So Hashem is a bad guy, rather than a good guy? I'm confused. At least he introduced a bill to address the problem. Who in the legislature is responsible for the bill not getting those two committee hearings to which you refer in your latest email? Was it up to Hashem to move the bill along and he dropped the ball, or just what happened? We need to know if there is someone who is responsible so we can target that individual with our email and political action.
Quieter O'ahu Response
We're not saying Rep Hashem is a bad guy. Just that Rep Hashem apparently did not put his support behind this Bill. First, although the Bill was originated by Rep Hashem, it seems that this was in "name only." By that we mean that while Rep Hashem introduced the Bill, he shortly thereafter began distancing himself by adding beside his name as sponsor "introduced by request of another party." This can be seen at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=225&year=2017 . We believe the "other party" references one of Rep Hashem's constituents who had contacted Rep Hashem on numerous occasions about noise problems in his district. We believe this by emails from Rep Hashem's staff to this constituent indicating that there was strong opposition to "his bill" (the constituents) from motorcycle and scooter riders but no support from the community. That led that constituent to contact Quieter O'ahu and the petition to Rep Hashem. Incidentally, when we closed the petition we had greater support than the opposition by about 6-to-1. Too, we were concerned about wording of the Bill which stipulated that no muffler could be louder than 65dB. 65dB is about the noise of an office setting. We pointed this out to Rep Hashem and his staff via emails and provided recommendations that the noise level be modified to 82dB, the noise level of most motorcycle OEM exhausts and the level approved by the EPA. Also, because noise exceeding any decibel threshold is so difficult to prove in court (HPD is on record saying they have no sound measuring equipment nor do HPD officers have any training in measuring sound levels) we proposed changing the language of the Bill to adopt the "Plainly Audible Standard" (PAS) - a standard used increasingly by municipalities across the US with good success. The PAS simply says that if noise can be heard beyond a given number of feet, it is in excess of noise thresholds. We provided recommend distances for autos, scooter/motorcycles, and trucks based upon the model used effectively by New York City in their noise ordinances. We also proposed edits to HB225 to make it more easily enforced by HPD. We received no response from Rep Hashem nor his staff to ANY of our emails.
Further to your question, yes, it is the responsibility of a Bill's sponsor to actively move a sponsored bill through committee, coordinate with leadership for introduction and readings, and ultimately to ensure it makes it onto the legislative agenda for the current year and has the support of colleagues to pass a house vote. Far from being an automatic process, without proactive support, care, and shepherding, any bill introduced will simply die without having a reading. That is what happened to Bill HB225. Rep Hashem can tell his constituents that he introduced noise legislation, but that it wasn't taken up by the legislature. All true. Unless you understand the sausage-making that must go on behind the scenes and whether or not anyone was even trying to make the sausage. In this case it appears no one was.
If you review the several noise laws we have posted at Quieter O'ahu at http://www.quieteroahu.com/hawaii-noise-laws.html you will see that MOST were written with the notion that "too loud" meant whoever was enforcing could make the case in court that it was too loud. In most cases this would mean having sound measurements of the offending noise done by a trained HPD officer. Again, HPD has no sound measuring equipment nor are any HPD officers trained in sound measurement. Hence, these laws are not enforced by HPD. While we do not have access to ALL records of citation issuance by HPD, the 5 year sample that we were able to obtain shows that the average HPD officer could be expected to write only 4/10ths (four tenths) of 1 noise-related citation in a 20 year career. Our samples and analysis can be found here: http://www.quieteroahu.com/hpds-poor-record-of-enforcement.html . If there are numbers from HPD or the Attorney General to refute this, we would be pleased to post them.
To the matter of "Fault," It is the entire legislative process and the City Council of Honolulu that is at fault here. Our legislators and our elected council are all FULLY aware of the noise problems we confront, but it is too controversial to fix. Because doing so requires going head-to-head against monied special interest who are quick to put their money against any elected official who would challenge them. To change that dynamic requires that we be better organized than the money. That we can direct more votes in support of candidates supporting noise legislation than they can influence against candidates who support noise legislation.
We here at Quieter O'ahu - the few we are - are slowly but effectively building a mailing list of Hawai'i residents who are tired of the noise and who, we hope, will respond to issues like this by holding the feet of their council, Representatives, and Senators to the fire by voting their displeasure. We are approaching 200 names on our distribution list now. When we have more than 1000 and those names attach their voices and votes perhaps we will merit the attention of elected representatives.
Thanks again for your note.
A Quieter O'ahu