VIDEO: Djou Releases First Campaign Ad
Debate: Aiona Challenges Ige on Tax Hikes
Ige Tried To Tax Everyone's Soda
Carlisle: Maui Anti-GMO Law Would Send Farmers, Gardeners to Jail
Will Solar Scammers Undermine Subprime GEMS Loan Program?
Fired chief procurement officer blows whistle on Hawaii DOE procurement troubles
Imua Manoa Demands Apple Reinstatement
Second Amendment advocates score victory in Hawaii court
After Wife Sued for Mortgage Fraud, Chief Kealoha Sends Six Officers to Arrest Plaintiff
HNN: When someone stole Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha's mailbox in Kahala last year, the HPD turned to its crime reduction unit to make the arrest.
What's raising questions is that the department sent at least six officers for what appears to be a minor crime and that the man arrested is an uncle of the chief's wife, who's involved in a financial dispute with her.
"I know what it looks like but there's no preferential treatment," said Kealoha, who spoke with Hawaii News Now on Thursday.
Gerard Puana, 54, was arrested on June 29, 2013 at the Saints Peter and Paul Church on Kaheka Street and spent two days in jail. He faces federal charges for allegedly destroying a mailbox, a crime that's punishable by up to three years in prison.
Puana has sued Kealoha's wife Katherine, accusing her of defrauding him and his mother after she helped set up a reverse mortgage for them. That case remains pending....
According to Kealoha, the incident was the sixth time in a year that his home was vandalized. In one instance, someone shot out the windows with a BB gun and in an other, a door was shattered.
read ... Wow. Just. Wow.
Lawsuit: Police Chief's Prosecutor Wife Used Old Lady's Money to Buy Maserati, Mercedes
CB: Puana is suing Katherine Kealoha alleging fraud and financial elder abuse.
He says in the lawsuit that his niece bilked him and his mother — Katherine’s grandmother — out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. The grandmother, Florence Puana, is also a plaintiff in the suit.
Together the Puanas allege Katherine took their money and spent it on herself and her husband, even putting about $25,000 toward a breakfast celebration at the Sheraton Waikiki after he was named chief in 2009.
Other expenditures listed in the lawsuit include $2,000 for Elton John tickets and payments made to Mercedes Benz and Maserati.
That lawsuit was filed nearly three months before the mailbox was stolen, and is now inextricably linked to the criminal case as police witnesses, including the chief, have been called to testify in the civil matter.
read ... Maserati
Prison guard bribe prices quoted
SA: Ioane said Esera, who ran the gang's operations at Halawa, explained to him how things worked at the prison, which included smuggling in meth, marijuana, cigarettes and the synthetic drug Spice. He said it cost $1,000 to bribe guards to bring in 3.5 grams of crystal meth and $100 for a pack of cigarettes in 2010....
Also Thursday, Deputy U.S. Marshal Anton Hopkins testified that he found Adkins showing a document sealed to the public to another inmate in a holding cell at the courthouse.
Hopkins said the document was a government witness list from Adkins' case files and included Ioane's name. He said the inmate looking at the document is housed in the same module as Ioane.
read ... Prison guard bribe prices quoted
Hawaii’s Top Gov Candidates Talk Development
CB: Aiona has proposed dedicating 25 percent of corporate tax income revenue to the Rental Housing Trust Fund, a pool of money that helps finance low-income rental housing projects.
His campaign predicts that within seven years, the policy would produce housing for 19,500 people.
read ... Development
Mocking Surfrider's Political Litmus Test
KE: How important is it to you that a Kauai County Council candidate purchase locally grown food, compost or have a solar hot water heater installed on his or her house?
According to a political litmus test being circulated by Surfrider, Apollo Kauai, the Kauai branch of the Hawaii Farmers Union and Zero Waste Kauai, it's essential information. More valuable, say, than a candidate's morals, ethics, intelligence or knowledge of government.
And much more crucial than his/her stance on such non-issues as affordable housing, drug abuse, spending priorities, shoreline protection, vacation rentals, preservation of ag lands, roads, parks, tourism, youth programs, homelessness or the elderly — none of which are addressed at all.
In keeping with the black-white, bumper sticker mentality that has come to characterize “progressive environmentalists” on Kauai, all the survey questions must be answered yes or no, or in 20 words or less. No chance to explain, elaborate or even question the question. You're either with us, or against us. And an answer is required for every question, no matter how ludicrous.
These questions were given a 20-word limit....
read ... Musings: Acing the Litmus Test
Monsanto, keeping you healthy
MN: Most molecules active in human physiology are leftish. Monsanto employee William Knowles discovered a way to use a rhodium catalyst to make molecules go left....The technique is used generally for most modern drugs. Knowles was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2001.
What have the anti-Monsanto activists ever done for anyone?
read ... Good Question
UH Administrators Set Up Legislature to Take Fall for Tuition Hikes
SA: Relying less on tuition revenue and depending on additional support from the state is likely to be a hard sell at the Legislature.
The state Council on Revenues, which sets the forecast used by lawmakers and the governor when drafting the budget, earlier this month downgraded its forecast for the 2015 fiscal year. As a result, the state is expected to have about $110 million less in tax revenue for the year.
House Finance Chairwoman Sylvia Luke did not immediately return a call seeking comment on UH's proposal, and the Higher Education Committee chairmen in the House and Senate were unavailable for comment Thursday.
Given the uncertainty in past years, Lassner has suggested the regents wait until May to adopt an operating budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.
This would represent a shift from the current practice of adopting UH's budget request to the Legislature as the its operating budget.
"The nuance here is that we're recommending at this point that we make a final decision after the legislative session, when we actually know how much money we'll have appropriated for us," he said after the meeting. "When we try to make plans now for next July, we just don't know, really. In May is when we would finalize what we plan to do in the next fiscal year."
He said that some programs are already counting on the 7 percent hikes, including UH-Hilo's College of Pharmacy and Manoa's John A. Burns School of Medicine.
read ... Blame Game
Borreca: Obama Library Next on List of Failed Big Projects
Borreca: They want to know UH's level of expertise and success in projects like the Obama library.
When they ask for the "most relevant projects demonstrating success in large-scale, multi-use developments," I'm assuming that UH will not include the always over-budget and still-not-planned-out West Oahu university, nor the deadline-stretching Ching Athletic complex, or the daily budget soap opera figuring out how to pay for years of backlogged maintenance at the Manoa campus.
Obama's foundation also wants to know how UH will market the library and what "significant local attractions that may complement and help bolster attendance for the project."
Well, there's the great Falls of Clyde exhibit just down the way. Nope, that closed. Ditto for the nearby maritime museum. Or maybe the redevelopment of Aloha Tower into a tourist and cultural center -- nope, that also didn't happen.
Finally, the foundation wants a "detailed master development plan for the surrounding community (academic and otherwise) that will drive economic revitalization."
That surrounding community is Kakaako Makai, one of the state's most confusingly controversial land parcels, with the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs, citizen activist groups, develop- ers, legislators and environmentalists all having different ideas of what should go there.
Is it possible by December to put together the impact statements, the community meetings, the developed community consensus, the funding pledges and the spending plan?
Everyone wants to think big, but first you have to think it through.
read ... Failures
Sledgehammer Tom Brower Makes the New York Times
NYT: In Honolulu, a city that combines an insanely high cost of living with a dire lack of apartments, a significant segment of society has no permanent place to live. A state representative there thought he would help matters by using a sledgehammer to destroy homeless people’s shopping carts. That did not work.
read ... Treating Homeless People Like Criminals
Caldwell Signs Amended Plastic Bag Ban
PBN: Most plastic shopping bags will be banned on Oahu next summer under an amended law signed Thursday by Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell that will make Hawaii one of the first states to ban the ubiquitous plastic bags in every county.
A bill signed into law in 2012 had called for the ban of plastic shopping bags — unless they were biodegradable — beginning July 1, 2015.
However, according to Caldwell's office, there has been no industry standard about what is considered biodegradable.
The new law clarifies that all plastic bags will be banned unless they display a "compostable" logo from the Biodegradable Products Institute.
read ... bio bags
HECO Boss: Smart Inverters Can Open Up More Solar Penetration
SA: We're working with the solar industry and the manufacturers to find ways to start getting ways, start getting homes, even in the high-penetration areas, to be connected, so they can install, work with their contractors, get it done.
Q: Is there a simple way of describing the technical hurdles to overcome with the manufacturers?
A: The connecting point is called an inverter. And it gives at what frequency levels the home systems will continue to operate or shut down. ... So for example, right now it's getting sunny again, but it got cloudy for a while. If we were to have a sudden fluctuation coming out of our power plants, that every home system picked up that fluctuation -- they can sense it -- these inverters would automatically shut down to protect the home system, sympathetically, automatically.
When we have 215 megawatts of solar in homes, and we did have this fluctuation, and they're feeding their excess to our system so we can provide it to other users, we're buying that, and all of a sudden they all shut off, that's more than our single largest power generator. ...
What we're trying to do ... is to have the bandwidth of what we call "ride through," that they'll stay on for larger fluctuations.
Q: So the systems would be more tolerant of fluctuations....
read ... Alan Oshima