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Saturday, August 02, 2014
August 2, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:15 PM :: 4378 Views

Apple Unredacted: Did Attack on Carbone's $300K 'Assistant' Precipitate Removal of UHM Chancellor?

Akina for OHA Launches TV, Radio Ads

School Choice Event Shows New Way Forward for Hawaii Education Reform

State Administrator Admits Federal Highway Dollars in Jeopardy

VA reform bill gives veterans private health care options

Honolulu Army reservist accused of fraud, theft and child molestation

Hundreds of Mail-in Ballots Invalidated

HNN: Early voting is continuing to increase this year, with 115,770 Oahu residents requesting ballots by mail so far, 13 percent more than did so before the 2012 primary.

Trays of hundreds of mail-in ballots are arriving each day at the Honolulu City Clerk's election division.

Elections officials find dozens of mail-in ballots each day whose affirmation signatures on the outside don't initially match voter registration documents.

"We authenticate the signature against another record that we have, say a voter registration form, and the signatures have to match before we deem the ballot countable," said Glen Takahashi, Honolulu’s city elections administrator.

The authentication process is in place to guard against voter fraud, a felony punishable with prison time.

Elections officials find voter mistakes that could invalidate votes. For instance, they receive hundreds of mail-in ballots with the voter's signature missing from the back of the envelope.

"A lot of times they forget and so we give them a second chance and a lot of voters appreciate that because otherwise, their ballot wouldn't be countable," Takahashi said.

They return the envelopes unopened to voters so they can sign them and return them.

But they encounter other mail-in ballot mishaps.

"Another common type of mistake is a husband might sign a wife's envelope or vice versa and we're able to catch some of those things as well through the signature verification process," Takahashi said.

read ... Invalid Ballots

Honolulu rail agency concerned construction bids for rail stations may be higher than expected

PBN: Construction bids for the first nine stations of Honolulu’s $5.16 billion elevated-rail project are likely to come in higher than originally anticipated and could cause the agency to dip into its contingency fund,Dan Grabauskas, executive director and CEO of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation told PBN.

HART has budgeted $150 million for the construction of the west side group of stations. The concern, Grabauskas said, is that the delays the project faced because of litigation to stop the rail HART's rush to drive in the first spike caused delays in the bidding process, and those hold ups could equate to higher contract costs.

HART plans to unseal the bids at 2:15 p.m. on Aug. 12 in Room 150 at its headquarters at 1099 Alakea St. in Downtown Honolulu. That time and date are subject to change.

Last week, the HART board voted to release $3.3 million to add to its $3 million contract with Paragon Partners, which is assisting HART with property acquisitions along the route. The contract now totals $6.3 million, for relocation and acquisition agents, administrative support, real estate appraisal service and software.  (It's Bush's fault.)

read ... Surprised?

Cronies Given $200M for Seawater AC Scheme

PBN: A $225 million plan to cool Waikiki hotels and other large buildings near Ala Moana Center through a seawater air-conditioning project is having a tough time finding a location for its cooling station, one of the project’s developers told PBN.

“Our challenge is finding a site,” said Rob Iopa, president of WCIT Architecture and a partner with Kaiuli Energy, which wants to develop the massive Waikiki-based seawater A/C system, which would replace central refrigeration systems at individual buildings in Hawaii's largest tourism district.

Iopa told PBN in an exclusive interview this week that the project has already received the green light for up to $200 million in special purpose revenue bonds from the state to help with the planning, design and construction of the system.

Once Kaiuli Energy selects a site, the next step is executing an environmental impact statement, said Iopa, whose partners on the Kaiuli Energy team include Daryl Nakamoto, former CFO of the now-defunct Hoku Corp. and consultant Ray Soon....

Background: Company With Ties to Abercrombie, DelaCruz Seeks $200M from Legislature

read ... It Pays to be a Crony

Chasm widens between rent, median wages

SA: The "fair market rent" for a two-bedroom apartment in Hono­lulu County has shot up nearly 70 percent to $1,833 per month in 2013 from a base of $1,087 in 2005, Housing and Urban Development Department figures show.

Meanwhile, median wages rose 22 percent to $18.18 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Consumer Price Index rose by 28 percent in Hono­lulu over that time period.

The biggest jump in rents came in the run-up to the recession, but after a brief pause, the gap between wage increases and rental hikes has continued to widen.

read ... Chasm

Caldwell's Latest Fee Hike: Make the Disabled Pay 

KITV: Mayor Kirk Caldwell wants to hear from Oahu residents who hold a disability parking permit about an ordinance signed into law last month that would end the two and a half hours of free parking at 10 parking lots in urban Honolulu.

Bill 39 was designed to bring Oahu's parking rules in line with the rest of the state. However, Honolulu Transportation Services Director Mike Formby said the mayor is concerned about a lack of community input.

"So, the mayor's concern was that we went through three hearings and it was never publicly discussed," Formby told KITV4.

read ... Make the Disabled Pay

Lassner wants interim chancellor for Manoa by Sept. 1

PBN: “My first thought would be to get an interim in who can lead the campus out of the current financial situation it’s in,” Lassner said. “I don’t plan to rush into that.”

Lassner said he plans to meet with Manoa campus faculty, staff and students in the coming days to get ideas of who they want as a replacement for Apple. Lassner said that while he didn't have a name for an interim chancellor as of Friday, he plans to submit a name for the interim position at the next Board of Regents meeting on Aug. 21.

read ... Already Picked

Ige envisions a more streamlined Mānoa

KL: “There needs to be a constant and ongoing evaluation of programs and trying to retool and redirect the university,” Ige said.

While he wants to provide the university with more autonomy to manage its internal affairs, finances and decisions, he also thinks that UH needs a clear vision as to what programs it really needs. 

He cites an example from his own experience at UH Mānoa: When he was earning his engineering degree here in the 1970s, there was a general engineering pathway that had barely any students. It took decades to shut down, Ige recalls.

“Those are the kinds of things that shouldn’t take 20 years to happen,” he noted. “There should be an ongoing effort to really look at the kinds of programs that the university needs to have, what things may be outdated, or what resources can redirected into new areas that are more important to the state.”

read ... Ige envisions a more streamlined Mānoa

WaPo: Hawaii Makes 2 of top 10 primary races still to come in 2014

WaPo: 1. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) vs. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa: This race has been high on this list for a long time – mostly because of the drama. Abercrombie appointed Schatz to the seat over the wishes of the late senator Daniel Inouye (D), who wanted Hanabusa to succeed him. But apart from that subplot, it’s perhaps the last, best shot for anyone to knock off a Senate incumbent this primary season. The same pollster from No. 4 showed Schatz up by 10 but, again ... it's Hawaii. (Aug. 9)

4. Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) vs. state Sen. David Ige: It’s very rare that an incumbent governor loses a primary, but it appears to be at least a 50-50 proposition in the Aloha State. The most recent poll showed Ige up by double digits (11 points), thanks in large part to Abercrombie’s long-standing unpopularity. But polling in Hawaii is notoriously difficult, so keep an open mind. (Aug. 9)

read ... The top 10 primary races still to come in 2014

Mainland Anti-GMO Group Seeks to Join Attack on Big Island Papaya Growers

CB: National nonprofits organic industry front groups Earthjustice and Center for Food Safety, along with Big Island farmers anti-GMO activists Nancy Redfeather, Marilyn Howe and Rachel Laderman, have filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit that challenges Hawaii County’s moratorium on growing new genetically engineered crops.

HFD: The Wastefulness of the Wealthy Doesn’t Help Hawaii

HR: Read News Release from Invaders

read ... About Morons With Money

Feds make Excuses for W Hawaii Water Grab

WHT: That was the historical context for messages delivered at an informational meeting on Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park in Kailua-Kona Thursday night — a gathering sponsored by the group that advocates for the park.

“The issue is a concern to all of us. What are we using? Is there enough?” said Fred Cachola, president of Makani Hou o Kaloko-Honokohau, a nonprofit organization that assists the park in perpetuating Native Hawaiian practices.

“It’s a community concern,” Cachola said. “It’s not just the park waving the flag.”

Opponents of designation say the science doesn’t support claims the water supply is being strained — or that it will be in the future.

read ... National park gives rationale for water petition

WSJ: Hawaii Handcuffs Employers to Give Ex-Cons Jobs

WSJ: Businesses have a strong interest in protecting their employees and customers from criminals. Moreover, a number of federal and state laws require employers to run criminal background checks on job applicants and, in some cases, to disqualify them based on a past arrest or conviction.

But to ease barriers for ex-convicts trying to re-enter the workforce, several states and localities in recent years have restricted employers from asking about or considering an individual's criminal history during the hiring process. At the heart of this legislative trend is a movement known as "ban the box," which seeks to prohibit employers from asking a prospective employee to check a box on a job application if he or she has a criminal record. According to the National Employment Law Project, 12 states and at least 60 localities have ban-the-box laws, most of which only apply to public employers. Five states—Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Rhode Island—and seven cities—Baltimore, Buffalo, Newark, Philadelphia, Rochester, San Francisco and Seattle—have laws that cover private employers.

JD Supra: Article

read ... Handcuffs

Rents at Dillingham Airfield double

HNN: Soaring rents at the Dillingham Airfield are prompting an exodus by small businesses at the North Shore airport.

"I've seen three hangars, people have just moved out. Boom," said Bill Star, owner of Honolulu Soaring, which has operated glider rides at the airfield for over 40 years.

Steve Lowry is one of the small business operators on the edge. He and his wife Ana Gromacki run an award-winning program that teaches hundreds of young kids to fly in a glider

Rent for his nonprofit has doubled in just a year.

"It's risen so dramatically -- the cost of hangars and the cost of business -- that we're probably thinking of selling the business and selling the aircraft and of course, the program would go away," Lowry said.

The state has sent rent hike notices to most of the airfield's tenants.

The Department of Transportation wouldn't tell us why they're jacking up the rents.

But we do know that the state is losing about $1 million a year running the 65-acre property and is considering giving it back to the U.S. Army.

read ... Small Business Pays

Review training for HPD arrests

SA: Honolulu police must provide more information about the fatal shooting of an erratic motorist on a busy Waikiki street. The fact that this is the second shooting by police under similar circumstances in less than two years adds to the urgency of public disclosure.

read ... Review training for HPD arrests

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