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Wednesday, September 16, 2015
September 16, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:26 PM :: 3424 Views

DoE Releases First Common Core Test Results

Full Text: Hawaii AG Supports Vermont GMO Labeling Law

Study: Hawaii Ranks 4th in Safer Sex

Increased marijuana, heroin use contribute to highest reported illicit drug use in more than a decade

Conference to discuss development opportunities, environmental issues along rail line

Hawaii Hits Residents with Wave of New Bans

NextEra? Iwase Laughs in Schatz' Face

SA: Randy Iwase, chairman of the state Public Utilities Commission, said Tuesday recent statements from politicians — including Gov. David Ige and U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz — will not affect his decision on whether to approve NextEra Energy Inc.’s purchase of Hawaiian Electric Industries.

In an interview with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser,Iwase also said the commission’s decision on the$4.3 billion proposed sale of the state’s largest electrical utility could come later than the June target date he previously mentioned.

Iwase made the comments one day after Schatz said he wants the PUC to focus on NextEra’s renewable energy and cost-cutting capabilities when deciding whether the Florida company is fit to purchase HEI.

“At least for me, maybe because I have been in the political system for a long time — and I’m old and bald — I feel no pressure whatsoever” from politicians, Iwase said.

Schatz also said Monday he was concerned the HEI sale could divert attention from other important issues awaiting decisions from the PUC.

I kind of chuckled when I read what the senator said,” Iwase said, adding that the PUC staff is capable of multitasking. “We’re ambidextrous. We can do (several) things at once. So there should be no worries.”

The PUC’s is the final approval needed for NextEra to purchase HEI. The purchase has been approved by HEI shareholders and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

read ... Schatz is a joke, so laugh

Higher Costs and More Delays on the Way for Honolulu Rail

CB: Honolulu will likely have to push back the opening of its full 20-mile commuter rail line by at least a year due construction delays and changes in how the project will be built.

The elevated rail line could also cost up to $200 million more than currently projected, which would push its growing shortfall to more than $1 billion.

Officials from the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation revealed those details in a Monday letter to Mayor Kirk Caldwell and City Council Chairman Ernie Martin that provided an update on the $6 billion rail project....

The Legislature approved a five-year extension of a 0.5 percent general excise tax surcharge this year to help cover the project’s current shortfall. Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed the extension into law in July.

Now it’s up to Honolulu City Council members to approve the surcharge, which Martin has said won’t be easy.

read ... Higher Costs

Yet Another Fundraiser for Caldwell

CB: It’s the Honolulu mayor’s 26th campaign cash grab since his 2012 election. 

In the most recent filings with the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission, the mayor had a war chest that was three times larger than Ernie Martin, the Honolulu City Council chairman who is reported to be mulling a mayoral campaign … sometime.

Martin’s District 2 seat, which includes Mililani Mauka, Wahiawa, Mokuleia, Haleiwa, Pupukea, Kahuku, Laie, Punaluu, Kaaawa and Kahaluu, is not up until 2018.

read ... Mo Money

OHA Flunkey Running for Aha from Kauai--Guaranteed vote for Federal Recognition

KGI: Kanani Kagawa Fu attended and later worked for Kamehameha Schools before becoming a community resource coordinator for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. In 2012, she made an unsuccessful bid for the Kauai seat on the OHA Board of Trustees in a crowded race against 10 other candidates. Today, she works for Kauai County as the assistant to the housing director.

Despite the lack of consensus on how Hawaiian self-governance should be achieved, Kagawa Fu said the upcoming election could help bring the native community closer together (being suckered into creating a fake Indian tribe.)...

Mauna Kea Trask said he seriously considered but ultimately decided against throwing his hat in the ring to be in the running for one of the Garden Isle’s two delegate seats .... (How did he know who was running?????)

Since deciding not to seek a delegate seat, Trask said he will focus his energy on throwing his support behind those who do.

One of those potential candidates Trask said he will support is Kanani Kagawa Fu.

read ... Indian tribe

Hawaii's Phony '100% Renewable' Law could allow the use of up to 50 percent fossil fuels three decades from now

CB: The state would actually meet its goal if half of the amount of electricity Hawaii consumed came from rooftop solar and the other half came from oil-burning power plants.

That doesn’t sound like “100 percent renewable energy,” but it would be under the law.

read ... 50% Phony

NextEra Holding on for $90M?

UD: “Many observers in Hawaii say the sentiment for a public option is so strong that the only thing keeping NextEra from pulling its offer for Hawaii’s electric utilities is a $90 million penalty for withdrawal before next spring. If it backs out at that time or if regulators reject the deal, ‘Hawaii will go after public options aggressively,’” asserted Jim Lazar.

IM: Commission ruling on HECO-NextEra deal may be delayed

read ... IOU, co-op or muni?

Bloody Windmills not so ‘clean’

SA: The notion of increasing SunEdison’s “bag limit” for Hawaiian hoary bats and nene is completely misguided (“Maui wind farm owner wants higher limit on bat, nene kills,” Star-Advertiser, Sept. 9). The goal should instead be zero deaths.

Rather than fining SunEdison for incidental deaths of animals, I propose that we not condone the deaths in the first place.

Let’s add Hawaii’s endangered, beloved animals to our desecration discussions. We have extinguished enough endemic species....

No one can call wind power “clean energy,” if it entails the killing of our precious birds, bats or other Hawaiian animals.

If SunEdison cannot generate wind power without sacrificing lives, I do not want its bloody wind power.

read ... Not Clean

Anti-sugar-farming views represent effort to instill fear in community

MN: ...One of the reasons HC&S and its parent company, Alexander & Baldwin, have hung on for so long is precisely because they know what's at stake. For 145 years they have taken great pains to chart a course for its land and those who farm it. If A&B didn't care, would it invest millions of dollars to research possible replacement crops, alternative harvesting methods and value-added uses for the cane plant? Would they seek out products that could enable a productive agricultural operation to continue to provide good-paying jobs?

A&B has a track record that belies the claims of Chun and Edwards. The company demonstrated its commitment to maintaining Hawaii's ag lands when it invested tens of millions of dollars on Kauai to develop a new business model for the McBryde Sugar Co. and convert it from farming sugar to growing coffee. While the HC&S land, with its 40-plus microclimates and rough terrain, is not suitable for a single replacement crop, A&B continues to search for a portfolio of ag products that will allow it to do the same on Maui.

What the anti-sugar-farming piece by Chun and Edwards represents is yet another effort to instill fear in the community, one more attempt to manipulate public opinion through emotions instead of facts and appeals to reason.

Their claim about studies supposedly showing health issues related to cane burning is, in fact, false. Actual research conducted by reputable organizations, including the EPA, the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institute of Occupational Safety, specifically, firmly rebuts this assertion and clearly concludes that the harvesting practice does not pose a health risk.

For a decade Karen Chun's goal has been the destruction of HC&S. She and her fellow litigants suing the state and the plantation don't care about the workers or the other casualties they will leave behind.

Related: Anti-Cane Burning Activists: We are Planning A&B's Future

read ... Fear

Will Anti-GMO Lunatics Make Hawaii a Model for the rest of USA?

HTH: The local anti-GMO legislation has been struck down, but the judges’ decisions against home rule over GMOs are now being appealed in the Ninth Circuit in the case of Kauai and the Big Island.

“The state is responsible for assuring there is diversified agriculture,” Bronster said.

And that diversity includes large producers of GMO crops, she said. When the counties passed their bans and moratoriums, voices were loud but discussion was minimal, said Bronster, who contended to the room full of agricultural interests from around the nation that more meaningful, science-based dialogue is needed.

“People were loud and rude: the level of discourse was very low,” she said....

In an interview, Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille said ... “She is saying things need to be science-based. Whose science?” ...

Bronster said the push by Hawaii’s counties is the tip of the iceberg, with GMO opponents around the nation poised to increasingly taking the fight to the local level.

“Think of the problems in states with hundreds of local jurisdictions,” she said. “State regulators could be faced with hundreds of different regulations.”

That’s enough to make the association’s members sit up and take notice, said Scott Enright, who is both the president of NASDA and chairman of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. Rather than a balanced discussion of an issue they were already familiar within their home jurisdictions, the association’s secretaries, directors and commissioners were seeking specific information about the Hawaii cases, Enright said.

That’s because the cases could set a precedent for how things are handled in their own counties and municipalities, he said....

The county’s lawyers are gearing up with final briefs in their appeal of the Nov. 27 decision by U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren that state law pre-empts the county’s ban.

MN: When reality isn’t enough

read ... Science vs Ignorance

Caldwell Admin Still Can't Get Sewage Spill Story Right

KHON: Nearly a month after a sewage spill forced the shutdown of Ala Moana Beach, the city is once again telling us that it got the numbers wrong.

The city initially reported that more than 500,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled after heavy rains on Aug. 24.

Two days later, the city said much of the spill was extracted, so only 129,000 gallons spilled into the ocean.

But an official report sent to the state Department of Health shows that out of more than 587,000 gallons that spilled, 125,000 gallons were recovered. So more than 462,000 gallons went in the storm drains, which is more than three times the city’s estimate.

PDF: Read the report in its entirety here.

read ... Caldwell's Mess

Sit-Lie Pushes 246 Bums to Finally Accept Shelter

SA: Sit-lie and other enforcement tools, including the stored-property ordinance, may be blunt instruments. But for now, they are necessary to enforce basic community standards of health and safety.

The city can point to some successes. After the Waikiki sit-li e ban was passed, some 246 people either found shelter or relocated to the mainland as of Aug. 31, according to Institute for Human Services spokesman Kimo Carvalho.

In Downtown-Chinatown, residents and merchants have noticed, to their relief, a significant decrease in the number of homeless people on the sidewalks and in front of businesses.

HNN : City Parks crack down Results in More Enforcement than Sit-Lie

read ... Apply More Force 

Lawyers, Civil Rights Commission Unveil Groovy New Plan to Sue Homeless Shelters

CB: ...The Institute for Human Services was the first homeless shelter that Rodrigues remembers calling in 2012 when she realized that she might be evicted.

According to a questionnaire Rodrigues later filed with the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, the IHS representative told her that she needed to pass an admissions test in order to stay there. The test involved being able to get on the floor and up again without assistance.

Rodrigues told the representative that would be impossible due to her severe arthritis and Meniere’s disease, an inner ear disorder that causes vertigo. But Rodrigues says she was told she needed to be able to pass the admissions test to be admitted, even after she offered to bring a cot to sleep on.

It was the first of many rejections during the year before Rodrigues was finally forced to move out of her Waikiki apartment....

Nearly a fourth of Hawaii’s homeless population is made up of people like Rodrigues who have permanent physical disabilities that limit their mobility, according to data from PHOCUSED.  (PHOCUSED vs IHS, again.  Get it?)

But disability discrimination cases in housing are on the rise, and some homeless shelters aren’t willing or able to serve people with severe physical disabilities.

Rodrigues felt the so-called “mattress test” requirement was wrong: after calling IHS three more times in an effort to get shelter, she filled out a pre-complaint questionnaire against the shelter in December 2012 contending that the organization violated the federal Fair Housing Act, which bars shelters from denying housing on the basis of disability. The Civil Rights Commission opened an investigation in April 2013.

That was two years ago. In July, the case was finally settled.....  Rodrigues, now 63, lives in an apartment in a senior housing complex in Wahiawa....

Mitchell said that she invited Rodrigues into the shelter as soon as she heard about the Civil Rights Commission case but Rodrigues never came.

Mitchell also insisted that the shelter does not have a so-called “mattress test,” but rather requires people who stay there to be able to be independent, even if they’re in wheelchairs....

Still, as recently as May 18, the Legal Aid Society’s Fair Housing Testing Program (working day and night to keep the homeless homeless) had a volunteer tester call IHS to ask if he could enter the men’s shelter. He told the staff person that he was homeless, disabled and used a walker. He also told the staff person he needed a bed because of his disability, but was told that in order to stay at IHS, all residents must be able to get up off the floor without assistance.

A similar requirement is in place at the Lighthouse Outreach Center (Another target!), a much smaller nonprofit organization in Waipahu that serves up to 85 people. The shelter’s program director, Bill Hummel, says it’s a question of limited staff and funding....

CB: Taking food and supplies to the homeless encampment in urban Honolulu to help them stay on the street

read ... Lawyers Help Keep the Homeless on the Streets

State IDs New Oceanfront Homeless Shelter Site

SA:  A state-owned industrial property next to the Pier 38 Honolulu Fishing Village on Nimitz Highway is being eyed as the site for a state transitional homeless shelter, state homeless services coordinator Scott Morishige told the Honolulu City Council on Tuesday.

“This site is in close proximity to social services,schools and places of employment, and it does have the infrastructure for electric and water hookup,”Morishige said of the property, which is next to the mouth of Kapalama Canal. “So we’re currently looking to see if we can place five portable trailers that have been identified on this site to be converted to shelter.”

The walled property is also ideal because “it is central to both the Kakaako and the Kapalama Canal communities, so it would be a place that families in those areas can go to.” ...

Several Council members also questioned why the Ige administration has not yet declared a state of emergency to help deal with the homeless crisis.

Morishige said an emergency declaration is among several options that state officials are contemplating.

In related news, the administration announced that a contractor began pouring foundations Tuesday in preparation for the installation of a fence to be placed along the sides of Kapalama Canal....

Area Councilman Joey Manahan, who has been working to remove a growing homeless encampment at Kapalama Canal, told the Star-Advertiser that the site identified by Morishige would not be Manahan’s first preference for a homeless services center.

“Hopefully, the city and the state can exhaust the possibility of Hilo Hattie as a potential site before committing to other sites in the district,” Manahan said.

Manahan and Council Chairman Ernie Martin have lobbied heavily for the Hilo Hattie site, which is up for sale.

Officials with Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration said they worry about the monthly costs tied to the site but agreed to look at the suggestion further.

read ... Three Oceanfront Hawaii Homeless Shelters

Employee: State Hospital downplayed assault by violent patient

HNN: A veteran State Hospital employee said he was attacked by a patient late last year and the state tried to cover-up the severity of the attack, a charge the state denied Tuesday.

The violent mental patient suspected in this incident has also been charged with assaulting two State Hospital employees in July and August of this year. 

But Hawaii News Now is investigating two assaults allegedly by the same patient that happened on the same day just before Christmas last year.

"He lunged forward, like in a real hard force and just nailed me right in the head,” said Everett Pierce, 41, a psychiatric technician at the State Hospital.  The 13-year hospital employee described the assault he suffered when a mental patient head-butted him while he was trying to restrain him after he'd assaulted another employee at the State Hospital on December 20.

read ... Violent

Have your say on Kakaako Makai

SA: This Thursday, the American Institute of Architects, Honolulu Chapter will host a public forum on Kakaako Makai. It’s the third in a series on Kakaako urban design and public policy.

The 5-7 p.m. forum at 828 Fort Street Mall, suite 100, will be moderated by AIA Honolulu President Scott Wilson and feature Wayne Takamine, Kakaako Citizens Planning Advisory Committee chairman; Deepak Neupane, Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA) senior planner; John Whalen, HCDA board chairman; and various users of Kakaako Makai.

Make reservations at www.aiahonolulu.org. Or, a TV monitor will be set up outside so the event can be viewed from Fort Street. It will be aired on ‘Olelo’s Channel 54 at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 26, 11 a.m. Sept. 28, 2:30 p.m. Oct. 2 and 10:30 a.m. Oct. 3.

read ... Kakaako Makai

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