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Sunday, May 29, 2016
May 29, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:14 PM :: 4185 Views

Two Arrests: Corruption Bust Strikes at Heart of Drive for Fake Indian Tribe

Republican Values and Hawaii - Building Through Balance

Will They Come for You Next?

Memorial Day Events Statewide

Hawaii Regulatory Review Board Seeks Volunteers

Sanders Voters Scare Democrats Fearful of Losing their Petty Little Power Positions

CB: Exactly two years ago this Memorial Day weekend, David Ige was a little known, poorly funded, low-energy candidate for governor of Hawaii….

Ige did not say so directly, but he was speaking of a very sharp divide that threatens to cleave his party locally and nationally. While Republicans now have a presumptive nominee in New York billionaire Donald Trump — albeit, one that has torn that party apart, too — Democrats have yet to choose a nominee.

the Clinton campaign has been the subject of more bad headlines with the recent State Department Inspector General report on her use of government emails.

And Sanders is gaining rapidly on his opponent in polls in California, the state with the most delegates.

Those realities were no doubt on the minds of many at the state convention, which concludes Sunday. After all, Sanders trounced Clinton in the party’s presidential preference poll in late March 70 percent to 30 percent.

Because of that, there is an undercurrent at this state convention — one unlikely to rise to the level of Sanders delegates throwing chairs and Internet death threats, as Democrats experienced at Nevada’s convention — but one that reflects clear differences of opinion among Hawaii Dems.

The most exhilarating moment of Saturday’s convention came when a prerecorded video from Sanders was played in the ballroom. Supporters leapt to their feet and  shouted, “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!”

The video was followed by an impassioned speech from Bart Dame, the Sanders campaign’s lead coordinator in the state. He said that the campaign had energized the local party, exciting some members but alienating others who fear losing their “petty little power position.”

Lei Ahu Isa said she did not think she would end up running, given Hanabusa’s expected entrance….

read … Petty Power

Sanders Supporters Demand End to ‘Very Small Micro Aggressions Across the State’

SA: …things could get messy. The Sanders voters, including thousands who are new to the Democratic Party, swamped the party’s presidential preference polling on March 26, lifting Sanders to a decisive win with 70 percent of the vote.

Since then, a significant body of Sanders supporters has remained active, and observers agreed they seem to dominate the 847 delegates who had registered for the convention at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel on Saturday. Hundreds of delegates erupted in an impressive roar and standing ovation, cheering “Bernie! Bernie!” after a video message aired Saturday of Sanders congratulating his Hawaii supporters.

Clinton, who was supported by party elders such as former Govs. John Waihee, George Ariyoshi and Ben Cayetano, garnered just 30 percent of the votes in a contest that may signal the Hawaii party is under strong pressure to move in a new, more progressive direction.

Bart Dame, authorized representative for the Sanders campaign in Hawaii, told the crowd that some saw the March 26 polling as a “spontaneous outburst for democracy, and it’s a glorious thing,” adding, “It is glorious to have so many thousands of people be excited by a candidate who finally speaks to their heart.”

Many Clinton supporters have been welcoming, “but there are other people who are going to try to slam the door in the face of our new people,” Dame said. “It’s been in very small micro-aggressions against our people across the state. That has got to stop.”

One example Dame cited was a proposal to require that people must sign up for presidential preference polling at least two weeks in advance, a proposal that prompted booing from the crowd at the Sheraton. The convention is scheduled to consider that proposal today.

“Had that had been in effect this time around, there would have been many thousands fewer people participating, and frankly, that is the intent,” Dame said. “We have to fight voter suppression, whether it comes from nominal Democrats or whether it comes from Republicans.”

read … Micro

Rail: Hanabusa’s Nimitz Plan Even More Expensive than Her Dillingham Plan

SA: …And even if one considers only the expenditures themselves, alternatives at this stage of the process may not ultimately save that much money, due to all the costs of switching gears.

New studies — including a possible supplemental environmental impact statement — new permitting approvals and the loss of planning work done to date all could add up. Those costs could rival or exceed the savings from avoiding elevated utility-clearance costs.

HART board Chairwoman Colleen Hanabusa presided over the special public meeting on Tuesday the agency convened to discuss the costly overhead utility line clearance problems.

Cost-cutting has become the overarching concern, and for good reason. Federal authorities say there’s a fair chance the budget will bust through even the $8.1 billion ceiling.

But HART and the public it serves must not lose sight of the shortcomings of Nimitz as a route in the first place.

The Nimitz Flyover Project, a two-lane reversible viaduct from Keehi interchange to Iwilei, was under study in an EIS at the time the rail EIS also was being prepared. The concurrence of the two projects made that route untenable.

Furthermore, the rail would miss Honolulu Community College and the housing developments in Kalihi, where residents surely could use the support of convenient rapid transit.

Additionally, there were millions spent in advance on preliminary design work along the alignment that runs through Dillingham, all of which would be wasted if that plan is up-ended….

The project is at a perilous juncture. Hanabusa, who arrived to her post only a short time ago, is likely to leave to seek election to Congress….

read … Hanabusa is Expensive

Template for Future: 20% Electric Rate Hike

Borreca:  In a recent speech, Mina Morita , the former Hawaii PUC chairwoman, called the Kauai co-op “a postcard from the future.”

Morita pointed out that four times in January, KIUC was powered by 90 percent renewable energy.

“The longest being 61 minutes on Jan. 13. However, on average in January, solar accounted for about 62 percent of its generation,” reported Morita, who is a publicly elected member of the KIUC board.

The size of the Kauai facility allows it to be much more nimble than the Oahu plant.

“KIUC can do what it does because it has lots of flexibility in its system with its small quick-start generators, strategically placed batteries and utility-scale PV (photovoltaic) projects. HECO’s large steam generators do not have much flexibility to ramp up and down,” Morita said in an interview.

Morita supports the Next-Era merger, saying, “I worry whether HECO’s organizational culture can evolve its business strategy fast enough to adapt to a rapidly changing environment.”

On the other side are most of the PUC intervenors, including various state agencies and Gov. David Ige, who says the state needs a new energy model.

Critics are talking renewable energy, sustainable energy and environmentally friendly energy, but what is lost in the discussion is cost….

Best Comment: “And yet the Star-Advertiser cites Kauai as a template for the future. The same Kauai, where kw hour charges are 20% higher than on Oahu? How Much Does Electricity Cost in Hawaii?

read … Compared to NextEra, Kauai’s utility looks good

GMOS: No evidence they are unsafe for human consumption

HTH: A sweeping new study of genetically engineered crops released last week found no evidence they are unsafe for human consumption. They don’t cause diabetes, cancer, obesity or food allergies, and are safe for livestock as well, researchers for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine concluded.

That should offer some relief to Americans, since an estimated 70 percent of packaged food contains some genetically modified organisms. The findings from the venerable National Academies also should put a damper on the growing efforts to force foodmakers to slap labels on food containing GMOs.

The study is not the first to conclude bioengineered food is not harmful, and probably won’t be the last. But don’t expect the debate over so-called Frankenfood to end. As with climate change, there will always be some people won’t be persuaded by the new scientific data.

There’s a primal fear that informs so much of the rhetoric….

read … Beyond Frankenfood

GMOS: “I told you so”

Cataluna: …After a year of gathering evidence — which, in part, amounted to people shaking their fists at community gatherings and shouting vague, scary stories about sea urchins and bats and asthma — the final report was released this week.

Guess what? Nobody could verify all those scary stories.

Guess what else? The people who told those scary stories are taking that as proof that there’s a conspiracy to keep the stories quiet. They want the state and county to spend more money on research so that “the truth can come out.”

The report claims to stick to facts but includes all sorts of subjective claims and even contains “personal statements” from the group’s members, all of whom are opponents of the seed companies. (Participants on the other side, including a retired county extension agent, quit when it became clear where the group was being steered.) Part of the report’s cover letter even congratulates Kauai politicians for hiring Peter Adler, the consultant who ran the study, which cost taxpayers $100,000.

Regardless of the bumps in the process, the report contains an excellent analysis of the available local data in response to the specific questions raised,” the cover letter reads. It then goes on to pitch for future work. “Tough issues deserve this kind of sustained inquiry and government should consider similar approaches when confronted with other science-intensive, politically contentious issues. We hope that this effort serves their needs.”

Scott Enright, chairman of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture, has demonstrated the patience of Job through this circus. The Department of Agriculture, which regulates the use of pesticides, is, of course, part of the conspiracy theorists’ conspiracy. Enright’s office issued a response to the report that managed to refrain from sounding too much like, “Told you so!”

“There have been inaccurate claims made by the public, most notably through social media, about pesticide exposure on Kauai. HDOA notes that the JFFG … has found no conclusive evidence that the seed companies are misusing pesticides or ‘drenching’ west side communities with pesticides, a common rumor circulating on social media.”….

read … Conspiracy Theories

Homeless Teen Parents Raise Babies on Street

SA: Kekona Smith spent nearly all of his first two weeks of life in the state’s largest homeless shelter — one of the luckier babies growing up homeless in Hawaii.

Kekona last week was at the Institute for Human Services family shelter in Iwilei with his 18-year-old mother, teenage uncles and aunties, and a grandmother who had her first of seven children as a teenager.

At IHS, Kekona and his family have access to on-site medical care and on-site social service case workers.

Just 2 miles down the road at the persistent Kakaako homeless encampment (made up 100% of people who refuse to accept shelter), an 8-month-old boy named Nasaiah Totoa is being raised, like Kekona, by homeless teenage parents.

Nasaiah doesn’t even have a floor to crawl on.

His 17-year-old mother tested positive in one pregnancy test, said Nasaiah’s father, Isiah Totoa, adding that she plans to take another test.

Totoa, 18, faces the prospect of becoming a father for the second time in less than two years as a homeless teenager himself.

“It teaches you a lot about life,” he said.

He said he earns money working as an “under-the-table landscaper.” But he has also earned some notoriety.

Totoa told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser last year that he was involved in the June 29 attack on state Rep. Tom Brower ….

Big Q: Are the state and city making progress against homelessness?

read …  Hawaii’s homeless: Teenagers struggle to perform parental role

Homeless Tweekers Steal War Memorial Plaques from Barbers Point

HNN: On Thursday, Hayes noticed the plaque dedicated to Lieutenant Commander Ronald Dodge was taken.

The name plate was placed in front of the area chapel in the early 1970's.

"There's a human factor to that piece of metal that doesn't have any price that scrap metal could possibly give you," Hayes said.

Dodge who was once stationed at Barbers Point never returned to the United States after he deployed to Vietnam.

"When they erected the peace tree over here and put a plaque down at the time, they thought he was a prisoner of war by the North Vietnamese," Hayes explained. "But by 1973 when they returned all the prisoners of war, he wasn't one of the guys that came home."

Hayes said the preservation of the former naval base is going downhill and stricter security measures need to be put in place. He told KITV illegal activity escalates after sundown in the area.

"Too much crime," he said. "I've watched all of it and when this place gets dark, there's no street lights because it was built before street lights were installed. So there's a lot of concealment for criminals and chronics."

read … Homeless Drug Addicts

Purchasing a home on Oahu is about to get even tougher

SA: …Single-family home prices are projected to finish this year at $731,300, 4.8 percent higher than last year. Prices are expected to increase an additional 4.8 percent to $766,600 in 2017 and then another 3.5 percent to $793,100 in 2018, according to UHERO’s County Forecast report.

Prices are predicted to reach $804,300 in 2019 before slipping to $799,000 in 2020, according to the forecast.

Meanwhile, interest rates for 30-year mortgages are predicted to increase to 5.5 percent by 2020, which is still relatively low on a historical perspective but a whopping 37.5 percent higher than current rates of about 4 percent.

That means Hawaii homebuyers, already challenged by some of the highest prices in the nation, will face a double whammy of higher prices and interest rates.

At a median price of $800,000 and interest rate at 5.5 percent, a homebuyer would need $160,000 for a traditional 20 percent down payment and have monthly mortgage payments of about $3,634, which does not including property taxes, insurance and any other fees….

read … Squeezed

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