Tuesday, May 30, 2023
Hawaii Daily News Read

Current Articles | Archives

Wednesday, June 3, 2015
June 3, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:05 PM :: 4754 Views

HMSA blames Micronesians for 50% Rate Hike

Feds: Only 8,200 Hawaii Obamacare Enrollees Pay First Premium

Hawaii "Is Exception To Constitutional Law" In State Reapportionment

Auditor: HGEA Keeps UH Research Corp from Achieving Potential

City Plans Sand Island Modular Housing for Homeless

Déjà vu: Offshore wind plan vs. whales and solar

Honolulu Among Worst in US: 78% of Jobs Created since 2010 do not Pay 'Living Wage'

Mauna Kea: Shake Down and Payoffs

Feds:  Al Hee Stiffs Board of Water Supply for $5M, Faces Criminal Charges

HNN: Federal prosecutors have accused local businessman Albert Hee of being a tax cheat. They now say he's a corporate deadbeat.

In a superseding indictment filed several months ago, a federal grand jury said that Hee's company owes the Honolulu Board of Water Supply $5 million. The company was supposed to pay the money in 2013 to cover back lease payments for its underground cables but reneged.

"Five million dollars is a lot of change and I am disappointed that efforts were not made to collect that money," said Honolulu Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi.

"If you don't pay your water bill, you get a phone call or a letter, I'm sure."

That $5 million is for lease payments owed to the Honolulu Board of Water Supply. Back in 2002 when Sandwich Isles was just getting going, Hee made a deal to use some of the utility's underground water mains to install telephone lines. The phone lines were for Hawaiian homesteaders living on Oahu.

But according to the indictment, Hee ordered his employees not to make a payment and told the utility that he wasn't bound to do so.

Federal prosecutors said the nonpayment became a crime when Hee booked the $5 million payments as a business expenses on a sister company's tax returns, even though the payments were never made. The alleged false deductions resulted in Sandwich Isles underpaying its taxes by $3.6 million, the feds said.

So far, Board of Water Supply hasn't taken any legal action to collect on the debt.

The loss comes to about $30 per customer and it's money the embattled utility and its ratepayers could have used....

Hee, the brother of former state Sen.Clayton Hee, is politically connected and his board and staff includes Kamehameha Schools Trustee Janeen Olds and retired Adm. Robert Kihune, also a former Kamehameha Schools Trustee. The company previously employed former state lawmakers Tom Okamura and Devon Nekoba.

A previous version of his tax charges alleged that Hee and his family received $1.7 million in false wages and bogus benefits from the companies he controls. That included $121,000 in personal credit card expenses and $92,000 for 'therapeutic' massages....

Flashback: Sandwich Isles Communications: Political Connections Pay Off

read ... Millions

Some teachers unhappy with union election do-over

MN: Some Maui teachers expressed frustration Tuesday over needing to vote a second time to select their union leadership after the Hawaii State Teachers Association's board voted to hold a new election, citing voting irregularities in an initial April election....

"HSTA is wasting the precious end of the school year teacher time. We got a lot to do," said Wailuku Elementary teacher Erik Salvail, who voted at the Baldwin High School cafeteria Tuesday afternoon....

The results of Tuesday's election may be announced by the union as early as next week Tuesday.

Salvail said that today is the last day of instruction, and he believed there was nothing wrong with the first election.

The 5th-grade teacher said that claims of candidate campaigning violations in the first election (the reason cited by the current HSTA leadership for invalidating the first election's results) were unfounded because those issues were cleared before the first election.

Salvail said he voted for the slate that won the first election....

Wailuku Elementary School 3rd-grade teacher Lisa Yamada said she was "upset" that she needed to vote a second time.

"They (the union) didn't tell us why they chose to do this (second election)," she said.

Yamada said she also voted for the slate that had won previously....

read ... Unhappy

Budget leaves DOE short by $22 million

SA: The Legislature has approved less than half of the additional funds the Department of Education said it needs to run Hawaii's public school system next school year, but the department says it expects to only partially fill a resulting $38 million funding gap.

That means nearly $22 million for various initiatives will likely go unfunded next year, including a planned multimillion-dollar expansion of a technology program that provides laptops for schools; a half-million dollars to reward high-achieving schools; and $1.9 million to expand the state's public prekindergarten program.

The Department of Education, which runs the ninth-largest school district in the country, had sought an additional $74 million in general funds for the fiscal year that starts July 1. Lawmakers agreed to provide $35 million of that request, with most of the new funding going toward increased costs for school utilities and student transportation....

read ... Shortfall

Privatization of Hospitals will relieve Hawaii Nursing Crisis

SA: Recently, a national survey reported that Hawaii is the second-worst state for nurses due to professional demands coupled with low annual salaries adjusted for cost of living, job openings and health care facilities per capita, competition and rising aging population....

New opportunities, like the opening of Queen's Medical Center-West Oahu and the Maui Memorial Medical Center public-private partnership, are ways our health care community ensures nurses can continue to serve their communities.....

Background: Thanks to HGEA, Hawaii 2nd Worst State for Nurses

read ... Privatization

Council overrides mayor's veto of expanded sit-lie bill

SA: Honolulu City Council members voted 6-3 Wednesday to override Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s veto of a bill expanding the controversial law that bans sitting or lying down on public sidewalks.

Caldwell vetoed Bill 6 on May 21 after Corporation Counsel staff raised questions.The bill expands the sit-lie prohibition to include areas across the street from the borders of current zones, as well as several new neighborhoods including Kapalama Canal, Aala and McCully.

City attorneys had said repeatedly that sit-lie bills are best able to fend off constitutional challenges when access to businesses is being hindered by people sitting or lying on sidewalks. Caldwell, in his first veto message since becoming mayor in January 2014, said Bill 6 jeopardized the constitutionality of existing sit-lie areas. 

(No more shadowboxing with ACLU.)

read ... Override

Kenoi Cronies Stall Ethics Bill

WHT: ...bill 37 also attempts to strengthen the part of the ethics code prohibiting political campaigns on county time and in county facilities, an issue the county Ethics Board dismissed. That case, responding to a resident’s complaint following a 2012 West Hawaii Today report, questioned whether public worker unions could require county employees to attend campaign events on county time at county facilities where the union’s slate of candidates presented their views.

The Ethics Board found that the so-called “educational” sessions are part of some unions’ state-negotiated contracts, and the county had no jurisdiction, despite county laws banning county employees from using county time, equipment or facilities for campaign purposes.

Wille, who was the odd woman out when this happened in the 2012 election, had originally tried to require the unions to provide equal time to opposing candidates in those circumstances. She’s now striking that language, however, because of concerns it implies an endorsement of the very activity the law supposedly prohibits.

“If you’re using county space, that’s not a permitted use,” she said.

Kailua-Kona resident Cheryl King, who had filed the ethics complaint, said in written testimony that she thinks it important the ethics code spell out that the union sessions are contrary to the ethics code....

read ... Back to the drawing board for ethics reform bill

Untangling the Ethics of Educational Travel

CB: Both the state Ethics Commission and the Department of Education need to bend a little to resolve questions about how to select travel companies for school trips.

read ... Untangle

Hawaiian Electric Co. delays $235M LNG project for two years

PBN: Hawaiian Electric Co. does not envision shipping liquefied natural gas to the Islands until 2019, two years later than it originally planned, according to public documents filed with state regulators this week.

The $235 million project, which still needs the approval of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, calls for a vendor to supply and deliver up to 800,000 tons of LNG per year for up to 15 years....

The drop in the price of oil, which is now rising again, has slowed the utility’s plan to ship in LNG as a replacement for oil, as first reported by PBN.

read ... LNG

Solar Scammer Sticks Library With Defective System

KITV: Paying for solar -- twice! It may not sound very book-smart, but that is what the state has done at one of its libraries....

it seemed like a bright idea four years ago to put photovoltaic panels on the library roof until windy weather blew in last year.

"We had an accident where a couple of panels flew off the roof. Luckily no one got hurt, but it led to an inspection and they deemed the system to be unsafe," said Fujio.

Some of the rack mounting materials were found to be defective, and the panels came down. They have stayed down for more than a year because there has also been a problem getting them fixed.

"We tried to go back to the original contractor, and they are no longer in business," said Fujio.

While the state waits to recover what it can from the contractor's insurer, it has decided to put PV panels back up at the library.

A whole new system will cost an $280,000. That is on top of the $590,000 the state paid back in 2011 for roof repairs and the initial photovoltaic system.

read ... Solar Scammers Strike Again

UH budget to allocate some funds based on student enrollment

PBN:  Under a new budget plan approved by the Board of Regents Tuesday, the University of Hawaii at Manoa will allocate some funding to instructional units based on student enrollment for the first time.

Beginning in July, 38 percent of new tuition funds will be distributed to programs based on student semester hours, majors, and enrollment.

The UH Board of Regents approved a $50.7 million budget for system support, with one vote against, Tuesday afternoon. The tightened budget followed an unmet request for $35.5 million to cover expenses including electricity and athletics.

The Legislature appropriated $7.5 million this year, leaving a $28 million funding gap across the 10-campus system.

read ... Budget

Lack of School Nurses in Hawaii Contributes to High Absentee Rates

CB: Efforts to reduce chronic school absenteeism are shining new light on the prevalence of illnesses like asthma among students and the lack of trained medical professionals stationed in Hawaii schools.

Hawaii currently lags behind most states when it comes to the availability of school nurses.

Federal guidelines recommend one trained nurse for every 750 students. At the start of the 2013-14 school year, the Hawaii Department of Education had three nurses on staff for 180,000 students.

At most schools in the state, everything from scrapes to colds are handled by school health aides, who consult with Department of Health nurses for advice on more serious problems.

But research shows that students under the supervision of a health aide are three times more likely to get sent home for an ailment than students at a campus with a registered nurse, said Mary Boland, dean of the University of Hawaii’s nursing school.

read ... Absenteeism

Psychiatrists Going Crazy as Criminal Lawyers Swamp System With Bogus Mental Health Exams

KITV: The state can’t seem to keep up with number of court-ordered mental health evaluations.

"The biggest fear I have is that we have is for individuals that desperately need treatment and who are not getting addressed," said former state forensic chief Reneau Kennedy.

Kennedy is coming to the support of staff psychologists who are under a crushing workload and who complained up the chain-of-command last month.

The state confirmed the case load has increased 46 percent in the last five years.

Last year, a staff of four handled 1443 court ordered evaluations. This year, it only has three psychologists to do the work....

Froidovitch said in January it began hiring private psychologists here on Oahu to tackle the backlog.

The division has handled 76 cases so far, and the program may have to be expanded across the state.

"We think it could be helpful in Big Island and Maui courts, so we have more flexibility in getting evaluations there in a timely way," said Fridovitch.

Of concern is that the state of Washington lost a lawsuit over wait-times that are similar to Hawaii.

"I think Hawaii is in real jeopardy of seeing some pretty drastic changes. It would be pretty easy for a class-action suit in my opinion, and you would hate for that to drive that because there are a lot of good people and a lot of good work being done in Hawaii," said Gowensmith.

At its highest, the state had a backlog of 50 cases in a month. The state says it has managed to reduce that by a third to half. It hopes to add two more staff positions this year as part of a long-term solution.

read ... Thank the Criminal Defense Bar

Kahuku Windfarm Plans to Kill Many Endangered Birds

KHON: Na Pua Makani has prepared a draft habitat conservation plan (HCP) in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) staff, for authorization and issuance of an incidental take license for endangered species associated with wind farm operations: It is currently available online for public review.

The purpose of the draft HCP is to mitigate for potential injury and death to threatened and endangered species such as: the ‘a‘o or Newell’s shearwater (Puffinus auricularis newelli), koloa maoli or Hawaiian duck (Anas wyvilliana), ae‘o or Hawaiian stilt (Himantopus mexicanus knudseni), ‘alae ke‘oke‘o or Hawaiian coot (Fulica alai), ‘alae ‘ula or Hawaiian moorhen (Gallinula chloropus sandvicensis), pueo or Hawaiian short-eared owl (Asio flammeus sandwichensis), nçnç or Hawaiian goose (Branta sandvicensis), and the ôpe‘ape‘a or Hawaiian hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus semotus) due to construction and operation of the project.

read ... Bird Killer

Crappy Wildlife 'Jobs'?  Pacific Whale Institute

N: Volunteer jobs are a rite of passage for many budding ecologists and wildlife biologists, but a website highlighting these unpaid positions calls them “unprofessional” and “exploitative”. Alex Bond, a conservation biologist at the RSPB Centre for Conservation Science in Sandy, UK, created the Tumblr page ‘Crap Wildlife “Jobs”’ on 31 May, and it already has supporters on Twitter....

But Stephanie Stack, an environmental scientist with the (Whale-killing, anti-Superferry) Pacific Whale Foundation in Wailuku, Hawaii, which is featured on the page, says that unpaid internships give young scientists a chance ... (to kill whales?) ....

The website includes opportunities to study crested black macaques in Indonesia,Damara mole rats in South Africa and, for Stack’s organization, humpback whales in Hawaii. The posts cover a range of duties, from trapping animals to collecting blood and faecal samples. Some warn of gruelling work in remote, rugged areas, and one job involved possibly fending off leeches and venomous snakes.....

read ... Somebody Call DLIR

Anti-Dairy Obsessives File Federal Lawsuit

KGI: Oregon-based environmental attorney Charlie Tebbutt on Monday filed a lawsuit alleging violations of the federal Clean Water Act on the part of those behind a proposed dairy in Mahaulepu Valley.

The suit claims the backers of Hawaii Dairy Farms — a proposed $17.5 million, 576-acre operation — have and continue to violate federal water regulations by installing irrigation systems, wells and water troughs without a state stormwater construction permit.

Specifically, the suit alleges that these ongoing construction activities are “reasonably likely to cause discharges of pollutants,” including dirt, debris, sewage sludge, rock and sand, into Waiopili Stream and other nearby waterways....

Amy Hennessey, HDF’s spokeswoman, has said the only activity taking place on the site is the growing and mowing of grass for pasture and the installation of water quality monitoring wells and fencing. All pasture cultivation activities, including the installation of an irrigation system, are authorized under the Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation Plan and are not subject to National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System requirements because they are for agricultural purposes, she said.

“We believe this suit is without merit and a regrettable waste of the community’s resources,” Hennessey said in a prepared statement. “It is unfortunate that Friends of Mahaulepu group is using litigation instead of conversation to address its concerns about Hawaii Dairy Farms’ planned pasture-based dairy.”

HDF filed an application for a stormwater permit in September 2014, but did not complete the permit process after the company decided to first conduct a voluntarily Environmental Impact Statement prior to construction, Hennessey said.

The application lapsed due to inactivity, she said. HDF has filed a new application to restart the process.

“While Hawaii Dairy Farms does have its building permits from the County of Kauai, we are demonstrating good faith by not moving forward with construction until after the completion of the EIS,” Hennessey said. “As the first pasture-based dairy in the state, Hawaii Dairy Farms has encountered new, unique situations in the regulatory process. This uncharted path has led Hawaii Dairy Farms to work closely with the federal, state and county governments to ensure adherence to all regulatory standards.”

The lawsuit comes 60 days after FOM filed a notice of intent to sue the defendants for launching preliminary site construction projects without a stormwater National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit....

The lawsuit states that HDF’s preliminary construction work, including grading and excavating, is a likely source of the pollution ending up in Waiopili Stream, which flows off Grove Farm land and enters the ocean near Makauwahi Cave Reserve and downhill from the proposed dairy site.

Recent testing has shown it is Kauai’s most polluted stream — of several that continuously fail to meet state water quality standards.

Bacteria tests conducted by Surfrider Foundation’s Kauai Chapter (before any construction) found that pollution levels in the stream are 275 times higher than the bacteria limits set by the government, according to data released by the ocean protection group. Test results from nearby waters where the stream meets the sea are nearly 17 times greater than state and federal limits, the data shows.  (Thus proving that the dairy is not the cause of the pollution.  The more likely cause is all the bs from anti-dairy protesters.)

read ... Pollution of Judicial Process

HPD Ignores FOIA Request for 21 months

ILind: ...drone researcher Shawn Musgrave filed a request with the Honolulu Police Department in October 2013. It covered:

All documents created from January 2005 to the date this request is processed related to the agency’s use of aerial drones, remotely piloted vehicles (RPVs), remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs), unmanned aerials (UAs), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and/or unmanned aerial systems (UASs)(hereinafter “drones”).

The original request lists lots of specifics types of documents. The response from HPD? The letter was never even acknowledged, according to the info provided by MuckRock. More than two dozen follow-up messages also went unacknowledged.

So much for transparency at HPD....

read ... Wondering how to get government documents? Check out MuckRock

Inmate allegedly robbed man in Makakilo after escaping OCCC

SA: Michael Salas, 25, was confined to the Laumaka  Work Furlough Center and finishing a sentence for second-degree robbery. Salas was last seen before a random headcount was taken at 1:45 a.m. Sunday. Salas was not authorized to be any work furlough leave that day, prison officials said.

Police said the robbery occurred at 1:10 a.m. Monday.

Salas was arrested at 7:45 p.m. Tuesday at a residence in Waianae, police said.

Salas now faces possible charges of escape and robbery.

read ... About the latest Escapee

Double Jeopardy? Deedy trial put off, pending appeal

SA: Lawyers for the federal agent say a manslaughter retrial would be double jeopardy ....

read ... Double Jeopardy

Multiple sources: Flasher on Maui is a police officer

HNN: Maui Police Department released a statement saying, “On 05/30/15 beginning at approximately 1251 hours, police received numerous calls regarding a male exposing his genitals and masturbating in a vehicle in the Pukalani Terrace parking lot and the parking lot for the Hannibal Tavares Community Center. Callers described the male to be in his 40s to 50s, approximately 200 lbs., driving a green colored Toyota 4Runner. Investigators are pursuing a possible lead provided by at least one of the callers. Five separate Sex. Assault IV cases were initiated and the investigation is ongoing.”

"Police know who he is. They were given positive ID, he's been positively identified through photos and other means, through his Facebook page, his license plate," said the anonymous caller.

May 6, 2015: Maui Hit n Run Driver not Police Officer 

read ... Maui Again?



TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Back da Blue Hawaii

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute


Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui


Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii


National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today


Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii



Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

School Choice in Hawaii


Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu


West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii