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Thursday, October 23, 2014
October 23, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 9:13 PM :: 4023 Views

Judge Adjutant General Investigates Elle Cochran: Fired Staffer Because he had National Guard Duty?

Aiona Campaign Releases Policy Roadmap

Students Now Facing More Cuts, Higher Costs Under Ige's Budget Leadership

Honolulu Airport 3rd Worst in N America

S&P Downgrades Hawaii

VIDEO: Tsutsui on Ige's Lack of Interest in Neighbor Islands

Caldwell signs 'Best Cities for Successful Aging' Pledge

Star-Adv: McDermott was Right About Pono Choices

» 36th District (Mililani-Mililani Mauka-Waipio Acres): In this district, the baton has been passed to, and now should remain with, Republican Beth Fukumoto Chang, who was elected in 2012 over Democrat Marilyn B. Lee, who had served in the House 16 years before redistricting pitted her against Chang. Chang's views about taxes and spending are welcome in the current stormy financial times: she voted against a pension tax and increasing the GET, and supported an earned income tax credit for Hawaii's lowest-income families. She also is focused on reducing the state's unfunded liabilities, the plethora of special funds, the lack of transparency in the budgeting system, and modernizing Hawaiian Electric's grid to help speed up PV approvals. A moderate, Chang serves as minority floor leader....

» 40th District (Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point): Engagement has not been incumbent Republican Bob McDermott's problem — if anything, it's his zeal that might cause pause, as was shown in his forceful oppositions to marriage equality and to the schools' controversial sex-education program, Pono Choices. While we don't agree with his unrelenting views, his voice is passionate and he was correct in pushing for Pono Choices fixes to ensure more medically accurate and age-appropriate content. A religious conservative and Gulf War veteran, McDermott has been particularly active in military affairs; that is, in fact, one of four committees on which he sits. Still, McDermott barely beat his rival in 2012, and now faces a challenge by Democrat Rose Martinez, an entrepreneur and a former legislative aide.

read ... Endorsements

It's a Ward Poll: Ige 47%, Aiona 35%

SA: State Sen. David Ige has the advantage in the campaign for governor, a new Hawaii Poll shows, scoring well with Japanese-Americans, seniors and union families who are among the most likely to vote in November.

Ige, the Democrat, leads former Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, the Republican, 47 percent to 35 percent. Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, the independent, is at 12 percent, while Jeff Davis, the Libertarian, is at 1 percent. Six percent remain undecided.

Nearly half of the voters who say they support Ige believe he shares their values or cite his party affiliation, suggesting that he is benefiting from the state's Democratic tradition. Just 15 percent said they had never heard of or do not know enough about Ige, down from 61 percent in February....

"With Ige, that's the only place that we really saw the role of party come up strongly," said Rebecca Ward, president of Ward Research Inc., which conducted the poll for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Hawaii News Now. "I believe this is a salute to the Democratic Party."

CB: Those Abortion Lies Sure do Work

read ... It's a Ward Poll

Old Boys Pour Money into Ige Campaign

CB: Fresh poll numbers for Hawaii’s top political races (sans the federal offices) are expected any day now, but by another metric there is already a clear frontrunner: David Ige, the Democratic Party nominee for governor, has held 15 campaign fundraisers since the Aug. 9 primary.

They have ranged from the high rollers — e.g., up to $2,500 a head at the Waialae Country Club — to more modest events — $40 apiece at the Koolau Ballrooms. Several have been with Ige’s running mate, Shan Tsutsui — like this one for $1,000 per person at Duc’s Bistro.

Republican Duke Aiona has held just five campaign fundraisers since the primary, several with running mate Elwin Ahu, such as this one that started at $1,000 per donor at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.

read ... Knowing who to buy

Superferry Comeback?

CB: Some people may not have liked the Superferry — or, more precisely, the regulatory work-around and special session used to try to keep it alive — but the vast majority of people do want an affordable, effective ferry system. A recent Hawaii News Now/Star-Advertiser poll found 87 percent support and just 11 percent opposition. (Two percent weren’t sure.)

A functioning ferry system has the potential to boost Hawaii’s economy as products and people move more fluidly — and less expensively — between islands. This could, if done right, chip away at elements of Hawaii’s high cost of living. The ability to quickly move vehicles and work materials between islands could broaden the expertise available around the state.

A ferry system could also improve food security. In 2010, a volcano named Eyjafjallajökull erupted in Iceland, spurring the grounding of trans-Atlantic flights out of North America and across much of Europe, due to the possibility that the ash would damage aircraft engines. The disruptions lasted for weeks. An interisland ferry system in Hawaii might avert such a problem.

On a more intimate note, it could even strengthen ohana bonds if it allowed family members on different islands to visit each other more frequently.

More broadly, a ferry system could provide a little healthy competition for the handful of airlines that carry us between islands.

read ...  Superferry

Are PRP, Consultants Guilty of Criminal Wrongdoing?

CB: PRP did not report over $100,000 it paid Andy Winer, a Democratic Party strategist who is currently Sen. Brian Schatz’s chief of staff; local media consultants Jim McCoy and Barbara Tanabe, who worked for Hoakea Communications; and Jason Stanford, a major political strategist based in Texas....

Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission considering all options in former governor's case against Pacific Resource Partnership.

read ... Criminals Headed for Prison?

In Hawaii Attack Ads Work Differently for Democrats and Republicans

CB: How is their effectiveness related to a stable fundamental of any big race in Hawaii:  there are significantly more Democratic than Republican voters....

In Hawaii the Democrats use hate and fear to maintain their advantage in party identification by saying that the opposing candidate is not one of us.

The Republicans use hate and fear to overcome this Democratic advantage by saying the opponent will do disastrously incompetent things just as the past extraordinarily unpopular governor did....

But once you cut through the underbrush of these strategies, their essence is that fundamental question: How do likely voters break down by party, and what do we need to do make that work to our advantage?

read ... Milner

HART Gives Mainland University Administrators Free Hawaii Vacation

PBN: Officials from three Mainland universities will be In Hawaii on Thursday to talk about the benefits that rail transit has brought to their respective campuses at a meeting of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board.

(Obviously the purpose is to pitch extension of rail to UH Manoa, to create an excuse for extension of the GE Tax Surcharge.)

Melinda Alonzo, director of parking and transit services at Arizona State University; Sally Roush, who was the senior vice president for business and financial affairs at San Diego State University; and Gary Matthews, vice chancellor for resource management and planning at the University of California, San Diego, will give presentations at HART's Thursday morning meeting, according to HART's meeting agenda.

The HART board will meet at 10 a.m. Thursday at HART headquarters at 1099 Alakea St.

HART is paying for their travel expenses, which will total about $6,000, Mariani-Belding said.  (Yeah Free Hawaii Vacay!  Oh Yeah!  I'll say anything.)

While the rail will not extend to the University of Hawaii's main campus (yet), it will will stop at or near several other campuses, HART says, including University of Hawaii-West Oahu in Kapolei; Leeward and Honolulu community colleges in Pearl City and Kalihi; the University of Hawaii's John A. Burns School of Medicine in Kakaako and Hawaii Pacific University's Downtown Honolulu campus.

read ... Tax Hike Coming

Telemarketer Girds for Hawaii's Next Obamacare Disaster

G: Enter open enrollment, which starts on Nov. 15 and spans the three months that follow. Stakeholders across the spectrum are busily preparing for the onslaught. Among them is call center operator Maximus Inc., under contract for five state exchanges -- Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, New York and Vermont -- the District of Columbia exchange, and as a subcontractor to General Dynamics, two of the federal government’s 17 call centers. All told, several thousand workers trained by Maximus stand ready to help consumers answer questions and get covered.

read ... Timed to be After the Election

State Hospital report recommends changes at troubled facility

HNN: A special State Senate committee convened to investigate problems at the Hawaii State Hospital Wednesday released a lengthy report about its findings and recommendations to improve the troubled facility.

The 88-page report calls the state's only mental hospital outdated and overcrowded. It also said the facility suffers from bad management, a lack of training and chronic overtime and sick leave abuse, leading to assaults by mental patients against the staff.

A Hawaii News Now investigation last November first revealed that about one employee was assaulted by a patient there every three days in 2013.

The report recommended changes to state policy, including encouraging the facility to send its most violent patients to other special units out of the state. The state is paying for two patients who've repeatedly assaulted employees and fellow patients to stay at a special facility on the mainland.

"Moving the most violent out of the state of Hawaii as is presently done in South Carolina," Hee said. “That will also dramatically impact assaults, not only on workers, but also on patients."

The state hospital was built for 168 patients. It's overcrowded with 200 on campus today and 40 others who live at private mental facility Kahi Mohala.

Full Text: 2014 0897 hsh final report (3)

KITV: State lawmakers reveal plan to fix Hawaii State Hospital

read ... Changes

Solar Farm to Displace Affordable Housing

SA: Kamehameha Schools wants to use land in Waiawa -- long ago approved for development of 7,900 homes -- for what would be the biggest solar farm in the state by a long shot, with the capacity to power 22,540 homes.

read ... Unaffordable

Richardson Will Train Lawyers to Scoop 'Green' from Energy

SA: An energy law program will be offered to students next fall at the University of Hawaii at Manoa's William S. Richardson School of Law.

The energy law program is in development and will be available next fall as well as a course called "Renewable Energy and Climate Change."

"There is a need for lawyers to help finance large and small energy projects," said Shalanda Baker, associate professor of law.

read ... Tax Credits

Electrical problems at Halawa prison Cause Cell Doors to Open at Random

HNN: The doors are supposed to be automatic, with staff remotely controlling them.  In emergencies, all the cells can be opened or closed. But last week, corrections officers noticed doors in some sections of the prison, randomly opening or unlocking. The Department of Public Safety stopped using the automated system, and went back to using keys.

That creates a safety issue for officers.

"If a staff is in there carrying keys and the keys will open all the doors and the inmate overpowers the staff, then we have a problem," says Ted Sakai, Director of the Department of Public Safety.

Maximum security prisoners are not being allowed their one-hour a day time outside for now.   Access to the library, learning center and the main walkway of the prison is also being limited to minimize the risk.

Sakai says the electronics system is old, the original from 1987.  A part malfunctioned and caused the failure. That part came in from the mainland Tuesday and crews are working on the system.  DPS hopes everything will be back up by Thursday. 

read ... Electrical

Family of dead Ewa Beach man denied justice due to Lost Paperwork by prosecutor’s office

KHON: In January of 2012, Wallace Nakama was hit while crossing Fort Weaver Road by a driver whose vehicle was making a left turn from Ewa Beach Road. The 77-year-old Nakama died a few weeks later from his injuries. A 25-year-old woman was arrested, and there was an investigation, but for months, there was no word on the progress of the case.

Nakama’s son Ron called the prosecutor’s office recently to check on the case. “About two months ago, I called the prosecutor’s office, and what he told me that the police just handed in the report.”

Ron Nakama later called again, and this time, he was told the files were missing. “So the only advice he gave me was to go to civil court.”

read ... Justice Denied

Senate Committee Approves 'Unqualified' Judicial Nominee

WHT: Bar Association President Calvin Young had told the committee on Monday that he was limited in how much he could say, to protect the confidentiality of those who gave input on Masunaga’s qualifications. The primary concerns, he said, were whether Masunaga could handle the rigors of a busy court calendar.

His written testimony to the committee, based on a vote of the board of the association, said the board “seriously” questioned Masunaga’s legal knowledge, diligence, ability to fulfill the responsibilities and duties of the position, and professional experience in legal practice and in civil and criminal proceedings and trials.

read ... Unqualified?

HPD officers involved in game room beating, no longer getting paychecks

HNN: It's a rare and bold move by the Honolulu Police Department. Three officers who went into the game room near Ala Moana when the attack happened, are no longer getting paychecks from the city.

Police sources say Officer Vincent Morre and Officer Nelson Tamayori are now on unpaid leave. Long-time and well-decorated Reserve Officer Joe Becera has been forced to resign.

Officer Morre is seen on surveillance video from the game room kicking a man then throwing a chair at him.

The video also shows the other two standing and watching.

"It doesn't happen often," says Tenari Maafala, President of SHOPO the police union, "If they feel, within their purview and their rights that evidence of the complaint or allegations are legitimate or sufficient to effect such an action, disciplinary action of leave without pay then that's well within their perview."

The FBI is investigating the case for possible civil rights violations.

"If the FBI steps in to do the investigation it's normally because the act or offense is egregious," says Tommy Aiu, a retired federal agent.

read ... FBI Investigating

NCAA Completes Investigation of UH Athletics, Penalties next

SA: The NCAA reportedly closed out interviews Friday in its investigation, which began in March.

Self-imposed penalties could come in the next couple of weeks as UH seeks to implement sanctions before the start of its season and ahead of an official notice of allegations from the NCAA....

In January, UH self-reported an NCAA violation, saying "a men's basketball coach submitted an altered document that was essential for admissions purposes."

Since then investigators have talked to more than 25 people, some of them multiple times, in a wide-ranging inquiry, people interviewed have said....

So far the only steps acknowledged by UH have been two suspensions of assistant coach Brandyn Akana.

read ... Penalties

Caldwell Dumps Trash into Ocean at Kapiolani Park

HNN: Due to the recent heavy rains, some of the garbage has apparently spilled into a nearby storm drain that runs near the Waikiki's Gold Coast and feeds into the ocean.

Among the rubble was a city work report indicated that some of the trash has been stockpile there for nearly two weeks.

That trash pile has invited others to dump their own personal trash there, including used furniture, car seats and even an old air conditioner.

"Yes, I'm outraged. Keep in mind, just a stones throw away is Waikiki Beach, our flagship," said environmental activist Carroll Cox.

The city said it's keeping the trash there for its consultants, which are testing the content for the types of debris that end up in the ocean.

"This is a routine occurrence," said city spokesman Jesse Broder Van Dyke....

The trash is usually sent to Sand Island but Van Dyke said that's too far away.   (Yes.  This genius garbage plan goes all the way to the top.)  When the study is over, the consultant will remove the debris, he said.  (Consultant = $$$ Big contract.)

But several city employees that work in the road maintenance division told Hawaii News Now that they were worried that dumping might violate state or federal environmental laws.

read ... Street sweeper dump site found at Kapiolani Park

Bizarre News: Matson reduces fuel surcharge

SA: Matson Inc., the state's largest ocean cargo carrier, said Thursday it will lower its Hawaii fuel surcharge by 5 percentage points to 37.5 percent Nov. 2 to compensate for falling ship fuel prices.

The decrease follows two increases earlier this year -- 3 percentage points in June and 5 percentage points in March -- imposed by Matson for shipments between the West Coast and Hawaii.

Dave Hoppes, senior vice president of ocean services for the company, said the reduction should save most customers $100 to $175 to ship a container.

read ... Bizarre

Hawaii Highest Proportion of Equity-Rich Homeowners

LVRJ: Nevada also had the nation’s lowest share of equity-rich households, or those with homes worth at least 50 percent more than their mortgage. Just 12 percent of Nevadans were equity-rich. That compared with a national rate of 20 percent. Hawaii ranked No. 1, at 35 percent. In California, an important feeder market for new local residents and tourists, 30 percent of households were equity-rich.

read ... Rich

County closes Cemetery Road after lava advances 425 yards

HTH: The June 27 lava flow is 0.3 miles from Cemetery Road and Apaa Street after covering 425 yards since Wednesday morning, Hawaii County Civil Defense said.

The county is closing Cemetery Road between the Pahoa transfer station and Kaohe Homesteads Road. Civil Defense staff will also be in the area “around the clock to maintain close observations of flow activity,” the department said.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said the new flow front entered a gully, which increased its advance rate from about 87 yards per day over the last week. HVO is not currently estimating when the flow could reach the roads, a spokeswoman said.

Josh Ballauer, a Kaohe Homesteads resident, said he saw the lava flowing like a river early Thursday morning.

read ... Pahoa Doomed? 

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