Hawaiian Electric terminated me February 25, 2019. Psychologists say being fired from a job is second only in traumatic grief to losing a close loved one. I was devastated. Just days prior, colleague IT Security Herman Lau, confirmed my official appointment and congratulated me. Of course I told everyone. All of us were excited and overjoyed.
FIRED !!! Not only fired, Hawaiian Electric threw me out on the street labeling me a “drug thug” illegal criminal. I’m a marked man — an employee nobody will now hire. I was banished from the employment world; isolated from professional colleagues and friends that one makes in the work environment. I have pleaded with HECO President and CEO Alan Oshima to correct the misunderstanding. He ignores me. I am nothing to him or this world. I am a total loser and zero!
Shame and Solitary Confinement
For the next month, I got up with my wife, ate breakfast, dressed for work, and took the bus with her to our normal stop. I was so ashamed. Couldn’t even tell close friends I had lost my job. Lied to everyone. I would take the bus to work and then get on the next bus home. Spent my days crying and writing letters of desperation to elected officials, as well as Hawaiian Electric senior managers and legal staff. Why did you do this to me? I asked everyone. Why?
I am totally isolated. Was forced into solitary confinement in a tiny studio apartment in Waikiki. Injuries leave me disabled to walk far or do most physical activities. Told my wife I felt I was a convicted prisoner — only with a better view. Solitary Confinement
“So much of who we are and how we function is implicitly dependent on interaction with other people. It’s such a natural part of human life that it’s almost as second nature as breathing. When all of that stuff is taken away, it’s destabilizing, psychologically unsettling, in a very profound way.”
Craig Haney, professor University of California, Santa Cruz, expert on the impact of solitary confinement
Mental health experts warn the use of solitary confinement in our prison system is a factor in many cases of suicide. At least 61,000 prisoners are in some form of isolation — generally understood as being held in a cell 22 or more hours per day, for an average of 15 or more consecutive days. I’ve been in my cell about 22 hours per day for over six months.
I can’t wait to run an errand, go to a store, ride a bus or have an opportunity to interact with other people. The days I am trapped in my apartment are filled with darkness, grief and tremendous despair. I live on the 25th floor with wide, open windows. I think daily how easy it would be simply to step out … why don’t I?
I refuse to let cruel, ignorant people win and I know many others live in fear and frustration like me. There are 27,000+ suffering medical patients in Hawai’i. I find the courage to keep going by focusing on the pain so many others endure in Upside Down World.
Upside Down World
Yes, we live in Upside Down World. This is the dark world that mirrors reality in the Netflix hit, Stranger Things. Had I used an opioid prescription drug, HEI CEO Connie Lau would not have fired me. Over 400,000 Americans have died due to opioid overdose since 1999.
From 1999 to 2017, more than 702,000 people have died from a drug overdose. Of those deaths, almost 68% involved a prescription or illicit opioid.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Smart people therefore avoid opioid drugs. University of New Mexico School of Medicine trained me to educate and assist others in opioid addiction and pain management. They taught about safer alternatives. One is medical cannabis. Nobody has ever died from cannabis overdose — none — never. Yet HEI CEO Connie Lau killed me from the inside out and imprisoned me in solitary confinement for making a more-educated decision in consultation with my medical team. Upside Down World
Federal Medical Cannabis Policy
CEO Connie Lau is 67-years of age. She has heard most her life cannabis is a dangerous drug. Many of us were deceived by our government and their 1936 Reefer Madness false propaganda. Yet CEOs are expected to keep up and Connie Lau leads one of the islands most prestigious companies.
Connie earned her undergraduate at Yale, J.D. at Hastings, and MBA at Stanford. Hasn’t she learned a thing since 1936? Didn’t try pot once or twice at Yale in the early 1970s? Stanford University is in California. The state was the first in the nation to legalize medical cannabis in 1996, and is the most populous state to legalize recreational cannabis. Hawai’i authorized medical cannabis in 2000. Why is Connie such a dinosaur today?
The motion picture you are about to witness may startle you. It would not have been possible, otherwise, to sufficiently emphasize the frightful toll of the new drug menace which is destroying the youth of America in alarmingly-increasing numbers.
Marijuana is that drug — a violent narcotic — The Real Public Enemy Number One!
HECO HR Rep Shana Buco claimed I was intoxicated and impaired in the workplace. Said I was a danger to coworkers, the company and general public. Ms. Buco clearly knows nothing about drug screens. Standard urine test does not provide this information. CEO Lau made $5.7 million last year and is clueless; the HR director knows even less. Upside Down World
Had an opportunity recently to speak with Margo Lalich, Executive Director, Hawai’i Keiki program with the University of Hawai’i at Manoa School of Nursing & Dental Hygiene. Biggest challenge she faces as director? Lack of sophisticated personnel throughout the state. She noted many agencies and institutions are filled with “incompetent” staff, as personnel were selected due to friendship, localism, nepotism, political patronage or other non-merit-based criteria. I understood her pain directly being a White Male in the islands. Welcome to Hawai’i Upside Down World
Federal policy on medical cannabis evolved in 2009 — ten years ago. Shows how out-of-touch so many privileged people are still today. The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Deputy Attorney General, David W. Ogden, forwarded a Memorandum for Selected United States Attorneys October 19, 2009.
He directed U.S. attorneys not to focus limited federal resources in their states on individuals whose actions are in “clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws” providing for the medicinal use of cannabis.
Prosecution of individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses who use [cannabis] as part of a recommended treatment regimen consistent with applicable state law, or those caregivers in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state law who provide such individuals with [cannabis], is unlikely to be an efficient use of limited federal resources.
David W. Ogden, Office of the Deputy Attorney General
The federal Department of Transportation publicly provides their Medical Cannabis policy. They distinguish clearly between safety-sensitive and non-safety sensitive transportation employees.
We have had several inquiries about whether the DOJ advice to Federal prosecutors regarding pursuing criminal cases will have an impact upon the Department of Transportation’s longstanding regulation about the use of [cannabis] by safety‐sensitive transportation employees — pilots, school bus drivers, truck drivers, train engineers, subway operators, aircraft maintenance personnel, transit fire‐armed security personnel, ship captains, and pipeline emergency response personnel, among others.
We want to make it perfectly clear that the DOJ guidelines will have no bearing on the Department of Transportation’s regulated drug testing program. We will not change our regulated drug testing program based upon these guidelines to Federal prosecutors.
I am a non-safety sensitive employee — or at least I was. I sit at a desk, work at a computer, and am stationed in a backroom far from the general public. Frankly, most people don’t care to be around IT people until your computer breaks or database stops working. We aren’t needed until we are needed. LOL
Connie Lau, her squad of female attorneys, Susan Li and Thao Tran, and female HR staff are simply cruel and uneducated professionals. As Ms. Lalich said, there are too many unsophisticated employees here in Hawai’i. How easily they hurt other human beings in Upside Down World.
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Ko’olau of Kaua’i. I am the Defiant One
“I Believe We Can”