Monthly Archives: March 2006

I Love You Grandma


Yesterday and up to 1:30 A.M. this morning, my grandma's situation has worsened. Her heart rate is in the 100s and her blood pressure is in the 90s. Her hands and feet feel are cold and she no longer moves her arm, mouth, or eyes. Her breathing has increased showing that she is struggling to breathe. Her living will requested that she does not want to live on life support if her brain is not functioning. A meeting was held between her doctors and her children earlier this week to make the decision to take her off life support. Yesterday, family members could read three letters she wrote found behind the botsudan for my grandpa in their house, which is a display that has a picture of my grandpa where loved ones can pray to him. These letters reinforced her wishes. One of her letters that was not dated described how she wanted her funeral. Her other two letters were written in 1999 and 2004. These two letters explained that she did not want to live on tubes if her brain is dead. She mentioned how she has lived a full life and that she appreciated being surrounded by a loving family. She told us to live healthy and be happy. Every letter ended with her saying “be happy.” The family decided yesterday to take her off life support today at 11:00 A.M. My sister Mia and Lara flew in from the mainland yesterday and as a family we talked to her. I told her I loved her and mentioned how I appreciated her. I also told her of the things I will do. I'll write more later because I have to get ready to go to to the hospital to see her. Being that she is my last grandparent, I didn't realize how sad and scared I would be since I seemed a lot stronger when my other three grandparents died. I love her a lot.

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Thank You For Your Support


Thank you everyone for your support regarding my grandma's medical situation. I feel a lot better now. I really appreciate your kind words and gestures. In addition to my relatives, it was nice to see all my grandma's friends at the hospital. Stacey, thanks for stopping by and talking to her. That was really nice of you. I wish all of you the best. Cherish your loved ones. Talk to you later.

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Thinking of My Grandma Bessie Karamatsu


My grandfathers were strong and likewise, my father is strong like samurai, rarely showing sadness. When I lost my first three grandparents I was sad, but I got stronger through them, and to this day I feel them with me.

However, with my Grandma Karamatsu's situation, I feel scared because she is the last grandparent I have. Today, I received information regarding her that was not good. Late last year, I began to attend Jodo Shu (A Japanese Buddhist Sect) services with my grandma. She seemed happy that I was taking an interest in my culture. This past New Year's Eve and Day, I felt sentimental because I realized that the Japanese culture in my family is slowly dying. My grandma is the last person in my family that can understand the Japanese language and traditions. I guess losing culture is inevitable as the generations go by (Five generations in my family) and with inter-marriage with different ethnicities, which is common in my family. I will cherish what culture I experienced with my grandma and will share it with the next generation. I don't want what little tradition I know to die with me. In addition, I don't want to lose my grandma because I am not ready to lose the greatest generation and she is a great representative of that generation. I will do my best to remember all the memories I have with her. All the little things in life mean so much to me.

I love my grandma. I am not giving up hope that she may wake up and improve.

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Grandma Bessie Karamatsu


Last Sunday, I visited Grandma Karamatsu after my cold subsided. She was just recovering from a small stroke. When I arrived she was feeling pain in her chest. She asked us if we have pain in our chest too. My dad and uncle took her to the hospital. By midnight she had to get a surgery. She ended up having two more surgeries the next day. She is now on life support since she cannot breathe on her own. She also has pneumonia. Her medication should have worn off, but her mind is not responding to commands. I am very worried. Last Sunday, I wished I could have talked to her more. She is the last grandparent I have. I am hoping she will come out of it and wake up.

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House Floor Written Comments on HB 1368 HD2


Representatives Jon Riki Karamatsu
House Floor Written Comments
House Bill 1368, House Draft 2
Tuesday, March 7, 2006

I rise in support.

Agricultural lands of all types were lumped together, ranging from prime agricultural land to land not suitable for agriculture. By 1976, the State classified agricultural land by soil types: A, B, C, D, E, and U. According to the Land Study Bureau, Class A lands are generally the best-suited and most productive for intensive agricultural use. Class B lands include areas that are, in general, definitely suited for intensive agricultural use. They are inferior to Class A lands for one or more reasons that may include crop productivity, less favorable rainfall or other climatic characteristics, steeper slopes, stonier, thinner, and more erosive soils. Class C lands of this classification have, in general, only fair to marginal suitability for production of intensive crops. They are inferior to Class B lands for essentially the same reasons as Class B lands are inferior to Class A areas. In spite of these limitations, some Class C tracts have been used for production of intensive crops. Class D and E lands are generally unsuited for intensive agriculture for one or more reasons that include infertility, stoniness, excessive or deficient rainfall, unfavorable temperatures, excessive cloudiness, erosiveness, and excessive slope. Finally, Class U lands are near-raw lands that are highly variable and among these areas are lava areas. These lands are stony with limited soil material, and erratic and choppy that discourages cultivation.

The State identified agricultural land with A and B soils as prime agricultural land, thus identifying the land that Chapter 205 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) intended to protect. For these lands, the State implemented restrictions contained in HRS §205-4.5(a), including that dwellings must qualify as “farm dwellings.” In contrast, regarding C, D, E, and U agricultural lands or marginal agricultural lands, the State did not impose the same restrictions and allowed uses set forth in HRS §205-2(d). This section allows agricultural service and uses that support agricultural activities of the fee or leasehold owner of the property and accessory to agricultural activities, whether or not conducted on the same premises as the agricultural activities to which they are accessory, including but not limited to farm dwelling. Therefore, living dwellings are permissible and agricultural service and uses need only be accessory to agricultural activities. Further, the State gave the counties discretion to further define accessory agricultural uses on one-acre lots and to allow lot sizes of less than one acre if the counties find unreasonable economic hardship to the owner or lessee of the land that cannot otherwise be prevented or where land utilization is improved. As a result, counties have permitted the development of living dwellings on C, D, E, and U agricultural lands throughout the State.

The controversy in legal interpretation is occurring today because the Land Use Commission placed uses permitted on A and B agricultural lands to C, D, E, and U agricultural lands. These rules conflicted with the statutes on what uses are permissible on A and B agricultural lands in comparison to uses permissible on C, D, E, and U agricultural lands.

Currently, there is a case in the courts that could place thousands of single-family dwelling homes on C, D, E, and U agricultural lands in jeopardy and cost the counties millions of dollars should there be an unfavorable ruling. As a result, House Bill 1368 House Draft 1 intends to remove this legal cloud by permitting single-family dwellings on C, D, E, and U agricultural lands provided that not more than ten percent of the project area consists of soil classified as A or B. In the meantime, we must work on improvements to the statutes on agricultural lands to make it more clearly defined to avoid any future misinterpretation.

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House Floor Written Comments on HB 2181 HD2


Representative Jon Riki Karamatsu
House Floor Written Comments
House Bill 2181, House Draft 2
Tuesday, March 7, 2006

I rise in support.

This is a very historical bill that will enable Hawaii to have a diversified economy by supporting Hawaii-based businesses in the fields of technology, life sciences, and renewable energy. Currently, Hawaii is in the beginning stages of establishing a strong knowledge-based industry. Unlike other areas of the United States and world, Hawaii-based businesses in these fields lack the amount of capital investments needed to move them from product development to commercial success.

This measure will play a huge role in solidifying a new economy in Hawaii based on technology, life sciences, and renewable energy by establishing $100,000,000 Hawaii innovations partnership special fund for the fiscal year 2006-2007 to invest in these entrepreneurial ventures through grants and capital investments. Thereafter, from 2007 to 2011, there will be an annual appropriation of one-half of one percent of the general revenues of the State into this fund.

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House Floor Written Comments on HB 3080 HD1


Representative Jon Riki Karamatsu
House Floor Written Comments
House Bill 3080, House Draft 1
Tuesday, March 7, 2006

I rise in support.

This bill is a collaborative refinement by state and county film offices, industry and union representatives of a similar bill that stalled in conference during the 2005 legislative session. It offers significant, but reasonable incentives to stimulate the film and television industry, which experienced a $64 million drop in expenditures between 2004 and 2005.

The bill provides a tax credit amounting to 15 percent of qualified production costs incurred on Oahu, and 20 percent on Neighbor Islands, with a cap of $8 million per production. According to film industry officials, this would make Hawaii competitive with other jurisdictions.

The Department of Taxation submitted testimony in strong support of the measure, stating that the tax credit allows Hawaii to compete in the worldwide marketplace of filming locations and that it is budget neutral, meaning that the tax credit would not impact the state's current expenditures.

The success of “LOST” in winning the Emmy, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Awards has brought positive attention to the film industry in Hawaii. If we can seize the moment and compete with other localities around the world, we will generate revenue and create jobs for our community.

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