Finish OHA’s Audit for Fraud, Waste and Abuse!
Janus: DAGS Bobbles Union Dues Collection
Congress Giving Territories Control of Offshore Windfarm Permitting
EPA Moves to Roll Back WOTUS
Hawaii Obamacare Enrollment only 7,806 With 15 Days to Go
HTH: …In 2017, enrollment in Hawaii reached 17,702. As of Dec. 1, 7,806 people were enrolled through healthcare.gov….
Saturday (Dec. 15) marks the enrollment deadline for those seeking health insurance through the federal insurance marketplace, healthcare.gov.
Those who miss the open enrollment deadline will be unable to get 2019 coverage unless qualified for a special enrollment period….
read … Enrollment deadline nears for federal insurance marketplace
Convicted Murderer to Walk Free Because of Kaneshiro Corruption?
SA: … The revelations of the new letters could present opportunities for criminal defense lawyers whose clients were prosecuted by any of the three to raise questions about the integrity of the office and potentially seek dismissals of charges or overturning of convictions, according to legal experts.
“I would think (defense attorneys) would want to make something of this,” said Greg Keating, a University of Southern California Gould School of Law professor who teaches professional responsibility courses.
“Your integrity has been questioned by someone with authority to do so,” Keating added. “That casts a cloud over everything you do.”
Victor Bakke, a criminal defense attorney, said he already is preparing a motion to have a client’s murder conviction reversed based on Sapolu’s involvement in the case. Sapolu helped prosecute Dae Han Moon, who was found guilty recently of the Christmas Day 2016 murder of Steve Feliciano at Ala Moana Center.
A judge already found that the prosecutor’s office committed misconduct by failing to disclose relevant information to the defense in that case, according to Bakke. The court ruled that information a witness told Sapolu about a knife should have been turned over to the defense but wasn’t, Bakke said.
Now that Bakke knows Sapolu received a subject letter, the defense attorney said he intends to seek a copy of the letter — which federal authorities usually don’t release — to determine whether the conduct Sapolu is being questioned about has a bearing on Moon’s case.
“Every case he touches is tainted,” Bakke said.
If the prosecutors are accused of misconduct involving their duties as law enforcement officers, as opposed to something like cheating on taxes, the misconduct allegations could be used to question their actions in any of the cases they helped prosecute, according to criminal defense attorney Jonathan Burge.
“This puts a very dark shade over their office,” Burge said. “It’s a pretty big deal.”
Carlisle said he would expect defense attorneys to file many such challenges. “There’s not the slightest doubt,” he said….
read … Keith Kaneshiro and 2 other Honolulu prosecutors linked to federal corruption probe urged to step aside
City prosecutor shows no signs of stepping aside after getting formal notice that he’s a target of federal probe
HNN: … City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro has received a Justice Department target letter informing him that he’s under investigation in the federal public corruption probe that has already led to two indictments against his former top deputy, Katherine Kealoha.
Former U.S. Attorney and Honolulu prosecutor Loretta Sheehan says the development is sure to rattle the law enforcement community.
“Target letter means the grand jury has substantial evidence that you’ve engaged in criminal activity. You are going to be indicted," Sheehan said. “A subject letter you have the opportunity to possibly not be indicted to possibly cooperate or to plead to a much lesser charge. Or if you’re completely innocent, to clear up any misunderstanding.”
Two other leading deputies, Chasid Sapolu and Janice Futa, have received Justice Department subject — but not target — letters….
read … City prosecutor shows no signs of stepping aside after getting formal notice that he’s a target of federal probe
New OHA Leadership Promises to Complete Audit
HPR: …Colette Machado, the longest serving trustee, was nominated to continue to serve as Board Chair. But, Trustee Keli’i Akina asked Machado a question before the roll call vote.
(Akina) ”Will you as chair do all that is necessary to ensure the successful completion of the independent audit for fraud, waste and abuse?” (Machado) “Trustee Akina, we took a vote to approve the allocation of half-a-million dollars. It was a majority vote by the trustees and that still stands”. (Akina) “I thank you for your response. You will have my vote.”
The votes were tallied and Machado was unanimously re-elected chair….
read … OHA Elects Officers and Look to the Future
Rollout of new state payroll system almost complete
ILind: …The State of Hawaii is in the final stages of its rollout of a new payroll system, which provides modern tools for managing time and payrolls, and also allows employees direct online access to their payroll information, from bank and direct deposit info to tax forms and pay statements.
The Department of Education and University of Hawaii are the last departments to switch over to the new system, which will happen in time for the January 4, 2019 pay day.
This apparently represents a two-month delay, according to the Hawaii State Teachers Association.….
read … Rollout of new state payroll system almost complete
Geographical Exemption: School Choice Forcing Hawaii Schools to Improve?
CB: …These days, Hawaii’s public schools aren’t just competing with private schools for students but with each other.
That’s because of the option in Hawaii known as a geographic exemption, which allows families to apply to send their kid to a school outside their home district.
Out of approximately 179,000 students in DOE schools statewide, 20,015 — or about 11 percent — were granted a geographic exemption in the 2018-19 school year, according to Hawaii DOE spokeswoman Lindsay Chambers.
It’s becoming a more popular option for parents as they shop around for public schools, whether for a school’s good reputation, convenience if a parent works near the school or particular programs….
After the school’s recent tour, some parents came up to him and asked for a GE application they wanted to fill out on the spot, he said. They cited the family-like, mellow atmosphere.
As much as GEs can provide a boost, the flip side is a loss for other schools, which means reduced funding under the state’s weighted student formula that allocates money to each school based on total enrollment.
“Waimanalo (Elementary and Intermediate) had money taken away from them because they lost students, because (of who) we took in,” said Kailua Intermediate’s LaBoy. “That’s a downside. They need money. We all need money. So now that starts to hurt their programs — they might have to cut a teacher.”
On the other hand, Kailua Intermediate was able to hire a new physical education and health teacher and buy new computers with the additional DOE dollars coming in, she said.
“I think a healthy part of competition is that it makes schools look at themselves and say, what are other schools doing that we can do?” said Yamauchi, of Parents for Public Schools Hawaii….
read … The Fight Against Flight At Hawaii’s Public Middle Schools
After 2 Years of Paper Shuffling, City Finally Allow Church to Open Homeless Shelter
HNN: … Churches from across the state raised a half million dollars to construct this village of igloo shaped shelters.
Although it took two years for the city to issue building permits, Ko never wavered on his mission to help the homeless.
“We’re hoping to include them in the church and the family of God and provide support for them,” said Ko….
...families are finally moving in. Watching her children play, one of the village’s new residents told HNN it’s the first time in months she’s felt safe.
“It’s scary not knowing what you’re going to do,” said Sara.
The mother of two says she is a survivor of domestic violence. We’re not using her last name to protect her identity.
“There was violence and drugs in my home growing up,” she said. “Then I got myself into those same type of relationships and I’ve finally had the courage this time to step out of it. To do better because I want better for my children.”
On Saturday, her family was the first to move into “The Shelter.”…
read … After years of planning and prep, church opens igloos-shaped shelters to the homeless
Boaters Not Fooled by DLNR Sales Pitch
HTH: …Capt. Bill Murtaugh, who runs charters out of Keauhou Bay Small Boat Harbor, said the new rules will charge fees based not on the length of the boats as it’s currently calculated, but by the length of the mooring area itself. This is especially difficult for Murtaugh, who recently increased the length of his mooring for safety reasons as outlined in a recent Army Corps of Engineers revamping at Keauhou.
The proposed rules specify that fees “shall be per foot of vessel length overall or maximum length of berth or mooring, whichever is greater.”
With offshore mooring fees rising by half or even doubling, depending on the location, and in-harbor mooring costs also rising, it’s difficult to also stomach measurement changes that could double the length of the boat for fee purposes, he said.
“It’s like we took the Army Corps of Engineers advice and now we’re being penalized,” Murtaugh said. “It just doesn’t make sense. It’s not like they can put in additional moors there.”
Capt. Jeff Rogers, a charter captain based at Honokohau Harbor, said there should be improvements at the harbor, such as bringing back the coin-operated electrical boxes, before fees are raised. He said wealthier boat owners on the other side of the harbor paid to have their own electric poles installed and can run electricity right into their boats, while he has to lug a generator to the harbor to recharge his battery.
DLNR does have that project on its deferred maintenance list, saying the upgrade and replacement of existing electrical lines, conduits, lighting, circuit breakers and new power usage monitoring system for all slips in the inner harbor would cost an estimated $4.3 million.
Rogers would like to see improvements precede fee hikes.
“They want more money for doing what?” Rogers asked. “They have not done diddly-sh-t.”
The proposed rule changes can be found at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dobor/draft-rules/ (scroll to the bottom of the page).
read … DLNR eyes fee hikes at harbors
Mortgage delinquencies on Hawaii's Big Island grow after Kilauea eruption
PBN: … For the Hilo micropolitan area, the closest population area to Kilauea in the study, CoreLogic found that the rate of delinquency from 30 days past due to foreclosure was relatively even with last year, but the percentage of mortgages transitioning from current to 30 days past due increased to 0.95 percent in September, from 0.73 percent last year, according to data provided to Pacific Business News. Data for areas closer to the volcano, such as Pahoa, were not available.
However, the number transitioning from 30 days to 60 days past due increased to 23.51 percent from 14.53 percent last year, an increase of 8.98 percentage points and the number transitioning from 60 days to 90 days past due increased to 36.04 percent from 31.93 percent, an increase of 4.1 percentage points.
“The effects of 2018’s natural disasters have begun to show clearly in our delinquency data,” Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic, said in a statement. “After Kilauea’s eruption began in May, serious delinquency rates jumped on the Big Island by 10 percent between June and September, while falling by 4 percent in the rest of Hawaii.”
CoreLogic noted similar movement in a California market affected by wildfires and in North Carolina markets affected by Hurricane Florence….
read … Mortgage delinquencies on Hawaii's Big Island grow after Kilauea eruption
The Agricultural Energy - Renewable Energy Quagmire
IM: … The universe is made up of stuff that changes form between energy and matter. Energy can become matter. Matter can become energy. Except for weird events like the Big Bang, the energy-matter-stuff cannot be created nor destroyed. It just exists. So, the first obvious question is, if energy can`t be created, what is renewable energy?
This is a core question that many people don`t think about. Gather a bunch of politicians together. Have them separate energy-matter-stuff into two piles and call one of the piles renewable energy and the other non-renewable energy.
Hawai`i politicians have done that several times since 2001. In Hawai`i, what is called renewable energy in 2001, 2005, 2008, are all different in major ways from each other and are also different from what we call renewable energy today, from what Californians call renewable energy, and from what the U.S. calls renewable energy.
Hawai`i has a law that is frequently called a 100 percent renewable energy mandate by 2045. But what does it mean?
The current Hawai`i definition includes some wild concepts. Torch the Amazon Rain Forest. Burn the Whole Sucker Down. Pave most of it. Grow a few genetically engineered palm trees. Send the palm oil to Pluto on a nuclear-powered rocket ship. Turn it into biodiesel. Send it to Hawai`i. Burn it to produce electricity. Under Hawai`i law that is 100% renewable energy!
The reason this is renewable energy is that politicians changed the definition of renewable energy to say that agricultural-based energy is always 100 percent renewable energy to lure ethanol companies to Hawai`i.
Investors claimed they would produce so much ethanol that Hawai`i could become an ethanol exporter. It turns out that the massive taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies offered were too little, so no ethanol investor set up shop. But the law remains….
Related: How a U.S. law intended to reduce dependence on fossil fuels has unleashed an environmental disaster in Indonesia
read … The Agricultural Energy - Renewable Energy Quagmire
Danger: Hawaii Nonprofit Teams up with UN to Enforce Eco-Religion
SA: … As world leaders meet in Poland for the 24th United Nations climate summit, efforts are also under way at home in Honolulu to work toward the same global sustainability goals.
The UN and Hawaii Green Growth, a local nonprofit, have officially become partners working toward those goals through the establishment of a collaboration center, called a Local 2030 Hub, in Honolulu.
As a hub, the group, which describes itself as a private-public partnership committed to achieving economic, social and environmental goals in the Hawaii, will work with the UN to achieve its Sustainable Development Goals, a set of 17 global goals it adopted in 2015 to improve health and education while tackling climate change….
read … Hawaii group partners with United Nations to achieve sustainability goals
Ritte warns he’ll protest if Navy goes through military exercises off shore without Giving Him Money
HNN: … “Blablabla” said Molokai activist Walter Ritte. “Blablblllaaaa” added Lori Buchanan. She says the community felt blind-sighted. (Translation: “Wally and me want money.”)…
The Navy says the proposed activities off Molokai would have no bombs, no live fire training, be limited to the water and have minimal impact on natural resources….
"As part of the training, the trainees learn skills needed to avoid detection along with the goal of leaving no trace of their presence during or after training activities." (Not even Simoleans, hence the problem.)…
The Navy says the the proposed exercises would range from 2 up to 72 hours at a time and would include no more than 10 exercises per year at any one location.
The Navy is extending the public comment period for the Naval Special Operations Training State of Hawaii Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) until Jan. 7, 2019 to allow the public more time to submit comments.
read … Molokai activists warn they’ll protest if Navy goes through military exercises off shore
Tulsi is Running for VP to Bernie
SOR: … With no clear winner, expect a brokered convention, one that not allow two straight white dudes on the ticket …. (Translation: Bernie will need someone like Tulsi as VP.)
read … Five reasons to take Tulsi’s campaign for president seriously