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September 3, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:11 PM :: 3599 Views

Djou: How I Will Get Rail to Ala Moana

Hawaii: Big marine protected areas 'could work against conservation'

Must Watch Video–SJW ’Triggered’ by Hula Doll on Dashboard

Chief Justice Appoints Judges for Kauai, Hawaii Districts

$700 electrical bills shock renters

SA: …While most Oahu residents have seen their electrical bills drop along with oil prices in the last two years, there’s a pocket of renters in Kalaeloa who are struggling to pay bills as high as $700 a month.

“We have to pull back spending on food and gas,” said Sapati Umaga, whose bill spiked to $751 in August, up from $435 in May. Umaga, 28, lives with Chelsey Silva, 27, and their daughter in a rented two-bedroom town home.

They were among more than a dozen residents of Kalaeloa Apartments who gathered at Barbers Point Bowling Center on Thursday night to figure out how they can bring their electrical bills back down to earth.

Rep. Andria P.L. Tupola (R, Kalaeloa-Ko Olina-Maili) hosted the meeting after many of the residents of the Kaimana town homes reported having problems with their management companies. The homes, which were built as military housing, don’t have separate electrical meters, and their power is provided by the Navy. The management company pays the electrical costs for all the units and then bills each renter based on the square footage of their home and the number of people living there.

Salt Lake City-based AMC LLC, which managed the property until Monday, didn’t provide clear answers as to why the bills were so high, Tupola said. Charleston, N.C.-based Greystar took over this week….

Kalaeloa Apartments earned 1.5 stars out of a possible five stars from the 58 reviews on the website Yelp.

The major complaint among the Yelp reviewers was the utility bill.

“Utility bills are just plain robbery, and probably the worst part about living here,” Dan B. said in a one-star review. “Electricity is at an all time high with no change in daily living, except we use less now due to the high bills.”

Glynn Crawford, 48, a resident in Kaimana for nearly a decade, said his August electrical bill was his biggest yet.

“This is the highest bill I have ever paid as of today: $797.17,” Crawford said. “I hang-dry my clothes. I do most of my cooking outside in the back. I’m not running my AC. During Christmas I was running Christmas lights; my bill never got to $797.” 

SA: It’s good that state Rep. Andria Tupola has stepped up to serve as an advocate for the tenants

read … Shock

Could Ethics Audit give city ethics?

SA: …Resolution 16-164, introduced by Council member Trevor Ozawa, calls for a “comprehensive management and performance” audit of the ethics commission. The resolution is a worthy one, and has the support of the commission’s new executive director, Jan Yamane, and commission chairwoman Victoria Marks.

The audit would, among other things, examine the commission’s handling of Totto, and determine “how to improve the Commission’s operations and efficiency in carrying out its duties and to help restore the public’s trust in the Commission.” ….

All these issues need to be reviewed by an independent, dispassionate auditor, and explained to the public with a level of detail that the commission has thus far been unable, or unwilling, to provide.

The audit also should explain lessons learned, providing the commission and the public with defined standards that inspire confidence and remove what Ozawa calls the “ambiguity” surrounding the commission’s work….

The audit should provide clear guidance on drawing a bright line between the commission and officials who may want to influence it for their own ends.

That includes breaking the administrative ties that bind, such as control over the commission’s spending, as well as the role of city attorneys who would bypass the commission to provide employees with their own ethical guidance.

Ozawa also wants to examine whether the mayor should appoint all the commission members.

The audit should help the commission understand and carry out its unique role in educating the public, not only through formal opinions, but also through public engagement. Thus far, the latter has been sorely lacking….

Link: Reso 16-164

read … Ethics

Chief Justice Slaps Down Hawaii County Old Boy Nonsense

HTH: Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald issued a memo to chief judges statewide after ads appeared on the Big Island depicting state Judiciary personnel endorsing (Mike Kagami) a candidate for county prosecutor.

“This serves as a good reminder of the importance of ensuring that judiciary staff who directly report to judges understand the requirements of the (code of judicial conduct, code of conduct for law clerks and the state ethics code),” Recktenwald said in the Aug. 12 memo.

The memo, which had several sentences redacted, was provided to West Hawaii Today after a public records request.

The memo cites the sections of the code of judicial conduct that say a judge may not “publicly endorse or oppose a candidate for any public office,” and “a judge shall take reasonable measures to ensure that other persons do not undertake, on behalf of the judge, any activities prohibited under” the code.

“Specifically, judges should remind employees who directly report to them that they should not use their affiliation with the court, to the judge, in a manner that could reasonably be inferred as attributable to either the judge or the Judiciary,” Recktenwald’s memo continued.

Because of the redaction, it’s not possible to know whether any campaign or employees were named specifically in the memo.

“The intent of the memorandum we provided … was to strike a balance between ensuring that our employees’ First Amendment rights are protected and that the mandates of the Codes of Judicial Conduct and Hawaii State Ethics are complied with,” Judiciary spokeswoman Tammy Mori said Wednesday. “A few sentences in the memorandum were redacted so as not to lead to an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy concerning the persons involved.”

Ads that ran in both Big Island newspapers before the primary election depicted two court employees — 3rd Circuit Court Clerk Junette Nakamura and Probation Officer Leroy Pasalo — endorsing Mike Kagami, who was challenging County Prosecutor Mitch Roth.

Roth won with almost 69 percent of the vote after a contentious campaign. He circulated his own memo Aug. 19.

“As many of you may be aware, the Judiciary is looking into questionable ethical actions by some Judiciary and probation staff during the recent election,” Roth said in the memo, obtained through a public records request. “We have been asked to report any disparaging treatment we have received during the last couple of months and any poor or retaliatory treatment that we receive in the future from Judiciary or probation employees.”

read … Ethics

Flood Zones: Caldwell’s Neglect is Obvious

SA: …Two storms back-to-back. Property owners of residences along Halawa Stream will be on alert for rising waters. It got pretty close with Darby. Will we be lucky again?

When FEMA placed our properties in a designated flood zone, the informational meeting conducted was more along the lines of, “You’re in a flood zone. Buy insurance.”

It’s been a decade or two since proactive and preventative maintenance has been done and the neglect is obvious. We teach our children to be responsible. Is that too much to ask of those who have begged for our votes with promises of working to improve our communities?

read … Caldwell

Ruling lets couple live in the same care home

SA: A federal judge handed down an order Friday that temporarily blocks the state from preventing an elderly couple from living together in the same licensed care home.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin S.C. Chang issued the order after meeting with lawyers for Noboru and Elaine Kawamoto and the state….

Chang’s order says that it is a temporary accommodation that applies only to the Kawamotos and will remain in place until the court decides the constitutionality of the state law….

read … Ruling

Henk Rogers featured in new book about obtaining rights to Tetris

PBN: Henk Rogers, a video game designer, entrepreneur and clean-energy proponent from Hawaii, plays a prominent role in a new book about the cloak-and-dagger efforts behind making Tetris one of the world’s most popular video games….

In the interview, Ackerman referred to the Dutch-born Rogers as “probably the main protagonist of the book.” In describing Rogers’ longshot efforts to land the game’s rights, Ackerman said: “He just shows up and hopes he can talk his way through the door.”

Rogers and Pajitnov stayed friends and then later formed The Tetris Co., which allowed the Russian scientist to earns royalties from the best-selling game. Daughter Maya Rogers is CEO of the company.

Henk Rogers is also the founder of Blue Planet Energy, a developer of clean-energy storage, and Blue Planet Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes the use of alternative sources of energy. He also created technology accelerator Blue Startup.

read … Henk Rogers featured in new book about obtaining rights to Tetris


“Hawai‘i 30 by 30 Oceans Target”

Hawaiian Electric unveils plans to help manage renewable energy sources

GoDaddy.com looking to do business in Hawaii

Niihau owners looking to preserve 21,000 acres of ag lands on Kauai

More federal assistance OK'd for displaced HC&S workers

Maui Cattle Co. finds sweet deal with A&B

More private schools in Hawaii looking abroad for students

Residents, city keep close eye on already high water levels in Lake Wilson

Conservation, Extinction & Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) at the World Conservation Congress

More Anti-Dairy Farm Blither

Health care advances raise big fiscal, ethical questions

Commercial property investment down 65%


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