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Wednesday, May 27, 2015
May 27, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:02 PM :: 3904 Views

Telescope Cash: Ige Proposes OHA Toll Booth on Mountain, Limit on 'Non-cultural' Access

Tuvalu is Rising, Not Sinking

Senior Health Report: Hawaii Ranks 4th

Study: Honolulu Property Taxes Among Lowest in USA

HSTA Old Guard: Glad we called new Election Because Elections are time to Pull Together Behind Us

SA: As for a few teachers' call for the uncertified election results to be publicized and that the election infractions be explained, the board took the proper action because acquiescing to such requests caninfluence the results of the new election for all candidates.

And if conducting a fair and proper election is the purpose of the new election, then the board and its elections committee must stand firm and ensure that nothing is said or done to unduly influence votes in the new election.

In the past few days I've been deeply saddened by the mean-spirited comments made by a few teachers against their HSTA board of directors, their HSTA officers and HSTA. I find such comments demeaning and destructive of teachers in general and of their professional organization.

I do think that teacher members of HSTA should question their leaders and their organization when their leaders' actions don't align with teachers' needs. But there is a time and place for doing so, and airing dirty laundry in public is not helpful. Resorting to name-calling and tearing one's organization apart in public does little to advance the image and interest of teachers or its organization. Times of discord call for teachers to pull together and work out their differences so that they can present a unified front against their true adversaries....

read ... Shut Up

Rate Hike: 'Green' Energy Means Another $9M out of Consumers' Pockets

SA: Oahu electric customers will likely see a 47 cent increase on their bills starting Monday as part of a $9 million rate adjustment Hawaiian Electric Co. plans to make.

HECO asked for a total of $12 million for its utilities on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii island.

The requested rate adjustment would be the lowest amount customer bills have increased because of the so-called "decoupling" adjustment since it started in 2011. In 2014, the Public Utilities Commission approved a $51 million adjustment for Oahu, which increased customer bills by $4.89.

HECO is allowed to apply for a decoupling adjustment each year with the state PUC.

The decoupling adjustment is intended to encourage development of renewable energy and energy conservation. The idea is to remove the incentive for the utility to increase the use of electricity. Decoupling is supposed to break the link between customer electricity usage and utility revenue.

read ... Alt-Energy Scammers Continue to Drive Utility Bills Higher

Protesters: No Telescope Construction Until Demands are Met

HTH: Paul Neves and Kealoha Pisciotta told the Tribune-Herald that the governor’s vision for the mountain still falls short since it won’t stop telescope construction. They said it also won’t resolve the conflict on Mauna Kea, where TMT opponents remain.

“Essentially, he said a lot; but he didn’t address anything relevant to what’s happening on the ground,” Pisciotta said.

“The thing that I think the governor is missing is the realization that astronomy is a privilege, not a right, and desecration is against the law in Hawaii,” she added.

Pisciotta and Neves, who are among six plaintiffs challenging the project’s land use permit and sublease, said construction should remain postponed until appeals are exhausted.

“There’s still a legal appeal,” said Neves, a kumu hula.

“And to continue the project when we have a legal appeal, I don’t think he’s being advised properly.”

Best Comment: "I'll say the same thing that I said day one. There is no coming to any common ground with these radicals. You can arrest them now or you can arrest them later."

read ... No Surprise

Homeless Camps Migrate to State-Controlled Land

SA ...Our enforcement efforts cover the whole island. In the past three weeks alone, the enforcement crew has visited Kohou Street fronting Kapalama Canal twice; Iwilei, Aala Park and Chinatown; Blaisdell Park along Pearl Harbor; and Waipahu, Halawa, Keehi, Waikiki, Ala Moana Beach Park, Mother Waldron Park, Thomas Square, Sheridan Street, Vineyard Boulevard, Ala Wai Promenade, Stadium Park, Moiliili and Kapahulu.

It removed 18 tons of garbage and 79 shopping carts, and stored 10 bins of personal property. In the past year, it has removed 218 tons of debris. The crew will keep at it, every week, to keep our island safe and accessible.

In addition, in the past five months we have created a "roving patrol" comprised of two Parks and Recreation employees, one Department of Facility maintenance employee and one Honolulu Police Department officer who patrol hot spots and remove unwanted and illegally stored items on city sidewalks, parks and other public spaces.

These efforts also help prevent a buildup of illegally placed items, keeping our public spaces open to all.

Several locations on Oahu have sizable encampments. Many of the inhabitants are COFA (Compact of Free Association) migrants and transplants from the mainland. Others have serious mental-health issues.

Some encampments are on city property, like the embankment of the Kapalama Canal. Others are on state property, such as the area under the Nimitz Highway overpass or at the Waianae Boat Harbor, where the city does not have enforcement jurisdiction.

Enforcement in Kakaako has been challenging because of split jurisdiction with the state, Hawaii Community Development Authority and private property owners....

We Told You So: Homeless tent cities: Seattle’s decade-long nightmare coming to Honolulu?

read ... Homelessness

Dear Joe, If You’re Concerned About Ethics Problems Look in the Mirror

CB: You argue that the commission should ignore the law’s requirement for liberal construction and, whenever confronted with any ambiguity in applying the law, petition the Legislature to pass new laws to tidy up the legal landscape.

But there’s a big problem with this idea. In case you haven’t noticed, neither the House, nor the Legislature as a whole, has been supportive of new ethics legislation.

In fact, year after year, the Ethics Commission has submitted a package of legislation covering a wide range of topics. Recent bills sought to extend mandatory ethics training, eliminate nepotism in state hiring, increase lobbyist disclosure, tighten conflict of interest provisions, establish meaningful penalties for violations, and so on. Most bills have been allowed to die without hearings. Not one of the bills included in the commission’s annual legislative package has been passed in the past few years.

On the other hand, if you think the ethics law should not be liberally construed to promote high ethical standards, you can easily have a bill drafted to amend the law to that effect. But I suspect few legislators, yourself included, have much appetite for leading a public charge against high ethical standards.

read ... Mirror

Hawaii Health Connector board postpones vote on corrective action plan - again

PBN: The Hawaii Health Connector board has postponed a board meeting to discuss and approve a “corrective action plan” for the health insurance exchange by a week, the head of the nonprofit confirmed to PBN Tuesday.

Ongoing conversations triggered the delay, Hawaii Health Connector Executive Director Jeff Kissel told PBN.

“We’re having ongoing discussions with the federal government and administration,” he said, declining to provide details before the public board meeting set for June 1. "All of the options are open and we’re looking hard at every one of them."

The Connector’s cash balance is projected to deplete by June 15, according to public meeting notes.

"There is currently no other funding source available to pay operating expenses since grant funding is no longer available,” the notes say.

The Connector board’s approval could be pro forma, as Gov. David Ige’s office confirmed last week it intends to transfer the technological infrastructure of the connector to the federal program, called healthcare.gov, as requested by federal officials.

The switch will require the roughly 38,000 residents already enrolled on the exchange to re-enroll through healthcare.gov to keep coverage for next year.

read ... Again

Star-Adv: Study Confirms that Children Do Best With Biological Family

SA: The life of a foster child can be one of being constantly uprooted: Never feeling at home with strangers, who may not quite be trusting, he or she never quite settles in and, often, moves on to the next temporary home in line.

But the best results are achieved, experts have found, when the child is placed within a family, as opposed to a more institutional group residence. According to a new report issued as part of the Annie E. Casey Foundation's ongoing Kids Count project, Hawaii fares well when evaluated by this important metric.

This suggests that the state can take satisfaction that it is on a good course for the delivery of emergency care of children in distressed families. However, the other component for successful care of foster children is persistent oversight of the caregivers and intervention to keep these complex family networks healthy and capable of providing the critical service.

In the "Every Kid Needs a Family" report from Kids Count, data show Hawaii with 92 percent of its foster children in family settings of all kinds. Four states — Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Maine — ranked higher, with 94 percent, the report stated. The national average for foster children placed in families, as opposed to group settings or miscellaneous "other" circumstances, is 84 percent.

Beyond the generic "family placement," Hawaii's foster care system leans heavily on extended family placement. A 2011 Kids Count report indicated that this state has 45 percent of foster children with relatives, the highest rate in the country....

read ... About Reality

Telescope Helps Big Island Students With College Expenses

HTH: With a large contribution from the Thirty Meter Telescope’s education fund, Hawaii Community Foundation has divvied out $100,000 in scholarships to 25 students from around the Big Island.

Recipient Samantha Hanabaga, a Keaau High School graduate and fourth year pharmacy student at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, said she feels blessed to receive such support.

“Education is expensive,” she said. “It’s a struggle for all of us local students out there who want to go out and further ourselves.”

Hanabaga is the first in her family to go to college. She said her dream is to become a licensed pharmacist and that the THINK Fund scholarship will help her achieve that goal.

“It does really make a big impact on my life and my future,” she said.

read ... Telescope

Oahu retailers feeling the pressure of plastic bag ban

KHON: Oahu’s plastic bag ban starts in a month, and retailers are feeling the pressure.

Come July 1, retailers will longer be allowed to give out plastic bags.

City officials sent out compliance forms to about 9,000 businesses earlier this year but only about 4,000 replied....

There are a lot of factors with this ban including a possible hit to customers wallets....

Compostable plastic bags that are biodegradable, paper bags, or reusable.

If retailers choose biodegradable, Hong says they’re looking at costs that are 5 times more than regular plastic bags.

Hong says retailers may pass the price to their customers.

“Whether it’s a fee to take the bags, or the costs of goods sold. ketchups, frozen pizzas of the world is going to cost more. because they’ll have to make up the cost of the bags somewhere.” added Hong.

So how do customers feel about the plastic bag ban?

“I don’t think that there should be a law to tell us to use paper or plastic. I think people should be able to choose themselves what they want to have and to use” said Honolulu resident Val Souza....

read ... Bag Ban

Councilmember Proposes Anti-Small Business Law for Waimanalo

KITV: Council member Ikaika Anderson is leading a bill to prevent commercial beach activity in the Waimanalo and Makapu'u area.

read ... Cutting down commercial activity in Waimanalo

Maui Council Doubles Fees on Small Businesses

MN: The Maui County Council nixed a 600 percent proposed permit hike Tuesday for surf, dive, kayaking and other commercial ocean recreation activities that use county beaches.

The increased fees for commercial ocean recreation activity permits drew testimony from at least a dozen people during a public hearing and later testimony before the Maui County Council as it took up the matter during its initial review of the county budget for fiscal 2016. Activity permit holders have shown up previously to testify before the council's Budget and Finance Committee that recommended approval of the increase. Then permit holders and their supporters made a last-ditch attempt to stop the increases Tuesday.

Testifiers said permit holders may be put out of business and not all stakeholders were consulted on proposed fee increases. They added that the permit holders are an asset to the community because they assist at beaches and perform ocean rescues. A number of the businesses have multiple permits because they may need to change locations because of weather and other conditions.

Council members apparently agreed.

Instead of an increase from the current annual fee of $500 per park, per activity to $3,000 per park per activity as initially recommended by the council's Budget and Finance Committee, the full council settled on an annual fee of $1,000 per park, per activity for the first two permits and $500 for the third and any additional permits. 

(Yup.  They just doubled the fees and told you they are helping you out because they didn't increase them by 600%.  The real IQ test is whether you believe them or not.)

read ... Hard Cop, Soft Cop

Another Day, Another Escape

KITV: Police are warning the public to be aware of an inmate who escaped from Maui Community Correctional Center on Tuesday.

Leif Valdez, 26, was reported missing after a head count earlier that day. He was serving 15 days for misdemeanor theft and was scheduled to be released next Wednesday.

read ... Missing: MCCC inmate Leif Valdez

Political Correctness for Tourists

CB: Don't be a tourist and treat the islands like a tropical theme park, be a visitor and show some concern and curiosity about the people who live here.

read ... The Peoples Great Cultural Revolution Continues

Kauai Humane Society: Killing Puppies, Hiring Cronies

KGI: A group of employees at the Kauai Humane Society is calling for the dismissal of KHS executive director, Penny Cistaro.

Brandy Varvel, KHS outreach and services manager for the last two and half years, said some employees presented the board with a 70-page binder full of documentation outlining employee complaints.

Those ranged from Cistaro hiring unqualified friends to fill positions, creating a hostile work environment and being too quick to euthanize animals.

“Saving lives is not her No. 1 priority, euthanasia is,” she said. “For the last two and a half years, saving lives is a battle.”

read ... Killing Puppies

Forbes: Hawaii Mortgage Fraud Case Takes 22 Years

Forbes: ...In Kekona, the creditors (Benjamin and Tamae Kekona) brought won a judgment against the primary debtors, and then brought an action against one Dr. Bornemann who had been the transferee-recipient of a fraudulent transfer of properties to him by the debtors.

The fraudulent transfer case was repeated tried and retried after numerous appeals and remands. In every case, the jury awarded against Dr. Bornemann both actual damages, for the value of the properties that were fraudulent, and punitive damages as follows:

  • 1993 Trial: $250,000 in punitive damages, later reduced by the Court to $75,000.
  • 2000 Trial: $594,000 in punitive damages.
  • 2013 Trial: $1.6 million in punitive damages, later reduced by the Hawaii Court of Appeals in 2008 to $253,075.

And that’s where my previous article left this case, with Dr. Bornemann owing $253,075 in punitive damages to the Kekonas, and the inescapable conclusion by any disinterested observer that the Hawaiian courts move slower than the tectonic plate upon which Hawaii rests.

The Kekonas, who by now must have learned patience if they didn’t have any before this matter began, last century, were content to again appeal to the Hawaii Supreme Court, this time complaining of the reduction of their punitive damages award from $1.6 million to $253,075. That court has issued the Opinion which I shall now relate....

read ... Forbes

Hanabusa forms new law firm

PBN: Hanabusa...formed Colleen Hanabusa Attorney at Law LLLC earlier this month, according to the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

The former state Senate president once had a practice in Downtown Honolulu on South King Street, which she formed in 2002. A call to that office went to a number that has been disconnected.

The new domestic limited liability company lists an address for a home in the Honolulu neighborhood of Nuuanu owned by Hanabusa and her husband, John Souza III. In 2012, Souza formed Lii Enterprises LLC using the same address.

Hanabusa, an attorney by trade, has been flying under the radar for the most part since her defeat to Schatz last summer.

About a month ago, the 64-year-old delivered the keynote address at her alma mater, the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law

read ... Hanabata

Hawaii UXO Could Have "blown" Kanye West "to bits", but Didn't

WP: Kanye West was reportedly almost "blown to bits" while hiking on an "abandoned military minefield."

The 37-year-old rapper's trainer and close friend Harley Pasternak claims they narrowly escaped death after wandering into a dangerous area during one of their outdoor workouts in Hawaii a few years ago.

According to Billboard magazine the duo were "nearly blown to bits in an abandoned military minefield," but "luckily saw warning signs for explosives and navigated their way back to safety."

read ... "Blown to bits"

Obesity Rate Lowest in Hawaii, Highest in Mississippi

G: Hawaii residents were the least likely to be obese in 2014, and Hawaii was the only state where fewer than one in five residents are obese. Mississippi had the highest obesity rate in the nation for the second year in a row, at 35.2%....

read ... Not Fat

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