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Monday, June 29, 2015
June 29, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:58 PM :: 4014 Views

Grassroot Institute Publishes HART Check Register

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted June 29, 2015

Patriotism: Hawaii Ranks 24th

Report: Jones Act Reform Could Help Save Bankrupt Puerto Rico

Hawaii State Judiciary Launches New Environmental Court

No Pule: Civil Beat Attacks Prayer at Hawaiian Charter Schools

CB: ...Every morning before classes begin at Kawaikini Charter School on Kauai, students gather near the campus entrance, turn to the east, and begin a series of chants and songs meant to ready them for learning.  (And now the gay-edited billionaire controlled Civil Beat thinks it can re-write Hawaiian Culture.)

The morning assembly, called piko, is a common practice at many of the state’s 17 Hawaiian-focused charter schools. But what happens at the end of the piko at Kawaikini, one employee says, is a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

“They pray every morning to start the day,” Stuart Rosenthal, the school’s business manager, said. “And the prayers are almost always Christian.”

Rosenthal filed a complaint with the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission earlier this month, accusing the school of eliminating his position for the coming school year because of his repeated criticism of school prayers.

“I work for a public school and am a state employee,” Rosenthal states in his complaint. “I should not be forced to pray to Jesus Christ.”

A former teacher at another charter school on Kauai said that when students were acting up in her class, she was told by the school administrator that she was not praying with them enough....

Rosenthal said he was told by the school’s administrator a few weeks ago that his position was being eliminated because of budget considerations....

read ... Against Hawaiians

Deadline Today: Will Ige Veto Rail Tax Hike?

CB: ...Hawaii lawmakers sent more than 200 bills to Gov. David Ige last spring but he still has to decide what he’s going to do with nearly half of them.

Legislation to establish medical marijuana dispensaries, authorize the counties to levy a surcharge on the General Excise Tax and make it easier for someone to change their birth certificate so it (mis-)aligns with their gender identity (biology) are among the 114 bills pending action by the governor.

Monday marks the deadline for Ige to submit his list of bills from the 2015 session that he intends to veto. The session ended May 7, and the governor has until July 14 to veto bills, sign them or let them become law without his signature....

It’s unclear where the governor stands on some of the more significant measures though, namely an extension of the tax increase funding Honolulu’s $6 billion rail project.

Ige said early and often throughout the legislative session that he needed answers to a lot of questions if he was to support Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s request to extend the tax increase....

That bill may have a tougher time getting past Ige in light of information that surfaced Friday suggesting Caldwell misled the Legislature when lobbying for its passage.

The mayor said the extension was needed to cover the shortfall for the 20-mile route or else the county would have to look at raising property taxes by 30 percent to 43 percent. But internal emails obtained by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser show the Honolulu Authority of Rapid Transportation had estimated the city would only have to increase the median property tax by 5.6 percent....

2PM: Livestream of Ige Veto Announcements

read ... Deadline Today

Officials may be fudging Rail Financial numbers for political purposes

CB: Is a 40 percent increase in real property taxes needed to cover the current deficit? Or is it more like 5.6 percent?

Is 33 percent of the surcharge paid by tourists? Or is it more like 17 percent? Hint: the 33 percent figure is based on statewide general excise tax. The 17 percent is based on Oahu only.

Is it 10,000 local jobs per year? Or less than 1,000? It was recently reported that it’s actually just under 900....

And what about the state administrative fee? Currently at 10 percent, it covers about 80 percent of the cost of running the entire state tax department....

read ... HART Fudge

Ethics panel's media policy must be voided

SA: Don't be fooled. The Honolulu Ethics Commission's restrictive new media policy is not designed to foster more accurate reporting, or even to rein in a single executive director. It exists to control the flow of public information, and in doing so, diminishes a fundamental principle of a democratic society and reflects a profound disregard for freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

That a commission charged with advancing ethical conduct in city government would act so ignobly against the public trust is all the more outrageous. It is not enough to register mere outrage at this misguided policy change, which was approved over the objection of the board chairwoman, who voted against it. This decision to effectively muzzle commission members, a long-time executive director and other staff members must be overturned.

If the three of five commissioners who voted to approve the new rules won't reverse course on their own, Mayor Kirk Caldwell should step in with advice encouraging the commission to act on behalf of the public in the most transparent and responsive possible manner — a standard this new policy obviously fails.

CB Echoes: Honolulu Ethics Commission Needs to Scrap Its New Anti-Media Policy

read ... Ethics

Governor must quit pandering to interests of protesters

WHT: His administration has allowed these protesters to illegally encamp at Hale Pohaku for the past three months and obstruct access to the summit area....the Hawaii County prosecutor is considering dropping criminal trespass charges against the first wave of 21 protesters in lieu of initiating hooponopono with these individuals. This will entail holding discussions with the governor, the University of Hawaii, Thirty Meter Telescope, DLNR, etc.

SDFP: Protecting Mauna Kea: “We Are Satisfied With The Stones”

read ... Pandering

Supreme Court upholds power of independent commissions to draw districts

LAT:  The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the kind of independent redistricting commissions used in Arizona and California (and Hawaii) to prevent partisan gerrymandering.

The 5-4 decision bolsters an increasingly popular political reform adopted by voters in California and other states to transfer authority to draw districts from state legislators to a nonpartisan citizen panel....

If the court had struck down the independent commissions, it would have threatened numerous congressional districts in Arizona and California that were drawn by nonpartisan citizen commissions.

In addition, five other states have semi-independent commissions that could have been affected by the ruling: Washington, Idaho, Montana, Hawaii and New Jersey.

read ... Upheld

Ige's Entry to Politics Approved by President of Hawaiian Tel

KGI: “On the way to meet the governor, I joined the Democratic Party,” Ige said.

It was the Friday after Thanksgiving.

The meeting only lasted about 40 minutes, but that was enough to convince Ariyoshi that Ige was the right choice. But there was a problem: He had to check with his bosses first.

“They decided that I couldn’t go,” he reported.

And so he turned down Ariyoshi’s offer to appoint him to the Hawaii House of Representatives.

But about 10 minutes later, Ige received a phone call from the president of Hawaii Tel, with a different answer. It seems Ariyoshi didn’t like being turned down, and called the head of the company to pressure him to let the young engineer accept the position.

So, Ige said, “In the course of literally one day, I went from being non-political to being appointed to the House of Representatives.”

read ... Approved

Hawaii Wrestles With Vagaries of Solar Power

WSJ: ...Hawaii’s grid is already running into problems with its heavy helping of rooftop solar and other carbon-free renewables. Among them: sudden swings in the output of solar and wind, which force the state’s main utility to scramble to try to keep the overall supply of power steady.

State officials concede that there are problems. “But we’re highly optimistic we’re going to work through these issues and become energy self-reliant,” says Mark Glick, head of the Hawaii State Energy Office. “We don’t lack confidence at all.”

More than 50,000 houses in the state act as tiny power plants, putting any electricity that they don’t use onto the grid. But grids were designed to zip electrons across high-voltage wires from a few big power plants to homes and businesses; they were not made to work the other way around. Traditional power plants weren't designed to ramp up and down quickly, either—making it tough to absorb bursts of solar power added to the grid on sunny days or make up for a sudden drop on cloudy ones.

“It’s a grand experiment that’s playing out right now in Hawaii,” says Marco Mangelsdorf, president of ProVision Solar Inc., a company that installs photovoltaic panels on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Oahu has 470 megawatts of renewables and peak demand of about 1,100 megawatts, according to Hawaiian Electric, so at times as much as a third of its electricity comes from green sources. But a lot of it shuts down at night when the sun sets, so the utility has to balance things out with its own power plants.

On windy Maui, peak electricity demand is about 200 megawatts; the island has 150 megawatts of renewable capacity, half of it consisting of wind turbines. That means sometimes as much as 75% of power generated comes from variable sources like the wind and sun.

When power production from renewable sources changes suddenly, utilities have to be able to keep overall supply steady. The mechanics of power grids demand that supply exactly match demand, because insufficient electricity, or an oversupply, could damage equipment or cause a blackout....

CT: Will Solar Impulse Make It From Nagoya (Japan) To Hawaii (USA) Without A Drop Of Fuel? (Video)

read ... The Wall Street Journal

Volunteer HPD officer pleads guilty for not reporting game room assault

SA: A 37-year reserve officer of the Honolulu Police Department pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court Monday for not reporting an assault by an on-duty police officer and lying when FBI agents questioned him about it.

Joseph Becera, 77, faces a maximum 3-year prison term for failing to report and maximum five years for the lying when he is sentenced in October. He resigned from his volunteer position last year.

Nelson Tamayori, an active-duty HPD officer for the past 14 years, is scheduled on Wednesday to also plead guilty to failing to report the assault.

read ... Guilty

KPD to buy body cameras, Tasers

KGI: The Kauai County Council unanimously approved a Kauai Police Department request to purchase a package deal that includes more than 100 body cameras and 100 Tasers worth just under $180,000, using money from the KPD asset forfeiture fund.

“I always say it’s nice to use bad people’s money to buy things for the county,” said Mel Rapozo, council chair.

The Officers’ Safety Package Deal priced at $176,718 contains 105 Axon Flex body cameras and mounts, unlimited video storage, and 105 X26P Tasers, battery packs and holsters.

read ... Leadership

Guam Veterans Still Unable to Use 'Choice Card'

GPDN: ...The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs launched the Choice Card program last fall, allowing veterans to receive medical care from a private physician if the wait time for treatment at their local VA clinic is 30 days or more.

Rodney Cruz Jr., president and founder of the Iraq-Afghanistan and Persian Gulf Veterans of the Pacific organization, said veterans on Guam have their cards but they're unable to utilize them.

Information coming out of Hawaii's VA system, which oversees the VA office on Guam, according to Cruz, has been inaccurate.

"Hawaii's system is telling Guam ... to refer veterans to this program. As they refer veterans to this program, they're turning around and getting denied," Cruz said. "And so now doctors here on Guam are scratching their heads and they're saying 'I don't understand because Hawaii is the one that told us doctors to push that out.'"....

read ... Choice

Pacific Missile Range Spends 17% of Budget on Electricity

KGI: All told, 17 percent of the base’s operating budget is funneled toward utilities, according to Hay. About 99 percent of that money is spent on electricity.

read ... 17%

Puerto Rico’s Governor Says Island’s Debts Are ‘Not Payable’

NYT: Puerto Rico’s governor, saying he needs to pull the island out of a “death spiral,” has concluded that the commonwealth cannot pay its roughly $72 billion in debts, an admission that will probably have wide-reaching financial repercussions.

The governor, Alejandro García Padilla, and senior members of his staff said in an interview last week that they would probably seek significant concessions from as many as all of the island’s creditors, which could include deferring some debt payments for as long as five years or extending the timetable for repayment.

“The debt is not payable,” Mr. García Padilla said. “There is no other option. I would love to have an easier option. This is not politics, this is math.”

It is a startling admission from the governor of an island of 3.6 million people, which has piled on more municipal bond debt per capita than any American state.

RC:  Chapter 9

read ... The New York Times

Is sugar’s dominance in peril?

WaPo:  Regarding the June 25 news article “Food fight: Corn lobby enters fray against Big Sugar”:  The effort to end sugar subsidies has been going on for many years but with surprisingly little effect. Strategy will determine if the Corn Refiners Association’s foray into the battle is the straw that breaks the camel’s back....

Sugar policy has evolved over decades. Unwinding that history of government support will have a number of consequences, and the sugar lobby will doubtless make the point. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is not the first free-market Republican to embrace sugar. Sen. Spark Matsunaga (D-Hawaii) did, and many members of Congress from the Plains and Rocky Mountain states (Democrats and Republicans) are in the sugar lobby’s corner because sugar beets are a major crop there. The sugar interests know how to play the game.

read ... Peril



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