North Shore Neighborhood Board considering tour limits

The following information just came in from North Shore activist Blake McElheney:

North Shore Residents Seek Commercial Tour Bus Ban at Special Meeting Tonight

North Shore residents have have watched with interest the success of Windward Oahu residents in protecting their quality of life and important public resources such as public parks.

For example, since February of this year, commercial tour bus activity has been prohibited at the most popular beach parks from Makapuu to Kailua.

The North Shore Neighborhood Board is hosting a special community meeting at Waimea Valley tonight, April 25, at 6:30 pm for the Board and residents to discuss the following Board Resolutions:

1. Requesting City Council member Martin and the City Council pursue measures to protect the community from the increasing utilization of public parks by commercial tour bus operators; and

Calling for the protection of rural Oahu in the General Plan.

Council members Ernie Martin and Ikaika Anderson (author of the Kailua and Waimanalo bans) will be in attendance to share their insights on how the community can approach these issues.

Proponents of the commercial tour bus ban are encouraging North Shore residents to contact the City Council to request that the City Council pass ordinances like those passed for Waimanalo and Kailua protecting public beaches from commercial tour buses.

The meeting is tonight, April 25, at 6:30 pm in the Pikake Pavilion at Waimea Valley.

Reso on federal constitutional convention needs to be killed

Thanks to Sophie Cocke for the update in today’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser on HCR 50, a resolution now pending in the State Senate that would put Hawaii on record favoring a “limited-purpose” federal constitutional convention to “restore free and fair elections.”

The idea of rolling back the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of Citizens United, which gave corporations the same rights as individuals to throw money behind candidates and issues in elections, is certainly appealing.

The problem, as pointed out in testimony offered by the state’s Attorney General, is that it is legally unclear whether a constitutional convention can be contained to a limited subject, as called for in this resolution.

“…[M]ost importantly, it is not known whether an Article V convention can be limited to one topic or must be a general convention, which could hypothetically propose amendments for any provision of the federal constitution, or propose a totally novel amendment unrelated to existing constitutional provisions.

I was stunned by a statement by Sen. Karl Rhoads, quoted in Cocke’s story.

“If we don’t do anything we take a risk; if we do something we take a risk,” Rhoads is quoted as saying. “But I’m looking for the downside risk, and I don’t know if I see it.”

Apparently Senator Rhoads hasn’t noticed all the downside risk we’re experiencing these days, with Congressional district gerrymandering, voter intimidation and suppression, a federal attorney general who doesn’t think its right for courts to hold presidential power in check, ethics laws ignored, and rights being eroded, not to mention that pesky Russian interference.

We have everything to lose, and that’s very real downside risk, whether Rhoads wants to admit it or not.

As Common Cause Hawaii noted in its testimony: “Simply put, a Constitutional Convention would create an unpredictable Pandora’s Box. There is far too much at stake to risk putting the entire Constitution up for a wholesale re-write as part of a Constitutional Convention.”

You can find recent testimony on this bill by going to its status page, and clicking on links to testimony on the right side of the page.

Update: The reso has been quietly recommitted to committee. This appears to mean that it is dead for this year, at least.

Another look at this week’s Civil Beat column

I finally went back and reread my column that ran in Civil Beat this week (“Union Says Suspensions Shouldn’t Stop Prison Guard Promotions“), along with the 15 comments that have been posted.

As is often the case, after several days it is suddenly clear to me what I should have said. In this case, how I should have wrapped up the column in an overall conclusion.

I now think the conclusion should have read something like this.

“On its face, it should be perfectly clear that the merit principle is consistent with the Department of Public Safety’s policy of eliminating candidates for promotion within Hawaii’s prison system whose employment history includes a recent suspension for violating standards of conduct, contrary to UPW’s position. It’s only the long and continuing history of poor management and inept personnel practices that makes the UPW’s attempt to excuse these disciplinary blemishes at all plausible.”

Has Amazon changed its delivery to Hawaii?

I got this inquiry from a friend yesterday asking whether I’ve noticed a change in Amazon.

If there has been a change, I wonder if this due to the new collection of general excise tax?

I just wanted to check in and ask if you’ve used Amazon in the last week or two.

I’ve tried to order recently and only 1 of 11 items was shown as being deliverable to Hawaii at numerous addresses – including items I’ve purchased before.

I talked to Amazon a couple times (yes a phone call is possible) over the last week and finally got the answer that since their shipping infrastructure has changed many products which now ship direct from 3rd party sellers will not ship to Hawaii (or Alaska) due to those companies’ own policies.

Alibaba is known for this shipping system where they don’t warehouse nearly as much as Amazon has historically, incidentally.

Curious what your experience is in this, if any.

Anyone have personal experience to add?