Rep Bob McDermott Endorses Ted Cruz
Hawaii’s Top Secret Japanese Prisoner of War Camp – Camp Iroquois
Grassroot Salutes Court Decision Protecting Maui Hospital Plan
HART Gives HECO $120 million—Says ‘Tourists’ Will Pay It
KHON: We’ve been asking is there enough power supply for rail? Who will foot the bill for the extra infrastructure and tasks along the construction route? Some of that has been settled, but a federal watchdog warns the unresolved parts are the biggest problems ahead.
One of the biggest costs having to do with electricity during rail’s building phase is what to do with the lines in the way. The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation had budgeted $50 million for it, but now they will pay more than double that — at least $120 million, mostly for utility relocations….
The rail authority told Always Investigating in a statement why it took the bill: “Tourists help pay part of the GET, so it makes sense to have HART cover the cost… PUC approval for HECO could take many months or even years and unnecessarily delay HART’s construction schedule.”
That money should cover about nine pole-lengths-worth out in the airport section of the guideway, but in the city center, it needs to cover nearly two miles of undergrounding utilities along busy Dillingham Boulevard. But the federal oversight contractor, known as the PMOC, says “If HART is required to underground all affected lines… (there is) not enough to cover the full cost and time… This is currently HART’s most significant risk to the project.” …
The PMOC says the $120 million HART penciled in doesn’t even cover the costs of utility-moving design, sequencing, dates and schedule impact.
“They probably knew about this,” Kobayashi said, “but of course they’re not going to tell us while we’re debating the extension.”…
read … $120 million is just the beginning
8 Protesters Arrested at Aha
SA: Honolulu police have arrested eight people for trespassing at a golf club where Native Hawaiians (OHA cronies) are gathered to discuss self-governance forming a fake Indian Tribe.
Police spokeswoman Michelle Yu says six men and two women were arrested at noon Monday.
This is the final week of the four-week convention at the Royal Hawaiian Golf Club in Kailua. Participants aim to draft a (tribal) governing document, which could eventually go before the Native Hawaiian community (Kanaiolowalu Roll) for ratification.
Some Native Hawaiians have been protesting the effort for various reasons, including opposing federal recognition.
Kahookahi Kanuha says he and others were arrested after they entered the golf club gates.
LINK: PHOTOS of Arrests
read … Arrested
Ige’s School AC Scheme Crashes, Burns
Borreca: The Legislature is on the verge of handing former colleague and fellow Democrat Gov. David Ige his first major defeat of 2016.
Ige is staking much of his political future on the promise that he can air condition 1,000 public school classrooms by December and then put cooling plans in place for all schools in the state by 2018.
To do that, he must have legislation passed now. In hopes of speeding the process along, he declared the needed spending bill to be an “emergency appropriation.”
Ige’s bill noted that for his program to get started, contractors need to be able to work during the summer when schools were out. Therefore, the legislation had to be passed “immediately.”
Then in a formal letter to the Legislature, Ige put a deadline on passage, “by February 29, 2016.”
Legislative leaders say there are a number of reasons why that is just not going to happen….
And the Feb. 29 deadline? Even though this is a Leap Year, Monday falls in the middle of the Legislature’s mandatory five-day recess so the House and Senate chambers will be dark….
Flashback: GEMS to Cool Classrooms?
read … Not Going to Happen
Report on roads left by wayside
SA: Nearly eight years ago a national pavement consultant gave Hawaii’s Department of Transportation recommendations to help improve the condition of its crumbling roads — but the consultant’s report was largely disregarded, and DOT leaders say they’ve only recently begun to enact some of the steps he suggested.
The 2008 report, “Pavement Preservation Technical Appraisal, Hawaii Executive Summary,” found among other problems that the state agency was using outdated software — an Excel spreadsheet — to keep track of pavement conditions on its roads. Its staff further lacked sufficient training, guidelines and tools to keep the roads in as good a shape as roads in other U.S. regions, the report found.
Larry Galehouse, director of the Michigan State University-based National Center for Pavement Preservation, issued the federally funded report to the state DOT in September 2008 after having met with various agency workers in Hawaii earlier that year.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser obtained the report from the Federal Highway Administration after requests to get it from state officials earlier this month went unanswered.
ILind: Another telling story on state road conditions
read … Report on roads left by wayside
$100,000 Salaries Mushroom at DOE
CB: The number of employees at the Hawaii Department of Education who earn $100,000 or more a year has risen sharply in the last few years, from at least 43 workers in 2012 to at least 266 in 2016, according to payroll data requested by Civil Beat.
The salary increases from 2012 and 2016 followed several years of pay cuts and furloughs during the recession.
The district’s highest earner is Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, who takes home $200,000 a year. The Board of Education gave Matayoshi a $50,000 pay raise in 2014 after successfully lobbying lawmakers to increase a salary cap on the position put in place in 2001….
Dawn Kaui Sang, who now heads the Office of Hawaiian Education, made one of the biggest salary leaps, with a 209 percent increase in her minimum salary range. In 2012 she was a state office teacher earning from $32,222 and $60,556. Her new position pays from $99,672 and $141,097.
Sang’s salary may have seen a big boost, but she’s responsible for overseeing the future direction of Hawaiian education in the state — a major undertaking. And her salary range is still lower than that of 240 principals and vice principals in the DOE.
read … Profitable
6% -- More Tuition increases proposed for UH
SA: University of Hawaii students would see modest outrageous tuition increases of no more than 2 percent annually from 2017-18 through 2019-20 under a three-year tuition schedule being rolled out by UH President David Lassner’s administration this week. (Translation: 6% Tuition hike)
UH-Manoa undergraduate students who are Hawaii residents would be paying $11,520 annually beginning in 2019-20, up from the $10,344 they are paying this year. Local undergraduates at UH Hilo and UH West Oahu would see similar but smaller increases.
RELATED: UH Manoa—10 Salaries over $300K
read … to cover all those fat admin salaries
Total Loss: Hawaii ERS Loses Everything on Defunct Big Island ‘Clean’ Energy Project
SA: …The pension fund for Hawaii public employees has written off what it considers to be a bad $2.5 million investment it made in the Hu Honua Bioenergy project on Hawaii island after concluding the company won’t be able to resolve its engineering and other challenges.
Hawaii Electric Light Co. last week announced it intends to terminate its agreement to buy power from Hu Honua after the company missed two development deadlines under its agreement with HELCO.
So far investors have sunk about $100 million into Hu Honua…
read … Pure Waste
PUC: Electric rates should not be lowered
IM: The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission issued its Inclinations in April 2014 which stressed the need to lower bills as opposed to rates, since bills are what customers pay. Late last year the Commission explained the need to focus on bills.
“The Commission views the objectives of lower, more stable electric bills and expanding customer energy options, while maintaining reliable energy service in a rapidly changing system operating environment, as essential principles that are the foundation for the future strategic business direction of the HECO Companies. By extension, these principles are also important criteria in the review and approval of future utility capital investment projects and programs.”
Translation: We need to keep electric rates high to pay off ‘green’ energy schemers who make big campaign contributions. If the peasants want lower bills, they should consume less.
MN: PUC OKs solar power purchase agreements
read … Which should be lowered: electric rates or electric bills?
Failed ‘Clean’ Energy Behind Rolling Blackouts on Big Island
HTH: …HELCO spokeswoman Kristen Okinaka explained Monday afternoon that wind generation peaked Tuesday of last week and steadily declined from Wednesday before dropping to zero Saturday evening.
Meanwhile, “due to lack of rain, generation from hydroelectric units was near zero for most of last week,” she said. “Solar energy is unavailable during the evening peak hours.”
read … Failed
Maui Anti-GMO Committee: County Should Buy up Ag Land and Put it under our Control
KE: …It then calls on Maui County to use eminent domain to snag privately owned land, upon petition by citizens or “landless farmers,” that will then be turned into ag parks. We're talking any land classified as “interim, agricultural, rural, conservation or open space.” The acquisition and parceling out will be administered by the Farm Commons Committee.
And enforced by the Brown Shirt Brigade.
The initiative calls upon the county to pay the owner fair market value, but makes no mention of where the county is supposed to obtain the dough to finance this massive acquisition process. But why bother with such petty details when you're plotting a grand agricultural renaissance?
In exchange for a 50-year lease, the lessee does have certain responsibilities, such as:
[Keep] premises and improvements thereon in a strictly clean, sanitary and orderly condition; not engage in any activity which may result in soil erosion; or [engage in] any improper or offensive use; utilize best management practices as [sic] all times.
And allow the Committee to come in and check on you and your operations at any time….
read … State-Owned Farms Worked so well in the USSR
Subsidies won’t solve homelessness
SA: In “Seattle struggles with homelessness” (Star-Advertiser, Feb. 19), we learn that “the city has set up camps and spent millions for services, but the population keeps growing.”
That line could have ended, “therefore, the population keeps growing.”
Seattle has offered cleaner, safer places for the homeless to stay, and in an effort to end homelessness, has built more than 6,300 housing units and helped nearly 40,000 people find houses. Yet the number keeps growing….
read … Subsidies