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Wednesday, June 4, 2014
June 4, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:23 PM :: 5434 Views

Hawaiians Are Not A Tribe

Hawaii Obamacare: Do you Pay for Other People's Abortions?

June 3, 2014: Office of Elections Releases Candidate List

Djou Officially Files for Congressional Race

Duke Aiona Welcomes Candidates to 2014 Election

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Kyo-ya Case

Encouraging ohana housing in Hawaii

Am Samoa: Falomavaega Rips Obama, Clinton, Kerry

Richardson is fifth least expensive among top law schools in the U.S.

Maui News: Aiona needs to be more Aggressive, Engaged, Assertive

MN: Within the past week, James "Duke" Aiona formally announced he will seek the Republican nomination for governor....

Aiona has always seemed like a reluctant candidate to us. It has been assumed all year that he would run - he has had a website since January. But he waited until the end of May to announce and begin campaigning and advertising.

In 2010 when he first ran for the office, he skipped an invitation here to participate in a debate with the two Democratic candidates, Abercrombie and Hannemann.

He will have to be more aggressive, engaged and assertive if he is to have any chance this year.

read ... Some Good Advice

Hawaii Candidate Deadline Attracts Last-Minute Flurry

HM: ...Victoria Mathieu, running for state House District 19 (Diamond Head, Kapahulu) as a Republican, says she was mulling over her run for office all the way through the last week.

Mathieu had intended to file on Monday, until election workers told her that only 17 of her petition signatures were valid (candidates need 15). She could have filed, but she decided to take the extra day to collect more signatures.

“I’m sort of a little paranoid and I wanted to be sure I had more than enough,” Mathieu says, noting that signatures can get invalidated easily.

The former schoolteacher was accompanied by two friends, including fellow candidate Julia Allen, who is running for state House District 20 (St. Louis Heights, Palolo, Wilhelmina Rise, and Kaimuki).

In addition to paying their filling fee and getting their signatures verified, candidates must also take an oath of candidacy and repeat their name into a voice recorder (to be used for visually impaired voters)....

Others waited until the last moment to decide whether they would run or not. Chris Lethem just joined the state Republican party a few days ago so he could run for state Senate District 12 (Waikiki, Ala Moana, Kakaako, McCully). Lethem, a software engineer and Marine veteran, said he didn’t initially intend to run. He was approached by state Republicans who urged him to do so.

“Since they didn’t have a Republican candidate in the district, they wanted someone who could represent their voice,” Lethem says....

read ... Last Minute Filings

Goal is to house all chronic homeless on Oahu in two years

KHON: In the next 100 days advocates will assess 1,000 homeless people in urban and leeward Oahu and put 15 of them in an apartment. The overall goal is to have the chronic homeless, the most difficult with the highest needs, in a home in just two years.

Going after the easier cases hasn't been working so the focus is turning to those with the biggest need and the toughest to get help. That includes the chronically homeless with mental illness, disabilities and drug addictions.

"What we're really doing here is building muscles because if we can do this with the sickest and most chronic then we can do it for those people who have a much lower level of need," said Colin Kippen, State Homeless Coordinator. "We're creating a system, a system to end homelessness. What we know is that our existing systems to get them off the streets really don't work."

The plan is to combine resources, identify the homeless, put them in a home, help pay their rent and get them services.

CB: Council Chair's amendments would slash mayor's road repair effort and boost funding for homelessness

read ... Housing First

Oakland company gets Hawaii Subprime green lending contract

SA: The "Green Energy Market Securitization," or GEMS, program will allow low- and moderate-income homeowners, renters and non-profits to finance the purchase and installation of energy saving devices without high upfront costs.

The GEMS program will use $150 million in low-cost bond market funds and other sources of private capital to finance the upfront cost of solar photovoltaics, said Renewable Funding in a news release.

read ... Sub-Prime Lending

Kuokoa Profiteer Describes 2011 Effort to take over HECO

GT: In 2011 I became involved, in a small way, in a multi-billion-dollar scheme to buy out HECO, Hawaii's electric utility, and take it private. The plan was to shift HECO from its reliance on fossil fuels and allow the island to instead be powered by its natural gifts of geothermal, solar and wind resources.

The crazy part of this story is that the deal came pretty close to actually getting done.

read ... About Kuokoa

Molokai: Big Cable is Corporate-Political Scam

MD: State and federal energy officials got a clear message from Molokai residents who voiced their continued opposition to a potential undersea transmission cable in Hawaii that would transport energy interisland.

“I’m totally pro-renewable energy which is why I’m very concerned and upset by this document,” said Molokai resident and energy expert Mike Bond, referring to the Hawaii Clean Energy Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS). “The one thing that concerns me the most is the tacit acceptance of the undersea cable… I think the cable is a disaster — it’s hyper-costly, and in my view, a political, corporate scam.”

read ... Corporate-Political Scam

School superintendent's contract renewed

SA: The state Board of Education approved a new three-year contract for public schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi Tuesday, but will require her to report back about what is being done to address concerns raised in a scathing independent survey of school principals.

The board, which hadn't launched a search for replacement, appeared ready to extend Matayoshi's tenure at its monthly board meeting.

But before going behind closed doors to take action on the superintendent's contract, the board heard testimony from retired public school principal Darrel Galera and UH law professor Randy Roth, who along with other retired principals released a survey last month that found an overwhelming majority of principals say they lack the needed support and autonomy to act in the best interests of their schools. The principals said they hesitate to speak out for fear of retaliation.

read ... School superintendent's contract renewed

Even After Death, DoE Lawyers Block Therapy for Autistic Girl

HNN: It's been a bureaucratic nightmare for a Kaneohe man who's battled the Department of Education for nearly two years just to get his special education services for his daughter.

And even after his nine-year-old daughter died this past Christmas, Nyle Dolera said the DOE continues to contest her case.

"She's not here but I'm fighting for her," said the retired Honolulu Police Department captain.

"I'm fighting for all these kids who have no voice like Hannah."

Hannah Dolera, who was severely autistic, died of an accidental drowning in the bath tub in her Kaneohe home on Christmas day....

her father said what broke his heart was the way his daughter was treated at Puohala Elementary School in Kaneohe.

He showed Hawaii News Now photos of a chair that he said his daughter was tied to during classes.

"This is Hawaii, we take care of our kids. We take care of our keiki especially the ones who need extra help," he said.

"They should be ashamed of themselves."

Dolera said he moved Hannah to another school in Aina Haina and hired special ed therapists at his own expenses, and his daughter was beginning to show improvements.

But when he asked the DOE to pay for those services, he said school officials retaliated by barring the therapists from coming onto campus.

"I think they were just afraid they didn't want to pay for (the therapist's) services so they stopped her" from going there, he said.

The law requires the state to provide special ed services. But Dolera said he tried for some time to get reimburses for the $100,000 he spent on his daughter's care.

But with no results, he joined the parent of another special ed student and sue the DOE. He also filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, which is reviewing his complaint.

This is what the judge Dolera's federal lawsuit recently said of the DOE's delays.

"The court is deeply troubled over what happened in this case," wrote Senior U.S. District Judge Alan Kay.

read ... Dad says state denied daughter special education services

Lassner, Lawyers Already Planning for Inevitable Disastrous Departure

KHON: The University of Hawaii's next president will likely be paid less than the last three UH presidents, but several key provisions of his contract still must be negotiated that could leave taxpayers on the hook.

After the Board of Regents selected interim UH President David Lassner as UH president Monday, it was clear his entire salary package is in flux, because a regents' sub-committee will still negotiate the details.

"We're pretty sure on the salary will be $375,000 a year, it will be a continuous appointment," said Board of Regents Chair John Holzman after Monday's meeting. "There will be annual reviews. There's other things to negotiate."

Jim Bickerton is a Honolulu attorney who has represented several UH faculty members in disputes with the university.

"That is where the devil is in those details.  What are the criteria for renewal?" Bickerton asked. "That becomes very important to negotiate what the criteria are that you're going to be applying to decide if it gets renewed."

Bickerton said Lassner will want to negotiate specific items in writing from the regents about what they expect from him before deciding to retain him for another year.

"I would think he would be looking for some back-up plan if he doesn't get renewed after the first year," Bickerton added.

SA: Lassner Already Missing Opportunities for Leadership   

read ... Be Prepared for the Inevitable

TOD: Real estate fundamentals giving UH opportunities to monetize its land assets

SA: New facilities and programs can be funded by the higher nonresident tuition revenues, funding from the Legislature, private contributions and proceeds from the monetization of excess UH lands. Other public universities have entered into public/private partnerships to develop their lands as a way to generate revenues, especially in view of the declining contributions from state governments, which are faced with decreasing tax revenues and increasing competing spending demands.

The Board of Regents in 2004 initiated the use of public/private partnerships as an additional funding mechanism. The development of the UH-West Oahu campus, the 810-bed Frear Hall dorms at Manoa, the Cancer Research Center in Kakaako and the new Hawaii Community College West Hawaii campus were started under this model. After the financial markets collapsed in 2008, improvements continued with bond financing from the Legislature.

Currently, the real estate fundamentals have improved, developers have the necessary equity funds and the interest rates for debt financing are very attractive. The University of Hawaii could start monetizing more than 300 acres of fully entitled lands that have a master plan as well as sufficient infrastructure for full development. These parcels are adjacent to the UH-West Oahu's 200-acre campus. A few years ago, the Legislature enacted a law mandating that the proceeds from these lands be deposited in a special fund and be used solely for the development of the campus.

Imagine a community of mixed uses, such as faculty housing, training hotels, international schools, film studios, a science and research park, medical offices, affordable rentals, living facilities for active seniors who wish to be part of the university environment and programs, and appropriate retail shops. These uses would not only facilitate the financing of future university improvements but would synergistically add to the development and value of the rapidly growing city of Kapolei and also create jobs.

read ... Andres Albano

$62.7M Cost of Hospitalized Medical Patients on Waitlists

CB: Just-released Hawaii Health Information Corporation (HHIC) data collected between 2006 and 2011 indicates that patients on waitlists in Hawaii cost $62.7 million in 2011, the most recent year for which data is available.

SA: 1 in 5 waitlisted patients have infectious diseases

read ... Waitlist

Five States' Health-Care Exchanges See Costly Fixes

WSJ: Five states that launched health exchanges under the Affordable Care Act expect to spend as much as $240 million to fix their sites or switch to the federal marketplace, a Wall Street Journal analysis shows.

read ... And Hawaii?

Levinson: GMO Producers not Gay Enough to Deserve Equal Protection

SA: Justice Kennedy drew on past discrimination cases to explain that the Constitution doesn't allow laws that are motivated by "a bare … desire to harm a politically unpopular group."

But if Babes Against Biotech can make the groups of people who produce GMOs unpopular enough, its OK to discriminate against them. -- Levinson logic

read ... Levinson Loses it

Hawaii Republicans: Fracking and Global Warming

IM: The 2014 State Legislature passed a climate change bill.

HB1714 HD1 SD2 CD1 would authorize the allocation of money to write climate change reports to give to future Legislatures in the hope that they will pass meaningful climate change legislation.

HB 1714 passed the House (48-2-1) and the Senate (24-1). 
All Democrats and the majority of Republicans voted for the bill. 
Republican Representatives Fale and McDermott and Republican Senator Slom opposed the bill.

On May 17, 2014 the Hawaii Republican Party adopted a "Resolution Supporting a Strong Energy Policy for the United States."

"The causes of the earth's climate and temperature variations are complex, only partially understood, and dependent on many factors beyond human control and the pertinent scientific models are correspondingly complex; and ... the primary, dominant causes of global climate changes are natural, not human."

"The science itself has been politicized by biased government project funding, presidential and cabinet level preconception, name calling, ostracism, [and] job loss for contrary viewpoints."

read ... Hawaii Republicans: Fracking and Global Warming

Documents show drug problem spiking at Prison

HNN: The visiting rooms no longer allow contact between prisoners and family members or friends anymore.  Plexiglass has been installed in 47 cubicles which were constructed by prisoners themselves. 

"The purpose of installing these partitions is to stop the contraband that comes through the facility's doors when visitation is held," said Public Safety Director Ted Sakai. "Contraband controls are for the safety and welfare of inmates and our staff."

Documents obtained by Hawaii News Now show the problem hit a high point in 2013.  169 prisoners had dirty drug tests last year.  In 2012, there were 55.

Sakai says they have been doing more tests and that could also be the result.

The second channel of contraband, guards.  Recently several correctional officers have been indicted for smuggling drugs into Halawa.

Sakai says they are doing more employee searches and hope to buy body scanners.  Those devices are expensive so he will likely have to ask legislators for funding.

read ... Thanks, UPW

Another Fee Hike--This Time its Bulky Item Pickup

SA: Bill 41 calls for a pilot proj­ect setting aside, for a 12-month period, the city's current bulky-item pickup policy where Department of Environmental Services trucks visit each Oahu neighborhood on scheduled days once a month.

Instead, property owners would have to contact the city to arrange for a bulky-item pickup and then have to pay for the visit. Councilwoman Ann Koba­ya­shi said she introduced the bill after hearing suggestions from Mayor Kirk Caldwell and environmental services officials.

Kobayashi said she's leaving it up to the administration to determine what the fee should be, but believes it should be nominal so people aren't discouraged from calling for the service.

read ... Another Fee Hike

Inaction by Congress Could Undermine Hawaii Transportation

CB: On May 12, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works released a 150-page bill to reauthorize MAP-21. The bill would authorize federal highway programs for six years at current funding levels, plus inflation, and was passed unanimously by the committee on May 15....

If Congress doesn’t act, MAP-21 will expire on Sept. 30 — and issuance of checks to counties will come to a halt as early as July. For Hawaii, funding available for locally owned bridges and federal aid-supported highways will decrease by 41 percent.

Fix Oahu: Highway Funding: Do Roads Pay for Themselves? No Because of "Theft"

read ... Maui Co Councilman Don Couch

Thai workers settle lawsuit with Hawaii farms for $2.4 million

KHON: The $2.4 million suit will be split between the four farms and distributed by the EEOC, said Anna Park, the regional attorney of the EEOC Los Angeles District. All the money will go directly to the victims.

MacFarms will pay $1.6 million, Kauai Coffee Company will pay $425,000, Captain Cook Coffee Company will pay $100,000 and Kelena Farms will pay $275,000, said Park.

"Kelena and Captain Cook specifically has agreed to provide jobs to anyone interested in the specific positions at the two farms," Park said. "Specifically, Kelena will be providing 37 full time positions with generous benefit packages. Including health [benefits], profit sharing, 401K and overtime where applicable."...

Global Horizons and a total of six Hawaii farms were represented in the lawsuit. Del Monte Farm Fresh already settled for $1.2 million in November 2013. Maui Pineapple Company is the only Hawaii farm left in the case and is ongoing.

The date for the trial against Global Horizons is set for November 18 to determine how much the company will have to pay and the measurements needed to prevent future abuse of farm workers.

DN: Aloun Farms trafficking questions resurface at EEOC settlement press conference

read ... Settlement

Former councilman avoids jail time

WHT: Greenwell was arrested July 17, 2010, after police using a handheld laser clocked him driving 51 mph in a 35 mph zone on Queen Kaahumanu Highway near the Kealakehe Police Station. Police said Greenwell first refused to stop, then after stopping, became confrontational. He was then arrested and charged with resisting an order to stop, resisting arrest and refusing to produce documentation. He was also cited for speeding, a decriminalized offense.

At his sentencing hearing, Greenwell, who was serving on the council when he was arrested, claimed he set up the incident to test the police.

During the same hearing, Greenwell disputed reports he took a swing at police officers. He admitted he exited his car when he should not have....

“Mr. Greenwell did his community service,” Seitz said in court. “He’s had no contact with police these four years. … You have evidence that he has not put himself in that position again.”

Seitz asked Ibarra to convert the five days in jail to five days of home supervision.

read ... Soft on Crime

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