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Wednesday, September 09, 2015
September 9, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:18 PM :: 2787 Views

Full Text: Lawsuit Seeks Nullification of Six Councilmembers’ Rail Votes

Rail Revote: Is There Anybody Without a Conflict of Interest?

Feds Asked to Step in Earlier on Future West Coast Port Disputes

Obama Nominates Clare Connors Hawaii Federal Judge

HGEA helps Coach Get Away with Millions from UH

SA: ...The ex-UH basketball coach filed a motion Tuesday morning to dismiss the university’s lawsuit against him, according to his attorneys, on the grounds that the oft-heated dispute between the parties must be resolved through the union grievance process.

UH’s lawsuit, filed June 30 in Circuit Court, seeks punitive damages against Arnold — and seeks to have Arnold’s $1.4 million grievance against the university be ruled unenforceable — by showing that Arnold breached areas of his 2011 contract.

Notably, UH raised the issue of more than $2,000 it says Arnold never paid back to the university as expenses from a 2012 team road trip....

UH coaches are members of the HGEA. Bickerton and Tannenbaum maintain “that UH is well aware that its dispute with a public employee union member cannot be resolved by a lawsuit.”

Arnold’s attorneys claim that the lawsuit, if allowed to see trial, would set a bad precedent that other public employees in the state would become fearful of filing grievances.

read ... Workers of the World Unite!

Silent Majority of Hawaiians Gain Voice

CB: After spending three years and over $4 million to create a list of Native Hawaiians  more than 84 percent of all Native Hawaiians remain un-registered.

The Commission originally targeted more than half a million Native Hawaiians across the country based on U.S. Census data, which now counts 560,000 Native Hawaiians. When only 40,000 signed up, the Roll Commission then dumped at least 87,000 names of individuals collected from other lists of Hawaiians without the consent of those individuals. Currently, the Commission reports it has certified approximately 95,000 names on the Roll.

There are three problems the silent majority of Native Hawaiians have with OHA and the Roll Commission. First, many individuals who have discovered that their names were placed on the Roll without their consent are angered. One Native Hawaiian woman, puts it this way: “I saw my name on the list, and that’s when I knew they (OHA and the Roll Commission) are not totally honest.”

A Maui man living on Hawaiian Homestead land says, “When I found out that my name was on that list, it made me feel very uncomfortable. When you start off… by doing things without people’s consent, it’s not right.”

Another woman has reported: “I feel betrayed.”

The second problem that many Native Hawaiians, including myself, have with the process is being excluded for not affirming the Declaration of “unrelinquished sovereignty.” Like my father and uncle who are buried respectively at Kaneohe and Punchbowl military veterans cemeteries, we are Hawaiians who cherish and are proud of our American citizenship.

The third problem for many native Hawaiians is the total exclusion of non-Hawaiians from decisions that will affect everyone in the state. This is not only unconstitutional behavior by our state agencies OHA and the Native Hawaiian Roll, it is blatantly non-Hawaiian. Hawaiian citizenship, even before we were part of United States, was never based upon race.

The silent majority of Native Hawaiians practice inclusiveness as part of the Aloha Spirit. We seek to live by the words of the 1840 Constitution of the Hawaiian Kingdom that welcomes all, stating: “God hath made of one blood (koko) all nations of men to dwell on the earth in unity and blessedness.”

read ... Silent Majority

Lawsuit filed to invalidate rail vote

KITV: Honolulu's rail project just completed four miles of guideway construction. The price tag is soaring and there's no room for delay.

But some fear a lawsuit filed Tuesday could do just that even though lawyers say the project isn't the target.

"The lawsuit, the case, is not about rail. The lawsuit is about good government, ethical government. It is about restoring trust in the system. The process here was absolutely dirty and it was illegal and it needs to be cleaned up," said Bridget Morgan of the law firm Dang and Bickerton....

"We don't believe we need a finding of wrongdoing by the ethics commission to make this request for relief in a court of law, said Morgan.

She believes the city charter is clear on the issue.

"We have an intermediate court of appeals case that says any disclosure that is not made basically renders that vote invalid," Morgan said.

Kawananakoa's attorneys haven't yet filed for a TRO. They say that would depend on what the Honolulu City Council does and while there is not a meeting set. The soonest that could happen is September 15.

Council Chair Ernie Martin issued this statement late today:

"I intend to gauge the Council's willingness to consider a re-vote of those disputed measures. But it must also be said that the city's attorneys have found no legal basis for a re-vote."

Kawananakoa's lawyers have a list of 11 votes they think should be declared null and void, but they add there could be at least 100 more bills and resolutions called into question.

read ... Lawsuit

HGEA helps Coach Get Away with Millions from UH

SA: ...The ex-UH basketball coach filed a motion Tuesday morning to dismiss the university’s lawsuit against him, according to his attorneys, on the grounds that the oft-heated dispute between the parties must be resolved through the union grievance process.

UH’s lawsuit, filed June 30 in Circuit Court, seeks punitive damages against Arnold — and seeks to have Arnold’s $1.4 million grievance against the university be ruled unenforceable — by showing that Arnold breached areas of his 2011 contract.

Notably, UH raised the issue of more than $2,000 it says Arnold never paid back to the university as expenses from a 2012 team road trip....

UH coaches are members of the HGEA. Bickerton and Tannenbaum maintain “that UH is well aware that its dispute with a public employee union member cannot be resolved by a lawsuit.”

Arnold’s attorneys claim that the lawsuit, if allowed to see trial, would set a bad precedent that other public employees in the state would become fearful of filing grievances.

read ... Workers of the World Unite!

Lawsuit:  How Ciber Bought Abercrombie

CB: ...In early August 2013, according to the lawsuit, DOT Deputy Director Jade Butay warned the company that if its new software was unable to pass its next test, the state would consider terminating the contract. When the test was done, the system again failed, and Butay then wrote to the company, demanding a detailed work plan be submitted within 10 days.

But instead of producing the plan, the company turned to Radcliffe, who used his ties to the Abercrombie administration and the governor’s chief of staff, Bruce Coppa, to his advantage.

Soon after John Radcliffe began lobbying the governor’s staff on Ciber’s behalf, Butay was transferred to the Labor Department. He was replaced with another political appointee, Audrey Hidano, who had no experience in information technology and “little if any experience transportation financial management, budgeting, or account,” the lawsuit alleges.

Hidano allegedly repeatedly told DOT staff and the department’s other consultants that the Governor’s Office supported keeping Ciber on the job despite its failures to produce a working system.

Several months later, when the director of transportation again pressed for specifics from Ciber, the company responded that the director “may be unaware of how this project is currently being run,” and suggested he contract Coppa for updated instructions.

Just months later, Capital Consultants named Coppa executive vice president and partner.

The implication, although not supported with details, is that with prodding from Radcliffe, the governor’s office simply took over administration of the contract and took DOT administrators out of the loop.

And then, in February 2014, Gov. Neil Abercrombie requested an additional $3.3 million in special funds for the project without consulting with DOT administrators, and Ciber quickly sought to tap into the new funding....

read ... Lawsuit Exposes Blind Spot in Hawaii Lobbyist Law

NextEra Opponents 'Represent Mainland Interests'--Want high electric rates

PBN: ... “You actually have very few participants in the proceeding, whose focus is on what is right for Hawaii as a whole,” Gleason said. “I think you have a lot of participants who are focused on a narrower subset of issues, including in many cases, their own private commercial interests. These are some of the loudest participants.”

Nor, as NextEra's sees it, are all these voices opposing the sale entirely local.

“I don’t actually think that’s the case,” Gleason said. “If you look where many of the intervenors come from, they represent Mainland interests.”

One example is The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC), a Mainland trade organization representing seven Mainland-based solar providers. One member is Elon Musk's SolarCity, a publicly traded company valued at $3.1 billion, and which owns two of the other members, Silevo and ZEP Solar. "Our profits are regulated and limited," says Gleason, "Theirs are not, and they do better in an environment with high electricity rates."

There’s also a couple of things that are unusual about the current regulatory process that’s taking place, he said, noting that one is the number of intervenors. The number isn't just setting a local record—it's highly unusual number on a national level.

For example, back in 2010, when looking at all of the mergers filed in North America, few come close to the amount of the case involving NextEra Energy and Hawaiian Electric, according to Gleason.

“The other thing that’s unusual is how long it is going to take,” he said. “The average across all jurisdictions is nine months. The average in Hawaii was nine moths. This is going to be somewhere between 15 and 18 months.”....

IM: Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG): A Hawai`i Bridge to Somewhere

read ... Variety of views absent in regulatory review of NextEra-HECO sale, exec says

Track record makes county poor choice to run utility

MN: Can you imagine Maui County owning and operating the electric company, as suggested by Maui Tomorrow Foundation? The county has shown what a good job it can do running our third-world parks with overflowing garbage cans, pathetic restroom facilities, pools closed for years due to repair problems, and missed garbage pickups due to staffing problems - or operating a sewer system that stinks up the entrance to Ka'anapali Resort and Honokowai, and has for decades. When our electricity goes out, we can call the same people that take months or even years to issue permits.

read ... Track Record

Maui Wind Farm Wants to Kill More Bats, Nene

SA: ...SunEdison Inc., owner of two wind farms on Maui, wants the government to increase the number of endangered Hawaiian hoary bats its turbines are allowed to kill.

SunEdison said it has confirmed three bat fatalities at the second of its two wind farms since it began operations in 2012. It is allowed to kill 14 bats over the 20-year life span of the second wind farm, which has 14 turbines. The company wants to be permitted to kill 80 bats.

After hours of deliberation at the state Capitol, the Endangered Species Recovery Committee decided Monday to let SunEdison move forward with the plan to kill more hoary bats. Final approval will be determined by the U.S. Division of Forestry and Wildlife, which voiced concern over the deaths.

“It is getting to be alarmingly high. I am really concerned about that,” said Scott Fretz, Maui branch manager for the Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

The opeapea — or Hawaiian hoary bat — became the official state land mammal in April.

SunEdison is also looking to increase the number of nene, or Hawaiian geese, it kills. Currently the Kaheawa Wind Power II turbines can kill up to 30 of the official state birds, including adults, fledglings, goslings and eggs, over the 20-year permit term. The company hopes to increase that to 48....

read ... Mass Murder

Eight arrested on Mauna Kea

HTH: This is the second law enforcement action on Mauna Kea, since the enactment of the 120-day-long emergency rule.... During an earlier round of enforcement on July 31, 2015, six people received citations and seven people were arrested.

Arrested were: Bronson Kobayashi, 23, of Hilo; Sandy Kamaka, 46, of Kailua-Kona; Hawane Rios, 26, of Waimea; Jennifer Leinaala Sleightholm, 41, of Waikoloa; Shanell Subica, 43, of Kailua-Kona; Kuuipo Freitas, 26, of Kona; Patricia Ikeda, 65, of Captain Cook; and Ruth Aloua-26, of Kailua-Kona.

Bail for Kobayashi was set at $1000 because he is a repeat offender of the emergency rule, the Department of Land and Natural Resources said in a statement. Bail for all others, including three arrested on the mountain before the rule was signed into law, Sleightholm, Freitas and Aloua, was set at $250....

SA: Video of Arrests

read ... Eight Arrested

Heat emergency! A thousand portable A/C units sought for Hawaii's public schools

PBN: The Hawaii Department of Education is seeking to purchase 1,000 portable air conditioner units on short delivery notice to address its short-term crisis in trying to alleviate heat problems in its classrooms across the state, according to public documents.

The problem has become so severe that the DOE’s Office of Fiscal Services has sent in a request and notice of exemption for procurement for the portable A/C units in excess of 10,000 British Thermal Units or BTUs....

KGI: 100 degrees of learning

read ... 1000 Portable ACs

Kakaako Sweep Pushes 11 More Homeless into Shelters

HNN: According to state officials, a family of six and five individuals chose to board a city bus headed for the Lighthouse Outreach shelter in Waipahu....  (Which still has lots of empty beds.)

read ... Sweeps

Kakaako Homeless "Like What They're Doing"

KHON: ...Nicolas, however, says not everyone wants to leave. “I don’t think a lot of these people want help from what I have gathered. From observing here, it’s that some people just like what they are doing. They don’t want to do anything, it seems,” he said.

Connie Mitchell, Institute for Human Services executive director, says she’s seen this happen before.

“I think there are people that live there and feel that many of their needs have been met since they have been there, so they don’t really want to do something different,” she said....

read ... Staying on the Street

Homeless: We Resist Sweeps Because We Want You to Give Us Cash Instead

SA: "So much money spent on police, outreach programs and temporary shelters instead of direct income and permanent housing for homeless people. It’s outrageous. There are some who will resist the sweeps for this reason."

read ... Predators, Not Victims

Sand Island homeless facility to be ready by Dec 18th

KITV: 18 of the 25 containers are ready to be renovated, stacked up at Container Storage Company of Hawaii.

The company was awarded the nearly $525,000 contract but need the money to go through before making these containers livable.

When it's complete, the shelter will have room for 83 people....

The city plans to have all 25 containers ready for move-in by December 18th....

read ... Sand Island

Pure Anti-GMO Hypocrisy

KE: ...This morning I met Dr. Kevin Folta, chairman of the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida. He'd had an unpleasant weekend, having been featured in a front-page, top-of-the-fold, Sunday New York Times article headlined “Food Industry Enlisted Academics in G.M.O. Lobbying War, Emails Show.”

In its typical hypocritical fashion, the anti-GMO crowd was quick to seize on the report that Monsanto had given Folta a $25,000 grant for his science education outreach program. Using social media, they generated numerous unflattering memes challenging Folta's credibility, including an image of him with Pinocchio's nose.

But they totally ignored the article's report on Charles M. Benbrook, who until recently held a post at Washington State University. As The Times reported:

The organic foods industry funded his research there and paid for his trips to Washington, where he helped lobby for labels on foods with genetically modified ingredients.

Mmm, isn't having your research fully funded, and engaging in active political lobbying, a bit more damning than receiving an unrestricted — as in no strings attached — grant for science education?

But in any case, does getting money from a corporation necessarily mean you no longer can think or act independently? Shouldn't we consider the work product, and not just the funding source? Look at NPR and PBS. Both are respected news sources, yet they take money from a wide range of corporate sponsors, including the Koch Brothers.....

read ... Musings: Pure Money

Activists Demand McKinkley HS be Renamed

CB: A few months ago, I created a petition to restore Oahu’s President William McKinley High School to one of its original names, Honolulu High School. In 1865, the school, much smaller at the time, was established as Fort Street English Day School and then renamed as Honolulu School in 1895. In 1907, it was again renamed to honor the 25th president of the United States, William McKinley, because, according to the school’s website, his “influence helped to bring about the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands to the United States.”

read ... Rename

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