Oshiro: Not Sure House Would Vote for Gay Marriage
SA: House and Senate leaders have said they do not have the two-thirds' support required to call themselves back into special session, so the decision rests with Abercrombie, who aides say is waiting for a clear signal from the House about whether there are enough votes for a gay marriage bill.
Blake Oshiro, the governor's deputy chief of staff, said Abercrombie is open to calling for a special session.
"We are first looking into the particulars of a possible bill and the legal issues involved," Oshiro said in a statement. "Moreover, we are awaiting clarification from the Legislature, and particularly the House, as to whether there are sufficient votes for passage.
"But, until there is a clean draft of a bill, it is difficult to ascertain the votes because most legislators will want to know what precisely they would be voting on."
The Senate has the votes for gay marriage, while the House vote is closer.
read ... Votes Not There?
Abercrombie Flees Public Cabinet Meeting as Haoles, Hawaiians Argue over Fish
WHT: Gov. Neil Abercrombie doesn’t yet have the official version of the proposed West Hawaii Fishery Management rules package, Department of Land and Natural Resources officials said Thursday evening....
More than 100 people stayed to discuss the fisheries rules, although other department officials, including those from Transportation, Human Services and Health, were also available in small, breakout sessions. Aila attended the meeting, but left the discussion of the fishery rules to Tam....
Comments between opponents and supporters quickly turned heated. Hanalei Fergerstrom, of Na Kupuna Moku o Keawe, asked the rules’ supporters to take a broader view of the situation. Fishermen aren’t depleting the fish populations, but development, pollution and a variety of other factors are, he said. Hawaiians sustained a population of about a million people through the kapu system, he added.
“How did almost a million people survive for thousands of years here without this so-called science?” Fergerstrom asked.
Sue Kellam, co-founder of Friends of Pebble Beach, asked Fergerstrom about people who claim to practice subsistence fishing but do not.
“If someone is going in and taking 600, 800 pounds of parrot fish and selling it in Hilo, it’s no longer subsistence,” Kellam said. “It’s commercial. We need rules because a lot of people aren’t during the right thing.”
That prompted a quick, passionate response from Terri Napeahi, vice president of the Pele Defense Fund, who asked Kellam if she was accusing Hawaiians of depleting the fish populations. No, Kellam said, that’s not what she was trying to say.
“Every rule package must not ignore the rights our Hawaiian people have,” Napeahi said. “Spearfishing is one of them. As we go through years, they come up with ways. I no longer have to hold my breath two hours to go fish. Tradition means to continue to perpetuate and harvest the food we know how to take care of.”
As Napeahi became more animated, getting a rousing chorus of both yes and no from the crowd when she asked if attendees thought Hawaiians were to blame for the declining fish populations, a moderator asked her to wrap up her comments.
“I have every right as a Native Hawaiian to say what I have to say,” Napeahi said. “You are participating in changing our lifestyle and making us go to a food source that we don’t have to if we don’t have the monies.”
South Kohala resident Mel Malinowski reiterated Kellam’s point that subsistence fishing isn’t the problem. He said the bigger issue was a contingent of Oahu fishermen who lobbied against the rules before the Board of Land and Natural Resources.
“Ultimately we’re going to wind up like Oahu,” Malinowski said. “These Oahu fisherman who want this should spend their time and money to restore fishing on Oahu. Then they won’t have to come over and take our fish.”
Abercrombie left the cafeteria when the breakout sessions began and may not have heard any of the testimony and questions about the proposal. The governor offered brief opening and closing remarks, but made no comments on any issues presented to any departments during the meeting.
read ... Residents offer heated opinions on fishery rules
Survey finds that almost everyone in Hawaii identifies with one faith or another
SA: A report issued by SMS states "Nearly everyone in Hawaii (94 percent) identifies with one religion or another. Most of us tend to consider ourselves Christians of some type. Catholics make up the largest single religious group among our survey respondents with 32 percent." It continued, "Some of us (26 percent) say we belong to a religious group other than the options listed," including Muslims, Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses, among other groups. Very few survey interviewees called themselves evangelicals (2 percent) and about the same percentage said they identified with Native Hawaiian beliefs and traditions."
About three-fifths of the survey-takers identified religion as an important part of their lives. While most of the others surveyed claim a religion as their own, they "don't think it makes much difference in our everyday lives," the report states. In response to the question "How important is religion in your life?" 57 percent of those interviewed said it was either "very important" or "important." Twenty percent said religion was "unimportant" or "very unimportant" — a 3-1 ratio.
"Nearly 40 percent of us never go to church or temple," according to the survey. Nineteen percent go less than once a month, and about 41 percent go once a week or more, the report says. Also measured was how often respondents attended religious services. "Other research we have done in Hawaii suggests that religion makes a difference primarily among those who attend some sort of services at least once a week," the survey notes.....
read ... No Atheists Here
New Bill Would Order Immediate Shutdown of Papaya Farms, Fine Farmers $1000/day
CB: Big Island Rainbow papaya farmers may have to tear out their trees within 30 months, or face fines and jail time, if a bill making the rounds on the Big Island is enacted
The law, which is expected to be submitted to the Hawaii County Council by council member Brenda Ford, proposes fines of up to $1,000 per day and 30 days in jail for farmers or landowners who are growing genetically modified crops.
The bill — which bans genetically modified animals and feed, in addition to crops — is the latest volley in Hawaii's heated debate and legal battles over GMOs. The prohibition of new GMO crops would take effect immediately....
Big Island farmers have reported significant declines in sales of their papayas due to the bad publicity emanating from the debate. But this new bill would devastate the industry.
Not only would Rainbow papaya farmers not be allowed to grow their fruit, they would be required to cut down and dispose of their trees, at their own expense.
"What are the folks that have loans and stuff — what are they going to do?" asked Ha. "It's really scary."....
LINK: GMO draft bill
read ... Bill on Big Island Could Ban Rainbow Papayas
Kauai County Electric Bill $8M / year
KGI: During the conference, Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. and KIUC President and CEO David Bissell announced and signed a memorandum of understanding that “commits the utility and local government to work together toward a goal of reducing the island’s consumption of fossil fuels and lowering the cost of energy for its residents,” according to a release.
The memorandum was unanimously approved by the KIUC Board of Directors at its July 30 meeting.
“Kauai is blessed as the only island in the state to be served by a utility that is a member-owned cooperative,” Carvalho said. “We are committed to collaborating with KIUC on innovative ways to reduce our fossil fuel dependence and integrate more renewable energy on Kauai’s grid.”
In 2013, the county was KIUC’s largest customer, consuming more than 20 million kilowatt hours of electricity at a cost of more than $8 million.
By 2023, KIUC’s goal is to generate 50 percent of its power from renewable resources, which could reduce the amount of oil consumed by KIUC by about 15 million gallons per year.
read ... Kauai County Electric Bill
UH regents agenda: Fat Paychecks for Three Insiders
SA: The agenda for the board’s Thursday meeting includes the recommendation of Vassilis Syrmos as system vice president for research at an annual salary of $239,016.
Syrmos, an engineering professor and UH-Manoa’s associate vice chancellor for research, would replace longtime administrator Jim Gaines.
Attorney Cynthia Quinn is expected to be named executive administrator and secretary to the regents at a salary of $140,016. Quinn is director of professional development at Manoa’s William S. Richardson School of Law and previously was spokeswoman for the law school.
The position has been vacant since the end of 2012, when Keith Amemiya stepped down. UH General Counsel Darolyn Lendio has been serving as acting board secretary.
UH’s deputy chief information officer Steven Smith is expected to fill in as interim vice president for information technology at a salary of $225,000.
Smith would replace David Lassner, who last month was approved as interim president of the 10-campus system, effective Sept. 1.
read ... UH regents agenda includes promoting three to top positions
Shipped LNG Will Reduce Natural Gas Prices in Hawaii
PBN: Hawaii Gas is looking to bring in the state’s first shipment of liquefied natural gas, which would be utilized as a backup to its synthetic natural gas, as early as October, the Honolulu-based company said in an application to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.
The plan is part of a nearly $1 million backup enhancement project that aims to increase Hawaii Gas’ capacity for its synthetic natural gas customers by using LNG in order to lessen disruptions to its operations that may arise out of the transition of ownership of the Tesoro Hawaii Kapolei refinery.
Hawaii Gas, a subsidiary of New York-based Macquarie Infrastructure (NYSE: MIC), said in the application filed Monday that it is concerned that such disruptions may happen more frequently and/or for longer durations than in the past because of the transition of Tesoro Hawaii LLC’s Kapolei refinery to a new owner and operator, Hawaii Pacific Energy LLC, a subsidiary of Texas-based Par Petroleum. In May, Hawaii Gas withdrew an earlier application to begin bringing LNG to Hawaii.
...compared to the price of SNG, substituting LNG for SNG will result in a fuel cost savings for Hawaii Gas ratepayers when the backup enhancement project is utilized, the company said.
Where it will get LNG from and the exact cost and terms were redacted in the application, although Joe Boivin, senior vice president of external affairs for Hawaii Gas, told PBN that it will be shipped from the Mainland.
Pending PUC approval, which it hopes to get by Oct. 8, Hawaii Gas anticipates the first LNG shipment arriving on Oahu and available for its SNG backup system support by Oct. 24....
read ... Lower Prices Coming
Forgotten & Underserved: Pacific Islanders Fight for Academic Success
LBPT: For years Pacific Islanders from Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga and Guam have been misunderstood. Since it’s first use in the 1990s, the term Asian Pacific Islander has often hidden the story of Pacific Islanders’ struggle for success. Often stereotyped as a model minority under the larger umbrella category of “Asian,” Pacific Islanders are left out in national discussions about education issues.
Pacific Islanders (PI) are about half as likely as the general population to hold bachelors’ degrees and are about five times less likely than Asians to hold advanced degrees. Like some Latino and African-American communities, many in the Pacific Islander community face economic and structural barriers to academic success.
In the video above, VoiceWaves interviewed local folks who speak on the achievement gaps experienced by the PI community in Long Beach.
read ... In California
Hawaii Medical Service Association Operating loss $21M
PBN: HMSA said it offset an operating loss of $21 million during the quarter with investment income of $15.4 million, a federal tax benefit, and about $2.3 million from the insurer's reserves. HMSA said it had 719,977 members at the end of the quarter, and $442.11 million in reserve.
read ... HMSA
All society suffers with lack of resources for mentally ill
SA: Far too many of our mentally ill, particularly those with concurrent substance abuse, are caught in an endless cycle of incarceration, homelessness and emergency medical care. According to a recent article in the Economist, Lamp Community, a nonprofit organization working for the mentally ill in Los Angeles, calculates that those caught in this cycle can cost society $100,000 per year.
In a recent meeting I had with the Straub Emergency Department, physicians expressed concern over the growing trend of mentally ill homeless people being brought to the ER for treatment....
Their numbers are great. According to Bernard Harcourt, until the 1960s, hospitalized mental health patients outnumbered prison inmates in the United States by approximately 5-to-1. Today it is the inverse. The shift occurred in the 1960s, when the Kennedy administration shifted a great deal of the responsibility to care for the mentally ill to the community but the promised community resources never fully materialized. I recall my father, as a young psychiatrist, giving lectures about the problem. Later, he served at the Napa State Hospital, and as a medical student I spent some time with him seeing patients. Those few who were deemed sick enough to remain there for the long term were unspeakably, unimaginably ill.
Hawaii is no different. The vast majority of mentally ill patients referred to inpatient mental health facilities are discharged within days, regardless of their severity, if they are not considered an active danger to self or others. As a primary care physician in Hawaii for more than 20 years, I have referred many patients to these facilities and been amazed at how quickly they are again discharged, often without a solid plan for follow-up despite severe, ongoing mental illness and inability to care for themselves.
I recall one patient who I referred to an inpatient facility on Oahu. He was discharged two days later and made a suicide attempt the following week. Only after the suicide attempt did I receive a call from the psychiatrist saying that he had been discharged. It was too late....
Enhanced incentives to solve this problem are now afoot. The Hawaii medical community is now forming between two and five competing accountable care organizations of community providers, specialists and hospitals that will pool their patients into an at-risk population and, in theory, earn incentives for improved clinical outcomes. Never before has the risk been so fully shifted to the providers for patients who live at the fringe of society. Inappropriate emergency visits and hospital readmissions will now need to be tackled head-on. A great deal of this work will involve finding sustainable solutions for the mentally ill, particularly those with the dual diagnosis of substance abuse.
Related: Mental Health Top Cause of Hawaii Hospital Admissions
read ... All society suffers with lack of resources for mentally ill
Bums Quickly Acquiring New Junk to Put on Sidewalks
HNN: In April, the city's sidewalk nuisance law was passed unanimously by the City Council with the promise of getting homeless campers into shelters. However, a month and a half after enforcement of Bill 7 began July 1, there's little progress at some of the more prominent hotspots for those down on their luck.
A check Friday of Aala Park, Pawa'a In-Ha Park, Kakaako Waterfront Park and Thomas Square showed campers still using sidewalks with little fear city crews would pay a visit anytime soon to clear away belongings....
“As soon as they will clean it, half of them will go right back inside," Louie said of homeless campers. “During small kid time, Aala Park was for families flying kites and playing baseball, now people are afraid to go inside there.”
“While we would like to see more frequent enforcement, the reality of the situation is we have a huge need, and limited resources to meet that need,” said Anderson. "I wouldn't say that we're wasting taxpayer dollars. If the best we could do is every eight days, that's the best we could do at this particular point.”
Louie says the homeless situation in greater Honolulu could also be having an impact on tourism, by far Hawaii's No. 1 industry. He says Chinese visitors have questioned him about the cluttered sidewalks in and around Chinatown.
“They say, ‘Oh, don’t go to Hawaii, too many homeless and it smells,” said Louie....
read ... Homelessness Industry Talks up Surrender
New Language to Help Homeless Stay on the Streets and Avoid Shelters
PBN: The nonprofit Hawaii Open Data has teamed up with the Institute for Human Services, the Interagency Council on the Homeless and the Hawaii Community Development Authority to organize Hawaii’s first IconLocal event this weekend...
IconLocal is a community design workshop supported by The Noun Project, a worldwide movement to build a unified language through visual symbols. IconLocal events across the country have targeted a variety of topics such as energy and agriculture to human rights. Burt Lum, co-founder and executive director of Hawaii Open Data, said Hawaii’s IconLocal event will work to create a universal language for the homeless....
Background: Gov. Neil Abercrombie signs Hawaii’s Open Data Bill into Law
read ... Waste of Time and Money
Maui Council Prepares Campaign Smears for Mayoral Race
MN: The deliberations by the Maui County Council about how to proceed with the investigation of the demolition of the Old Wailuku Post Office were conducted Wednesday almost entirely behind closed doors.
Their actions may have been in accord with the letter of the Sunshine Law, but it certainly violated the spirit of the state statute. Two actions were announced within minutes of going into public session, so the average citizen had no chance to see or hear the deliberations that led to those actions.
The two actions were to:
* Ask county Auditor Lance Taguchi to conduct an audit of administrative departments including the Mayor's Office.
* Remove the Department of the Corporation Counsel from the investigation so that the council can get legal advice from that department.
read ... How about a little sunshine?
JPAC Trolling Punchbowl in Search for Justification of Continuing Mission
SA: The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) wants permission from the Army to exhume all of the Dec. 7, 1941, casualties of the USS Oklahoma buried as "unknowns" at Punchbowl cemetery.
Being able to sort through these remains of more than 330 crew members would, frankly, help the embattled JPAC reach its congressionally mandated yearly ID quota.
But, the Navy is rightly against it, saying the process would take the unknown sailors and Marines "outside the sanctity of the grave." Also, it rightly notes that DNA testing and accounting could take years and still leave some unidentified.
Further, the Navy wants to take the partial and commingled remains of more than 100 — who were unearthed in 2003 from a Punchbowl casket — and reinter them next year at a grave site to be created on Ford Island.
JPAC should leave those already resting on American soil to rest in peace. Instead, it should be putting its priority on bringing home those who died on foreign battlefields.
read ... JPAC's Body Count Strategy