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Monday, February 24, 2014
February 24, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:36 PM :: 2781 Views

CD1 Poll: Good News for Charles Djou

Poll: Ige-Abercrombie Tied at 37% Each

1000 Friends: Stop residential development adjacent to Kakaako Waterfront Park

SB2938: Online Gun Registration to be Heard Feb 25

Alec Baldwin Flees to Hawaii Seeking Transsexual Dry Cleaning?

Abercrombie's Big Cable Designed by Dick Cheney's 'Energy Cabal'

IM: NextEra has a solution.

Use federal power to ram the lines through states and regions even if they are in opposition. Use the weight of the federal government to override the public.

The Energy Policy Act (2005) has a provision that authorizes the FERC to fast-track permitting where a state has withheld approval for more than one year. Entities such as NextEra were dissatisfied that the he so-called “backstop authority” hasn’t been as effective as was hoped for.

Joseph (“Joe”) Timothy Kelliher was a member of Vice President Dick Cheney’s energy cabal. Cheney spearheaded the drive to get Kelliher appointed to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) where he served for six years including four as Chair (2005-09).

The Revolving Door

In 2009 Joe Kelliher left FERC and was immediately hired as NextEra’s Executive Vice President for Federal Regulatory Affairs.

NextEra Energy drew up a plan to strengthen the fast-track federal transmission line permitting process. The Obama administration, the National Resources Defense Council and many energy developers embraced the plan.

read ... When Grassroots Democracy Gets In the Way

Abercrombie Heckles Governor Jindal at White House

AP: (edited to enhance accuracy) The nation's governors emerged from a meeting with President Barack Obama on Monday claiming harmony, only to immediately break into an on-camera partisan feud in front of the West Wing.

Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal (pointed out that) if Obama were serious about growing the economy he would approve the Keystone XL pipeline project and take other executive actions.... Hawaii Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie began audibly mumbling to others around him even as Jindal was speaking....

Jindal did not the back down.  "If that's the most partisan thing he's heard all weekend, I want to make sure he hears a more partisan statement," the Louisiana governor responded. "I think we can grow the economy more if we would delay more of these Obamacare mandates."....

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, a Republican who chairs the National Governors Association and supports Keystone, earlier said she asked Obama when the administration would decide whether to allow it and he told her there would be an answer in the next couple months.

The XL Pipeline would reduce oil prices which is a problem for Neil because ... Hawaii's High Energy Costs Drive Push for 'Clean' Energy (and the campaign contributions it engenders)

read ... Abercrombie at the White House

The Usual Nuts Launch GMO Ban Ballot Initiative in Maui County

MN:  Five Maui County residents are looking to gather at least 8,500 signatures for a ballot initiative that would force genetically engineered food growers, such as Monsanto, to "prove that their crops are safe," supporters said....  (Already done that.  This is a GMO ban.)

(Professional protesters) Lorrin Pang, Mark Sheehan, Lei'ohu Ryder, Alika Atay and Bonnie Marsh are behind the effort. The nonprofit Sustainable Hawaiian Agriculture for the Keiki and the Aina, or SHAKA Movement, supported the initiative....

This would be a big drama for (farmers and companies) to continue growing (genetically engineered foods) if this goes into affect," SHAKA member Netra Halperin said Thursday....

Those behind the initiative now have to obtain 8,500 signatures, or 20 percent of the voters in the last mayoral election, and turn them in to the county clerk's office within the next 60 days to keep the process moving. After the clerk's office has verified the required number of signatures, the initiative is submitted to the County Council for approval....

Carol Reimann, community and government affairs manager for Monsanto on Maui, said that she has not seen the specific language of the initiative but believes its "underlying premise" accuses biotech crops of "damaging people's health or the environment."

"That is simply untrue," Reimann said in an email Friday. "The fact is, foods developed through biotechnology are the most well tested and highly regulated foods in history, and there is broad scientific consensus that biotech crops are as safe as any other kind of agricultural crop. In the U.S., biotech crops are regulated by as many as three federal agencies responsible for overseeing the health and safety of people and the environment: the Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency. All of the biotech crops that Monsanto grows in Hawaii have been reviewed and approved in advance for outdoor planting."

Reality: Deconstructing Don Huber – A Tale of Two Talks

Who They Are: Netra Halperin: Molester’s Former Underling Running for House, Demands Censorship

read ... Big Drama

$48M Given to 18,000 in Hawaii Welfare Overpayments

KHON: ...the state is still trying to recover tens of millions in welfare overpayments from 18,000 debtors. Last year when Always Investigating revealed that $48 million unfair welfare balance, Rep. John Mizuno readied two bills for this session (HB1891 and HB1892). They’re already shelved.

($48M /18,000 = $2,666.67 each)

One would have helped fully staff the investigations unit to bust the frauds; the other, to speed up the pace of payment recovery.

“Both are dead at this moment,” Mizuno said. “It doesn’t preclude us from putting in a line item for more positions for the investigations office at the DHS to help recover the outstanding overpayment… It’s not over yet.”

DHS itself has asked for one more investigator position in this session’s budget bill, and they’re recruiting for four vacant investigative office positions.

As for that second bill pushing for a faster pace of repayment once caught, “when it’s between $40 million and $50 million of taxpayers’ money, we need to maximize recovery,” Mizuno said.

read ... $50M Giveaway

4,200 Mentally Ill Children in Hawaii With no Treatment Facility

SA: ...Of the 7,000 children statewide who go through the Family Court system for breaking the law each year, roughly 60 percent — or 4,200 — suffer some form of mental illness, the state Judiciary reports.

The Roosevelt shooting on Jan. 28 raised numerous questions about the schools, police, the Health Department and the courts and their roles in addressing the needs of students with mental health problems and whether the "system" is failing them....

Dr. Dan Ulrich, medical director for the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division, said the department is looking for ways in which it can improve and to fill gaps. One area on which the department is focusing is to provide a secure treatment facility for mentally ill children, he said....

Related: Mental Health Top Cause of Hawaii Hospital Admissions

read ... 4200 Mentally Ill With No Treatment Facility

Agencies Struggle With Pilot Program for 10 Mentally Ill Children

SA: Teens with multiple problems can get lost in the shuffle and wind up in institutions, partly because confidentiality rules prevent agencies from sharing information and parents are often left out of the loop.

A pilot program known as Wrap Hawaii is trying to change that by getting agencies to collaborate and tailor services to the needs of each high-risk child, with the active engagement of families. So far, the approach shows promise, although there have been setbacks, as expected given the 10 tough cases selected.

"When we started this pilot, we agreed we would take very difficult youth," said Susan Chandler, director of the Public Policy Center at the University of Hawaii's College of Social Sciences. "They are multisystem kids, who are in the child welfare system or have been in detention home or some kind of court jurisdiction and have behavioral health problems."

She added, "Mostly these are kids who are at very high risk of going into some kind of institution, or they are coming out of some kind of institution. We wanted very much to build a more community-based response with the family."

Ten youths age 13 to 17 enrolled in Wrap between November 2012 and March 2013.

As of last week, eight had been reunified with their families, and another teen was in a foster home. One was back at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility but is still an active Wrap case.

Related: Mental Health: Can Reform Solve Hawaii’s Homeless, Prison and Unfunded Liability Problems?

read ... 10 of 4,200

Troubled youths may get chance at treatment

SA: Lawmakers are pushing for early intervention to prevent teen violence and imprisonment....

Deputy Chief Judge R. Mark Brow­ning, who oversees Family Court, told legislators he had recently reviewed cases of 25 youths sent to the correctional facility and found a pattern of missed chances.

"Each one of these individual children came into the system when they were 12, 13 or 14 years old, with minor offenses, and there were a number of different red flags and problems identified by our probation officers," he said. "Eventually their behavior escalated, they all became public-safety threats and they had to be locked up. If we had access to services, if we had the tools when they were 12, 13, 14 years old, we could have saved those kids."

House Bill 2489 would appropriate funds — as yet unspecified — to Family Court and the Office of Youth Services for substance abuse and mental health treatment programs shown to be effective in reducing delinquency. Future savings from reducing the number of teens confined at the Youth Correctional Facility would be redirected to treatment programs.

House Bill 2490 requires a "risk and needs assessment" for youths and referrals for possible treatment. It allows Family Court to divert "status offenders," such as truants, from the justice system, and monitor youths administratively. Before sending youths with minor, nonviolent offenses to the correctional facility, the court would have to specify what risk they pose to public safety. Probation officers would be empowered to levy swift, consistent sanctions, as well as rewards for behavior changes.

A third bill to fund treatment for teens through the Office of Youth Services was approved by the Finance Committee on Friday.

The bills follow the recommendations of the Juvenile Justice Working Group, convened by the governor, chief justice and leaders of the House and Senate last year. The group pulled together 20 stakeholders from government, the courts, law enforcement, prosecution and service providers, and issued its report in December.

The Roosevelt case was top of mind at a public hearing on both bills....

Background: Roosevelt HS Shooting: Failure of Mental Health Care System

read ... Treatment

Haunted, Court Psychiatrist Retires After 22 Years

KGI: he courts’ psychiatrist is retiring after 22 years of service with the state Department of Health....

“Over the last year or so, I find I am less able to turn it off and it invades my dream life,” he said. “I read the grueling police reports and it is haunting. I said, ‘Enough ... I have got to get out now.’”

Chronic substance abuse is common among people with mental health issues, Gitter said. The effects of an addiction, such as hallucinations or delusions, can mimic a psychiatric disease or disorder. If the symptoms persist after sobriety, it may be a dual diagnosis.

Chronic alcohol abuse and depression go hand in hand, he said. Illicit drug use and abuse of prescription medications also mask disorders.

Physical, emotional or sexual abuse can also predispose a person to becoming mentally ill, Gitter added. Homelessness is another contributing factor.

“There is a lack of social support over on Kauai,” he said. “I saw a lot of folks who are in trouble with the law. They came to be in paradise and with no social support whatsoever, it becomes easier to start engaging in criminal activities when there are no resources and so they start stealing.”...

“The work load was incredibly high,” he said. “With no one appointed to replace me yet, the client load for the other examiners is snowballing and the judiciary needs to talk to HDH at some point to see about more examiners.”

SA: Man arrested in Manoa harassment case

read ... ‘It is haunting’

Hanohano Censure among items on lawmakers’ agenda

AP: Here are five other things to watch for this week at the statehouse:

SMOKING AND SOLAR: Grab seats early to the Senate Ways and Means Committee hearing on Wednesday morning. Several of the most contentious bills of the session so far will be up, including measures to jack up taxes on electronic smoking devices and to ban flavored tobacco products. Another bill would compel a public utility meeting on updating the electric grid to better incorporate home-generated solar power. These bills attracted large, passionate crowds to earlier committee hearings.

INDUSTRIAL HEMP: The University of Hawaii would undertake a two-year research project on industrial hemp under a Senate bill (SB 2175) in committee on Tuesday. The aim would be to use the fast-growing plant to improve soil made toxic by agricultural chemicals.

HEALTH CONNECTOR: Stakeholders will offer recommendations on the fate of the Hawaii Health Connector in an informational session Wednesday. Relevant state agencies, insurers and other advocates are all slated to attend.

MANDATORY KINDERGARTEN: A House bill (HB 14) to make kindergarten mandatory for 5-year-olds in Hawaii comes before the House Finance Committee.

STATE MICROBE: Seemingly picayune, but unexpectedly poetic, is the effort to enshrine a state microbe via SB 3124, which goes before the Senate Technology Committee on Tuesday.

read ... Hanohano

SB2426: Streamline HTA Marketing Plan

CB: Senate Tourism Committee Chairman Gil Kahele is pushing Senate Bill 2426 which would require the agency to streamline its marketing plan into a single document that includes information about the agency's promotional efforts, programs and strategic goals.

The bill also imposes stricter reporting requirements on the tourism agency to make it more transparent about its progress toward achieving its objectives.

Kahele said he introduced SB 2426 in response to a highly critical audit of the Hawaii Tourism Authority released last December....

Rep. Tom 'Sledgehammer' Brower, who leads the House Tourism Committee, said that overall, he’s happy with HTA’s work and McCartney’s leadership but thinks that reforming the agency will help taxpayers discover more of "what we’re getting for our money.” (Like broken shopping carts?)

“HTA is so large and it has its fingers in so many different bowls it’s hard to keep track of everything,” he said. 

read ... SB2426

Abercrombie Wants $132K for Travel, Buyouts, Membership Fee

CB: Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie is requesting $132,000 in emergency appropriations from the Legislature.

Most of it will be used to cover vacation buyouts for staff members and the governor's upcoming trip to Washington, D.C. for a climate change conference. But nearly half of it — $60,700 — would pay for Abercrombie's annual membership fee to the National Governors Association.

The state House already approved the request by passing House Bill 2281 earlier this month. The Senate Ways and Means Committee passed the bill on Wednesday, but it still has to go through the full Senate.

Related: Blake Oshiro Charges 'Health Spa' expenses to taxpayers

read ... Abercrombie worth $132K?

Hawaii's Pricey Claims Settlements Include Paying Out $30K for Sun's Glare

CB: An employee of the Department of Land and Natural Resources was turning his vehicle and didn't see a man in the crosswalk because “his vision was momentarily blocked by the early morning sunlight shining in his eyes,” according to the Attorney General’s office. A $30,000 settlement agreement was reached in the case.

It is one of nine claims — together totaling $683,650 — that the AG has submitted so far this year to the Legislature, which must give final approval.

The number of claims typically grows throughout the legislative session, so the final cash tally is likely to be higher by the time lawmakers adjourn in May.

Senate Bill 2246, the legislation that lawmakers use to approve the money, cleared the Judiciary and Labor Committee earlier this month after an amendment that added two more claims. The bill is headed to the Ways and Means Committee next.

read ... Pricey

Mollway: Raising the state ethics bar?

Mollway: ...there is a widely held but erroneous belief that the commission can stop any and all apparently ethically inappropriate conduct, and any and all apparently inappropriate lobbying at the Legislature.  However, this is not how things work in Hawaii....

Reality: SB893, the Marvin Dang Bill: Mollway Demands Kondo’s Head

read ... Mollway?  Really?

Maui Farms Fined for Violating Minimum Wage

MN: Investigators found that 57 field laborers working on Escobedo Farm, Otani Farms and F.E. Traje Farm were not paid the federal minimum wage of at least $7.25 per hour, according to Terence Trotter, director of the Wage and Hour Division's Honolulu District Office.

read ... Minimum Wage

Hagel to propose big cuts in Army in 2015 budget

HNN: Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel is recommending shrinking the Army to its smallest size since the buildup to U.S. involvement in World War II in an effort to balance postwar defense needs with budget realities (created by endless borrowing to fund 'stimulus' and Obamacare), defense officials said Monday.

Hagel is expected to announce that and other recommendations Monday in a speech at the Pentagon outlining his priorities for next year's defense budget.

Army leaders have been saying for months that they expect their size would shrink as the nation prepares to end its combat role in Afghanistan this year.

The Army, which is the largest of the armed services, currently has 522,000 active-duty soldiers and is scheduled to shrink to 490,000 by 2015 from a wartime peak of 570,000. Hagel is expected to propose cutting it further to between 440,000 and 450,000.

read ... Weakness Inviting War

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