ng8bo5oLzNHPfA53HXiuUKZpRe0xv0j_ZCE5UZcTCLQJHcLjxHltSxmM

The RACIAL DIVIDE IN OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM: Education is one route out of from poverty. As the Brooking Institute study states: “The color line divides us still. In recent years, the most visible evidence of this in the public policy arena has been the persistent attack on affirmative action in higher education and employment. From the perspective of many Americans who believe that the vestiges of discrimination have disappeared, affirmative action now provides an unfair advantage to minorities. From the perspective of others who daily experience the consequences of ongoing discrimination, affirmative action is needed to protect opportunities likely to evaporate if an affirmative obligation to act fairly does not exist. And for Americans of all backgrounds, the allocation of opportunity in a society that is becoming ever more dependent on knowledge and education is a source of great anxiety and concern.”

THE RACIAL DIVIDE IN OUR SCHOOLS:

  • Upper class white children frequently attend private school, which leads to less integration in public schools and less understanding of racial differences.
  • Affirmative Action allows people of color more opportunities for college admission.  There has been mixed support in the courts for affirmative action at state universities.
    • Affirmative Action has been voted out in the state of Michigan in 2014. This was affirmed by the US Supreme Court. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a 75- page dissenting opinion: “This refusal to accept the stark reality that race matters is regrettable. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race, and to apply the Constitution with eyes open to the unfortunate effects of centuries of racial discrimination,” she said, “As members of the judiciary tasked with intervening to carry out the guarantee of equal protection, we ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society,” she added.
    • In Fisher v. the University of Texas in April of 2016- The Supreme Court rejected a challenge to a race-conscious admissions program at the University of Texas at Austin. Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority, said courts must give universities substantial but not total leeway in designing their admissions programs. “A university is in large part defined by those intangible ‘qualities which are incapable of objective measurement, but which make for greatness,’” Justice Kennedy wrote, quoting from a landmark case re: desegregation.“Considerable deference is owed to a university in defining those intangible characteristics, like student body diversity, that are central to its identity and educational mission. But still,” Justice Kennedy added, “it remains an enduring challenge to our nation’s education system to reconcile the pursuit of diversity with the constitutional promise of equal treatment and dignity.”
  • The current Secretary of Education, Betsey de Vos is focused on establishing a voucher system for schools that will further dismantle funding for public schools.
  • Less money for schools means fewer and lower-quality books, less labs, fewer computers, larger classes, less qualified and less experienced teachers can be hired and less new and innovative teaching systems. Few science courses and art courses are available.
  • Student engagement and achievement suffer in overcrowded classrooms with lower quality teachers and less enriching materials. Computers are especially important in lower-income areas because families may not have them at home.
  • Nutritional school lunches are important to boost students learning: From a study of all California public schools over a five-year period by the National Bureau of Economic Research: “Students at schools that contract with a healthy school lunch vendor score higher on CA state achievement tests, with larger test score increases for students who are eligible for reduced price or free school lunches.”
  • Applying for admissions to our colleges and universities is daunting for bilingual or poorly educated people. On the positive side many community colleges require remedial classes to raise student’s knowledge to levels that can help them to be more successful in college. The question is “Why weren’t core competencies stressed in high school?” I think if you look at funding issues, you will see why there is such a wide disparity.

INEQUALITY IN REAL ESTATE that causes an EDUCATIONAL DISADVANTAGE :

Owning your own home is one of the best ways for anyone to build wealth. All white people have an experience or know of a friend or relative who has greatly profited by real estate investment. This avenue is not open to renters.  People of Color were omitted from this path to wealth by Redlining and also Deed Restrictions.  This means that most people of color live in rental areas with less property taxes to pay for a quality education, good teachers and better facilities.   Many people take out a 2nd mortgage to fund a child’s education.

REDLINING OF NEIGHBORHOODS: Redlining is defined in Merriam Webster Law Dictionary as: “the illegal practice of refusing to offer credit or insurance in a particular community on a discriminatory basis (as because of the race or ethnicity of its residents).”  Which means that families of color could not get mortgages. This was done by the US Government assisted by real estate agents and appraisers. Ta-Nehisi Coates talked about redlining in his “Case for Reparations” in The Atlantic. “Neighborhoods where black people lived were rated “D” and were usually considered ineligible for FHA backing,” he wrote. “Black people were viewed as a contagion. Redlining went beyond FHA-backed loans and spread to the entire mortgage industry, which was already rife with racism, excluding black people from most legitimate means of obtaining a mortgage.” Without access to FHA-insured mortgages, he writes, black families who sought homeownership were forced to turn to predatory and abusive lenders.”

DEED RESTRICTIONS were very common in the 1920s – 1940s. These restrictions that “ run with the land” and are recorded with the Deed and govern who can own the property. They were known to say “Whites Only” or Negroes not allowed. “Racial restrictive covenants became common practice in cities across the county, dozens of cities in the North, the South, the West,” Seattle Historian Gregory says. “For, you know, a quarter of a century, this was the thing to do.” Sometimes the deeds read “whites only.” In Seattle, Gregory says Asian restrictions were common, while Hispanics were the target in Los Angeles. In 1948, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states could not enforce the racial restrictions. In 1968, Congress outlawed them altogether. But Gregory says their impact endures.”  from NPR: Hidden in Old Home Deeds.

COVID 19 points to HEALTHCARE DISPARITY for PEOPLE of COLOR
QUESTION? Why are infection and death rates so high in black and Latino communities due to Covid-19?
ANSWER: The HEALTH CARE DISPARITY BETWEEN PEOPLE OF COLOR AND WHITES.
Across the country, African American and Hispanic or Latino communities have been hit much harder than white communities.
As of June 2, 2020- In Louisiana, black people make up less than 33 percent of the population but account for 56 percent of deaths from COVID-19. In Chicago’s black residents make up 30 percent of the population but account for 48.7 percent of deaths.

“COVID-19 is taking the gaps we know exist in health care, from an ethnic and socioeconomic standpoint, and not just amplifying them but making them scream out,” says Panagis Galiatsatos, M.D., assistant professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “These outcomes are the result of decades of institutional racism,” Galiatsatos says. “Can we come together and commit to overcoming these health disparities in the future? I’m hesitant. If there is a silver lining later, we should take it, but it’s going to come at a disproportionate cost of life for very specific populations.”

“If the ultimate analyses confirm that blacks are six times more likely to die, then we have reached an incredibly important pause moment,” Yancy says. “I’ve been looking at health care disparities for a long time. It’s not frequently that we discover differences of this magnitude. This is a 600 percent more likely association with death. That is a halting comment. It may be the numbers settle out at less, but even if it’s twofold or greater, that will be so much more substantial than any other health difference we’ve seen as a function of race. We will be compelled to act.”

“There isn’t anything per se about race, as in black or African American, or ethnicity, like Hispanic or Latino, that would necessarily put one at a higher risk for infection,” says Clyde W. Yancy, M.D., chief of cardiology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “It is the living circumstances in which these populations reside,” he says, that is responsible for the elevated infection and mortality rates.

WHY INFECTION RATES ARE HIGHER:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “the places where people live, learn, work and play affect a wide range of health risks and outcomes.”
1. Housing density. in lower-income urban populations, a distance of 6 feet and social distancing is impossible when multiple generations live together and share rooms.  Why the density?   Most blacks earn way less than whites and the minimum wage is so low.
2. “ Health disparity”-the difference in access to medical care (doctors and drugs) , quality foods, exercise and other aspects of a healthy lifestyle.
• Lack of quality food. Poor diet can compromise immune system function and raise health risks. Caused by:
• “Food deserts,” or regions that lack retailers offering healthy food; People making inexpensive, unhealthy choices like simple carbohydrates and junk food even when healthy fare is accessible.
NOTE: School and senior center feeding programs help, but during a pandemic those facilities are not open.
3. Jobs. Many black and Latino people are unable to self-quarantine or telecommute because they are often essential workers in health care and public transit. They often can’t afford to stay at home and not go to work. Galiatsatos puts it bluntly: “Quarantine is a privilege.”

“COVID-19 is taking the gaps we know exist in health care, from an ethnic and socioeconomic standpoint, and not just amplifying them but making them scream out.” Panagis Galiatsatos, M.D., Johns Hopkins Medicine

WHY DEATH RATES ARE HIGHER:
Underlying health issues (comorbidities) can cause worse outcomes, more severe symptoms, and complications specific to COVID-19 such as a toxic immune response (cytokine storm) that can cause respiratory distress. Underlying health issues could be diabetes (due to poor diet and lack of exercise), high blood pressure, excessive blood clotting, kidney failure and heart failure. Age and decreased immune function due to stress caused by racism and fear decrease the body’s ability to fight the disease.
• Obesity. Being overweight makes people more vulnerable and harder to treat. Black and Hispanic populations have higher obesity rates in general (38.4 percent of black adults and 32.6 percent of Hispanic adults are obese compared with 28.6 percent of white adults, per the CDC).
• High blood pressure has historically been more prevalent in African Americans — It affects 40 percent of black adults compared with 28 percent of white and Hispanic adults — and the condition appears to be linked to poor COVID-19 outcomes. About 57 percent of people hospitalized in the New York City area had hypertension.
• Lack of health insurance and limited testing- many people remain uninsured despite the Affordable Care Act. In many cases, getting tested for COVID-19 requires a primary care physician’s recommendation and transportation to a testing site. The lack of these critical needs may be suppressing official case numbers in black and Hispanic communities, experts say.

“A lot of urban communities have limited access to testing,” Glanz says. “Some testing sites are drive-through, and a lot of people don’t have a car.”

Galiatsatos takes it further. “If people have symptoms but aren’t bad enough for hospitalization, we tell them to go for testing. Well, they can’t take public transportation because that’s a violation of public health policy. I can’t ask them to ride with a friend because that puts the friend at risk. So, what we do is ask them to keep us posted on how they’re doing. If they get worse, we may have to call 911. But the testing numbers are so low for these communities because the only way they can come for testing is if they’re hospitalized.” This leaves untold numbers of likely COVID-positive people unquarantined and unable to prevent the spread of the disease.
Most of this information came from AARP Mike Zimmerman is a health journalist and author of the 14-Day Anti-Inflammatory Diet. https://www.aarp.org/…/in…/race-coronavirus-disparities.html the chart is from Forbes.

This chart is from Forbes:

Covid and black communities

 ECONOMICS, the STOCK MARKET and TAX SYSTEM:    

There are frequent legislative battles at the state level overpaying a living wage. Currently, 29 states and D.C. have minimum wages above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

Low paid workers can barely make ends meet. They see no path to the “American Dream” and they see nothing changing soon. This leads to hopelessness, frustration and anger. Many people are one paycheck from homelessness.

Paying a living wage is better for our country because:

  • Fewer people would be on welfare.
  • Fewer people would need food stamps.
  • Better nutrition means better health and lower health care costs.
  • Fewer people would need assistance with health insurance, care costs and drugs.
  • Higher wages means more people would be contributing to Social Security.
  • More people would be paying income taxes, increasing l federal and state revenues.
  • More money in the national budget would mean more money for other things like infrastructure and education.
  • More people could afford to buy big-ticket items: appliances, cars and homes to stimulate the economy.
  • Since more people would have more buying power there would be more sales taxes paid for local governments.

What is the downside of having a living wage? A Big Mac or a cup of coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts might cost more?  The federal minimum wage in the United States is currently $7.25 an hour (before taxes). Which is  about $6.26 after taxes.

Australia has the highest minimum wage with $9.54 after taxes, then Luxemburg with $9.25 after taxes, then Belgium with $8.57 after taxes.

IRS AND THE TAX SYSTEM: The tax breaks in the current tax system are not understandable to most Americans without hiring a tax professional. Only people who are in the middle to upper classes can afford to hire Certified Public Accountants to navigate the tax system, so they can benefit from tax shelters.  The middle class and lower class may miss out on tax breaks without expert advice.

THE STOCK MARKET: The stock market is confusing to even the most educated people . This avenue of investment is not open to most people. As of April 2016, stock ownership has fallen to 52% of Americans from a high of 60% in 1998.

Have you ever seen Flesh colored crayons in this many colors?

THE IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING OTHER RACES and CULTURES  THE UNCONSCIOUSNESS OF “OTHERING” or MARGINALIZING and WHITE BIAS: Whites are somewhat unconscious of this “othering”. We need to understand how this works. Most people had the experience of “othering” during middle school or high school,  when there were cliques or the in-crowd.  Most kids were just  trying to fit in. It might have happened because you are female, when your mother said, “Boys don’t like girls who are too smart”, or possibly your father said, “ You don’t need an education, you’re just going to get married and have kids.”

From Othering 101: “By “othering”, we mean any action by which an individual or group becomes mentally classified in somebody’s mind as “not one of us. Rather than always remembering that every person is a complex bundle of emotions, ideas, motivations, reflexes, priorities, and many other subtle aspects, it’s sometimes easier to dismiss them as being in some way less human, and less worthy of respect and dignity, than we are.”   Human beings are a tribe. There are many human tribes. Race and culture divide people into tribes. It is necessary for survival and emotional thriving to belong.

“White privilege is the right of whites, and only whites, to be judged as individuals, to be treated as a unique self, possessed of all the rights and protections of citizenship. I am not a race, I am the unmarked subject. I am simply man, whereas you might be a black man, an Asian woman, a disabled native man, a homosexual Latina woman, and on and on the qualifiers of identification go. With each keyword added, so too does the burden of representation grow…But white men are just people. Normal. Basic Humanity. We carry the absent mark, which grants us the invisible power of white privilege. Everyone else gets some form of discrimination.” (From the Problem of Othering or Belonging).   White people rarely discuss race. My black friends told me they discuss race every day. They are discussing the “othering” that occurs in our “white skewed” society. They were shocked that whites don’t discuss race. Whites are the baseline, the standard.

Let’s apply this to racism. I’m ashamed to admit that I used to say, “I’m colorblind” and “I have black friends” which means, I’m not a racist. I would say, “ All lives matter.” This is “othering”, not honoring. This perpetuates the “not seeing” of others that live differently and have different circumstances. It denies and dismisses the existence and problems of privilege. That is why the “Black Lives Matter” Movement is so important; it elevates the systemic differences and problems of the culture.

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, black poet Claudia Rankin, sums it up very well:

“ Oprah: Why whiteness?
Claudia Rankine: Every sphere of life—housing, healthcare, education, the justice system—is in part defined along racial lines. White-dominated institutions draw those lines, so if you’re white, they’re probably invisible to you. You’re not thinking, my child’s school has a library because of my skin color. The idea of whiteness as the standard runs so deep. Just do a Google image search for “boys being boys” or “beautiful women,” and see how many white people come up versus people of color. We can’t talk about race without talking about what our culture privileges.
O: Does the term whiteness make white people defensive?
CR: They’ll anxiously insist, “I’m not racist.” Well, yes, you are. We all have biases—only I don’t have power behind mine. If we can understand that racism is an active force, we can figure out how we got here. Think about sexism. Until some men could admit that it existed, men and women couldn’t have a dialogue about it.”

  From White People Explain why they feel oppressed by Toure on Vice:  What is Racism? “Erikka Knuti, a political strategist, said, “Part of white privilege has been the ability to not know that your privilege exists. If you benefit from racism, do you really want to know that?” I can see where it would be uncomfortable for people to admit that their lives are shaped by unearned advantages, especially in an environment where those advantages may be beginning to slip away, but the blindness itself is a part of the problem. White people have duties as part of the American community. They must be honest with themselves and their co-citizens and admit that white privilege shapes a lot of life in this country. They must understand that the truly pernicious, life-defining sort of racism is not interpersonal, it’s institutional. The systems that shape who lives where, who gets educated, who gets jobs, who gets arrested, and so on, these things shape lives, and they are all heavily weighted in white people’s favor. To ignore all of that is to misunderstand America. If white people admit those things, it will be plain that they are not, in any way, victims”

In the midst of a national policing crisis, the Black Lives Matter movement is trying to will into existence a sense of value for black bodies and some white people respond, “Why are they so anti-white?” That’s dumbfounding to me. I wonder, how could they be so clueless? When white people question why blacks get to say certain words or make certain jokes that whites can’t or when white people ask where White History Month is or when white people question why they have to pay for the racism of their ancestors, it’s offensive and infuriating and it’s also confounding.

In Ta-Nehisi Coates’s astounding new book, Between the World and Me, he refers to white people, as “dreamers” to evoke the sense of them being not fully awake, like sleepwalkers. I’m not sure if white people are like sleepwalkers, or more like ostriches, consciously burying their heads in the sand, hiding from reality. And that’s exactly what vexes me the most about white people: their reluctance, or unwillingness, to recognize the vast impact their race has on their lives and on the lives of all those around them

Modern white Americans are one of the most powerful groups of people to ever exist on this planet and yet those very people—or, if you’re white, you people—staunchly believe that the primary victims of modern racism are whites. We see this in poll after poll. A recent one by the Public Religion Research Institute found 52 percent of whites agreed, “Today discrimination against whites has become as big a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minorities.” A 2011 study led by a Harvard Business School professor went deeper to find that “whites see race as a zero sum game they are losing.” That was even the name of the study. It showed that over the last five decades both blacks and whites think racism against Blacks has been slowly declining, but white people think racism against whites is growing at a fast rate. White people are increasingly certain that they’re being persecuted. The study also notes, “by any metric—employment, police treatment, loan rates, education—stats indicate drastically poorer outcomes for black than white Americans.” White perception and the reality are completely at odds

Tim Wise, anti-racist educator says, “When you’ve had the luxury of presuming yourself to be the norm, the prototype of an American, any change in the demographic and cultural realities in your society will strike you as outsized attacks on your status. You’ve been the king of the hill and never had to share shit with anyone, what is really just an adjustment to a more representative, pluralistic, shared society seems like discrimination. When you’re used to 90 percent or more of the pie, having to settle for only 75 or 70 percent? Oh my God, it’s like the end of the world.”

EXAMPLES OF RACISM: Here’s what I  have learned: In Hawaii I was meeting with community groups all over the Big Island to increase support for a 2% Land Fund ballot measure that would purchase and preserve open space and parklands in perpetuity.  I often met with mixed race groups where I was the minority if not the only white person. Remember that the Hawaiian Islands were taken over in the late 1800s by the US Marines to secure (take) the land for the sugar plantations. Their Queen was imprisoned. They call white people haoles, which is a derogatory term for white foreigner. They want their land returned. At one meeting a Native Hawaiian man stood up and shouted at me, “Who you think you are f*^cking haole, trying to buy our land?” I had never encountered that vehemence against the Land Fund; at first I had no idea of what to say. We talked for a while and they ended up supporting it because we all realized the County needed to buy the land so it would be kept the land in its natural state. Think about this chart as you read: Here’s my challenge to you. As you read the examples of Racism below, think about your habits and your assumptions. The experiences can be subtle if not passive aggressive or they can be obvious. If you are white, I hope you will see examples that you never even thought about. This is embedded, unconscious racism. I also hope that you will be much more aware of how you look at how we treat others in our society. Think about this chart as you read, closely watch your reactions and see what you need to learn. I hope this will open the door to a new awareness and appreciation of other races and cultures. I challenge you to be curious like you would if you were visiting another country. Think of the inequalities in this country and what you can do to make it better!

I'm human

HOW RACIAL SLURS WIDEN THE RACIAL DIVIDE:

“You’re really pretty for a black girl.”

“ You look just like a china doll.”

“Don’t sit next to her, she probably smells like rice.”

“Don’t try to Jew me down on the price.”

In the 60s my friend’s mother took us both to the opening of McDonald’s.   My mother said, “Oh will she pick you up in the Jew canoe (a Cadillac)?”

If someone said this to you, how would you feel?  We all make jokes at the expense of others. Sarcasm is especially harmful because it puts someone down for a laugh. These statements hurt, degrade and belittle people and attempt to reduce their importance in the world.  This is “othering”. I believe that we must start to identify and exorcise our unconscious privilege, which presents as racial slurs and microagressions.  Imagine if we were curious about other people, their families, values, thoughts, feelings and cultures and religions. Imagine what we would learn about the cultures within our society if we celebrated differences and practiced inclusiveness. THE GREAT CHALLENGE IS HOW TO HEAL THE RACIAL DIVIDE IN OUR COUNTRY.

A racial slur is also called a microagression, which is a statement, action, or incident  of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group such as a racial or ethnic minority.  Research shows that we all inherit and learn the racial, gender, and sexual orientation biases of our homes and cultures.  Racist, sexist and heterosexist attitudes, beliefs and behaviors have indoctrinated us. Most of these behaviors are unconscious. We must all take responsibility for what we say and the affect it has on other human beings.

As I read the statements by minority students below, I felt gut punched.  I found myself cringing.  I felt ashamed as I recognized things I had said. These are examples of the unconsciousness of our society and the unconsciousness of privilege. If you heard these comments on a daily basis, you would start to view yourself as a second-class person, someone who is not “good enough”, who doesn’t measure up? These are examples of “othering” and marginalizing of our fellow human beings.

Statements to Black Students:

  • When people think it’s weird that I listen to Carrie Underwood.
  • So what does your hair look like today? She said as she pulled off my hat without my permission.
  • You don’t act like a normal black person ya know?
  • Courtney I never see you as a black girl. Answer: You don’t act like a normal black person ya know?
  • The limited representation of my race in your classroom does not make me the voice of all Black People.
  • When standing next to my Mom: Why is your daughter so white?
  • You’re really pretty for a dark skin girl.
  • Why do you sound white?

Statements to Asian students:

  • you’re Chinese right?
  • You’re not really Asian.
  • So, what do you guys speak in Japan? Asian?
  • Not your fucking china doll.
  • Statement overheard by an Asian student: This girl sitting next to me move, to sit closer to someone she’s talking to, and the white guy whispers loudly that she moved because she smells like rice.
  • Can you read this? He showed me a Japanese character on his phone.
  • Can you see as much as white people? You know, because of your eyes?

Statements to mixed race students:

  • Question: What are you? Answer: HUMAN. Being bi-racial doesn’t make me a “what’.
  • So, like, what are you?
  • You don’t speak Spanish?
  • Statement to student of mixed race who looks white: No, you’re white.

Statements by a  Hispanic student:

  • Just because I’m Mexican I shouldn’t be the 1stchoice for the role of Dora the Explorer in a high school skit.
  • When I gave a speech about racism, the emcee introduced me as Jaime Garcia. My name is Jaime Rodriguez. Not all Latinos have the last name Garcia.

Look at pictures of the students holding placards quoting microagressions. Notice how their expressions increase the impact of the microagression:  From Kiyun Kim, Racial Microaggressions, December 2103  http://nortonism.tumblr.com/

RACIAL SLURS AS ACTIONS: Actions  can marginalize, degrade and belittle people. Microagressions can be racial, gender, religion and sexual orientation  actions.   Many of these comments or actions appear to be innocent, but taken as everyday occurrence they can impact marginalized groups and  affect their standard of living by creating inequities in health care, police treatment, aspirations for young adults, education, housing and employment opportunities.

Racial Microaggression:
• A White man or woman clutches their purse or checks their wallet as a Black or Latino man approaches or passes them. (Hidden message: You and your group are criminals.).
• An Asian American, born and raised in the United States, is complimented for speaking “good English.” (Hidden message: You are not a true American. You are a perpetual foreigner in your own country.)
• A Black couple is seated at a table in the restaurant next to the kitchen despite there being other empty and more desirable tables located at the front. (Hidden message: You are a second-class citizen and undeserving of first-class treatment.)

Gender Microaggressions:
• an assertive female manager is labeled as a “bitch,” while her male counterpart is described as “a forceful leader.” (Hidden message: Women should be passive and allow men to be the decision makers.)
• A female physician wearing a stethoscope is mistaken as a nurse. (Hidden message: Women should occupy nurturing and not decision-making roles. Women are less capable than men).
• Whistles or catcalls are heard from men as a woman walks down the street. (Hidden message: Your body/appearance is for the enjoyment of men. You are a sex object.)

Sexual Orientation Microaggressions:
• A Young person uses the term “gay” to describe a movie that she didn’t like. (Hidden message: Being gay is associated with negative and undesirable characteristics.)
• A lesbian client in therapy reluctantly discloses her sexual orientation to a straight therapist by stating she is “into women.” The therapist indicates he is not shocked by the disclosure because he once had a client who was “into dogs.” (Hidden message: Same-sex attraction is abnormal and deviant.)
• Two gay men hold hands in public and are told not to flaunt their sexuality. (Hidden message: Same-sex displays of affection are abnormal and offensive. Keep it private and to yourselves.)

Religion, disability, and social class may also be reflected as behavioral microagressions:

  • When bargaining over the price of an item, a storeowner says to a customer, “Don’t try to Jew me down.” (Hidden message: Jews are stingy and money-grubbing.)
    A blind man reports that people often raise their voices when speaking to him. He responds by saying, “Please don’t raise your voice; I can hear you perfectly well.” (Hidden message: A person with a disability is defined as lesser in all aspects of physical and mental functioning).
    • The outfit worn by a TV reality-show mom is described as “classless and trashy.” (Hidden message: Lower-class people are tasteless and unsophisticated.)

What can you do?  Don’t expect this to be comfortable.  It’s important work!  Growth seldom is comfortable and this is a growing process. Notice your microagressions. Read people’s faces when you are speaking, in order to gauge their reactions. Speak up and ask for clarification about what they think or feel. Reach for understanding and empathy. Challenge the hurtful statements of others and start the difficult conversations to heal the racial divide. It’s up to each of us to create a more civil society with social justice for everyone. See the full article at:

https://debbiehecht.com/2018/02/03/our-not-so-civil-society-how-racial-slurs-widen-the-racial-divide/

Wake up to your degree of Privilege:  -SCORE YOURSELF:  Add a POINT for each POINT of PRIVILEGE and subtract a point:

  • If your ancestors were forced to come to the USA not by choice, take one step back.
  • If your primary ethnic identity is “American,” take one step forward.
  • If you were ever called names because of your race, class, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, take one step back.
  • If there were people who worked for your family as servants, gardeners, nannies, etc. take one step forward.
  • If you were ever ashamed or embarrassed of your clothes, house, car, etc. take one step back.
  • If one or both of your parents were “white collar” professionals:  doctors, lawyers, etc. take one step forward.
  • If you were raised in an area where there was prostitution, drug activity, etc., take one step back.
  • If you ever tried to change your appearance, mannerisms, or behavior to avoid being judged or ridiculed, take one step back.
  • If you studied the culture of your ancestors in elementary school, take one step forward.
  • If you went to school speaking a language other than English, take one step back.
  • If there were more than 50 books in your house when you grew up, take one step forward.
  • If you ever had to skip a meal or were hungry because there was not enough money to buy food when you were growing up, take one step back.
  • If you were taken to art galleries or plays by your parents, take one step forward.
  • If one of your parents was unemployed or laid off, not by choice, take one step back.
  • If you have health insurance take one step forward.
  • If you attended private school or summer camp, take one step forward.
  • If your family ever had to move because they could not afford the rent, take one step back.
  • If you were told that you were beautiful, smart and capable by your parents, take one step forward.
  • If you were ever discouraged from academics or jobs because of race, class, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, take one step back.
  • If you were encouraged to attend college by your parents, take one step forward.
  • If you have a disability take one step backward.
  • If you were raised in a single parent household, take one step back.
  • If your family owned the house where you grew up, take one step forward.
  • If you saw members of your race, ethnic group, gender or sexual orientation portrayed on television in degrading roles, take one step back.
  • If you own a car take one step forward.
  • If you were ever offered a good job because of your association with a friend or family member, take one step forward.
  • If you were ever denied employment because of your race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, take one step back.
  • If you were paid less, treated less fairly because of race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, take one step back.
  • If you were ever accused of cheating or lying because of your race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, take one step back.
  • If you ever inherited money or property, take one step forward.
  • If you had to rely primarily on public transportation, take one step back.
  • If you attended private school at any point in your life take one step forward.
  • If you were ever stopped or questioned by the police because of your race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, take one step back.
  • If you were ever afraid of violence because of your race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, take one step back.
  • If your parents own their own business take one step forward.
  • If you were generally able to avoid places that were dangerous, take one step forward.
  • If you were ever uncomfortable about a joke related to your race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation but felt unsafe to confront the situation, take one step back.
  • If you use a TDD Phone system take one step backward.
  • If you were ever the victim of violence related to your race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, take one step back.
  • Imagine you are in a relationship, if you can get married in the State of ___ take one step forward
  • If your parents did not grow up in the United States, take one step back.
  • If your parents attended college take one step forward.
  • If your parents told you that you could be anything you wanted to be, take one step forward.
  • If you are able to take a step forward or backward take two steps forward.

Earth and hands photo

“Education, love and exemplary black people will not deliver America from racism, Kendi says. Racist ideas grow out of discriminatory policies, he argues, not the other way around. And if his new center can help identify and dismantle those policies in the U.S. and around the world, he believes we can start to eliminate racism. At least that’s the goal.”  Ibram Kendi

My Wish, my HOPE:

IMAGINE by John Lennon

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us, only sky
Imagine all the people living for today
Ah-ah-aah-ah

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace
You

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one

I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can

No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world
You-uh-uuh-uh

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

 WHITE SUPREMACY, WHITE PRIVILEGE AND RACISM BIBLIOGRAPHY:  

  1. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hate Map of 940 Hate Groups in the US as of 2019 and increase from 457 in 1999. https://www.splcenter.org/hate-map
  2. From YouTube’s clip of Grey’s Anatomy: Bailey and Ben talk to their son about what to do if the police stop you- Season 14 Episode 10  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McDeTvh9sbU
  3. “Othering 101” https://therearenoothers.wordpress.com/2011/12/28/othering-101-what-is-othering/ .
  4. The Privilege Walk (Adapted from the Penn State classroom version cited below) http://edge.psu.edu/workshops/mc/power/privilegewalk.shtml
  5. US Census Bureau Population statistics 2016: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US#viewtop
  6. The Prison System in the US: Big Business or a new form of Slavery? https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-prison-industry-in-the-united-states-big-business-or-a-new-form-of-slavery/8289
  7. The Problem of Othering: Towards Inclusiveness and Belonging http://www.otheringandbelonging.org/the-problem-of-othering/
  8. Brookings institute: Linda Darling- Hammond: Unequal Opportunity: Race and Education https://www.brookings.edu/articles/unequal-opportunity-race-and-education/
  9. Supreme Court Upholds Michigan’s Ban on Affirmative Action: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2014/04/22/305850221/supreme-court-affirms-ban-on-race-conscious-college-admissions
  10. Supreme Court Upholds Affirmative Action Program at University of Texas https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/24/us/politics/supreme-court-affirmative-action-university-of-texas.html?mcubz=1&_r=0President Obama hailed the decision. “I’m pleased that the Supreme Court upheld the basic notion that diversity is an important value in our society,” he told reporters at the White House. “We are not a country that guarantees equal outcomes, but we do strive to provide an equal shot to everybody.”
  11. How the Quality of School lunch affects student’s academic performance: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2017/05/03/how-the-quality-of-school-lunch-affects-students-academic-performance/
  12. National Bureau of Economic Research: School Lunch Quality and Academic Research: http://www.nber.org/papers/w23218
  13. Minimum Wage Around the World: https://www.attn.com/stories/5493/minimum-wage-in-other-countries
  14. National Conference of State Legislatures: State Minimum Wages 2017 http://www.ncsl.org/research/labor-and-employment/state-minimum-wage-chart.aspx
  15. Gallup Poll: Just over half of Americans Own Stock: http://news.gallup.com/poll/190883/half-americans-own-stocks-matching-record-low.aspx 
  16. Interactive Redlining Map Zooms In On America’s History Of Discrimination http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/10/19/498536077/interactive-redlining-map-zooms-in-on-americas-history-of-discrimination
  17. The Case for Reparations by Coates in the Atlantic Magazine: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/06/the-case-for-reparations/361631/
  18. Hidden in Old Deeds: A Segregationist Past: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122484215
  19. There are no others: Othering 101: https://therearenoothers.wordpress.com/2011/12/28/othering-101-what-is-othering/
  20. The Problem of Othering and Belonging: Towards Inclusiveness and Belonging http://www.otheringandbelonging.org/the-problem-of-othering/
  21. What one Poet is Doing to be Seen: Claudia Rankine from Oprah Magazinehttp://www.oprah.com/inspiration/claudia-rankin-racial-imagery-institute-of-new-york
  22. White People Explain Why They Feel Oppressed by Toure on Vice: https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/qbxzpv/white-people-told-me-why-they-feel-they-oppressed-456
  23. Brene Brown: We need to keep talking about Charolottesville. https://www.facebook.com/brenebrown/videos/1778878652127236/
  24. Racism Scale: http://racismscale.weebly.com/  
  25. Waking Up White by Debbie Irving
  26. Harvard Quiz to Discover your Implicit Bias for Race https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/Study?tid=-1
  27. Sermon at the Unitarian Universalist Church of San Dieguito by Reverend Meghan Cefalu and A.L.G. McLeod: http://uufsd.org/2017/04/30/april-30-service-white-supremacy-the-waters-we-swim-in/
  28. Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man Episode 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8jUA7JBkF4
  29. Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man Episode 2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwiY4i8xWIc
  30. Ethnicity and immunity- Why some communities of color have been hit so much harder by COVID-19 Mike Zimmerman in AARP Bulletin June 2020 https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2020/race-coronavirus-disparities.html  
  31. IBRAM KENDI, ONE OF THE NATION’S LEADING SCHOLARS OF RACISM, SAYS EDUCATION AND LOVE ARE NOT THE ANSWER  Founder of new anti-racism center at American University sees impact of policy, culture on black athletes https://theundefeated.com/features/ibram-kendi-leading-scholar-of-racism-says-education-and-love-are-not-the-answer/
  32. YOUR KIDS ARE NOT TO YOUNG TO TALK ABOUT RACE https://www.prettygooddesign.org/blog/Blog%20Post%20Title%20One-5new4?fbclid=IwAR2Ng8bo5oLzNHPfA53HXiuUKZpRe0xv0j_ZCE5UZcTCLQJHcLjxHltSxmM
  33. A sermon by Debbie Hecht on Racism and Healing the Racial Divde from July 2020:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5qkqvnHWwc&feature=youtu.be

The ART OF RESILIENCE and the LESSON of the JAPANESE BOWL

Some people are like the Phoenix rising from the ashes of their life’s trials to emerge stronger. What is it about this person that builds their resilience? Is it the ability to find the gold in every black cloud? Is it an unshakeable belief in self? Could it be the ability to shift gears to adapt to the changes in life? Could it be a practice of optimism to look towards the future with hope? Is it the ability to reach out and ask for help?  or the ability to give service to help others?

Children only need one person to believe in them  When  times get hard they can look to that stalwart belief in them and know they are valued and valuable.  Is it an attitude of gratitude?  Is it how you build your network of friends and family? Maybe it’s all of these. Here’s a wonderful metaphor to keep in mind when life’s obstacles seem insurmountable:

“In Japan there is an art form called kintsukuroi which means, “to repair with gold”.  When a ceramic pot or bowl would break, the artisan would put the pieces together again using gold or silver lacquer to create something stronger, more beautiful, than it was before. The breaking is not something to hide. It does not mean that the work of art is ruined or without value because it is different than what was planned. Kintsukuroi is a way of living that embraces every flaw and imperfection.  Every crack is part of the history of the object and it becomes more beautiful, precisely because it had been broken. People are the same way.  Sometimes, when everything we value and worked for and cared about over the years falls to pieces, we are better able to see opportunities and possibilities that would have never presented themselves had life not been torn apart.  Or standing and staring in the face of broken promises and broken dreams, eye-to-bloodshot-eye with our most assiduous fears, sometimes we discover that we were stronger than we imagined: that we can withstand more and that there is no reason to fear.  Sometimes trauma brings us closer to God, or to our purpose in life, or leaves us more appreciative than we were before: appreciative and even happy.  And when we are betrayed by someone we’ve loved, or taken advantage of, sometimes it is our trust and faith in others that grows stronger.  We look around at all the friends and acquaintances and strangers that come rushing to our aide, and our faith in human goodness is restored.  Cherish your relationships. Nurture them. That people are resilient is neither a stick of admonishment, nor a salve that takes suffering away. What it is, is a marker of hope. People can grow in the face of the horrific. It is evidence of what might be possible, no matter the loss, no matter the pain – kintsukuroi.” https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/luminous-things/201510/resilience-growth-kintsukuroi

Japanese Bowl by Peter Mayer

I’m like one of those Japanese bowls
That were made long ago
I have some cracks in me
They have been filled with gold

That’s what they used back then
When they had a bowl to mend
It did not hide the cracks
It made them shine instead

So now every old scar shows
From every time I broke
And anyone’s eyes can see
I’m not what I used to be

But in a collector’s mind
All of these jagged lines
Make me more beautiful
And worth a much higher price

I’m like one of those Japanese bowls
I was made long ago
I have some cracks you can see
See how they shine of gold

To Listen to this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOAzobTIGr8

This bowl symbolizes how a repaired bowl can be stronger and more beautiful than the original.

Yucatan 2018

Jon Luft and I travelled to Valladolid, Mexico on the Yucatan peninsula in March and April  of 2018 to meet his cousins,  Susan and Greg Dorr and Ruth Stitt.  We had been there previously, but learned that Susan and Greg had great friends there who lived in Dzitnup, Jose and Alicia Roman Poot Moo, their children and extended family.  We were there during Easter week and we saw lots of  churches.   We explored cenotes, the underground lakes to cool off after touring the  Mayan temples.   It was a great trip especially being with family who are friends.

 

2% LAND FUND REPORT: History, Process and Successes for Hawai’i County’s 2% Land Fund as of March 1, 2019

These properties have been acquired by the 2% Land Fund through 2019

A MESSAGE FROM DEBBIE HECHT: It has been my great honor to be Campaign Coordinator for the 2% Land Fund over the last 13 years. I have learned that kuleana communities are built around our island’s treasured places. Building community is the “gold” and the greatest benefit that has grown out of the struggles for the 2% Land Fund.   Out of this love of the land has grown non-profit community groups that are volunteering their time and using their own money to care for these special places.   To see the 2018 Report to the Mayor by the Public Access and Open Space Commission (PONC), which lists this year’s top 10 properties recommended for conservation go to: http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/weblink/1/edoc/97446/2018-12-31%20(2018%20PONC%20Annual%20Report%20to%20the%20Mayor)-PDF.pdf

THE 2% LAND FUND WAS ON THE BALLOT AS A CHARTER AMENDMENT. In 2012, Debbie Hecht and Council member Brenda Ford added an important clause that runs with the land as a Deed Restriction, which says:

“This property (or easement) was acquired with money from the Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Preservation Fund.  It shall be held in perpetuity for the use and enjoyment of the people of Hawai’i County and may not be sold, mortgaged, traded or transferred in any way.”

Council Member Brenda Ford and I thought this was very important. It takes several years before a property is proposed by citizens, gets through the Public Access and Open Space Commission and is funded and acquired by the County with our tax dollars.   The groups that propose these lands work hard to bring them forward and hard to care for them after they are acquired, frequently using their own money, their time and hard work to improve these properties. These properties are purchased with citizen’s tax money and the properties should be reserved for the use of all of us, our keiki and grandchildren.   This should not be subject to change just because the county cannot make their budget. The county should be fiscally responsible and have a sizeable Disaster Relief Fund. Our County has more natural disasters than any county in the US. Wouldn’t this be prudent? This is a voter mandated set aside. IF not dedicated in perpetuity, the land could be sold, developed for a hotel; beach access controlled like what happened at the Mauna Kea, Mauna Lani, Kukio Four Seasons Resorts and Kohanaiki. The money would disappear into the general fund. Another great gift of the 2% Land Fund is the capacity to apply for matching funds. The County frequently applies for an gets money for matching funds from State Legacy Lands and US Fish and Wildlife Service. So far, the County has received $8.76 million in matching funds, approximately 25% of the purchase price of the acquired properties. Why would they want to contribute money to these land purchases if the County could turn around and sell the land?

COUNTY/ STATE and FEDERAL GOVERNMENT COOPERATION: The County is currently collaborating with the National Park Service for both the Kahuku property and on the Waikapuna property which is under contract in Ka’u. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park helps to manage the Kahoka property. The Ala Kahakai Trail Association in conjunction with the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail https://www.nps.gov/alka/index.htm, which has a management plan for the King’s Trail or Ala Kahakai Trail that runs 175 miles from Upolu Point near Hawi to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The State of Hawaii Legacy Lands program frequently donates money to purchase properties.

THE MAINTENANCE FUND CHARTER AMENDMENT was on the ballot in 2012. Council member Brenda Ford and I wrote the legislation creating the 2% Maintenance Fund to care for the lands obtained by the 2% Land Fund. Maintenance Fund grants are available to community groups who are maintaining Hawai’i Islands treasured places. Our intent was to empower these groups to continue their good work and to enable and encourage kuleana and the building of community for these lands.  The County has made good use of these funds. But in the last 5 years there have only been 2 groups that have obtained these funds. WHY?  This process needs to be improved. It has now been placed under the care of the PONC Commission. This should help get these funds to community groups!  I was a PONC commissioner and these volunteers are strong advocates for land conservation and maintenance. Get in touch with your PONC Commissioner and ask their help to obtain Maintenance Funds or how to suggest lands for preservation in your community.     Only 9% of all deposits in the Maintenance Fund have been received via stewardship grants by land conservation non-profits.   Here is the information:  Maintenance Fund with Critique 1.31.2019

PROPERTY ACQUISITION PROCESS is available here: http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/weblink/browse.aspx?dbid=1&startid=13770

In the above map you can see there are 14 properties that have been purchased and 14 groups that can use assistance. If you are one of these groups we encourage you to apply to the Public Access and Open Space Commission (PONC). There is one property in escrow as of March 1, 2019 that will add 2,200 acres.

The County should do better to enable and empower our communities and the PONC Commission seems to agree.

The 2018 Report to the Mayor contains:  The Report is located here: http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/weblink/1/edoc/97223/2018-12-31%20(2018%20PONC%20Annual%20Report%20to%20the%20Mayor)-PDF.pdf

The Public Access and Open Space and Natural Resourses Commission’s STEWARDSHIP GRANT: Properties that are acquired with Land Fund monies can apply for maintenance funds. Here is a link to the application. http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/weblink/1/edoc/80189/PONC%20Stewardship%20Grant%20Request%20Form%20(application%20period%20801%20-%2083116).pdf

The GREAT SUCCESS OF THE 2% LAND FUND:

  • PROPERTIES ACQUIRED since 2006: 14   Waikapuna is in escrow as of March 1, 2019 
  • PROPERTIES SUBMITTED FOR ACQUISITION: 180
  • LAND ACQUIRED: 4,428 acres of land already acquired suggested by community members  Waikapuna will add approximately 2,200 acres. 
  • MONEY SPENT: County of Hawaii 2% Land Fun   $ 27,389,268.

                             Grants from Matching funds*                    $8,764,083.

                                   Private funds:                                            $2,000,000

*MATCHING FUNDS- My opinion: The highest and best use of 2% of taxpayer’s funds is to use the 2% Land Fund to get dollar for dollar matching funds. To date the County has only received 1 dollar for every 3 dollars spent for taxpayers OR only 32% of the money spent is from grants.   The ultimate goal would be to get dollar for dollar matching funds.

PROPERTIES SUBMITTED TO THE PONC COMMISSION TO BE CONSIDERED FOR ACQUISITION since December 28, 2016: This information came from the Comprehensive List of Properties http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/weblink/1/edoc/84955/2016-12-28%20PONC%20Comprehensive%20List%20of%20Properties%20Submitted%20by%20the%20Public.pdf_

QUICK HISTORY OF THE LEGISLATION FROM 2005 to 2018:

  1. Where did the 2% amount come from?   In 2004 and early 2005 the Trust for Public Lands (TPL) did a survey of Hawaii County residents to ask if they would like to see a 1% Land Fund or 2% Land Fund. A large majority of residents said they would want a 2% Land Fund because land is so expensive on the Big Island.   Sammie Stanbro donated the money to TPL for this survey.
  2. The Save Our Lands Citizen’s Committee Petition Initiative drive collected 9,600 signatures from April to July of 2006. This was during Harry Kim’s first term. Mayor Kim was adamantly against setting aside 2% of property taxes for land acquisition, even though this is 1.5% of the total income for the County.   County Clerk Connie Kiriu and County Counsel Lincoln Ashida disqualified almost 6,000 signatures for leaving off Pl, St. or Rd, or if husband and wife used ditto marks for their address when signing under each other or if the year was left off, (we collected signatures from May to July so it was only during 2005 which made the year implied and irrelevant).
  3. We needed 4,400 signatures, but because of the disqualifications we didn’t get enough. The County Council decided to place the ballot measure on the ballot for 2006 anyway.
  4. Despite the Corporation Counsel submitting confusing ballot language using double negatives, the amendment to the Code passed by 63% of voters who voted on the issue and become part of the Hawaii County Code.
  5. In 2008- Mayor Kenoi and the County Council suspended deposits to the Fund for two years as his very first piece of legislation after taking office because the legislation was part of the Hawaii County Code. The Save Our Lands Citizens’ Committee pointed out that there were more than 260 funded but unfilled jobs in his budget, but Mayor Kenoi failed to reinstate payments to the 2% Land Fund after cutting these budget entries totaling approximately $14 million.
  6. In 2010, the Charter Commission put the Land Fund on the ballot again, but only as the 1% Land Fund.  Again the Land Fund passed by 63% of voters, who voted on the measure.
  7. In 2012, to honor all the people who signed the petitions and worked so hard over the years, Debbie Hecht and Brenda Ford realized we needed to put the 2% Land Fund back on the ballot as a Charter Amendment, together with a 1/4% Maintenance Fund. We wanted to make sure the Council and Mayor couldn’t stop fund deposits and a charter amendment can only be undone by a vote of the people.  Again, 63% of voters approved both measures. As part of the 2% Land Fund legislation, every property obtained with our taxpayer funds shall have a covenant that runs with the land stating that these lands are to be held in perpetuity for the citizens of the County of Hawaii and cannot be sold, traded, mortgaged etc.  This has already blocked a potential land trade with the State of Hawaii.
  8. The Maintenance Fund was clarified in the Hawaii County Code in 2016 to allow the PONC Commission to review Stewardship Grants and to recommend which grants to approve to the Director of Finance.

GRASS ROOTS ORGANIZING PROCESS to pass the 3 ballot measures:

  • During the Petition Initiative process, the Save Our Lands Citizen Committee had more than 100 people who collected signatures of more than 50 signatures each in 2006.
  • The Committee has a 2,200 personal email list, which we use to inform our supporters, or if we need emails sent to elected officials, or to ask people to show up for public meetings or to lobbying their Council members.   They represent about a large portion of the voting public on the island. (There have been approximately 100,000 voters registered for the County of Hawaii, usually about 33,000 of these registered voters actually vote)  Our grassroots efforts asks supporters to forward our emails to friends and family.

Citizens have proposed 180 properties for acquisition:

  • Puna area: 16 properties
  • South Hilo area: 16 properties
  • North Hilo: 7 properties
  • Hamakua: 26 properties
  • North Kohala: 29 properties
  • South Kohala: 18 properties
  • North Kona: 27 properties
  • South Kona: 14 properties
  • Ka’u: 27 properties

The Community recommends a property to the Public Access and Open Space Commission, here is the process and links to the application: http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/weblink/1/edoc/84953/Process%20for%20Property%20Acquisition%20with%20Funds%20from%20the%20PONC%20Fund.pdf

THE HAWAII COUNTY CHARTER AND THE HAWAII COUNTY CODE: which regulates the 2% Land Fund (PONC) and the PONC Maintenance Fund go to: http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/weblink/browse.aspx?startid=13770&dbid=1

Submitted by Debbie Hecht, Campaign Coordinator Save Our Lands Citizen’s Committee Hecht.deb@gmail.com 808-989-3222

Join our email list to stay informed and keep your family and friends informed on this important issue.  hecht.deb@gmail.com

 

 

How RACIAL and RELIGIOUS SLURS widen the RACIAL DIVIDE

I'm human

“You’re really pretty for a black girl.”

“ You look just like a china doll.”

“Don’t sit next to her, she probably smells like rice.”

“Don’t try to Jew me down on the price.”

In the 60s my friend’s mother took us both to the opening of McDonald’s.   My mother said, “Oh will she pick you up in the Jew canoe (a Cadillac)?”

If someone said this to you, how would you feel?  We all make jokes at the expense of others. Sarcasm is especially harmful because it puts someone down for a laugh. These statements hurt, degrade and belittle people and attempt to reduce their importance in the world.  This is “othering”. I believe that we must start to identify and exorcise our unconscious privilege, which presents as racial slurs and microagressions.  Imagine if we were curious about other people, their families, values, thoughts, feelings and cultures and religions. Imagine what we would learn about the cultures within our society if we celebrated differences and practiced inclusiveness. THE GREAT CHALLENGE IS HOW TO HEAL THE RACIAL DIVIDE IN OUR COUNTRY.

A racial slur is also called a microagression, which is a statement, action, or incident  of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group such as a racial or ethnic minority.  Research shows that we all inherit and learn the racial, gender, and sexual orientation biases of our homes and cultures.  Racist, sexist and heterosexist attitudes, beliefs and behaviors have indoctrinated us. Most of these behaviors are unconscious. We must all take responsibility for what we say and the affect it has on other human beings.

As I read the statements by minority students below, I felt gut punched.  I found myself cringing.  I felt ashamed as I recognized things I had said. These are examples of the unconsciousness of our society and the unconsciousness of privilege. If you heard these comments on a daily basis, you would start to view yourself as a second-class person, someone who is not “good enough”, who doesn’t measure up? These are examples of “othering” and marginalizing of our fellow human beings.

Statements to Black Students:

  • When people think it’s weird that I listen to Carrie Underwood.
  • So what does your hair look like today? She said as she pulled off my hat without my permission.
  • You don’t act like a normal black person ya know?
  • Courtney I never see you as a black girl. Answer: You don’t act like a normal black person ya know?
  • The limited representation of my race in your classroom does not make me the voice of all Black People.
  • When standing next to my Mom: Why is your daughter so white?
  • You’re really pretty for a dark skin girl.
  • Why do you sound white?
  • Aunt Jemima, coon, nigger, pickaninny, spear chucker, uncle tom,

Statements to Asian students:

  • So. you’re Chinese right?
  • You’re not really Asian.
  • So, what do you guys speak in Japan? Asian?
  • Not your fucking china doll.
  • Statement overheard by an Asian student: This girl sitting next to me move, to sit closer to someone she’s talking to, and the white guy whispers loudly that she moved because she smells like rice.
  • Can you read this? He showed me a Japanese character on his phone.
  • Can you see as much as white people? You know, because of your eyes?
  • Buddhahead, chink, zip, zipperhead, yellow

Statements by a  Hispanic student:

  • Just because I’m Mexican I shouldn’t be the 1st choice for the role of Dora the Explorer in a high school skit.
  • When I gave a speech about racism, the emcee introduced me as Jaime Garcia. My name is Jaime Rodriguez. Not all Latinos have the last name Garcia.
  • Beaner, wetback,  chilote (Chileans), pocho

Statements to mixed race students or white:

  • Question: What are you? Answer: HUMAN. Being bi-racial doesn’t make me a “what’.
  • So, like, what are you?
  • You don’t speak Spanish?
  • Statement to student of mixed race who looks white: No, you’re white.
  • Coconut, oreo,

Names for Native Americans, our host culture:  American Indians- Injun,  Tonto, prairie nigger,  redskins

Names for White people (Caucasians):  redneck,  kracker (poor white),  haole (Hawaii white person), wigger, yank, yankee

RELIGIOUS SLURS:

‘You’re not an oven dodger, are you?’” – a reference to the ovens that creamated the bodies of inmates in Nazi extermination camps.  Mel Gibson to Wynonna Ryder

Jewish people- Kike, Shylock, Yid, Jew canoe- Cadillacs, Don’t jew me down, Christkiller, heeb, Hun, Yid

Islamic- Rag head,  towel head

Asian Christians- Rice Christian

Look at pictures of the students holding placards quoting microagressions. Notice how their expressions increase the impact of the microagression:  From Kiyun Kim, Racial Microaggressions, December 2103  http://nortonism.tumblr.com/

RACIAL SLURS AS ACTIONS: Actions  can marginalize, degrade and belittle people. Microagressions can be racial, gender, religion and sexual orientation  actions.   Many of these comments or actions appear to be innocent, but taken as everyday occurrence they can impact marginalized groups and  affect their standard of living by creating inequities in health care, police treatment, aspirations for young adults, education, housing and employment opportunities.

Racial Microaggression:
• A White man or woman clutches their purse or checks their wallet as a Black or Latino man approaches or passes them. (Hidden message: You and your group are criminals.).
• An Asian American, born and raised in the United States, is complimented for speaking “good English.” (Hidden message: You are not a true American. You are a perpetual foreigner in your own country.)
• A Black couple is seated at a table in the restaurant next to the kitchen despite there being other empty and more desirable tables located at the front. (Hidden message: You are a second-class citizen and undeserving of first-class treatment.)

Gender Microaggressions:
• an assertive female manager is labeled as a “bitch,” while her male counterpart is described as “a forceful leader.” (Hidden message: Women should be passive and allow men to be the decision makers.)
• A female physician wearing a stethoscope is mistaken as a nurse. (Hidden message: Women should occupy nurturing and not decision-making roles. Women are less capable than men).
• Whistles or catcalls are heard from men as a woman walks down the street. (Hidden message: Your body/appearance is for the enjoyment of men. You are a sex object.)

Sexual Orientation Microaggressions:
• A Young person uses the term “gay” to describe a movie that she didn’t like. (Hidden message: Being gay is associated with negative and undesirable characteristics.)
• A lesbian client in therapy reluctantly discloses her sexual orientation to a straight therapist by stating she is “into women.” The therapist indicates he is not shocked by the disclosure because he once had a client who was “into dogs.” (Hidden message: Same-sex attraction is abnormal and deviant.)
• Two gay men hold hands in public and are told not to flaunt their sexuality. (Hidden message: Same-sex displays of affection are abnormal and offensive. Keep it private and to yourselves.)

Religion, disability, and social class may also be reflected as behavioral microagressions:

  • When bargaining over the price of an item, a storeowner says to a customer, “Don’t try to Jew me down.” (Hidden message: Jews are stingy and money-grubbing.)
    • A blind man reports that people often raise their voices when speaking to him. He responds by saying, “Please don’t raise your voice; I can hear you perfectly well.” (Hidden message: A person with a disability is defined as lesser in all aspects of physical and mental functioning).
    • The outfit worn by a TV reality-show mom is described as “classless and trashy.” (Hidden message: Lower-class people are tasteless and unsophisticated.)

What can you do?  Don’t expect this to be comfortable.  It’s important work!  Growth seldom is comfortable and this is a growing process. Notice your microagressions. Read people’s faces when you are speaking in order to gauge their reactions. Speak up and ask for clarification about what they think or feel. Reach for understanding and empathy. Challenge the hurtful statements of others and start the difficult conversations to heal the racial divide. It’s up to each of us to create a more civil society with social justice for everyone.

  1. “Othering 101” https://therearenoothers.wordpress.com/2011/12/28/othering-101-what-is-othering/ 
  2. The Problem of Othering: Towards Inclusiveness and Belonging http://www.otheringandbelonging.org/the-problem-of-othering/
  3. KIYUN KIM Racial Microaggressions, December 2013. http://nortonism.tumblr.com/
  4. 21 Racial Microaggressions You Hear on a Daily Basis: https://www.buzzfeed.com/hnigatu/racial-microagressions-you-hear-on-a-daily-basis
  5. From Microaggressions: More Than Just Race from Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/microaggressions-in-everyday-life/201011/microaggressions-more-just-race
  6. List of Ethnic Slurs:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ethnic_slurs

NOTE:  Picture at top of story is taken from KIYUN KIM                                                             Racial Microaggressions, December 2013. http://nortonism.tumblr.com/

GUN VIOLENCE PROTECTION Take Action, Issues, Polls & Statistics 5.2018

 

A NATIONAL GUN CONTROL LAW is NEEDED TO HAVE CONSISTENCY AND TO GUIDE STATE LAWS. 

MY OPINION: Our guns have changed, shouldn’t our laws?  

The Second Amendment of the Constitution was written in 1791. These are the guns that were used: Brown Bess Musket,Charleville Musket, American-made Muskets, Long Rifles, Pattern 1776 Infantry Rifle and the Ferguson Rifle.  The 2nd Amendment reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

TAKE ACTION! Ask Congressmen and Senators to introduce and support GUN VIOLENCE PROTECTION LEGISLATION and GET PLEDGES FROM CANDIDATES for their support: 

  1. Background checks on all firearm purchases (guns and ammunition) in gun stores, gun shows, private sales and online with a 10 day waiting period.
  2. All new guns must be sold with fingerprint recognition. For a gun to be used, the trigger must recognize the fingerprint of its registered owner, which would eliminate crimes with stolen guns and potentially some suicides.
  3. People on the DO NOT FLY LIST cannot buy guns.
  4. People who have been convicted of domestic violence or have a restraining order by a spouse/ partner could not buy guns.
  5. People who are mentally ill could not buy guns.
  6. Assault weapons should be banned along high capacity magazines and clips andbump stocks and any other equipment, alteration, or modification that would increase a firearm’s capacity for ammunition or rate of fire
  7. Silencers should be illegal. What if the people in Las Vegas couldn’t hear the guns over the music?
  8. To purchase a firearm or ammunition you must be a US citizen, be 21 years of age and take a nationally approved education class and  pass a national licensing  testing of knowledge from the class and proficiency.

Not sure who to contact? Go to and find your state on the interactive map: https://www.house.gov/representatives/#state

Guns have changed shouldn't our laws_

WHY ACTION IS IMPORTANT?

The National Rifle Association (NRA) is the strongest lobby in Washington DC. Since the Supreme Court Ruling on Citizen’s United Corportations can now donate to political campaigns. The NRA also donates heavily to the Republican Party and other Political Action Committees (PAC).

HOW MUCH HAS THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION DONATED TO YOUR CONGRESS PEOPLE? CHECK THIS INTERACTIVE CHART. Since 1998, the National Rifle Association has donated $3,533,294 to current members of Congress. Explore below to see how much money has been donated to members of Congress in your state: https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/recips.php?id=d000000082

The NRA DONATIONS $241,020 TO CALIFORNIA MEMBERS OF CONGRESS: currently in office.

  1. Rep. Ken Calvert (R)$42,550
  2. Rep. Darrell Issa (R)$29,900
  3. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R)$24,850
  4. Rep. Devin Nunes (R)$22,950
  5. Rep. David Valadao (R)$19,400
  6. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R)$18,000
  7. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R)$15,450
  8. Rep. Tom McClintock (R)$13,950
  9. Rep. Duncan D Hunter (R)$13,000
  10. Rep. Ed Royce (R)$11,970
  11. Rep. Susan Brooks (R)$6,000
  12. Rep. Paul Cook (R)$6,000
  13. Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R)$6,000
  14. Rep. Mike Thompson (D)$4,000
  15. Rep. Mimi Walters (R)$4,000
  16. Rep. Steve Knight (R)$3,000

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/nra-donations/

WHAT/ WHO  FUNDS THE NRA? Prior to the passage of the McClure-Volkmer Act signed by President Reagan 1986, interstate ammunition sales by common carrier to private individuals were banned and records were maintained of ammunition sales. McClure-Volkmer ended these limited controls on interstate — and opened up a new financial funding stream for the NRA.
Today the NRA receives millions of dollars from online sales of ammunition, high-capacity ammunition magazines, and other accessories through the Round-Up Program, created by top NRA benefactor Larry Potterfield. Potterfield is founder and head of MidwayUSA, which claims to stock “[j]ust about everything for shooting, reloading, gunsmithing and hunting,” including ammunition and high-capacity ammunition magazines. The Round-Up Program encourages buyers to “round-up” their purchase to the nearest dollar with the difference going to the NRA.​’   ‘Alleged Aurora mass shooter James Holmes’ ability to reportedly purchase more than six thousand rounds of ammunition online without any record-keeping is the direct result of Congressional passage of the National Rifle Association’s flagship bill of the 1980s: the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/josh-sugarmann/nra-reaps-profits-from-th_b_1698652.html

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HOW THE GUN INDUSTRY FUNNELS TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO THE NRA: “The bulk of the group’s money now comes in the form of contributions, grants, royalty income, and advertising, much of it originating from gun industry sources.
Since 2005, the gun industry and its corporate allies have given between $20 million and $52.6 million to it through the NRA Ring of Freedom sponsor program. Donors include firearm companies like Midway USA, Springfield Armory Inc, Pierce Bullet Seal Target Systems, and Beretta USA Corporation. Other supporters from the gun industry include Cabala’s, Sturm Rugar & Co, and Smith & Wesson.
The NRA also made $20.9 million — about 10 percent of its revenue — from selling advertising to industry companies marketing products in its many publications in 2010, according to the IRS Form 990.
Additionally, some companies donate portions of sales directly to the NRA. Crimson Trace, which makes laser sights, donates 10 percent of each sale to the NRA. Taurus buys an NRA membership for everyone who buys one of their guns. Sturm Rugar gives $1 to the NRA for each gun sold, which amounts to millions. The NRA’s revenues are intrinsically linked to the success of the gun business.
The NRA Foundation also collects hundreds of thousands of dollars from the industry, which it then gives to local-level organizations for training and equipment purchases.” http://www.businessinsider.com/gun-industry-funds-nra-2013-1

Get Active: DONATE MONEY

Former Mayor of NYC, Michael Bloomberg SAYS HE WILL MATCH DONATIONS TO EVERYTOWN FOR GUN SAFETY http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/354231-mike-bloomberg-offers-to-match-every-donation-to-fight-gun http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/354231-mike-bloomberg-offers-to-match-every-donation-to-fight-gun

EVERYTOWN FOR GUN SAFETY donate.everytown.org/everytown‎

MOM’s DEMAND ACTION FOR GUN SAFETY: https://momsdemandaction.org/

BRADY CAMPAIGN TO PREVENT GUN VIOLENCE: https://www.bradycampaign.org/

AMERICANS FOR RESPONSIBLE SOLUTIONS: https:americansforresponsiblesolutions.org/

 

IDEAS for LEGISLATION & AUSTRALIA’S SUCCESSFUL PROGRAM

AUSTRALIA’S SUCCESSFUL GUN CONTROL–An Australian named Martin Bryant murdered 35 people with a semiautomatic rifle in Port Arthur in 1996, in the deadliest mass shooting in Australian history,

THE PROGRAM:

  1. banned automatic and semiautomatic firearms,
  2. adopted new licensing requirements,
  3. established a national firearms registry, and
  4. instituted a 28-day waiting period for gun purchases
  5. bought (at market value) and destroyed more than 600,000 civilian-owned firearms

HOW? in a program that cost half a billion dollars and was funded by raising taxes on healthcare. The entire overhaul took only months to implement.

THE RESULTS: THE US HAS 29.7 GUN DEATHS PER MILLION PEOPLE AUSTRALIA HAS 1.4 GUN DEATHS PER MILLION PEOPLE. The number of mass shootings in Australia—dropped from 13 in the 18-year period before 1996 to zero after the Port Arthur massacre. Between 1995 and 2006, gun-related homicides and suicides in the country dropped by 59 percent and 65 percent, respectively, though these declines appear to have since leveled off. Two academics who have studied the impact of the reform initiative estimate that the gun-buyback program saves at least 200 lives each year, according to The New York Times. In a multinational study for the Small Arms Survey, Marcus Wilson cited the Australian case as an example of the most efficacious type of government effort to control arms and measurably reduce armed violence, in which weapons-collection programs are combined with legislative reform, campaigns to shift public opinion, and civil-society involvement.

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/12/australia-tim-fischer-us-guns/418698

AUSTRALIA HOMICIDE RATE 1 DEATH FOR EVERY 100,000 PEOPLE, THE U.S. IS 10 PER EVERY 100,000: With Australia’s population steadily increasing, the nation’s homicide incident rate has fallen even more than the number of homicides — from 1.6 per 100,000 in 1995-96 to 1 per 100,000 in 2013-2014, according to a government report on crime trends. That was the lowest homicide incident rate at the time in 25 years, as we mentioned earlier.

“In the seven years before the NFA (1989-1995), the average annual firearm suicide death rate per 100,000 was 2.6 (with a yearly range of 2.2 to 2.9); in the seven years after the buyback was fully implemented (1998-2004), the average annual firearm suicide rate was 1.1 (yearly range 0.8 to 1.4).”

“In the seven years before the NFA, the average annual firearm homicide rate per 100,000 was .43 (range .27 to .60) while for the seven years post NFA, the average annual firearm homicide rate was .25 (range .16 to .33).”

“[T]he drop in firearm deaths was largest among the type of firearms most affected by the buyback.”

The authors, however, noted that “no study has explained why gun deaths were falling, or why they might be expected to continue to fall.” That poses difficulty in trying to definitively determine the impact of the law, they write.

“Whether or not one wants to attribute the effects as being due to the law, everyone should be pleased with what happened in Australia after the NFA — the elimination of firearm massacres (at least up to the present) and an immediate, and continuing, reduction in firearm suicide and firearm homicide,” the authors write.http://www.factcheck.org/2017/10/gun-control-australia-updated/

 

HOW TO PREVENT GUN DEATHS- WHERE THE EXPERTS AND THE PUBLIC AGREE-       A POLL The most popular measures in our survey — policies like universal background checks and keeping guns from convicted stalkers — were supported by more than 85 percent of registered voters. Even the least popular idea, a law that would limit gun sales to people who had to demonstrate a “genuine need” for the weapon, was favored by nearly 50 percent. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/01/10/upshot/How-to-Prevent-Gun-Deaths-The-Views-of-Experts-and-the-Public.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

What Works and Doesn’t Work in Reducing Gun Deaths

Suggested Policy Effectiveness Public Support
Requiring all sellers to run background checks on anyone who buys a gun. 7.3 86%
Preventing sales of all firearms to people who have been convicted of violent misdemeanors, including domestic assaults. 7.1 83%
Preventing sales of all firearms to people who have been convicted of stalking another person 6.5 85%
Requiring all gun owners to possess a license for their firearm. 6.4 78%
Requiring all sellers to run background checks on anyone who buys ammunition. 6.4 72%
Banning the sale and ownership of all semi-automatic and automatic firearms. 6.1 63%
Preventing sales of all firearms to people who have been reported as dangerous to law enforcement by a mental health provider. 6.0 87%
Requiring all owners to report lost or stolen firearms. 6.0 88%
Banning the sale and ownership of all ammunition magazines with a capacity greater than 10 bullets. 5.8 63%
Requiring that all firearms be recorded in a national registry. 5.7 70%
Expanding screening and treatment for the mentally ill. 5.6 86%
Requiring that all gun buyers demonstrate a a ”genuine need” for a gun, such as a law enforcement job or hunting. 5.6 49%
Requiring all guns to microstamp each bullet with a mark that uniquely matches the gun and bullet. 5.5 65%
Increasing minimum penalties for people found possessing firearms illegally. 5.4 80%
Requiring gun dealers to keep, retain and report all gun records and sales to the Federal government. 5.4 80%
Banning the sale and ownership of assault rifles or similar firearms. 5.0 67%
Requiring all gun owners to register their fingerprints. 5.0 72%
Preventing sales of all firearms and ammunition to anyone considered to be a “known or suspected terrorist” by the F.B.I. 4.9 89%
Requiring a mandatory waiting period of three days after gun is purchased before it can be taken home. 4.8 77%
Limiting the number of guns that can be purchased to one per month. 4.8 67%
Limiting the amount of ammunition you can purchase within a given time period. 4.4 64%
Requiring that all gun owners store their guns in a safe storage unit. 4.4 76%
Banning firearms from all workplace settings nationally. 4.3 60%
Requiring that gun buyers complete safety training and a test for their specific firearm. 4.1 79%
Implementing a national “buy-back” program for all banned firearms and magazines, where the government pays people to turn in illegal guns. 3.9 74%
Banning firearms from schools and college campuses nationally. 3.8 68%
Requiring that all gun owners store their guns with childproof locks. 3.5 82%
Requiring every state to honor out-of-state permits to carry a concealed weapon. 1.7 73%
Authorizing stand-your-ground laws nationally that allow people to defend themselves using lethal force without needing to retreat first. 1.7 71%

How We Made Our Matrix

To build a list of possible policies, we consulted the academic literature on laws from American states and foreign countries and spoke with advocates for gun rights and gun control. Both surveys were conducted in June of last year.

For our measure of popularity, Morning Consult conducted an internet survey of 1,975 voters, who were asked whether they approved of the possible laws.

For our effectiveness survey, we asked experts in gun policy to evaluate each idea on a scale of 1 to 10, according to how effective they thought it would be in reducing fatalities. We asked the experts to ignore considerations of political or legal feasibility.

Our expert panel consisted of 32 current or retired academics in criminology, public health and law, who have published extensively in peer-reviewed academic journals on gun policy. We know our sample is small and may not include every expert that readers would like consulted. But we feel it represents a useful, if imperfect, measure of what people steeped in the research think might save lives.

The panel of academics included: Cathy Barber, Magdalena Cerdá, Jay Corzine, John Donohue, Laura Dugan, Liza H. Gold, David Hemenway, David Kennedy, Louis Klarevas, Gary Kleck, David Kopel, Tomislav Kovandzic, Adam Lankford, John Lott, Jonathan Metzl, Matthew Miller, Carlisle E. Moody, Andrew Papachristos, Charles Ransford, Peter Reuter, Mark Rosenberg, Robert J. Sampson, Michael Siegel, Gary Slutkin, Robert Spitzer, Stephen P. Teret, George E. Tita, Eugene Volokh, Daniel Webster, April Zeoli and others.

Special thanks to the Fraternal Order of Police and the Major Cities Chiefs Association for distributing the survey to their membership.

INFORMATION and STATISTICS

 GUN VIOLENCE IN AMERICA EXPLAINED IN 17 MAPS AND CHARTS

America is an exceptional country when it comes to guns. It’s one of the few countries in which the right to bear arms is constitutionally protected. But America’s relationship with guns is unique in another crucial way: Among developed nations, the US is far and away the most violent — in large part due to the easy access many Americans have to firearms. These charts and maps show what that violence looks like compared with the rest of the world, why it happens, and why it’s such a tough problem to fix.

1) America has six times as many firearm homicides as Canada, and nearly 16 times as many as Germany

2) America has 4.4 percent of the world’s population, but almost half of the civilian-owned guns around the world

3) There have been more than 1,500 mass shootings since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting (December 2012)

4) On average, there is more than one mass shooting for each day in America

5) States with more guns have more gun deaths

6) It’s not just the US: Developed countries with more guns also have more gun deaths

7) States with tighter gun control laws have fewer gun-related deaths

8) Still, gun homicides (like all homicides) have declined over the past couple decades

9) Most gun deaths are suicides

10) The states with the most guns report the most suicides

11) Guns allow people to kill themselves much more easily

12) Programs that limit access to guns have decreased suicides

13) Since the shooting of Michael Brown, police have killed at least 2,902 people (May 2017)

14) In states with more guns, more police officers are also killed on duty

15) Support for gun ownership has sharply increased since the early ’90s

16) High-profile shootings don’t appear to lead to more support for gun control

17) But specific gun control policies are fairly popular

TO VIEWALL CHARTS AND MAPS go to: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/2/16399418/us-gun-violence-statistics-maps-charts

 

 IS THIS YOUR AMERICA?   COMPARE US GUN DEATHS TO OTHER COUNTRIES

US- 10 deaths per 100,000 people.

Finland- 3.6 deaths per 100,000 people

Austria- 3.2 deaths per 100,000 people from the American Journal of the Medicine chart

“Murder is the second leading cause of death among Americans aged 15 to 24, the study found. The research also showed that murder was the third leading cause of death among those aged 25-34. Compared to those in the same age groups in other wealthy countries, Americans aged 15-24 are 49 times more likely to be the victim of a gun-related murder. For those aged 25-34, that number is 32 times more likely, the research revealed.”  https://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-u-s-gun-deaths-compare-to-other-countries/

WHY DO WE NEED GUN CONTROL LAWS?   Because you can buy this SUBMACHINE GUN ON THE INTERNET. http://www.collectorsfirearms.com/mac-m-10-9-mm-sub-machine-gun-r20904/

THE EXISTING LAWS  

My opinion: Our guns have changed, shouldn’t our laws? These guns were available in 1776:Brown Bess Musket,Charleville Musket, American-made Muskets, Long Rifles, Pattern 1776 Infantry Rifle and the Ferguson Rifle.

 The Second Amendment of the Constitution: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. On December 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments to the Constitution) was adopted, having been ratified by three-fourths of the states.”

 2.2017: Trump ROLLS BACK an Obama-era REGULATION THAT MADE IT HARDER FOR PEOPLE WITH MENTAL ILLNESSES TO BUY GUNS.

The rule, which was finalized in December 2016, added people receiving Social Security checks for mental illnesses and people deemed unfit to handle their own financial affairs to the national background check database, which would have added about 75,000 names to that database. President Barack Obama recommended the now-nullified regulation in a 2013 memo following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which left 20 first graders and six others dead. The measure sought to block some people with severe mental health problems from buying guns. The original rule was hotly contested by gun rights advocates who said it infringed on Americans’ Second Amendment rights. Gun control advocates, however, praised the rule for curbing the availability of firearms to those who may not use them with the right intentions.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/trump-signs-bill-revoking-obama-era-gun-checks-people-mental-n727221

HOW STRONG ARE THE GUN LAWS IN YOUR STATE?    Look at the interactive map. They analyzed the following criteria:  We looked at five types of gun control enacted at the state level: assault weapons bans, high-capacity magazine bans, gun possession prohibitions for high-risk individuals, gun possession prohibitions for individuals with domestic violence convictions and mandatory background checks.https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/national/assault-weapons-laws/?utm_term=.d67c161b22a6

Why restrict guns? Listen to Obama’s answer at a townhall meeting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6imFvSua3Kg

60% OF GUN DEATHS ARE SUICIDES, which SUPPORTS GUN CONTROL– Not all of those suicides are by gun, but a majority are. And while some people feeling suicidal impulses will choose another method if a gun is not at hand, public health researchers cite two reasons guns are particularly dangerous: 1) Guns are more lethal than most other methods people try, so someone who attempts suicide another way is more likely to survive; 2) Studies suggest that suicide attempts often occur shortly after people decide to kill themselves, so people with deadly means at hand when the impulse strikes are more likely to use them than those who have to wait or plan.THAT MEANS THAT STRATEGIES THAT MAKE SUICIDE MORE INCONVENIENT OR DIFFICULT CAN SAVE LIVES. Guns, when they are in the home, can make self-harm both easy and deadly. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/09/upshot/gun-deaths-are-mostly-suicides.html

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YOUR PARENTING STYLE: Are you raising a BULLY, a REBEL or a WELL ADJUSTED ADULT?

What can you discover from this article?

  1. PARENTING STYLES- what is your style?
  2. EXPLANATIONS OF THE 3 STYLES OF PARENTING explanations and
  3. HOW YOU CAN RAISE A WELL ADJUSTED ADULT
  4. SPANKING

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SPANKING?  MAYBE THERE ARE BETTER WAYS TO RAISE RESPONSIBLE ADULTS WHO CAN MAKE DECISIONS IN SOCIETY. We all love our children and want the best for them. We all want our children to thrive. Do you want your kids to be obedient soldiers or do you want to help them bring their unique talents to the world, be accepted and to have good relationships? If you are having problems with your child, maybe your style of parenting is not working. Discipline and spanking may not be the problem. Wouldn’t you rather have the cooperation of your children? What are you modeling for your children or grandchildren by your parenting style?

PARENTING STYLES: A guide to figure out your style

TAKE THIS QUIZ TO SEE WHAT TYPE OF PARENT YOU ARE take this 15 minute QUIZ: https://psychcentral.com/quizzes/parenting-style.htm

THREE STYLES OF PARENTING and WHAT TYPE OF ADULT ARE YOU HELPING TO CREATE?

  • Authoritarian parenting: These parents have high expectations and often overwhelm their children with strict rules and regulations. These parents rule with an iron fist and often “scare” their children into obedience. Parents who utilize this type of parenting style might be referred to as “bossy,” “high strung,” or controlling and abusive. Fathers who are authoritarian rarely show affection and might even keep a distance from their children emotionally and psychologically, believing that this is a “healthy fear of authority.” I would venture to say that children who come from these households often stray so much that they become substance abusers, lack appropriate boundaries in relationships, and might even resort to suicide if they feel pressured to be perfect for their parent(s).

Children who grow up in these households often rebel and become problematic in families and in society. These kids grow into juvenile delinquents, substance abusers, or complete rebels (getting tattoos, piercings, engaging in multiple short-lived relationships, prostituting, etc.). You might have heard of kids who grow up in very strict political or religious homes who become “wild adults.”

  • Permissive parenting (or indulgent parenting): Parents who exhibit this style of parenting can be mistaken as the child’s sister, aunt, or babysitter. This type of parent makes very few demands and does not have control over their child or children. These parents are often the parents who call “SuperNanny” to come and help them because their child has little to no respect for them. Permissive parents really don’t care about implementing values or rules into the lives of their child or children. They ultimately want to be their child’s friend or would rather be “accepted” by their child rather than respected. There is no “healthy fear” of authority and no respect. In return, the parent just feels like “oh well, what can I do.”  You may have heard some parents say in embarrassment after their child does something wrong “Oh well…that’s Kevin, what can I say?”

Children who grow up in these households lack personal restraint and can pass for children with ADHD. These kids have no boundaries and respect for others personal space. They can be considered “wild” and out of control. Teens who have permissive parents often seek love, affection, and direction from others in the world and may fall into negative relationships as a result. Adults who have been raised by permissive parents may have trouble managing relationships or adult responsibilities.”

  • Authoritative parenting: My mother was authoritative and many of the parents in my family. Authoritative parenting is well-organized and these parents often have a goal of properly raising their children and being balanced. These parents are not overly strict, yet they know how to make their child respect authority and develop appropriate values and boundaries. Authoritative households are often calmer and seem well-adjusted to life. Kids are expected to follow the rules established by the adults in the household, but it is okay if the child makes a mistake or needs to be reminded of their place as the child. These parents are often fair and firm when they need to be.

Children in these households often develop into well-adjusted adults who hold specific values. They are able to pass milestones without extreme setbacks and are often strong mentally and emotionally.

UTUBE: FOUR TYPES OF PARENTING STYLES: This short concise explanation adds the style of Uninvolved Parenting to the 3 styles above. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3g0kKD4txo

PARENTING STYLES AND THEIR INFLUENCE ON CHILDREN Comparing parenting styles and their influence on children. Educational Psychology Class Dr. Weller-Clarke  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZ2Hw2_hiK8

AUTHORITARIAN PARENTING AND IT’S CONSEQUENCES: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lj64B6P9bxs Watch as Parents Magazine gives advice for parents on the authoritarian parenting style! Authoritarian parents place high demands on their children and believe the parents have the household power. This style of parent involvement tends to use negative forms of discipline, such as taking away privileges or spanking to punish bad behavior. Authoritarian parental guidance does not usually respond to a child’s feelings or opinions. These parents often respond to questioning with “Because I said so,” and they have very firm rules. Parenting in the authoritarian right tends to lead children to rebel later in life. This form of child parenting is not effective at teaching, and it does not usually spur good behavior. As a parent, you want to help your child build a solid foundation of independence, not anger or a bad attitude!

A FUNNY LOOK AT THE NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES OF AUTHORITARIAN VS. AUTHORITATIVE PARENTING: From a comedy series: Authoritarian vs. Authoritative Parenting- Hint the Father is the Authoritarian. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chLIBfSXMuk

From- Parenting: How Your Style Can Negatively Affect Mental Health

By Támara Hill, MS, LPC  https://blogs.psychcentral.com/caregivers/2014/09/parenting-how-your-style-can-negatively-affect-mental-health/ read the article and watch the Utube

HOW YOU CAN RAISE A WELL ADJUSTED ADULT:

HOW TO BE AN AUTHORITATIVE PARENT: UTUBE PRESENTATION BY CHILD PSYCHOLOGIST NEIL FELLOWES: “This generation does not respond by shouted at, threatening, or smacked. This doesn’t work long term.” 3 minutes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MOa7YR7H3U

NEIL FELLOWES: Authoritative Parenting: Example and Tip for Mornings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5shCAHIlVrM

AUTHORITATIVE PARENT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksFbDKxPnJ0

From the Cosby Show: Authoritative Parent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6iFWuNsjqY

HOW TO HELP YOUR CHILD APPRECIATE THEIR UNIQUENESS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKZ_kAJHGjQ Kids sometimes feel like an outsider at school and may need help to know that every well adjusted human being feels like this occasionally. Appreciate and celebrate their uniqueness. This approach shows respect for their feelings.

SPANKING

There are many posts on social media about SPANKING. They usually start off, “I was spanked and I turned out ok.” While that may be true, what are you teaching your children by hitting them? Just think of this little person who cannot defend himself or herself or run away and they are being hit by someone they trust. You could well RAISING A BULLY! It’s a crime to hit an adult, why wouldn’t it be a crime to hit a child? Here are tips to figure out your style and how to modify or change what you do if you want to.

Numerous studies say that spanking is bad for your child. The answer is not: “Well my Dad/ Mother beat me and I turned out OK.”

What they learn is that:

1) They cannot be open and honest with Mommy or Daddy anymore- that reinforces lying and hiding things.

2) That if Mommy or Daddy hit me then hitting people is okay.

3) You are perpetuating this style of parenting.

ANOTHER REASON NOT TO SPANK: RAISING A BULLY A new study continues to add to the pile of research that suggests that parents who spank risk harming not only their child’s bottom, but also their future.

Children who were spanked more than twice a month were 50 percent more likely than those who weren’t spanked to develop aggressive behaviors. These bullying behaviors included things such as getting into fights, exhibiting mean behavior toward others, and destroying toys and property.

The new study comes from researchers at Tulane University, who examined three year-old children whose mothers reported spanking them more than twice a month. The research was correlational in nature, so it could not establish a direct causal relationship with aggression. However, unlike prior research into this behavior, the new study took into account how aggressive kids were to begin with as well as other factors could have biased the results.

“This evidence base suggests that primary prevention of violence can start with efforts to prevent the use of corporal punishment against children,” noted Catherine Taylor, PhD, MSW, MPH, of Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, and colleagues. (See the results of a study on Spanking published in Pediatrics Magazine: https://psychcentral.com/news/2010/04/12/another-reason-not-to-spank-raising-a-bully/12797.html

The HAWAIIAN CULTURE HAS A UNIQUE WAY OF RAISING CHILDREN:

 from Adam Keawe Manalo-Camp

Traditional Hawaiian parenting was far different than what it is practiced today. Too often the term “I go lick you!” is used in Hawaiian households. I know of stories from the previous generation where a Hawaiian child would be caned and/or whipped and then salt or vinegar would be thrown on the wound and they called that the “Hawaiian way”. Torturing children in the name of “discipline” was not the Hawaiian way.

Traditionally, Hawaiians kids spent more of their time with their grandparents than their actual parents. This allowed knowledge to be passed down directly. Hawaiian children under the age of 8 were in general taught manners, etiquette, polite behavior, values, and the mo’olelo of their ancestors. Polite behavior and manners was thought of as the first steps towards learning a trade and living within a community–not unlike our Polynesian cousins and the Japanese way of education. That is also a key point–living within a community and how to behave within a community as a part of child development. They were allowed to play around and encouraged to learn by modeling their elders. Discipline normally came in terms of explaining and admonishing behaviors through words. Hawaiians had a process of exclusion (hoʻomū) when it came to children who consistently misbehaved but that was after discussions with a priest and after a change in diet, exercise and massaging. Hawaiians believed that kids could change their behavior if that energy could be discussed with experts, diets changed, that energy could be massaged out and healed. Hitting, spanking, slapping and caning a child were considered kapu because a child especially under 8 years old was considered to still be spiritually directly linked to the deceased ancestors. One can not slap one’s ancestors therefore one can not slap a child. As a child grew older, past 8, other methods were used to “discipline” the child mostly assigning him/her to projects such as building walls or paths. In worst case scenarios, exclusion was used.

Children of the kahuna class in addition to value-formation would be given games to enhance their memories. Practicing oration and memorizing chants would begin around age 6 and continue for the rest of the lives. Some islands had special kahuna schools as well where children between the ages of 8 to 13 could be sent to learn.

Children of the ali’i were normally at some point around age 6 transferred to a pālama, a type of fort like school where they would begin their training in politics, war, history, as well as the martial arts. Sometimes the children of the kahuna would also attend. But before attending the pālama, children of the aliʻi were also “disciplined” in the same ways as the common children.

What radically changed Hawaiian child rearing was the Calvinist missionaries–and their impact still continues. The Calvinist missionaries brought with them ideas that children were “little adults” and introduced corporal punishment. The “I go lick you” or “I go paʻi your mouth” or the notion that physically abusing a child in order to discipline the child has no basis in pre-Contact Hawaiian culture.We also know that Māori (https://teara.govt.nz/en/nga-matua-maori-parenting) and Tahitian child rearing and underlining ideas were almost the same as Hawaiian so that confirms that these principles were very ancient and ingrained to our ancestors before the missionaries came with their “spare the rod, spoil the child” and “idle hands are the Devilʻs play things” mentality. That missionary way of thought and that systemic violence that many of our kūpuna faced in their own lives, they brought it into their homes. Thatʻs something we must decolonize ourselves.     I AM INTERESTED IN YOUR FEEDBACK!

Socially Responsible Investing: ‘WALK THE TALK’ THROUGH YOUR INVESTMENTS By Debbie Hecht

Earth and hands photo

Armchair Investing  and DIRECTING CHANGE  with a Case Study by Jon Luft                       Imagine if everyone invested in corporations that reflected their values?                        YOU MIGHT BOYCOTT BUYING GOODS FROM COMPANIES WHO DON’T REFLECT YOUR VALUES, BUT HAVE YOU LOOKED AT YOUR PORTFOLIO OF INVESTMENTS?

SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE INVESTING is the process of investing money in corporations, infrastructure and community development that are not causing social or environmental harm. The designation is based on scrutinizing business practices: the treatment of employees, customers, communities and the environment and by being respectful of social justice and ethical issues. It is an investment approach that integrates environmental, social and governance values (ESG) into financial analysis and decision-making. Socially responsible investments can be made in individual companies or through a socially conscious mutual funds or an index fund. This article will provide you with a process of how to “Walk the Talk” and invest congruent with your values.

MYTH BUSTING: RETURNS are NOT LESS than OTHER INVESTMENTS

  1. “Over the last two years, SRI investing has grown by more than 22% to $3.74 trillion in total managed assets, suggesting that investors are investing with their heart, as well as their head. In fact, about $1 of every $9 under professional management in the U.S. can be classified as an SRI investment. “ Forbes Magazine April 2013 https://www.forbes.com/sites/feeonlyplanner/2013/04/24/socially-responsible-investing-what-you-need-to-know/#25ef778f3442
  2. “One of the myths around socially responsible investing is that aligning investments with ethics means lower returns… Companies that were committed to sustainability outperformed companies that weren’t, they found. A dollar invested in sustainability-minded companies in 1993 would have grown to $22.58 by 2014, but just $15.35 if invested in companies with no such commitments.” George Serafeim, an associate professor at Harvard Business School and colleagues analyzed data going back over 20 years: https://hbr.org/2015/04/the-type-of-socially-responsible-investments-that-make-firms-more-profitable
  3. In a paper entitled “Socially Responsible Mutual Funds”, published in the May/June 2000 issue of the Financial Analysts Journal, Meir Statman of Santa Clara University reviewed 31 socially screened mutual funds and found that they outperformed their unscreened peers, but not by a statistically significant margin. The bottom line appears to be that SRI funds do not behave all that differently from regular funds and that investing in a SRI fund will not negatively affect your returns compared to choosing a conventional index fund.” From Go Green with Socially Responsible investing (Investopedia) http://www.investopedia.com/articles/07/clean_and_green.asp
  4. The Domini 400 Social Index (DSI): Outperforming the S&P 500 Blogs @ The Motley Fool Published June 25, 2013 Can these types of funds perform? Can the DSI perform just as well, if not better than an index that has investments in these lucrative yet controversial markets? The chart below shows the value of $1 invested in the DSI 400 since its inception in 1990 compared to $1 invested in the S&P 500 in 1990: http://www.sfgate.com/business/fool/article/The-Domini-400-Social-Index-Outperforming-the-4620645.php

The PROCESS to become a SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE INVESTOR

  1. Hire a professional? Ask your stockbroker for help or for a reference?
  2. Go through your portfolio and decide what to keep and what to sell. You might be amazed at what you have been supporting with your investment dollars! You might have some gains to pay. This does not need to be an “all or nothing” approach. TAKE THE CHALLENGE: Invest some amount in SRI stocks or funds and then compare after 6 months to your other investments.
  3. Decide what screens or filters to use. Screening is the process to decide what companies to include in your investment portfolio and what companies you may want to delete from your portfolio.
    1. Environmental Criteria: Some examples are LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards for buildings, recycling programs, alternative energy usage, high mileage or electric vehicles, research on climate change or innovative energy sources are some good examples. Examples for bad stocks to dump would be BP Oil for polluting the Gulf of California because their oilrigs were not serviced regularly, Phillip Morris for tobacco, Raytheon for defense hardware- missiles, nuclear energy or coal utilities.
    2. Business Practice Criteria: Examples could be realistic CEO compensation, diversity and inclusion in hiring, equal pay for women and minorities, companies with family leave for care of children and elderly, onsite day care, work week requirements, the use of underpaid prison labor and use of sweatshops. Have they had any lawsuits for discrimination?
    3. Product criteria:Do their products use less packaging? Are they made in the USA? You might want to exclude companies that make guns, war hardware like missiles or tanks, benefit off of prisons, tobacco, addictive substances, big oil and banks or investment firms that lend money for pipelines and industries that pollute water or air.
    4. Shareholder Activism– a reason to buy shares in a corporation is that by owning just one share you can attend shareholder meetings and introduce new ideas. SRI investors can be a powerful catalyst for change. (Recently 62% of Exxon shareholders required a study to understand the environmental impacts of the company’s practices. 5.2017)

 FOR MORE INFORMATION:

  1. Socially Responsible Investing in Investopedia: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/sri.asp
  2. Forbes: Socially Responsible Investing: http://www.forbes.com/sites/feeonlyplanner/2013/04/24/socially-responsible-investing-what-you-need-to-know/
  3. Socially Responsible Mutual Funds Chart from Bloomberg: http://charts.ussif.org/mfpc/
  4. “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Socially Responsible Investing” by Ken Little.
  5. “Socially Responsible Investing for Dummies” Ann C. Logue
  6. PAX World Investments: http://paxworld.com/about/sustainable-investing/what-is-esg
  7. Financial Times: http://lexicon.ft.com/Term?term=responsible-investment
  8. CASHING IN ON CLIMATE CHANGE: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/03/opinion/sunday/cashing-in-on-climate-change.html?_r=0
  9. Get That Oily Mess Out of My Money! https://www.naturalinvestments.com/blog/category/advocacy/
  10. Socially responsible investing report for 2016: http://www.greenmoneyjournal.com/january-2017/the-2016-biennial-report-on-us-sustainable-responsible-and-impact-investing-trends-from-the-us-sif-foundation/
  11. THE ‘DOMINI 400 SOCIAL INDEX’ http://www.investopedia.com/terms/d/domini_400.asp

A market cap weighted stock index of 400 publicly traded companies that have met certain standards of social and environmental excellence. Potential candidates for this index will have positive records on issues such as employee and human relations, product safety, environmental safety, and corporate governance. Companies engaged in the business of alcohol, tobacco, firearms, gambling, nuclear power and military weapons are automatically excluded. This relatively new index was designed to help socially conscious investors weigh social and environmental factors in their investment choices.

BREAKING DOWN ‘Domini 400 Social Index’- Socially conscious investing is a growing trend across many demographic and geographic areas, and having a social conscience may become a competitive advantage for corporations through their relationships with shareholders. The index is independently maintained by research firm KLD Research & Analytics, and aims to be comprised of chiefly large cap stocks in the S&P 500; the ranges break down as follows:

  1.  Approximately 250 companies in the S&P 500
  2. 100 companies not in the S&P 500, but providing sector diversification and exceeding pre-determined market cap limitations
  3. 50 companies that have shown excellence in their social and environmental dealings
  4. “The record of the Domini 400 Social Index (DSI) is an indication that socially responsible investors do not have to automatically assume a sacrifice in performance for following their values. Created in 1990, the DSI was the first benchmark for equity portfolios subject to multiple social screens. The DSI is a market capitalization-weighted index modeled on the Standard & Poor\’s 500 and has outperformed that unscreened index on an annualized basis since its inception.

From Michael Kramer, stockbroker and author of the Resilient Investor   can be found at Natural Investments: https://www.naturalinvestments.com/about/ “A friend of mine who has known me for years asked me today, “So how exactly do you align values with investments?” And so… the aim is to steer clear of products, practices, and industries that are causing social and environmental harm while supporting everything – infrastructure, community development, and companies – that are better for society and trying to treat employees, customers, communities, and the environment with greater respect and principles of justice and sustainability. There’s compromise everywhere you look, of course – as there are many shades of green and no perfect investments – but as we engage the companies we own shares of we have a voice to help them change their ways, to acknowledge and address the real risks of climate change, to foster diversity at every level of their company, to provide living wages and safe working conditions, to be good citizens in the community, and to minimize harm to the environment. And there are some sectors many investors want no part of at all – fossil fuels, toxic chemicals, tobacco, military contractors, nuclear power, to name a few – and these can be excluded. And then there is being proactive in investing in the green economy – organic food, renewable energy, green building, biodegradable and recycled products, clean tech, water and energy efficiency, etc. This can be done through the public stock and bond markets, but some investors also engage in private debt and equity opportunities. Many also support community development financial institutions locally and globally, including international microfinance, to channel capital to low-income and other marginalized groups who need access to capital to start businesses, buy a home, and build community facilities. Investing for good requires clarity about one’s intentions and a willingness to use one’s savings to be part of the solution to the many challenges of these times. As I enter my 27th year of involvement with Natural Investments (including the first 10 years as one of its clients), I am pleased that so many people have discovered that it is possible to align their values with their investments to make a difference. Through our offices nationwide – in California, Colorado, Hawai’i, Kentucky, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Washington – thousands of individuals, families, non-profit organizations, foundations, and businesses entrust us to manage over $330 million. We are honored to have earned this trust over the past 32 years, and regardless of the political environment we will continue to focus on evolving our economic system so it operates for the benefit of all of this planet and us.

AN INVESTMENT REALIGNMENT STORY by JON LUFT

We all think about doing the right thing and many of us live and lead by example that reflects who we truly are.   Walking the talk. I aspire to that and wanted to share a recent, transformative experience regarding the landscape of my retirement investment funding.

Through hard work, diligent saving, and a moderately conservative approach to risk/reward, I now have dollar value accruing in my retirement portfolio. More than 20 years ago I associated myself with a qualified financial adviser from a large financial institution to help guide my investment strategies. I have no formal training in economics or finance so I always feel better collaborating with subject matter experts. I’m also averse to anxious waiting or nervous speculation and not one who watches the market every day. I’m a long haul investor. We made initial investment decisions together, watched and adjusted with a cautious but firm hand, and through the ups and downs of the market I’ve experienced reasonable growth in the long run.

My investment portfolio was typified by funds positioned primarily to be moneymakers, without paying much attention to the specific stocks and/or bonds populating them. I left those decisions to the fund managers. There are many examples of mutual fund families available in the marketplace such as American Funds, Vanguard and others. More recently, with an eye to the destruction of our environment, impacts of climate change, increasing social inequity at home and abroad, the recent banking debacle and other issues of corporate governance, I decided to take a much closer look at my specific holdings and decide if they aligned with my values. All of them. What I found was troubling and I decided to take action and make a wholesale transformation. Divest in those sectors and companies I don’t value, and reinvest in those I do. Working closely with my financial advisor I turned to what is known as Socially Responsible Investing (SRI), also known as Impact Investing, to direct the process and meet my goal of aligning my investments with my values.

There were basically three pathways I could take. The first option was to tweak my existing portfolio and select a different fund within the same family. To explore this I did a deep dive into all of the mutual funds within the larger family of funds I was currently invested in, to see if I could find any funds that fully met my selection criteria. Scattered widely among literally all of them were oil and petroleum, big agri-business, tobacco, and big banking among others that I wished to divest from. It became apparent this path was not going to be productive.

The second option was to look at funds that apply Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) filters to identify and compile stocks and bonds into funds based on these criteria. The best resource I could find for this is the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (www.ussif.org), where a comprehensive listing of funds using these ESG filters is available. I worked my way through all the funds currently listed, looking closely at the fund manager’s philosophy on ESG filters, the actual stock and bond holdings, risk profile, performance and finally the management fees. Some fund managers apply these ESG filters rigorously (i.e. absolutely no tobacco, or oil), and others are less absolute. Some fund managers for example do not exclude (filter) a company that derives less than 5% of its revenues from a specific sector. I chose to ignore these funds and focus on assembling a more “pure” portfolio. From the expansive list of ESG filtered funds I narrowed to a few dozen that met all my goals and represented enough variety from which I could compile a portfolio and mirror my current mix of asset classes.

The third path was the potential to create a fully custom portfolio through a financial service provider who specializes in stocks and bonds with very specific exclusions or requirements. This allows the investor to build a personalized portfolio that meets very specific filtering criteria. This method is basically assembling a portfolio based on picking individual stocks and bonds that meet whatever criteria the investor choses. My research found fewer financial advisors knowledgeable about SRI or Impact Investing, with higher management fees/commissions, so this was not the best choice for me.

Today my portfolio is primarily a mix of mutual funds that meet all ESG filtering criteria and do not allow any marginal participation in companies, sectors, products or services I find objectionable. My mix is roughly 65% stocks and 35% bonds with a small percentage in cash. These funds include large, mid and small cap equity funds, balanced funds (combination of stocks and bonds), blended funds (combination of value and growth stocks), and bond funds, altogether closely mirroring the asset class mix of my pre-divestment holdings.

As I write this in the spring of 2017, markets have trended upward after having bounced up and down. I am happy to report overall growth of 11.98% in my portfolio since complete re-alignment in mid-August of 2016, indicating SRI has the potential to meet similar expectations of a more traditional portfolio. I am even happier to say I am only invested now in funds with companies whose products, services, community involvement, and corporate behavior align with my values.

Helpful Links:

The basic portal used to identify SRI funds is the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment.

The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment: http://www.ussif.org

NOTE:

Click on the Mutual Funds tab and there’s a comprehensive list of funds in every asset class that claim SRI in one way or another. These change from time to time so it is wise to check in to see what’s new and if a fund has dropped off.

Select a specific fund and read through the SRI criteria and decide if it aligns with your values

Once I identified a fund I was interested in, I actually looked at the holdings the mutual fund has in it’s portfolio, along with some performance history and load (management fee)

To do this I called up the fund using one of the independent investment research sites like

http://www.morningstar.com

https://fundresearch.fidelity.com

https://www.bloomberg.com/markets/stocks

These are pay to play sites to go deep but the free portion gives a lot of key info about fund holdings, performance, and other details.

Sometimes I looked at the fund managers and scanned their LinkedIn or other public info to sense their politics.
Sometimes I went to a specific company website and looked at the resume of the key leaders there too.   Earth and hands photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Evolution of a Third Party Could Be Revolutionary!

ARE WE WATCHING THE BIRTH OF A THIRD PARTY? written August 2016

phoenix out of the ashes

Like the Phoenix rising out of the ashes, the state of unrest in this country reminds me of the election of 1968 when the Democratic Convention in Chicago erupted in violence between students and police over the Vietnam War. This was on the heels of the Civil Rights protests and the March on Washington. Many colleges shut down in solidarity of these student-organized rallies. The unrest and indecision now is creating a void in politics, as evidenced by Republican women supporting Hilary Clinton, Old Guard Republican leaders not supporting Trump, angry and understandably upset Bernie Sanders supporters exiting the Democratic Party and the media coverage of the outrageous behavior of all factions. Maybe a third party will arise with a younger -centric, broader platform run by more collaborative, inclusive leaders?

Factors Driving This Change:

  • Millennials- generally identify as Democrats because they became aware of politics through the Obama years. Because of their idealism they are probably independents.       Why are they idealistic? Their age (18- 34 in 2015 ) and their ability to access and digest lots of information quickly, which gives them the ability to fact-check and demand truth. Interesting, millenials now exceed their parents generation of Baby Boomers, born after WWll.
  • Women are now the majority of voters- They pay attention to children and families. The areas of concern then become- what type of world will we leave for our children and grandchildren? The political focus shifts to:
    • The Environment- what kind of world will we leave our children in terms of clean, air, water, healthy outdoor recreation etc. (Think- Jersey shore red tides with medical waste on the beaches, polluted water at the Olympics, drinking water in Flint Michigan, sewage outflow from Pt. Loma and Mexico in San Diego, brackish water in Keahou, water polluting from sewage and runoff at Kaloko Honokohau National Park).
    • War- They ask: “Why are we sending our sons and daughters to war?”
    • Food Issues like mass farming, pesticides and point of sale labeling of GMOs and how they affect health.
    • Healthcare- Why is it so complicated? A one-payer system may be easier to understand and navigate.
    • Equal Pay for equal work- shattering the Glass Ceiling for women and minorities.
    • Minimum wages become of paramount importance to single Moms so they don’t have to access social programs and they feel the satisfaction of being able to support their families.
    • Social Security- Older women rely on Social Security more than any demographic and want to retain their independence.
  • Economics:
    • Trickle down economics doesn’t work anymore! The old theory that supports the ideas to make business profitable and the business owners corporations will invest money and the economy will thrive, just doesn’t work. The 1% business owners have taken their money and invested in real estate and/ or taken their manufacturing to China, India and Asia. This does not keep the money circulating in the US but builds the Asian and Indian economies.
    • Antidotes
      • Need a Livable Wage to support our families and deliver a quality of life, which will increase payments to social security and stimulate the economy.
      • Equal pay for women and minorities.
      • Tax incentives to rebuild manufacturing in the US
      • Programs to retool factories and retrain workers.
    • I believe that the economy has not recovered to the degree that we hear. People realize that they never will be able to obtain the American Dream of home ownership, they are unable to afford an education, a new car etc. These people are angry, frustrated and probably support Trump.
    • Since Education is the key to change in personal economic growth:
      • Our Community Colleges should provide a nominal cost education to all who want it.  I say nominal costs, because if people pay something they are more committed in their decision.
      • Corporations that need workers for specific jobs could build trade schools.
    • Trade agreements like NAFTA have decimated economies in areas around the country (think Detroit); union workers have lost jobs because their jobs now go overseas. This weakened unions and wrecked local economies. Older workers find it hard to retrain. Younger workers frequently relocate because they may not be tied by families or own property.
    • The stock market is overheated. Different economists have different explanations. Investors are tentative about their investments.

Evidence that change is Occurring:

  • Rise of Populist Candidates- Trump and Sanders.   I agree with Kucinich who says that major players in parties are not seen as leaders, like Bush.
  • Exodus of voters from the Republican Party- Republican women for Hilary, Barbara Bush and Laura Bush’ support of Hilary, none of the 5 past presidents support Trump, numerous senators etc.
  • Schism in the Democratic Party over Primaries and with Bernie Sanders supporters.
  • The grabbing at simplistic “fixes”- like build the wall and keep out the terrorists, rapists and murderers when border cities and states do not want this.
  • Rise of the Green Party with the danger of bleeding off votes from the Democrats and potentially electing Trump. Think the election of 2000 -Nader vs. Bush vs. Al Gore, where Nader bled off votes from Democratic candidate Al Gore and the election was decided in Florida by Hanging Chads (where Jeb Bush was Governor) and by the conservative Supreme Court.

MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES:

  • Trickle Up Economics: Most women run the families budgets (and they are the majority of voters) A liveable wage gives the middle class more money to spend on their families, families will be happier and healthier, and the middle class will “vote” for the services and goods they want/ need with their dollars.  More money would be paid into Social Security on higher earnings and for sale tax because the middle class would have more expendable income.
  • Elect Hilary Clinton and more Democrats to get some good legislation passed: My reasons in this order of occurrence after she is elected:
    • Get a liberal Supreme Court Judge in office (there may be two appointments during the next 4 years- remember these judges stay in place for life).
    • Overturn the Supreme Court Ruling Citizens United to get corporate money out of the elections.
    • Try to create and institute a plan for Clean Elections to make elections fair and not about fundraising. This would make it possible for more people to run and focus the election on honest debate of the issues not fundraising.   Election seasons could be shortened so that incumbents can work in their elected positions.
    • Make sure that a Women’s right to choose and Marriage equality stay in place.
    • Gerrymandering aka re-districting has got to stop which occurs after each census to make sure that all districts are equal for political parties and demographically balanced.

A very big thank you for this most thought -inspiring interview with Published on Jul 28, 2016 where  Juan Williams (Fox News) and Dennis Kucinich discuss the rift in both parties and how a major third party will rise in the not-too-distant future

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVE9puaoJzY

Oribe Guitar

*Oribe guitar, case and book (1)

I recently  inherited a 1973 Classical  Oribe Concert B Guitar.  My friend was the only owner and had the guitar refurbished in 2004 by Oribe. We are asking $4,100.00

I had the incredible pleasure to be Jose Oribe in June of 2016 and hear his son  Juan, play the guitar and recorded Juan playing the guitar, which you can listen to below.

It was valued at $8,000 in 2004 for insurance purposes (see the attached letter).

Please contact me to see and play the guitar.  I am in San Diego but travel to Los Angeles frequently.

Debbie Hecht   hecht.deb@gmail.com

CLICK A VIDEO of Juan Oribe TO LISTEN (please remember I recorded this with my IPhone :

*guitar front (1)*Constructor panel for authenticity

*Oribe guitar, case and book (1)