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Wednesday, January 14, 2015
January 14, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:21 PM :: 4714 Views

No More Neutrality: OHA "prioritizes federal recognition"

Kalihi: Caldwell to Cut 50% of Lanes from Kam IV Road

HECO Rolling Blackouts Caused by Lack of Wind

KITV: Thousands of Oahu residents were in the dark from rolling blackouts, something that hasn't happened in years....

The problems began hours before the rolling blackouts began. One of HECO's generating units at the Kahe power plant had problems in the morning, then in the afternoon an independent power producer went out of service. Meanwhile another independent producer undergoing repairs was on half power.

"We had this unfortunate situation where you had three of the largest generators on the island out of service. We also didn't have any contribution on the North Shore. There wasn't any wind for wind generated power," said HECO Spokesman Darren Pai.

Pai said they couldn't get any more electricity because all other power plants were at maximum capacity.

Many residents conserved electricity during the rolling blackouts, so they outages didn't last as long as planned and were not as widespread as expected.

read ... Useless Wind Energy

Star-Adv: Ige Must Seize chance to reform public hospitals

SA: "It is very clear to me that any kind of public-private partnership has to be driven by the governor's office. Trying to have legislators trying to bring parties together is really not going to work," Gov. David Ige told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser back in October, when he was running for the executive office.

Now Ige, formerly a legislator, must make good on that promise and help shepherd through a potential rescue for Hawaii Health System Corp.'s Maui Region, which includes three of the public hospitals: Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital and Lanai Community Hospital....

Absent such a partnership, Maui Memorial Medical Center alone will require between $573 million and $873 million in taxpayer subsidies over the next decade just to operate at current levels, according to HHSC.....

Ige must seize this opportunity and lead his former colleagues to overdue recognition of the private sector's key role in improving Hawaii's struggling public hospitals.

read ... Seize chance to reform public hospitals

63 Homeless Moved into Housing Thanks to New Laws

SA: A sign hanging on the wall of Erica Maier's new Wai­kiki apartment says, "It's never too late to live happily ever after."

A few weeks ago the 48-year-old formerly homeless woman would have scoffed at such optimism. However, her life has changed radically since she became one of the first five Wai­kiki homeless people placed into permanent housing as a result of the Institute for Human Services' $2 million city Housing First contract.

"I'm so grateful for this opportunity. It could be my last chance to make a life change," said Maier, who has struggled with bouts of drug addiction and homelessness since she was a 15-year-old runaway in Wai­kiki. "I'm going on 50 years old. I can't see myself living like some of the people that I see on the streets that are 70 or 80 years old. Without this program it was a real possibility, but I've got hope now."

Maier is not alone. IHS officials say that since they kicked off their first full-time homeless outreach program in Wai­kiki on Nov. 3, the nonprofit has helped 63 of the district's homeless people into shelter or housing.

read ... Housing First

Caldwell: May Cost $6B--Gimme $350M or Rail is Pau

KITV: Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation are seeking a memorandum of understanding to issue as much as $350 million in bonds to secure short-term financing for the project. Without the bond money, the project could be forced to stop construction at some point in the future, since state procurement law doesn't allow new contracts to be issued without the money to back it up.

"So, we'd have an incomplete project," the mayor said in a Tuesday interview with KITV4. "The people of this island have demanded 20 miles, 21 stations, 80 rail cars and I'm committed to follow through on that promise."

The council's Budget Committee has scheduled a hearing Wednesday morning on whether to approve the memorandum of understanding between the city and HART. If passed by the committee under Resolution 15-7, the measure then heads to the full City Council for final approval. The MOU makes the city the transit authority's primary creditor and even sets aside HART's assets for collateral.

"We want to make sure that we have the same kind of leverage that any lender in the private sector would have, so that if things go wrong, we get first priority over their proceeds coming in and including the assets of HART," said the mayor.

Caldwell highlighted the rail project's financial troubles Sunday in an op-ed that appeared in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. However, the mayor failed to mention that cost overruns could be as high as $500 million to $700 million, which would result in the project's overall cost escalating to about $6 billion....

read ... $6 Billion

Draft EIS: Transit development in Kakaako could add Hotels, 30,000 new residents

KITV: "They believe a hotel might work, but it's really at the preliminary discussion stage,” said Tony Ching, executive director for the Hawaii Development Community Association.

Rules already in place allow for a hotel at the Aloha Tower district and now a draft Environmental Impact Statement leaves the door open for more. The question is where?

Howard Hughes' master plan does however call for the possible development of some two dozen high-rises.

Right now, about 12,000 people call Kakaako home.

That number could triple as floor space density increases around transit centers by 2035.

That means an additional strain on sewer lines, although the city believes there is sufficient capacity given all the improvement projects on the drawing board....

But distribution lines are another story and as high-rises spring up developers will have to pay for the upgrades.

Water lines are an issue too, where the lines are more than 50 years old.

In the last five years, Kakaako saw some 34 water main breaks....

The growing pains will mean the need for a second fire station....

The draft Environmental Impact Statement estimates $122 million is needed for new schools....

read ... 30,000 New Residents

Kauai HHSC Wipes out Debt With Layoffs, $9M Legislative Appropriation

KGI: At the onset of 2014, the four clinics and two hospitals operated by the state-funded health care system on Kauai faced a dire reality: With about $10 million in debts that needed to be paid and only about $11,000 in the bank, the risk of cutting services severely or closing facilities was real.

But as of Friday, HHSC operations on Kauai are projected to have a $1.6 million surplus once the current fiscal year ends on June 30 — that’s after officials use about $9.6 million in cash, including about $9 million in appropriations from the state Legislature, to pay off $7.9 million in operating debts, according to HHSC financial statements obtained by The Garden Island.

“It’s an amazing turnaround,” McFarland said on Tuesday. “The region’s teams and employees have really focused and made improvements in productivity and efficiency. We are entering 2015 in a more solid fiscal position, which allows us now to stabilize our commitment to the community.”

In fact, instead of facilities facing the risk of closure, McFarland said construction is set to begin Thursday on the island’s fifth, 4,027-square-foot HHSC clinic in the Shops at Kukuiula.

read ... Turnaround

FBI Meets Lawyer Today to Hear Evidence Against Chief of Police

CB: FBI investigators are expected to meet Wednesday with the federal public defender who has been insisting he has evidence of corruption in the Honolulu Police Department.

It’s not the first time the FBI has investigated HPD. But it’s the first time its generally well-regarded chief, Louis Kealoha, has been at the center of any concerns.

read ... Chief of Police

Ethics Violations? Abercrombie's Chief of Staff Says 'Trust Me'

ILind: There are several restrictions that would apply to Coppa and to other former government employees.

First, former legislators and employees are prohibited from disclosing information which they obtained on the job and “which by law or practice is not available to the public.” In addition, such information can’t be used for the personal gain or benefit of themselves or anyone else. The one-year time limit doesn’t apply to this provision, which is permanent.

In addition, former employees are prohibited from being paid to represent any person or business “on matters involving official action by the particular state agency or subdivision” where the person had worked, or more generally on matters in which the employee had participated.

The word “represent” is defined somewhat narrowly, meaning “to engage in direct communication on behalf of any person or business” with any legislator, state agency, or their employees. So while a former employee might be barred from lobbying for a year, the law appears to allow them to be the back-seat driver who advises others on how to “work” the agency to a client’s benefit.

In a telephone interview, Coppa said he has taken care to comply with ethics guidelines and has been concerned about public perceptions.

“The provision is there to prohibit somebody from profiting from their service as a public employee.” — Les Kondo, executive director, State Ethics Commission

“Trust me, I was very conscientious,” Coppa said. “I’m no fool.”

read ... Fool Me Once...

Nepotistic Charter School Appeals Closure

SA: The troubled Kalihi charter school facing closure by the Public Charter School Commission says it will challenge the decision to revoke its charter contract amid financial and operational problems.

The commission last week voted to issue a notice of revocation to Halau Lokahi Charter School — the first step toward shutting down the campus — and withhold further funding due to insolvency and a proposed financial sustainability plan deemed too risky.

The school's reconstituted governing board voted unanimously Monday night to appeal the decision in an effort to keep the Hawaiian culture-based school open.

read ... Nepotism is a Cause

Prosecutors mull alleged case of voter fraud

WHT: The police investigation, forwarded to prosecutors in December, cited Hawaii Revised Statute 19-3.5, pertaining to voter fraud, she said. It’s up to prosecutors to decide what charges, if any, are applicable.

Edwards Hunt, who lost to Daniel Paleka by 274 votes in the Nov. 4 General Election, was accused of voter fraud by the campaign manager of one of her primary election opponents and others for listing her husband’s surf shop in Pahoa as her residential address on her voter registration form Nov. 24, 2008.

County election records show she previously listed her home in Hawaiian Acres as her residential address.

Edwards Hunt changed the address back to her home, which would have been in a different council district during the 2010 and 2012 elections, in 2013 prior to running for the District 5 council seat.

In the 2012 election, her home on Wao Kele Road was in Council District 5, while the surf shop was in Council District 4.

In the 2010 election, Edwards Hunt’s home was in Council District 6, while the surf shop was in Council District 5.

District boundaries changed for the 2012 election following redistricting.

Reached by phone Tuesday, Edwards Hunt said, “I stand by my original statement. The strength of my candidacy was so threatening to some they needed to go sift through my voter registration history.”

Edwards Hunt said she believed the allegations cost her the election....

read ... Alleged

Alt Energy Lobbyists Top List of 7 possible candidates who could be Hawaii PUC's next chair

PBN: Some names to keep an eye on as possible replacements for Morita include state Sen.Mike Gabbard, D-Kapolei-Makakilo-Ewa, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment; Doug Codiga, a Honolulu energy attorney; Mark Glick, administrator for the state Energy Office; Ted Liu, former director of the state Department of Economic Development and Tourism; Robbie Alm, former executive vice president for Hawaiian Electric Co.; Doug McLeod, former energy commissioner for Maui County and Jeff Mikulina, executive director of the Honolulu-based renewable energy nonprofit Blue Planet Foundation.

Reality: No Blackout: RevoluSun Exposed

read ... Seven Candidates

Hawaii DC Democrats Firmly in the Congressional Minority--Votes in Vain

CB: The state's delegation votes in vain against GOP bills on immigration, deportation, Wall Street reform and the Keystone pipeline.

read ... What a Bunch of Losers

Takai Hires More Hanabusa Staffers

ILind: Kamakana K. Kaimuloa, senior legislative assistant. Kaimuloa previously worked for Rep. Hanabusa, most recently as her senior military legislative assistant.

Rufino Magliba, executive assistant. Magliba held the same position with Rep. Hanabusa, and previously worked for Sen. Dan Inouye.

Colette M. Masunaga, legislative. Matsunaga is a 2013 graduate of University of California-Davis with a B.A. in International Relations. She also previously worked in Hanabusa’s office, first as Japanese American Citizens League Mike M. Masaoka Congressional Fellow, and then as a staff assistant.

Nina Fisher, office manager. Fisher previously held the same position with Rep. Hanabusa from 2011 to the end of Hanabusa’s term.

read ... Mark Takai adds to Congressional staff

Tech lobbyist joins staff of Sen. Schatz

ILind: Melika Carroll, who most recently served as a lobbyist for Salesforce.com Inc., has joined the staff of U.S. Senator Brian Schatz as policy advisor.

According to Legistorm, the Congressional tracking service, Carroll has spent most of her career as lobbyist for a series of tech companies, including Intel, Hewlett-Packard, and Micron Technology.

Here’s her self-summary from LinkedIn.

read ... Tech lobbyist joins staff of Sen. Schatz

Commissaries airlifting produce, dairy to Pacific

MT: Commissary officials were scheduled to begin airlifting produce, yogurt and other dairy items to stores in the Pacific on Tuesday after delays in shipping led to empty store shelves.

Customers will not pay for the increased cost of airlifting the products to the stores, said Defense Commissary Agency spokesman Kevin Robinson.

"The costs of the airlifts are coming out of DeCA's budget," he said.

Troops and families in the Pacific have seen empty shelves in their stores because of West Coast port delays related to negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association and labor unions representing dock workers.

read ... Airlift

Big Island Mayor Signs E-Cig Ban Bill

HTH: Mayor Billy Kenoi has signed a bill that makes Hawaii County the first in the state restricting the use of electronic cigarettes to the same places traditional tobacco cigarettes can be smoked.

The bill had squeezed through the County Council last month on a 5-4 vote. Proponents praised the measure as a way to make Hawaii County healthier, especially for children. (But the real issue is declining tobacco tax revenues.)

The new law, banning e-cigarette use at beaches, county parks, public buildings and anywhere else smoking is banned, went into effect upon his signature. Kenoi said he signed the bill Monday.

State Sen. Josh Green, D-Kona, Ka‘u, chairman of the Senate Health Committee, said it’s likely the state Legislature will be working on statewide controls when the legislative session starts Jan. 21. Among them is a measure he says will bring parity between e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes.  (Josh is concerned about declining 'Medical' marijuana business.)

“It will be one size fits all,” Green said about how e-cigarettes would be regulated compared to traditional cigarettes.

read ... E Cig Ban

Kauai Prosecutor Debunks Smoke Ban Bill

IM: We're not so grateful for Councilman Gary Hooser's idiotic smoke-banning bill. Prosecutor Justin Kollar, in testimony he'll be presenting to the Council today, points out that enforcement could be tough:

The Draft Bill criminalizes the release of smoke or particulate matter into the atmosphere when that release causes harm to the health of another. Therefore, three separate facts must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in order to achieve a conviction; first, that the smoke or particulate matter was knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly released from a particular source, second, that it was inhaled by another person, and third, that the smoke or particulate matter caused harm to the health of another.

As to the inhalation and resultant damage to the health of the purported victim of the offense, it would be necessary to engage medical and health experts to prove the element of causation.

Poor Justin. Still enslaved to the archaic rule of law, when in the world of Gary Hooser and his fistee followers, no facts or elements of causation must be proven in order to convict. You just point and blame and bam, they're guilty.

It worked in Gary's campaign against the seed companies, with hundreds, if not thousands, of dolts willing to sacrifice due process in order to destroy what they consider evil.

Get with it, Justin. Proof is passe. Allegations are sufficient, cost is no issue and enforcement isn't important.

Donchaknow the only thing that matters is getting the bill passed, and Gary's name in print?

read ... Idiot Hooser

Hawaii Among Largest Pay Gaps for Disabled

TH: By estimating earnings differences state by state and nationally using 2011 Census data, my colleagues and I found that people with disabilities face about as much economic discrimination  (37 percent or $l0,000 lower pay) as women as a group (35 percent).

That’s an average: the biggest gap was in the District of Columbia ($20,000) for those with a Bachelor’s degree. Nevada ($38,000), Connecticut ($35,000), and Hawaii ($33,000) had the poorest showing for those with a Master’s degree.

read ... Hawaii Among Worst

Hawaii Hepatitis Outbreak: Will DOJ Prosecute USPlabs?

NPI: USPlabs has been on FDA’s radar for years, starting in 2010 when consumers as young as adolescents began lodging complaints that they were suffering adverse reactions from USPlabs’ products.....

read ... Disgusting Natural Supplements

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