Town Square

Thursdays at 11am on HPR-1 with a rebroadcast at 7pm

Town Square, hosted and produced by Beth-Ann Kozlovich, is one of the oldest of Hawaii Public Radio's public affairs programs. Since its inception in 1999, Town Square has provided an interactive forum for political, social, educational and cultural issues of local, national and international importance. Often the conversation includes guests and participants from outside Hawaii, giving access to newsmakers and those yet to make news. Discussions are lively and almost always, civil.

Ways to Connect

Office of Governor David Ige

  Hawaii’s new Statewide Superintendent is officially on the job. Dr. Christina Kishimoto joins us to discuss her vision for public education in Hawaii and challenges such as a shortage of bus drivers, a maintenance backlog, and early childhood education.

Town Square: Hawaii's Energy Future

Aug 10, 2017
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Hawaii’s path to a clean energy future has been decades in the making and it continues to takes turns and twists. By now you probably know that in 2015,  the state became the first in the nation to require a 100% renewable energy standard. Today on Town Square, we’ll look at the road to Hawaii’s renewable energy future and what portfolio may comprise it.    

Town Square: State of Public Education

Aug 3, 2017
U.S. Army

A new school year is about to start, and in Hawaii, it will be the first school year to incorporate new guidelines under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. Today on Town Square we’ll host a conversation on the state of public education in the Aloha State.

Flickr/Mobilus

  Americans are focusing more on politics now than before the last presidential election. The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center shows 52% of Americans are paying more attention to politics since the election of President Trump. That statement is especially true if you’re an American woman: 58% of women say they are more attentive to politics compared to 46% of men. Today on Town Square we’re looking at the Pew study through a local lens.

Wayne Yoshioka

  In the wake of the 2017 Marco Polo condo fire, it has come to the public's attention that many of Honolulu's high rise residential buildings do not have sprinkler systems. Fire officials said that had there been a sprinkler system in place, the Marco Polo fire would have been doused in a matter of minutes. Today on Town Square we’ll look more closely at the fire code, the sales implications for condos without sprinklers and how high rise residences without sprinklers might get them.

 

Wikimedia Commons

 Today on Town Square, we’ll talk with Governor Ige about the bills he gave the boot and his expectations for the special legislative session later this summer to tackle the ever escalating cost of rail. We’ll also talk about next year's reelection bid and issues that put Hawaii at odds with the Trump administration.

Intro music: Toastman's Wave by Jake Shimabukuro

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  They have different mechanisms and names Wannacry, Petya, and ExPetR. Whatever they’re called, the destructive global sabotage of PCs by ransomware and wiper attacks that started this summer all amount to the same thing: breached information, work stops and huge headaches over what to do about it. Today on Town Square we’ll look at cyber security in and out of Hawai‘i. We’ll find out who is trying to do what to mitigate the latest round and to try to prevent the next one.

Hawaii Community Foundation

  Hawaii Community Foundation is one the most significant non-profit organizations in the local community. After 19 years of stewardship, Kelvin Taketa will be stepping as CEO of HCF on July 1st. Today on Town Square, Kelvin Taketa and his successor Micah Kāne are in the studio to discuss their organization's past, present and future.

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Heatwaves in Hawaii

A study coordinated by  UH Manoa put the world’s heatwave future somewhere between bad and terrible. As much as seventy-four percent of the world’s population will be exposed to fatal heat by 2100 according to the study. Even with aggressive action to reduce carbon gas emissions, the lethal heatwaves of recent years are forecast to escalate and affect 48  percent of the world’s human population.

Courtesy of Chip Fletcher

  Hawaii is known for beautiful beaches, but many around the state are disappearing. That includes Hawaii’s most famous beach, Waikiki, which attracts millions of visitors each year and billions of dollars for the local economy. Many other beaches around Hawaii are also threatened. Today's panel examines the problem of coastal erosion in Hawaii and what, if anything, can be done to solve it.

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Food, construction, and cosmetics are just some of its uses. But some still fear hemp is too much like its cannabis cousin marijuana while others are actively working to get hemp off the US Drug Enforcement Agency’s Schedule 1 list. Has hemp’s time finally come?

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  This year, the Honolulu City Council is attempting to tighten loopholes in its plastic bag ban, but advocates of the ban say the Council is not being proactive enough. Changes to the current ban would jettison the compostable bag from the loophole of reusable bags and mandate a fee for bags at the point of sale. Bill 59 is set for its final hearing next week but we'll talk about it today on Town Square.

Hawaii Symphony Orchestra Facebook

The Hawaii Symphony Orchestra is marking its 5th year and as it looks toward its sixth season, there are still challenges. Some are not unlike what faced its earlier incarnation, the Honolulu Symphony, which shuttered in bankruptcy in 2010. The reasons were many. Tiffany Hill writing for Honolulu Magazine put it this way:  In the end, it was the perfect storm: dropping ticket sales, increasing debt, bad blood between the board and the union, a sour economy and a reorganization plan that couldn’t get off the ground.

Marine Corps Base Hawaii

Few conditions are more stigmatized in American society than addiction. The era of widespread opioid addiction has blown the lid off many preconceived notions about addiction and addicts. Today on Town Square our panel discusses best practices in addiction treatment, recovery and the overlap of substance abuse and mental illness. 

Wikimedia Commons

  Alzheimer’s affects 1 in 10 Americans over age 65 or about 5.5 million people. The number of American adults 18 and older with any form of mental illness in a given year is 1 in 5 or 43.4 million people. Today on Town Square we’ll look what it will take to create parity in dollars, focus, and understanding of physical and mental illness.

Flickr - jdnx

The 2017 legislative session at the Hawaii State Capitol was a rollercoaster ride. In this edition of Town Square, our panel will take a look at which bills survived the session to become law, ones that died on the vine and issues left unresolved. 

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  Two bills currently at the legislature allow transient accommodations brokers to register as tax collection agents and have explicit requirements regarding the general excise and the transient accommodations taxes. Today on Town Square we’ll consider the bills in detail.

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  This week, a Honolulu City Council committee approved a bill to expand the ordinance banning sitting and lying on public sidewalks. If the entire council agrees, the sit-lie ban could soon come to parts of Iwilei and Kalihi. Several businesses located in the Kalihi area are calling for the ban to be expanded, but opponents have said the measure criminalizes homeless people and unwillingly forces them into shelters. Today's panel includes the President of a longtime Kalihi retail business, a homeless advocate and a representative of ACLU Hawaii.

 

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Next Tuesday is Equal Pay Day, the point in the year to which women have to work to equal what their male counterparts earned as of December 31st. With decades of pay inequality still haunting working women and families, is the annual focus really helping to bridge the gender gap or is it just a moment blip on the calendar? From the days of the Equal Pay Act in 1963 and including the 2009 Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, has federal legislation made a substantive difference in increasing pay parity? Today, our panel takes up Equal Pay Day.     

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  The Republican effort in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act has stalled for now. How would the American Health Care Act change the state of healthcare in Hawaii? Today on Town Square, we’ll look at possible scenarios for Hawaii in the uncertain health insurance climate that seems to be changing moment to moment.

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  Taxation in our state always elicits strong reactions from residents and lawmakers, but what makes sense now with downward revisions in revenue and in likely a few years, a negative change in the economy? How do we plan to meet the state's needs with fairness to the ones who'll foot the bill? With Hawaii’s cost of living and many families and low-income individuals living paycheck to paycheck can policies be restructured to provide fairness to all. Today on Town Square, debt and taxes. 

 

  

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

We're halfway through the legislative session and bills still alive are moving from their originating to their opposite chamber. Next on Town Square, Neal Milner and Colin Moore consider what's crossing over, what's been left behind and what that all says about session 2017 so far.

Michael Mees / Flickr
Michael Mees / Flickr

How to meet the State's energy needs is always on the legislative agenda. As Hawaii operates under the 100% renewable energy portfolio standard by 2045, what bills are still alive this year that will narrow that Gap? And which are still languishing and not likely to make crossover? Our panel comprised of Jeff Mikulina from Blue Planet Foundation and Scott Seu from Hawaiian Electric Company take calls and discuss the issues currently facing Hawaii's electrical consumers and suppliers in meeting the State's 100% renewable energy goal.

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Traditional, lecture-based methods of instruction often fail to engage learners of all ages, from young children, to college students and adults. Project-based learning has been heralded as not only a better way to impart knowledge, but also teach kids vital life skills such as teamwork and self-advocacy.

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A recent downward revision of predicted revenues has left a cloud over the 2017 legislative session and the Ige Administration's proposed biennium budget. Uncertainty swirls over how the difference will be made up, what the Governor's financial priorities will be and how his administration will approach the many issues weighing on the minds of Hawaii residents. Hawaii Governor David Ige joined us to take calls and field questions from his constituents. 

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

  Since before Honolulu's elevated rail broke ground, architect Scott Wilson has advocated for a different system. Still rail but 'at grade.' In a report released this year he re-energized that idea to transform the bloated project once it reaches town. Scott Wilson will be on the show to answer calls and questions.

Wikipedia
Wikipedia

  The ramifications and life after President Trump's Executive Order Travel Restrictions. Guests: Clare Hanusz, Hakim Ouansafi Chair of the Muslim Association of Hawaii, Dr. Tin Myaing Thein Executive Director of the Pacific Gateway Center, and Mateo Cabellero Legal Director of the ACLU of Hawaiʻi join the discussion.

www.innovaar.net
www.innovaar.net

Three years ago, Google hired 14% of its team members who didn't have a BA degree. Why? Because in the current innovation era, it's about what you can do with what you know, and how creatively you solve problems. Today on Town Square, we talk with Expert-in-Residence at Harvard's Innovation Lab and all around education disrupter, Tony Wagner, co-author of Most Likely to Succeed.

Teemu008 / Flickr
Teemu008 / Flickr

  With the opening of the Legislature this week, lawmakers began the process of sifting through thousands of bill. They'll determine what issues will mark this session and what contrast there may be between our state and a changed federal government. Neal Milner and Colin Moore join me with a preview.

Vinoth Chandar / Flickr
Vinoth Chandar / Flickr

Hawaii has considered death with dignity for decades. This year, it's again poised for a discussion with lawmakers in the 2017 legislative session. Supporters believe this year is a game changer. We'll find out why from our panelists Charmaine Manansala.

Political Director of advocacy group, Compassion & Choices; oncologist Chuck Miller, one of the founding members of the Physician Advisory Council for Aid in Dying and John Radcliffe, Stage 4 terminal cancer patient and advocate for medical aid in dying in Hawaii.

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