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Wednesday, November 04, 2015
November 4, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:03 PM :: 3207 Views

Nai Aupuni: Please Vote Only Once

Nai Aupuni: Walter Ritte, Scott Parker Still on Ballot After Quitting Race

Best Small Cities? Hawaii Towns Near Bottom of Long List

Video: Why Privatize State Hospitals?

UH Manoa graduation rates up

Hawaii Is the State with the Smallest Weight Problems

The Unaffordable Care Act

Could the Hawaii State Senate go 100% blue in 2016?

ILind: ...Earlier this month, Civil Beat did an interview with Sam Slom, the sole Republican currently serving in the Hawaii State Senate. It’s available as a podcast or, if you prefer, you can read the transcript.

During the interview, Slom made light of his position as a minority of one in the 25-member Senate.

To me it’s great, because I get up every morning, I argue with myself for two minutes. I say: “Are you in agreement Sam?” “Yes, that’s a great idea, Sam.” “I think so too, OK, let’s go!”

Slom is up for reelection in 2016, after garnering a rather uninspiring 54.7% of the vote in the 2012 General Election over a relatively unknown Democrat, Kurt Lajala.

Slom’s name came up while I was talking to a politically independent friend who at this point in time is closer to the Republican side of things.

Our discussion came around to the bitter lawsuit brought against Slom by his former live-in partner, reporter Malia Zimmerman.

The story that emerges from Zimmerman’s narrative, as told in the pages of her lawsuit, isn’t pretty. Could it hurt Slom’s reelection bid? ...

the minority staff in the senate would also lose their jobs if there are no Republican senators remaining to service....

Back in the old days–for me, that goes back into the 1980s–there were smart, middle of the road Republican senators with excellent staff who were seen as accessible resources by the “good government” groups like Common Cause.

Just in terms of history, has any state legislature ever had all of its members from a single political party?

And in terms of next year’s election, what Democratic seats are most vulnerable to Republican challenges that could keep at least one R in the Senate no matter what happens to Slom? ....

read ... Could the Hawaii State Senate go 100% blue in 2016?

Cancelled: OIP Shuts Down Un-Ethical 'Fire Totto' Meeting

CB: The commission cancelled the meeting after the state Office of Information Practices found that the agenda posting did not appear to follow state sunshine rules because the description of the executive session was too vague.

An attorney for the agency found that the agenda did not “adequately notify the public of what the board will actually be discussing so that they may submit testimony.” State Sen. Les Ihara had asked OIP to weigh in on the matter.

Totto said Tuesday he didn’t know the purpose of the planned executive session. While his staff usually produces commission agendas, that was not the case for Tuesday’s meeting. Totto would not comment on who outside of his office would have scheduled a special meeting.

Background: Ethics Comm., Stacked by Caldwell, Sets Special Meeting to Fire Totto?

read ... They Can't Fire Totto Without Announcing it in Advance

Election Officials Use Their Own Incompetence to Push Vote-by Mail

SA: County and state election officials advocated for major voting reforms — including all-mail elections and automatic voter registration — during a joint legislative briefing Tuesday at the state Capitol that included members of the Senate Judiciary and Labor and House Judiciary committees.

Election officials said that they are drowning in paper registration forms and struggling to carry out three separate election processes that include absentee voting, early walk-in voting and precinct elections. Digitizing and simplifying the processes for registering voters and casting ballots would not only save the counties money, but also would likely boost voter turnout, said officials....

House Bill 401 would automatically register residents to vote when they apply for or renew a driver’s license or identification card. House Bill 124 would institute an all-mail election.

A more controversial bill, House Bill 1495, would fine registered voters $100 if they didn’t vote and failed to proffer up a valid excuse....

Starting next year, residents will also be able to register to vote at absentee walk-in locations before Election Day. In 2018 same-day registration will be extended to polling places on Election Day.

Election officials are still determining what types of identification will be needed for same-day registration and voting, which became a point of contention for several lawmakers after county officials indicated that picture identification was not currently a requirement.

“What are you doing to make sure that our election process is as safe as possible, that we aren’t going to encourage fraud?” asked Sen. Donna Mercado Kim (D, Kalihi Valley-Moanalua-Halawa), adding that some local elections have been won and lost by just a handful of votes.

As county election officials struggled to respond to such inquiries from Kim and other lawmakers, Senate Judiciary and Labor Chairman Gilbert Keith-Agaran reminded his colleagues that it was they who failed to specify identification requirements under Act 166.

“This Legislature did pass this law without thinking about that issue,” Keith-Agaran (D, Waihee-Wailuku-Kahului) said to chuckles in the audience.

The Plan: Vote by Mail Fraud: Romy Cachola Barged In, Wanted Ballots

read ... Voter Fraud

Attorney--Taxes Cause Poor to Become Homeless under Public Housing Formula

CB: Officials say they don’t know how many of Hawaii’s estimated 7,000 homeless people were evicted from public housing. But of the 180 eviction cases that the Housing Authority conducted hearings on through September this year, 78.3 percent dealt with rent violations. Not every hearing results in an eviction.

That’s consistent with what attorney Sheila Lippolt sees in her work at the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii helping public housing tenants fight evictions. She estimates that of the 50 or so clients that she helps each year, 80 percent face eviction because they haven’t paid rent.

The Housing Authority generally sets rent as a percentage of a resident’s income, a formula that’s supposed to ensure the housing remains affordable.

But Lippolt says the agency calculates rent based on pre-tax income and sometimes once taxes are paid, a resident can’t afford rent and other necessities.

“Usually they’re on such a limited income if they get behind they can’t catch up,” she said.

read ... Taxing the Poor

Fake Hawaiian Indian Tribe Will be Site of Next Homeless Tent City

CB: ...Even if it is just a place to pitch a tent. We need land from which we will not be evicted and forced to live under a bridge to be swept away by flash floods. We need land to live upon where we can practice our culture and speak our own language!

We need land where we can build our houses, and our schools and our own health clinics. We need land where we can grow our own food. We Native Hawaiians are in crisis, we comprise a third of all the homeless, and we need land and housing now!....

read ... And this is written by a supporter of the tribe

Will 'Aha Collapse for Lack of Support?

ILind: Should Hawaii’s low voter turnout in state and federal elections justify an equally low bar for the approval of a new Native Hawaiian government that could remake the social, economic, and political landscape of the state?

That’s exactly what the proposed Department of the Interior rules for “Procedures for Reestablishing a Formal Government-to-Government Relationship With the Native Hawaiian Community” would do.

Instead of setting a higher than normal bar for approving a plan for a Native Hawaiian government in a historic election with major ramifications both locally and nationally, the new rules propose adjusting the number of votes needed to ultimately approve a governing document to reflect the generally low island turnout.

“Adjusting” in this case means lowering the number of votes needed to approve a new Native Hawaiian government and trigger negotiations with the federal government....

And even those modest minimum voter requirements don’t apply to the current election for delegates. Presumably the aha will go forward even if voter turnout is well below these levels.

To those who support Na’i Aupuni and its process for carrying out a constitutional convention, these low requirements may offer some confidence that the effort won’t collapse for lack of required support. However, those who want to hold out for some form of full independence will see it as further proof that the process is being rigged against them.

read ... Collapse

Dengue Fever 'Could be Here to Stay' Thanks to Anti-Pesticide Activists

HTH: Without the support of the public, (ie due to opposition to pesticides ginned up by anti-GMO imbeciles) state health officials fear the current outbreak of dengue fever on the Big Island could be here to stay.

On Tuesday, the state Department of Health confirmed the mosquito-borne virus so far has infected 11 people, with many possible cases remaining to be verified. Confirmation can take about 10 days because blood samples must be shipped to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the mainland.

Health officials have not given exact locations where cases have been reported, saying the entire island is at risk.

On Monday, they said several cases have been concentrated near areas in Hookena and Honaunau on the west side of the island. They also confirmed cases in East Hawaii, but did not provide locations.

Workers in the Health Department’s Hawaii County Vector Control office have been busy canvassing neighborhoods where cases have been reported, testing for mosquito larvae and spraying insecticide, but if the outbreak continues to crop up in new locations and infect more people, those workers could be spread thin. (And with a population infested with anti-GMO lunatics, nobody else will be helping with pesticide spraying.)

read ... Anti-Pesticide Activists

Teachers Walk out Because Principal Refuses to make Excuses for Failure

HNN: A spokesman for the Hawaii State Teachers Association said quotes from Kekaha Elementary Principal Dominic Beralas in a Kauai newspaper upset many teachers.

Talking about about student performance on annual assessments, Beralas told the Garden Island newspaper, "We had to attribute our low student achievement and lack of progress not to our students' demographics but to our ineffectiveness in teaching. Our growth mindset meant that we had to believe our students could rise to our higher expectations and perform according to higher standards." ...

The second-year principal met with teachers Monday afternoon to address their concerns. Hawaii News Now contacted Beralas at the school for a comment, but he directed us to Kauai Complex Area Superintendent Bill Arakaki.

Arakaki said Beralas's comments were "misconstrued."

"I think the words that may have been used were misconstrued as far as what he intended to say," he said. "I believe he apologized and wanted to ensure that he supported the teachers and that he was proud of their accomplishments."

HSTA is considering filing a class-action grievance, according to Perry.

"These teachers at this school are very, very good teachers. They care about the community and they care about the kids extremely. They would not have called in sick unless they were sick," he said.  (And he didn't snicker or anything.  That takes skill.)

KGI: Some Kekaha teachers stay home

read ... Protest

DOE: Student absenteeism rose in first quarter of school year

HNN: Improving student attendance is one of the state Department of Education's top priorities. But they've lost some ground.

The result of a new report shows more than 48,800 students in grades K-12 missed more than two days of school in the first quarter of this year compared to about 42,000 students a year ago.

SA: 100 portable AC units are split among 5 schools in West Oahu

read ... Absenteeism

Transparency Amendments Proposed for Honolulu City Charter

CB: As part of its once-a-decade review of the entire City Charter, the Honolulu Charter Commission solicited ideas from the public for revisions and received 150 proposals by the Oct. 31 deadline.

Four of those proposals, submitted by the Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest in consultation with local good-government groups and media outlets, aim to ensure the public has better access to government records and public meetings. The proposals would:

• Eliminate fees for requesters who can show the records are being requested in the public interest and will be shared widely;

• Allow anyone to request public records rather than restricting requests only to citizens;

• Outline what city/county employees are to do when they get a records request, with an emphasis on helping the requester to access the records in question;

• Require city boards and commissions to send electronic meeting notices and post their meeting agendas and minutes online.

Not exactly revolutionary ideas, but they would make an enormous difference in the necessary flow of information on this island.

read ... Transparency

City water utility latest to fall in line behind NextEra’s HEI deal

SA: The Honolulu Board of Water Supply said Tuesday it has changed its position on NextEra Energy Inc.’s proposed purchase of Hawaiian Electric Industries and now supports the deal.

The Oahu water utility is among the 26 groups involved in the Public Utilities Commission’s decision on whether to approve the $4.3 billion sale, a necessary step for the sale to close.

The Board of Water Supply changed its position after signing an agreement with NextEra and HEI. The companies agreed that Hawaiian Electric Co. would work with the Board of Water Supply on various renewable-energy programs that would help the water utility cut costs and improve emergency response planning. They also agreed to schedule regular meetings between the two utilities.

The agreement addressed the conditions the Board of Water Supply listed in July, when it opposed NextEra’s bid.

read ... Dominoes

Rooftop Solar on Trial

IM: The battle over the future of net energy metering and rooftop solar entered the courtroom last week. The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) is suing Governor Ige and the Hawai`i Public Utilities....

On December 29 Judge Chang will hold a hearing to rule on Motions for Summary Judgment. Assuming that the case continues, the trial is set for December 30....

read ... Rooftop Solar on Trial

Hawaii's clean energy financing program doles out 150 applications

PBN: During the quarter, the program approved nine companies, with a combined total of 106 sales representatives, to be installers for its consumer loan product.

Eleven companies are pending approval and one company was denied, with another withdrawing its application.

The program also received 106 consumer loan applications of which 47 were pre-approved, 18 pending and 35 denied.

It also received 12 applications of which five have been pre-qualified, three have been denied and four are pending review, for the nonprofit and small business loan products.

Additionally, the program is currently working on evaluating more than 2.3-megawatts of solar photovoltaic project leads for pre-qualified nonprofit loans.

read ... Dole

Maui Liquor Commission Secretly Hires Director Twice

MN: ...The Maui Liquor Commission's decision last month to waive its selection process for a new director of the Department of Liquor Control is the latest example of a Maui County agency thumbing its nose at public transparency....

And it did. Twice. It named Dana Souza to replace Franklyn Silva on Oct. 7 and, again, on Oct. 21. Of course, it was all done behind closed doors, regardless of public calls for openness and transparency....

read ... Thumb Nose

Rep. Takai has Cancer, will undergo surgery

HNN: He said the surgery to remove the small tumor was scheduled for Nov. 10 at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

"All tests show that the tumor is small and isolated. I am in good spirits and thankful that my prognosis remains good thanks to the early detection," he said, in a statement....

Takai announced on Oct. 26 that doctors had found a small tumor in his pancreas. At the time, he did not know if it was cancerous.

SA: Takai confirms he has cancer

read ... Surgery

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