Ewa Beach House Campaign: Stolen Signs, Bolt Cutters, and Confrontations with Police
Hawaii Preschool Costs More Than College
DBEDT: Housing Gobbles Up Hawaii Consumers Income
Ige Signs Bill Requesting Obamacare Waiver for Hawaii
Hawaii Supreme Court Dismisses ‘Birther’ Challenge To Ted Cruz Eligibility
Hawaii ICA Bungles Hanalei River Eminent Domain Case?
Problem Gambling? Hawaii 2nd-Worst in USA
New Schools? Zero Guidance from DoE
Lawmakers can’t hide their Jeff Stone connections
SA: The free flow of information is essential to the health of representative government, so it’s distressing to see the impediments stoppering that flow.
One of these barriers was erected with legal language exempting state lawmakers from the conflict-of-interest provision of the State Ethics Code.
The rationale is that legislators are part-time employees of the state and have other associations throughout the year. And that could complicate law-making duties if they had to extract themselves from decisions that touch on their business associations.
The problem is: It’s too easy for things to fly under the radar for these part-time but powerful lawmakers. The links between Senate President Ron Kouchi and owners of land the state now proposes to acquire for preservation exemplify why change is needed.
Honolulu Star-Advertiser writer Kevin Dayton traced these links in a Sunday story, concerning Senate Bill 3071. That measure, now in conference committee, would authorize the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to negotiate to purchase 4,233 acres in South Kona for preservation.
Isle developers Kevin M. Showe and Jeffrey R. Stone each have an ownership interest in the area, known as Kapua. Kouchi has invested with Showe and worked for one of his companies as a community relations representative….
read … Lawmakers can’t hide connections
Two months later, no action on Kahele leasehold
WHT: It’s been two months since West Hawaii Today revealed that Kahele, who was appointed to his late father Gil Kahele’s seat shortly after the father’s Jan. 26 death, holds a low-cost state land lease for oceanview property in West Hawaii that is legally required to be his primary residence.
At the same time, Kahele, 41, listed the Keneki Place, Hilo, home he now co-owns with his mother as his residence when he entered his name for consideration for the nomination to the seat vacated by his father’s passing. State law requires that appointees to legislative seats live in the district.
“DLNR is in discussions with Mr. Kahele regarding further disposition of the lease,” spokeswoman Deborah Ward said in an emailed response Monday. “It’s still under review.” ….
Kahele is also sponsoring Senate Bill 3071, introduced by his father, directing the state to purchase about 6,000 acres at Kapua Bay, just south of Milolii. The plan would include incorporating the land into the South Kona Wilderness Area, which the senior Kahele helped create.
The measure calls for money from the state’s transient accommodations tax to purchase the land.
The land deal came under scrutiny in a Honolulu Star-Advertiser article Sunday that found Senate President Ron Kouchi has had long-standing and substantial business ties with one of the owners of the property.
Totally Related: Another Hawaii State Senate President Owned and Operated by Jeff Stone
read … Two months later, no action on Kahele leasehold
Fevella: School construction should be based on student needs, not politics
SA: The Legislature is about to sentence the children of West Oahu to grossly overcrowded classrooms and campuses for the next decade and beyond, by foolishly expending money on a new high school in Maui where enrollment numbers are substantially dropping.
Gov. David Ige requested $31 million in his budget for a new building at Campbell High School to accommodate the exploding student population. He did not request a penny for a new high school in Maui, which clearly indicates it is not a DOE priority and not a needed expenditure. Yet the politicians are putting unneeded pork ahead of critical student needs. This is shameful and business as usual.
The DOE’s own enrollment numbers and projections are clear: West Oahu is in urgent need of a new high school. The governor’s proposed building for Campbell is an emergency measure in response to decades of poor planning.
To add insult to injury, the House just slashed it by half to $15 million, while appropriating $37 million for a new high school in Kihei that is not needed; enrollment there (Maui/Baldwin) is projected to decline by 409 students while West Oahu (Campbell/Kapolei) is predicted to rise by 769 students. Even more remarkable is that the Senate allocated zero dollars for Campbell and upped the Maui appropriation to $38 million. What are we doing?
State Rep. Bob McDermott has demonstrated that DOE Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi has not provided strong guidance to the Legislature with regards to the No. 1 priority for a new high school; instead she has been a muted political puppet worried about offending powerful politicians instead of putting the children’s interests first….
read … Kurt Fevella
Without Knowing Which Cronies They are Rewarding, Legislators Mull Amendments to Marijuana Dispensary Law
AP: With less than a week to go before Hawaii is scheduled to announce the names of the state's first medical marijuana dispensary owners, (and, not coincidentally, time running out in the Legislative session) lawmakers are considering a bill to clarify gaps in the dispensary law passed last year.
Hawaii lawmakers discussed a bill during a hearing Monday that would clear up tax problems and give certain nurses (actually just one nurse, but whatever) the ability to recommend medical marijuana for patients. It would also allow for inter-island transport of medical marijuana for laboratory testing (always a handy excuse) and make rules for what kind of marijuana products could be sold in dispensaries (soda, candies, chocolates, gummy bears?)….
read … Prizes for Which Crony?
Legislators to Ige: Here’s $12M, the Homeless are Your Problem Now
CB: It’s $3 million more than was requested by the Ige administration…..
Rather than distribute funds that are compartmentalized and dropped into what she called silos, Luke said the committees would award a lump sum. This way, the Legislature puts the onus on Scott Morishige, the governor’s coordinator on homelessness, and on DHS, the agency that deals most directly with housing and homelessness, to decide where to direct the funds.
What Luke and Tokuda said they want are benchmarks and a plan to demonstrate that the money, described by Luke as a “huge amount,” would be spent wisely….
Luke specifically criticized the City and County of Honolulu, where competition and infighting between the mayor and the Council are impeding progress….
read … $12M
Patients Caught In The Crossfire Of HMSA’s ‘War On Doctors’
CB: …A new payment system for doctors rewards physicians for healthier patients who require less care. That doesn’t bode well for patients who require complicated, expensive care….
read … Rep Cynthia Thielen
Rail does not comply with flood-risk standards, group alleges
SA: Honolulu rail could soon face another court challenge, even as it grapples with financial trouble.
A new group of some 20 local residents dubbed “Do Rail Right” says it’s concerned that long stretches of the multibillion-dollar transit project are being built on Oahu’s flood plain and could be vulnerable to damage from tsunamis, storm surges and sea-level rise linked to climate change.
The group asserts that rail officials haven’t done enough to address those risks or to comply with federal flood-risk standards. If the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, which oversees the rail project, doesn’t agree to revisit its previous studies to address the flood issues, members of Do Rail Right say they’re prepared to take the rail agency to federal court.
“These failures … are shocking,” Do Rail Right attorney John Carroll, a former state senator, wrote in a letter Friday to HART board Chairwoman Colleen Hanabusa….
read … John Carroll
Meet the Anti-GMO Scammers
KE: …One thing that's long bugged me about the Hawaii anti-GMO movement is how a few people try to act as if they represent everyone.
Like Gary Hooser telling the Syngenta shareholders that he was delivering a message from his community about how “very concerned” we were with the company's activities on Kauai.
Like Phoebe Eng delivering theatrical anti-GMO testimony, supposedly on behalf of a couple dozen “well-known, long-time westside families” (who were never identified), as if they couldn't speak for themselves.
And like Ashley Lukens, director of Hawaii Center for Food Safety, pretending she is actually in the position to “share Hawaii's story” — with the help of Vandana Shiva and Pierce Brosnan, no less….
Pierce, as you may recall, endeared himself to Kauai folks by suing a now deceased Wainiha taro farmer to try and keep her water for his landscaping ponds, totally gaming the system to get a TVR permit for his house in Haena — one of two TVRs he owns on Kauai, like he really needs the extra dough — and landscaping the beach, replete with applications of chicken shit….
If those three scammers are the “heroes” of the anti-GMO movement, it speaks volumes — and none of it good — about the caliber of its membership….
read … Musings: Speak Easy
Homosexual Child Molesters Held Positions of Power and Influence for Decades in Hawaii
CB: …The Honolulu Diocese says in April 2009 Bishop Larry Silva suspended Father DeCosta’s right to celebrate Mass and the sacraments, and later at the Bishop’s request, the Vatican ordered DeCosta permanently removed from public ministry and from any contact with minors.
Nine plaintiffs have accused DeCosta of being a pedophile yet his name will never appear on the Hawaii sex offender registry because the church has settled the civil complaints against him. He has never been convicted of a crime.
DeCosta has maintained his innocence.
Hula fanciers know DeCosta as the chaplain of the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival, where he continued giving the official opening prayer up until 2011, even after he had been told by the bishop he could no longer officially act as a priest….
read … Homosexual Child Molesters