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Wednesday, February 4, 2015
February 4, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:03 PM :: 9152 Views

Free Golf: Ethics Comm Nails Rail Contractors, UH Vice Chancellor, DoT Deputy Director, and Brian Minaai (Again)

Djou: How to Fix the Rail Mess

People's Pulse Contradicts Ward Poll: "Economy, Housing Remain at Forefront"

Latest to Make Fool of UH Administrators, Fired Coach Arnold says "I am Innocent, Gimme $1.4M"

HB287 Embarrassment: Broad and Vague Exemptions Render Transparency Meaningless

DLNR: Pacific Whale Institute 'Will be Held Accountable' for Grounding Catamaran

Will Hawaii County Use Mainland Anti-GMO Activist Lawyers?

SB873 Would Legalize Marijuana, Nullify Federal Prohibition

NY Attorney General: 79% of ‘Natural Supplements’ Totally Fake

Ige’s Honeymoon Ended With Nomination of Ching

CB: I can tell you exactly when Gov. David Ige’s post-election honeymoon ended. It was Friday afternoon, Jan. 23, 2014, less than two months into the new governor’s term, when a news release from the governor’s office announced the selection of Carleton Ching as Ige’s choice to head the Department of Land and Natural Resources....

Within 48 hours, before much of the public was even aware of Ching’s nomination, most of the environmental organizations in the state had reached a consensus in opposition to Ching’s nomination and were calling on Ige to withdraw the nomination....

Four years ago, Neil Abercrombie had similarly just taken office when he announced his plan to create a new state agency tasked with creating public-private partnerships to develop unused, underutilized, or surplus state properties in order to create value and generate income for the cash-strapped public coffers. He quickly introduced legislation to create the Public Land Development Corporation....

On its face, Ige naming an executive and lobbyist for a major developer to the post responsible for protecting and preserving natural and cultural resources seemed to many like a provocation, an unexpected “poke in eye with a sharp stick” aimed at conservationists, and they reacted as you might expect. There were expressions of anger and betrayal, along with more measured criticism of the choice.

While that may be an overreaction, it does indicate that there are no environmental activists in the Ige inner circles who would have flagged this as a highly controversial and potentially politically damaging selection, and in addition the administration made no apparent effort to reach out to environmental groups as part of its vetting of the candidate....

At least one top advisor to Gov. Ige says the strong reaction to Ching’s nomination wasn’t unexpected.

“Was I surprised? Personally, no,” said Robbie Alm, who was part of a small team that screened applications for various posts in the Ige administration....

The Ige administration has been quietly inviting activists concerned with environmental and Hawaiian issues to meet with Ching, according to several people who have taken part in the sessions....

According to several people who attended a three-hour meeting with Ching held in Wailuku on Saturday, the nominee candidly admitted that there’s an awful lot he doesn’t know.

“He kept saying, ‘I don’t know, I don’t know,’” one participant recounted.

Ching said he was not aware of Hawaii’s Public Trust Doctrine, embodied in the state constitution, which requires the state and counties to “conserve and protect Hawaii’s natural beauty and all natural resources,” including land and water. It’s been at the heart of a chain of major court decisions impacting the state’s stewardship of its natural assets.

He was equally unfamiliar with the state water code, or any of the long history of water rights, although as director he would serve as chairman of the State Water Commission....

More than 7,000 people have now signed an online petition calling on the state Senate not to confirm Ching.

The nomination has been referred to the Senate Committee on Water and Land, chaired by Sen. Laura Thielen, herself a former DLNR director from 2007 to 2010. No hearings have been scheduled.

read ... Ian Lind

Ige so Secretive, Many Believe the Fix is in for NextEra

IM: ...the proposal by NextEra to take over Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO), Maui Electric Company (MECO) and Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO) will have profound implications throughout the economic, environmental and cultural spheres. Many believe it is the energy issue of the decade or the century.

Ige’s inner circle includes developers and former HECO executives. It does not include environmentalists nor renewable energy people. Governor Ige appears unwilling to meet with people outside of his inner circle.

Governor Abercrombie mentioned a single company in his 2014 State of the State address: NextEra.

Energy stakeholders in Florida have told me that NextEra does nothing without very thorough analysis. NextEra made their bid for HECO when many though Governor Abercrombie was going to be re-elected.

But NextEra inked the deal after David Ige was elected Governor.

Many people believe that the fix is in, that the Governor has approved the NextEra deal, and that what remains to be seen are the conditions of the sale.

Whether this is true or not is hard to tell. The Governor is so secretive.

The deadline to intervene in the Public Utilities Commission regulatory proceeding is Wednesday, February 18....

The only thing for certain is that a former HECO Executive has Ige’s ear and all other energy stakeholders are on the outside speculating....

The Fix: Politicians Demand NextEra Contribute to Democrats Only, NextEra Agrees

read ... Henry Curtis

Galuteria Caught Cheating on Property Taxes--Claims Two Homeowners Exemptions?

KITV: What Sen. Brickwood Galuteria calls home is a place at the Royal Capitol Plaza that he shares with his wife and ailing mother.  The one bedroom is in a Curtis Street high rise in Kaka’ako and has the address he lists with the state Office of Elections as his residence....  (Quick IQ Test: Do you believe him?)

“We live in Kaka’ako. We have been there for the entire term. That's where we live,” said Sen. Galuteria. “We love it. We made some mistakes in Palolo and that's the end of that. We are going to take care of those mistakes and working with the city."  (But but but what about the other 'mistake' in Kaneohe?)

Those mistakes have to do with filing for a homeowner’s exemption for a residence in Palolo.

Galuteria says his daughter and her five children now live there and at one time he did too. He called the filing an oversight and says his constituents should not compare this with House Speaker Calvin Says residency challenges.

But Portlock resident Richard Baker does not buy it.

"He says a lot of things and so does Calvin Say,” said Baker. “The problem is it’s tough to get around a document he has been signing for seven years claiming these exemptions."

Galuteria says he is a target of people who raised the issue during the recent election.  (Translation: I've kept this quiet for months and now you media people are bugging me about it.)

“They have issued complaints and whatever sticks, sticks. This is a part of it. We will weather this storm, but we live in Kaka’ako," said Galuteria.

Baker points to a third property off Mahinui Street in Kaneohe and a homeowner’s exemption of $120,000.

“The most damning evidence is that he was claiming tax exemptions on two residences that are outside the district and you are only allowed to claim on one," Baker said.

read ... Sen. Brickwood Galuteria on tax exemption claims

Throwing Good Money After Bad: Another $28M for Health Connector?

SA: In addition to authorizing the $28 million in bonds, Senate Bill 1028 and its companion House Bill 1283 would allow the state-based exchange to generate income by providing enrollment and benefit administration services for non-ACA health plans. The Connector could also sell or lease its information technology system and services to other programs and charge fees for displaying advertisements for ancillary services on the its website....

House Bill 726 and Senate Bill 745 would require any insurer with a 20 percent share of the health insurance market (ie HMSA) to sell plans on the online marketplace....

read ... Good Money After bad

Bills Place Conditions Before NextEra Merger

SA: "Our state has positioned itself as a national leader in moving forward with clean, renewable energy. Our energy portfolio standard goals are a big reason that's the case. We've heard from our electric utility that they can get way past 40 percent by 2030. Senate Bill 715 is how we can set the bar even higher," Gabbard said.

Another measure looks to give tax credits to residents who purchase energy storage systems. House Bill 265 would provide the tax credits to residents who buy a battery for photovoltaic systems. The amount of the credit is not set yet.

Thielen, who introduced the bill, said energy storage will be important for Hawaii residents to integrate more renewable energy.

"Energy storage is going to be the key device that is going to help businesses and homeowners become independent from the grid," Thielen said. "It is still in the early stages, but the prices are going to come down."

Senate Bill 1050 and House Bill 484 would set up guidelines for community solar to allow residents who can't install rooftop solar to take advantage of tax benefits by investing in a larger solar-power system.

Both bills require the PUC to establish prices for community-based renewable energy.

A similar bill was introduced last session in the Senate but didn't make it through the conference committee.

Because of overwhelming support, Lee said, he is confident that the community solar bill will be approved this year.

"It is something that I think people are demanding," Lee said.

Lee also introduced House Bill 1504, a measure that would look into different public utility models across the U.S. to help identify what would work best in Hawaii, whether that be a publicly owned or independently owned utility.

"Looking into all of the various public models across the United States, whether it is a co-op or another form. We want to see what could be and what an ideal model would look like," Lee said. "Let's set that up against what is on the table today."

read ... Bills

Ige Appointee Resigns After Just Days on Job 

HNN: Just a week after being promoted, Shelley Nobriga, the state's deputy director of corrections, resigned from her position over ethical questions involving her relationships with two top prison officials....

Nobriga, an attorney and the state Public Safety Department's litigation coordination officer, was promoted Jan. 26 to deputy director of corrections, overseeing prisons statewide.

But she stepped down just a week later to return to her old job after she received information that she said was "Basically, I felt attacking my children and my relationships who created these children and I love my children."

Fourteen years ago, she had a relationship with the new Public Safety Director, Nolan Espinda, who's her boss. They had one child....

For the last 14 years, her partner with whom she's had another child has been Scott Harrington, who's now the warden at Waiawa Community Correctional Center. As deputy director, she would have overseen him.

At first, she claimed she didn't think there was an ethical conflict. Nobriga said prisons officials in the administration of former Gov. Neil Abercrombie told her she was ethically OK because there was an administrator between her and Harrington and she was not directly in charge of him.

"I was told by administration in Public Safety, not this current administration, that as long as there was a level of authority between the two parties, there would be no conflict," Nobriga said.

But Nobriga said state ethics officials told her that her current relationship could raise ethical flags, so she resigned....

read ... Ethical Issues?

Public trust split in HPD misconduct investigations

HNN: Ward Research conducted the Hawaii News Now/Honolulu Star-Advertiser poll last month. 52% of respondents said "yes" when asked, "Do you trust the Honolulu Police Department to investigate its own officers in cases of police shootings or police brutality?" 46% said "no."...

Respondents who answered "no" were asked, "Who do you trust to investigate police officers in cases of police shootings or police brutality?" 22% said they trusted the Honolulu Police Commission while 68% did not. 56% said they trusted the state attorney general while 32% did not. 43% said they trusted the city prosecutor's office while 51% did not....

35% of respondents had a favorable opinion of Kealoha, compared to 30% with an unfavorable opinion. 24% said they didn't know enough to form an opinion....

City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro's favorability rating was 42%....

read ... Trust Lacking

SB497: Transparency in Police Discipline

KHON: In its 2014 annual report to the state legislature, HPD only focused on administrative actions taken against officers who were either suspended or discharged for violating the department’s standards of conduct.

Thirty-nine officers were punished last year for misconduct, with violations ranging from assault and insurance fraud to illegal cockfighting gambling operations.

A closer look reveals that the administrative actions do not appear to be consistent.

The report cited one case where an officer punched his son in the chest with a closed fist, then punched and kicked holes in the wall next to his son’s head. The administrative action in this case: a 10-day suspension.

Then there’s the case of an office caught surfing on the job. The officer was also caught with the surfboard on a city-owned, police-subsidized vehicle. The penalty: a one-day suspension.

That surfing incident caught the eye of Sen. Laura Thielen, D-Kailua, Lanikai, Enchanted Lake, which reminded her of HPD’s investigation into alleged criminal cases of domestic violence involving two officers two years ago.

“The administrative penalty was a one-day suspension,” said Thielen. “what you see in this report is the administrative penalty against an officer for surfing is a one-day suspension.”

Thielen and Sen. Will Espero, D-Ewa Beach, Ewa by Gentry, Iroquois Point, helped introduce SB497, which would repeal the privacy exemption for county police department officers....

KHON2 was only able to secure one other police misconduct report: Hawaii County.

The 2014 report on police misconduct for the Big Island lists 16 officers penalized for 33 violations (some of the officers had multiple violations).

The most serious case involved an officer disciplined for inappropriate physical contact with a minor. That officer was dismissed from the police force.

The reports for Maui and Kauai counties were not available Tuesday.

read ... Lawmakers find disparities in police penalties, target special exemption

HPD Unable to Compile Crime Statistics Since 2010

SA: Out of America's 25 largest city and county law enforcement agencies, only HPD has failed to report crime statistics since 2012 for a city that claims to be one of the safest in the country....

Along with HPD, Kauai police also have not submitted crime data for the Garden Isle since 2012 to the state attorney general's office, which collects crime statistics from each of the four county police departments and forwards them to the FBI....

"We are concerned about how far they've fallen behind," said Paul Perrone, chief of research and statistics for the state attorney general's office.

HPD spokes­woman Michelle Yu wrote in an email that staff shortages and problems with the department's records management system have created a 16-month backlog for submitting crime statistics to the attorney general's office.

But Yu said HPD last month sent data for August 2013.

"Currently, the department is able to compile crime statistics from dispatch calls and officers' field reports," Yu wrote. "These are not affected by the backlog, and they are what the commanders and supervisors use in their daily work. The backlog occurs where the field reports are entered into the records system, and the department is currently working with a private vendor on a new records system that will simplify data entry. Roughly 400,000 reports are entered into the records management system annually."

The attorney general's office has been told that HPD blames the lack of reporting on an antiquated records-keeping system that cannot keep up with changes to how crimes are to be reported....

The FBI estimates that almost 95 percent of Americans are served by departments that take part in the Uniform Crime Reporting program. In 2013 the FBI said that more than 18,000 city, county, state, tribal, higher-education and federal law enforcement agencies provided crime statistics about their communities....

Honolulu's most recent data on the FBI's website come from 2010. Data from 2011, 2012, 2013 and the first six months of 2014 are missing.

Crime stats for Hono­lulu from 2011 and 2012 can be found online but not on the FBI site — only on the Hawaii attorney general's website.

read ... High Tech Strikes Again

Hawaii’s Sunshine Law Is Getting Cloudy As Lawmakers Debate

CB: The Legislature has pending bills that advance the original Sunshine tradition of encouraging the people of Hawaii to learn more about and participate in the formation of state policy. For example, HB 1260 and SB 1322 — sponsored by Representatives LoPresti, Brower, Evans, Ichiyama, Kobayashi, Lee, Mizuno, Jordan, Kong, and San Buenaventura and Senators Ihara, Inouye, Keith-Agaran, and Slom—seek to modernize board meetings by requiring meeting notices on the Internet and by email if requested; public access to documents to be discussed at a meeting; and meeting minutes on the Internet.

On the flip side, there are bills premised on the concern that Sunshine is an obstacle to effective decision-making....  Now, bills such as HB 202 and SB 410 — sponsored by the County of Maui — ask the Legislature to sanction as a permitted interaction an entire county council deliberating without any Sunshine protections at an “informational meeting or presentation of another entity.” No doubt many lobbyists are eager to hold such informational meetings.

read ... Sunshine?

Bill 82 would trigger higher rents for Waikiki businesses

KHON: Waikiki business owners could see a significant rent hike if a proposal in front of the city council is approved.

A hearing is scheduled on a bill that would allow the city to charge an extra fee for all commercial property owners in Waikiki.

The area will be designated as a Special Improvement District and the money raised from the fee will maintain and restore Waikiki Beach. >>> Read Bill 82 here

But if property owners have to pay more, they will likely charge more for rent. Some say this is another nail in the coffin for small business owners in Waikiki.

Small business owners in Waikiki say they are already paying a high premium to be in the world-famous location, and even though there’s constant foot traffic, businesses are working with a very slim profit margin.

“It’s really hard to get by just paying the high rent in Waikiki, especially when we’re selling shirts on average $70. We have to pump out a lot of volume in order to meet that rent,” said Vincent Hui, operations manager at Avanti Shirts.

read ... Bill could trigger higher rents for Waikiki businesses

HB496 Make Small Business Provide 3 months Paid Time off for Employees

KHON: House Bill 496 is currently being heard in the Labor and Public Employment Committee. It would extend the time workers can take leave from four to six weeks, and would establish a Family Leave Trust Fund. All employees in the state would contribute a percentage of their salary to the fund to be help with salary continuance for those on leave.

Opponents include small business owners who would have to pay for temporary workers to fill spots for longer periods of time.

Pono Chong, representing the Chamber of Commerce represented many of those employers, "Some of the concerns that we have, on behalf of our members, 80% of which are small businesses, (are) first it does change the family leave law from 4 to 12 weeks which is triple amount."  

Chong also says the wording of the bill could mean employees can designate a non-family member as someone they care for while being out of work.  (Woo-hoo!  Lets Paaarty!)

The Labor & Public Employment Committee will vote on the HB496 on Friday.  If it passes, it will move on to another committee for review.

read ... How About 12 months off?  Why hold back?

SB593: Anti-GMO Crackpots Seek Takeover of Agribusiness Development Corp

KE: Senate Bill 593 would require the Agriculture Development Corp. to “make the support of sustainable agriculture and food security its top priority and immediately develop and implement a plan to accomplish this goal.” It also requires ADC, by 2025, to lease a minimum of 50 per cent of the lands it controls “to operations that support the sustainable agriculture and local food production plan and whose primary business is the production of food for local consumption in Hawaii.”

Or to use the “translation” that Gary provided in his personal blog:

If SB593 is passed into law – it is possible that over the next 10 years over 10,000 acres of public agricultural lands would be made available to local farmers and could only be used for sustainable agriculture and local food production.

Because we all know that land leases are the only obstacle to food self-sufficiency, right? Not a lack of skilled farmers and farm workers, poor agricultural infrastructure, no irrigation, expensive imported inputs like fertilizer, marketing problems, the challenge of competing with cheaper imported food, restrictive state and county policies, farmer housing and even consumer demand.

In Gary's world, all ya gotta do is offer the land and all those other issues will magically disappear.

The bill never actually defines “sustainable agriculture.” But don't try to start a dairy or plant GE papaya or operate a slaughterhouse or graze cattle or do anything on lots larger than 2 acres because the folks supporting this bill don't want any of that dirty “industrial” agriculture or horrid “monocropping” like the kanaka of old practiced with their vast taro loi.

Who is supporting the bill? A gander through the testimony reveals a roster of the very same folks who were pushing anti-GMO bills throughout the state. Much of the testimony also parrots verbatim the language Gary used in his blog post rallying support for the bill, showing us once again that many of these people can't think for themselves.

SA: Some Drivel from Walter Ritte

read ... Musings: Meddling and Peddling

Omidyar Still Pushing Hanalei Bay Development

CB: Beyond their philanthropic efforts, the Omidyars are behind a company called Ohana Real Estate Investors. It’s based in California and owns the Montage Resort portfolio, a luxury hotel development company in which Pierre Omidyar is the principal investor.

In Hawaii, Ohana Real Estate Investors is developing what’s become a controversial resort and luxury home development at Hanalei Bay on Kauai. The company bought the 600-acre property known as Hanalei Plantation for $75 million in 2007, according to published reports, and is facing opposition from local residents who are concerned the development will change the character of the area and cause environmental problems.

Background:  Pierre Omidyar: The Secret Empire of a Resort Developer

read ... A long fluff piece

Kauai: Gays Eager to Recruit Kids

KGI: The Kauai group provides opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity.... It is a resource for ... kids....

I had an inquiry about gender identity and gender expression. Matthew Houck of the YWCA and Malama Pono explained it to me. The short answer is: Sexual orientation is who you go to bed with, while gender identity is who you go to bed as. Transgender Leelah Alcorn was attracted to men.

Some transgender females are attracted to women, just as a woman can be attracted to either a man or a woman....

read ... Helping Kids Become Gay

Potheads Upset: May Need to make Up Better Excuses than 'Pain' to get Weed

KGI: Barton said he has heard concerns about a provision added to the proposed DOH rules that would allow copies of patients’ medical records to be turned over to state and local law enforcement agencies for investigations on possible law violations by doctors.

The rules require physicians to “maintain records that support the decision to recommend the medical use of marijuana, including records of the diagnosis and treatment of the debilitating medical condition.”

It’s a move Barton supports because it will help to curb the spread of he calls “signature clinics” — those that are more lax at recommending the use of medical marijuana and signing off on certification forms for patients....

Both critics and supporters say determining what qualifies as a possible debilitating medical condition is another gray area. The word “debilitating,” according to the draft rules, is defined as “impairing the ability of a person to accomplish activities of daily living.”

State laws specify that the use of medical marijuana can be justified for certain conditions like cancer, glaucoma, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or other chronic diseases that causes cachexia, severe pain, severe nausea, seizures, and severe and persistent muscle spasms.

“Permits should be issued only to those who have a real debilitating illness and not for short-term severe pain that could easily be cured/helped through other medications prescribed or over the counter,” county officials wrote.

A public hearing on the proposed rules is scheduled to take place at 10:30 a.m. Thursday in the basement room of the State Office Building, 3060 Eiwa Street in Lihue.

read ... Dopers Need More Imagination to Get Weed

California labels e-cigarettes a public health threat (or financial threat?)

WHT: The California Department of Public Health has issued a warning about the dangers of e-cigarettes, as states across the country consider new regulations for the booming industry.

In a report issued Wednesday, the department urged legislators to regulate e-cigarettes like tobacco products. The growing popularity of the new devices presents a particular risk to children and teenagers, who increasingly report using them, the department said. Department of Public Health Director Ron Chapman told reporters the department will begin a public education campaign warning of the dangers posed by e-cigarettes....

Officials pointed to television and radio advertisements promoting e-cigarettes, four decades after traditional cigarette advertisements were banned from the airwaves. In 2013, Kantar Media Intelligence estimated the e-cigarette industry spent more than $80 million promoting its products.

The federal Food and Drug Administration has proposed adding warning labels and ingredient lists to e-cigarette packaging, although new rules could be years away.

Health departments in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Tennessee have issued warnings similar to California’s, and more than half of all U.S. states have passed some level of regulation of e-cigarettes...

Industry advocates say e-cigarettes are much safer than traditional cigarettes, and they back restrictions on sales to minors. For regular smokers, the industry has positioned the product as a cessation tool, similar to nicotine gum or patches. They also criticized the California report for omitting studies that reached different conclusions.

“It’s an overly alarming piece of propaganda that uses cherry-picked studies and turns what is a complex public health topic into a black-and-white issue,” said Greg Conley, president of the American Vaping Association. “What’s most disgraceful is that they are telling California smokers that if they’ve tried the gum and the lozenge and the patch and it hasn’t worked for them, they might as well keep smoking.”

Conley pointed to three clinical trials that measured the effectiveness of e-cigarettes in helping smokers give up traditional cigarettes, none of which was cited in the California report.  (And that is the problem.  Less tobacco tax revenue.)

read ... Threat to tax Revenues

Bills Seek funds for Hilo Medical Residency Program

WHT:  ..Included in a package of proposals prepared by Hawaii County Council members and the Hawaii State Association of Counties, House Bill 195 and Senate Bill 406 are companion bills seeking funding appropriations for the residency program. Both request $2.8 million, “or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2015-2016.”

According to HMC spokeswoman Elena Cabatu, the amount of money requested from the state could change, as the numbers contained in the House and Senate bills were taken from requests made last year. With four residents joining the program next year, bringing the total to eight, it will be more costly.

All told, Cabatu said, the program is estimated to cost $4.6 million in the next fiscal year. The Hawaii Island Family Medicine Clinic, which serves as the primary training ground for the residents, has been estimated to generate about $1 million in revenue from treating patients. That money will be put toward the program, leaving $3.6 million needed in state funds to fully cover the program.

That’s the amount requested for fiscal year 2015-16 in House Bill 847, introduced by state Rep. Mark Nakashima, D-Hamakua, Hilo, and other Big Isle legislators. The bill also requests $3.7 million in fiscal year 2016-17....

read ... Residency

HB128: Make Grandparents pay Child Support

KHON: ...Attorney Gavin Doi specializes in family law. He says the bill is trying to close a loophole to hold parents of minor children who have children responsible for the grandchild’s upbringing.

“For example, say the 17-year-old mother has the baby. The 17-year-old father is responsible for child support in theory, but he goes to high school. He isn’t making any money. In a lot of those cases, the Department of Human Services is going to pick up the tab in terms of food stamps, financial support or other things.”

Supporters of the bill say in addition to holding grandparents “financially responsible,” the proposal could help the parents of the minor hold them accountable for raising the child, and allow them to pass on parenting skills.

Morikawa's HB128 is now in the hands of the judiciary committee....

read ... Make Grandma Pay Up

Fuel Spills Lead to Barrel Tax Bill

KITV: State Representative Chris Lee says he has a bill to fix that. It would increase the portion the state health department gets from the barrel tax from five cents to 15.

"Whether it's the Red Hill fuel spill, or molasses in the harbor or fuel at Sand Island, there’s a lot of instances of emergencies that we cannot see coming and the department has to be prepared. We are ready to commit funding toward them no matter what the next disaster is,” State Rep. Chris Lee.

Also, Gary Gill stepped down as deputy director of environmental health.

An internal memo announced this week he is being replaced by Keith Kawaoka who was in charge of the hazard evaluation and emergency response office.

read ... Barrel Tax

Chevron Hawaii operation likely to be sold later this year

PBN: A source close to the situation told PBN that a deal is nearly certain to close by the third quarter of this year, as the majority of bids were above Chevron's minimum price threshold.

Some of the bidders were in Hawaii two weeks ago for a presentation by Chevron's management team, the source told PBN.

An industry source who wanted to remain anonymous told PBN that it will be interesting to see if the new owner elects to keep the refinery open or convert it to an import terminal, and noted that the real prize for buyers are the Chevron (NYSE: CVX) gas stations.

Al Chee, spokesman for Chevron Hawaii, told PBN that there were entities that "raised their hand" and asked if they could pursue due diligence.

read ... Sold not Closed

Kaiser Claims Local 5 Strikers Block Emergency Patient

KITV: The hospital claims that those picketers have crossed the line, blocking hospital entrances, creating delays and making it a pain for patients to pull-in. The hospital says that the union's tactics are dangerous.

"This morning a gentleman was bringing his elderly mom to the hospital in his privately owned vehicle and she was having a seizure and he waited 10 minutes to get through the emergency room driveway. We also had another patient that the traffic was backed up so bad that she had to park in the neighborhood and walk up the hill because she was scared that she was going to miss her appointment," said Linda Puu, chief nurse executive at Kaiser Hospital.

read ... Seizure



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