Anita Hofschneider – Honolulu Civil Beat https://www.civilbeat.org Honolulu Civil Beat - Investigative Reporting Wed, 24 Apr 2019 00:37:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.3 Where Hawaii Renters Spend Half Their Incomes On Housing https://www.civilbeat.org/2019/04/where-hawaii-renters-spend-half-their-incomes-on-housing/ Mon, 15 Apr 2019 10:01:44 +0000 https://www.civilbeat.org/?p=1327622 If you live in Hawaii and don’t own a home, chances are you spend a huge percentage of your income on rent. How huge? Most renters in Hawaii spend 30% or more of their incomes on housing. But it’s a much bigger cut of their paycheck in many communities. Hawaii renters spend, on average, at […]

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If you live in Hawaii and don’t own a home, chances are you spend a huge percentage of your income on rent.

How huge?

Most renters in Hawaii spend 30% or more of their incomes on housing.

But it’s a much bigger cut of their paycheck in many communities. Hawaii renters spend, on average, at least half of their incomes on housing in nearly 10% of the state’s census block groups.

On Oahu, that includes parts of the North Shore, Waianae and Kalihi. The list also includes pricey neighborhoods like Aina Haina, where residents tend to have relatively high incomes but available rentals can be very expensive.

In just under half of the state’s census blocks, renters on average spend 30% to 49% of their income paying the landlord.

Renters are considered cost-burdened if they spend 30 to 49% of their incomes on rent, and severely cost-burdened if they spend at least 50% of their incomes on rent. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development considers affordable rent to be less than 30% of median household income — on Oahu, that was $88,000 for a family of four in 2017.

To check out how your neighborhood stacks up, search for your address below:

To see the legend for the map, click the arrow in the top left. Zeros indicate that the data is suppressed to protect confidentiality because there are too few renters in the area. 

Andrew Aurand, vice president of research at the National Low Income Housing Coalition, says that Hawaii is similar to the rest of the nation in having a significant shortage of affordable units for very low-income renters.

“What’s different about Hawaii is that as you move up the income ladder there’s still a significant shortage of rental housing,” he says. “Most housing markets have a supply of rental housing to serve those renters.”

Oahu

In one block group on Oahu’s North Shore between Haleiwa and Waimea Bay, residents have a median income of $94,286. But those who rent, on average, still spend half their incomes on housing.

One factor affecting the housing market is the presence of so many vacation rentals. More than one in every four homes on Oahu’s North Shore is taken out of the housing stock and being used as a tourist rental, according to a study by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Even residents in pricey East Honolulu are burdened by high rents. In parts of Hawaii Kai, where the median household income is $102,228, renters still struggle and, on average, report spending at least 50% of their income on a rental.

Aurand says the fact that higher income families pay so much of their salaries in rent makes Honolulu similar to cities like Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Often rents and incomes fluctuate within neighborhoods. In urban Honolulu, high-income and low-income residents can be found within just a few blocks.

One stretch of Halekauwila Street in Kakaako that’s home to low-income rentals and senior housing has a median household income of $22,194 and a median rent of $902. Renters there spend an average 47% of their incomes on housing.

Just a block away, the median household income is $91,560 and the median rent is $2,702. Those who don’t own homes spend 33% of their incomes to rent units, perhaps in the new luxury towers that have sprung up in the area.

Like most other parts of the U.S., Hawaii still struggles with providing enough affordable housing to people at the lower end of the income spectrum.

In parts of Waianae, the median rent is $1,045 but the median income is $25,665. Even though rent is much cheaper than many other parts of the state, the median rental cost of $1,045 and still takes up half of renters’ household incomes.

Aurand says that for low-income families, spending more than half your income on housing means you have less to spend on other necessities like food, transportation and medical care. That can have generational impacts.

“Poor children perform better on cognitive tests if they’re living in affordable homes than children who are living in cost-burdened homes,” he says.

Neighbor Islands

The same challenge exists in west Molokai where the median income is $27,639. The median rent is just $753 but renters still use 43% of their incomes to cover housing.

Hawaii’s neighbor islands reflect the state’s affordability challenges across income ranges.

In west Maui, the household median income is $106,250.  But with average median rents of $2,447, those who rent spend 44% of their income on $2,447 median rents.

Along the southern shore of Hawaii Island, households earn a median income $48,191.  Median rents, meanwhile, are $1,496.

On the north shore of Kauai, the median household income is more than $100,000.  But renters spend an average of more than 40% of their incomes on housing.

How We Did It

Civil Beat used census estimates from the 2013-17 American Community Survey, obtained via the National Historical Geographic Information System, to create an interactive map showing median gross rent as a percentage of household income by census block group, which includes about 600 to 3,000 people.

The map shows the block groups where renters spend a bigger percentage of their incomes on rent, as well as the median gross rent in the area and the median household income for all residents in the area as of 2017.

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Waters Defeats Ozawa In Honolulu City Council Rematch https://www.civilbeat.org/2019/04/waters-defeats-ozawa-in-honolulu-city-council-rematch/ Sun, 14 Apr 2019 06:57:47 +0000 https://www.civilbeat.org/?p=1327910 The marathon campaign to represent East Honolulu on the City Council ended Saturday night with Tommy Waters defeating Trevor Ozawa by 51.4% to 48.5% in a special election conducted mostly by mail. Waters got 17,491 votes to Ozawa’s 16,487. The longtime political rivals went into overtime to settle the matter after the Hawaii Supreme Court invalidated […]

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The marathon campaign to represent East Honolulu on the City Council ended Saturday night with Tommy Waters defeating Trevor Ozawa by 51.4% to 48.5% in a special election conducted mostly by mail.

Waters got 17,491 votes to Ozawa’s 16,487.

The longtime political rivals went into overtime to settle the matter after the Hawaii Supreme Court invalidated the November election results, which showed Ozawa winning by just 22 votes. The court ruled that some late ballots had been improperly counted, and the city enlisted two state election observers Saturday to ensure that wouldn’t happen again.

Waters’ victory is expected to prompt the City Council to shuffle its leadership. Ozawa has 20 days to contest the results, council members say.

Waters took in the results with about 100 supporters at The Brilliant Ox restaurant at Ala Moana Center, where the crowd erupted in cheers and chants of “Tommy, Tommy” as the results were announced. Ozawa was ensconced in a more private setting with supporters at Roy’s Hawaii Kai.

“It’s been a really, really humbling experience,” Waters said as the celebration continued. “I’m happy it’s over. It’s been a long time.”

Tommy Waters hugs his son Kai Waters and daughter Emma Waters when results were announced.

Tommy Waters hugs his son, Kai, and daughter, Emma, after the results were announced.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Waters said he’s looking forward to tackling the problem of homelessness, Hawaii’s cost of living and trying to fix problems with rail.

Ozawa was originally elected to represent Council District 4, which stretches from Hawaii Kai to Kewalo Basin, in 2014, when he beat Waters by 41 votes.

Since January, District 4 has been served by interim council member Mike Formby, who will retain the position until the results are certified.

Balance Of Power

The Supreme Court decision blocked Ozawa from not only getting sworn in, but also from becoming the City Council chairman.

In January, Ozawa was on the cusp of replacing Ernie Martin, his political ally who left office in December, as head of the council. Ozawa’s leadership was supported by fellow council members Carol Fukunaga, Ann Kobayashi and Kymberly Pine.

Instead, Kobayashi became the interim chair and presiding officer.

City Council candidate Trevor Ozawa waves with right Ann Kobayashi at Beretania Punchbowl street.

Trevor Ozawa was joined by his political ally, Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi, for last-minute sign-waving Saturday morning at Beretania and Punchbowl streets. Just a few feet away, Tommy Waters was sign-waving as well.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Political observers suspect the Waters victory will shift the balance of power toward supporters of Mayor Kirk Caldwell. Waters was backed by Caldwell and council members Ikaika Anderson and Joey Manahan, both of whom were at Water’s party Saturday night along with Councilman Ron Menor.

The nine-member Council also includes Heidi Tsuneyoshi, who previously worked for Martin; Brandon Elefante, a longtime Caldwell supporter; and Menor, who has also often been allied with the mayor on issues like affordable housing policy.

Ozawa clashed repeatedly with Caldwell while in office on topics such as the funding of Honolulu’s massive rail project.

City Council Candidate Tommy Waters with council members Ikaika Anderson, Ron Menor, and Joey Manahan. Brillaint Ox.

Tommy Waters, right, with council members, from left, Joey Manahan, Ikaika Anderson and Ron Menor at The Brilliant Ox restaurant awaiting special election results. With them is Paulyne Anakalea, Anderson’s executive secretary.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

As he celebrated his victory, Waters was asked how he’ll work with other council members and the mayor: “We can agree to disagree, but we don’t have to be disagreeable,” he said.

Manahan said he was glad Waters won and happy the Supreme Court gave him a second shot at the council seat. He said Waters could help foster better discussions on some of the issues the council is facing.

A Bitter Election

The special election campaign between Ozawa and Waters got ugly as both candidates accused each other of lying to voters.

Ozawa’s campaign included misleading mailers and questionable advertisements, while Waters’ got most of the deep-pocketed contributors. Waters reported raising $289,168 from January to March — $97,000 more than Ozawa. Unions backing Waters reported raising another $170,000 during the same period.

Ozawa alleged three of the Supreme Court justices who invalidated the November result were biased in favor of Waters due to his former role on the judicial selection committee.

But Ozawa struck a conciliatory tone Saturday night, saying, “I want to congratulate Tommy on his win, and I want him to make sure he continues representing the community and delivers on his promises.”

Ozawa thanked his supporters and his family and said he still wants to work for his community, but didn’t say in what capacity.

For now, he said, “It’s all about family and friends and getting back to life (as it was) before the election.”

Waters and Ozawa have been linked by ultra-close election results for so long that it seemed appropriate that they ended up almost next to each other Saturday morning as they waved at passing motorists for hours at Beretania and Punchbowl streets.

“It doesn’t feel real,” Waters said of the campaign’s conclusion. “If I wake up tomorrow and I still won, maybe it will feel real.”

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Hawaii Loses Leading Civil Rights Advocate Joakim ‘Jojo’ Peter https://www.civilbeat.org/2019/04/hawaii-loses-leading-civil-rights-advocate-joakim-jojo-peter/ Fri, 12 Apr 2019 10:01:56 +0000 https://www.civilbeat.org/?p=1327415 Joakim “Jojo” Peter grew up on an island that was home to about 500 people and had no electricity, spending his childhood fishing with his grandfather and listening to stories about his family history. Years later, Peter became an author and a champion for social justice in Honolulu whose influence spanned the Pacific Ocean. Peter […]

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Joakim “Jojo” Peter grew up on an island that was home to about 500 people and had no electricity, spending his childhood fishing with his grandfather and listening to stories about his family history.

Years later, Peter became an author and a champion for social justice in Honolulu whose influence spanned the Pacific Ocean.

Peter died Monday in Honolulu. He was 54.

Peter dedicated his life to advocating for the rights of immigrants and people with disabilities. He was an educator, scholar and community organizer known for his hard work and humility.

In Hawaii, he fought negative stereotypes about Micronesians and advocated for equal access to health care.

We Are Oceania Jojo Peter speaks during festival held at the East West Center.

Joakim “Jojo” Peter from Chuuk encouraged students at the 2018 Micronesian Youth Summit to have pride in themselves and in their culture.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

He was also a former radio disc jockey with a great sense of humor who loved coffee and Zippy’s.

“Leave a message, or sing a song,” his voicemail greeting said.

Peter grew up on Etal, one of the Mortlock Islands in Chuuk State in the Federated States of Micronesia. He was known to fondly call the Mortlocks “the center of the universe.”

He attended Xavier High School, a Jesuit school in Weno, Chuuk. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Guam, two master’s degrees in history and Pacific Island studies and a doctorate from the University of Hawaii in special education. Along the way, he inspired a generation of Pacific Island scholars and spent 15 years working at the College of Micronesia.

Peter co-founded numerous organizations to help the Micronesian community in Hawaii and beyond, including the one-stop center We Are Oceania; COFA-CAN, a local advocacy group; and COFA-CLAN, a national advocacy group. Most recently he worked at the educational nonprofit Pacific Resources for Education and Learning helping Micronesian families understand their rights.

Citizens of Palau, the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia come to Hawaii through an agreement known as the Compact of Free Association, or COFA, which allows them to live and work freely in the U.S. and gives the U.S. military control over the Pacific nations’ airspace, land and surrounding waters.

But despite being long-term legal residents, COFA migrants lack access to many safety net programs including Medicaid, food stamps and federal disaster assistance.

With his appointment to the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, Peter became the first citizen of a COFA nation to serve on any Hawaii state board or commission.

Jojo Peter helped others from Micronesia enroll in health insurance in 2015 in Kalihi.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Peter’s nomination by Gov. David Ige prompted the Legislature to amend the law that by omission barred COFA citizens from serving on boards or commissions.

“Jojo Peter was a valuable member of the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, and he will be missed,” Ige said through a spokeswoman Wednesday.

The governor plans to appoint another person to take Peter’s place on the commission, but many say his death creates a void that won’t be easily filled.

Josie Howard, who co-founded We Are Oceania with Peter, feels lost in his absence. She likened the emotion to canoes in Micronesia that have two posts and “without one of them, the canoe is not operable.”

“He has been the voice for Micronesians out here in Hawaii,” she said.

Larry Reigetal, a master navigator from Lamotrek, Yap who lives on Guam, says that now that Peter has passed into the realm of their ancestors, their shared cultural traditions dictate his name shouldn’t be spoken, let alone shared with the outside world.

But he thinks if he asked Peter about that, he would say, “‘Heck, man, do it!'”

Reigetal was one of Peter’s high school classmates and says speaking about Peter honors him by furthering his lifelong battle for social justice.

“He now becomes one more guiding star with our ancestors to sail by,” Reigetal said. “We will carry on their legacies of making a difference.”

Inspiring A Generation

Mary Hattori remembers the day when she nearly quit pursuing her doctoral degree. She walked out of a classroom and ran into Peter, who persuaded her not to give up.

“We need more Pacific Islanders, more Micronesians with advanced degrees,” she remembers him saying.

Hattori went on to become a professor at Chaminade University. She worked with Peter to give talks at local high schools to inspire Micronesians and collaborated with him on the annual Micronesian Festival. He was supposed to emcee the May 11 festival at Bishop Museum.

Celebrate Micronesia at the Honolulu Museum of Art School. 28 march 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Peter was an emcee at past Micronesian festivals, and was scheduled to do it again this year.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Hattori says Peter was driven to help those less fortunate than him.

Peter’s doctoral dissertation recounted the struggles of Chuukese families who sought health care in Hawaii for their disabled children.

Hattori says she is among a generation of scholars inspired by Peter.

James Viernes from the University of Hawaii’s Center for Pacific Island Studies is another. He says Peter had an ability to bridge cultural differences and garner respect both in Micronesia and in the U.S.

“Jojo was always thinking about his family, he was always thinking about his islands, he was always thinking about his region,” Viernes said. “The community and the region at large is in a massive state of mourning.”

Widespread Impact

Peter’s death has resonated on the mainland as well. Joe Enlet, the consulate general for the Federated States of Micronesia in Portland, says he and organizers in Hawaii, Oregon, Texas, California, Arizona and Arkansas almost cancelled their COFA-CLAN meeting this week but decided the best way to honor Peter would be to continue.

“It’s just so difficult to put into words the depth of his influence on people who are advocating and people who care about Micronesia and the Pacific Islands as a whole,” Enlet said.

He said Peter taught him to “think about the issues for Micronesians beyond the political arrangement that we have with the U.S. but to look at it as a human issue and what it means to the fabric of humanity.”

Peter spent his last weekend speaking at Civil Beat’s #BeingMicronesian event at the Honolulu Biennial, where he discussed militarism and colonialism in the Pacific.

“We are part of the community,” he told the audience. Despite efforts to isolate Micronesians or define them separately legislatively, “We are part of the community, so we do as much as we can to contribute.”

James Skouge, who co-wrote Peter’s autobiography, “Coconut Ratz & Kung Fu Cowboys: Tales of a Pacific Islander’s Childhood,” says Peter’s overarching philosophy was, “We are only strong in community.”

He would take TheBus from his home in the Mayor Wright public housing complex to homeless shelters to help Micronesians ineligible for Medicaid sign up for health insurance. Sometimes that meant waiting until there was an accessible seat available on the bus.

“He wasn’t ready to leave this world,” Skouge said. “He had lots of unfinished goals and dreams.”

According to Peter’s friends, those dreams included writing a book about Micronesian history told from the perspective of Micronesians; establishing a Micronesian charter school in Hawaii; going fishing on the reef in the Mortlock Islands; and spending one more night sleeping on the sand in Etal under the stars.

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OHA Presses For A Bigger Share Of Money From Hawaii’s Trust Lands https://www.civilbeat.org/2019/04/oha-presses-for-a-bigger-share-of-money-from-hawaiis-trust-lands/ Thu, 11 Apr 2019 10:01:32 +0000 https://www.civilbeat.org/?p=1327278 At the beginning of the 2019 Legislature, there seemed to be wide support for providing the Office of Hawaiian Affairs more money — as much as $20 million more — from the former crown lands. But with just weeks left in the session, the House and Senate disagree on how much more money OHA should […]

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At the beginning of the 2019 Legislature, there seemed to be wide support for providing the Office of Hawaiian Affairs more money — as much as $20 million more — from the former crown lands.

But with just weeks left in the session, the House and Senate disagree on how much more money OHA should get — if any.

House Bill 402 resurrects a longstanding debate over ceded lands, crown lands that the U.S. took after the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom. The state now controls the land and uses the revenue to pay for hospitals, schools and environmental initiatives.

Hawaii amended its constitution in 1978 to establish OHA and direct that 20 percent of the ceded land revenues should go to the betterment of Native Hawaiians. But there’s disagreement over what constitutes 20% and right now, OHA’s annual revenue is capped at around $15 million.

Rep. Daniel Holt introduced HB 402 to raise OHA’s annual share of revenues to $35 million and give OHA about $140 million in back pay.

Rep. Daniel Holt, sponsor of the bill to lift the current cap on the amount of money OHA can draw from ceded land revenues, said, “I think we can all agree that $15 million is way too low.”

Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat

The House passed the proposal without any specific dollar amounts. Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz’s Ways and Means Committee amended the bill Friday to remove any appropriations and instead create a negotiating committee.

Holt says he’s hopeful lawmakers can come to an agreement in conference committee, the period of negotiations at the conclusion of each session.

“I think we can all agree that $15 million is way too low,” he said. “We spend this kind of money on a lot of other things that are not as important as taking care of the people of Hawaii.”

OHA has been trying for years to increase its share of public land trust revenue. The agency’s public policy manager, Jocelyn Doane, says the amount hasn’t been adjusted for more than a decade.

“These lands are the lands of our people that they continue to have claims to,” Doane says. “The state should follow up on its commitment both constitutionally and statutorily to Native Hawaiians by ensuring that they are getting a fair share of their revenue from these lands.”

State agencies transfer 20% of their revenue from ceded lands to OHA. But Doane says that the $15 million annual cap means there is $20 million sitting unused in a fund.

But more revenue for OHA may mean less revenue for state agencies. Hawaii’s state hospital system, the University of Hawaii and the Department of Land and Natural Resources all raised concerns about the proposal in public testimony.

OHA Office of Hawaiian Affairs office. 6 sept 2016

Lawmakers are debating how much additional revenue the Office of Hawaiian Affairs should get from ceded land payments.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

There’s also the question of how to calculate how much money OHA should get. Holt says there’s a debate over whether OHA should receive 20% of gross or net revenues. On the flip side, many Hawaiians don’t agree that 20%  is enough.

“I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but it can be done. That’s what we are here to do,” Holt says.

The latest version of the bill amended by Dela Cruz calls for the creation of a negotiating committee to determine how much more money OHA should receive. The Society for Professional Journalists raised concerns about whether the committee would be subject to the open government provisions of the Sunshine Law.

Dela Cruz’s draft also calls for an audit of all state programs that service Hawaiians.

Dela Cruz wasn’t available for comment but said before Friday’s hearing that he wanted a more consistent process for how state agencies inventory ceded land.

Fiscal Responsibility

Another reason HB 402 isn’t sailing through the Legislature is a concern about how OHA spends its money.

Last year, a state audit criticized OHA’s spending, particularly decisions by OHA trustees and its CEO, Kamana’opono Crabbe. Two of the agency’s trustees were slapped with hefty ethics fines and the state attorney general and FBI both reportedly launched investigations.

Holt says he’s heard concerns about OHA’s spending from everybody, including his colleagues, but believes that’s a separate conversation from the state’s obligation to increase public trust land revenue.

Doane agrees.

“The reason why OHA was created was that the public thought Hawaiians can better decide for themselves how to spend their money and improve conditions for Native Hawaiians,” she said. “You could second-guess any policymakers’ decision on how to allocate resources to fix an issue.”

She said the funding cap limits what OHA can accomplish for the Hawaiian community. OHA funds a variety of programs ranging from fishpond restoration to Hawaiian immersion schools. The agency only gave out 10 grants in a recent funding cycle despite receiving more than 80 applications.

Lilikalā Kameʻeleihiwa, a professor at the University of Hawaii, says that OHA funding enabled the university to create a master’s program for Hawaiian Studies.

OHA could do very great things if they had more money,” she said. 

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Over 30,000 Have Voted In Special Election For City Council https://www.civilbeat.org/2019/04/nearly-30000-have-voted-in-special-election-for-city-council/ Wed, 10 Apr 2019 10:01:49 +0000 https://www.civilbeat.org/?p=1327311 Over 30,000 people had voted as of Tuesday in the special City Council District 4 election between Trevor Ozawa and Tommy Waters to represent East Honolulu. That’s more ballots cast than for any other special election in the county’s history, said city elections spokesman Rex Quidilla. It’s also approaching the 36,694 voters who cast ballots […]

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Over 30,000 people had voted as of Tuesday in the special City Council District 4 election between Trevor Ozawa and Tommy Waters to represent East Honolulu.

That’s more ballots cast than for any other special election in the county’s history, said city elections spokesman Rex Quidilla.

It’s also approaching the 36,694 voters who cast ballots for Ozawa and Waters in last November’s election.

Honolulu’s elections office mailed about 63,000 ballots to voters in City Council District 4.

Anita Hofschneider/Civil Beat

Ozawa outpolled Waters by 22 votes, but the Hawaii Supreme Court invalidated the election, ruling that election officials counted mail ballots that arrived too late.

City election officials plan to avoid that problem by picking up the last batch of mail ballots from the post office at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Quidilla says that the elections office will enlist two state election officials to confirm that the pickup occurs before 6 p.m.

Mail-in ballots were sent to 63,000 voters. As of Tuesday evening, Honolulu’s elections office had received 29,785 completed ballots.

Honolulu Hale is the only designated walk-in polling place and just 301 people had voted in person as of Tuesday. It will be open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Final results are expected by about 10 p.m. Saturday, Quidilla said.

The race between Ozawa and Waters is for the City Council seat representing an area stretching from Hawaii Kai to Kewalo Basin. Ozawa beat Waters by 41 votes in 2014 and served as a councilman for four years.

The race is nonpartisan but has gotten ugly with both candidates accusing the other of misleading voters.

Waters has raised far more money than Ozawa this year and is backed by AiKea, the political arm of Unite Here Local 5, a union representing service workers. AiKea raised $170,000 in support of Waters, according to the latest available campaign data.

Civil Beat has published Q&A’s for both candidates. Read Ozawa’s by clicking here, and Waters’ by clicking here.

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Survey: 1 in 4 Micronesians Say They Face Prejudice At Work https://www.civilbeat.org/2019/04/survey-1-in-4-micronesians-say-they-face-prejudice-at-work/ Fri, 05 Apr 2019 10:01:54 +0000 https://www.civilbeat.org/?p=1326411 Ivynn Perman from Pohnpei in Micronesia was working at Hawaiian Telcom in downtown Honolulu when he overheard his colleague refer to Micronesians as “cockroaches.” Mary Anton had just started working for a business inside the Waikiki Aquarium when a co-worker told her, “I hate Micronesians.” Anton had just introduced herself as being from Kosrae in […]

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Ivynn Perman from Pohnpei in Micronesia was working at Hawaiian Telcom in downtown Honolulu when he overheard his colleague refer to Micronesians as “cockroaches.”

Mary Anton had just started working for a business inside the Waikiki Aquarium when a co-worker told her, “I hate Micronesians.” Anton had just introduced herself as being from Kosrae in Micronesia.

Clarification: An earlier version of this report said Anton worked at the aquarium, but she is not an aquarium employee.

A new study suggests their experiences are not unique. A University of Hawaii survey found more than 24 percent of people who self-identify as Micronesian report being treated poorly by coworkers or bosses because of their ethnicity.

More than 9 percent said they had been mistreated at work — such as missing out on promotions — because they were Micronesian. Just under 9 percent reported they had been denied a job because of their ethnicity.

The survey included more than 500 people who self-identified as Micronesian and included questions about access to health care, social services, restaurants, housing and other public accommodations.

The survey was conducted from 2017 to 2018 through a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. Most of the participants were from Pohnpei, Chuuk and the Marshall Islands.

Join The Discussion

The study’s lead author is Rebecca Stotzer, a professor at the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work at the University of Hawaii Manoa. Stotzer says there have been other qualitative studies about discrimination against Micronesians in Hawaii but this is the “very first study that has the ability to estimate the frequency of the issue in our community.”

“While some people from the Micronesian region have been willing to share their stories individually, this study really helps us to see how common these acts of bias really are,” she said, adding she was surprised at the findings.

“One in four, that’s 25%, overall, was shocking to me because of our pride in being an Aloha State, and being a welcoming state.”

Not Many Formal Complaints

Bill Hoshijo, the executive director of the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, says it’s unusual to receive formal complaints from Hawaii’s Micronesian community.

The commission has only received three complaints over the past two years related to discrimination against Micronesians’ race or ancestry. He said the commission wants to increase its outreach to that community.

Stotzer says it makes sense Micronesians may not report the prejudice they face. She thinks her study may be conservative because many people may not want to talk about discrimination or be aware of their rights.

In order to file a civil rights complaint, “You have to know this is wrong, you have to feel comfortable reporting to people, you have to be willing to put yourself out there in that way,” she said.

“I also think there’s a strong cultural emphasis on trying to succeed in this new home and admitting that people are targeting you based on an identity raises an issue or a problem that doesn’t necessarily meet that desire to show the success of your community in acculturating to Hawaii,” she said.

She hopes her study inspires community dialogue. She added that attitudes toward Micronesians echoes discrimination toward Samoans and Filipinos in the past.

Click here to read Civil Beat’s previous reporting on social media posts disparaging Micronesians and watch the video below:

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Waters Leads Ozawa In Money Raised And Spent In City Council Race https://www.civilbeat.org/2019/04/waters-leads-ozawa-in-money-raised-and-spent-in-city-council-race/ Thu, 04 Apr 2019 20:17:37 +0000 https://www.civilbeat.org/?p=1326452 Tommy Waters has raised about $97,000 more in campaign contributions than Trevor Ozawa this year in the special election for Honolulu City Council District 4, which stretches from Hawaii Kai to Waikiki. Waters reported raising $289,168 from Jan. 1 to March 29 after starting the special election period with just $285. He still has $43,487 on […]

The post Waters Leads Ozawa In Money Raised And Spent In City Council Race appeared first on Honolulu Civil Beat.

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Tommy Waters has raised about $97,000 more in campaign contributions than Trevor Ozawa this year in the special election for Honolulu City Council District 4, which stretches from Hawaii Kai to Waikiki.

Waters reported raising $289,168 from Jan. 1 to March 29 after starting the special election period with just $285. He still has $43,487 on hand after spending about $230,000 this year, according to the latest state Campaign Spending Commission figures.

Waters has also benefitted from supportive unions. AiKea Unite Here, the political arm of the service workers’ union Unite Here Local 5, raised $170,000 over the last three months.

Candidate for Honolulu City Council District 4

Trevor Ozawa
Party Nonpartisan
Occupation Attorney
Residence Hawaii Kai

Website

Community organizations/prior offices held

Honolulu City Council District 4.

Ozawa has slightly more cash on hand with $44,226. He started the election period with about $28,000 and raised just over $192,000 while spending about $176,000.

As the incumbent, Ozawa outspent Waters last fall and outpolled him by 22 votes, but the Hawaii Supreme Court invalidated the results, ruling some late-arriving ballots should not have been counted. The special election is April 13, but voting has already begun at Honolulu Hale.

Former city transportation services director Mike Formby is representing District 4 on the City Council until the election is decided.

Waters’ biggest contributors were several unions, including those representing ironworkers, painters and carpenters. He also received $4,000 each from Friends of Joey Manahan and Friends of Ikaika Anderson, both current City Council members.

Candidate for Honolulu City Council District 4

Tommy Waters
Party Nonpartisan
Occupation Attorney
Residence Kahala Towers

Website

Community organizations/prior offices held

State House of Representatives, 2002 - 2008.

Other well-known contributors to Waters included Honolulu Police Commissioner Loretta Sheehan, attorney Paul Alston and Tetris millionaire Henk Rodgers.

AiKea Unite Here spent more than $100,000 to support Waters over the last three months, including  $60,000 on TV and social media advertising. The organization received $50,000 from the Ironworkers for Better Government and $20,000 from the Local 1 Political Action Committee.

Ozawa also received big donations from unions, including those representing Honolulu police officers and longshore and warehouse workers.

He got $12,000 from executives at Roberts Hawaii, a tour bus company. He also received thousands from executives at Kobayashi Group, Avalon Group, R.M. Towill Corporation, Mistunaga & Associates and other development and construction industry firms.

Ozawa said the list of Waters’ campaign donors suggests he will be a rubber stamp to Mayor Kirk Caldwell, a message he’s repeated throughout this campaign.

Some of Waters’ donors this year include Caldwell appointees and employees, such as his deputy managing director Georgette Deemer and human resources director Carolee Kubo.

In response to Ozawa’s criticism of donations from Caldwell supporters, Waters noted Ozawa’s donors included developers and lobbyists.

Waters said the City Council needs “respectful” leadership, a campaign message he has repeated on multiple fliers.

Tensions between the two candidates have run high throughout the campaign. Ozawa previously beat Waters by just 41 votes in 2014.

Civil Beat has published Q&A’s for both candidates. Read Ozawa’s by clicking here, and Waters’ by clicking here.

The post Waters Leads Ozawa In Money Raised And Spent In City Council Race appeared first on Honolulu Civil Beat.

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VIDEO: Micronesians Respond To Racist Tweets https://www.civilbeat.org/2019/04/video-micronesians-respond-to-racist-tweets/ Thu, 04 Apr 2019 10:01:47 +0000 https://www.civilbeat.org/?p=1326303 Tommy Waters has raised about $97,000 more in campaign contributions than Trevor Ozawa this year in the special election for Honolulu City Council District 4, which stretches from Hawaii Kai to Waikiki. Waters reported raising $289,168 from Jan. 1 to March 29 after starting the special election period with just $285. He still has $43,487 on […]

The post VIDEO: Micronesians Respond To Racist Tweets appeared first on Honolulu Civil Beat.

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Tommy Waters has raised about $97,000 more in campaign contributions than Trevor Ozawa this year in the special election for Honolulu City Council District 4, which stretches from Hawaii Kai to Waikiki.

Waters reported raising $289,168 from Jan. 1 to March 29 after starting the special election period with just $285. He still has $43,487 on hand after spending about $230,000 this year, according to the latest state Campaign Spending Commission figures.

Waters has also benefitted from supportive unions. AiKea Unite Here, the political arm of the service workers’ union Unite Here Local 5, raised $170,000 over the last three months.

Candidate for Honolulu City Council District 4

Trevor Ozawa
Party Nonpartisan
Occupation Attorney
Residence Hawaii Kai

Website

Community organizations/prior offices held

Honolulu City Council District 4.

Ozawa has slightly more cash on hand with $44,226. He started the election period with about $28,000 and raised just over $192,000 while spending about $176,000.

As the incumbent, Ozawa outspent Waters last fall and outpolled him by 22 votes, but the Hawaii Supreme Court invalidated the results, ruling some late-arriving ballots should not have been counted. The special election is April 13, but voting has already begun at Honolulu Hale.

Former city transportation services director Mike Formby is representing District 4 on the City Council until the election is decided.

Waters’ biggest contributors were several unions, including those representing ironworkers, painters and carpenters. He also received $4,000 each from Friends of Joey Manahan and Friends of Ikaika Anderson, both current City Council members.

Candidate for Honolulu City Council District 4

Tommy Waters
Party Nonpartisan
Occupation Attorney
Residence Kahala Towers

Website

Community organizations/prior offices held

State House of Representatives, 2002 - 2008.

Other well-known contributors to Waters included Honolulu Police Commissioner Loretta Sheehan, attorney Paul Alston and Tetris millionaire Henk Rodgers.

AiKea Unite Here spent more than $100,000 to support Waters over the last three months, including  $60,000 on TV and social media advertising. The organization received $50,000 from the Ironworkers for Better Government and $20,000 from the Local 1 Political Action Committee.

Ozawa also received big donations from unions, including those representing Honolulu police officers and longshore and warehouse workers.

He got $12,000 from executives at Roberts Hawaii, a tour bus company. He also received thousands from executives at Kobayashi Group, Avalon Group, R.M. Towill Corporation, Mistunaga & Associates and other development and construction industry firms.

Ozawa said the list of Waters’ campaign donors suggests he will be a rubber stamp to Mayor Kirk Caldwell, a message he’s repeated throughout this campaign.

Some of Waters’ donors this year include Caldwell appointees and employees, such as his deputy managing director Georgette Deemer and human resources director Carolee Kubo.

In response to Ozawa’s criticism of donations from Caldwell supporters, Waters noted Ozawa’s donors included developers and lobbyists.

Waters said the City Council needs “respectful” leadership, a campaign message he has repeated on multiple fliers.

Tensions between the two candidates have run high throughout the campaign. Ozawa previously beat Waters by just 41 votes in 2014.

Civil Beat has published Q&A’s for both candidates. Read Ozawa’s by clicking here, and Waters’ by clicking here.

The post VIDEO: Micronesians Respond To Racist Tweets appeared first on Honolulu Civil Beat.

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Micronesians In Hawaii Still Struggle To Get Health Care https://www.civilbeat.org/2019/04/micronesians-in-hawaii-still-struggle-to-get-health-care/ Wed, 03 Apr 2019 10:01:48 +0000 https://www.civilbeat.org/?p=1324155 Tommy Waters has raised about $97,000 more in campaign contributions than Trevor Ozawa this year in the special election for Honolulu City Council District 4, which stretches from Hawaii Kai to Waikiki. Waters reported raising $289,168 from Jan. 1 to March 29 after starting the special election period with just $285. He still has $43,487 on […]

The post Micronesians In Hawaii Still Struggle To Get Health Care appeared first on Honolulu Civil Beat.

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Tommy Waters has raised about $97,000 more in campaign contributions than Trevor Ozawa this year in the special election for Honolulu City Council District 4, which stretches from Hawaii Kai to Waikiki.

Waters reported raising $289,168 from Jan. 1 to March 29 after starting the special election period with just $285. He still has $43,487 on hand after spending about $230,000 this year, according to the latest state Campaign Spending Commission figures.

Waters has also benefitted from supportive unions. AiKea Unite Here, the political arm of the service workers’ union Unite Here Local 5, raised $170,000 over the last three months.

Candidate for Honolulu City Council District 4

Trevor Ozawa
Party Nonpartisan
Occupation Attorney
Residence Hawaii Kai

Website

Community organizations/prior offices held

Honolulu City Council District 4.

Ozawa has slightly more cash on hand with $44,226. He started the election period with about $28,000 and raised just over $192,000 while spending about $176,000.

As the incumbent, Ozawa outspent Waters last fall and outpolled him by 22 votes, but the Hawaii Supreme Court invalidated the results, ruling some late-arriving ballots should not have been counted. The special election is April 13, but voting has already begun at Honolulu Hale.

Former city transportation services director Mike Formby is representing District 4 on the City Council until the election is decided.

Waters’ biggest contributors were several unions, including those representing ironworkers, painters and carpenters. He also received $4,000 each from Friends of Joey Manahan and Friends of Ikaika Anderson, both current City Council members.

Candidate for Honolulu City Council District 4

Tommy Waters
Party Nonpartisan
Occupation Attorney
Residence Kahala Towers

Website

Community organizations/prior offices held

State House of Representatives, 2002 - 2008.

Other well-known contributors to Waters included Honolulu Police Commissioner Loretta Sheehan, attorney Paul Alston and Tetris millionaire Henk Rodgers.

AiKea Unite Here spent more than $100,000 to support Waters over the last three months, including  $60,000 on TV and social media advertising. The organization received $50,000 from the Ironworkers for Better Government and $20,000 from the Local 1 Political Action Committee.

Ozawa also received big donations from unions, including those representing Honolulu police officers and longshore and warehouse workers.

He got $12,000 from executives at Roberts Hawaii, a tour bus company. He also received thousands from executives at Kobayashi Group, Avalon Group, R.M. Towill Corporation, Mistunaga & Associates and other development and construction industry firms.

Ozawa said the list of Waters’ campaign donors suggests he will be a rubber stamp to Mayor Kirk Caldwell, a message he’s repeated throughout this campaign.

Some of Waters’ donors this year include Caldwell appointees and employees, such as his deputy managing director Georgette Deemer and human resources director Carolee Kubo.

In response to Ozawa’s criticism of donations from Caldwell supporters, Waters noted Ozawa’s donors included developers and lobbyists.

Waters said the City Council needs “respectful” leadership, a campaign message he has repeated on multiple fliers.

Tensions between the two candidates have run high throughout the campaign. Ozawa previously beat Waters by just 41 votes in 2014.

Civil Beat has published Q&A’s for both candidates. Read Ozawa’s by clicking here, and Waters’ by clicking here.

The post Micronesians In Hawaii Still Struggle To Get Health Care appeared first on Honolulu Civil Beat.

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Panel Narrowly Recommends Keeping William Aila In Hawaiian Home Lands Post https://www.civilbeat.org/2019/04/panel-narrowly-recommends-keeping-william-aila-in-hawaiian-home-lands-post/ Wed, 03 Apr 2019 05:20:54 +0000 https://www.civilbeat.org/?p=1326143 Tommy Waters has raised about $97,000 more in campaign contributions than Trevor Ozawa this year in the special election for Honolulu City Council District 4, which stretches from Hawaii Kai to Waikiki. Waters reported raising $289,168 from Jan. 1 to March 29 after starting the special election period with just $285. He still has $43,487 on […]

The post Panel Narrowly Recommends Keeping William Aila In Hawaiian Home Lands Post appeared first on Honolulu Civil Beat.

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Tommy Waters has raised about $97,000 more in campaign contributions than Trevor Ozawa this year in the special election for Honolulu City Council District 4, which stretches from Hawaii Kai to Waikiki.

Waters reported raising $289,168 from Jan. 1 to March 29 after starting the special election period with just $285. He still has $43,487 on hand after spending about $230,000 this year, according to the latest state Campaign Spending Commission figures.

Waters has also benefitted from supportive unions. AiKea Unite Here, the political arm of the service workers’ union Unite Here Local 5, raised $170,000 over the last three months.

Candidate for Honolulu City Council District 4

Trevor Ozawa
Party Nonpartisan
Occupation Attorney
Residence Hawaii Kai

Website

Community organizations/prior offices held

Honolulu City Council District 4.

Ozawa has slightly more cash on hand with $44,226. He started the election period with about $28,000 and raised just over $192,000 while spending about $176,000.

As the incumbent, Ozawa outspent Waters last fall and outpolled him by 22 votes, but the Hawaii Supreme Court invalidated the results, ruling some late-arriving ballots should not have been counted. The special election is April 13, but voting has already begun at Honolulu Hale.

Former city transportation services director Mike Formby is representing District 4 on the City Council until the election is decided.

Waters’ biggest contributors were several unions, including those representing ironworkers, painters and carpenters. He also received $4,000 each from Friends of Joey Manahan and Friends of Ikaika Anderson, both current City Council members.

Candidate for Honolulu City Council District 4

Tommy Waters
Party Nonpartisan
Occupation Attorney
Residence Kahala Towers

Website

Community organizations/prior offices held

State House of Representatives, 2002 - 2008.

Other well-known contributors to Waters included Honolulu Police Commissioner Loretta Sheehan, attorney Paul Alston and Tetris millionaire Henk Rodgers.

AiKea Unite Here spent more than $100,000 to support Waters over the last three months, including  $60,000 on TV and social media advertising. The organization received $50,000 from the Ironworkers for Better Government and $20,000 from the Local 1 Political Action Committee.

Ozawa also received big donations from unions, including those representing Honolulu police officers and longshore and warehouse workers.

He got $12,000 from executives at Roberts Hawaii, a tour bus company. He also received thousands from executives at Kobayashi Group, Avalon Group, R.M. Towill Corporation, Mistunaga & Associates and other development and construction industry firms.

Ozawa said the list of Waters’ campaign donors suggests he will be a rubber stamp to Mayor Kirk Caldwell, a message he’s repeated throughout this campaign.

Some of Waters’ donors this year include Caldwell appointees and employees, such as his deputy managing director Georgette Deemer and human resources director Carolee Kubo.

In response to Ozawa’s criticism of donations from Caldwell supporters, Waters noted Ozawa’s donors included developers and lobbyists.

Waters said the City Council needs “respectful” leadership, a campaign message he has repeated on multiple fliers.

Tensions between the two candidates have run high throughout the campaign. Ozawa previously beat Waters by just 41 votes in 2014.

Civil Beat has published Q&A’s for both candidates. Read Ozawa’s by clicking here, and Waters’ by clicking here.

The post Panel Narrowly Recommends Keeping William Aila In Hawaiian Home Lands Post appeared first on Honolulu Civil Beat.

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