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Saturday, June 13, 2015
June 13, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:48 PM :: 3645 Views

Hilo Hospital Cuts are Bandaids

Escape Hatch in 100% Renewable Bill Signed into Law

Honolulu? You Need to Be a Millionaire to Retire

TMT to Boost UH Hilo Astronomy Program, add Scholarships for Hawaii Students

Land Board's Roehrig Shakes Down DFS for Lucrative 'Hawaiian Sense of Place' Contract

HNN: (Do you know what 'greenmail' is?  Keep reading....)

DFS Hawaii is asking the state for a ten-year extension of its retail concession at Maui's Kahului Airport, which expires next month. (so) State Land Board member Stanley Roehrig (suddenly claims he) believes the public could benefit by allowing other competitors to bid on the concession. ...  (The setup.)

The retail giant has agreed to pay a minimum of $1.65 million a year and invest more than $2.7 million to upgrade its retail location and nearby public spaces.... (But that's not paying the 'right' people.)

Instead of reopening the concession to public bid, the Land Board agreed today to approve the ten-year lease but with conditions. (Uh-huh.  Now we get to it.)

It wants DFS to sell more Hawaiian products and incorporate Hawaiian motifs in the Maui store's design....  (Translation: Hire somebody to develop their 'Hawaiian sense of place.')

Sources believe that those changes won't be finalized before DFS's contract expires next month, so the concession may go out to public bid after all....  (Better hurry and find someone to pay.)

(Who might benefit from Roehrig's shakedown?  Who is it that sells a 'Hawaiian Sense of Place'?  Since DFS is in a hurry, here is a handy dandy link to a company run by an OHA trustee--Peter Apo, LLC: "Peter Apo is the President of the Peter Apo Company, LLC, a Hawai’i based firm that provides Hawaiian cultural planning services to corporations doing business in Hawaii.  The cultural planning includes working with developers to achieve a Hawaiian sense of place for resorts, hotels, retail centers, government complexes, and other institutions."  What a coincidence.)

read ... DFS Maui lease 'controversy'

Ernie Martin Political Games Deliver Council HART Appointment to Developers' Attorney

SA: ...A key Honolulu rail board member is poised to lose his seat once his term expires this month now that the Hono­lulu City Council chairman has nominated someone else to replace him.

Keslie Hui has served on the Hono­lulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board since 2011, and with his term set to expire June 30, Councilwoman Ann Koba­ya­shi nominated him for a new term May 19.

But three days later Council Chairman Ernie Martin nominated another candidate, real estate attorney Terrence Lee, to take Hui's seat instead. The Council is slated to vote during a special session Tuesday on whether to appoint Lee.

Council members are not scheduled to consider Hui's renomination.

"He's not being reappointed," Martin said Friday. Martin said he nominated Lee because he felt that Lee would better represent the Council on the 10-member volunteer board as the approximately $6 billion public transit project struggles with cost overruns and lagging revenues.

"Being that you're a Council nominee, you're almost an extension of the Council itself," Martin said. He added that he was unimpressed when, during a recent nomination hearing, Hui did not give Martin a "definitive" response that it's within the Council's prerogative to approve, amend or reject HART's budget....

Lee is listed as a partner with the law firm Sullivan Mehe­ula Lee, and according to the company biography he's represented a "who's who" of local and national developers during his more than 30-year career.

"Terry has substantial experience in all aspects of investment and development" projects, and his clients include "shopping centers, warehouses, hotels, restaurants, office buildings, service companies and other businesses," the biography states....

read ... Ernie Martin Again

City Spends $15K/week to Provide Garbage Collection Services to Homeless Camps

SA: ...complaints from tourists and residents have prompted the city to ban sitting and lying down on sidewalks in Wai­kiki. The prohibition has been expanded to some neighborhoods in recent months.

Honolulu spends $15,000 a week on the crews that head out daily to clean up tent cities that emerge around Oahu. Workers toss out four to eight tons of junk and garbage — from mattresses and bicycle parts to needles and human waste — every week, said Jesse Broder Van Dyke, spokes­man for Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

"Can you imagine what the city would look like if we weren't doing that?" Broder Van Dyke said. "It's a health and safety issue. It's something that just has to be done. We wish that it wasn't necessary."....

read ... Advocates decry homeless sweeps

Homeless man Finally in Jail After allegedly Attacking 75 year old woman with baseball bat

SA: ...A 30-year-old homeless man released from police custody in the stabbing death of a Wai­alae Avenue news vendor last year will make his initial appearance in Hono­lulu District Court on Monday for allegedly attacking a woman with a bat while trying to take her purse in the parking lot of a Sports Authority.

Gary Landis was charged Friday with first-degree robbery and unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle. His bail was set at $125,000. He remains in police custody.

Landis was arrested Friday for allegedly attacking the 75-year-old woman in a robbery attempt Thursday morning.

It's the second time Landis has been arrested since his release June 3 in the slaying of 70-year-old newspaper vendor Thaddeus "Ted" Pirga Jr. on Waialae Avenue in November....

On June 5 officers cited Landis at 2:15 a.m. for being at Kapiolani Park after it closed. The citation is a petty misdemeanor which carries a maximum jail term of 30 days. (Which is more than murder or robbery, apparently.)

On June 2, a week after his release from Oahu Community Correctional Center, officers arrested Landis on suspicion of murder in the Nov. 9 death of Pirga. He was released the following day, pending investigation. (one day)

Landis had been confined at OCCC for seven months. He was convicted of second-degree robbery in February, sentenced to four months' probation May 26 and released May 27.... (two days)

read ... Soft on Crime Revolving Door

SB791: Autism Insurance Bill on Ige's Desk

SA: ...the Legislature passed a landmark autism insurance reform bill during the 2015 legislative session, which now heads to Gov. David Ige for his signature. The legislation, which received overwhelming support, has aligned Hawaii with 41 other states guaranteeing insurance coverage for those with autism.

SB 791, sponsored by state Sen. Josh Green (D, Kohala-Kona), requires state-regulated insurance plans to cover medically necessary treatment for autism, in­cluding behavioral health treatment, psychiatric, psychological, pharmaceutical and therapeutic care. The bill also requires plans to cover applied behavior analysis with a maximum of $25,000 per year through 13 years of age....

read ... Autism Coverage

Ige Signs Cesspool Conversion Credit, Turtle Bay Conservation

SA: ...Roughly 664 acres of undeveloped shoreline land on the North Shore owned by Turtle Bay Resort would be set aside as open space for public use under a preservation agreement signed into law Friday by Gov. David Ige.

The new agreement, Senate Bill 284, is mostly similar to one reached last year but reduces the cost of protecting the land to $45 million from $48.5 million....

Also Friday, Ige signed House Bill 1184, which provides a temporary income tax credit for the cost of upgrading or converting a cesspool to a septic system or an aerobic treatment unit system, or connecting to a sewer system....

read ... Cesspool

HI Tech Tax Credit Scammers Want Another Billion of Your Tax Money 

CB: A 'new' report offers a road map aimed at helping Hawaii (political cronies) to build a more vibrant, innovative economy (bank account).

Flashback: Audit: State Gave Away $1B Act 221 Tax Credits Without Verification of Eligibility

read ... History Repeats

Religious Freedom or a State Religion on Mauna Kea?

Boylan: Let’s start with politics. Democracy constitutes a religion, one that includes certain obligations: an informed citizenry, clean elections, good people willing to serve and compromise.

To this point, I’ve discerned nothing in Gov. David Ige’s administration that disqualifies him as a good person who is willing to serve — and in the matter of the Thirty Meter Telescope, Ige’s offered a compromise.

It includes a new cultural council “to restore balance between science and Native Hawaiian interests on the mountain,” the decommissioning of 25 percent of the 13 telescopes that currently clutter the mountain, the return by University of Hawaii of 10,000 unused acres to the Department of Land and Natural Resources, and more.

But Ige also has affirmed that TMT could go ahead with construction of its telescope. Hawaiian protectors and supporters at the university immediately objected and declared the TMT a non-starter.

More religion here, that of Papa and Wakea and the mountain, a creation myth as soothing as the Christian creation myth, and like all creation myth, matters of faith, not fact.

The builders of the TMT deal in reason, but they too are religionists. Science rejects faith, but it builds cathedrals in science’s name on mountainsides and in valleys. Call them schools with their telescopes, and which all of us, across ethnicities, attend.

The TMT should be built because to not build it would be to squander one of the world’s great resources for exploration of the heavens: that extraordinary Mauna Kea.

A compromise, if not Ige’s then someone else’s, must be reached between science and faith....

SA: Inflatable Icons Used to Promote In-School Worship of Monk Seals 

read ... State Religion

Anti-Telescope Protesters Prevent Workers from Stopping Oil Leaks on Mountain

The Mauna Kea management team says construction equipment that’s been sitting idle on the summit has been leaking oil, and they can’t do much about it because workers have been blocked from getting to the site.

They say it’s not a lot and have been taking steps to minimize the damage.

“They’re required to put absorbent pads under their equipment to catch any of the drips that are occurring and we do have, because TMT cannot get to their site. They’ve been blocked,” said Mauna Kea management director Stephanie Nagata. “We have Mauna Kea support services that does maintenance of the roads. They go twice a week to check on it.”

“It kind of looks like just a pad underneath,” said Shelly Muneoka, who opposes TMT development. “Some of them have vessels that are overflowing and a pad is next to the vessel, but there are also pictures of leaks right onto the ground.”

KGI: Kauai CC team among 4 UH community colleges selected for sun orbiting rocket payload on Aug. 11 flight

read ... Protesters Desperate to Blame this on Someone Else

Hawaii, Alaska need Exemption from Federal Freshwater Grab

KDN: ...The Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced a new rule regarding the nation's waters earlier this spring. The rule expands federal authority over waterbodies and navigable waters under the Clean Water Act.

The edict bypassed Congress, which is attempting to block its implementation.

Essentially, the rule is expected to lead to additional federally required permits to deposit into or alter waterways and wetlands. Discharge, dredging and oil-spill prevention all are likely to be affected even more than they are already.

The rule is an example of the feds asserting increased authority over the states. But, often, one rule isn't in the best interest of all the states, the waterways and environment individually. Alaska is very different from Florida. The rule governing Alaska's waterways should be established and enforced in Alaska by the state. And other states, like Florida, should set their own. The states better understand how to balance protection of the environment with use of the waterways located within their borders.

This rule might be somewhat beneficial in the continental states, excluding Alaska and Hawaii, where streams flow from one state to the next or even through multiple states. However, creating a rule to solve problems in some states but cause distress in others lacks the element of common sense.

read ... Federal Grab for Water

Lawsuit aims to halt seafloor mining--but only by US Companies

WHT: An environmental group is suing to prevent a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin from prospecting for deep sea minerals on the ocean floor between Hawaii and Mexico.

The lawsuit against the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration alleges the federal agency failed to examine environmental impacts before renewing exploratory permits. The suit, filed May 13 by the Center for Biological Diversity, targets just two of 15 permits for exploration in the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone, which starts 500 miles southeast of Hawaii and extends almost to the coast of Central America....

Most of the exploratory permits have been issued to various foreign mining interests by the International Seabed Authority and do not fall under U.S. jurisdiction....

(Really Obvious Question: How much did the CBD get paid?)

read ... Enviros Help Foreign Companies

Preparing for Next lawsuit: UH Coach Still Working Without 'Fully Executed' Contract

SA: After two months on the job, we’re told men’s basketball coach Eran Ganot still does not have what the University of Hawaii calls a “fully executed contract.”

If you have been following the eight-month drama surrounding the dismissal of his predecessor, coach Gib Arnold, you are probably not surprised for any of a number of reasons.

In looking at the Ganot contract delay, the optimist delusional hopes that, due to the expensive lessons being learned from the Arnold fiasco, UH has been thoughtfully combing and re-combing every nook and cranny of the deal to make sure there are no more potential $1.4 million trap doors lurking behind the not-so-fine print.

Though why such an examination should require even a fraction of the time is baffling, say some in the legal community. After all, Ganot was introduced at a campus press conference April 9, where it was said that a contract was to be produced “soon.”

The pessimist realist might suggest that UH has learned nothing from the misadventures of failing to commit the initial Arnold agreement to paper in 2010, the one that 15 months later led to the head-scratching 2011 deal currently under the microscope in a grievance procedure and lawsuit.

read ... Still no ‘fully executed’ deal with Ganot

Domestic Violence: Another 'Taskforce' another 'Strategic Plan'

SA: the task force concluded in its report, other steps can be taken to sharpen the broad public and private response:

» A strategic plan would help overcome the tendency of all actors to work in "silos," improving collaboration and communication among government agencies and community organizations.

» Once again, the shortcomings of government data collection and sharing were cited as a factor in that lack of coordination. That's not going to turn around quickly, so workarounds will be needed to strengthen the overall outreach system.

» Among the ideas modeled by other states is the development of a shared matrix for assessing risk, guidance that all agencies should share. This tool would be especially critical in processing temporary restraining orders more effectively.

» One way to improve response would be to identify additional "points of entry" for victims, beside the criminal justice system. Professionals in health care and educational institutions and other parts of the community need better training to intervene when a victim of domestic violence is identified.

» In addition to increasing resources for counseling victims and witnesses, the most crucial need is for a statewide prevention program, including education, research and community outreach....

read ... Domestic Violence

Profitable Nonprofit: Another Embezzler Convicted, Stole $153K from Disabled

SA: ...Mitchell J.W. Keawe Jr., 60, pleaded guilty to embezzling $153,643 between Oct. 1, 2012, and Sept. 30, 2013, from the organization that had served disabled clients on Kauai, Oahu, Molo­kai, Hawaii island and Guam since 1981.

“Due to the theft and mismanagement of Mr. Keawe, the charity is now out of business,” said FBI Special Agent Tom Simon. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence Tong said the $153,643 Keawe stole represents roughly 16 percent of the money the Centers for Independent Living had received from the U.S. Department of Education in fiscal year 2013....

Background: Former charity director indicted for theft

read ... Ex-director admits embezzling $153K from nonprofit organization

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