The Conversation: Monday, January 30th, 2017

Jan 30, 2017

Good News for Hawaiian Monk Seals; Does Honolulu Need a Toll Road? Mental Health Advocacy

A Hawaiian monk seal at French Frigate Shoals. The monk seal population has increased for the third year in a row.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Mental Health Agenda: Tricia Kajimura

Staff of Mental Health Hawaii.
Credit Trisha Kajimura

Since 2001, the term the 99% has been used to draw distinctions between most of the population and the ultra-rich 1% With a new administration’s tax and entitlement reorganization proposals said to favor the 1%, groups advocating for the mentally ill, are deeply concerned about funding that could be lost to help the large population of Americans with diagnosable mental illness. Organizations including the National Alliance of Mental Illness and Mental Health America are ramping up efforts to counter the proposed changes to health policy. We called Trisha Kajimura, the Executive Director of Mental Health America of Hawaii to get a fuller explanation, she joins us now.

Intro Music: E.I.A. (Emergency In Africa) by Daniel Dzidzonu

Outro Music: Privacy (Instrumental) by Quasimoto

Yangon Echoes Exhibition Curator: Virginia Henderson

Credit Virginia Henderson

Myanmar, formerly Burma, is a nation in recovery -- struggling to put behind it the effects of decades of a brutal military dictatorship and the country’s enforced isolation from the wider world. In the city of Yangon, once known as Rangoon, the nation’s colonial history and its multicultural identity are echoed in its so-called “heritage homes.”  Virginia Henderson is the co-curator of “Yangon Echoes: Inside Heritage Homes,” an exhibit of photographs by Tim Webster at the East West Center that links Yangon’s present to its colorful past. She’s on the line with us now.

Intro Music: In Praise of the City of Mandalay by Maung That Win

Outro Music: The Forest of Kanda by Hsaing Waing Orchestra

Civil Beat Reality Check: Plastic Bag Ban

2017 may be the year of marijuana decriminalization in Hawaii.
Credit PF Bentley/Civil Beat

Marijuana decriminalization advocates say they don’t see the connection between their cause and the opening of medical pot dispensaries. However, the Governor may see things differently. Civil Beat reporter Chad Blair has today’s reality check.     

Outro Music: Ridin' In My Car by by NRBQ

Proposed Zipper Lane Toll: Rep Gregg Takayama

Honolulu's zipper lane is relatively underused compared to overall traffic flow.
Credit Hooniverse

If you commute alone, would you pay a dollar per trip to use the zipper lane? It’s a question a Hawaii lawmaker is asking in a measure to fund a pilot project that would in effect turn the zipper lane, now reserved for carpools or two or more, into a toll road, a high -occupancy toll lane. Representative Gregg Takayama introduced the bill - there is a companion in the state Senate.Both have passed first reading and are in committee.

Outro Music: Crosstown Traffic by Jimi Hendrix

Year of the Monk Seal: Charles Littnan

Charles Littnan, Director of NOAA's Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program.
Credit Charles Littnan

When we hear of an endangered species that’s seen as a target for extinction, it’s all too easy to fear the worst. We have been conditioned to think the story that never ends well.   But to think that, we’d have to ignore success stories like the recent census of the Hawaiian monk seal population. A has been in decline since the 1950's and lost nearly 70% of its population between 1958 and 2006 is regenerating itself, and Charles Littnan is the lead scientist for NOAA's Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program.

Intro Music: Swim by Madonna
Outro Music: On The Beach by Nora En Pure