Honolulu Police Department to Destroy Guns Worth $500,000
Hawaii 24th Best State for Children
DLNR Sets Public Meetings on Wildlife Action Plan
Big Telescope Protest in Waikiki -- 'This is about political Pressure'
CB: ...Thousands of Hawaiians mobilized in Waikiki on Sunday for the “Aloha Aina Unity March” — a massive show of strength that organizers hope to translate into ongoing political actions.
“This is about political pressure,” said organizer Tiare Lawrence, pointing to volunteers collecting information and helping register voters at the event. “I think next year a lot of people’s seats are going to be up for grabs. This is about getting people into office who are committed to protecting our land and sacred spaces.”
“This is something we’ve been hoping to see for a long time,” said (lord) Jeri DiPietro, president of the anti-GMO nonprofit Hawaii SEED. “Bringing together the aloha aina issues will help define them and make our messaging clearer to the masses (of ignorant peasants).” ...
read ... Telescope Protest
Hawaii County Police Commission Hears Complaint from Mauna Kea Protesters
WHT: The one registered allegation against officers was about their failure to give names and badge numbers at Mauna Kea. A group of about 50 officers from Hawaii Police Department and the Department of Natural Resources were sent to the area July 24. When they arrived, protesters asked for the officers’ names and badge numbers. Several protesters claim that some officers did not give that information when asked.
The commission can refer items to the police chief for investigation. They can also choose to not recommend the item advance to the chief.
The meeting point rotates from Kona, Waimea and Hilo on a monthly basis.
The next meeting is 9 a.m. Sept. 11 in the Hawaii County Building in Hilo.
read ... Complaint
Poll: Politicians’ response to Homelessness rated poorly
SA: Government officials at state and city levels fare poorly across the board on how well they handle the issue of homelessness, but Oahu residents in the latest Hawaii Poll say they believe that Gov. David Ige should lead the effort to fight the problem.
Neither Ige, Mayor Kirk Caldwell, the City Council nor the state Legislature got high marks among poll participants. But a plurality of those surveyed — 32 percent — said they believe Ige should be out front on tackling it. Only 18 percent said they believed Caldwell should be the point person on homelessness.
The Hawaii Poll also found little belief that the state and city are working together to deal with the problem.
Only 3 percent of respondents said they felt that the state and city are working together “very well.”
Nearly half — 48 percent — responded “not very well.”
And 77 percent said political conflicts are preventing progress — such as the Council’s rejection of Caldwell’s request to fund more positions to address homelessness. Instead, the Council filled two similar positions for its own staff....
Caldwell noted that the Hawaii Poll was conducted July 24-29 and wrapped up just as Ige on July 27 announced the formation of the Governor’s Leadership Team on Homelessness.
The committee will meet for the third time Monday afternoon. It’s comprised of Ige, Caldwell, state Sen. Jill Tokuda, state Rep. Sylvia Luke, state Director of Human Services Rachael Wong, City Council Chairman Ernie Martin and representatives of U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono.
KL: Homeless people are not interested in shelters
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Poll: Everyone Would Support Homeless Shelter as long as it is Ewa, Leeward
SA: Some 73 percent of those in Ewa and the Leeward Coast said they would agree to a shelter in their neighborhood. But only 55 percent of respondents in Pearl City, Aiea and Central Oahu felt the same way.
Darren Higuchi, 48, of Manoa Valley doesn’t like the idea of creating new shelters and doesn’t want one in his neighborhood.
“No,” Higuchi said. “If they can’t even make use of existing shelters, how’s building another one going to help?”
Higuchi also would oppose efforts to put a temporary shelter in Manoa Valley.
“I’ve had many problems with homes for troubled teens,” he said. “I lived right across from one, and I lived up the street from one. My neighbor’s house got robbed. Fights broke out. A neighbor had a brick thrown through the window and was threatened by kids. I would come home and see a couple of kids smoking cigarettes in front of my house, staring at me. Hell, no. Don’t stare at me in front of my house.”
read ... Numbers
Martin: I will toy with Rail Tax Vote until Opportune Moment Presents Itself
SA: ...The Honolulu City Council is in no rush to take a final vote on extending the 0.5 percent excise tax surcharge that transit officials say is critical for the $6 billion rail project.
Council Chairman Ernie Martin told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser he intends for the Council to take its time with Bill 23, holding public hearings in different Oahu communities so people from around the island can weigh in.
Gov. David Ige signed off on the legislation giving state approval for the extension on July 15, putting the ball in the Council’s court.
“We have the luxury of time,” Martin said, noting that the city has until June 30 to make a decision....
But in a letter to Martin and Caldwell last week, HART officials said state law requires the city have funding in place before it can award contracts for the rail project, and the contracts for key portions of the project need to be awarded between now and April.
Among them is the design-build contract for the last four miles of the rail line, the so-called City Center guideway and stations segment, which is expected to be advertised in November and awarded in April. Proposals are expected to come in between $700 million and $825 million, the letter said.
read ... Need to Ride the Arch of Hysteria
While Pushing Rate Hikes, Water Dep't Fails to Use $100M in Federal Drinking Water Funds
SA: Almost every day on Oahu a water main break spews water onto the streets and shuts down traffic, while leaking pipes throughout the islands contribute to millions of gallons of lost drinking water.
Yet, year after year, the Hawaii Department of Health has failed to spend tens of millions of federal dollars earmarked for shoring up Hawaii’s drinking water infrastructure, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The funds, which are matched 20 percent by the state, are deposited into Hawaii’s Drinking Water Revolving Fund and loaned to the counties to make repairs.
As of the end of last year, $100 million in federal and state funds sat unspent, according to the EPA, which is now threatening to stop funneling federal dollars to the state, or even take some of it back, if the Health Department doesn’t make major improvements in its management of the fund.
“If they can’t, frankly, get it together and begin running the program in a way that’s making good use of the money, then we have the capability of taking money back and giving it to another state,” said Michael Montgomery, director of the EPA’s Region 9 water division, which oversees the Pacific Southwest and Hawaii.
read ... Millions
HHSC: We're Already Bankrupt
HPR: ...Leahi's financial crisis (caused by HGEA and UPW contracts) means it's no longer taking new patients.
“Families have been expressing the worry of where is my mother or father going to be placed,” said Derek Akiyoshi, the O‘ahu Region CEO. With as many as 94 percent of residents on Medicaid or Medicare, Akiyoshi says Leahi and Maluhia often serve as a last resort for the elderly or disabled. “We function as the safety net on the island of O‘ahu for certain long term care residents.” Akiyoshi says the reasons for the shortfall are complicated, but it boils down to money. Even after receiving $117 million from the legislature, the state hospital system will still be $50 million in the red this fiscal year.
“We’ve really reached this crisis point where we absolutely have no choice but to reduce services,” said Linda Rosen, the CEO of Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation, the statewide network of public hospitals. O‘ahu is not the first to see reductions, two Big Island facilities have also cut services and announced layoffs. And Maui Memorial Medical Center recently received approval from the legislature to move towards privatization. “We’re really a bankrupt system already,” said Rosen. “It’s hard to imagine without additional funding, that we wouldn’t end up having to if not close services, even close facilities.” ....
Reality: Legislative Report: Convert HHSC to non-profit, dump civil service (full text)
read ... Already Bankrupt
Pakalolo and Profits: Hawaii’s Emerging Medical Marijuana Industry
CB: Competition will be fierce for Hawaii’s eight licenses to grow and sell medical cannabis. Many other types of businesses are looking for a piece of the action as well.
read ... Profits
Special agent has fought Medicare fraud for decades
RA: Glenn Ferry has busted pastors, organized crime figures and fake nurses in nearly three decades fighting Medicare fraud.
He's special agent in charge of the Los Angeles regional office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' inspector general. His territory spans Southern California, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii.
read ... Special Agent