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Friday, March 22, 2013
March 22, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:12 PM :: 4846 Views

Preemptive Strike: UHPA Endorses Schatz

VIDEO: Homosexual Child Molester Describes 40 Years of Abuse

SR123/SCR166: Activists Push Gay Marriage Task Force

Biofuel: Hawaiian Electric Agrees to Drop Rate Hike

Grabbing for OHA Cronies’ Support: Schatz, Hirono Tag Team vs Hanabusa

MTVN: Senator Brian Schatz and Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii introduced bills that will help expand the number of Native Hawaiians eligible for homeownership, grant additional options when transferring ownership, and provide more financial assistance tools to secure a home.

Senator Schatz introduced three amendments to the Native Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (HHCA), which will expand housing program eligibility and succession authority to those who are one-quarter Hawaiian. It also authorizes the Hawaiian Homes Commission to set interest rates on home loans based on market conditions. Senator Hirono is an original co-sponsor of the bill.

LINK: H.R. 231: Hawaiian Homeownership Opportunity Act of 2013

read … Pie in the Sky

Schatz Kisses up to OHA Cronies Some More

News Release: Senator Brian Schatz and Senate leadership, including Majority Leader Reid, and Senators Begich and Cantwell, hosted 18 native leaders from across the country at the invitation of the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee (DSOC). D. Keola Loyd with the Lanikuhonua Cultural Center and Kawika Riley with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs were invited to attend the meeting by Senators Schatz and Hirono. Topics of discussion included federal recognition of Native Hawaiians, fulfilling our trust responsibilities to tribal nations, educating native students, and enacting legislation that builds more prosperous native communities.

“Lanikuhonua Cultural Institute, Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs provides a number of resources tailored to educate and assist the Native Hawaiian community,” said Senator Schatz. “Through these programs, Keola and Kawika have worked extensively to foster relationships within the community and provide economic opportunities that have helped hundreds of families throughout Hawai‘i.

read …. Campaign Posturing-- Who Could be Fooled?

Racist Anti-GMO Activist forced to Apologize for “Go back to Japan”

CB: The room fell into a hush when Kealoha Kalama of Babes Against Biotech (LOL!) spoke in a quivering voice about her love of nature.

"We are so blessed," she said. "But you have to know your breath to know how blessed you are, to know the 'ha' ... There is no breath in this room — I can feel it."  (Yup.  That’s the winning argument oh yeah!)

Then there was the racist testimony of Jessica Mitchell, the white woman who last week told Nishihara to "go back to Japan and mess up their aina."

"We finally see each other face to face," said Nishihara….

"I apologize in person," she told him. "I was very emotional. This is a very emotional issue for me....”

Shapiro: A conspiratorially minded activist against genetically modified foods told Sen. Clarence Nishihara to "go back to Japan." The senator was too much of a gentleman to suggest she go back to her home planet.

read … Emotion driven mob

Bill for GMO labels fails; study sought 

(Question: Why not study mob psychology?  It is more pertinent to the issue at hand.) 

Alicia Maluafiti, executive director of the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association, said the GMO labeling proponents are the ones using fear-mongering to get their point across.  "I think that the activists continued to use fear and intimidation and misinformation to mislead the public and our legislators," Maluafiti said.

Many women hysterically relayed stories to senators about themselves or their children enduring months or years of unexplained illnesses that were cured or substantially alleviated when they cut known GMO foods from their diets.  (Question: Did they cut out their GM Marijuana?)

(What will the same mob of idiots be led to protest next week?  Will Walter Ritte finally get his payoff?)

KGI: Frenzied Mob Demands Roadside Herbicide Spraying Stop

read … Hysterical Mob

HSTA Money Grab: Complains About Ed Reform Consultants

CB: The state Department of Education this school year paid more than $12.7 million to independent education consulting companies to help revamp underperforming schools. But most of the money has gone to one mainland company that critics HSTA operatives say has been largely ineffective.

That company, EdisonLearning, and other consultants visit the schools to provide professional development services, conduct regular benchmark assessments, build site capacity and help teachers interpret data — often forging a partnership that some Hawaii educators say has significantly boosted their students’ achievement.

But others HSTA operatives criticize the arrangements, saying they send public money out of Hawaii to for-profit providers that have hardly enhanced student performance on state assessments. Of the five providers with which the state currently partners, one is local and one is not-for-profit.

“All of our [federal funding] goes to a private, for-profit company instead of the money going to supplies,” said Sarah Tochiki, a(n HSTA) teacher at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School on Kauai. Kamakahelei Middle has Title I status, meaning it receives federal funds earmarked for high-poverty schools.

(Question: Why is CB doing Vorsino’s HSTA flack job?  Answer: Since the DoE and HSTA are currently split, Vorsino can no longer flack for both of them simultaneously.  So with Vorsino flacking for the DoE, CB is left to pick up the slack by flacking for HSTA.)

AES: "Diverse Providers" in Action: School Restructuring in Hawaii

read … Civil Beat Does Vorsino’s Old Job

Greenwood defends UH to academic watchdog

SA: The Western Association of Schools and Colleges had warned earlier this month that the episode had included inappropriate external interference from government officials and "revealed the fragility" of the university's autonomy.

In response to that warning, UH President M.R.C. Greenwood said in a letter to WASC on Thursday, "The media coverage has not been as measured as one would hope, but we acknowledge that what you have read reflects a serious decline in the quality of interactions and relations among the various parties."

Greenwood also addressed several bills introduced this session that WASC said could interfere with the university's autonomy.

"The bills and resolutions that were sponsored in the early days of the legislative session have, for the most part, not progressed, and there seems to be a genuine effort to differentiate between ‘external interference' and appropriate levels of accountability," Greenwood wrote.

Background: WAC: Legislature Endangers UH Accreditation

read … Greenwood

Middle schoolers need attention, too

SA: …Hawaii has been ahead of other states for years in providing supervised after-school programs, so it is unfortunate that intermediate and middle school students have been left out.

Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui has launched a long-overdue framework to fill that void through community involvement and private donations, welcomed as necessary by the state Department of Education….

A survey cited by Afterschool Alliance found that of all Hawaii children not enrolled in after-school programs, 28 percent would be likely to participate if one were available to them. That is important, because quality programs keep children safe and inspire them to learn and help working families. On school days, the hours between 3 and 6 p.m. are the peak time for juvenile crime and experimentation with alcohol, cigarettes, drugs and sex. Indeed, intermediate and middle schools are the level at which many schoolchildren make choices that have overwhelming effect on their decisions through adulthood.

read … Afterschool

Substitute teachers due pay can expect it later this year

SA: More than 10 years after a class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of substitute teachers seeking back pay, the first paychecks are expected to be sent later this year, attorney Paul Alston, whose law firm represents the teachers, told us Wednesday.

Those checks will reflect $14 million or so that the state has agreed to pay approximately 9,000 substitute teachers this year. "We expect to have money in substitute teachers' hands before year-end," Alston said.

The state has agreed to begin paying the $14 million in back pay, plus associated taxes and benefits (such as Social Security contributions), to the teachers this year, confirmed Anne Lopez, special assistant to the state attorney general.

Alston said the $14 million settlement is based on Circuit Court rulings late last year, by Judges Karl Sakamoto and Edwin Nacino, that favored the teachers not only on the base back pay owed, but also on about $9 million in interest payments and another $6 million in attorneys' fees.

However, Lopez said, "The plaintiffs also claim that approximately $8.6 million in prejudgment interest has accrued on the back pay. Whether the state is responsible for paying such prejudgment interest is still in question."

read … Kokua Line

Abercrombie is Point Man in UH Futile Push for Obama Library

Borreca: Both the president and the first lady have ties to the supporters of the prestigious University of Chicago, which is being assisted by Susan Sher, the former chief of staff for Michelle Obama.

The University of Hawaii has a friend of Barack, Gov. Neil Abercrombie, helping to make the pitch to bring the library to Honolulu.  (LOL!)

Earlier this month, UH unveiled a preliminary proposal to place the library in the Kakaako Makai District, across from Sand Island and Honolulu Harbor.

read … Doomed by the Hippie

Homeless Tent City back after city cleans up Ala Wai site

SA: John Lane, a 53-year-old homeless man who moved to Hawaii from Alaska about a year ago, ate a melted energy bar and contemplated how much effort to put into moving his pile of belongings on Wednesday.

"I don't have to move it all the time," Lane said. "When they come, I have to move it. But most of the time, they don't come."

Earlier in the week, more than a dozen homeless encampments stood at the gateway to Waikiki, the state's top generator of tourism revenue.

"Because they don't make me break it down, I keep it up," Lane's neighbor Erick Jepson told the Star-Advertiser last week. "Every third week, Wednesday, they tag it."

Following the city's latest sweep, Jepson and his three-room makeshift encampment were gone.

"Don't worry, they'll all be back," said a 51-year-old homeless woman, who was biding her time near the convention center promenade until she could return to her favorite spot near the Kapiolani Boulevard bridge. "I plan to return home tonight."

Chang said he has begun working toward the $77 million allocation and plans by a Friday budget deadline to propose moving $26 million from the city's general fund into a homeless fund.

He's got unlikely support from the 51-year-old homeless woman who has lived near his district for nine years.

"Tent cities are OK," said the woman, who was in the military during Desert Storm. "It's all the same kind…."

Reality: Homeless tent cities: Seattle’s decade-long nightmare coming to Honolulu?

Tent City Goes National: Stanley Chang Running for CD1?

read … Bracketed by ACLU

Gil Riviere Announces Primary Challenge to Richard Fale

PR: Former state Rep. Gil Riviere, who narrowly lost his first re-election campaign in the Republican primary last year, wants to take the North Shore seat back.

Riviere said he will challenge Rep. Richard Fale in the Republican primary next year in House District 47. "I'm running," he said Wednesday.

Riviere, a mortgage broker active in the North Shore conservation movement, has personally informed Fale of his plans.

read … Rerun

Police Misconduct Bill Teeters In Hawaii House Under Union Criticism

CB: A bill that would provide more information about misconduct of county police officers still has life, but there’s little guarantee it will survive the legislative session.

On Thursday, Senate Bill 839 had its first hearing in the House Public Safety Committee, but was deferred so the chair, Rep. Henry Aquino, could collect more information about the measure.

The deferral comes on the heels of the state’s powerful police union testifying against the bill, saying it could potentially violate state law if it means identifying officers who have been suspended for misconduct.

SB 839 seems relative innocuous as written, and in fact one open records advocate called it "laughably cosmetic."

read … Misconduct

Profiling members of the Honolulu Planning Commission

ILind: I went through the public information statements filed by the members of the Planning Commission when they were nominated. These provide some information on employment history, education, and business ties, if any.

read … Profiling members of the Honolulu Planning Commission

Honolulu City Auditor Investigates Rail

SA: …the City Council gave the Leeward Coast a million dollars a year as an offset for compensation for having the landfill here, and so the $1 million given in grants to nonprofit organizations was supposed to benefit the Leeward Coast. In our performance audit of that particular program, we looked to see if those were achieving the desired results. In the typical audit we found that improvements were needed … We found that of the money that had been appropriated and granted to the nonprofits, a great amount of the money — about $400,000 — was not spent, that many of the nonprofits were not complying with the terms of the grant, and that there was inadequate internal controls to ensure that the funds were being spent for the intended service.

In looking at the Leeward Coast audit, we pointed out to the City Council that the million dollars was not being spent properly, and the City Council immediately yanked the million dollars and the next year it was not in the budget to be given to the nonprofits….

We also did the ambulance audit (in December 2011), which won a national award. There was some concern regarding how well the ambulances were achieving their programs and serving the public. In our annual citizen survey, which is a poll that we conduct every year, the ambulances rated very high as far as the residents of the City and County of Honolulu were concerned. But what we found is that, in fact, the services were being provided at great cost, a lot of overtime, so we identified the impact of relying on that overtime to keep the ambulance service at such a high level. And Dr. (James) Ireland, who happened to be the (Emergency Services) Department head, estimated that because of the work we did, he saved about a million dollars in overtime the first year….

Q: What is the status and nature of your audit on rail transit?

A: The resolution asks us to look at the expenditures for the public information staffing and the resources and the contracts. … That was started late last summer, early fall, but we had to suspend it for a few months, so we've just restarted it and, by City Charter, we are supposed to release the report by the end of the fiscal year (June 30), which we hope to do.

Q: What other audits are you working on?

A: We're also, by resolution, looking at customer service, the long lines for DMV; we're looking at real property assessments, how well they're assessing the valuation and classifying the real estate here in Hawaii; and we're also looking at contracts for waste water company Synagro and also the beach construction projects in Waikiki.

Q: Do you anticipate any other audits on rail?

A: We anticipate the City Council will probably ask us by resolution to look at rail. We do a citywide risk assessment as part of our ongoing analysis with the city and where the vulnerabilities are, and we foresee we will need to go into auditing the rail system in the future.

read … Occasional Audits

Rail cars will have 20 more seats; critic predicts low ridership

KITV: University of Hawaii civil engineering professor and longtime rail critic Panos Prevedouros believes additional seats are unnecessary. Prevedouros predicts Honolulu will experience the same type of ridership as Tren Urbano in Puerto Rico, which began service in December, 2004.

"They projected 80,000 people in the opening year, they got 25,000," Prevedouros told KITV4. "Pretty much, everything is a big guess, and rail forecasting has a tradition of being way off."

According to statistics from the Federal Transit Administration, Tren Urbano saw an average of 48,800 weekday trips in 2012, still well below the initial ridership forecast.

KITV: Transit authority adds more seats, but will they be filled?

read … Forecast

Women's prison guard indicted on sex assault, more victims alleged

KHON: A corrections officer at the Women's Community Correctional Center in windward Oahu has been indicted on four counts of alleged sex assault against an inmate.

Breiner says the woman has just been moved to the Federal Detention Center for her protection from any potential retribution following the indictment.

The Department of Public Safety told KHON2 in a statement: "The allegation is under investigation by both our internal affairs office and the Honolulu Police. The adult correction officer is currently employed with the state."

The department declined to say whether Ah Hoy is on leave, but the victim's attorney says Ah Hoy has not recently been at the women's prison.

read … Another Guard

Kalaeloa Air Traffic Control to be Spared Sequestration Cuts

HNN: The Federal Aviation Administration spared 24 federal contract towers Friday, including the tower at the Kalaeloa Airport at John Rodgers Field, from sequestration that had been previously proposed for closure because doing so would have a negative impact on the national interest. (Question: How many airplanes land at Kalaeloa in a day?)

The Federal Aviation Administration on Friday told 149 regional airports across the country it would begin closing their air traffic control towers in April, but said it would spare another 40 towers that had been on the chopping block.

This comes after the FAA decided to close 149 federal contract towers beginning April 7 as part of the agency's sequestration implementation plan.  No federal contract towers in Hawaii will be closed.

read … Kalaeloa?

Gun Violence Drops as Gun Sales Soar

HR: Hawaii firearms registrations shot up more than 70 percent in 2012, while gun violence continued a four-year decline, according to a new state Department of the Attorney report.

read … Hawaii gun permits jump record 70 percent, violence falls again

Hundreds of Honolulu property owners notified of rockfall hazards

SA: Mayor Kirk Caldwell released a report Thursday that identifies sites that pose rockfall hazards to city property, and announced that the city has warned about 1,000 private property owners whose land is at high risk of rockfall.

Link: http://www1.honolulu.gov/ddc/potentialrockfallhazards.pdf

read … Rocks

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