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Wednesday, October 28, 2015
October 28, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:18 PM :: 2828 Views

Tips From An Election Lawyer For Setting Up Private Racially-Exclusive Elections, er ... "Opinion Polls"

Hawaii NAEP: Student Proficiency Drops Sharply

Sabas Hovers in Background as Political Cronies, Unions, Businesses Suddenly Back NextEra-HECO Deal

IM: ...Some things were different about this Public Listening Session than the other hearings held on Lana`i, Moloka`i, Maui, Kaua`i, and at Hilo and Kailua-Kona on the Big Island.

Among speakers, the number of supporters were almost as large as the number of opponents. Among clappers, opponents far out-numbered supporters. NextEra used their well-known skills to arrange for the majority of their speakers to speak first, so that after the first hour, the number of people who had spoken in favor, well exceeded those who were opposed. Some speakers were neutral.

Many union supporters spoke of an agreement by NextEra (which is still a secret agreement), which purportedly states that NextEra will honor existing, legally binding, labor contracts, that no employees will be laid off for two years, and that NextEra will help train future employees. Construction unions supported the deal. Representatives of other unions listened but took no position.

Kai Hoohuli, representing Hawaii Regional Council of Carpenters, spoke in favor. Tek Yoon addressed the union issue. He told the Commission, “Don’t let their fear bother you.”

Several businesses also spoke in favor. The President of DTL, the firm hired by NextEra to mobilize community support, stated that the deal would be good.

Representatives of STEM, a battery company working with HECO, said that proposed merger would be good if certain conditions were met.

The YMCA stated they were neutral but were proud decade-long receivers of HEI Charitable Foundation funding which NextEra has pledged they will continue.

Kamakana Kaimuloa, the Vice President of Military Affairs at the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, stated that the Chamber was neutral but leaning towards the merger.

A couple of dozen attendees in the audience were executives of HECO and a few represented NextEra. NextEra consultant Jennifer Sabas was in the background.

Supporters of former Governor Abercrombie spoke in favor of the merger. Kealii Lopez, the former director of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, said she supported the merger since NextEra had access to financial capital at lower interest rates.

Some people identified organizations they were associated with, and then spoke about the merger, inferring that the organizations they listed were taking positions. Leimomi Khan asserted that she was the past President of the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs. Khan felt that the Commission was overly focused on the economic impacts, while what was important was the triple bottom line: economic, social and environmental. The Hawaiians value sustainability and the `aina. Khan favors the merger.

Supporters spoke of lower rates, increased job opportunities, a better business climate. They asserted that NextEra had superior access to cheap capital, and a better understanding of future technology.

Eddie Flores, a strong Lingle supporter, spoke in favor of the merger. Flores along with Christine Camp and Stanford Carr, wrote an op-ed in the Monday edition of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser supporting the merger....

read ... Too Little, Too Late?  We will soon see....

Ritte: Na'i Aupuni Election Not Pono

CB: “Four-fifths of all Native Hawaiians in Hawaii and abroad are excluded from this election,” Ritte said in a statement Tuesday. “I cannot participate in a process that is not pono, and have decided to remove my name from consideration to be a delegate in the ‘aha.”...

Ritte was one of three delegate candidates running for the one position to represent Molokai and Lanai. The remaining two candidates are Noa Emmett Aluli and (Ritte's sister) Lori Buchanan.

SA: Ritte ends his candidacy for Hawaiian convention

MN: Activist calls for boycott of Native Hawaiian election

read ... Ritte

OHA Launches Website to Push Fake Indian Tribe

CB: The Office of Hawaiian Affairs on Tuesday rolled out a website called Mo‘oaupuni,which is intended to present material relating to what’s referred to as “Hawaiian political landscapes.”

“Moʻoaupuni seeks to provide resources from a wide array of perspectives in an open, neutral setting,” the site explains.  (Translation: We are pushing the Fake Indian Tribe.) “However, it is not a comprehensive source on every and all aspects of Hawaiian governance. It is but one halau sharing information about Hawaii’s political history and current nation-building landscape.”

The website comes just a few days before some 95,000 Native Hawaiians are scheduled to vote next month on delegates to a convention next year that could lead to a self-determination process Fake Indian Tribe.

read ... OHA Propaganda Site

Charter Reforms To Boost Police Accountability?

CB: Kevin Mulligan wants to make it easier to fire Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha — or any officer, for that matter — who might be tarnishing the reputation of the department with bad behavior and inappropriate conduct.

Mulligan is a retired union agent for the Hawaii Government Employees Association, and a member of the 12-person Honolulu Charter Commission, which is tasked with vetting proposed amendments to the city constitution.

Because the Charter Commission only reevaluates the city constitution every 10 years, Mulligan says he doesn’t want to waste the opportunity. That’s why he believes it’s important to talk publicly about sharpening the teeth of the Honolulu Police Commission, which is supposed to provide oversight of officers’ conduct.

Mulligan has submitted several proposals to the Charter Commission, including one that would lower the threshold for firing a police chief and another to create a completely new oversight agency to keep tabs on the department’s internal disciplinary process.

Today the only entity that can hire or fire the chief is the Honolulu Police Commission. Under the city charter the chief, who serves a five-year term, can be removed for cause, such as a direct violation of city policy. The police chief also can be terminated for “gross or continuous maladministration,” so long he or she is given written notice and a “reasonable period” to correct problems. But Mulligan says that standard is too low....

The proposal also would allow the commission to put the police chief on leave during an ongoing investigation....

Mulligan proposed creating an Office of Inspector General, attached to the Police Commission, that would have the ability to audit, investigate and oversee the police department’s handling of citizen complaints of misconduct....

Mulligan said he also wants to see terms limits for the seven police commissioners. Chairman Ron Taketa, for example, has served multiple five-year terms over decades....

All of these recommendations face a long road to approval, however. The deadline for proposed amendments is Oct. 31. Then a long public vetting process begins that will continue through next summer before any amendments can be put to voters in November 2016....

read ... Accountability

Will Ruling In Council Case Derail Honolulu Ethics Enforcement?

ILind: The three were represented by attorney and former Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa, recently named by Mayor Kirk Caldwell to a seat on the board of directors of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, which oversees the city’s controversial rail project. Hanabusa is also representing the Hawaii State Teachers Association in two disputes with the State Ethics Commission over application of the ethics code.

After requesting a contested case hearing on the charges against the council members, Hanabusa filed a motion for summary judgment, asking the commission to find there was no basis for the charges as a matter of law, and to throw them out without going through a full hearing on the facts.

According to the commission’s brief order (just three pages long, plus signatures), all except one of the charges were dismissed by the commission’s executive director and chief legal counsel, Chuck Totto, “after considering the motion, the exhibits and hearing (Hanabusa’s) arguments,” and the single remaining charge was determined to be outside of the commission’s jurisdiction.

The case abruptly ended, but the reasons behind the commission’s about-face were not spelled out. And that’s a big problem.

Depending on exactly what was behind the commission’s dismissal of charges — which remains unspecified — it could be that instead of derailing the train project, government ethics in Honolulu have been knocked off track.

Totto had not responded to a request for further explanation of the dismissals as of Tuesday afternoon.

Previously confidential and still redacted legal documents released by the commission show Hanabusa used the time-tested “throw everything against the wall and see what sticks” strategy to defend her clients, raising a series of issues ranging from the narrow and technical to broad and sweeping attacks on the legal authority of the commission.

If the commission agreed with any of the broad challenges, it would at least temporarily render itself unable to pursue many, if not most, ethics violators.

read ... Derail

Strive HI -- Charter Schools Slip in Rankings

HTH: All but seven of the island’s 55 public schools displayed enough progress to be placed on the state’s second-highest performance tier, known as “Continuous Improvement.”

Two schools — Konawaena Elementary and Ernest B. de Silva Elementary — were placed into the top “Recognition” tier, with three — Hookena Elementary, Mountain View Elementary and Kealakehe Elementary — being singled out as schools that need more focus on the middle tier.

Meanwhile, two Big Island charter schools were placed on the second tier from the bottom, “Priority,” which is reserved for the bottom 5 percent of schools with persistently low achievement and graduation rates, or for schools in the School Improvement Grants Program.

The bottom tier, known as the “Superintendent’s Zone,” is reserved for schools that have shown an inability to meet performance targets through time. Because the performance system still is new, no schools in the state have yet found their way onto that tier.

Launched in school year 2012-13, Strive HI is Hawaii’s locally designed performance measurement system instituted via a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law, which looked only at reading and math test scores and imposed consequences on the lowest-performing schools.

S: Arne Duncan’s Race to the Bottom

read ... Room to improve; New Strive scores rank schools based on performance

How Many People Will be Made Uninsured by Collapse of Obamacare?

SA: ...for Hawaii, a model state with a truly admirable record of providing health insurance coverage to its population, the ACA — “Obamacare” — has been a poor fit.

One of the repercussions of that fact could unfold over the coming months: Those recently insured through the Hawaii Health Connector, slated for shutdown, may face a bumpy ride making the transition to the federal exchange. State officials must work quickly to ensure that these people, especially those on the lower end of the income scale, don’t fall into the uninsured class....

While it’s been an obscene waste of money, wasting even more to prop up the Connector makes no sense at all.

But the work of the administration can’t end there. Shifting enrollees over to the ready replacement — the federal exchange, Healthcare.gov — will require intense outreach by the state, an effort that must ramp up immediately.

Already there is concern among social service agencies that many of the needy will fall between the cracks. Dr. David Derauf, executive director of Kokua Kalihi Valley, said some of the rules about enrollment are more stringent for Healthcare.gov, which some of his poorest clients will find difficult.

For example, the Micronesian migrants living in Hawaii under the federal Compact of Free Association need to enroll in Obamacare — most don’t qualify for Medicaid — through the federal exchange. That system requires address verification, and some who are skirting public-housing rules by staying with relatives, can’t confirm that address....

read ... Don’t let snafus botch health coverage

CDC: Most E-Cigarette Users Are Current And Ex-Smokers, Not Newbies

HPR: It's become an emotional debate: Do e-cigarettes help people get off regular cigarettes or are they a new avenue for addiction?

Until now, there has been little solid evidence to back up either side. But a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could help fill that void.

read ... E-Cigs

Sugar Cane Burning Study Is Flawed And Misleading

CB: Evaluations conducted by independent experts, as well as our own review, have exposed significant flaws in the study’s methodology and analysis. Moreover, the authors’ conclusions are undermined by the study’s own data.

A significant flaw in the study is that instead of using medical diagnoses of illness or disease, the authors rely upon prescription fills at selected area pharmacies as an indicator that the person filling the prescription experienced respiratory distress as a result of cane burning.

It is questionable whether prescription fills are a reliable indicator of symptoms of an associated illness.

More importantly, the prescriptions recognized by the study are non-specific to respiratory disorders. Some of the medications are used to treat a wide range of ailments, including conjunctivitis (“pinkeye”), arthritis, intestinal disorders, lupus, and even cancer, among others.

A similar problem exists with the hospital emergency department data, in that “headache” and conjunctivitis were considered symptoms of respiratory distress.

read ... Sugar Cane Burning Study Is Flawed And Misleading

Ben Carson surges as the anti-Trump

KITV: Calm demeanor as well as race, religion, intelligence plays well with GOP...

read ... anti-Trump

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