Thursday, November 30, 2017 – from Kat Brady

Today I want to share a REPORT FROM THE FRONT lines of the ill-conceived OCCC proposal. Last night was the “town hall” meeting at Aloha Stadiumʻs “Hospitality Room” so the state and its contractors could gather input from the community because they are interested in what we think.

First, the venue: the entrance to Aloha Stadium is paved with blacktop, so in the dark, it was very difficult to navigate and dangerous for those with visual or mobility impairments.

There were about 75 people there (many from the department of public safety sprinkled throughout the audience). The meeting opened at 7 pm with the contractors briefly describing their reports and director Espinda mumbling through a pre-written script that it seemed he hadnʻt read beforehand.

Many community members were holding signs in the back and sides of the room. The women from WCCC did the taping for `Olelo so it was great for them to hear the community comments. Iʻll let you know when it will be aired.

The “town hall” was facilitated by Tracy Wiltgen of the Mediation Center to control the community (we are only supposed to foot the bill; shut up; sit down). The Ms. Wiltgen described how the public comments were to be delivered: 2 minutes each and they had the room until 9 so everyone could speak. We had the “please be respectful” speech (ironic, as this administration has run amok over the community and this meeting was just another show of their total contempt for the community). In order to control the community, the process for speaking was interesting. People were asked to sign in before getting to the room and apparently, those names were then put into a black bucket (that looked like a black plastic “witches brew” pot) so they could randomly pull names out (just in case the community had set up a queue of testifiers).

17 people testified – ALL OPPOSED for a variety of reasons. There were two Senators there, Sen. Clarence Nishihara, Chair of Public Safety in the Senate who gave awesome testimony and Sen. Breen Harimoto.

The testimony was awesome! Here is a sampling of some of the comments:

  • We need more rehabilitation and less imprisonment
  • STOP this process – the question is “how small can we make it”
  • The process has totally ignored the legislatively created groups to create a roadmap for corrections and to work on reforming our pretrial system
  • A person who was formerly imprisoned at OCCC spoke about the systemic problems there
  • Hawai`i is suffering from 3 tragedies: 1) failure in education 2) we incarcerate people for small things that had only been sanctions in the past and 3) that we contract with a corporate prison in Arizona
  • This is all to make Kalihi into Kaka`ako
  • Launiu Valley Community Assn. opposes facility in Mililani
  • The animal quarantine site is not suitable for cultural practices and other Hawaiian healing arts
  • The war on drugs has helped create mass incarceration
  • The HCR 85 Task Force should be consulted
  • This is premature as there are enormous changes taking place in criminal justice
  • Look back to see how many beds you actually need
  • This isnʻt about a jail, itʻs about a giant corporation
  • The report says community comments only rated at 10% of the criteria. Why?
  • $525 – $673 MILLION is proposed to be spent in our name. The 250-page DEIS is not where the information is. It is all buried in the 26 volumes of appendices. This is sneaky. Look up Louis Berger Group on google as ask yourself “Is this ethical contracting?”
  • We need more rehabilitation
  • We need to reduce the population as other jurisdictions have done with corresponding reductions in crime

 

The last speaker went over 2 minutes and kept going…there was a little back and forth with the facilitator but the speaker kept giving more information. There were public safety uniform staff there and they started to approach the speaker, but didnʻt.

By this time it was 8:05 and despite having more time, the meeting was closed and no one was allowed to speak a second time. THIS IS ANOTHER SHAMEFUL EXAMPLE OF THE CONTEMPT THIS ADMINISTRATION HAS FOR THE COMMUNITY. They say they want to hear what people have to say but they want to go on fast-tracking their ill-conceived plan. WE HAVE ONLY JUST BEGUN!, FOLKS!

I am always so heartened by the caring and intelligence of our community. We are Hawai`i; we care for and about each other.

Love, Kat Brady