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Sunday, September 13, 2015
September 13, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:30 PM :: 3327 Views

FULL TEXT: Hawaii DoT v Ciber

Kahuku Windfarm Batteries Fail Before They Are Installed

New Federal Overtime Proposal Affects 45% of Salaried Hawaii Workers

Attorney Timothy Sutton Takes the Helm of Senate Minority Research

Tax Cheat Al Hee Ripped off Native Hawaiians, Could Get Boot from Hawaiian Homelands

SA: A state license awarded to businessman Albert Hee to provide telecommunications services on Hawaiian homelands requires that Hee apply some of his profits to job training and education programs for Native Hawaiians, but Hee now says his company has never actually paid out any benefits under that provision.

Hee told Hawaiian Homes Commission members last month he never provided the minimum 0.5 percent of profits from his homelands operations for education and training as required in his 1998 license agreement because his company, Sandwich Isles Communications Inc., never made a profit (because he looted all the revenues for himself, thus making the company unprofitable).

Commission members asked Hee more than a year ago for financial records to independently determine whether Sandwich Isles is profitable, but Hee said he never provided that information to the commission because he could not be sure those records would be kept confidential knew it would be bad for him.

Hawaiian Homes Commissioner William K. Richardson said in an interview last week that Hee’s claim that Sandwich Isles was never profitable is “extremely questionable given the amount of subsidy that they get” from the federal government. Federal records show Sandwich Isles has received more than $242 million in federal subsidies since 2003 to support its phone and data network that now serves about 3,600 customers on Hawaiian homelands.  ($67,222 of your tax dollars per customer when Hawaiian Tel or Oceanic could have done it for free.)

Hawaiian Homes has said it is planning a “review and assessment” of Sandwich Isles in the wake of Hee’s criminal convictions in July on seven federal tax charges, and a spokeswoman for Hawaiian Homes said the agency is now seeking “specialized legal expertise” to assist Hawaiian Home Lands with issues related to the company.

Richardson contends Hawaiian Homes should require Hee to open his books to determine if money is owed for training and education programs, and Hee told the commission he is willing to do so if the commission will assure the company’s financial information will not become public.

ILind: Sunshine?

read ... Hawaiian 'Have' exploiting Hawaiian 'Have Nots'

Rail’s changing course on design plans means up to $100M wasted funds

SA: Honolulu rail officials have spent just over $100 million in final design plans to build the second half of the island’s 20-mile transit project, but they’re not certain how much of that work they’ll ultimately use.

So it’s unclear for now how much of that money will be wasted.

That’s because the private firms that recently started competing to build the guideway and stations from Aloha Stadium into town will now have to create their own design plans — even though other firms already did most of that design work under earlier contracts.

The redundancy stems from rail officials changing course three times since the project began on how they approach design and construction.

Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation officials say the latest change, which occurred in December, will help rein in rail’s skyrocketing costs going forward. Even though the competing firms will need to come up with their own plans, they’ll also be able to incorporate at least some of the detailed design work that’s already been done and paid for, helping to drive down future costs, they add.

However, HART officials also acknowledge that it’s not clear how much of the completed designs, for which they’re already paid at least $101.2 million, might eventually be used to build the actual project.

read ... Wasted Funds

Complaints reveal the grip developers have on Council

Shapiro: ...Just how dirty the system has become is seen in a separate complaint by the Friends of Makakilo asking the Ethics Commission to roll back the Council’s unanimous approval of D.R. Horton’s 11,750-home Ho‘opili development in West Oahu because of massive campaign donations Council members received from development interests.

The group released an analysis claiming that the nine Council members received from 40 percent to 72 percent of their campaign funds in the last election cycle from parties that would benefit from Ho‘opili.

Friends President Kioni Dudley acknowledged that the donations aren’t illegal, but argued, “Council members get so much of their money from the construction community that they can never refuse them anything.”

Council members might dispute this, but the truth of it is in the fact that the Council seldom denies what developers and their construction-industry backers want.

Last week, for instance, a Circuit Court jury hit Haseko Corp. with $27 million in damages for promising Ewa Beach homebuyers a world-class marina and then changing to a less-costly lagoon after homes were bought.

As the case played out in court, the Council was moving along a rezoning bill for Haseko’s lagoon that would validate the bait-and-switch....

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

read ... Complaints

Star-Adv: Ige Shows Lack of Leadership on Mauna Kea

SA: ...strong resolve is serving the Native Hawaiian protesters well — but it is sorely lacking from Gov. David Ige's administration, and this is not in the best interests of the state of Hawaii.

The state's hesitancy undermines confidence in how staunchly it supports the proposed $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope, as well as the staffers at existing observatories atop Mauna Kea.

It's an erosion that needs shoring up, lest more damage is done to Hawaii's reputation as a place for investment and aspiration.

Some five months after an international consortium received its permit to start construction of the TMT atop Mauna Kea, things have come to a standstill before they've barely even begun.

Protesters — protectors, as they see themselves — have repeatedly and successfully blocked construction access to the summit...

For the protesters to dismiss such strides and insist on complete banishment from the mountain is simply not reasonable, and ignores the bevy of scientific advancement, educational opportunities and economic benefits from the TMT and other observatories.

Of course, looming large over this standoff is an anxiously awaited ruling by the Hawaii Supreme Court, on whether proper Land Board procedure was followed in the awarding of TMT's permit.

That stands to be significant, but it's unknown when the court will rule; further, the governor's office itself says that appeal has no bearing on Mauna Kea rule enforcement.

With so much at stake, leaving things in limbo, as it currently stands, is not leadership....

read ... Limbo

Big Q: How should the state be handling the Mauna Kea / TMT situation?

C. Full enforcement to enable construction (76%) - 1,454 votes

A. Do nothing until court rules (19%) - 357 votes

B. Status quo; periodic enforcement (5%) - 99 votes

Total Votes: 1,910

Danner Desperately Tries to Coopt Mauna Kea for Fake Indian Tribe

AJ: “It’s as if Hawaiians have reached a tipping point,” said Michelle Kauhane, president and CEO of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement. “The protectors are angry and frustrated — and rightfully so, as am I as a Hawaiian — that the management plan has not been followed, that we are building on conservation land, that we are failing this sacred place. Yet we continue to build additional telescopes. We keep accepting the next telescope and the next telescope, and there have been Hawaiian voices at the table at these hearings talking about these concerns every step of the way. But we still got to this point. We’re not being heard.” ...

Danner said Hawaiians need to work within the paradigm they’re in, which means the U.S. federal and state governments.

"We might not like how we got here, but we need to stop being angry about it and stop dwelling on it and look forward to our best future,'' she said. "The U.N. isn't coming to save us. The kingdom isn’t going to save us. Real sovereignty, exercised sovereignty and recognized sovereignty by the most powerful government on the planet is going to save us.''

"We, as native Hawaiians, must save us, and to do so, we must reach for it, reach for the best tools, not nostalgia,” she said.

Danner sees Hawaiians’ best future as one in which they can obtain the kind of dual citizenship already enjoyed by the 566 American Indian and Alaska Native tribes that have a federally recognized form of self-governance. Word that the Department of Interior will open this pathway to Hawaiians — when and if they create their own government — means they will have a chance to perpetuate their culture and well-being without having to sacrifice the benefits of U.S. citizenship.

If that were to happen, Danner said, Hawaiian interests in Mauna Kea would be treated as equally to to those of the state....

As Explained: Fake Indian Tribe Coopting Aloha `Aina March?

read ... Al Jazeera

Procedural Intrigue in HECO-NextEra Merger Deal

IM: On August 31 NextEra filed their rebuttal testimony which went far beyond what is traditionally filed in rebuttal testimony. This compelled the Commission to file Order 33116 on Friday, September 11.

“The commission has now received and reviewed the prefiled Direct Testimony of the Applicants, Answering and Direct Testimony of certain Interveners, Direct Testimonies and Exhibits of the Consumer Advocate, and Responsive Testimonies of the Applicants.

With respect to the latter, the commission observes that the Applicants have expanded and supplemented their Direct Testimony in a number of ways. Significant among these are the following:

· Applicants allege that they have added over 50 new or modified 'Transaction Commitments' to the commitments made in their original Application.

· Projected rate reduction and state economic benefits from the transaction are now alleged to be nearly $1 billion over the five years after the merger is approved.

Moreover, in their Responsive Testimonies, the Applicants have directly responded to various witnesses, including those sponsored by the Consumer Advocate.

Currently, this docket involves the Applicants, the Consumer Advocate, and twenty-nine Interveners. Given the changes in the Applicants' initial position as set forth in their Responsive Testimonies, as well as the need to manage these proceedings as efficiently and effectively as possible given the large number of parties, the commission finds it reasonable to modify the current procedural schedule.

Thus, the commission will provide the Consumer Advocate and the Interveners with the opportunity to prefile rebuttal testimony in response to the Applicants' Responsive Testimonies, and will provide the Applicants with an opportunity to prefile surrebuttal [testimony].”

While HECO and NextEra did file additional direct testimony on August 31, they do not plan on stopping there. It is their intention to file additional direct testimony in an apparent attempt to influence the outcome of the merger proceeding.

SA: State should consider Kauai’s example of how to own, manage power utility

read ... Procedural Intrigue in HECO-NextEra Merger Deal

Mainland cities tapped for homeless tips

SA: The Honolulu Star-Advertiser will spend two weeks in Seattle, San Francisco and Salt Lake City to examine what those cities are doing to tackle homelessness....

Honolulu officials are interested in how widespread support for homeless housing reform from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints helped turn Utah into a progressive model.

Lloyd Pendleton, a former LDS church official and former director of Utah’s Homeless Task Force, is considered a leading disciple of new ideas to address homelessness. He’s now in high demand as a speaker and consultant and gained celebrity status after he was featured on “The Daily Show” in January.

Utah has reduced its chronic homeless population by 72 percent since 2005 and Pendleton’s explanation to “The Daily Show” was simple: “You give them housing and you end homelessness.”

“They (Utah) do have access to units that are less expensive than ours and they don’t have a red-hot housing market,” Yang said. “But they’ve ended veteran homelessness and really helped the chronically homeless find housing.”

Yang is particularly interested in how widespread support from LDS leaders helped turn Utah into a national leader.

While Hawaii churches continue to host homeless outreach services and serve meals on Oahu, Yang said there’s much more that can be accomplished if they work together with common goals.

“The churches out here are big,” he said. “They are very important to the community. If they’re willing to partner with all of the efforts going on to find units, that would be a big step in the right direction.”

On the other side of Punchbowl Street, the state’s new homeless coordinator, Scott Morishige, is primarily focused on collecting data on homeless populations....

read ... Mainland cities tapped for homeless tips

Hawaii County Now Hiring Dopers

SA: Hawaii County will no longer require a urinalysis or medical examination from people who get conditional job offers for positions that are not considered safety sensitive and do not fall under federal transportation safety regulations.

The change in policy is the result of a settlement between the county and Rebekah Taylor-Failor, who moved to Kailua-Kona from Oregon to work as a legal clerk with the Hawaii County prosecutor.

read ... Urinalysis policy changes after lawsuit

Ewa Beach community holds ‘fan drive,’ as more ACs installed in Campbell High classrooms

KHON: ...A call went out to help supply all 150 classrooms with two fans each, but something even “cooler” happened—crews also installed air conditioners in some of the rooms.

“It’s like Christmas in September!” exclaimed Vice Principal Anthony James, holding on to a stack of donated fans.

Much-needed fan donations poured in Saturday for students at Campbell High.

Faculty say classroom conditions are currently unbearable.

“It’s probably the hottest class that I have,” said freshmen Eli Onderko, referring to a classroom in the “O Building.”

The high school’s other vice principal Shayne Greenland says the “O Building,” where science classrooms are, is one of the hottest buildings on campus with an average of 30 to 35 students, temperatures in classrooms can soar higher than 90 degrees....

While fans were donated outside, crews were installing portable air conditioners in classrooms.

It’s the DOE’s temporary fix to the problem.

“I’ve been dripping all morning,” said one worker as he installed portable A/C units to one classroom. “(But) It’s for a good cause!”...

Students in 12 classrooms will get to feel cooler air come Monday, and while they wait for more, parents are doing what they can.

“We’re part of a larger movement of concerned parents, who are now going to do what they can to alleviate the heat,” said parent Lynn Robinson-Onderko.

Fans and monetary donations are still being accepted. Anyone interested in donating can visit www.rainbowfamily808.com.

read ... Fan Drive

Another Tech Debacle: City may have to scrap costly high-tech parking meters

KHON: It’s been three years since the city started testing high-tech parking meters.

The smart parking meters are solar powered, and can accept coins, credit and debit cards. They also collect data on how much the meters are being used.

Hundreds have been installed, but problems have prompted the city to take a closer look at them.

“We installed 340 smart meters in the Chinatown district, financial district, and civic center and since we installed them we have had some challenges,” said Department of Transportation Services Director, Mike Formby.

The city started installing the smart meters in 2012 as part of a pilot project. The project costs $350,000. After a year into the project, problems started to arise.

“Well I moved because the other meter did not take my credit card at all, it wouldn’t turn on and it wouldn’t let me press any of the buttons,” said Richelle Kim who had just parked in front of one of the smart meters.

The city says they have had problems with the solar panels on the meters, batteries draining too quickly and in some cases people would put in coins and the machine would not show credit.

“They didn’t do everything they were represented to do,” said Formby....

The city says similar issues have come up in other states that are using the same smart meters

Google: Smart Parking Meters Fail

read ... Scrap Meters

Cemetery Unlicensed for 20 Years

KHON: Owner Rev. Lago Dozinn has filled the sunken graves thanks to a donation from family members. He told us there’s $197,000 in the cemetery’s Perpetual Care Trust account. He can use the interest in that account, but only after he gets his license back.

His application is currently being reviewed by the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

“We want to make sure that the person is financially sound. That means bringing your own financial bond to prove that you have the financial ability to run a cemetery,” said DCCA deputy director JoAnn Uchida Takeuchi.

We’ve learned that the license expired 20 years ago. Dozinn said he doesn’t have any money, which is why the cemetery has not been maintained.

He also said he would need to do some fundraising in order to secure a $50,000 bond required for the license.

KHON: Dozens show up to meet Pearl City cemetery owner

read ... Abandoned

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