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.
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).
"OUR VIEW: Hawaii's parks need attention"
Editorial from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Saturday, Jun 07, 2014
Thanks to the editorial board of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser for highlighting the critical need to invest in our public greenspaces. Below are excerpts of their editorial. Also, big mahalo to the Trust for Public Land for publishing an excellent report ranking Honolulu against other major cities on the quality of its parks. We could not agree more! With your support organizations like The Outdoor Circle can collaborate to improve public park space throughout the Hawaiian Islands! Click here to show your support!
"As Oahu's population increases and urban redevelopment crowds more people into the close quarters of high-rise living, creating and preserving vibrant green spaces for recreation and relaxation must be a higher priority. It's much better for the city if those green spaces are on ground level, open to all, rather than private aeries limited to the wealthy denizens of a single luxury building.
By Alexandra Avery
The 2014 Legislative session ended with a big win for the environment (and The Outdoor Circle): establishment of a statewide Environmental Court. This new approach to enforcing our environmental laws will facilitate future efforts of our branches and volunteers to keep Hawai’i Clean, Green, and Beautiful. I want to especially thank the members who showed up at public hearings and spoke for the Circle. This was a major accomplishment for the Circle, considering this was our first Legislative Session without our long-time lead advocate and veteran lobbyist, Bob Loy. It was not easy, but volunteers worked hard to keep up our legislative presence in his absence. We should all feel good about the achievements made during this year’s session.
I have been encouraged by our branches outreach into the communities they serve. The good stewardship of Outdoor Circle members is evident throughout the state. We are a volunteer driven group that depends on annual memberships, donations and grants to make our projects and advocacy possible. We count on you to be stewards of the land and to help further our commitment to the environment.
Please help us to expand our membership and raise donations by telling your neighbors and friends about The Outdoor Circle and the work of its nine branches throughout the state. Share this newsletter with your friends and visit our website (www.outdoorcircle.org) and facebook page (www.facebook.com/TheOutdoorCircle). Download membership forms by clicking here and help encourage new people in your neighborhood to join-up. Call us for more ways in which you can easily be a Circle ambassador or to get involved in one of our committees: 808-593-0300.
We are lucky to have so many kupuna in our Circle, since of course we are such an ‘old organization.’ All of our branches are working to mentor in the next generation of Outdoor Circle leaders. Our leadership circle is available to speak to your neighbors or organization. We will be honoring these kupuna at our Annual Meeting in August. Hope you will join us and bring a future leader.
We are pleased to initiate a new column in the Green Leaf: Under The Canopy. This is YOUR column to share news of and from our membership. The first report is from East Honolulu branch member Christiane Kau‘i Lucas. What would you like to contribute to this column? Email us at email@example.com.
Black tarps currently surround Mother Waldron Park, a registered historic landmark and a beloved urban park in downtown Honolulu. The park is undergoing renovations as part of the mitigations for the newly completed Halekauwila Place. Stanford Carr Development committed to improving the park by planting 15 new trees, including a new Royal Poinciana on the ewa-makai corner of the park, as well as repair the park’s irrigation, re-seed the grassy open area, and renovate the playcourts. Renovations are expected to take several months to complete.
The Outdoor Circle will be keeping watch over the renovations, so you can expect project updates to be posted here.
Volunteers from our five branches on O’ahu worked hard to stop the passage of Bill 69, which would have allowed billboards on the outside of city buses. Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi, chair of the Budget Committee, committed to deferring the fundraising measure for one year. The City Council passed a buget that restores key bus routes without resorting to bus billboard advertising to raise funds.
The challenge now is to identify additional sources of revenue for the City that can help to sustain basic city services (like buses and parks) without undermining the best interests of our community. Some of your suggestions for revenue sources have been proffered to the Council members in private meetings. Stay tuned as this issue continues to be discussed.
In the meantime, continue to build support for maintaining Hawaii’s ban on billboards by collecting signatures of the petition against bus billboards, talking to your Neighborhood Board and City Councilmember, and supporting The Outdoor Circle.
SB 632 just passed both the Hawaii Senate and House. This is huge. Below is the statement we made to the press. Thank you to everyone who supported this bill along the way -- and a special thank you to Jan Dapitan on Maui and Chris Woolaway on O`ahu for their long-standing commitment to getting this bill passed.
Stay tuned for more updates as we work to ensure this bill passes the Governor's desk and further support the actual implementation of the new Environmental Courts in Hawai‘i.
By Marti Townsend, Executive Director
Hawai‘i's State House and Senate are meeting to cast the final vote on SB632 -- the bill to create an environmental court in Hawai‘i. Thanks to the support of so many, this bill is very close to passing. Your support will help push this bill to become a law!
Click the links below to email elected officials in support SB632:
• Email all Senators (firstname.lastname@example.org)
• Email all Representatives (email@example.com)
• Click here to see a list of all elected officials, their phone numbers, emails, and districts.
(Talking points on the bill are at the bottom on this post)
An environmental court in Hawai‘i will ensure that cases related to protection of our natural environment and public health will be efficiently and effectively adjudicated. SB632 provides that all cases related to statutes protecting public health and the environment are heard on the same court calendar. This alleviates the challenge of managing court dockets (and resources) between cases related to the environment and other cases, like violations against private property or people. Establishing a specific docket for environmental cases allows judges in this court to give proper attention to these cases, while developing their own expertise in this area of law.
This also sends a strong message to agency enforcement staff -- and the public -- that violations of environmental protections are taken very seriously in Hawai‘i. In the past, we have seen too often environmental cases dismissed early, when cases for other felonies or misdemeanors are continued and resolved.
It is true that Hawai‘i's court system has been particularly good at addressing procedural issues related to actions that might damage the environment -- the Superferry, H-3, and Waiahole water decisions immediately come to mind as examples of the courts acting to protect the environment. However, when dealing with day-to-day infractions of environmental protections -- think of catching undersized fish, releasing chlorinated pool water into storm drains, improper disposal of unwanted household or construction material -- our system of enforcement is sorely lacking. Illegal dumps along the road-side, undersized and out-of-season fish for sale at markets, pollution in our streams and nearshore waters are all testament to the failure of our system to enforcement the laws that are meant to protect us and our environment.
Some agencies are improving their enforcement procedures. The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has enacted a new criminal violation system that better trains and empowers their officers and streamlines the agency-level decision making process for tickets issued for violations. This effort needs to be adopted by other state and county agencies. At the same time, our court system needs to complement the agency-level effort by ensuring that environmental cases brought to court are given the same strenuous review as other felonies and misdemeanors. Having all cases related to these kinds of environmental infractions heard at the same time, as opposed to intermingled with other cases, will encourage consistent and well-informed resolution of these environmental cases.
While there are more than 360 environmental courts around the world, Hawai‘i would be one of two states to have a statewide court at the district and circuit levels focused on adjudication of environmental laws. Other communities with environmental courts include: Vermont, Washington State, Tennessee, New York, Virginia, Georgia, and Colorado, among others.
A very informative report on the importance of environmental courts is found at this link: Greening Justice - Creating and Improving Environmental Courts and Tribunals by Pring & Pring.
Please take a quick moment to lend your voice to the effort to pass SB632 and establish Hawai‘i's Environmental Court.
• Email all Senators
• Email all Representatives
By Kau‘i Lucas
April brought more than showers to Hawaii shores. Some of the worlds leaders in addressing Climate Change visited the islands, as well. UH Sea Grant & Sen. Brian Schatz brought together national and local leaders to develop, promote, and finance sustainable solutions to the problems we face in Hawai‘i along with key stakeholders from government, industry, academia, the private sector, on April 15th to recommend specific action steps. Presenters included former Vice President Al Gore and US Senator Barbara Boxer. The following week Bill McKibben, author, environmentalist, and founder of 350.org, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement, spoke to a packed house, at UH Art Auditorium. Gore and McKibben were both passionate and fact filled. Gore, ever the politician, sounded the alarm more gently than McKibben, but one fact both shared was this stunner: The total amount of man-made global warming pollution surrounding the planet and the atmosphere today now traps enough extra energy every 24 hours to equal the energy release by 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs going off every single day. (http://cnsnews.com/news/article/gore-energy-release-equal-400000-hiroshima-atomic-bombs-going-every-day)
Not surprising then that the take home message was: we can win this, but we ALL have to take action NOW.
Updated on April 24, 2014:
The Budget Committee voted to pass Bill 69 for second reading. The Honolulu City Council plans to hear the bill on May 7th at 10 AM at Honolulu Hale. If you care about this issue, please attend this important hearing.
From Kathy, Chair of the Bill 69 Working Group:
The City Council’s Budget Committee is once again considering Mayor Caldwell’s proposal to sell advertising on the outside of city buses. Hawaii is too beautiful for bus billboards! Our public bus service should not be held hostage to such an ineffective fundraising scheme.
Many of you worked hard back in January to convince the Budget Committee to defer consideration of the proposal for billboards on buses. They did defer the bill. But now that the Council is closer to voting on the final budget and the issue of Bill 69 is back on the agenda for Wednesday, April 23. There will be a hearing that morning, probably at 9 AM
If we work hard now, we can kill off this bad idea of bus billboards and stop the Mayor from holding bus service improvements hostage to advertising signs.
Here’s what each of us needs to do right now:
1. Prepare and submit testimony for the budget committee meeting on Apr. 23. You can fax your testimony to: or email it to:firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com,firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Make plans to attend the hearing, if at all possible. Bring your friends. We need to have a strong showing at this hearing to demonstrate support for keeping Honolulu billboard free. Click here to sign up to testify.
3. Forward the action alert email from The Outdoor Circle to other friends who share our concern for scenic beauty. If you are a Facebook user, post it on your Facebook page. “Like” The Outdoor Circle for more updates.
4. Call your Council Member to express opposition to Bill 69 even if your member of Council is not on the budget committee. (The Council Members do talk with each other!) Here is a list of all Council members with their phone numbers and their districts.
5. Call the office of each member of the budget committee to express opposition to Bill 69. That’s Chair Ann Kobayashi, Chair; Carol Fukunaga, Joey Manahan, Kimberley Pine, and Stanley Chang.
Our message is simple:
1. We cherish the scenic beauty of this island. Allowing advertising signs to mar this beauty is counter to all we hold dear. Rolling billboards are just as bad as the stationary ones The Outdoor Circle got rid of a century ago!
2. The Mayor and City Council must restore the cuts that were made in Oahu’s bus service. But they cannot hold bus service hostage to a plan for billboard advertising that will damage our scenic beauty. They must be creative and find the money somewhere else.
3. Bill 69 creates a false promise of new revenue because of its many legal problems. We already saw how previous efforts to regulate advertising content produced years of expensive litigation around aerial advertising. Bus billboards are a bad idea. The Budget Committee must kill this bill right now.
This is the time for all of us to take action. Hawaii is too beautiful for bus billboards.
Mahalo for your continuing commitment to keep Oahu free of rolling billboards on our buses.
For examples of what Honolulu could be in for if bus billboards are allowed, click here to see TOC's Facebook photo album.
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.