News and Media
Latest media updates from the campaign.
Sen. Sharon Moriwaki, who authored the cabaret bill and represents Kakaako and Waikiki, says her colleagues like Reps. Scott Saiki and Adrian Tam as well as Honolulu City Council Chair Tommy Waters who also live in crowded urban districts, are sensitive to the noise complaints.
“We all live in the heady, dynamic area where noise can be exceptional,” she said. “We have to be thoughtful about each other and ‘live aloha’ in a way of understanding that it’s not just about having a pleasure ride but being aware of everyone else around you. We need to be good neighbors. If not, we are going to come up with laws.”
“I don’t know why it has taken so long,” said state Sen. Sharon Moriwaki. “But if you are actually opening up, that is good news.”
According to Senator Sharon Moriwaki, at this time there is no plan to maintain, store, or re-purpose the equipment. She says she asked the airport, the Department of Transportation, and HI-EMA about plans, and so far has not been able to get a satisfactory response. This led her to introduce Senate Resolution 193.
"That’s a lot of money to have a white elephant sitting at the airport," said Moriwaki. "The resolution is forcing them to come up with a plan so they have talk to the agencies involved, whoever that may be by June 30th."
The Senate voted to adopt the resolution on Monday, April 4. It now crosses over to the House.
Moriwaki said HTA’s decision to move funding from their GoHawaii.com budget for a last-minute golf request is an example of why lawmakers need to put controls on the agency’s spending.
“It’s ridiculous. (Their budget) is not a slush fund,” she said.
“If we have to upload Safe Travels again, we don’t want to get all new equipment,” Moriwaki said. “But they don’t have to use it for Safe Travels. They could repurpose them. These cameras are for security. They could ask for federal funds.”
Sen. Sharon Moriwaki (D, Kakaako-McCully-Waikiki), who chairs the Senate Committee on Government Operations, said the bill amendments specify that HTA may spend up to $12.9 million on Hawaiian culture, $7.6 million on natural resources, $16.4 million on community relations, $18.2 million on branding and $3.9 million on administration costs. Moriwaki said the intent among lawmakers is to lock HTA into their own budget appropriations.
“In the past it was all one big budget, so they used it as they saw fit,” she said. “They are using government money. There has to be some degree of accountability.”
For months residents have asked local officials to repaint a heavily used crosswalk in the Kakaako area, and on Saturday city and state officials revealed a plan to do just that. The crosswalk used to be located at a busy section of Queen Street and leads to and from Kolowalu Park, but it’s currently painted over. Now there are plans to repaint and improve the safety features of the crosswalk.
Sen. Sharon Moriwaki, who sponsored one of the bills, said when lawmakers considered a similar bill last year it was tabled due to pandemic-related funding constraints.
“I don’t know why it’s been so overlooked historically over the years,” Moriwaki said. “It seems like an easy yes.”
In his budget plan for fiscal year 2023, Gov. David Ige would fund two additional positions for the state’s long-term care ombudsman program. Moriwaki said she is optimistic that the Legislature will pass legislation to fund all five new positions the program is seeking.
“I’m the chair of what’s called the Senate Government Operations Committee,” Moriwaki said. “When I came on board, I started looking at ways to make government more efficient and have it use less space.”
During this process, Moriwaki said that she found a lot of space was taken up by boxes of documents, papers and personal protective equipment instead of employees. Another concern she pointed to was outdated technology.
“For example, our state’s unemployment insurance system, if you can call it a legacy system, was so outdated,” Moriwaki explained. “We asked the departments how are you going to respond to the crisis in unemployment insurance because we knew people were going to be out of work.”
“This measure also reinforces our commitment to ensure that the public’s trust in government is not undermined by those who abuse their positions of power,” Sen. Sharon Moriwaki, the Senate Government Operations Committee chairwoman, said in a press release.
"With the economy now, such that the cost of housing is increasing, and kūpuna are on fixed incomes, that we have neglected to look at the vulnerable seniors who have no income to pay for the rent, increasing rent," said Sen. Sharon Moriwaki, head of the Kūpuna Caucus.
"This program really is to prevent homelessness among our seniors, as well as to help them who are homeless to get into some housing so that they can have a shelter over their head and a place to live," Moriwaki said.
A package of five bills aimed at assisting Hawaii’s seniors in daily living — and dying — was unveiled Friday by the Kupuna Caucus, the only legislative caucus comprising members of the public, 126 organizations and agencies, and lawmakers. Caucus leaders Sen. Sharon Moriwaki (D, Kakaako- Waikiki-Moiliili) and Rep. Troy Hashimoto (D, Waihee-Waiehu-Wailuku) held a news conference Friday via Zoom to discuss the companion bills.
“It used to be, ‘Oh, OK, we’ll think about it later,’” said State Sen. Sharon Moriwaki, from her office in the Capitol building here, still largely deserted during the pandemic. “But now everyone knows that the science says you’re going to be underwater, and we have to figure out what to do about.” With nobody else stepping up to take action, last year Moriwaki assembled a working group, including Eversole, to design a comprehensive adaptation plan for Waikiki over the next two years that could serve as a model for other areas. This month, Moriwaki submitted legislation that, if passed, would provide $800,000 for the state to create the plan, which would then get implemented by the City and County of Honolulu.
Sen. Sharon Moriwaki, author of a bill that calls for creating a chief data officer position at ETS (among other things) in the upcoming session that begins Wednesday, is hopeful that her colleagues will see the wisdom of moving forward on the idea. “I am real concerned that we integrate various data sets across the state to better serve the public,” said Moriwaki, who chairs the Senate Government Operations Committee. “From my point of view we got all of this data — all these different formats and platforms — but without analysis it is all noise. We also have to look at how do we get government more efficient by also using technology. It’s the ‘new normal’ that we all talk about. A chief data officer would be the person to manage that.”
State Sen. Sharon Moriwaki (D-Kakaako-McCully- Waikiki) and state Rep. Adrian Tam (D-Waikiki-Ala Moana-Kakaako) said in written testimony that their offices receive near daily complaints about amplified noise in Waikiki.
“Bill 43 would effectively prohibit the playing of amplified noise from sidewalks at levels exceeding a yet to be determined decibel level and provide for violation penalties,” Moriwaki and Tam testified. “It would allow police to enforce against unwanted noise using a sound meter that measures by decibel, which they cannot now do.”
Gov. David Ige signed a bill Thursday to increase penalties for crimes committed against kupuna. Under the measure, penalties will be increased for intentional crimes against seniors who are 60 years old and up. Previously, enhanced penalties only applied for those age 62 and older. Criminals will receive higher penalties for crimes against seniors, including intentional bodily injury, unauthorized entry into a dwelling, theft or forgery.
“We have seen way too many crimes against our kupuna who are vulnerable to assault, theft and financial abuse,” said state Sen. Sharon Moriwaki and. “This bill will protect them by enhancing penalties for these crimes against our elders.”
Waikiki is the first police district to resume community policing since the start of the pandemic. This is part of a multi-pronged approach to address crime in the state’s top tourist district. The citizen patrol members patrolled along a crowded Kalakaua Avenue. Rep. Adrian Tam (D, Waikiki-Ala Moana-Kakaako) and Sen. Sharon Moriwaki (D, Kakaako-McCully-Waikiki) are among those who want to make it tougher for criminals to frequent Waikiki. They joined Waikiki residents Thursday on the HPD guided citizen patrol. Moriwaki said she supports Weed and Seed and will work with Waters on the possibility of placing some restrictions on late-night liquor licenses. She also plans to propose another Safe Neighborhoods bill that would ban repeat offenders during certain hours from business and resort districts unless they live or work there.
“When so many in our community are facing tough times, it can be agreed that pay raises for the governor and lieutenant governor, state justices and judges, executive branch heads and legislators should be deferred,” Sen. Sharon Moriwaki said.
Two oversize city pothole patching crews descended on perhaps the worst streets in Kakaako on Tuesday to smooth over a problem that has vexed area residents and business owners for several years. The crews began filling more than 85 potholes on several streets that until February were controlled by a private company that plagued the neighborhood with paid parking regulations and poor upkeep.Bob Emami, owner of The Car Store on Kawaiahao Street, said he appreciated the work being done and thanked government officials who worked to make it happen, including state Rep. Scott Saiki, state Sen. Sharon Moriwaki and city Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga, all of whom represent the Kakaako area and participated in Tuesday’s event.
Crime rates in Waikiki have plummeted and police and visitor industry leaders want to keep it that way
The 2020 crime statistics for Waikiki — at just 1.5 square miles the smallest of HPD’s eight patrol districts — are a vast improvement over 2019, when Honolulu City Council member Tommy Waters and state Sen. Sharon Moriwaki, who both represent the tourism district, co-hosted a crime and safety town hall in response to a wave of property and violent crimes that had residents on edge.
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs won’t be able to build 400-foot-tall towers near the Kakaako shoreline. Saiki said he and state Sen. Sharon Moriwaki, who also represents Kakaako, will work with OHA to explore alternatives to developing the parcels.
Moriwaki heralded the announcement in remarks on the Senate floor. She was among six senators who voted “no” on SB 1334.
“It is to continue the legacy of keeping shorelines open for future generations,” Moriwaki said of the Save Our Kakaako hui gathered outside the Capitol building.
Fed up with a perceived lack of information about the state’s response to COVID-19, lawmakers on Friday made an unannounced visit to the Health Department and found contact tracers ― on the front lines of containing the virus ― overwhelmed and overworked. One of the investigators that senators spoke to was responsible for tracking nearly 200 cases. The lawmakers, who serve on the state Senate’s COVID-19 task force, have grown increasingly frustrated about how the state Health Department is handling the pandemic ― and a worsening surge in cases. They’ve also pleaded with the agency to bring on more contact tracers, something the department has long maintained they didn’t need to do because they had enough.
“My concern is the urgency of this emergency does not seem to be felt by this administration,” Sen. Sharon Moriwaki said.
State law enforcement officers spent 40 hours over 10 days last month to find out how much crime is happening at the state's largest small boat harbor. What they found could lead to much-needed improvements. State lawmakers will use the information from last month’s crackdown at the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor to decide how much money to spend on security and enforcement and whether any laws need to change. The investigation included one person arrested for assault, five people arrested for warrants, four people warned for nudity, eight theft investigations, and more than 500 citations over three weekends in November.
“I didn’t know it was that extensive and that was only three days on the weekend,” said the area’s State Senator Sharon Moriwaki. “It really provided the data that we need from the legislature to say this is something we really need to attend to.”
Host Lyla Berg interviewed Senator Sharon Moriwaki on Island Focus on ‘Ōlelo
What's it like to be a Freshmen Senator (Community Matters)
With a rise in tragic pedestrian deaths on Hawaii streets, there’s a push from the community to do something to make walking safe. State Senator Sharon Moriwaki says it’s a frequent issue brought up by the communities she represents- Waikiki and Kakaako. Sen. Moriwaki joined Waikiki Beach Activities President Bob Hampton on Living808 to talk about their efforts to make Honolulu more pedestrian-friendly.
“Corporations that make profits here using our resources should pay taxes here, it’s that simple,” said Sen. Sharon Moriwaki, a member of the Senate Ways and Means Committee who co-sponsored the legislation. “It’s about time the state started to get our fair share for our people. Our people are hurting.”
A bill that is being heard tomorrow at the state legislature seeks to ban people that that are convicted of three misdemeanors in Waikiki. That person can be banned from the area between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. If that ban is violated the person could be sentenced to 30 days in jail.
“This keeps happening and happening and it’s not good for our residents nor visitors. Waikiki is our real prime jewel. You give the person fair warning and hopefully change their behavior,” said Waikiki Sen. Sharon Moriwaki.
“A lot of people are really upset about what’s going on,” Moskowitz said. “There are kids — punks — who come to town and assault people at night.”
He talked to local police officers about it and they suggested a plan, which he broached to the newly elected Sen. Sharon Moriwaki, who represents the area from Kakaako to Waikiki.
The result was Senate Bill 637, which proposed banning people convicted of three misdemeanors committed in Waikiki from being in the popular resort district from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Violations could result in 30-day jail terms.
The Legislature’s Kupuna Caucus is proposing a package of 10 bills to assist Hawaii’s senior community, which is the most rapidly growing segment of the state’s population. It is projected that those over age 60 will comprise one-third of the population of Hawaiʻi by 2035.
Newly elected state Sen. Sharon Moriwaki looked into the situation, agreed that it was bad, and went with residents to meet with Chang at the Ritz-Carlton. Since then she has met with the city planning department, where officials told her the Honolulu Fire Department is to blame for the problem because it requires bright lights on the outdoor fire escapes. She plans to visit city fire officials next.
Moriwaki thinks the problem is bigger than this one set of buildings.
“It’s not just the Ritz-Carlton,” she said. “It’s every condo that comes up, every condo-hotel that’s coming up. The law needs to be clear about lights going into other buildings.”
A Canadian company is looking to build a ferris wheel and motion theater at the Ala Wai Harbor. But the project is already getting resistance from area residents, who are concerned that it will increase traffic congestion and block views of the ocean. The developer, Dynamic Attractions, recently told state Sen. Sharon Moriwaki that it plans to reduce traffic by busing in visitors. It also says it won’t operate lights beyond 10 p.m., she said.
“Of course, (residents) don’t want a ferris wheel," she said.
Moriwaki said she wants to know if there’s more public support for the motion theater concept. The company has built similar theaters in Seattle and Disneyland, which give customers a sense of soaring over scenic areas and landmarks.
One of the few surprises in the primary election was Democrat Sharon Moriwaki’s victory over well-known incumbent Brickwood Galuteria in Senate District 12 (Kakaako-Waikiki). The Kakaako community activist not only won, but she swept the race by a full 20 percentage points over Galuteria.
Sharon on Sunrise on Hawaii News Now
Sharon talks with Grace Lee about the Democratic Primary election, on Sunrise on Hawaii News Now.
Election 2018 News Coverage: Sharon Moriwaki in Surprise Upset Over Brickwood Gauleteria
"I'm now running as a Democrat to be State Senator to represent not just Kaka‘ako, but neighboring Sheridan, McCully, Mö‘ili‘ili, Waikïkï and Ala Moana. I want housing for residents, not offshore buyers; I want to help kupuna remain at home as they age; and I want to take on crime, including drug-related and homeless-related crime, in our neighborhoods."
Touching old-time McCully and Mö‘ili‘ili, the golden sands of Waikïkï and the tense mix of Honolulu’s housing wealth and poverty — Kaka‘ako, the state Senate’s 12th District is a touchstone of the old Hawai‘i moving into the future.
Voters in the urban Honolulu district will decide one of the state’s most interesting races: the Democratic Primary match-up between incumbent Sen. Brickwood Galuteria, a 10-year veteran, and former state government official and University of Hawai‘i leader Sharon Moriwaki.
Sharon joins "Stan the Energy Man" to discuss the challenges of shaping Hawaii's clean energy future.
Mailer: Over 100 More Reasons to Vote Sharon for Senate
Read Sharon's full survey responses at Honolulu Star-Advertiser's 2018 Election Guide
Sharon joins host Jay Fidell for an episode of the ThinkTech Hawaii program "Community Matters."
Listen to Sharon's Radio ad:
"My urban district is under siege — 'luxury blight' from Waikiki to Kakaako financed by outside investment aimed at an offshore market, even as residents are screaming for affordable housing."
The Sierra Club of Hawai‘i has endorsed Sharon Moriwaki as the Democratic candidate for State Senate District 12. Moriwaki, founder and president of Kakaako United, is a former Waihee administration cabinet head, who during her 16 years at the University of Hawaii co-chaired the Hawaii Energy Policy Forum that successfully advanced Hawaii’s energy self-sufficiency goal.
This past week, Democratic candidate for State Senate District 12 Sharon Moriwaki received the recommendation of the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA), which represents 13,600 of Hawaii's teachers. President of HSTA, Corey Rosenlee, shared, "HSTA Board of Directors is recommending the candidacy of Sharon Moriwaki to its members in the 2018 election. Our members look forward to you being a strong advocate for teachers, students, and public education."
The Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) is sponsoring "Caring for Our Homeless Keiki: Some Things to Consider" this coming Tuesday, June 26 from 5 to 6 p.m. at Makiki Christian Church (829 Pensacola St.).
Mailer: Safe Neighborhoods
Mailer: Kupuna Care
Mailer: Sharon's Housing Blueprint
Mailer: "Meet Sharon"
Sharon Moriwaki appears on the ThinkTech Hawaii program "Navigating the Journey" with host Marsha Joyner to talk about her decision to run for State Senate
Hawaii Independent Editor Will Caron sits down with Sharon Moriwaki for a long-form podcast interview.
Mike Buck interviews Sharon Moriwaki on KHNR, March 22, 2018.
Hawaii Free Press reports on Sharon Moriwaki's campaign announcement event.