More of the view from Kahala

The view this morning dawn from the beach along the golf course at the Waialae Country Club.

On the beach in Kahala, Honolulu, Hawaii

The sun is now coming up just after 6:30 a.m., and is moving a bit later each morning.

In two months or so, the sun won’t make its appearance until about 7:07, and that will drift later throughout January, stalling out at 7:11 a.m. before beginning the annual trek back towards summer by the end of the month.

If you’re interested in the pattern of the sunrise and sunset, you can see the full 2016 cycle here.

These are annual cycles, and slowing down enough to enjoy them helps to control the tendency to be whipsawed by the passing events of the 24-hour news cycle.

In any case, you can click on the photo to enjoy a larger version.

What islands are we seeing from Waialae Beach Park?

When we lived in Kaaawa, there was a lively debate over a number of years over what islands you could see on clear mornings.

Now that we’ve moved to the other side of Oahu, the same question has come up.

On a recent morning, the clouds lifted and it was clear enough to see other islands to the east. The question is, what were we seeing?

If you click on the photo below, you’ll see a larger version. The islands out there are just shadows against the colorful sky at dawn.

Yes, I know. Not a good photo. But all I had that morning was my iPhone. So it’s the best I could do.

What islands do we see?

My guess is as follows. At the far left, the edge of Koko Head, with the sun rising just being it. Then the low end of Molokai. In the center, Maui. What I’m not sure about is the bump on the left side. Could that be the high end of Molokai superimposed over Maui? The West Maui Mountains? I’m not sure. Then there’s a bump further to the right. Lanai?

The angle of view is different enough from what we saw in Kaaawa to leave me confused once again.

Your suggestions?

Charter Commission misstates current law on removal of police chief

Honolulu attorney Jim Wright looked at the very first proposal put forward by the Honolulu Charter Commission in the booklet mailed to voters, and saw a problem.

A significant problem, in his view.

The charter amendment would increase the powers of the Police Commission. But, Wright says, it misstates the current law, which gives the commission authority to remove the police chief “for cause”.

Last week, he emailed the commission regardingCha his concern.

The brochure explaining the proposed Charter amendments says as to Question 1:

“Present Situation: The chief of police can only be removed for continuous maladministration after being given a reasonable period to correct the maladministration.”

However the current Charter does not say that. Section 6-1603(3) provides:

This subsection shall not be construed as:

(a) Making gross or continuous maladministration the only cause sufficient for removal of a chief; or

(b) Requiring the commission to give the notice and opportunity for cure specified under this subsection when removing a chief for a cause other than gross or continuous maladministration.

I recognize that voters could read the Charter and find out what the “Present Situation” really is but it is more likely that they will rely on what the Commission distributes. However, for those who do not read English, they may have to rely on the incorrect version assuming the Ilocano, Chinese and Japanese versions contain the same information.

Am I misreading the brochure and/or the current charter? It seems to me that it would a serious problem to misinform voters on such an important issue.

Later, Wright wondered: “How does the Commission get the highest profile one wrong?”

And that is a very good question.

Bike Mom provides insightful analysis of Honolulu charter amendments

If you’re still mulling over the proposed amendments to the Honolulu City Charter, I highly recommend an analysis of each issue by Natalie Iwasa. Her analysis is posted on the website of Hawaii Advocates for Consumer Rights.

Iwasa, who has been dubbed “Bike Mom” for her strong advocacy for cycling, provides clear “Yes” or “No” recommendations on each proposal, as well as a concise analysis and political context.

For those wanting to dig deeper, a post on Iwasa’s blog (“What Natalie Thinks”) provides what you need to track each proposed amendment back to the original numbered submissions to the Honolulu Charter Commission. The proposal numbers can then be used to track any issue through the minutes of commission discussions.

Her blog also presents an excellent discussion of Charter Amendment #4, which would merge rail, bus, and the HandiVan into a single agency under the city’s Department of Transportation Services. Iwasa cites a series of important but unanswered questions, and recommends a “No” vote.

In any case thanks to Natalie Iwasa for this high quality contribution to the public’s understanding of the proposed charter amendments.

Honolulu Charter Commission failed to educate the public on its many proposals

I don’t know how much the Honolulu Charter Commission paid to produce and mail its booklet describing the twenty 2016 Charter Amendments that are on the General Election ballot.

But as far as I’m concerned, the commission’s booklet is pretty much worthless. It fails to present pros and cons for its many proposals. Instead, it states the proposal, and then, in a display of redundancy, describes what the proposal will change.

Take, for example, Amendment 19, which would repeal the requirement that no more than five of the Reapportionment Commission’s members can be from the same political party.

What happens if it passes?

“Appointments to the City Council’s Reapportionment Commission would be made without limits based on party affiliation.”

But I don’t think there would have been a lot of confusion of what repealing the requirement would do. There is, however, likely a lot of uncertainty about who the winners and losers would be in such a proposal. Do voters want to see reapportionment decisions made by a commission stacked to significantly favor one major party over all others by controlling a super-majority of the votes? I doubt it.

And that’s the same with the other proposals. The commission should have provided clear statements of arguments for and against each proposal.

Luckily, the League of Women Voters of Honolulu did a great public service by preparing its own assessment of the pros and cons of the charter commission’s proposals.

Here’s the League’s explanation of that reapportionment commission issue.


• Though the election for charter commission is non-partisan, the appointees to the Commission may not be nonpartisan.

• If there is a majority of reapportionment Commissioners from a single party, it is possible to draw districts in such a way that opponents to the majority party are sequestered in just a few districts, leading to district maps that are skewed towards one party. In effect this may lower or even eliminate the competition for seats. This process is called “gerrymandering.” To ensure fair representation the number of Commissioners from a single party should be limited to five.


• It has been about 20 years since county elections became non-partisan.

• The current charter provision is a vestige of another age and should conform to this reality.

• During the last reapportionment, it was discovered that five of the proposed members were members of the same party, and one member, to serve on the commission, had to resign his party membership.

• The commission also had to verify, with the parties, whether its members were
members of a particular party. That information is confidential.

The Charter Commission failed the public by failing to offer up this kind of summary of each issue.

On the other hand, the League of Women Voters deserves the public’s thanks for providing such a useful resource.