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Wednesday, June 24, 2015
June 24, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:16 PM :: 4723 Views

Proposed Federal Rules for Hawaiian Homelands Parallel Obama Admin Rewrite of Indian Law

Full Text: Court Orders Release of Kanaiolowalu Roll

CNHA to Administer 'US Tribal Justice' on Mauna Kea?

CNBC: Hawaii Worst State for Business

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted June 22, 2015

Video: Adventures of a Monsanto Agronomist

Wine Taxes: Hawaii Ranks 12th

Sexual Paranoia: Why Professors Are Becoming Scared of Their Students

HS Sports: Hawaii 2nd Lowest Gender Gap

Kaiser: King v. Burwell will not Affect Hawaii

Al Hee Criminal Trial Begins

ILind: ...The trial of Al Hee, president of Waimana Enterprises and the brother of former State Senator Clayton Hee, started yesterday with jury selection in Honolulu’s Federal District Court. Judge Susan Mollway is presiding.

According to the second superseding indictment filed on March 25, 2015, Hee allegedly pursued a plan to evade taxes by claiming personal expenses as business expenses, and failing to report those payments as income.

Just prior to trial, prosecutors agreed not to pursue charges contained in the indictment relating to transactions with the Board of Water Supply.

According to the indictment, Waimana Enterprises allegedly paid $2,750,033 of Hee’s personal expenses, including college tuition of $33,523, other college tuition and living expenses totaling over $718,000 characterized on the company’s books as “loan to shareholder,” personal massages costing $92,000 shown on the books as “consulting fees,” credit card payments of $121,000, and another $722,550.39 in payments to Hee’s children, who the indictment alleges “did little or no work” for Waimana Enterprises....

read ... Hee Criminal Trial

Video: Crying Police Apologize to Telescope Protesters

HTH: ...Workers trying to make their way up Mauna Kea to restart construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope are being blocked today by hundreds of protesters who are opposed to the project.

Five trucks being escorted by police were blocked repeatedly by more than 300 protesters who set up about two dozen “lines of defense” across the Mauna Kea access road near the Visitor Information Station, which is located at the 9,200-feet elevation.

The trucks inched their way up to each line of protesters, who were then asked by police to move. After clearing a line, the trucks crawled toward the next line of awaiting protesters.

One person who refused to move off the road was arrested just above the visitor station....

read ... One Arrest

Protesters Occupy TMT site; "This is a Place for Religion, not Science"

HTH: A day before construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope was expected to resume, opponents made their way to the summit of Hawaii’s tallest mountain Tuesday to build a second ahu, or stone altar, within the project boundary....

“This is not a place of strictly Western scientific practices,” he said of Mauna Kea. “This is a cultural place, this is a religious place, this is a geological place, this is a spiritual place.”

Despite yet another verbal warning Tuesday that they would be trespassing, a group of about two dozen protesters, mostly Native Hawaiians who call themselves protectors of the mountain, walked past security guards stationed at the entrance of the TMT site. After stopping to pray and chant around an ahu they built on the TMT access road the day before, the group made its way down to a circular area where the telescope itself is planned to be built.

Rock by rock, they constructed a second ahu, while security guards contracted by TMT stood by and watched. No trespass notices were issued.

Kanuha said the group did not erect the structures with the intent of them being taken down, but understands that is a possibility. If that happens, he said, it would be a “powerful image for the world to see” and an example of TMT’s “blatant disregard for the culture and for the people.” ...

Before heading to the summit Tuesday, protesters met with Capt. Richard Sherlock of the Hawaii Police Department. While project opponents promised they will remain peaceful, Sherlock explained that today’s police presence is not a show of force, but to ensure public safety.

“If it comes to the arrest part again, I plead it remains nonviolent,” he said.

Kanuha said while he hasn’t put out a call to opponents, he expects a large crowd and that today’s protest will remain peaceful.

Rumors that the Hawaii National Guard have been called in to maintain order on Mauna Kea today appear to be just that — rumors.

“No civil authorities have asked for our assistance,” Lt. Col. Charles Anthony, a spokesman for the Department of Defense, said Monday by phone....

read ... State Religion

New rules in the works to Control public use of Mauna Kea

WHT: ...The Office of Mauna Kea Management is rolling out a set of rules that will for the first time give the office the legal tools to govern public and commercial access on the mountain.

Under rules the office would like the public to consider — and the governor to sign following at least an upcoming year of process — four-wheel drive vehicles would be required for trips to the summit, vehicles would have to be cleared of invasive species, groups larger than 10 people would require a permit, and snow play would have to be done with safe equipment made for the purpose rather than with improvised sleds that lack steering and brakes. Access to the summit could be limited to daylight hours.

The eight commercial tour operators who take visitors to the peak will have to reapply for their permits, and rangers will crack down on a proliferation of illegal tours, under the provisions.

Fees for access and parking may be charged in the future, with rangers and University of Hawaii officials vested with the power to temporarily close sensitive and damaged areas and limit the number of vehicles on the summit. Drones and remote controlled vehicles and paragliding would be prohibited on Mauna Kea, along with other prohibitions in a list of rules similar to those that govern natural resource protection, traffic, parking and other human activity at some national parks.

The provisions are designed not to curtail public ... access.... (know them by what they deny)

Nagata said it is not the office’s intent to get rid of snow recreation.... (know them by what they deny)

Once draft rules are created, there will be public meetings and testimony before final rules go to the governor, Nagata said....

The Hilo open house will be held today from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Imiloa Astronomy Center. A third open house will be held in Waimea on Thursday, from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Kuhio Hale, DHHL West Hawaii District Office.

The rules on the web: malamamaunakea.org

read ... New rules in the works for public use of Mauna Kea

'Significant changes' made for Thirty Meter Telescope construction in Hawaii to resume, board member says

PBN: ...TMT International Observatory Board member Michael Bolte told PBN late Monday that the governor’s requests were for “significant changes” that could appease (yeah, right) all parties.

“The governor’s announcement and the changes that have since been implemented up there for the future use of Mauna Kea were in response to concerns from both cultural and environmental sides,” TMT International Observatory Board member Michael Bolte told PBN. “We (vainly) hope those concrete steps will help minimize activity opposed to the project.”

The first move was taken by Caltech, which announced it would end operations of the Submillimeter Observatory in September, a year earlier than scheduled. A complete site restoration will be complete by 2018.

Other changes included the expansion of scholarship programs for Hawaii students by TMT’s international partners, a governor-led advisory committee to advise the Office of Mauna Kea Management and also the Department of Land and Natural Resources, and the redesignation of some astronomy lands as “cultural,” Bolte said....

A bulldozer and excavator are already at the site, and a couple of additional vehicles including maintenance truck will travel up the mountain Wednesday.

The first item on the agenda is to construct a safety fence around the site, according to Bolte.

Any security or law enforcement measures are unaffiliated with TMT, he said.

read ... TMT 

Non-Hawaiian people of Hawaii are not 'guests'

CB: The Connections contribution by Williamson Chang on respecting the host culture is pure fantasy.

The non-Hawaiian people of Hawaii are not guests.

The few native Hawaiians are not hosts.

Did they invite the Filipinos, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Europeans and many others as guests?

No, we are not guests. We are co-habitants of these islands with all the rights and privileges of residents of Hawaii and citizens of the United States....

read ... Host Culture in Hawaii Is Just a Myth

What Is Really Being Sustained by 100 Percent Renewable Energy?

CB: Two UH economists raise concerns that subsidizing local alternative energy production might be a fiscal drain that is about paying off special interests....

As...Nobel Laureate Elinor Ostrom instructed, “leading by example” is a sucker play, unless accompanied by meaningful assurances that others will strive for the common good, “and nobody likes to be a sucker.”

Instead, Hawaii is setting a bad example of how to raise the cost of living consumer-taxpayers face....

...a close reading of House Bill 623 reveals a long list of reasons why the state need not meet the 100 percent renewable goal. The most troubling of these is the provision that the 100 percent goal does not need to be attained if the tax credits for renewable energy are suspended (see section 2 (d) (7) of the legislation). Perhaps what is really being sustained is a fiscal drain and payoffs to special interests....

CB: Solar Schemers Respond

52% Fooled: Do you think Hawaii should calculate vehicle registration fees based on the number of miles you drive?

SA: Go easy on how to boost EV sales

read ... What Is Really Being Sustained

Medicare cuts, underpayments could mean $3.3B loss for Hawaii hospitals, study shows

PBN: Medicare payment cuts and reductions to reimbursement rates for Medicare services could add up to a $3.3 billion loss for Hawaii hospitals between 2010 and 2024, according to a study by Hawaii Health Information Corp.

During the current federal fiscal year, Hawaii experienced a reduction of nearly $18 million in direct Medicare reimbursements. Over the next 10 years, all enacted Medicare payment cuts will result in $838 million in lost revenue, or a 11.2 percent reduction in total Medicare fee-for-service revenue, according to “Ouch! Mounting Medicare Cuts Hurt,” released by the Hawaii Health Information Corp. this month.

In addition to those payment reductions, Hawaii hospitals are projected to be underpaid by $2.5 billion over the next decade if current patient volume and CMS payment reimbursement rates continue. The total price tag will be more than $3 billion for the 15-year period.

Hawaii hospitals are currently reimbursed 86 cents to each dollar they spend on Medicare services....

The health care reform law has made an effort to abate rising health care costs and ensure coverage for all, but the Medicare “one size fits all rule” puts Hawaii at a disadvantage, Sybinsky said....

But Hawaii could adopt a strategy implemented in Maryland, according to Sybinsky.

The state has had a waiver for nearly three decades, but recently revised it by altering payments to physicians, nursing homes, and other institutional providers. By guaranteeing that its cost-savings technique would avoid increased patient costs, Maryland was able to work out a waiver with the federal government to receive a $1-$1 reimbursement ratio.

Sybinsky says Hawaii is capable of something similar.

“At least twice in Hawaii’s history we have done significant health care reform,” he said. “In 1974, we passed the Prepaid Health Care Act, and frankly, we had to fight for it. Hawaii has made some major out of the box changes and I don’t see a reason why we can’t do it again.”

Flashback: Health Insurance? No need: Abercrombie promises to dump Prepaid Health Care Act

read ... Thanks, Obama

HECO: Legislature Killed Chance to Cut Electric Rates with Bulk LNG

PBN: The Honolulu-based utility said that developing a bulk terminal project became a lot tougher in light of the recent passage of a couple of bills related to energy, according to a document filed with the PUC.

The bills include one that sets the goal of Hawaii achieving 100 percent renewable energy by 2045 and another that sets limits on the use of LNG.

Hawaiian Electric also noted that it anticipates developing, permitting and implementing a bulk LNG import and regasification terminal for the state will take considerably longer than the alternative containerized LNG solution.

Because of this, the Honolulu-based utility believes that the distribution of LNG in containers in volumes sufficient for power generation “has the potential to provide more immediate reduction to customer bills while helping to minimize the investment in dedicated LNG assets.”

Next in Line: $481M 'Clean Energy' Tax Hike: Fewer flights and fewer visitors to Hawaii would be expected

read ... Uncertain

$40K--PCard Pays for DLNR first-class travel

HNN: At a time when the Department of Land and Natural Resources Aquatics Division was struggling for funding, its former top administrator spent more than $40,000, mostly for first-class travel.

A review of former Aquatics division head Frazer McGilvray's government credit card, or pCard, expenditures shows that he took more than 30 first-class flights to the Mainland and the Neighbor Islands, including:

  • -- $3,800 for a trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands;
  • -- $5,000 in airfare for travel to San Antonio;
  • -- $3,000 to attend a conference in Washington, D.C.;
  • The records show he also spent $6,800 to renovate his office and more than $3,000 for new iphones and personal computers.

"It was just excessive," said environmental activist Carroll Cox, who requested McGilvray's pCard and travel records.

"I'm informed that there was some programs that suffered because of this excessive spending."

Cox is not alone in raising concerns about McGilvray. In a letter last week to DLNR Chair Suzanne Case, staffers warned her about bringing McGilvray back to his $117,000-a-year-post and were critical of his management style.

"McGilvray made no qualms about making civil service staff aware of his sentiments that they were old, on their way out and had stale out of date knowledge and were of no value to the division," the letter said.

Staffers noted that McGilvray, now the executive director of the nonprofit Malama Maunalua, was not just abrasive with his subordinates.

"Mr. McGilvray referred to former Chairperson William Aila as an "over glorified Harbor Master" ... (and once told him) he looked like s*#!."

read ... DLNR first-class travel

The Public Has the Right to Know About Police Misconduct

CB: Where disciplinary action is concerned, the public’s right to know must come first. And yes, that includes the names of officers who get in trouble....

read ... Right to Know

Practice or Preach: Anti-GMO Activists Begin Making Excuses

KE: ...All the folks who have been crying for land, begging for a chance to farm, clamoring for the seed companies to beat it and free up agricultural acreage have a chance to put their money — and sweat — with their mouths are.

Some 3,000 acres of state land is now sitting idle in Kekaha, while 1,400 acres of Grove Farm land near Lihue will soon be out of production. Surely those who envision a different future for agriculture in Hawaii can do something meaningful with 4,400 acres of irrigated land.

Will they step up to the challenge? Don't bet on it. They'll have a hundred and one excuses why they can't create those organic farms they've long imagined flourishing across the westside if only those nasty, dirty seed companies weren't in the way.

One of those excuses — and Kauai Councilman and anti-GMO activist Gary Hooser is already starting the stink talk, with the help of Civil Beat — will be that the land is too depleted and toxic to farm. Civil Beat even highlighted Gary's totally unsubstantiated conjecture in a bold, red-lettered outtake quote, so as to give his bullshit extra prominence....

Meanwhile, over on Maui, the same players who organized the anti-GMO movement there — luxury Realtor Mark Sheehan, “Babe” Courtney Bruch, Superferry protestor Karen Chun, rogue physicist Joe Ritter, etc. — are leveling their sights at another major agricultural interest: HC&S.

They're using the same self-righteous propaganda techniques — doctored photos, dubious “experts,” unsubstantiated claims of health impacts, wild hyperbole, social media fear-mongering, manufactured facts — to attack cane burning as a way to shut down the last sugar plantation in Hawaii....

read ... Musings: Practice or Preach?

Prices Going Up Due to Bag Ban

KHON: At the People’s Open Market on Fort Street, those soon to be banned plastic bags fly off the shelves with nearly every purchase. Business owner Thip Nguyen says she hands out as many as 150 bags in one day.

So what’s her plan come July 1? “I’m talking to a couple of vendors right now, so they’re looking into it,” she said. “Hopefully, they’ll get it on time. Within two weeks they said they’ll be able to.”

Two weeks will be too late, but Nguyen says she hopes to get reusable bags in time.

Store owner Nathan Yuen is still trying to figure out how to offset the cost of having to spend 10 cents more per bag.

“(I will) probably have to compensate because of the margins,” he said. “The margins might have to go higher on individual items or something.”

Island Plastic Bags is the largest manufacturer in the state. According to its owner, the company still gets about 10-15 calls a day from business owners who aren’t quite sure what they’re supposed to do.

Those who waited this long to order their bags won’t be able to get customized bags with store logos, but Island Plastic Bags operations manager Jian Yang says they still have plenty of plain bags that will be allowed once the ban starts.

The rules for the ban are different from other counties. Some include restaurants in the ban while Oahu does not.

The starting fines also vary from $100 a day on Oahu and up to $500 a day on Maui, and all max out at a thousand dollars a day for repeat offenders:

  • Kauai: $250-$1,000 per day
  • Maui: $500-$1,000 per day
  • Oahu: $100-$1,000 per day
  • Hawaii Island: Written warning, $1,000 per day

Star-Adv: Let's embrace plastic bag ban

read ... Prices Going Up

Hawaii County Water Rates Going up 24%

HTH: ...The county Water Board, meeting Tuesday in Hilo, unanimously approved a five-year water rate plan that hikes rates 3 percent July 1, followed by 4 percent next year and then 5 percent annually for the next three years.

A typical family on a 5/8-inch meter using 9,500 gallons monthly would see their bimonthly bill go up from $101.75 to $104.96 the first year.

Currently, Hawaii Island’s typical $101.75 bimonthly bill compares to $86.40 on Maui, $93.45 on Oahu and $129.55 on Kauai, according to consultant Ann Hajnosz of Brown and Caldwell. The actual cost to produce the water is about $4.13 per 1,000 gallons, she said.

“Nobody likes to see rate increases. It’s sort of a fact of life … that as costs increase, and especially as revenues decrease, due to reduced water sales,” Hajnosz said. “The Department of Water Supply has an obligation to be financially self-sufficient, to plan for not only current operations, but future operations.”

But Mike Flaherty, testifying at a May 26 public hearing in Kona, questioned why the Water Board anticipated a 24 percent increase through five years, compounded. Flaherty was the only person offering testimony at public hearings in Kona and Hilo.

“I wish I could find an investment that I could make 24 percent,” Flaherty said....

read ... Up 24%

Kalihi 'Over Burdened' With Public Housing

KITV: ...Local lawmakers are on board, but Nakama says people who live in the area are not.

More than 100 people showed up for the latest neighborhood board meeting.

"Not one person stood up and voted for the project, because we have more than our share," she said.

"If you over burden it you can create a downward spiral," explained nearby resident Robert Arakaki, who analyzed Hawaii's low-income housing inventory and created charts to illustrate it.

"What really struck me was the discrepancy," he said.

His research shows Senate District 13 has double the concentration of low-income housing compared to the next highest district.

"We started with KPT, then Mayor Wright, then School Street. Anything we do here is going to be a net gain," said Ouansafi.

HPHA has a wish list of 10 low-income projects to start by 2017.

Several are in and around Kalihi.

Others are in Waipahu, Aiea, and other parts of Honolulu.

KHON: Master Developer Selected for HPH Site

read ... Over Burdened

UH plans to spend extra $500,000 on athletic stipends

KHON: ...Matlin told KHON2, he expects to spend half of that, possibly less. He’s leaning toward offering under $2,000, which would cost $496,000 — less than half a million dollars.

That’s on top of the $400,000 being spent on a supplemental meal program for student-athletes and $7.7 million in scholarships.

The stipends for UH athletes would cover the cost for things such as laundry, transportation and electronics. It would begin this fall, but not everyone agrees with it.

“This is just another dagger in the heart of athletics. Athletics is already running a deficit,” said Rep. Isaac Choy, D, chair for the House Committee on Higher Education.

The athletics department has a deficit of $4.2 million to $4.4 million....

read ... Burn More Money

Texas couple's plan to open North Shore business falls flat

HNN:  ...the entire Aloha Dune Buggy fleet is locked up--locked out of operation due to a registration issue.  Before purchasing the vehicles, Matt made inquiries to the Honolulu DMV and was told by an operator via email "you should not have any issues registering these," so Matt made the purchase. 

He bought six, at a cost of fifteen thousand dollars each.   When the vehicles arrived on island, Matt brought them to get registered.  That's when the problems started.

"We were told no-go, vehicles have to be electric powered in your category, gas is not allowed".

So they've sat unused for the past six months.  Matt and Heather estimate they've invested a million dollars into the business, and their losses are mounting....

read ... Business Unfriendly Hawaii

Marines looking at deploying aboard foreign ships as Jones Act Continues to Fail Military

HSC: USA Today reported on June 21st that the U.S. Marine Corps is considering using foreign amphibious ships from allied countries due to a shortage of suitable U.S. Naval ships. The shortage is caused in large part by the extraordinarily high cost of capital ship – both naval combatant and commercial – in the United States, which has been crowding out the Navy’s ship construction budget....

read ... USA Today

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