Welcome to our two newest additions to The Outdoor Circle: Gracie and Myles. We continue to build our in-office internship program and very excited to have two interns this Fall. If anyone is interested in gaining work experience while pitching in to help keep our islands beautiful, please contact our office.
Myles Ritchie recently graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Environmental Geography and is working towards his Masters Degree in this field of study. He will be interning for The Outdoor Circle for a full year, helping us to better protect the natural beauty of our islands. He originally hails from Toronto, Canada where his work focused on the fields of EIS and GIS.
Gracie Thatcher is a graduate of Punahou School and Loyola University Chicago. She has a degree in International Relations and Business with a focus on multi-cultural communications. She is well-traveled, most recently returning from an internship in Italy. Over the summer, Gracie interned for The Circle while working part-time. This Fall she will continue her work helping us with data management, communications, and community outreach.
SB 632 is now Act 218, SLH 2014!
We celebrated this great victory for the environment with a luncheon at HASR Bistro in Honolulu. See all the pictures from the great event here.
We owe a very special thanks to our heroes:
Committee Chairs Rep. Chris Lee and Sen. Mike Gabbard, as well as advocates Jan Dapitan, Alice Greenwood, DOCARE Chief Randy Awo and Dean Denise Antolini. It is because of your leadership, determination, and willingness to work together that this bill became law after so many years of effort.
We also want to give a shout out to the many groups that helped this bill along the way, including: Keep Hawaiian Islands Beautiful, Get the Drift and Bag It, Kua‘aina Ulu ‘Auamao, Nani O Wai‘anae, Conservation International, Department of Land and Natural Resources, and students at the William S. Richardson School of Law's Environmental Law Program.
To learn more about the Environmental Court in Hawaii, click here.
Honolulu, Hawai‘i (July 21, 2014) -- City officials confirmed this afternoon that a pilot for Aerial Banners North was arrested today at Dillingham Airfield after flying banners over O‘ahu once again.
The Outdoor Circle applauds the City and County of Honolulu for fully enforcing the ordinance prohibiting aerial advertising in Hawaii.
"Thank you Mayor Caldwell and everyone with the City for enforcing Hawaii aerial advertising ban," said Marti Townsend, Executive Director of The Outdoor Circle. "This arrest sends a strong message that the people of Hawaii are serious about protecting our natural beauty. We will not tolerate attempts like this to circumvent our advertising laws.”
Mahalo to all the people who helped enforce this law by reporting plane-sightings to the Honolulu Police Department.
by Alexandra Avery, President
Yes, big hugs all around. Thank you to all our members who have been hard at work this busy summer. Beside the incident with that little yellow plane towing banners through our beautiful skies, here is a run-down of what we have been doing to keep Hawai‘i clean, green, and beautiful.
In June, Marti Townsend and I attended the third Land Use Division Task Force. It is a fifteen month review of the process for changing state land use designations. We are aware that this is a state mandated review, and that the last one five years ago, imploded before any reforms were decided on. We are seeing the struggles involved in this process, where few people are experts in the changing stewardship of our public lands.
May brought the formation of three new Working Groups under Public Affairs:
As it has been our goal this past year to keep general Honolulu issues within the Oahu branches, we are very grateful that our Manoa branch volunteers are leading these three committees.
Our Bill 69 Working Group, chaired by North Shore branch member Kathy Whitmire, has achieved a temporary stay with the bill that would have allowed billboards on buses. It was a lot of campaigning and testifying, which involved volunteers from all Oahu branches. Thank you!
We are hoping the recent incident with that “little yellow plane” will turn the Mayor off to the idea of ads on our buses. Still, we are collecting petition signatures, and Oahu Outdoor Circle volunteers are participating in Neighborhood Board presentations of our position on Bill 69. This needs to be done from August through November. The two NB’s that have counseled NO on Bill 69 are Kailua NB and Hawaii Kai NB.
Our Public Affairs Committee is still seeking a Chair. It has been meeting the first Tuesday of each month, in the office at noon. Neighbor island members are encouraged to call-in to the meeting. Since we have divided the efforts into Working Committees with their own meeting dates, the Public Affairs Committee can better focus on and oversee statewide issues. In addition to a Chair, the PAC seeks representatives from all branches to be able to best represent statewide interests. Please call the office to lend your representation.
In late May, I represented The Outdoor Circle in a Community Forum on Kaka‘ako. It was extremely encouraging to see that there was almost total support of enlarging the public green spaces in the area. Parks were a big concern, especially Mother Waldron Park, the epicenter of the first phase of 450’ buildings. I thank Marti Townsend and Jerry Lam who attended the evening forum as well.
The meeting was filmed by Olelo and will be rebroadcast on Chanel 54 on June 20 at 2:30 pm. An audio recording of the meeting is also available on demand at the ThinkTech Hawaii website under the title "A Vision for Kakaako”.
The biggest concern coming out of the Kaka’ako Working Group is the diminished public green space, the ground level landscaping requirements, and the pressure being put on Waldron Park. As many towns are now privatizing public parks, the working group is taking into consideration this possibility for Honolulu. We would like your thoughts on this subject. When this question came up a few years ago, TOC recommended against the C&C allowing private sponsorship of public park facilities. Is there a way public-private partnerships could be used properly to benefit our public parks?
Thomas Square park is also going to be experiencing big changes with the designed rail station and the constant pressure from adjoining businesses to spill out and feed into the park. Several trees in the park have been recently removed due to a stem gall wasp infestation. Replanting will be done after the master planning process is completed. Steve Mechler and Marty Schiller seek other interested volunteers on this working group.
It was a pleasure to attend the Lani-Kailua annual meeting at Kane‘ohe Yacht Club, with great food and views, and to hear Heidi Bornhorst speak of the tree mapping project they have just completed at the UH Manoa Campus.
Several professional arborists and landscapers on our board have been moving toward the planting of the Exceptional Tree promised to the Washington Place garden when we met there last fall. It is a long and winding tale, including finally finding the appropriate tree on the Big Isle, and as of now, wading through the process of getting it in the ground. I thank Steve Mechler for finding the Pak Lan which is to compliment the existing one at the front entry of Washington Place. We are getting closer!
The Education Committee Chair, Cindie Ogata, is organizing a school planting project available to all branches as a partnership with the Polynesian Voyaging Society. More details coming soon.
The Lani-Kailua branch spearheaded comments criticizing the development proposed for Kawainui Marsh. And the Waimea branch participated in a major clean-up of downtown Waimea Town in partnership with Matson Company.
Please mark your calendars for our August 14th Annual Meeting and installation of new officers in Manoa. Our next Board meeting will be August 15th.
And support The Outdoor Circle with the purchase of a $5 pass to savings at Macy's on August 23rd.
Mahalo Star Advertiser for your editorial on saying NO to aerial advertising. Click here to read the article.
Aloha! Thank you to everyone that reported the illegal aerial advertising over the holiday weekend. Here is the latest article from The Honolulu Star Advertiser. Click here to read it.
Here is our July 7th public statement on the matter:
Last weekend, a Florida company opened shop in Honolulu by flying a little yellow plane over O‘ahu dragging a big advertisement. This company thinks that a waiver it received from the Federal Aviation Administration regarding federal safety regulations entitles it to also violate Hawai‘i’s longstanding ban on billboards. Boy, are they wrong!
With your help, we can make sure the laws that protect our beautiful skylines remain in full effect.
Here is what you can do:
1) If you see the little yellow plane dragging an advertisement, please take a picture and note the date, time, and location of the sighting. If you can see the tail number on the plane, note that as well.
2) Report this information to:
Honolulu Police Department (call 9-11), and
The Outdoor Circle (mail(at)outdoorcircle.org).
Your reports can be anonymous. We’ll use this information in support of an enforcement action against the company. (Remember, it’s a $500 fine for every violation and up to 3 months in prison).
3) Write a letter to your favorite local publication about your experience of this little yellow plane and its illegal advertising. Did it interfere with your enjoyment of Hawai‘i’s natural beauty and open view planes?
4) Support The Outdoor Circle! Staying on top of these regular assaults on Hawai‘i's enviable sign laws is hard work and we need the support of you -- those who benefit from our work -- to keep up our day-to-day operations. Click now to make a secure and meaningful donation to the Circle today and continue to keep Hawai‘i clean, green, and beautiful. Mahalo!
FAQ's on AERIAL ADVERTISING IN HAWAI‘I
Why is the little yellow plane bad?
State law and county ordinances in Hawaii outlaw billboards, including aerial banners. Click here to read: Hawai‘i Revised Statute §445-111 thru 13; click here to read Revised Ordinances of Honolulu §40-6.1 thru 6.2. This little yellow plane from Florida is flying over O‘ahu with advertising banners, in violation of these laws.
Why is aerial advertising so bad?
This little yellow plane is the coqui frog of visual blight in Hawai‘i. If we do not prevent it getting established here, then in a short time Hawai‘i will be over run with aerial advertising from manned and unmanned aerial vehicles. We are already experiencing an arms race of sorts in bus and car advertising. We cannot allow this new invasive species to take hold and further degrade Hawai‘i’s natural beauty and our amazing viewplanes.
Basically, because we value our natural beauty and open space so much -- both financially and emotionally -- that we agreed along ago that billboards are bad for Hawaii, and it does not matter if they are on a building, bus, or bi-plane.
Did the FAA allow them to advertise with aerial banners despite our laws?
No. The Federal Aviation Administration gave the little yellow plane a waiver from FAA safety regulations regarding aerial banner towing. This waiver does not apply to other state and county laws the company has to follow. In fact, the FAA regulations regarding “certificates of waiver or authorization” specifically says:
“The grant of a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization constitutes relief from the specific regulations stated, to the degree and for the period of time specified in the certificate, and does not waive any state law or local ordinance. Should the proposed operations conflict with any state law or local ordinance, or require permission of local authorities or property owners, it is the applicant’s responsibility to resolve the matter.” Click here to read FAA regulations 18-1-2.
Do they have a free speech right to advertise in this way?
No. The 9th Circuit Court ruled in 2006 that because Hawai‘i’s billboard ban – and specifically our ban on aerial advertising – is content neutral it does not violate the First Amendment guarantee to free speech. By content neutral, the court means our advertising laws apply to everybody regardless of what they are saying or how they are saying it. Other cities have tried to regulate advertising based on whether it was offensive or ugly and the courts have ruled those attempts do violate free speech rights because what might be offensive or ugly to one person, might be a fundamental belief worthy of constitutional protection. Unlike these other places, Hawai‘i has a general rule that nobody – no matter what they are saying – can express themselves through billboards. There are many, many ways other than billboards to express ones beliefs and to advertise for products and services.
Moreover, the people of Hawai‘i are empowered to protect our best interests, including our economic and emotional interest in our natural viewplanes. The 9th Circuit wrote that:
“In actuality, the ordinance is designed to protect what is perhaps the state’s most valuable and fragile economic asset-the natural beauty upon which Hawaii’s tourism economy relies. Revenue generated by tourism accounts for almost one quarter of Hawaii’s gross domestic product, and almost one third of the state’s employment. Studies, and common sense, indicate that the scenic beauty of Hawaii is one of the primary factors weighed by potential visitors when determining whether to spend their vacation dollars in Hawaii or another locale. More than half a billion dollars have been spent in the past five years on improvements to public areas in Waikiki, and a large proportion of these expenditures were for primarily aesthetic enhancements.” Center for Bio-Ethical Reform v. Honolulu, 445 F.3d 910, 923 (9th Cir., 2006).
The Greenleaf is the online newsletter and blog of The Outdoor Circle. Here you will find updates on the projects and accomplishments of our many branches throughout the state, as well as programs with statewide impact.