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Tuesday, September 15, 2015
September 15, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:40 PM :: 3916 Views

Video: Why are there so few doctors in Hawaii?

Planned Parenthood Baby Parts: “Everything we provide is fresh”

Illegal Immigration Demographics in Hawaii

ACLU Scores Big Wins for Panhandlers and Potheads

Recession Recovery? Honolulu Ranks 59th

Livable? Honolulu 37th

Sexually Active High Schoolers Without Birth Control—Hawaii Ranks 7th

Study: Hawaii #1 in Hedonism and Depression

GOP Boots HIRA Leader

Schatz Backs NextEra After Receiving Campaign Cash

SA: U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz said he wants the state Public Utilities Commission to focus on NextEra Energy Inc.’s renewable energy and cost-cutting capabilities when deciding whether the Florida-company is fit to purchase Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc.

Schatz, in an interview with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Monday, said the PUC commissioners should not get distracted by other issues.

“I really think the PUC has to be laser-focused on reducing costs and increasing the penetration of renewable energy,” Schatz said. “Everything else is a distraction, and that is how the PUC ought to evaluate this.” ... (Translation: "I support NextEra.")

Schatz has been the beneficiary of NextEra, HEI and Hawaii Gas political contributions.

In the 2014 election cycle, NextEra Energy contributed $10,000 to Schatz’s campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. From 2013 through July 2015, Schatz received at least $26,350 from Hawaii Gas’ political action committees or individuals connected with the utility. During that same period, Schatz was given at least $25,950 from HEI’s PACs or individuals connected with HEI.

read ... Bought n Paid For

Sen DelaCruz Comes up with Cool New Way to Score NextEra Money Without Reporting it

ILind: NextEra Energy recently disclosed the list of consultants it has retained as part of its bid to take over Hawaiian Electric Industries (Honolulu Star-Advertiser, “NextEra spends on firms to help it purchase HEI“).

The full list of consultants is contained in a document filed in the ongoing review of the proposed merger by the Public Utilities Commission. There are no details of the type of work performed, and the list is full of abbreviated names and corporate acronyms that make tracking relationships tedious.

The Star-Advertiser did note that one of the consultants is tied to State Senator Donovan Dela Cruz.

As of July 31, NextEra Energy has paid several local law firms, communications agencies and consulting agencies, one of which is tied to a state politician.

DTL HAWAII, a strategy studio where state Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz (D, Mililani Mauka-Waipio Acres-Wheeler) is the vice president for communications, received $84,000 from NextEra.

This is interesting because it demonstrates more gaps in the financial disclosure requirements of the state ethics law.

Dela Cruz filed his 2015 annual financial disclosure at the end of January. It reported no changes in employment from 2014, when he had reported earning $25,000 to $50,000 as “director of communications” for WCIT Architecture.

A check of state business registration records shows that DTL is a limited liability company, with a business purpose of “culturally based strategic planning, community outreach and branding.” WCIT Architecture, and a WCIT officer, Adam Wong, are listed as managers of DTL LLC. So it appears that DTL is essentially a subsidiary or sister company of WCIT....

PBN: Failure not an option for Hawaii's energy industry, NextEra exec says

read ... Who said these guys were stupid?

NextEra Burns $21M Buying Favor in Hawaii

SA: NextEra Energy Inc. has spent more than $21 million on advisers and consultants as the Florida-based energy company works to buy Hawaii’s largest electric utility for $4.3 billion.

NextEra and Hawaiian Electric Industries submitted a list of the consultants, advisers and other third parties the companies have paid to help with the sale in a filing with the Public Utilities Commission, the regulatory agency reviewing the sale....

DTL HAWAII, a strategy studio where state Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz (D, Mililani Mauka-Waipio Acres-Wheeler) is the vice president for communications, received $84,000 from NextEra.

Honolulu-based Bennet Group Strategic Communications, headed by Joan Bennet, was paid$230,000. NextEra paid Honolulu-based Anthology Marketing Group $2,000.

The company also listed Kaimana Hila, a consulting firm owned by Jennifer Sabas, former chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye. Sabas was hired by NextEra in June. The report listed its payment to Kaimana as between $0 and $500.

The University of Hawaii, Maui Economic Development and Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber Foundation also are named, earning $20,000, $15,000 and $8,000, respectively.

NEXTERA PAID Concentric Energy Advisors $513,000. John Reed, chairman and chief executive officer of Concentric Energy Advisors, was one of the key witnesses in NextEra’s rebuttal filing along with Hawaiian Electric Co. CEO Alan Oshima and NextEra Energy Hawaii President Eric Gleason.NextEra paid $832,000 to Morihara Lau & Fong, a Honolulu-based law firm that specializes in public utility regulation, environmental natural resource issues and water rights.

NextEra paid New York-based law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz $6.65 million, Blackstone Holdings $1 million and New York-based communications firm Joele Frank $1.1 million.

PDF: Response to TASC Information requests

read ... NextEra spends on firms to help it purchase HEI

Hawaii employers share a heavy burden of rising health care costs, study shows

PBN: Hawaii’s insurance premiums are on the rise, and it’s due to a combination of circumstance and new federal regulations, according to a new report by the Hawaii Health Information Corp....

Hawaii premiums for small businesses have raised an average of 7 percent a year since 2003, according to HHIC....

But due to the Hawaii law’s employee-employer cost share structure, along with rising health care costs and new Affordable Care Act related fees, Hawaii employers’ contribution to employer-based healthcare coverage has increased by more than 3,000 percent since 1974....

Hawaii Medical Service Association premiums have increased about 7.2 percent each year on average since 2003, and Kaiser Permanente Hawaii premiums have increased an average of 7.8 percent.

Fees associated with the new federal health care law, the Affordable Care Act, were to account for 4 percent of the 9 percent increase in insurance premiums for HMSA, according to the report. HMSA paid approximately $39 million in ACA-related fees in 2014.

The majority of fees are directly passed on to consumers....

read ... Thanks, Obama

First World Anti-GMO Activists Can't Face Third World Realities

KE: ...when some of the international students and Global Fellows spoke up. One student from China told of how she'd seen people starving before she left home, villagers desperate for something, anything, to eat, and asked how Westerners could quibble about labeling while her countrymen perished from lack of food. A Fellow from Africa wondered how Westerners could advocate keeping biotechnology on the shelf while the people of Africa struggled to ease poverty and hunger.

They weren't questions and perspectives that Western progressives and greenies are typically forced to face, or even consider.

But to me they underscored the reality that the anti-GMO campaign is predominantly a movement of well-fed white people who have no real understanding of the ramifications of their actions. Because if they did understand, how could they morally continue?

read ... Musings: Well-Fed White Folks

Intelligent people to Discuss What to do with Anti-GMO Idiots

WHT: As lawyers defending Hawaii County’s ordinance regulating genetically modified crops work toward an Oct. 1 deadline to file their final brief, a key attorney challenging the new law is scheduled to speak about the issue at a national gathering today in Kailua-Kona.

Former Hawaii Attorney General Margery Bronster, now representing a coalition of agricultural producers suing three Hawaii counties, is scheduled to speak at the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture’s annual meeting, being held this year at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay. The conference, which started Sunday and runs through Wednesday, is hosted by NASDA President and Hawaii Chairman of Agriculture Scott Enright....

Bronster is scheduled to address the group at 10:45 a.m. today on “Local Jurisdictional Challenges Facing Agriculture.” ...

Those “jurisdictional challenges” are at the heart of lawsuits biotechnology and agricultural interests have filed against Maui, Kauai and Hawaii counties....

CB: National Ag Meeting in Hawaii

read ... Wisdom

Common anti-GMO Narcissists

KE: ...As I've noted repeatedly, the guy is totally devoid of any introspection.

In a previous post bashing Margery, Gary repeats again one of his most bold-faced lies:

[T]he largest chemical companies in the world are suing Kauai County for the right to spray poisonous chemicals next to schools, hospitals and homes.  The court action also prevents Kauai residents from knowing exactly what chemicals are being used in their neighborhoods (disclosure).

Now Gary knows darn well that none of the companies are spraying poisons next to schools, hospitals and homes. He also knows they're disclosing their restricted pesticide use to the general public and to nearby residents. What's more, the companies have voluntarily imposed the buffer zones his bill sought.

So why does Gary Hooser keep lying? Is he afraid the money will stop flowing to his causes if he tells people the truth?

What really bugs Gary is that agriculture in Hawaii, and elsewhere, is chugging along without him or the equally misinformed and irrelevant Babes Against Biotech, which is planning a protest — yawn — at the meeting today....

read ... Musings: Common Narcissism

Global Warmers Try to Have it Both Ways

Borreca: ...Chip Fletcher, associate dean at University of Hawaii’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, cautions that there is no direct correlation between the recent high rain and resulting flooding and the mounting effects of global warming, but adds that this is something to watch.

“We are in the midst of the fourth most powerful El Nino on record, we have had a record number of tropical cyclones this year, and more importantly, there is just more water falling out of the sky than any gutter or drainage system can handle,” said Fletcher in an interview last week....

Wisdom, if you can handle it: Sea Level Rise? Nonsense, Oahu is Rising From the Sea for Next 1.5M Years

read ... Some Silly Nonsense

Anti-Telescope Ahu Knocked Down Last Month Nobody Noticed til Now

HNN: An 'ahu or altar that was built along the Mauna Kea summit road has been bulldozed by a Mauna Kea Support Services (MKSS) employee. MKSS is a service organization that operates under the direction of the Office of Mauna Kea Management, but officials say the employee was not specifically authorized or asked to remove the structure.

Officials say the employee bulldozed the 'ahu to gain access to a pile of rocks and gravel needed to shore up a potentially eroding road following heavy rainfall on the mountain sometime before August 25, though they don't have an exact date.

read ... Before August 25

College graduation rates in Hawaii fall behind national average

HNN: A new White House website shows only 11 percent of students at University of Hawaii's Maui College graduate. The College Scorecard shows low graduation rates at all seven community colleges in the UH system.  Kauai Community College is one of the highest at only 22 percent.

"It does raise some concerns about the fact that the graduation rates are between a quarter to a half of the national average," said Rep. Linda Ichiyama, vice chair of the state House Higher Education Committee.

"We do not find the numbers acceptable," UH vice president of community colleges John Morton said.

read ... Scorecard

State crews resume cleanup of homeless encampments

HNN:  Sheriffs accompanied crews with the Department of Transportation’s Highway Maintenance Division to help keep the peace as trespassers were asked to leave the homeless encampments under the overpass of the H-1 Freeway near the Airport Viaduct Monday morning.

“It could take our crews a couple of days there,” said Department of Transportation spokesman, Tim Sakahara, who indicated that the cleanup effort is a continuation of the August sweeps that only got started in once in Kapahulu then were put on hold due to bad weather and the need to re-coordinate DOT efforts with the governor’s new homeless task force and homeless coordinator, Scott Morishige.

Dozens of bags of trash and debris were littered in and around the overpass area as a handful of homeless individuals, some with dogs, walked out of the area.

Sakahara said it's hard work for the cleanup crews who have to deal with needles, disease and other safety issues....

read ... Cleanup

Honolulu Police Officer Sued For Killing Mentally Ill Man

CB: ...Victor Rivera, 43, was shot by police in his backyard Dec. 14, 2013. He had been diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2010.

Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha told the media at the time of the shooting that Rivera had threatened responding officers with a 12-foot-long metal pole used to pick mangoes. The pole, Kealoha said, had a 6-inch blade on its tip.

The dead man’s brother, Randy Rivera, filed a lawsuit in federal court last week that states it was the police who escalated the situation....

PDF: Victor Rivera lawsuit

read ... Mentally Ill

Dope Activist Busted for Selling Drugs (again)

KITV: Is Michael Ruggles a big-time Big Island drug dealer or a Hawaii businessman helping people get their prescribed medicine?

According to police, Ruggles is a drug dealer caught with 134 marijuana plants and 50 pounds of dried pot.

In July, Ruggles explained to Big Island Video News the cannabis is not his but part of the Alternative Pain Management Puuhonua Collective for those who have prescribed medical marijuana.

(Attention geniuses: This is what will happen to the competition after the oligopoly marijuana dispensaries are established.  This is just a preview.)

This is not the only legal action Ruggles has been involved in.  He and other residents sued Hawaii County so it would enforce a 2008 voter-approved ballot initiative.  The initiative made personal use of marijuana by adults on private property the lowest law enforcement priority for the county.  This summer, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled against the lawsuit stating state law pre-empts any county initiative.

read ... Drug Dealer

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