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APRIL 2021 NEWSLETTER 
We Must Prevent Anti-Asian Hate and Violence
 
Aloha friends,

On March 17, with a 9mm gun he bought the day of the shooting, Robert Aaron Long killed eight people at three different massage parlors in Atlanta, Georgia. Their names were Delaina Yaun, Paul Michels, Daoyou Feng, Xiaojie Tan, Soon Park, Hyun Jung Kim, Suncha Kim, and Yong Yue. Six of them were of Asian descent.

I have been deeply hurt by this tragedy. Robert Long took children from parents, friends from friends, neighbors from neighbors. Unfortunately, he also punctuated the recent trend of violence directed toward the Asian community.

From March 2020 to the present, StopAAPIHate has documented nearly 4,000 incidents of anti-asian hate incidents, some of which have resulted in serious injury or death. 

In San Francisco, an 84-year-old Asian man was brutally attacked while out for a walk. He died from his injuries. 

In Manhattan, a 36-year-old man was stabbed multiple times in the back. He has spent weeks in the ICU fighting for his life. This man is a friend of a friend of mine.

In Hawaii, where we’re in the majority, it’s easy to forget how much anti-Asian racism exists across our nation. These incidents have shown us how prevalent it really is. 

Hate and violence against any group of people is unacceptable. As a Chinese-American, it pains me to see such a massive increase in hate crimes against the Asian-American community. Fortunately, with these efforts and others, we can prevent this trend from continuing. We just need to do it together.

At this point in the legislative season, we are hard at work alongside our House colleagues on several important pieces of legislation. Such legislation includes: 
  • SB2 SD2 HD1: Relating to Public Lands and the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation
  • SB32 SD1 HD1: Requires public utilities to consider the disruption to transportation as a criterion in planning ongoing and future maintenance and new installation.
  • SCR29:  Requests the Legislative Reference Bureau to conduct a study of the benefits and drawbacks of implementing term limits for members of the Legislature
  • SR175: Requesting the Auditor to Assess the Social and Financial Effects of Mandating Coverage of Annual Mental Health Screening.
As always, I hope that you and your ohana continue to stay safe and healthy. Please visit my website if you would like to contact me: www.senatorchang.com.

Very truly yours,

Diamond Head State Monument: Now Open Six Days a Week
 

With Diamond Head being one of Honolulu’s most beautiful sites, it undoubtedly attracts residents, tourists, hikers, and more. Unfortunately, The Diamond Head State Monument was closed for nine months in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it recently reopened in December, but with limited open days.

In accordance with public demand, as of March 8th, the Diamond Head State Monument is open six days a week: everyday except Wednesday. With these new changes, Hawaii residents with a State ID can park and enter the monument for free. Entrance fees are in effect for non-residents and commercial vehicles: $5 for walk-ins and $10 for non-commercial vehicles. The hours of operation will remain at 6:00 am – 4:00 pm and the gates will be closed at 6:00 pm.

Covid-19 safety protocols are still in place, which means masks must be worn at all times. It is asked that visitors maintain a six-foot distance from those around them at the tunnel on the summit trail. To assist visitors with this request, there are boot marks on the trail that indicate six-foot distances. Visitors are also asked to not linger after taking photographs and at the lookouts.

These newly added days of operation provide another opportunity for exercise, sightseeing, and sharing the aloha spirit.


COMING SOON: New Rent & Utilities Program



Repaving Hawaii Kai Shopping Center


The highly anticipated and long-awaited moment has arrived… Hawaii Kai Shopping Center has begun construction to repave its damaged parking lot! After two-years of delays and of residents of East Honolulu raising concerns, the 39-year-old shopping complex will fill its potholes, repair its crumbling pavement, and reinstall its burned-out lights. A recent interview with the new management of the shopping center explained the following:

  • The project is expected to be completed by the middle of May 2021.
  • The repaving project will consist of 7 phases, with each phase lasting roughly 3 business days.
  • During the construction period, shopping center goers are asked to drive safely and slowly to respect the coned-off areas.
  • Following the paving of the new area, the lighting upgrades and re-signage phase will complete all the renovations.
  • The chicken count at the shopping complex has been reduced form a high of 30 chickens to 5 chickens.
  • New tenants will soon be added to the shopping center, such as an AT&T Retail Outlet on May 1st.

A current Hawaii Kai resident of over twenty-years described the Hawaii Kai Shopping Center parking lot as a safety hazard. The resident noted that the unevenness of the road would frequently cause kupuna to trip. She was thrilled to know that the shopping center is in the process of being fully repaved and feels that this project will put forth a safer and happier shopping experience for all.

 

CIP Funding for Kalani High School
 

Located in East Honolulu, Kalani High School has been providing education to students for more than sixty-years. One of Kalani High School’s main buildings, their gymnasium, has been the center for sports events, rallies, meetings, activities, and more. However, the gymnasium’s bleachers have been in serious need of improvements.

Fortunately, in March, Governor Ige released $875,000 in Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) funding to finance the construction to replace the gym bleachers at Kalani High School.

Principal Mitchell Otani explained the necessities for these funds: “Our gym bleachers are termite eaten. DOE facilities are constantly changing the wooden planks, but if not changed, students could fall through the bleachers to the floor."

With public schools reopening soon and sports ramping up again, this CIP funding comes at a crucial time so that those in the community may harmoniously enjoy Kalani High School’s events in a safe environment.

DPR: Koko Crater Summit closing during project, tramway open to public on weekends & holidays
 
The City and County of Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) has announced that a modified project at the summit of the Koko Crater Summit is scheduled to commence on Monday, March 29, 2021. The project will “mitigate safety issues” and entail “helicopter work requiring the closure of the entire Koko Head District Park and the Koko Crater Tramway.”

According to the same report, “the use of a helicopter for this project is necessary for approximately three additional days, at which time the entire park, the tramway, and Koko Head Shooting Complex will be closed to the public. Those additional dates are tentatively set for 4/5, 4/13, and 4/14.” 

The summit will be closed for the “entirety of the three-week project.” While the tramway will be closed to all members of the public and Kokonut Koalition volunteers during weekdays, it will be opened on weekends and holidays to “both groups.”

Per DPR, the project at Koko Head includes:

  • Removal of debris from tunnels and shafts

  • Sealing the shafts, vents, and tunnels

  • Installing signs at the summit, steel platform, and tramway trestle to warn visitors of the conditions

The scope of this project was previously modified following a resolution between the City and the Kokonut Koalition, which calls for a delay in the removal of the summit’s platform “until a separate replacement project can be organized in the 12 to 18-month timeframe.” DPR stressed their appreciation for members of the public and volunteers from Kokonut Koalition during this project. 

Education Week School Awardee
 

Education Week is an annual period that celebrates public education and honors those working to ensure that every student receives quality instruction. Over the years, the chairs of the Hawaii State Education Committees would celebrate this week by inviting award honorees to the state Capitol to host education events and to be recognized in floor presentations. However, to adhere to Covid-19 guidelines, this year’s Education Week has been altered. The chairs of the Education committees plan to have a congratulatory joint certificate and small gift for each honoree. One of the award honorees comes from Senate District 9: Waikiki Elementary School.

Waikiki Elementary School received the 2020 National Blue-Ribbon School award for their academic excellence. The National Blue-Ribbon Schools Program— which is part of the U.S. Department of Education— has recognized outstanding schools across the nation since 1982. This is Waikiki Elementary School’s third time being recognized as a National Blue-Ribbon School, which solidifies its merit as a consistently top performing school. In fact, Waikiki Elementary School exceeded statewide averages in both English language arts and math by over twenty-one percentage points. The school is most notable for their integrated curriculum of art, science, and technology. 

"A lot of schools do textbooks,” one student stated. “We get to do things, like building solar powered trains, electric cars, and growing vegetables to feed the hungry."

The Thirty-First Legislature of Hawaii commends and congratulates Waikiki Elementary School for all their continued success. Senator Chang is especially proud of the school and all its accomplishments.

Elementary School to Replace Fire Alarm System
 

Kamilo`iki Elementary School, located in East Honolulu, has recently been in need of a new fire alarm system. Noticed by the Department of Education, a contract has been awarded to Allied Electric LLC in the amount of $445,100 to replace and upgrade the existing system throughout the school’s campus. The Department of Education was pleased to award this contract as installing an appropriate fire alarm system is vital for ensuring the safety of all individuals on the campus. A pre-construction conference will soon take place, where matters such as access to the project, scheduling, and the construction start date will be discussed. Senator Chang was thrilled to see Kamilo`iki Elementary School receive necessary fire safety infrastructure.

Webinars Now Uploaded to YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts!

Mahalo to those who participated in our webinars over these past Wednesdays.  The conversations we’ve had have illuminated many new aspects of our housing issues.  You can watch the videos on YouTube now.  You can also subscribe to our podcast on Spotify and Apple Podcasts . Please rate and review--it’s the best way to attract new listeners.

WATCH ON YOUTUBE
LISTEN ON SPOTIFY
LISTEN ON APPLE PODCASTS
 
Copyright © 2020 Office of Senator Stanley Chang, All rights reserved.


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