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President’s Corner

State law never meant to create indefinite emergency

With the state awash in rumors about new COVID-19 restrictions — or even another lockdown — we are witnessing the breakdown in trust that occurs when there is not enough transparency in government decision-making. For more than a year, we have been living under a different kind of governance, with

Read More →

Where’s the aloha for Hawaii bar owners?

No local businesses have had an easy time navigating Hawaii’s state and county lockdowns. But Hawaii’s bars might be among those that have suffered the most under the confusing COVID-19 tier system. Even now, many local bars and restaurants are struggling to handle the demands of Tier 5, which requires

Read More →

State tourism policy truly is a mish-mash

If you want to find something that perfectly captures Hawaii’s schizophrenic tourism policy, you couldn’t do much better than House Bill 862. The bill sends an inconsistent message about tourism, suggesting that the industry shouldn’t have government funding while simultaneously making it more vital to state revenues. It was one

Read More →

High taxes pushing family and friends to leave

When you live in Hawaii, you get accustomed to saying goodbye. As a father, I’ve watched my children leave for the mainland to start college or their careers. And I know there’s a good chance they won’t be coming back, except for short visits. I am not alone. Who hasn’t

Read More →

Don’t criminalize COVID-19 rule breakers

When you turn ordinary behavior into criminal behavior overnight, you need to be prepared for some unjust results. That’s exactly what happened after the governor and Hawaii’s four mayors imposed their COVID-19 emergency orders: People who had never been arrested or convicted of crimes in their entire lives suddenly were

Read More →

Alaska cruising victory bodes well for Hawaii

A case of maritime-related common sense has broken out in Washington, D.C. Let’s hope it’s contagious. Earlier this year, the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii partnered with the Alaska Policy Forum in support of a resolution before the Alaska Legislature that asked Congress to grant the Last Frontier an exemption to

Read More →

Waiver goodbye to the Jones Act?

If a shipping law that ostensibly protects “national security” has to be waived every time there’s a crisis, maybe the problem is the law itself. President Joe Biden granted two limited Jones Act exemptions over the past 10 days in response to the ransomware attack that temporarily shut down the

Read More →

Affordable housing debate is about means, not end

Supporters of the well-intentioned but misguided Bill 10 on Maui wanted affordable housing, and so did those who warned against it Maui County residents dodged a bullet last Friday. The Maui County Council upheld Mayor Michael Victorino’s veto of Bill 10, a proposal that would have worsened the county’s housing

Read More →

HART needs to quit being so secretive

The commentary below was Keli’i Akina’s weekly “President’s Corner” column for May 7, 2021. If you would like to have his columns emailed to you on a regular basis, please call 808-864-1776 or email info@grassrootinstitute.org. ______________ For years, Hawaii citizens have been asking the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation to

Read More →

State law never meant to create indefinite emergency

With the state awash in rumors about new COVID-19 restrictions — or even another lockdown — we are witnessing the breakdown in trust that occurs when there is not enough transparency in government decision-making. For more than a year, we have been living under a different kind of governance, with

Read More →

Where’s the aloha for Hawaii bar owners?

No local businesses have had an easy time navigating Hawaii’s state and county lockdowns. But Hawaii’s bars might be among those that have suffered the most under the confusing COVID-19 tier system. Even now, many local bars and restaurants are struggling to handle the demands of Tier 5, which requires

Read More →

State tourism policy truly is a mish-mash

If you want to find something that perfectly captures Hawaii’s schizophrenic tourism policy, you couldn’t do much better than House Bill 862. The bill sends an inconsistent message about tourism, suggesting that the industry shouldn’t have government funding while simultaneously making it more vital to state revenues. It was one

Read More →

High taxes pushing family and friends to leave

When you live in Hawaii, you get accustomed to saying goodbye. As a father, I’ve watched my children leave for the mainland to start college or their careers. And I know there’s a good chance they won’t be coming back, except for short visits. I am not alone. Who hasn’t

Read More →

Don’t criminalize COVID-19 rule breakers

When you turn ordinary behavior into criminal behavior overnight, you need to be prepared for some unjust results. That’s exactly what happened after the governor and Hawaii’s four mayors imposed their COVID-19 emergency orders: People who had never been arrested or convicted of crimes in their entire lives suddenly were

Read More →

Alaska cruising victory bodes well for Hawaii

A case of maritime-related common sense has broken out in Washington, D.C. Let’s hope it’s contagious. Earlier this year, the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii partnered with the Alaska Policy Forum in support of a resolution before the Alaska Legislature that asked Congress to grant the Last Frontier an exemption to

Read More →

Waiver goodbye to the Jones Act?

If a shipping law that ostensibly protects “national security” has to be waived every time there’s a crisis, maybe the problem is the law itself. President Joe Biden granted two limited Jones Act exemptions over the past 10 days in response to the ransomware attack that temporarily shut down the

Read More →

Affordable housing debate is about means, not end

Supporters of the well-intentioned but misguided Bill 10 on Maui wanted affordable housing, and so did those who warned against it Maui County residents dodged a bullet last Friday. The Maui County Council upheld Mayor Michael Victorino’s veto of Bill 10, a proposal that would have worsened the county’s housing

Read More →

HART needs to quit being so secretive

The commentary below was Keli’i Akina’s weekly “President’s Corner” column for May 7, 2021. If you would like to have his columns emailed to you on a regular basis, please call 808-864-1776 or email info@grassrootinstitute.org. ______________ For years, Hawaii citizens have been asking the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation to

Read More →