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Saturday, July 22, 2017
July 22, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:32 PM :: 3007 Views

Grassroot: Special Session Should Order Rail Audit

Rail: 75% of Contracts Already Signed

Millennials are public pension losers

JSC Announces Four Vacancies--Seeks Chief Judge for ICA

Hanabusa 'seriously considering' bid for governor

HNN: …U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa won't say whether or not she's planning to challenge Governor David Ige in next year's Democratic primary, political analyst Colin Moore believes her federal fundraising efforts tips her hand.

Records show she has only amassed about $220,000 for next year's Congressional race.

"It's a pretty good indication that she's still seriously considering a run for governor," Moore says.

Critics of Gov. Ige believe he has failed to take a leadership role on several of Hawaii's hotbed issues, including the future of the Thirty Meter Telescope and the state's role in Honolulu's rail transit project. A recent national poll of governors ranked him among the nation's least-popular chief executives.

Sources tell Hawaii News Now that powerful Democrats who were formerly aligned with the late U.S. Sen. Daniel inouye have been urging Hanabusa to run against Ige.

"I think a lot of people want more direction from the governor's office, and they're not getting that," Moore said.

If Hanabusa does to decide to run, political commentator Dan Boylan says fundraising won't be very difficult…..

Boylan argues that even if Ige is viewed as a weak incumbent, it still may not be enough of an enticement to get Hanabusa to leave Congress….

read … Seriously?

Update to rail plan is more than 2 years past due—Turnover Reaches 63%

SA: A federally mandated blueprint that’s supposed to guide completion of the Honolulu rail transit line hasn’t been updated since 2012 — even though local officials pledged to do so by December 2014.

Rail’s “project management plan” has been flagged as persistently outdated in two separate audits that scrutinized how the island’s over-budget rail project has been managed. Officials this week briefed the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board on efforts to put audit recommendations into practice, as they look to get a better handle on the state’s largest-ever public works project.

HART plans to finally update its project management plan, or PMP, after the Legislature’s special session on rail funding later this summer, Project Director Sam Carnaggio told the board Thursday….

The agency has also revived a “change-control board” of project managers that was disbanded in 2012, to better review mounting change orders for the rail project.

HART says it is further working with the city’s human resources department to address the rail agency’s heavy turnover. Some 80 workers, among HART’s 127 total positions, have left in the past four years, according to Carnaggio.

“That’s a lot,” he told the board at a meeting Thursday….

Meanwhile, board members continued to debate whether to conduct a forensic, or “special” audit into steep price hikes and years-long schedule delays for the rail system.

In public testimony, (a trembling) Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said the project already undergoes extensive auditing and that the board has plenty of expert recommendations for better management (and they haven’t caught me and I want to keep it that way). He urged the board to focus on the big picture “instead of fighting about how many audits we need.”…

On Thursday, City Councilman Trevor Ozawa introduced Resolution 17-199 requesting that HART conduct an “economy and efficiency” audit on causes of the cost overruns (sounds like a watered-down proposal designed to deflect the push for a forensic audit which would catch criminals).

Rail’s federal-oversight contractor called for HART to update its PMP in its August 2014 “risk-refresh” report. A month later the rail agency responded that it would have that update done by December 2014, calling the move “essential to delivering the project successfully.”

That update never occurred, however. Within months project leaders were focused on cost overruns that have plagued the project ever since. Today it’s estimated the project faces about a $3 billion budget deficit, including financing….

Related: HART Boardmember: Our Credibility has Disappeared, Nobody Knows Who is Responsible

read … Update to rail plan is more than 2 years past due

GEMS: Going from Failure to Failure

IM: …Many people believe that the GEMS program is a poster child for what can go wrong with ramming projects thought the Legislature. The automatic approval process and fast-tracking produced a failed program.

Governor Abercrombie signed Act 211 in 2013 creating the Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority (HGIA) Green Energy Market Securitization (GEMS) program.

HGIA borrowed $150 million in order to lend money out to those entities who could not fund renewable energy systems and energy efficiency upgrades through more traditional ways.  

Most of the money is sitting unused while interest payments are being made. The program has spent more on administration than what it lent out to customers.

The HGIA held its last board meeting on April 21, 2017. Patricia Tummons and seven HGIA people were present. The minutes noted that “there were discussions among board members regarding the Legislature`s ability to determine the interest rate charged on GEMS loans.”

On July 21, 2017 the Attorney General, on behalf of HGIA, filed a motion seeking modification of a Public Utilities Commission decision.

The first page of the filing states that the filing is made by the Hawai`i Attorney General, and two Deputy Attorneys General, who serve as the attorneys for DBEDT. But the filing states that HGIA is now independent of DBEDT.…

According to the filing, HGIA initially charged higher rates than the private sector, used paper forms rather than the standard electronic forms used by industry, relied on an out-of-state tax equity partner who did not understand Hawai`i, and rejected most loan applications.

The filing noted that staff turnover has been staggering. HGIA is authorized to have 5.5 people. In its 33-month life, the Authority has had 17 staff members including four Executive Directors. 

While the Authority`s failures are legendary, HGIA now believes, as it has publicly stated numerous times before, that it is on the cusp of success.

The Quote of the Month comes from the Attorney General`s July 21 filing.

“According to Winston Churchill, `Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

read … GEMS & Quote of the Month

EV owners have saved $2.6M in airport parking fees

SA: When Katherine Ziemann got back into her Nissan Leaf after a three-week trip to Portugal, she drove out of a parking garage at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport without paying a dime.

Ziemann saved $440 because of an incentive signed into law by Gov. Neil Abercrombie in 2012. The law exempts owners of electric vehicles from paying parking fees at the airport.

Ziemann isn’t alone in taking advantage of the law. Over the last five years, EV owners have saved a combined $2.6 million while parking at the airport, according to the state Department of Transportation’s response to a Honolulu Star-Advertiser query.

EV owners are increasingly using the airport benefit. This year, through June, EV owners parked at the airport 18,224 times. From January 2013 to June of this year, EV owners have parked at the airport 87,676 times….

EVs represent only 0.56 percent of all registered vehicles in the state.

But at the Honolulu airport, EVs make up a much larger portion of all parked cars.

On one floor of a garage at the airport on a Wednesday this month, there were 21 Nissan, Tesla and BMW electric cars out of 100 vehicles counted….

(We are subsidizing the believers of the State Religion.)

read … Subsidize the Believers

Wheeler soldier Kang indicted for allegedly providing aid to ISIS

SA: …Federal prosecutors filed a grand jury indictment today charging Wheeler Army Airfield soldier Ikaika Erik Kang with trying to provide support to the Islamic State or ISIS.

The indictment charges Kang, 34, with four counts of attempting to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Two of the counts accuse Kang of trying to provide ISIS with military documents, some classified. The third count accuses Kang of trying to provide ISIS with military gear, including tactical equipment and ammunition, and a GoPro Karma, a consumer camera-equipped drone. The fourth count accuses Kang of trying to provide ISIS with a training video of weaponry, firearms, combatives and hand-to-hand combat techniques.

The FBI has said it had been monitoring Kang’s activities for the past year. The agency said Kang dealt only with undercover agents and that he never made contact with anyone connected with ISIS….

read … ISIS

Aquarium fishery subject to regulation

SA: As growing numbers distrust even good journalism, it is distressing to see our trusted Star-Advertiser print a false headline — and on the front page: “Aquarium fishery goes unrestricted” (July 12).

Aquarium fishing is, and has long been, subject to restrictions designed to assure its sustainable management.

The headline could have been intended to say, “Ige vetoes legislation further restricting aquarium fishing but that fails in its attempt to manage the fishery and ignores well-founded science.” If that’s too long for a front-page headline, it could say, “Ige vetoes bad fish bill.” ….

read … Aquarium fishery subject to regulation

MPD to implement body camera program

MN: Maui Police Department patrol officers will undergo training to use body-worn cameras next month, as the department moves closer to implementing the program to record some police interactions with the public.

“If everything goes as planned, we plan to have the cameras on the road operational by Sept. 1,” Deputy Chief Dean Rickard said at a Maui Police Commission meeting Wednesday at the University of Hawaii Maui College.

He said police just received 125 body-worn cameras, after executing a contract last month to buy the cameras from Axon Enterprise Inc., formerly called Taser International…..

read … Body Cams

Civil Defense Prepares for North Korean Attack

Marco Polo Fire

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