Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Change of date for May luncheon meeting: May 14

Please note this one month only change: we will meet in May on May 14. Please change the date in your calendar.

Program: Hawaii State Representative Josh Green will speak on Successes and Disappointments on Health and Care giving Bills – 2007. Preparing for 2008: Concerns, Studies, Commissions.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

April 23 program: Divided We Fail

11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Miyama Main Hall, Harris United Methodist Church
Nuuanu Ave. and South Vineyard Blvd.

Ample parking - driveway off Nuuanu Ave.

11:30 Luncheon: Garden Lasagna Alfredo, salad, Dessert by Eloise. $5.00 donation

11:45 Welcome, introductions and remarks, Tony Lenzer, Vice President

12:00 Program: "Divided We Fail" Bruce Bottorff, AARP State Director of Communication

This nation-wide project is designed to engage the American people, elected officials and the business community to find broad-based, bi-partisan solutions to the most compelling issues facing the nation—health care and the long-term financial security of Americans. Have you experienced personal problems or have concerns about health care and financial security? AARP says collecting personal stories is going to be one of their most powerful and compelling ways to raise awareness and bring about positive social change.

President's Letter: April 2007 -- Pedestrian Safety

President's Letter – Larry Geller

The safety of pedestrians remains a hot issue due to a sudden spurt of deaths earlier this year. The state Department of Transportation had done nothing at all to improve pedestrian safety despite an August 2006 report by AARP on its extensive survey of dangerous intersections. As we near the end of the legislative process, there are bills to require them to take action, if they pass into law.

Instead of studying the problem and taking action in 2010 (as the DOT proposed), the bills now call for immediate action and include a provision for enforcement of existing laws. Something needs to be done to shift the focus from changing pedestrian behavior to correcting the dangerous driving habits of Hawaii motorists that result in death and injury.

One section of HB357 will be unique in the country if it passes into law. This section recognizes that pedestrians are entitled to protection according to the Hawaii State Constitution:
Making Hawaii's roadways safer for pedestrians is consistent with Kamehameha's famous law, Ke Kanawai Mamalahoe, the law of the splintered paddle, which assures that every man, woman, and child is able to travel freely and in peace. This law is established as state law in article IX, section 10, of the Hawaii state constitution:

"Let every elderly person, woman and child lie by the roadside in safety -- shall be a unique and living symbol of the State's concern for public safety."
Will the Honolulu Police Department follow the King's edict and step up enforcement of laws by ticketing motorists?

Notes from the March 26 Meeting--Utu Lange, Update on the First Step shelter program and the H5 program

Mr. Lange has seen a change toward more community compassion and willingness to help the homeless in the past ten years. The Next Step Shelter in Kakaako has 300 volunteers coming to help. These include churches of all denominations, restaurants, medical students, high school and college students, musical and dance groups. Of the current 300 residents, most are from Micronesia and have no skills. One-third are children of whom 50% are under 3 years of age. Before coming to the shelter, the children suffered from loss of sleep and lack of sufficient food that impacted on their schoolwork.

While the plan originally was to be transitional housing, to help break the cycle of poverty and homelessness, this has proved difficult since there is very little low-cost housing available. Some have been wait-listed for 8 years. Many are working, but by the time they buy food for their families, medicine or some clothing, there is not enough left for housing.

The Shelter’s first priority is to provide a safe place to sleep and enough to eat. Overcoming bureaucratic hurdles has been a part of Lange’s job. For example, the DOH required a licensed kitchen and menus a month in advance. There were no funds for licensing and since the food came primarily from the Food Bank, meals consisted of what happened to be available that day. Many resident’s had no I.D.s because their belongings, including I.D.s, where constantly being stolen while on the beach or parks. No I.D.s - no way to get employment, bus passes, other services.

So an important service is to have resources at the shelter to connect people with what they need to become self-sufficient, skill training, legal aid, health exams and vaccinations.
Those wishing to help in any way may call 522-0397.