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Thursday, June 5, 2014
June 5, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:13 PM :: 4959 Views

Civil Beat 'Tried to Throttle and Censor' Pritchett

Hawaii Ranks #4 in Gasoline Taxes

Takai, Cabanilla Inside Azerbaijan’s Bizarre Hawaii Lobbying Push

Kauai Audit finds 'Favoritism' in Furloughs

Poll: Ige Beats Abercrombie 46% - 41% 

PR: The question is why do recent polls show David gaining the momentum on the governor? The Feb. 17, 2014 StarAdvertiser poll shows a single digit deficit (NA-47% - DI-38 %) in the primary, the Feb. 18, 2014 Civil Beat poll shows a 37-37% tie and a recent poll on which I was personally briefed showed David ahead 46-41% in the primary.

June 3, 2014: Abercrombie Campaign Touts Poll Showing Him at 42%

read ... `David v. Goliath'

HGEA Admits it is Hidden Hand Behind Principals Attack on Matayoshi

Perreira: ...a recent survey conducted by several retired principals and others highlights a very different picture — one where employees of the DOE, particularly school principals and vice principals, are under siege as they attempt to improve our schools.

Results of the recent principals' survey indicated the level of frustration and anxiety felt by our educational leaders, many of whom have brought these concerns to our attention.

In fact, the results of this survey (were designed to) confirm and validate (dis-) information gathered by Hawaii Government Employees Association leaders some months before, showing morale among school administrators to be abysmally low, with an increasing likelihood of burnout for all concerned....

read ... HGEA supports giving school leaders resources they need

Lassner: "I know where the landmines are"

KHON: KHON2 asked, why in the world would anyone want this job?

“I did not apply for the job and when I was nominated, I was asked by the search committee if I would accept the nomination. My whole career has been at UH and I have grown up in this institution and in Hawaii,” he said.

Because of his long tenure at UH, Lassner has what’s called institutional memory. He knows what has happened with the university and the presidents who preceded him.

“For me, I believe — and this is the criticism of somebody with institutional memory — that you’re locked into it. From my viewpoint, it doesn’t mean you don’t change things. It just means you know where the landmines are.”

There are plenty of landmines....

read ... Lassner already discussing his end

Carol Fukunaga Scheme Would Put 309 on Streets, Cost City $18M

CB: ...Carol Fukunaga proposed a sales stipulation during a City Council meeting on Wednesday, that drew fire from affordable housing advocates and members of Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration who said it could be interpreted in a way that would displace 309 low-income tenants from buildings that contain a total of 526 units.

It could also cost the city about $18 million to relocate the tenants, according to the administration.

Fukunaga proposed a sales stipulation during a City Council meeting on Wednesday, that drew fire from affordable housing advocates and members of Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration who said it could be interpreted in a way that would displace 309 low-income tenants from buildings that contain a total of 526 units.

It could also cost the city about $18 million to relocate the tenants, according to the administration....

Ember Shinn, Honolulu’s managing director, told Fukunaga that there weren’t any units reserved for households earning 60 percent or less of the median income when the buildings first opened.

So the resolution suggests that 309 of the current residents would have to move once the buildings are sold.

Shinn said that federal relocation laws would require the city to cover future housing costs for the people who were displaced.

Previous Scheme: Fukunaga Running to Continue Act 221 Tax Credit Scams

read ... Fukunaga Scheme

New permit not needed for 801 South developer

SA: The developer of the planned 801 South St. Building B condominium tower does not have to seek a new development permit for the project in Kakaako under a court order clarification issued Tuesday, but does have to halt construction.

State Circuit Court Judge Karl Sakamoto issued a preliminary injunction on Friday that halted tower construction after he found that two state agencies failed to follow state law protecting historic places and burials. The injunction halts construction until a lawsuit involving the project is resolved.

The Hawaii Community Development Authority, the state agency regulating development in Kakaako, notified 801 South developer Downtown Capital LLC on Tuesday that construction on Building B is required to stop based on Sakamoto's ruling, though work to seal up exposed interiors of the News Building will be allowed to finish.

In his Friday ruling, Sakamoto said an archeological inventory survey should have been done by Downtown Capital.

read ... We didn't really mean it -- Judge

GMO food has been declared to be as safe as non-GMO food by every major reputable scientific body worldwide

MW: In a Maui Now article (May 22) about the anti-GMO petition, it was reported that "Sheehan's argument countered that claim [that the anti-GMO campaign would devastate our county's fragile agricultural economy], saying, "you only have to dig a little bit to understand that GMOs are living organisms that stay alive in your gut; gut bacteria accounts for 70 percent of your immune system."

This is a surprising comment coming from a person claiming to have a Ph.D., as it shows a total ignorance of the biology of food and digestion.

MW: Two billion mouths are too many to ignore untruths

read ... Maui Weekly 

Kauai: Disingenuous Anti-GMO Councilmembers in Trouble?

KE: In a recent video speech, Councilman Gary Hooser asserted that the chem/seed companies will be gunning for him, Tim Bynum and Mason Chock because they supported Bill 2491. Funny, JoAnn and Jay also voted for that bill, yet somehow they're not part of the “in-crowd.”

It apparently never occurred to Gary that voters might have their own reasons not to cast ballots for those three: Gary for his disingenuousness, political pandering and divisiveness; Tim for his whining and $290,000 payout from the county, and Mason for the sadly shady way he got appointed to the Council to override the mayor's veto of 2491.

KGI: Yukimura Seeks 10th Term on Council

read ... Kauai Eclectic

Kauai Anti-GMO Candidate an Ultra-Right Wing Conspiracy Theorist

KW:   In a recent article Barca said that the anti-GMO movement on Kaua’i was inspired by Gandhi and that he’s “on a mission from God."  Yet, Gandhi's most important lesson is Satyagraha, which is an insistence on finding the truth through non-violent methods.  And violence, as defined by Gandhi, includes aggressive rhetoric and any form of oppression.

At the same time, Barca defines himself as a warrior.  As an MMA fighter, he literally makes a living through violence.  But, most relevant is the underlying rhetoric of violence in the anti-GMO movement on Kaua’i. While there have been threats of physical violence to some of our policy makers, the real violence comes in the personal attacks (such as this website) and the myriad of offensive memes distributed through Facebook (such as this one) from both sides.  Even the holy grail of the movement, bill 2491, was passed in an atmosphere of extreme aggression.

Since I don't know Barca personally, and because his campaign website is lacking on details, I browsed through his public Facebook profile to see where he stands on issues other than GMO.  While nobody should be judged based on an FB profile, it is illuminating into who he is. He denies the evidence behind climate change, yet believes the government is manipulating our weather.  He rails against federal fire arm restrictions and repeatedly appeals for the people to "stand up and fight."  He believes in the far right conspiracy theory popularized by Glen Beck that UN Agenda 21 is a secret government takeover aimed at collectivizing private property.  All while repeating the refrain that he's "on a mission from god."

Check out: 'Unofficial' Barca Blog

read ... Ka Wae

Single Payer in Action: Big Island Veterans Wait 7 Months for VA health care

WHT: In a listening session held by Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard at the Kona VFW Post, Vietnam veteran Chip Kull estimated he would have to wait seven months before a problem with his shoulder is diagnosed.

“Trying to get a hold of anyone at the clinic is just horrid,” said Kull. “When I moved over here six years ago, there wasn’t even a doctor at the clinic. Gradually they put more staff in place but the wait just got longer.”

Carolle Wilson, a Navy veteran who moved to Kona from Hilo in October, said the choice seems to be a wait of two months in Hilo, or coming to the Kona side and being referred out. The VA Pacific Islands Health Care System serves 127,600 veterans in Hawaii and the Pacific Islands, and has outpatient clinics in Kailua-Kona and Hilo.

As Explained: Rationing Health Care by Making Patients Waste Time

read ... Veterans sound off on long waits for health care

Hilo Medical Center cutting Doctors, Nurses After HGEA Kills Partnership Plan

HTH: Hilo Medical Center is cutting staff positions and taking other cost-saving measures as it confronts a $9 million budget shortfall.

Administrators at Hawaii Health Systems Corp., the state’s public hospital system, anticipate being $48 million in the red in the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, unless they can cut and consolidate services. HHSC requested nearly $150 million in funding from the state during the recent Legislative session, but received only $102 million from lawmakers....

Hilo Medical Center spokeswoman Elena Cabatu said this week that so far one of HMC’s two urologist positions — that of Dr. Lyric Santiago — was terminated, as well as five administrative positions and 25 temporary “traveler” nurse positions or technician positions....

She said while Santiago was let go, the hospital made it a priority to refrain from layoffs by not filling positions as they open and not renewing contracts when they come to an end....

For instance, Cabatu said, nurses that might currently have less contact with patients as they provide education services for other staff members would likely be asked to add more clinical duties to their schedules.

HMC is also refraining from various projects it planned for the coming year, such as the installation of solar panels and the replacement of aging equipment, including a pair of ultrasound units.

All told, the reductions are estimated to account for about $5 million of the shortfall, she said. That is the amount deemed necessary to maintain the hospital’s “status quo” of care, while the additional $4 million was budgeted to make quality and operations improvements to take the facility into the future.

As Explained: Legislative Report: Convert HHSC to non-profit, dump civil service (full text)

read ... Hilo Medical Center cutting staff

Hawaii Not as Unequal as other Blue States? 

WSJ: According to 2012 Census Bureau data (the latest available figures), the District of Columbia, New York, Connecticut, Mississippi and Louisiana have the highest measure of income inequality of all the states; Wyoming, Alaska, Utah, Hawaii and New Hampshire have the lowest Gini coefficients. The three places that are most unequal—Washington, D.C., New York and Connecticut—are dominated by liberal policies and politicians. Four of the five states with the lowest Gini coefficients—Wyoming, Alaska, Utah and New Hampshire—are generally red states.

read ... Sex, drugs, and Inequality

Hawaiian Electric CEO disputes report about $6B buy offer

PBN: Hawaiian Electric Industries was never approached by any companies, nor did it receive any offers whatsoever to buy all of its shares, the head of one of the company’s subsidiaries told PBN on Wednesday, disputing a first-hand report this week to the contrary.

Eric Wesoff, editor-in-chief of Massachusetts-based Greentech Media, which does research and reports news on the green technology market, wrote a piece Tuesday about his involvement with Hawaii-based Kuokoa Inc., which in early 2011 announced plans to buy all of the shares of Hawaiian Electric Industries (NYSE: HE), the parent of Hawaiian Electric Co., Maui Electric Co. and Hawaii Electric Light Co., and sell off its American Savings Bank subsidiary....

But Hawaiian Electric Co. President and CEO Richard Rosenblum said otherwise on Wednesday.

“The [Hawaiian Electric Industries] board [of directors] at that time was never approached, and that remains true [today],” he told PBN. “We have not had any offers whatsoever.”

Rosenblum, 64, who last week announced plans to retire from his post after five years as the head of the state’s largest electric utility, also said that, since then, it has not seen any other companies with offers to buy the state’s largest public company.

When reached by PBN, Ted Peck, the former president of Kuokoa, declined comment.

Background: Kuokoa Profiteer Describes 2011 Effort to take over HECO

read ... Green Liars

Auction set for Big Island Carbon's Hawaii assets

PBN: Big Island Carbon spent at least $50 million to build the biomass plant to turn Hawaii-sourced macadamia nut shells into granulated activated carbon. The company was nearing completion of its plant when it filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation in November 2012.

Go here for more details on the assets being auctioned.

read ... Another Green Energy Failure

Hu Honua: Contractors Sue Landowner in Latest Green Energy Debacle 

HTH: “… Moreover, the construction taking place on this property by the lessee, Hu Honua, the lease is very clear. No improvements over $500,000 without prior approval of the contractor by the lessor, prior approval of the plan by the lessor, a (construction) bond …. None of those pre-construction requirements occurred.”

Schiel described a clause in the lease stating the land is to be used for operating an electrical power plant and selling energy as “a boilerplate provision in any lease of this sort.”

“It’s a standard provision. It does not require the lessee to undertake the improvements,” he said.

Schiel added Maukaloa notified Hu Honua in July it breached the lease and noted Maukaloa has a pending lawsuit against the bioenergy company.

Keith Yamada, one of two lawyers representing Hawaiian Dredging, argued Maukaloa is liable for Hu Honua’s alleged delinquent bills because the lease requires the power plant be built.

read ... And Yet Another Green Energy Failure

Maui News: Return of Superferry 'A Good Idea'

MN: Gov. Neil Abercrombie said early in his administration that he would try to form a public-private bond (including the military) to bring a ferry system back to the Hawaiian Islands.

The idea apparently died aborning.

Right now it is virtually impossible for families to travel from island to island. Sky-high airfares and baggage fees have grounded folks. Small businesses (including farmers) have no way to get their wares to other islands.

As retired Adm. Thomas Fargo, former CEO of Hawaii Superferry, noted Tuesday, Hawaii is the largest archipelago he knows of with no ferry system. Ordinary people suffer because of that lack.

As we wrote before the ferry shut down, we had friends and co-workers who used the service to deliver students and their belongings to college on Oahu. Simply loaded the car up and got on board - drove off the boat at Honolulu and went straight to Manoa. Then returned to Maui later that night.

There is nothing approaching that convenience now.

Hannemann pledged that his efforts will include complete environmental assessments before any ferry launches.

read ... A Good Idea

Honolulu Council budgets millions for homelessness

HNN: The Honolulu City Council has passed a $2.1 billion budget and more than $48 million is going to the homeless.

There were a few last minute changes namely regarding where the money is coming from. Of the $48 million going to homeless and affordable housing $3 million will go to the Housing First plans to help pay rent for chronically homeless people. There was $32 million added but it's coming from general obligation bonds which means the money comes with restrictions on where it can be spent.

Vice-Chair Ikaika Anderson was one who pushed to get that money through. He also criticized the State for only chipping in what he called a "measly" $1.5 million to the Housing First plan.

In addition $450,000 was also approved for public bathrooms in Chinatown.

read ... Honolulu Council budgets millions for homelessness

Immigration: Feds Release Dangerous Lunatic onto Streets of Honolulu

HNN: ...Police said Iimura was clearly mentally ill, living homeless near the Kalihi police station for months, until officers discovered he was in the country illegally and called immigration officials.

The feds took him to the federal detention center near the airport, where Iimura declined to submit to a routine medical and mental health screening, according to Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Sources said he rubbed his own excrement on the cell walls at the detention center.

Under a deportation policy that allows non-dangerous aliens to be deported without guards, customs officials got him a ticket on Korean Airlines to return to Japan on May 2.

But Iimura "refused to board the plane and began shouting in the jet way, prompting the airline to deny him permission to board," Kice said.  

He was then taken to the customs office on Ala Moana Boulevard and ICE released him a few hours later.

"Given his lack of criminal history, ICE released Mr. Iimura under an order of supervision following the aborted removal attempt," Kice said.

Iimura hadn't gone far when he apparently attacked a 35-year-old woman at the corner of Ward and Ala Moana, just down the street from the ICE offices.  

She said he punched her for no reason and police arrested him for assault.

Victim Sheryl Barretto told Hawaii News Now by phone it was "ridiculous" that federal officials had released the man who she said was obviously mentally ill and violent.

"How many other people are going to have to get hurt?" Barretto asked. "What if it was a young child or an older person who could not defend themselves?" ...

read ... Thanks, Obama

Another Inmate Mistakenly Released from OCCC

KHON: This isn’t the first time this has happened.

Last September, Edward Robins, 51, was accidentally released. Sheriffs found him two days later.

In October of 2008, Anthony Williams, 48, was released because of missing paperwork and wasn’t located until almost a week later.

In October of 2000, 10 inmates were mistakenly released from Halawa Correctional Facility. All 10 were either found or turned themselves in.

When asked what prisons need to do to improve, one Kalihi resident said, “Maybe their staff needs to get more supervised or trained better.”

read ... Inmate mistakenly released from OCCC

HPD: Nearly $6 Million in Legal Settlements in 11 Years

CB: When the Honolulu City Council approved a $1.4 million settlement last month in the death of Aaron Torres, it was the largest payout in recent history involving the police department or its officers.

But the department has paid out many millions more over the past 11 years, according to records obtained by Civil Beat through a public records request.

In fact, records show the city settled nearly 100 cases that involve the police department and its officers from Jan. 1, 2003, to May 1, 2014.

The total cost to taxpayers was about $5.7 million.

read ... $6M

Feds affirm Kauai officer's retaliation allegations

SA: The EEOC investigated charges of harassment, discrimination and retaliation reported by Sgt. Darla Abbatiello, 54, of the Administrative and Technical Bureau and found "reasonable cause" to determine she was subjected to retaliation by the police department.

Abbatiello's allegations of sexual harassment were made against Assistant Chief Alejandre Quibilan.

It was Abbatiello's case that led to a controversial move by Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. to suspend police Chief Darryl Perry in 2012.

The investigation came in response to complaints by Abbatiello to the EEOC in November 2012 and July 2013. In statements, she said she was retaliated against by Quibilan and Perry after she reported Quibilan's alleged harassment to the mayor, Police Commission and county attorney's office.

In a letter dated April 25, the EEOC warned the police department that "federal law prohibits retaliation against persons who have exercised their right to inquire or complain about matters they believe may violate the law."

read ... Retaliation on Kauai

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