Saturday, October 19, 2019

Hawaii Joins Other States to Oppose Calculation of Federal Poverty Threshold

Attorney General Clare E. Connors said Hawaii has joined a multistate coalition of 21 attorneys general, led by Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and New York Attorney General Letitia James, in submitting a comment letter to the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB), opposing a proposal to change the way the federal poverty threshold is calculated. According to the attorneys general, an adjustment could result in millions of Americans becoming ineligible for, or entitled to less, government-funded benefits.

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Report Shows Hawaii Third-Most Dangerous State for Elderly Pedestrians

Dangerous by Design 2019 ranked Hawai‘i 30th in the nation based on the number of overall pedestrian fatalities. However, Hawai‘i is the third-most dangerous state for pedestrians 50 and older.

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Hawai‘i Department of Health Launches Senior Fall Prevention Awareness Campaign

The Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) launched its annual senior fall prevention awareness campaign on June 17 and it will continue through July 27.

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State Leaders Meet with Private Sector Leaders to Discuss Energy Innovation

he Chamber of Commerce Hawaii and Hawaii Energy hosted a roundtable discussion with Mayors Kirk Caldwell, Derek Kawakami and Michael Victorino, and Hawaii County Deputy Director of Research and Development Ron Whitmore on Hawaii’s leading role in energy innovation to confront climate change through efficiency and renewable resources.

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What's Up, Attorney?

O-1 Visa as an Alternative to H-1B Visa

By Atty. Reuben S. Seguritan

There are different kinds of visas to bring a foreign national to the United States for a definite period of time. One of those visas is the O-1 nonimmigrant work visa for foreign nationals with extraordinary abilities. The foreign national must be sponsored by a US employer or agent. Foreign nationals cannot sponsor themselves for the O-1 visa. The advantage of the O-1 visa over other work visas such as the H-1B visa is there is no cap or yearly limit.

The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for a foreign national who possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.

“Extraordinary” ability or achievement is a high standard that must be met in order to be approved for the O-1 visa. Evidence must be presented to support at least 3 of the 8 categories enumerated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). These are:

  1. Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor;
  2. Membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought which require outstanding achievements, as judged by recognized national or international experts in the field;
  3. Published material in professional or major trade publications, newspapers or other major media about the beneficiary and the beneficiary’s work in the field for which classification is sought;
  4. Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;
  5. Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media in the field for which classification is sought;
  6. A high salary or other remuneration for services as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence;
  7. Participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in a field of specialization allied to that field for which classification is sought; and
  8. Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation.

The 8 categories stated by the USCIS is not exclusive. Other comparable evidence may be presented to meet the “extraordinary” ability or achievement requirement.

There are different visas in the O-1 visa classification. The O-1A visas are for foreign nationals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (not including the arts, motion pictures or television industry). The O-1B visas are for foreign nationals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry. The O-2 visas are for foreign nationals who will accompany an O-1, artist or athlete, to assist in a specific event or performance. For an O-1A, the O-2’s assistance must be an “integral part” of the O-1A’s activity. For an O-1B, the O-2’s assistance must be “essential” to the completion of the O-1B’s production. The O-2 foreign national has critical skills and experience with the O-1 that cannot be readily performed by a US worker and which are essential to the successful performance of the O-1 foreign national. The O-3 visas are for foreign nationals who are the spouse or children of O-1’s and O-2’s

O-1 visas are considered as “dual intent visas.” The O-1 foreign national is not required to show foreign residence to prove that he has an intent to return to that country. This means that the granting or extension of the O-1 visa cannot be denied even though a labor certification or a petition leading to permanent residence in the US is filed on behalf of the O-1 foreign national. However, the O-2 visa accompanying foreign national must be going to the US temporarily and must show that he has residence abroad. Hence, the O-2 visa foreign national must show that he will only be temporarily in the US to assist the O-1 visa foreign national.

REUBEN S. SEGURITAN has been practicing law for over 30 years. For further information, you may call him at (212) 695 5281 or log on to his website at

Candid Perspectives

After The Shootings, Who Will Make America Maganda Again? by Emil GUILLERMO Paternalism has always been built in U.S./Philippine relations. Philippine democracy was created in the U.S. image. Filipinos were always seen as “Little Brown Brother.” The week after the shooting in Dayton, I was a step ahead of the president. After time on the east coast, I’m trying to get back home. Trump’s trying to look like he cares. He was just starting his “Condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy, I really mean it,” tour. It’s where presidential responsibility as consoler-in-chief meets campaign self-interest. Prior to last weekend, Dayton’s claim to fame was as the birthplace of the Wright Brothers. Now that’s been eclipsed by Dayton’s new identity as yet another site of American gun terrorism. It joins the list that includes Columbine, Orlando, Oak Creek, Aurora, Pittsburgh, Sandy Hook, Parkland, San Bernadino, Las Vegas, Poway, Gilroy, and El Paso. I know some places are missing. No disrespect intended. There are just too many in the recent past to remember. That’s why I felt compelled to drive through Dayton. It wasn’t just on the way. It’s so I will never forget. You always hope to see some Asian Americans at public displays of political involvement, but usually you don’t. Then I found what for me, your itinerant reporter/commentator, what was like a mini-holy grail. An Asian American! At Ned Pepper’s bar, the scene of the Dayton massacre. And he was holding a protest sign. Luong Vo stood out and yelled at the media who had parachuted in and set up shop across the street in order to use the crime as their backdrop. Vo didn’t want to be just a backdrop. “Save our city,” Vo said aloud in a solo chant, the same phrase that was on his sign. It was a sentiment that other Dayton residents had, as they all took turns speaking out, their rage still thick after a Saturday night that left their city in grief. Their cries were directed for the world to hear through a wailing wall of media. But it was also a message for Trump. Some wanted the president and Mitch McConnell to man up and take action on gun control. Some wanted the president to know this wasn’t Toledo, a reference to the president’s blunder at his Monday press conference, forgetting Dayton by name, like many others have in the past. Others didn’t want him there at all. One stationary sign said: “Our grief is not a commodity.” Vo wasn’t part of the group that wanted the president to go home. Vo stood there as the only Asian American Dayton resident who simply wanted Trump to take action. And he represented a bit of common ground that might exist in the political equation. Whether black or white, Republican or Democrat, Vo’s sign simply spoke to the pain of Dayton. “I want to see something happen,” he told me when I asked him why he was there. “I want to help this city. It has suffered a lot.” Vo told me he had lived in Dayton since he arrived more than 30 years ago, without any money or family, and without knowing any English. He still spoke in a heavily accented tongue. But he knew English well enough to show his patriotism. “I love this country,” he told me. “If you don’t love America, don’t come here.” Vo wore an Ohio ball cap, a shirt that said “America First,” indicative of his “love it or leave it” tendencies. On the back of his lime green shirt was the message, “Stop Corruption with Term Limits. Keep our country safe” over an American flag. It sounded like an old Tea Party T-shirt that a pre-Trump Republican would wear. In fact, in the crowd was the former Ohio governor John Kasich. Vo said he was going to vote for Clinton in the last election, but thought she was corrupt and voted for Trump. Mention corruption, and he goes apoplectic. “When they become a politician they have no money; after that, they become a millionaire, billionaire. They’re like the Communists,” Vo said in a reference to the politics of his former country. “They love people but they do nothing. The politicians today, we need to get them out. They need to take care of our people first.” And that’s why Vo’s message is plain and unmistakable. A refrain heard from the majority of protestors. Do something. Don’t forget Dayton. Trump may have been rich before he got Vo’s vote. But it’s been documented. Trump has enriched himself while president. Vo wants him to take action now, to see what happened and do something. Hopefully, the right thing. Tougher gun laws? Background checks? Money to restore the city’s faith in public safety? Vo didn’t specify. But he has one point everyone can agree on. Do something. Or else. He was the loudest voice when I was there, the only Asian American in the crowd. A swing protestor. Not typical of the Trump base. He’s a guy named Vo who votes, who hopes Trump won’t gaslight him or his city. Or else. There’s an election in 2020. And Vo hates corrupt politicians. But that’s Vo. There are still some Republicans, Filipinos included who are hanging in there in support of Trump as if “MAGA” was more maganda than it is. Make America Maganda again? Everything has certainly turned ugly under Trump. CONTINUING THE DRIVE I left the scene in front of the memorial at Ned Pepper’s and continued driving through America. When I left DC, one Filipino friend of mine thought it was crazy. He didn’t like driving. But he really didn’t like America where it was right now. He didn’t feel safe as a person of color. And he told me that before El Paso and Dayton happened. It’s a strange thing to be fearful of Americans, but Trump’s hate rhetoric is real. As I drive through Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Missouri, I notice I’m too often the only Asian around. I started to miss Vo. I’ve driven cross country before, and I remember being impressed by the confluence of the Missouri and the Mississippi Rivers–when I first saw it in 1978. This time, it didn’t quite look like everything flowed together as mightily. Just like everything else in America. On this trip, people have been cordial in general. But I still feel the stares. Foreigner. Brown skin. They don’t see Harvard degree. They don’t see me. They don’t even talk to me. Or they look at me and say, “California plates, eh?” It’s code for “Not from here.” They still see “the other” in 2019 America. That’s not maganda.


Suicide is Not About Dying by Melissa Martin, Ph.D. Individuals that die by suicide do not want to die, they want the excruciating mental pain in their brain to stop. They want the feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, anguish, and despair to go away. Why Do People Attempt Suicide? “A suicide attempt is a clear indication that something is gravely wrong in a person’s life. No matter the race or age of the person; how rich or poor they are, it is true that most people who die by suicide have a mental or emotional disorder.” The most common underlying disorder is depression, 30 percent to 70 percent of suicide victims suffer from major depression or bipolar disorder. Suicide is not a mental disorder, but one of the most important causes of suicide is mental illness – most often major depression or bipolar disorder. What is Depression? “Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn’t worth living.” An episode of depression can be triggered by a stressful life event such as death of a loved one, a major change in finances, loss of employment, divorce or separation, alcohol or drug problem, experiencing trauma or a crisis, and major life changes. Genetic Factors How do we know that genes play a role in causing depression? “Scientists look at patterns of illness in families to estimate their “heritability,” or roughly what percentage of their cause is due to genes. To do this we find people with the disease who have a twin, and then find out whether the twin is also ill. Identical (monozygotic) twins share 100% of their genes, while non-identical (“fraternal” or dizygotic) twins share 50% of their genes. If genes are part of the cause, we expect a patient’s identical twin to have a much higher risk of disease than a patient’s non-identical twin. That is the case for major depression. Heritability is probably 40-50%, and might be higher for severe depression.” Non-genetic Factors Others factors in the environment can also increase the risk of depression: childhood abuse, disease and illness, traumatic experiences, and severe life stressors. The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) is the term used to describe all types of abuse, neglect, and other potentially traumatic experiences that occur to people under the age of 18. There are 10 types of childhood trauma measured in the ACE Study. Five are personal — physical abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, physical neglect, and emotional neglect. Five are related to other family members: a parent who’s an alcoholic, a mother who’s a victim of domestic violence, a family member in jail, a family member diagnosed with a mental illness, and the disappearance of a parent through divorce, death or abandonment. What’s your ACE score? Visit for more information. Treatment for Depressive Disorders Major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder are the two major mood disorders. Talk to your family practitioner and request a referral to a psychiatrist, psychologist, or mental health therapist. Contact your insurance company to explore your coverage and what providers are in network. Individuals without health insurance can contact their local community health center and ask about a sliding scale fee for services. The takeaway from this column is to have more discussions about depressive disorders. Treatment is available. There is hope for individuals diagnosed with major depression and bipolar disorder. There is hope for individual with suicidal thoughts and plans.

Open Forum

As I See IT

Hula is a Way of Life! by Elpidio R. ESTIOKO While others consider hula as a dance craze that is revolutionizing not only the state of Hawaii but all over major cities in the US, the Estioko siblings and their cousins believe it is a way of life! Hula is a dance developed in the Hawaiian Islands by original Polynesian settlers that proliferated in major cities in the country, especially in California. May, 33; Rose (Tweety), 28; (now residing in Hawaii but is on summer break here in California), and Paul, 26; together with their cousin Jane (also a mix martial arts expert) and her daughter Mikayla, 18, are members of the Pleasant Hill/Santa Clara Halau (hula dance group) for seven years now. They religiously practice every week and join annual competitions with renewed enthusiasm every time they perform. And… days prior to every competition, they spend sleepless nights creatively and innovatively making their own costumes making sure they appropriately capture the meanings and symbolism of every dance they perform, whether it be hula kahiko (traditional hula) or hula ‘auana (contemporary or modern hula). They also spend much time in braiding the hair of every female member participating in the dance ensembles/competition. They do it with enthusiasm and deep devotion as if it’s part of their daily life. Every year, they have their annual retreat (held during the weekend) conducted by their kumu (hula teacher) Marlo Caramat reflecting on hula’s meaning in life, its impact to society and reminiscing established norms and culture the early Polynesians who settled in Hawaii did and is doing. Caramat was trained to dance the hula by various renowned kumu experts in Hawaii many years back doing his early age before putting up his five halaus in the Bay Area (one of them is the Santa Clara group). He is a FilAm originally from Dagupan City and Calasiao, Pangasinan who grew up in Hawaii and moved to San Francisco. Caramat schools teach hula kahiko comprising older chant-accompanied dances, and hula ‘auana, comprising newer song-accompanied dances. The school is a blend of old and new! “It’s a family,” Caramat said. “With the group are my mother, my sister, my wife, and three children. I have dancers from Santa Clara Halau who are relatives – the Estiokos – Maryrose, Rose (Tweety), Paul, Jane, and Jane’s daughter Mikayla,” he uttered trying to illustrate his point. For her part, May, the eldest of the Estioko siblings, said ‘It’s a way of life. We can apply all his teachings and information we get from Kumu Mario in our daily life. All movements in our dance numbers and costumes we make and use have meanings and reflections in our daily life,” she added. “We review all these and learn more during our annual retreat,” she concluded. Weeks prior to a competition, they spend hours practicing their dance numbers and in between, spending time and effort making their own costumes. They really have to do it and they think it is part of their responsibility to do it. That’s how devoted and committed they are in the program making it part of their responsibility in life, among others. In fact, they adhere and follow the three Ts in life, i.e. time, treasure, and talent in pursuing their obsession to embrace hula as a way of life. They started dancing the hula during their high school days and are now professionals, but they still religiously dance the hula since it is part of their life already. They always find time to dance, conduct fund raising activities, compete, make their costumes, braid, and keep abreast with the latest in modern hula despite their busy schedules as professionals and contributing members of society. Last Friday (July 19) and Saturday (July 20), the group competed in the 3-day Sacramento Hula Fete held at the Holiday Inn Downtown Arena. Paul, 26, our youngest, competed in the hula kane (male) division on Friday on the solo hula ‘auana (contemporary hula) on Friday and the solo hula kahiko (traditonal hula) with mele (Na Wai Puna O Kamahi’o Kaho’olawe) on Saturday. He won 1st prize for the two categories. He is Santa Clara Halau’s best male dancer who represented the group during the competition. We and his dance group watched the competition to support him, which we have been doing ever since they joined the group seven years ago. They have solid support from us! The 3-day hula festival was presented by the Makanaaloha Group and sponsored by Hawaiian and the Makanaaloha Group with part sponsorship by Holiday Inn Downtown Arena and the Maui Republic. There will be another hula competition next month where my daughter May, will be competing this time with her solo performance. She is also a member of the Santa Clara Halau together with another sibling Rose (Tweety) who settled in Oahu last year, but she is here in California for her summer break. Other members of the group include Paul’s cousin Jane and her daughter Mikayla. I remember, my wife Delia and I, have to drive them to attend hula practice and dance competitions during those days when they were still young to drive. Now, they have their own cars and drive themselves to attend practice and perform in designated places. We are happy we are part of their evolution and their growth to their way of life via the hula! I know it involved a lot of sacrifice, but we are happy doing it and its worth it! Hula, indeed, is a way of life!