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Wednesday, August 14, 2013
August 14, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:01 PM :: 2255 Views

Star-Advertiser Gets it Wrong: Obama Cannot Act on ‘Sovereignty’

Senate Hearing to Consider Kahoolawe Trust Fund, State Historic Preservation

Hawaii County: Police Chief Addresses Corruption, Aloha, and Tinted Windows

Ernie Martin Still getting Campaign cash from ORI

CB: According to the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission, Susanna Cheung and her husband, Ho Ming Cheung, each gave Martin’s campaign $1,000 on May 8, 2013. His total campaign war chest is now over $262,000.

The Cheungs’ donations came one month before the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development slammed the city and Susanna Cheung’s nonprofit, ORI Anuenue Hale, Inc., for misusing federal grant money and possibly trying to buy political influence at Honolulu Hale through campaign donations.

City officials have since investigated allegations that Cheung and other ORI associates tried using campaign contributions to get favorable treatment in securing a $1.2 million loan forgiveness deal in 2010, but did not find any quid pro quo relationships.

Martin was elected to the city council in 2010, but prior to that was working in the city’s Community Services Department where he oversaw the grant and loan program from which ORI benefited.

CB: ORI Rejects Claim of Wrongdoing, Says Honolulu 'Caved' to HUD

read ... Ethically Challenged

$24 Million Difference: Did Hawaii Pay Too Much for Healthcare Software?

CB: To comply with the Affordable Care Act, the Hawaii Department of Human Services needed a new software system. So it sought bids last summer, and received two.

The agency awarded a $90 million contract to a multi-billion dollar consulting firm, KPMG, rather than a smaller company, EngagePoint, that has previously secured similar jobs in other states.

But EngagePoint's bid would have cost taxpayers $24 million less.

And not surprisingly, EngagePoint was troubled by the process, especially since the 10-person group that evaluated the two proposals initially rated them nearly even. KPMG edged out EngagePoint by just three points, 727 to 724, when they were first rated across a dozen categories in November.

But state officials say KPMG turned out to be the most qualified bidder after a re-scoring process that saw what had at first been a minor point gap widen to a large margin

LINK: Engage point dhs decision redacted

LINK: EngagePoint Protests DHS Procurement Process

read ... Obamacare in Action

U.S. Supreme Court Asked to Hear Appeal on Hawaii Reapportionment

CB: On Friday, the plaintiffs who are suing the state Office of Elections over its 2011 reapportionment plan appealed their case to the U.S. Supreme Court....

Anne Lopez, special assistant to Hawaii Attorney General David Louie, said, "The team is reviewing the writ and will make a decision with respect to how to proceed after the review has been completed."...

Thomas believes that the Supreme Court will decide this fall whether or not it will take up the case. Briefs are due before the court within 60 days. If it accepts the case, Thomas will head to Washington, D.C., early next year for oral arguments.

read ... Appeal

Legislators should beware the parties' thought police

Shapiro: After 45 years of witnessing impurities of every imaginable kind in local politics, the recent fixation in both major parties on ideological purity is mystifying.

Oahu Democrats ended a nasty internal fight — for now, anyway — by rejecting a reprimand of state Sen. Mike Gabbard for sponsoring a constitutional amendment on traditional marriage. Similar complaints against 10 other lawmakers were withdrawn.

It was wise to back away from the absurd position that Demo­cratic legislators must display 100 percent fealty to the party platform or face discipline, which would turn elected officials into rubber stamps for platform writers instead of voices for their constituents.

Instead, Oahu Demo­crats urged — not ordered — legislators to call a special session to enact same-sex marriage, a strategy far more likely to achieve the platform's goal.

A similar battle rages on the Republican side between the local GOP hierarchy and a conservative offshoot called the Hawaii Republican Assembly.

read ... Legislators should beware the parties' thought police

Don't rush Inouye center plans

SA: the process that has been unnecessarily cloaked and hurried.

The center is being proposed as a public-private partnership, involving foundation funding sources at least at the start, but support for building it will become a state budget item at some point, with a further draw likely to come from federal sources.

UH leadership has essentially shut out the public from discussion at a point when people might become engaged in the project, ultimately developing some sense of ownership. Since funding for constructing the center almost certainly will involve a donation from the public purse, openness and support are essential.

Some members of that public might have some ideas about whether ... naming an existing institution would be more appropriate.

Preliminary letters of solicitation were sent out June 3 to design firms potentially interested in the project. This suggests UH was trying to get ahead of the curve, before a new law took effect that changed the way contracts are overseen.

The Legislature passed a bill last session that arose from concern about insufficient supervision of university construction projects, after allegations of favoritism in the contracting process set off alarm bells. The oversight responsibility was shifted to the administrator of the state procurement office, effective July 1.

read ... Don't rush Inouye center plans

For Deedy Its Murder or Nothing

SA: The jury in State Department special agent Christopher Deedy's murder trial will not have the option of convicting him on the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Circuit Judge Karen Ahn said Tuesday that neither the prosecution nor the defense had asked her to instruct the jury that it could consider a manslaughter verdict....

Second-degree murder carries a mandatory life prison term with possibility of parole. The charge is defined under Hawaii law as "intentionally or knowingly" killing another person.

Manslaughter is "recklessly" causing the death of another person.

In Deedy's case, manslaughter would have carried a mandatory prison term of up to 20 years.

Deedy is also charged with a companion count of using a firearm to commit a felony, which would make him ineligible for probation if convicted.

The two charges are so intertwined that the judge and lawyers agree the jury will either convict or acquit Deedy on both counts.

read ... Deedy jurors won't be given manslaughter option

Court Spells Out Expansive View of Sunshine Law

ILind: The Hawaii Supreme Court last week articulated an expansive view of the public’s “right to know” and the open meeting requirements of the state’s Sunshine Law that should make openness advocates giddy.

It was the first time in 20 years the high court has tackled Sunshine Law questions head on, and they made up for lost time in a strong statement upholding the public’s broad right to observe and participate in government decisions of all kinds.

Link: Court Ruling

read ... Sunshine Law

Former BoE Member now at Harvard Pens Plagiarized Star-Adv Commentary

Best Comment: Plagiarism Maeshiro: "... after ushering NCLB through Congress with no public hearings, went from lawmaker to lobbyist, tapping into those billions."

Original: "After ushering NCLB through the US House of Representatives in 2001 with no public hearings, Kress went from lawmaker ... to lobbyist, tapping into those billions of dollars."

Harvard: Plagiarism Policy

read ... 'Education reform' actually a handout to corporations

Tax Credit Scammers: Hawaii is a Paradise for Startups

SA: These programs include: Energy Excelerator, Kinetiq Labs, mBloom, Nalukai Foundation, Manoa Innovation Center, Box Jelly, Aloha Startups, Startup Hawaii, HiBEAM, Entrepreneurs Foundation, Sultan Ventures, Upside Fund, Founder's Institute, and more.

(BTW -- Thanks for the target list, Chenoa.)

read ... Startups on Welfare

Castle and Cooke Links With Bio-Logical, Patten?

SA: Castle & Cooke has opposed all intervention requests except for one filed by Hawaii Interisland Cable. HIC is a joint venture between Honolulu-based Bio-Logical Capital and San Francisco-based Pattern Energy Group formed to “explore the opportunity to interconnect Hawaiian Islands via electric transmission cable systems in a responsible manner,” according to the company’s website.

read ... Hat Tipped

GM crops don't kill kids; opposing them does

TT: Ten years ago, at a meeting in Monterey, California, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the structure of DNA, I bumped into the German biologist Ingo Potrykus watching harlequin ducks in the harbour before breakfast. Shared enthusiasm for bird watching broke the ice.

I knew of him, of course. He had been on the cover of Time magazine for potentially solving one of the world’s great humanitarian challenges. Four years before, with his colleague Peter Beyer, he had added three genes to the 30,000 in rice to help to prevent vitamin A deficiency, one of the most preventable causes of morbidity and mortality in poor countries with rice-dominated diets. They had done it for nothing, persuading companies to waive their patents, so that they could give the rice seeds away free. It was a purely humanitarian impulse.

Had Ingo or I known that ten years later this rice would still not be available to the poor, that a systematic campaign of denigration against it by the behemoths of the environmental movement, especially Greenpeace, would be consuming lawyers’ fees while perhaps 20 million children had died in the meantime through vitamin A deficiency, he and I would have felt sick with horror that morning.

In the debate over genetically modified food that has bubbled since Owen Paterson (yes, he’s my brother-in-law, get over it) became the first European Agriculture Minister enthusiastically to endorse GM crops a few weeks ago, not a single British journalist or blogger to my knowledge has bothered to research the facts about golden rice, which featured so prominently in his speech. Surely, I thought, some newshound would get out to the Philippines and China and Switzerland and find out what’s actually going on. But no. Just as with fracking, it’s easier to report the controversy.

read ... GM crops don't kill kids; opposing them does

$19M City Garage Sits Empty

HNN: Honolulu's City Transportation Director Mike Formby has appealed to a top Federal Transit Administration official to allow hundreds of city employees to park in a $19 million new parking garage that is nearly empty.

The five-story structure is just a few blocks Diamond Head of City Hall on King Street, on top of the Alapai Transit Center bus facility.

At mid-morning Tuesday, Hawaii News Now found just 31 cars parked there.  That's less than ten percent of the capacity of the garage which can handle up to 410 vehicles.

read ... Government Waste

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