On October 25, 2006, I was invited to a reception for a Koi fish farm from Niigata, Japan that is setting up a Koi fish farm at Mililani Agriculture Park. I was surprised when they gave me a baby Koi fish that has white, orange, and black colors. I used to raise all kinds of freshwater tropical fish when I was a kid up until right before law school. I am in the process of setting up my old 55 gallon tank. I think I will name my fish “Chikara”, which means strength and has the same kanji character as my middle name “Riki”.
Monthly Archives: October 2006
I couldn’t sleep on the night of October 11 and in the early morning of October 12, 2006. As I laid down for hours, I came up with a fictional story that I hope to finish writing by December 31, 2007. In the story, there is tragedy, romance, spirituality, and a touch of politics.
I usually walk by myself door-to-door to greet neighbors, pass out my information pieces, and give everyone an opportunity to talk to me. My mom has expressed safety concerns about me doing this alone in the past. Recently, my good friend and campaign chair Stacey Hayashi has been walking with me.
Today, I was walking through Kupuohi Street with my female friends Stacey and Vaughn, greeting neighbors and passing out my fliers on policy I worked on for Hawaii as I have done in the past four years. I knocked on one door and it seemed nobody was home so I moved on. All of a sudden, this guy came out of his garage and started yelling at me, and said he was going to grab his shotgun and shoot me for leaving my flier on his door. In the past, I have been sweared at and yelled at by some people, but this was the first time someone threatened to kill me. I told him I was just trying to be accessible to my constituents (so they could talk to me about anything if they wanted to) and that I didn’t mean to bother him. He told his son to get his shotgun and instead, he headed to get it. I decided to just walk away with my two friends. He yelled again as we walked away. Unreal yeah?
In my 2004 election, my father, a good family friend, and an older lady supporter dropped off some of my information pieces on Kahakea Street. Then this guy without his shirt with a lot tattoos started yelling at them about leaving my information pieces. He started yelling about how he is a cop and made all “big body” to three 60-year-olds. The irony is, I supported legislation to help police officers. No shame that kind.
This is my advice to all of you. There will be times whether in person or on the road, you will face people who threaten you. Just stay calm and walk away. It is not worth dealing with people who cannot control their anger because the crazy thing is, if you confront them, they may harm you or even try to kill you, or you may do something in self-defense that could get you into some legal battles. We have seen some examples of this in the news. It is not worth it. Of course, report it to the police, if your life was indeed threatened. The way you can counter the negative people in our society is by being a good person to others. Channel negative energy and use it to do something postive, as practiced in Aikido and Buddhism.
Some of my friends and family think I am crazy that I am in politics. I have to admit, sometimes I think it is crazy. However, you know what keeps me going? There are a lot of good people out there that I want to work hard for so that they can be safe and have opportunities to live a good life. There are also a number of people that brainstorm with me on ideas to better society instead of just complain. We can’t let the negative people ruin everything. That is what keeps me going. I will take the hits for them.
Take care of yourselves and enjoy life to the fullest.
With Warmest Aloha,
Jon Riki Karamatsu
Aloha! I hope all is well with everyone. My campaign website and livejournal is a way for you to get an insight on who I am and the work I have done for our community and state.
I apologize that my website is outdated, as I need to put more information to reflect the accomplishments I achieved for our state in 2005 to 2006 and there are a number of fun pictures I would like to share with you. Nonetheless, my brochure sent before the Primary Election emphasized the work I did in 2005 and 2006, but I couldn't fit everything, thus, future brochures will show much more.
Serving as state representative for District 41, which consists of Waikele, Royal Kunia, Village Park, and Waipahu has been challenging and a great experience. In 2005, I was promoted in the House leadership as a Majority Whip. In the Summer of that year, I became Chair of the Economic Development and Business Concerns Committee, my “dream committee”.
The following is a summary of some of my personal policy accomplishments for Hawaii in my four years as a state representative:
Commission on the Status of Women (2003)
I helped organize legislators to stop Governor Linda Lingle from eliminating the Commission on the Status of Women, which works on policy affecting women such as discrimination, equal pay, domestic violence, and sex abuse.
Mandatory Ethics Training for State Government Officials (2003-2004)
I introduced and passed a mandatory ethics training bill to encourage better dialogue between the commission and government officials, which can help clear confusion in ethics rules.
Empower Native Hawaiian Craft Makers and Protect Consumers (2003-2004)
I introduced and passed a bill into law to require the Department of Agriculture to authenticate Ni’ihau shell leis to empower Hawaiian Ni’ihau shell lei makers and protect consumers from fraudulent sales.
Prevent Identity Theft (2003-2004)
I introduced a bill to remove the requirement for candidates to collect residents’ full social security numbers on their nomination forms. A similar bill to mine passed into law and now candidates only need to get their residents’ last four digits of their social security on their nomination forms.
Supporting Hawaii Filmmakers (2004)
I introduced a bill to give rental discounts at state film facilities to Hawaii filmmakers. This bill brought the issue to the attention of the Hawaii Film Office, which in turn decided to give these discounts administratively, and therefore legislative action was no longer necessary.
Developing a Film Industry in Hawaii (2006)
I introduced a bill to give 15% production tax credits on Oahu and 20% production tax credits on the neighbor islands to help the film industry attract more film projects to Hawaii and thus create more jobs for residents. The Senate companion bill to mine passed.
Renovations for Aloha Stadium (2004)
I introduced a resolution requesting the Department of Accounting and General Services to conduct a study on the cost of maintaining Aloha Stadium versus building a new stadium. Upon conclusion of the study, the department decided that renovation of Aloha Stadium would be more cost effective.
Develop Hawaii’s Technology Industry (2006)
I introduced and passed a bill to expand a grant program for technology businesses by including partnerships between companies and educational institutions in Hawaii.
Develop Hawaii’s Technology and Renewable Energy Industry (2005)
I introduced and passed a bill to float $10 million in special purpose revenue bonds for Hoku Scientific, Inc., which was used to build their facility in Kapolei. Investors in these bonds do not have to report their interest income for tax purposes. Hoku Scientific, Inc. is a materials science company focused on clean energy technologies, which will help Hawaii and the world be less reliant on fossil fuels. The company develops new products for hydrogen fuel cells and are now forming two new businesses: an integrated photovoltaic, or PV, module business, and a polysilicon business, which is a primary material used in the manufacture of PV modules.
Education to Prepare Our Children for the Knowledge-Based Economy (2003-2006)
I introduced a bill to create a kindergarten to twelfth grade science and technology magnet school to prepare our children for exciting careers in Hawaii’s knowledge-based economy such as science, technology, biotechnology, medical research, agricultural research, film, and digital media. Although my bill did not pass, a similar resolution passed, which will form a task force to create a plan in creating such a magnet school.
With Warmest Aloha,
Jon Riki Karamatsu
JON RIKI KARAMATSU’S VISION FOR HAWAII
I dream of making Hawaii a global economic power in technology, biotechnology, agricultural research, science, art, digital media, film, and alternative energy, which will benefit everyone. Entrepreneurs will play a significant role in creating new services and products. Skilled workers will be able to find jobs in Hawaii instead of leaving for the mainland United States. Labor will have more jobs in service, transporting goods, and building and maintaining infrastructure. The knowledge-based economy will be a wonderful addition to our tourism, military, and agriculture industries. This dream inspires me to keep working hard step by step. If island areas such as Japan and Taiwan can do it, so can Hawaii!
With a strong and diversified economy, more money will enter Hawaii and more revenues will be collected by the state. As a result, community programs will be positively impacted such as those working on drugs, domestic violence, sexual assault, at-risk youth, and crime.
In addition, I want to see Hawaii with a comprehensive recycling program where everyone participates. Every government building, transportation facility, college, private business, home, townhouse community trash location, and apartment building will have containers for “bottles and cans,” “burnable,” and “others. I will look to see if Hawaii can have a state-of-the-art facility to turn trash into re-usable material and convert processing energy into electricity. Technology will play a key role in recycling.
In regards to education, I would like to create a curriculum to get our children to be entrepreneurial with the lessons they learned in all their courses so they can understand that there is practicality in taking so many types of subject matters. I want to build a magnet science, technology and business school for students in the 8th to 12th grade levels. I also want to create a program encouraging parental involvement in their child’s education.
Further, I would like to see a modern mass transit system on Oahu that blends nicely with our city and environment. This system will stop at major locations throughout the island.
Finally, I hope a strong economy, an excellent education system, positive community programs, and increased parental involvement in their children’s lives will have a direct correlation in reducing crime. If so, that would top off my dream. I hope to achieve these goals in my political career.
JON’S INSPIRATION INTO POLITICS
I want to give you a little insight into what inspired me to enter politics. In my life, family members who enjoyed public service surrounded me. My grandfather Maurice Karamatsu who began his career as a messenger boy for Inter-Island Steam Navigation Company (Hawaiian Airlines) and retired as Vice President of Duty Free Shoppers Hawaii was heavily involved in the democratic process until his passing in 1992.
My father Richard Karamatsu, an electrical engineer at Pearl Harbor has always been active in community organizations such as the Jaycees, Momilani Community Association, American Youth Soccer Organization, and Pearl City High School PTSA. He served as president of the Pearl City High School PTSA even after I graduated, and none of his children were attending the school. My father still coaches and referees for youth soccer long after my two sisters and I stopped playing.
I have a lot of respect for the leaders before me such as the World War II Generation and Governor John A. Burns. As a young student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, I used to read books about Hawaii’s leaders and the struggles they went through to fight for equal rights, worker rights, women rights, modernizing Hawaii’s infrastructure, and developing tourism and agriculture. I believe Burns influenced me to run for office.
In the mid 1990s I was motivated to be involved in women, children, and social issues especially areas of domestic abuse and sexual assault as a result of experiences my friends and acquaintances went through.
In college, I studied on how strong economies maintained healthy societies. I want to develop our knowledge-based industries such as technology, biotechnology, agricultural research, science, art, digital media, film, and alternative energy where we, the minds of people in Hawaii, create products and services that will compete in the global economy.
Just as the leaders of the past gave me an opportunity to learn through public school and the University of Hawaii, I am focused on the education of our kids. I want to prepare future generations to play a significant role in developing our knowledge-based economy.
Finally, just as Gov. John A. Burns influenced me, I hope to influence others to better Hawaii, especially the younger generation. Gov. Burns died in April 1975 when I was only three months old, but his work touched my heart years later. Likewise, all it takes is for one kid to feel my message and pick it up.