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Thursday, September 05, 2013
September 5, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:57 PM :: 4125 Views

Planned Parenthood Uses Tax Dollars From Obamacare to Push Sex Ed on Hawaii Kids

Audit Critical of OHA Land and Grant Oversight

Feds unseal complaint against man accused of threatening to decapitate congresswoman

Makana Sued by Manager: “Arrogant, Obnoxious, New Age Pontificator”

Where Americans Want to Live: Hawaii #2 State, Honolulu #5 City

Eight Years of InverseCondemnation

"Let's Film All The Lawyers"– Hawaii’s Second Law Film Festival

Interior Secretary: Akaka Tribe Should go Thru Congress

SA: Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Wednesday the Obama administration is exploring possible administrative options for pursuing federal recognition of Native Hawaiians. But she stopped short of saying the president supports going that route if it's doable.

"It would be preferable to go through the process congressionally because that's a clear path forward," Jewell said after an address to the 12th annual Native Hawaiian Convention. "Other paths forward are less clear, and that's what we are assessing." ...

With the chances of passing such a measure still slim, Obama has been asked by some Native Hawaiian leaders and Hawaii's congressional delegation to consider pursuing recognition through executive-branch action....

But Jewell told the Star-Advertiser that legal factors make that path "trickier" and "somewhat complicated" for Hawaiians, who are excluded from some federal regulations that apply to other Native Americans.

"That's just something that needs to be understood and worked through," she added, acknowledging that she wasn't sure what the possible administrative options for Native Hawaiians are.

Jewell used her roughly 15-minute address to the convention to reiterate the Obama administration's support for Native Hawaiian recognition and to address calls for greater oversight of the federally created land trust for Native Hawaiian beneficiaries....

During a brief interview after his speech, Schatz said Obama did not commit to the Hawaii delegation to pursue recognition administratively, but "he is taking it seriously."  (Translation: He didn't laugh me out of the room, so I have felt free to hype this non-existent possibility for several months now.)

read ... The path to legislative approval still should go through Congress

Hawaii House Democrats to caucus on gay marriage Tomorrow

AP: A House spokeswoman said Thursday the meeting is scheduled for Friday morning at the state Capitol.

The meeting comes more than a week after Abercrombie publicly released an 18-page draft of legislation that would allow marriage licenses to be issued starting Oct. 3 and ceremonies to begin Nov. 1.

Also Thursday, several dozen Hawaii businesses endorsed the legislation, including Waikiki hotel operator Aqua Resorts and several wedding-related businesses.

Related: OHA Chair Colette Machado Joins Rally Against Gay Marriage Special Session

read ... Caucus

UPW, ILWU, Others endorse Hanabusa for Senate

KHON:  U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa received the endorsements of the Hawaii Laborers Union, Local 368, United Public Workers AFSCME Local 646, Hawaii Masons Union, Local #1 and Local #630, the Hawaii Sheet Metal Workers Union, Local 293, and the ILWU Hawaii Longshore Division -Statewide, in her race for the United States Senate.

read ... Old Boy Holdouts

Rail project needs $27.1M for safety gates at stations

SA: Today board members overseeing Honolulu’s rail project will consider approving an additional $27.1 million to add safety gates at the 21 stations along the route.

Called platform screen gates, they would help prevent passengers from falling onto the tracks.

However, the safety feature was not budgeted for Oahu’s planned elevated rail system.

Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Executive Director Dan Graba­u­skas first addressed the oversight in April

read ... Ooops, they forgot something

MECO Greases Wind Farm Payments, Saves Ratepayers $2/mo

CB: Thanks to a few operational changes, Maui Electric says it is now using 91 percent of the Valley Isle’s available wind energy.

The nearly 20 percent improvement is expected to trim $22 annually off a typical Maui home’s electric bill, MECO said Wednesday.

The company expects to push it up to 98 percent — another $7 to $10 in savings — with additional changes over the next several years.

MECO detailed the changes Tuesday in a roughly 64-page report to the Public Utilities Commission, which has been pushing the company to quit wasting so much wind energy.

The utility told the PUC that it also wants to reexamine the energy prices in certain power-purchase agreements in light of the changes in the amount of curtailment.

read ... Curtailment

Youth prison: $200K per inmate, $1.5M electric bill

HNN: On any given day kids in state custody at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility can number up to 75. On Wednesday it was 57 -- 36 in house and 21 on parole.

"The population drives our costs up. We have medical needs. Kids have dental needs, prescription needs," HYCF executive director David Hipp said.

Those costs aren't covered by Medicaid, so the state pays the medical expense. Add in personnel costs, food, shelter and education and the total bill per youth per year is about $200,000....

The Department of Human Services is part of the Juvenile Justice Working Group that's coming up with suggestions to lower cost and reduce the number of kids in the corrections system.

"I believe it could certainly be brought down to less than 50. For our state that would be fabulous," said Sen. Will Espero, chairman of the Senate's Public Safety Committee.

"We would like to only house probably 30 of the kids we feel really are a risk to public safety," Hipp said.

He said closing two of three buildings would slash the $500,000 a-year utility bill, and intervening early could prevent many youths from ever getting to the point of youth prison.

read ... Counting the cost of youth prison

Schizophrenic on the Street instead of in the Asylum, 2 Dead

SA: A 48-year-old homeless man who was accused of fatally stabbing another homeless man at a Kailua park, died at Oahu Community Correctional Center.

The Medical Examiner's Office said Brian Kim, 48, died Saturday from asphyxia due to hanging and his manner of death is suicide.

Kim suffered from paranoid schizophrenia....

read ... Stabbing suspect commits suicide in prison

How Come So Many Teachers Bail on Hawaii's Public Schools?

CB: Doug Robertson taught in a Waipahu elementary school for six years before realizing that a life with three roommates, a dilapidated pickup truck and nightly ramen dinners wasn't conducive to settling down for the long-term.

Being “punk-rock poor,” as he calls it, was manageable when he was young and single, but that started to change when he met a former special education teacher who became his wife. The couple had their first baby during the 2012-13 school year. Not long after that they did what so many other teachers have done before them: they left Hawaii.

At the Oregon public school where he got hired, his salary is $5,000 more per year than it was in the islands — and it goes a lot further. For one, the family's rent of $650 is just over half what they paid here, $1,150. They even managed to buy a brand-new car. And unlike in Hawaii, Robertson's wife can afford to be a stay-at-home mom.

(Teachers unions are good at blocking reform but bad at winning pay hikes.)

read ... Because HSTA Fails

Star-Adv Pushes Audit to Save Water Board from Council Takeover

SA: As proposed by City Councilman Ron Menor, city Auditor Edwin Young would delve into billing problems that have been plaguing the water agency, a situation that spiked in spring. The audit should put on hold a second, more drastic measure: that a proposed City Charter amendment be placed on the 2014 ballot for voters to give the City Council final approval of the board's operating and capital improvement budgets.

Ernest Lau, the water board's manager and chief engineer since February 2012, has acknowledged the spate of water billing problems and welcomes the proposed audit.

Among the issues ripe for audit: the board's practice of estimated billing in a monthly system, a doubling of service fees for ratepayers, and the recalculation of estimated bills that resulted in massive confusion for customers.

read ... Audit needed to fix problems at water board

Councilman proposes changes to affordable housing rules

HNN: For many owning a home in Hawaii is a goal, but it's not necessarily attainable. Today a city councilmember introduced his plans to change the affordable housing rules.

Overlooking Honolulu it seems like there is plenty of places to live. But the estimate is 2,900 units a year would have to be built to meet the demand for low to moderate income households....

Councilmember Menor hopes to help people like them by changing the rules on affordable housing. His plan would force developers to increase the number of affordable units built and require developers to have affordable rentals. And they would have to stay affordable for 30 years rather than just 10.

"If the developer wants to meet city requirements then they need to deliver and build truly affordable homes say in the $300,000 price range, and not these $700,000 homes," said Menor.

He says the problem is affordable housing now isn't really affordable because a developer can sell a home between $600,000 and $700,000 and still be considered affordable.

read ... Councilman proposes changes to affordable housing rules

Honolulu Ethics Spat Continues After Awkward Back-and-Forth

CB: ...Seems these criticisms didn’t sit too well with Totto, and he asked her to retract some of her statements about the Ethics Commission, particularly those related to her not receiving due process.

Turns out Kobayashi listened, and in an odd move Tuesday she issued a new press release and letter that removed certain phrases from the original documents.

Here’s what she removed from one of her letters:

As members of the Council, we are regularly tasked with making decisions on numerous and various issues. This is in turn requires us to file disclosure statements more frequently than other City officials or employees. With this being the reality, a fair method of due process should be given to all members. The Ethics Commission’s ignoring of my request for a hearing only deprives me of such due process.

Still, Totto wasn’t completely pleased. In an emailed statement to Civil Beat he said that despite the recanting, Kobayashi repeated the “inaccuracies” about due process that were included in her previous comments.

Specifically, he took issue with her saying the Ethics Commission continued its investigation into her actions after she agreed to pay the $500 fine and that the Commission refused to give her a hearing on the matter even though the case had been resolved.

read ... Honolulu Ethics Spat Continues After Awkward Back-and-Forth

91% of Homes go for Tankless Water Heaters

SO: The mandate for solar water heating on new homes through Act 204 came into effect on January 1st, 2013. The act allows for exceptions to install tankless gas water heaters or wind generators, which accounts for the 25% of new homes in 2012 that did not incorporate solar water heating.
91-97% of these homes apply for tankless water heaters each year, which in Hawaii use by-products of oil refining due to the absence of natural gas extraction. IISS argues that through this exemption, the state's dependence upon petroleum is perpetuated.

MN: MECO now using 91 percent of wind power

read ... Death of a Subsidized System

Move afoot to remove former Hawaii PUC Chairman Caliboso's law firm from Lanai wind farm case

PUC: Just two weeks after former Hawaii Public Utilities Commission Chairman and Honolulu attorney Carlito Caliboso recused himself from working on Castle & Cooke Inc.'s proposed 200-megawatt Lanai wind farm project, there’s now an effort to remove his entire law firm from the case,according to a filing with the PUC.

Castle & Cooke has already fired back against proposed intervenors Kaulana Kahoohalahala and Matthew Mano’s motion to disqualify the Law Firm of Yamamoto Caliboso LLC from representing Castle & Cooke in this docket, saying that its request should be denied.

The Lanai-based community group Friends of Lanai also has filed a motion to disqualify the Honolulu firm.

read ... Move afoot to remove former Hawaii PUC Chairman Caliboso's law firm from Lanai wind farm case

Apocalyptic Talk at Big Island GMO Ban Debate

CB: Extreme critics of GMOs insisted that such crops and foods might cause cancer, birth deformities, tumors, sterility and could lead to the widespread devastation of farming and health.

One woman suggested that GMOs could be as bad as a nuclear disaster for the planet.

Another resident warned that if he ever accidentally eats genetically modified food and dies from it, he will somehow hold the county council liable.

On the sidelines of a parade of two-minute talks by members of the public, there was even an argument between a widely respected retired scientist and the founder of an organization involved in dolphin-assisted human births....

As testimony dragged on, a row of papaya farmers sitting outside the hearing room looked increasingly concerned.

The debate was wide-ranging, pitting science against fears about the ostensible dangers of manipulating nature. A number of federal agencies, including the American Medical Association and the Food and Drug Administration, have said that there is no scientific evidence showing that approved GMOs harm human health. Last year, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, released a statement saying that there is no intrinsic difference between consuming genetically altered crops and crops tweaked by conventional crop improvement methods.

Many Americans regularly eat GMO foods. After all, 90 percent of corn and 95 percent of soy grown in the U.S. is genetically modified. In other words, GMO foods are already present on grocery shelves and in many processed foods.

read ... Lunatics Rave

Zero Evidence but Salon Claims 'Cancer Cluster' in Hawaii

S: As a suspected cancer cluster invades Hawaii, (really where?) residents are torn between GMO jobs and the health of the people....

Dust that according to anecdotal (rhetoric from the anti's = 'anecdotal') evidence may (or may not) be turning the enclave known as Lower Waimea into a sick ward, where asthma, severe skin rashes and nose bleeds, allergies and migraines are rampant  (sez who?), and where area residents (screaming activists) claim there are 37 cancer cases in a neighborhood of just 800 people; an alarming statistic that, if it holds up under scrutiny, (it won't) is over 10 times the cancer rate statewide.  (Of course there is no 'statistic' to scrutinize.  This paragraph is a perfect example of how chemophobic activist rhetoric gets sanitized by agenda-driven journos.)

read ... Some Chemophobe Nonsense

HuffPost Hawaii only adds to the world’s distorted view of Paradise

PBN: ...well-meaning but uninformed, is alive and well in a website launched Wednesday by the founders of The Huffington Post and eBay.

HuffPost Hawaii’s intentions are well-meaning — Arianna Huffington writes that the site is “not here to romanticize Hawaiian life.”

But the home page screams “ALOHA!” along with the clichéd photo of a hula dancer and sunset on a beach, followed by the headline “5 Hawaiian Words To Live By.”... where Civil Beat strives to be a kamaaina voice among the local media, HuffPost Hawaii appears to be a tourist, and a naive one at that....

What can HuffPost Hawaii possibly add to the community, or the civil discourse that Civil Beat strives to create, other than present a distorted window on the Islands to the world, as seen through the eyes of people who live on another island 5,000 miles away....

...just as NBC’s Today show splashing the usual clichés across the morning television screen demeaned efforts by the local business community to get the world to take Hawaii seriously as a place to do business, so do other media outlets that reinforce stereotypes....

read ... Some Wisdom

Hokulia Solvent Again so Developers Accused of Violating Preservation Rules

HTH: SHPD followed its initial May visit with another site visit in June. During that visit, Donham observed historic properties that had not been included on any maps. A majority of those sites were agricultural in nature, she wrote.

“Many of these sites were directly impacted by the land clearing activities; the rocks that comprise these features display recent scarring from the steel tracks of the excavator, and from the mechanical flair attachment,” Donham wrote.

Iwi are being stored in a trailer, and have been for years, despite plans for reinterment, the letter said. Another set of remains, discovered in a pile of dirt, remains in that pile, covered only by a tarp.

Donham acknowledged that some of the problems predated the development’s current leadership. Hokulia underwent several changes of ownership because of financial problems, and is currently in bankruptcy. Investment firm Sun Kona LLC announced last month it had submitted a reorganization plan to revive the development.

“SHPD realizes that much of the delay in resolving the aforementioned historic preservation issues is the result of the effective shut down of Hokulia’s project activities during the economic recession, which is a factor beyond your control,” Donham wrote. “However, SHPD is disappointed that Hokulia has chosen to start up project operations on a path of noncompliance rather than resolving the outstanding issues prior to moving forward.”

Reality: How A&B Wins Big From Environmental Litigation

read ... Shakedown

Waianae residents in uproar over dump

HNN: The head of the Hawaii Kai association that's dumping tons of sludge in a Waianae neighborhood says there nothing unsafe in the materials and lashed out at residents who oppose the dumping.

"They're saying that out of total ignorance of course. If they were aware of what that material was, the would say please let me have more of it," said Robert Clark, president of the Hawaii Kai Marina Community Association.

"This came from the mountains. It came from a natural location that is naturally formed. It doesn't have anything in it."

But local environmental activist Carroll Cox said there's no guaranty that the sludge does not contain oils, grease and pesticides because the trucking company did not file an appropriate stockpiling plan with the city....

The dredging project, the first since 1995, involves the removal of about 55,000 cubic yards of material to deepen the Hawaii Kai waterway and make it safe for boating.

read ... Waianae residents in uproar over dump

QUICK HITS:

  • Call for transparency around Solomons Government trips
  • Where is Rosacea Worst? Not in Hawaii
  • Mesa Air Group promotes Pappaioanou to president of Hawaii interisland airline go!
  • Scientists develop method of estimating fish movements underwater
  • AT&T, The Nature Conservancy team up to ‘Skip the Bag’
  • Penalties for Purse Seine Fishing Violations Total More Than $1.5 Million
  • City to discontinue pay-by-phone at 'smart' parking meters
  • Fisheries enforcement unit cites Maui violators
  • The Neighborhood Board should leave Eat the Street Alone
  • Let’s listen to ‘The Untold Story’
  • Zoning change sought for industrial park work

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