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Wednesday, September 21, 2016
September 21, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:46 PM :: 3432 Views

Need a Sandwich? Call an Ambulance

Message to OHA: Clean up your act, not your image

Fishing Industry to Enforce Good Labor Practices

Taxes and tracking your odometer

Not Too Late to Make the Right Decision on Rail

Feds ‘Search for Solution to Hawaii’s Mosquito Problem’

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Calls for Immediate Halt to U.S. Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia

Djou: I will not Raise Taxes to Pay for Rail

HNN: …Djou’s first promise, if he is elected, he will not raise taxes to pay for the rail project. He said that definitively on Sunrise this morning. He believes that there are other ways to save money and still build all 20 miles in the $8.1 billion project. Djou said that the project is being mismanaged and that's why costs are skyrocketing from its original $4 billion price tag. He said current mayor Caldwell isn't doing enough to keep the contractors and engineers in line.

The rail project is a complicated one. When asked if he was concerned about having to catch up, Djou said he thinks he will be a fresh pair of eyes on a project that needs him….

PBN: Public viewing scheduled for Honolulu rail transit cars

read … No New Taxes

State-Owned Agriculture:  1,200 Acres of Failure in Central Oahu

HNN: …Four years after the state acquired 1,200 acres of farmland in Central Oahu, most of it sits unused.

The state Agriculture Development Corp. bought the land with the idea of preserving former pineapple lands for diversified agriculture and small farmers.

But so far, only about 200 acres --  less than 15 percent -- is being used for farming. The rest is lying fallow.

"We have dumb projects like this. They sound good, we're going to help people but the state should not be in this business because the state does not do a good job," said state Sen. Sam Slom (R) Hawaii Kai.

James Nakatani, executive director of the state Agriculture Development Corp., blames procurement delays and lack of water.

The state bought the land without any water guarantees.  Instead, it had to bring the water in through pipes or dig wells, expensive ventures that the state has not able to implement.

"How do you have agriculture without water ... It was a harebrained scheme, it didn't make any sense," said Slom….

read … Lack of water source stalls state farming initiative

GEMS: “A failure through-and-through”

IM: …Tara Young, the executive director of the troubled Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority has resigned. The idea of borrowing $150,000,000.00 to establish a state bank that would loan money to those sectors that could not get commercial loans to install rooftop solar was a failure through-and-through.

Fast tracked through the Legislature –with Life of the Land firing warning shots—the GEMS program ran up administrative costs and interest payments that are nearly 100 times the total money lent out. Who thought slow-moving, paper-intense, government financing could successfully hone in on market-driven, web-based, commercial lending? ….

Yesterday: Fail: 3rd GEMS Exec Director Quits in 2 years—Another Legislative Fight Looms over Wasted Money

read … Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission Kicks into Overdrive

HIDOT Demands Money: Threatens to Cut off Lahaina

MN: The state has estimated that it would cost around $800 million to realign and widen Honoapiilani Highway from Maalaea to the Lahaina bypass. Because it's a state highway, Mayor Alan Arakawa said funding should come from the state.

However, the state Department of Transportation does not receive as much federal funding as it did several years ago, said Ed Sniffen, deputy director of the department's Highways Division.

When Sen. Daniel Inouye was in office, he was able to bring Hawaii's highways even more funding than the $150 million it normally gets each year. But since new legislation, the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act, went into effect last December, states are given a certain amount each year and cannot seek additional funding.

"Without another funding stream . . . any additional roadway is pretty much on a moratorium," Sniffen said.

Related:  Maui lawmakers request Governor Ige delay Olowalu seawall project

read … Hunt begins for funding to realign Hooanapili highway

“Using” iwi kupuna to slow or stop development

KE: …What I found especially disturbing was how Dedman's actions give ammunition to those who have criticized burial preservation efforts, claiming that kanaka have been “using” iwi kupuna to slow or stop development.

It also raises an ethical issue that has troubled me about GMO opponents and other activists whose behavior seems to reflect a belief that the ends justify the means.

The Yes2TMT statement also raised that point:

The TMT is a complicated issue for Hawaiians and Hawaii residents. We can respect those who oppose TMT on principled grounds and with honorable actions, even if we strongly disagree. This act, however, is unprincipled and dishonorable, communicating that the ends justify the means and the truth does not matter.

Thus far, TMT protesters have either been silent on this act or, incredibly, have supported it. No doubt, at some point the full truth of what happened will be revealed to all the island’s residents. But for now we call on upon those in opposition to TMT to join us in publicly condemning this desecration and challenge any others who participated in it to come forward and publicly apologize.

Curiously, an article posted on the KAHEA website reports Kealoha Pisciotta, one of the petitioners seeking to stop the TMT through the legal process, as saying:

"We have actual evidence that accounts for archaeological sites and burial grounds. Thirty more burials have been found since the [2011 BLNR] hearing. It is the burial ground and the place of our most sacred ancestors. The whole mountain is a burial site, and they haven’t even done a burial treatment plan.”

If that's the case, then why did Palikapu feel the need to import iwi from Ka'u?

According to Hawaiian scholar and educator Mary Kawena Pukui:

In the pre-Christian creeds of Hawaii, manʻs immortality was manifest in his bones. Man's blood, even bright drops shed by the living, was haumia (defiled and defiling). Man's body, when death made flesh corrupt, was an abomination and kapu (taboo). The iwi survived decaying flesh. The bones remained, the cleanly, lasting portion of the man or woman who once lived. The bones of the dead were guarded, respected, treasured, venerated, loved or even deified by relatives; coveted and despoiled by enemies.

With or without ʻunihipili [deification] rituals, there was a feeling that the spirit might yet be hovering near the iwi. If the bones were desecrated, the spirit was insulted. Even the living descendants of the profaned dead were shamed and humiliated. So the Hawaiians believed.

read … Musings: Iwi on Mauna Kea

Democratic Party establishment has been gleefully giving Sanders supporters the finger for quite some time

CB: …the Democratic Party establishment has been gleefully giving Sanders supporters the finger for quite some time. And Democrats have no problem supporting, say, Republicans for local office (I’m looking at you, Ernie Martin and Charles Djou).

The problem is that the party was made to look bad. The party was embarrassed. Not embarrassed by the shameful and deceitful actions of the Democratic National Committee’s elite in pre-determining the outcome of the nominating process, no. The embarrassment was caused by a member who dared to say publicly that the process was unfair, there is no unity, and the candidate is not her choice for president.

Apparently, while it is OK for you to feel cheated by the Democratic Party, or even be cheated by the Democratic Party, it is not OK for you to say anything about it. The Democratic Party is a private club, and freedom of speech ends exactly where the line is drawn for you….

Response from Jim Shon: “Intolerance, refusal to admit you might have been outvoted, demonizing those who disagree - these seem to be seeping into our political culture more and more. As a Hillary delegate to the State Dem Convention, I was lectured to, told that our party was the most corrupt in the nation, and in no uncertain terms told, from the podium, to go away and leave the party to the new leadership under Tulsi, Tim and Bart. The purity test, in many minds, was support for Bernie or Bust. However, the party rules, which relate to support for Dems, were not changed. I don't think we should expel anyone, as we are a big tent. But the debate over Flash Mob memberships vs. long term is a legitimate one.”

Related: Democrat Vice Chair Resigns—’Party More Dictatorial’

read … Proposed Expulsion Of Chelsea Kent Reveals Democratic Party Flaws

New Federal Rules May Shut Down Most Hawaii Farms

SA: …The state must work with its still-fledgling small-farming industry toward meeting the food-safety rules required to stay in business.

The complication to the overall security mission is the federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed by President Barack Obama in 2011. Federal authorities have extended to 2018 the deadline for compliance with new rules aimed at keeping produce safe and sanitary.

But Hawaii has a long way to go in bringing farmers in line with those rules, and no more time must be lost.

The issue bubbled to the surface last week at a Kunia workshop for farmers, presented in partnership among the seed developer Monsanto and federal and state authorities.

Scott Enright, director of the state Department of Agriculture, noted the challenge ahead posed by the FSMA — even if, under the law, most Hawaii farming operations are small enough that they’d be technically exempt.

The realities of the marketplace, however, spell out the need to comply, anyway: Enright said the commercial buyers of homegrown produce, worried about liability over food safety issues, would feel compelled to buy from farmers certified as safe.

The rules can be daunting, covering everything from general food-packing standards to the handling of sprouts, particularly vulnerable to microbial contamination.

And they have been changing. A draft water quality rule, for example, drew complaints from one farmer because it proposed to bar workers from bringing bottled water in the fields….

read … Closing more Farms

Hawaii's rental vacancy rate is among highest in nation, data shows

HNN: …In the second quarter of 2016, nearly 11 percent of Hawaii’s rentals were vacant, Census estimates show. That’s up from 8 percent at the same time last year (and a far healthier 5 percent in early 2015)….

…Eugene Tian, state economist, said the rental vacancy rate might be legitimately increasing in some areas (such as urban Honolulu) because renters are being priced out or moving into homeownership thanks to a construction boom in Kakaako.

He said some renters are undoubtedly “withdrawing from the market” because of the rising prices, moving in with family or sharing their housing cost burden by getting roommates.

(In the second quarter of 2016, the rental vacancy rate in urban Honolulu was 10.1 percent, up from 7.5 percent in the same period a year ago.)

Meanwhile, economists say, the state’s rental housing vacancy rate is also likely going up because of a glut of vacation and seasonal rentals on the Neighbor Islands.

The issue is particularly acute on Kauai and Maui.

Kauai, for example, has a rental vacancy rate approaching 18 percent (up from 6 percent in 2000). Maui County’s rental vacancy rate is 26 percent, from 7 percent in 2000, according to a 2015 state housing availability report….

read … Rental Vacancy

School officials unveil $705M wish list

SA: (Fresh off their cool schools debacle)…the Department of Education plans to seek bond funding for $705 million worth of capital improvement projects that include new classroom buildings to help alleviate crowding in West Oahu and new schools for the growing Kakaako and South Maui communities.

By comparison, the department requested from the Legislature $455 million in general obligation bonds for the 2016-17 biennium, and received a roughly $338 million appropriation….

How DoE Spends CIP Money: Full Text: Contractor Offered Cool Schools at $5990 per Classroom—Was Ignored by DoE

read … Gimme Money

OCCC Project is a Front for Scheme to Place 1,400 Arizona Prisoners Under Control of Corrupt, Expensive UPW Guards

SA: While the Honolulu firm is focused on developing a new jail, DPS Director Nolan Espinda said during a meeting Monday with the state Corrections Population Management Commission that the process may lend itself to developing a new prison instead.

“If a very good outward location is outside the general Honolulu area, for example, and therefore very difficult to traverse back and forth between Circuit and District Court, the possibility on a wider scope of replacing a prison instead, and utilizing Halawa Correctional Facility as the jail, opens itself up for consideration,” Espinda said during the meeting.

Under this scenario, jail inmates housed at OCCC would be moved into Halawa Correctional Facility, one of the state’s four prisons, which is close enough to downtown for pretrial jail inmates to easily make court appearances in downtown Honolulu.

The Halawa prisoners would be moved to a new prison that is big enough to also accommodate the approximately 1,400 inmates who are housed at Saguaro Correctional Center in Arizona under a contract with the Corrections Corp. of America….

KHON: A Honolulu firm has a $5 million contract to scout potential locations

read … Leave them in Arizona

Fraction of auto theft suspects charged despite hundreds of arrests

KHON: About half of all auto theft suspects arrested on Oahu last year ended up being charged with the crime….

We also learned that even after HPD investigators recommended a suspect be charged, one out of every four times, prosecutors disagreed and declined to charge the suspect….

There were nearly 3,900 auto theft cases in Honolulu last year. HPD opened 324 cases in which a suspect was identified and made 276 arrests. One-hundred-forty-two of them were charged by the prosecutor’s office.

So 51 percent of the suspects ended up being charged.

We also learned that there were 191 conferrals, i.e. when HPD recommends to the prosecutor’s office that the suspect get charged. Prosecutors declined 46 of them — that’s 24 percent, or one out of four….

read … Fraction of auto theft suspects charged despite hundreds of arrests

Hawaii police departments still working to compile stats on untested rape kits

HNN: Experts believe there are more than 2,000 untested rape kits here in Hawaii….

The requirement was included in a law passed in the last legislative session, after the Honolulu Police Department acknowledged it had 1,500 untested rape kits in storage.

Some of the rape kits in HPD evidence are nearly 30 years old, officials said. At the time, HPD estimated that about one-fifth of all collected kits were eventually tested.

The only police department that's submitted figures on untested rape kits to the state is Kauai.

Honolulu, Hawaii and Maui police must still submit the figures, along with how old the untested kits are….

Kauai police says it has collected 221 sex assault kits since 2001, when they were first distributed to the department for evidence gathering.

For the last four years, KPD has been sending their rape kits to a private lab -- paid for with funding it pursued through a grant. To date, about 70 rape kits have been processed for DNA analysis, leaving 150 untested.

"A lot of cases are solved through good police interviews and interrogations, confessions from suspects and different kinds of evidence that leads to a case being solved," said Kauai police Capt. Bryson Ponce. "The kit is one part of the investigation, but there's a lot of other ways to solve the case -- even if the kit hasn't been processed or analyzed." ….

read … Rape Tests

Are Honolulu Prosecutors Covering Up Police Misconduct?

CB: …Holcomb says he’s got evidence that indicates the Honolulu Department of the Prosecuting Attorney routinely hides information on bad cops, and that city officials have implemented policies that result in police records being prematurely destroyed.

Last week, Holcomb took his case to the Hawaii Supreme Court in an effort to fight what he’s described in court records as a “prosecutorial regime (that) is actively concealing impeachment information regarding law enforcement officers.”

PDF: Lawsuit

read … Criminal Defense Lawyer

Working Overtime: Kenoi Burns County Money on Golf Project

WHT: Parks and Recreation officials told a County Council panel Tuesday that contractors on a second project in addition to the Ka‘u gym are likely to receive county-subsidized overtime pay to hasten completion.

The county and contractor are currently in negotiations that could result in the county paying overtime on the $17 million Hilo Municipal Golf Course project, Deputy Director James Komata said….

“First of all, I don’t buy it. … I don’t see what the rush is,” Chung said. “From a fiscal standpoint, I don’t really like the idea of paying contractors overtime.”….

“What kind of management is that, if we don’t know if there’s overtime or not?” Chung shot back. “Are they under some kind of understanding that they can pay overtime?”

If any project deserves overtime, he added, it’s the Kaumana Drive repaving project in Hilo, which sits partially completed while contractors race to finish other jobs. If anything is a safety issue, it’s that road, he said.

Chung called for a thorough discussion of the golf course issue at the Oct. 4 Finance Committee hearing.

“This is important because it’s going to have ramifications to our budget,” he said. “Don’t pay overtime at the county’s expense. Just don’t do that.”….

HNN: Kenoi refuses to deal with home collapsing into ocean

read … But will the golf course have hostesses?

Kenoi Did not Disclose About Land Sales

WHT: …On Feb. 9, 2012, Kenoi sold 5.081 acres to Ronald Eichhorn of Vienna, Austria, for $100,000. The sale was recorded Feb. 17, 2012. County tax records indicate the land has a 2016 market value of $87,700.

On June 2, 2014, Kenoi and his wife, Takako, sold 5.083 acres to Yim Hung Lau of Hong Kong for $150,000. The sale was recorded June 4, 2014. That parcel was sold again Oct. 22, 2015, for $153,165 to a Singapore company, Grande Management PTE Ltd. According to county tax records, that land also has a 2016 market value of $87,700.

And on July 7, 2014, the Kenois sold two parcels of land, 12.49 acres and 5.364 acres, to a Honolulu couple, Jeffrey and Aubrey Hawk. Total price of the sale of the 17.854 acres was $140,000, and the sale was recorded the following day. The larger parcel has a 2016 market value of $106,300, while the market value of the smaller piece is $88,400, county tax records state.

The sales weren’t listed on Kenoi’s financial disclosure forms for the years 2012 and 2014 as required in Section 2-91.1(c) of the Hawaii County Code. On Item 7 on the form, which instructs officials to list real property with a fair-market value of $5,000 or more sold during the disclosure period, the mayor checked “none” both years, and signed and dated the documents below the statement: “I hereby certify that the above is a true, correct, and complete statement.”

The parcels, all zoned agricultural, were part of a 45.9-acre land purchase Kenoi made in March 2004 for $215,000, between mile markers 17 and 18 on the eastern side of Volcano Highway (Highway 11). Kenoi subdivided property into six lots in 2009 and was granted a zoning variance to use water catchments for his “Ka I‘o Farm Lots” because of “special and unusual circumstances.” The nearest county water system at the time was more than a mile from the property.

The Kenois still own two of the lots.

The larger parcel, 12.539 acres, has the three-bedroom home the Kenois built in 2005. The market and taxable value of the land is listed at $106,300, while the structure’s assessed value is $391,500 with a homeowner exemption of $120,000, according to county tax records.

County tax records place the value of the smaller parcel, 5.36 acres, at $88,400.

Kenoi told the Tribune-Herald in May 2009 the purpose of subdividing the lots wasn’t “development” but to provide for his family’s future and education. He reportedly said one lot would go to each of his children, who then were pre-teens.

“I plan to make sure my children have a lot when they grow up. That was the purpose of moving out there,” Kenoi told a reporter at the time. He said he hoped the remaining land would provide their college fund.

read … Kenoi Profiteering

Another Special Ed Aide Says Reporting Abuse Got Her Banned

CB: Her employer, Hawaii Behavioral Health, says a thorough investigation found the allegations were untrue.

read … Banned

Hawaii SB2607 Student Privacy

M: Hawaii: On May 2, the Hawaii governor signed S.B. 2607 into law, which limits the ways in which the operator of a website, online service, online application, or mobile application working with the Department of Education can use student data. The bill took effect upon its approval….

read … Privacy

Job Cuts At The Star-Advertiser By ‘End Of The Month’

CB: A management-union dispute leads to the rescinding of a second voluntary buyout offer at Honolulu’s daily newspaper….

read … Job Cuts

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