Local 677 President Jim Moffitt remembers Leonard Paul Hoshijo
I have been a musician with the Honolulu, now Hawaii, Symphony since 1981. I first met Leonard in the late 1980s when the ILWU leadership approached the Musicians Union offering an effort to secure long-term funding for the HSO. The Union was involved in a months-long strike against the HSO and the ILWU leadership said they wanted to make sure this situation never happened again. They felt the HSO was vital to the education of Hawaii’s keiki and it needed to be preserved and strengthened.
I, along with the Union President, Milton Carter, served as lobbyists to help obtain the funding. Leonard worked with us closely, instructing us on preparation for testifying at hearings and lobbying, including mapping out a structure for which legislator to talk with, and when and how to approach each of them.
At the end of that legislative session, thanks in large part to ILWU and Leonard, the HSO received funding of close to $1.2 million annually. Part for long-term endowment, and part to fully fund the HSO’s education program, “Music for Youth.” That program received an annual award from the League of American Orchestras for “Most Comprehensive Program for Students Kindergarten through Six Grade.”
During the next biennial funding cycle, the HSO decided to attempt to secure the funding on their own. The HSO Music Director called me, fearful that without Leonard’s help, the funding would be in danger and told me that Leonard’s expertise was desperately needed. I called Leonard and he responded that he would help, because the Union asked him to do so. With his leadership, the funding was secured again for another two years.
Early in the next session, we discovered that the HSO had been zeroed out in the State budget. Again, Leonard came through to lead our effort to secure the funding. The HSO funding continued at this level until the 1995 State budget cuts.
I became friends with Leonard during the many years of working with him on the funding. I always enjoyed the parties he invited me to at his home. Leonard was also an HSO fan. I frequently saw him at our concerts. One of the last times I saw him at the HSO, I took his daughters backstage to meet the international soloist.
I will always be inspired by the nurturing way he showed us how to effectively deal with all of the issues to effectively approach the Legislature.
The HSO is here today because of Leonard. We can never thank him enough for all he did for us.
—Local 677 President Jim Moffitt
A Great Labor Leader, Musician Advocate, and Friend
Born Nov. 3, 1951 to parents Nori Oda and Andrew “Anki” — a war hero from the famous 442nd Regimental Combat Team — Leonard Paul Hoshijo made his way from Chicago to Hawaii, to become a tireless advocate for workers, and the musicians of the Hawai’i Symphony Orchestra (HSO) whose music he loved so much.
Hoshijo was a mover and shaker at the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), Local 142 for 26 years, straight out of college. He used his considerable legislative/collective bargaining savvy to help the musicians in the HSO during some hard times.
He later served at the Carpenters Union (Hawaii Regional Council of Carpenters) as its Education and Political Director. The state Dept. of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) appointed him as Deputy Director in 2015, then acting Director two years later, before Gov. David Ige made him Director in Feb. 2018. He asked to be appointed Deputy Director in Jan. 2019, a position he kept until his retirement several months later.
The Kalani High School graduate and Senior Class President, Class of ’69, held many high-ranking positions in the community. Among the organizations, groups, and committees that benefitted from his leadership and care: Hawai’i Council for Housing Action, national board of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), Hawai’i Visitor and Convention Center Bureau, 90th Anniversary of Okinawan Immigration Committee, Hawaiian Electric Company Integrated Resource Advisory Group, Labor Education Advisory Committee (LEAC) of the Center for Labor Education and Research (CLEAR) at the University of Hawai’i, State Judicial Selection Committee, and Blood Bank of Hawai’i. He also joined in the effort to get an Ethnic Studies Program going at UH Manoa, where he received a post-graduate degree in Education.
Hoshijo passed away on Oct. 21, 2021, surrounded by family.