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Thursday, November 5, 2015
November 5, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:11 PM :: 2936 Views

Stop Nai Aupuni: Urgent Motion for Injunction with Ninth Circuit

32 Candidates on Payroll: Na'i Aupuni's Privileged Class

ACLU Back in Court Trying to Keep the Homeless out of Shelters

Affordable Housing Fund Skimmed by State 

KHON:  ...An increase in transactions should mean more money for affordable housing. Except for the fact that beginning this fiscal year, lawmakers placed a cap on that fund.

Thirty-eight million dollars, or 50 percent of the conveyance tax, whichever is less, will go toward the Rental Housing Revolving Fund.

Some experts believe special funds lessen accountability.

“If you have a pool of money that is just used for particular purpose and the agency doesn’t have to justify it to you or me or the legislative body, then there’s no oversight,” said Tom Yamachika with the Tax Foundation of Hawaii.

So $38 million would go toward affordable housing and, with the new law, anything over would be placed in the general fund.

For example, for the fiscal year that just ended, more than $39 million in conveyance tax revenue was collected. If the cap was in place, a million of that, would have gone somewhere other than affordable housing.

“We’d really like to see all that funding go toward affordable housing. Hawaii has a serious affordable housing crisis,” Thornton said.

While some groups would like to see the state invest more in this issue, at least one state lawmaker believes throwing more money at it is not the solution.

“The problems have to do with zoning. The problems have to do with the kinds of housing that we allow, the options,” said Sen. Sam Slom, R, Kahala, Hawaii Kai....

read ... Lawmakers place limit on tax that funds affordable housing

Star-Adv Thrilled by Wahiawa's Willingness to Build Massive Homeless Tent City

SA: For the medium term, Honolulu City Council Chairman Ernie Martin has called for leaders to develop a “safe zone” in each Council district, sites that are better-equipped than the current encampments that spring up in random, hidden places.  (Hello: We just shut down the homeless 'safe zone' at Kakaako Makai.  Now they want to make another one?)

Communities around the island do need places where the homeless can use hygiene facilities, wash their clothes and have security. They should have at least some measure of privacy but ultimately should be reachable by the government and social service workers who could help them....

But in the meantime, the Wahiawa (lotta copper there) Community Based Development Organization has received a $452,000 federal grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and has set aside $75,000 to buy a van. Initially intended as a service to give nursing aid to elders and homebound residents, Oshiro had the right instinct to urge that it provide outreach to the homeless as well.

Dubbed the “Holoholo Truck,” the van is envisioned as a multifaceted service, which, in addition to medical help, would include a “mobile farmers’ market” to bring locally grown produce to people with little access to fresh food.

More strictly focused on homelessness outreach, the nonprofit group Surfing the Nations is erecting a $1.5 million, two-story Community Outreach and Training Center in the middle of Wahiawa town.

It’s not a safe zone but it will provide at least some of the amenities of one: a place where homeless people can use the bathroom and shower, get food (Surfing the Nations provides food to the needy across the island) and find clothing. A fresh change of clothes will be essential for job hunting (LOL!) or just to supplement or replace what they have (while scrounging for copper, bicycles, and mopeds to steal so they can buy meth)....

read ... Attention Homeless, Move to Wahiawa

Hawaii County seeks alternatives to jailing mentally ill

HTH: That’s the new reality, corrections workers say, at Hawaii Community Correctional Center, which is bursting at the seams with mentally ill inmates.

“They live in conditions that have been described as ‘unimaginable,’ very crowded,” Warden Peter Cabreros recently told the County Council. “These inmates struggle to maintain their personal hygiene on a daily basis.”

Cabreros, who took over in July, said the module housing mentally ill inmates, designed for 44, now has a population of 100, of whom 60 have serious mental illnesses.

“It’s a struggle for security staff and health care staff to manage these inmates,” Cabreros said. “This seems like corrections has become a warehouse to treat these individuals. We need help because we’re not properly equipped.”

read ... Mentally Ill

Drug Treatment Diversion Program Still not Implemented

CB: Last year, the Legislature adopted a measure creating a two-year pilot program to divert up to 100 “nonviolent, low-risk drug offenders” from prison into treatment. It was supposed to start July 1, 2014, but, thanks to bureaucratic red tape, Hawaii’s Department of Public Safety has yet to get the program off the ground.

read ... Bureaucracy

Since Maui County Keeps Electing Republican Mayors, anti-GMO Democrats Push for County Manager

MN: Local leaders, businesspeople and community activists were identified Wednesday to serve on a special committee to study the possibility of having a county manager form of government for Maui County.

The Maui County Council's Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee recommended the selection of nine members who represent each council district and two at-large members at its meeting Wednesday afternoon in Council Chambers.

members include...Jonathan Starr, businessman, former Maui Democratic Party chairman...Tony Takitani, attorney, former state representative....Tamara Paltin, failed anti-GMO candidate for mayor in 2014....(Do the math)

read ... Solution to Republican Problem

Kauai Parents Picket School Because Principal Won't Make Excuses for Failure

KGI: A handful of parents held signs outside Kekaha Elementary School Wednesday.

The picket session sported signs with messages asking the community to support the school’s teachers.

“In regards to the situation at Kekaha, the principal will be issuing a letter to the school community in regards to what he’s trying to do at the school,” said Donalyn Dela Cruz, Hawaii Department of Education spokeswoman. “He’s also working with Superintendent (Bill) Arakaki.”

Six of the school’s 27 teachers called in sick Tuesday because they were reportedly staging a protest of sorts in response to a comment Principal Dominic Beralas made regarding why students there have scored low on standardized test scores. He attributed part of the problem to “ineffectiveness in teaching.” ...

Dela Cruz said the HIDOE didn’t receive calls from parents regarding any issues at Kekaha Elementary before parents picketed.

“We want to be able to learn about concerns and address them in an appropriate manner and picketing without addressing a concern to the principal or complex area superintendent isn’t productive,” she said.

This isn’t the first protest at an elementary school on Kauai.

In September, parents at Hanalei Elementary School picketed for two days calling for the removal of Principal Lisa McDonald, who was later transferred to the district office.

Dela Cruz said that HIDOE is looking at why parents are taking to picketing at Kauai elementary schools and trying to come up with solutions.

The first thing the department is focusing on is communication breakdown between parents, principals, teachers, and HIDOE.

“Principals and teachers have expressed concern to me over social media,” Dela Cruz said. “They’re worried that if there’s an issue, parents won’t talk to the teachers or the principal about it, they’ll go to social media and start to picket.”...

Resorting immediately to picketing also takes the focus from students, she said....

Yesterday: Teachers Walk out Because Principal Refuses to make Excuses for Failure

read ... Kekaha Elementary parents picket

Anti-Pesticide Group Engaged in Illegal Lobbying

KE: Tax returns are making it clear that mainland-based nonprofit groups and foundations heavily — and improperly — influenced efforts to adopt anti-GMO legislation in Hawaii, especially Kauai.

The Oakland, Calif.-based Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) spent $1.7 million on “joint campaigns achieving bans and restrictions on highly hazard (sic) pesticides" in Hawaii and Minnesota in 2013. According to its federal tax Form 990:

In 2013-14, our successes included: 1) helping the community of Kauai, Hawaii, win and defend a policy requiring public pesticide use reporting and notices, particularly for experimental planting of genetically engineered crops.

PANNA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, which has strict limits on lobbying. The IRS guidelines state:

An organization will be regarded as attempting to influence legislation if it contacts, or urges the public to contact, members or employees of a legislative body for the purpose of proposing, supporting, or opposing legislation, or if the organization advocates the adoption or rejection of legislation. Organizations may, however, involve themselves in issues of public policy without the activity being considered as lobbying.

PANNA, which funded and hosted the “stop poisoning paradise” website and sent at least one agent to testify before the Kauai County Council, among other activities, clearly engaged in lobbying.

What's more, in its tax return, PANNA deceptively tries to pass off Bill 2491 — Kauai's GMO-pesticide regulatory bill — as a “policy.” However, it is most certainly legislation, as defined by the IRS:

Legislation includes action by Congress, any state legislature, any local council, or similar governing body, with respect to acts, bills, resolutions, or similar items...

But PANNA doesn't play fast and loose only with the IRS. The Hews Media Group-Community News reported that PANNA violated California tax law by failing to list expenses for each program, and one of its former directors, Martha Guzman-Aceves, “intentionally filed false documents with the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), concealed hundreds of thousands of dollars, and omitted third-party relationships [including her affiliation with PANNA] that directly conflict with her position as a California Deputy Legislative Secretary.”

Although their own activities are far from transparent, these are the folks who scream loudly for full disclosure by others. While PANNA's 2013 Form 990 does not give us a truly accurate picture of the full extent of their Kauai expenditures, it is illuminating.

read ... Musings: Undue Outside Influence

Dengue Fever Concerns Close Hookena Beach Park, Case Count Now 15

BIVN: Hookena Beach Park in South Kona is closed as Dengue case count hits 15 ....

read ... Dengue

Caldwell's Bungled RFP Sidelines LED Streetlights

CB: The explanation for the reversal from Robert Kroning, director of the Department of Design and Construction, stated that “the award was rescinded because the selected bidder, Ameresco, after award, required the city to agree to other financing arrangements which were not offered in the RFP; therefore, they could not execute the contract.” ...

At another Budget Committee meeting, this one on Oct. 21 during which the panel spent hours grappling with rail costs, the chair, Ann Kobayashi, gave Virginia-based Solar LED Alliance four minutes to make the case for its product.

In a phone interview, David Estes, founder and owner of Solar LED Alliance, said his product has a 10-year, 90,000-hour performance warranty and full dimming capability. Plus, the light fixtures are made in the U.S., he said — except for the LED chip, which is made by Nichia of Japan.

On Wednesday, after news of the city’s cancellation rippled through Honolulu Hale, Kobayashi said she thought the city’s reversal was a good thing.

“As written, the RFP was so narrow that only one company, Ameresco, could respond to it — and the administration paid someone $80,000 to produce it,” Kobayashi said.

“When they get around to producing the new RFP, I hope they open it up,” Kobayashi said. “Right now, we’re going to wait for the report from the Department of Design and Construction as to how all this occurred, how the RFP was written, and why they were all set to go with Ameresco. It just doesn’t make any sense.”

2014: 51,700 LED Streetlights to be Financed by 'Public-Private Partnership'

read ... Bungled RFP

Ala Moana Contractors Given Advance Warning of DLIR Inspection

KHON: The Hawaii Construction Alliance obtained an internal memo sent by Ala Moana Center’s owner, General Growth Properties, to tenant project managers. It warned them state investigators would be visiting the construction site and to prepare.

The memo from General Growth Properties was sent to those working on Ala Moana Center’s new wing.

It tells them that two state agencies would visit, and says when the state would visit and the state’s specific concerns, including unlicensed contractors, workers comp insurance and safety....

read ... Ala Moana Center’s owner told contractors to prepare for investigators

Waianae: 27% of Students 'Chronic Absentees'

HNN: Half of Waianae High School's 1,800 students missed no more than two days of school in the first quarter of the school year.

But the rest of them were absent more than two days, meeting the Department of Education's definition of kids who don't regularly go to school....

The Waianae-Nanakuli school complex has the second-highest rates of chronic absenteeism, behind the Kau-Pahoa complex on Hawaii Island.

In the 2014-15 school year, 27 percent of Waianae-Nanakuli elementary school students were absent for 15 days or more, the definition of chronic absenteeism. That's down from 38 percent in 2013, but still far higher than the statewide rate of 11 percent.

Chronic absenteeism is one of the factors used to rate Hawaii's elementary schools. In the coming year, the state also plans to more closely track absenteeism at middle and high schools.

read ... Tough Love

'Peter Boy' Kema's parents arrested on weapons, drug charges

HNN: ..."Peter Boy" was the 6-year-old Big Island boy whose 1997 disappearance set off a media firestorm. He still has not been found, but Wednesday's arrests are not related to the case.

Police said the arrests happened after they assisted the state Welfare Fraud Investigation Division with the execution of a search warrant at the couple's home on Uilani Drive in Puna.

Following the search, 45-year-old Jaylin M. Kema was arrested on suspicion of theft.

While she was still at the cellblock, Hawaii Island police arrested her on suspicion of ownership of a prohibited firearm, altering a serial number on a firearm, second-degree promotion of a detrimental drug and fourth-degree promotion of a harmful drug....

A few hours later, police arrested her husband, 45-year-old Peter J. Kema Sr. of Pahoa, on suspicion of ownership of a prohibited firearm, ownership prohibited of ammunition, altering a serial number on a firearm, second-degree promotion of a detrimental drug and fourth-degree promotion of a harmful drug.

read ... In Jail

Peter Apo: Our Trauma

CB: ...a century of pain and anguish....anxiety and painful introspection for generations to come....How are we supposed to enormous loss of dignity....the terrible historical irreparable act of war....sorrow...the tragic past....deep wounds....

read ... Trauma

NextEra Merger News:



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