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Thursday, August 27, 2015
August 27, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:44 PM :: 4350 Views

Caldwell 'Running from Controversy', 'Wasn't Around' During Crisis, 'Not the First Time'

Same Sex Marriage: Another “Fundamental Right” Inapplicable in U.S. Territories?

ACT: Hawaii Scores Lowest in USA, Again

Nai Aupuni: Whose Hidden Hand at Work?

Telescope Hearing Today

Gridlock: Honolulu Commuters Waste 50 Hours/year in Traffic

HTA: July Tourist Arrivals Up 5.6%, Spending Up 4%

Full Text: Ige Speech Renouncing LNG

Ban on School Travel Offers--HSTA vs Ethics Comm

Ethics: Conflict of Interest Between Charter Schools, Profitable Nonprofits

Forbes: Fracking Is Our Clean Power Plan

9th Cir. Rips Guam for Keeping Tax Refunds

Abigail Kawananakoa: Invalidate 11 Key Rail Votes or I'll Sue

SA: ...Campbell Estate heiress Abigail Kawananakoa is demanding that the city either stop funding the $6 billion rail project or have the City Council vote again on measures that have been called into question by the Ethics Commission.

The issue stems from former Council members Romy Cachola and Nestor Garcia paying fines to settle cases brought by the commission for voting on bills and resolutions involving rail without first divulging possible conflicts of interest. They each had accepted gifts from individuals and organizations who benefit from the project.

Neither Cachola nor Garcia admitted guilt, but Cachola — now a state representative — said if he had done wrong, so too did Garcia and four other current and former Council members who accepted similar gifts from the same parties without declaring their potential conflicts.

Investigations of those four — current Council members Ikaika Anderson and Ann Kobayashi, and former Council members Todd Apo and Donovan Dela Cruz — are still ongoing, Ethics Commission Executive Director Chuck Totto said Wednesday.

Attorney James Bickerton, Kawananakoa’s attorney, said in a letter to city officials this week that 11 of 12 rail-related bills and resolutions identified by Cachola should be invalidated because a majority of those who voted to support them should have had their votes nullified as well.

Kawananakoa — who is acting as a private citizen — is demanding that the city “cease enforcing or spending money on the invalidated measures” until new votes are held by “nonconflicted Council members who are otherwise not disqualified from voting,” Bickerton said.

If the city does not respond by Tuesday, “we will proceed accordingly,” the letter said.

Asked to clarify, Bridget Morgan, Bickerton’s co-counsel, said Wednesday: “Miss Kawananakoa will file a lawsuit if she needs to. The issue is not about rail, it’s about good government.”....

Background: Former Attorney General Says Rail votes invalid

SA: CPA tapped to fill vacancy on Oahu rail board

read ... Lawsuit

CNN: Science and religion fight over Hawaii's highest point

CNN:  "We are in favor of scientific advancement," said Kealoha Pisciotta. "But what is happening up here is scientific advancement that is required to occur at the destruction of our sacred place and of a delicate ecosystem that is found nowhere else on the planet."  (But she'll accept $50M as a payment for the so-called 'sacred.')

read ... Telescope

Magical Thyristors, Flywheels Key to Ige's Energy Plan

DN: ...the article A Dictatorial Pronouncement (Energy Dynamics, 8/25/2015) by Mina Morita and the document she cites seem to be mired in the concept that a power grid cannot do without fossil-fuel based generation to stabilize and offset variable solar and wind generation, and that LNG is a more cost effective method of providing that backup and regulation.

Grid stability requires that voltage and frequency be strictly maintained. But there are a variety of technologies, old and new, that provide stability. Often that is done with spinning devices called synchronous condensers (1966 flywheel installed only in Oz) or with (magical) semiconductor thyristor devices (given to us by elves). A recent article in IEEE Spectrum magazine describes how old-fashioned coal generating equipment can be repurposed to stabilize the grid, an interesting trick.

Spinning synchronous condensers provide the stability that avoids blackouts during transitions of renewable power....

read ... Magic

NAN Tried to Weasel out of Low Rail Construction Bid

CB: Officials building Honolulu’s $6 billion commuter rail line thought they got a good deal when a local contractor submitted a construction bid for three stations in west Oahu that came in lower than expected.

Then, after being awarded a $56 million Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation contract, Nan Inc. apparently had second thoughts about doing the work and has since tried to wriggle out of its obligations.

But HART wouldn’t let the company off the hook. A recent report says the agency threatened to withhold $2.5 million from a bond Nan posted to guarantee it would perform the work if awarded the contract.

Nan has since signed the deal and is expected to perform the work as originally negotiated....

Nan delayed the contract for three months by protesting the award on the basis of what it claimed were seven technical defects in HDCC’s bid.

One of those alleged defects involved HDCC’s calculation of “compensable delay” costs – the amount a contractor would be reimbursed for every day construction was delayed by HART....

Related: Key Rail Contractor owned by Felon--Tangled Up in Fraud Allegations in Hawaii Courts

read ... NAN Tries to Flake

HGEA Sick leave abuse hurts patients

SA: Sick leave should be used when you are truly ailing. For workers at Maui’s state-run hospitals, the threat of losing sick days as the state moves to privatize their workplace does not constitute a legitimate ailment.

Maui Memorial Medical Center and Kula Hospital & Clinic have seen a rise in the use of sick leave in recent months by their unionized workers as plans to privatize Maui’s public hospital system move forward under the supervision of Gov. David Ige.

read ... About The Problem

HPH, Kaiser Make their Case at Grassroot Forum

PBN: ...Executives from the public and private sector spoke at a panel held at the Pacific Club sponsored by Grassroot Institute of Hawaii and ThinkTech Hawaii....

Hawaii Pacific Health’s Dr. Gerard Livaudais, who works as a Kahului internist and leads HPH's accountable care organization, said the organization's experience in the Islands makes it a valuable potential partner.

HPH operates the Straub Lanai Family Health Center, and sends specialists to Maui, Lanai and Molokai through its Visiting Specialists program. HPH also transfers neonatal and pediatric critical care patients between Maui and Oahu through its transport program.

Livaudais said HPH's Hawaii origin, experience, and successful past partnerships throughout the state makes it a good candidate.

“We did this before — we went to Kauai in Wilcox Hospital, came up with solutions that were locally relevant with expansion of services so people could stay home whenever possible,” he said. “What we ended up with is a very important inclusive model.”

Dr. David Ulin of Kaiser Permanente Hawaii, who serves as the physician-in-charge of Kaiser Maui clinics and a member of the Hawaii Permanente Medical Group, participated in preparing Kaiser’s proposal to the state, which was submitted Monday.

Kaiser Permanente oversees 38 hospitals nationwide. While it has a broad national presence, it also serves 40 percent of the Maui population, he said.

“We have over 100 doctors and 600 employees living on Maui and raising their families on Maui,” he said. “So while we're national, we’re also very local.”

Background: Maui's New Public-Private Partnerships--Panel Discussion on Possibilities and Challenges Ahead

read ... Pitch

Queen’s Health is urging partnership with Kona hospital

SA: “Currently, we are in the early stages of discussions with Kona Community Hospital and have signed a mutual non-disclosure agreement that will allow us to evaluate collaborative opportunities,” said Art Ushijima, Queen’s president and chief executive officer, in an email to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “We hope to be able to work together to ensure quality health care services are being delivered to Hawaii Island.” ...

Kona Community Hospital, a 94-bed full-service acute care facility with 24-hour emergency services, is part of the ailing public hospital system known as Hawaii Health Systems Corp., which received legislative approval this year paving the way for privatization. The West Hawaii region also includes Kohala Hospital, which opened in 1917 in the rural town of Kapaau. A spokeswoman for Kona Community Hospital referred the newspaper to the statement from Queen’s.

On Aug. 1, Kona Community Hospital began eliminating 34 staff positions as part of a contingency plan to offset a $6 million budget shortfall. In addition, the hospital announced in June that it is closing its 18-bed skilled nursing unit. The reductions are part of systemwide cuts being made by the state-owned HHSC hospitals to address a combined $50 million projected deficit for the 2016 fiscal year.

Queen’s has been expanding in recent years on Oahu and the neighbor islands. In January 2014, it acquired North Hawaii Community Hospital on the Big Island, and purchased the defunct Hawaii Medical Center in West Oahu in 2012. Molokai General Hospital joined Queen’s in 1987 after it accumulated “considerable debt” and needed the help of the larger system to rescue it from financial distress.

Meanwhile, Queen’s is in “preliminary discussions” with Kuakini Medical Center on Oahu about a potential partnership to strengthen the hospital system....

read ... Partnership

Wahiawa Homeless Count Doubles

KITV: There were almost as many people at the meeting as there are people living without a home in Wahiawa. According to the latest survey, that’s 188 of them.

While this town doesn't have one specific area where the homeless live, its population nearly doubled from two years ago.

It's been said city sweeps have been pushing those living on the streets farther inland. State Representative Marcus Oshiro believes the latest count of 188 is wrong.

“The actual numbers based upon observations and what we see coming and going from under the bridge and even on the AG land, we may have about 80 to 100 more people living in the bushes,” said Oshiro.

That’s a concern for some, including Jeanne Ishikawa who’s on the Wahiawa Neighborhood Board.

“Many of them are coming into the community in terms of kind of meandering around the community – that’s where the concern is at,” said Ishikawa.

Some residents believe they have the answer. Solutions tossed around at Tuesday’s meeting ranged from housing them to sending them away.

Scott Morishige is the new state homeless coordinator. He says the state just moved 28 people who were living in Kakaako off the street. That's 10 percent of the population including five families.

According to Morishige, they also moved the same amount of people out of shelters and into permanent housing. He says this is the formula to help solve the issue.

read ... No Plan, No Leadership

Ahi: Enviros Scheme to Stick it to Fishermen, Consumers

CB: The cost of putting a plate of locally caught ahi sashimi on the table for Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations, a popular tradition in Hawaii, may be too high this year for some families to afford.

The Hawaii longline fleet has already hit its limit for 2015, which is expected to drive up prices as the holidays approach unless they get a green light to effectively expand their quota by allocating some of their bigeye tuna catch to other Pacific territories.

But environmental watchdogs are concerned about the effect this could have on international relations and the overall sustainability of the fish. Hawaii residents and visitors may just have to live with ahi from elsewhere, fork over the extra money or try eating something different until the boats are allowed to go out again....

read ... Panel Debates Fishing Limits for Bigeye Tuna

Homosexual Kiddie Porn Editor Allegedly Caught Breaking into Sacred Hearts School Office

KHON: ...Honolulu police arrested Craig Aiu, 51, on suspicion of burglary after being caught on surveillance video breaking into the private school’s business office (**where all the student records are kept**) around 2:30 a.m. Monday....

read ... Soft on Crime

Ex-HPD officer indicted over cocaine, other drugs

SA: The drug case involving a now-former Honolulu police officer involves cocaine, marijuana and three types of prescription drugs, according to an indictment an Oahu grand jury returned Wednesday.

The indictment charges Alan Ahn, 54, with marijuana possession and multiple counts of cocaine promotion. It also charges Ahn with promoting hydrocodone, fentanyl and alprazolam, and with possessing drug paraphernalia.

Hydrocodone and fentanyl are prescription painkillers. Alprazolam is an anti-anxiety drug.

Ahn was a 10-year veteran of the Honolulu Police Department assigned to HPD’s Traffic Division.

An HPD spokeswoman said that at the time of his arrest on Aug. 13, Ahn was on restricted duty while the department investigated him over domestic abuse. The spokeswoman said that as of last week, Ahn is no longer employed by HPD....

read ... Another One



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