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Friday, April 08, 2016
April 8, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:30 PM :: 2391 Views

9th Circuit Judges Consider Blocking Maui Hospital Privatization

Ilagan: I Oppose Hawaii County GE Tax Hike

No Specific Reason

Ige Announces Nominees for Board of Education, Land Use Commission

Caldwell, Omidyar Pressure North Carolina, Mississippi to Allow Trannies into Womens’ Bathrooms

Secret Rail Audit Shows $250M Cost Overrun at Just One Station

HNN: Council chair calls for HART CEO's resignation…

…Martin said that if HART's board makes no changes in its management, the council could reduce HART's budget.

"We can even revisit the GET surcharge ... to apply additional scrutiny on the project," he said.

A spokesman for Caldwell said the mayor will meet with Horner on Monday and that the mayor shares many of Martin's concerns.

Martin said the audit, which is still in draft form, found that construction changes at the Pearl Highlands transit center and parking garage will add $250 million to the project.

He said the audit also found that burying Hawaiian Electric Co.'s  utilities lines underground will increase costs by another $100 million.

Sources familiar with the report also raises serious concerns about the credibility of HART's financial reporting.

The auditor, they said, found that the project cost estimates lacked documentation and that it had no plan for operations and maintenance costs….

"Clearly the project is not running the way its supposed to be running. And I believe the board pretty much needs to be wholesale replaced," said UH engineering professor Panos Prevedouros….

SA: Rising rail chaos bodes ill for us all  “Mike Formby, director of the city Department of Transportation Services, maintained in an interview with the Star-Advertiser that he didn’t learn of the change in plans over the Aloha Stadium opening until reading about it in the paper.”

read … Council chair calls for HART CEO's resignation

Hawaii Carbon Trading Scheme: Double Counting, Excessive Profits

IM: Hawaiian Electric Company sponsored a Global Warming Advisory Group Meeting as part of an earlier version of its Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) process. The event was held at the State Capitol Auditorium on June 8, 2007.

There were four panel discussions with local experts representing HNEI, State Legislature, DBEDT, Sierra Club, Life of the Land and the University of Hawaii-Mānoa.

Dr Terry Surles represented the Hawai'i Natural Energy Institute at the University of Hawaii-Mānoa. Surles addressed the issue of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)

When electricity is produced its associated attributes and benefits can be sold separately.

“The renewable energy credits that are being sold and traded are positive things to ...enhance the production of energy by renewable means,” asserted Surles, but “the problem here is additionality.”

“If we`re doing this already because it`s required under regulations, then you don`t want to also sell the credits because you`re already doing it. You want to sell credits for something that`s over and above regulatory requirements.”

This issue arose again two years later.

The Public Utilities Commission addressed Renewable Energy Credits in its Decision and Order approving Feed in Tariffs (FiTs).

“The commission agrees with DBEDT, the HECO Companies, and the Consumer Advocate, that any RECs, carbon credits, or other green attributes associated with electricity production from FIT projects inure to the utility for the benefit of ratepayers.

The purpose of the FIT is to increase renewable energy generation and to satisfy the utility's RPS. Resale of the RECs would not support any additional renewable energy capacity and could potentially result in double counting.

In addition, FIT pricing should cover project costs and provide a reasonable return. Were the commission to award any RECs or other green attributes to project owners without building their value into FIT rates, the returns earned on such projects could be excessive….

The issue of tradeable credits popped up in the proposed HECO-HELCO Aina Koa Pono contract.

HECO filed documents in a regulatory proceeding asserting that HELCO had exceeded its RPS requirements while HECO was struggling to meet its RPS requirements. Therefore, HELCO should sell its surplus RECs to HECO….

HECO asserted that the Smart Grid will also have unquantifiable Community Benefits of $ 198-242 million.

Community benefits are estimated at a very high level primarily based on the estimated energy savings of each solution translated into CO2 emissions reduction….”

read … Is Hawai`i Headed for a Greenhouse Gas Train REC

Top-Level deputy sheriffs headed to class because they lack law enforcement training

HNN: About 15 state deputy sheriffs, including several top-ranking officials, are headed to class Monday because they never went through initial law enforcement training when they joined the department more than two decades ago, state officials said Thursday.

Among those who lack law enforcement training, according to sources:

The state's first deputy sheriff, the no. 2 person who is in charge of more than 300 deputies statewide.

The deputy sheriff in charge of the governor's security detail.

The deputy sheriff who oversees sheriffs’ patrols at the state Capitol.

The sources said because high level officials lack basic training, some cases get fouled up because those officials were never properly trained in Hawaii laws, search and seizure procedures or rules of evidence.

One veteran sheriffs deputy who refused to be identified for fear of retaliation also said, “They discourage guys from making cases because they don’t know how to handle them.” …

The training comes as the state seeks accreditation from a national law enforcement group called The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement, which requires all law enforcement officers to have gone through basic academy training….

read … Wow.  Just wow.

Hawaii Hospitals: The reality is mostly gloomy

SA: …Rep. Bert Kobayashi, a Kaimuki Democrat and former head of the Hawaii Health Systems Corp., says without help, Wahiawa hospital could become part of the national trend of small rural hospitals closing.

“For several decades there have been hundreds of hospitals closing nationwide,” Kobayashi said in an interview.

Many of those hospitals are doing long-term care work, instead of treating the sick and injured and losing money.

“We are using the term ‘hospitals’ to hide the difference between acute care and long-term care hospitals taking care of older patients,” Kobayashi said, adding that it is unlikely that the federal government is ever going to balance out payments and costs.

Obviously the Legislature’s proposal is just a band-aid and is not a solution for Wahiawa’s problems.

Down the road more problems could surface with the public hospital system in Hawaii County.

The reality is mostly gloomy.

Those living in a five-mile radius of the state Capitol can be treated by five major, first-class hospitals.

Options in many other places of the state are just not that good.

Meanwhile: 9th Circuit Judges Consider Blocking Maui Hospital Privatization

read … Inequality: Thanks, Obama

Obamacare Rules force Competitors to Pay HMSA $15M – One Goes Bankrupt

SA: …The company, which posted a $1.2 million loss last year, couldn’t withstand the substantial changes in the health insurance market resulting from the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, said J.P. Schmidt, chief executive officer of Family Health Hawaii, who stepped down as Hawaii’s insurance commissioner in 2010.

“All of the health insurers have had a difficult time adjusting to the ACA,” he said. “We’ve seen it with all health insurers this past year suffering underwriting losses. We have several parties interested in providing the capital that would meet the Insurance Division’s requirement, but it takes time to finalize them and we simply ran out of time. We had hoped to persuade the Insurance Division to put Family Health in rehabilitation to give us the time to finalize them, but they decided not to do that. This is pretty much the last nail in the coffin.” …

One of the biggest problems for the startup company was that under the ACA, insurers could no longer medically underwrite policies or deny coverage based on pre-existing medical conditions, Schmidt said.

“That’s fundamental to the insurance business. They then can determine how much they need to charge in premiums in order to cover the claims for the next year,” he said. “That makes it very difficult to do an actuarial prediction.”

The other major blow was a so-called risk-adjustment program under Obamacare, which requires insurers with healthier members to reimburse competitors with higher-risk populations to mitigate the effects of companies having to cover the chronically ill and uninsured.

“Family Health Hawaii with its 7,000 members was required to pay over half a million dollars to our competitor HMSA, the dominant health insurer in the market,” Schmidt said. “I believe it’s crazy. I believe it’s unconstitutional and it will have exactly the opposite of the intended effect. It’ll end up destroying the small-business health insurance market in Hawaii.”

Under the program, Kaiser was forced to pay HMSA more than $14 million, while HMAA and UHA paid hundreds of thousands of dollars, he said….

read …  HMSA Loves Obama

State-Owned Agriculture Scheme Worth $107M? 

SA: A trio of state senators wants the state to buy about 8,000 acres of Dole Food Co. land between Central Oahu and the North Shore to preserve (LOL!) the property for agriculture — angling to earmark more than $107 mil-lion in next year’s budget to complete the purchase.  (State-owned farms are always a huge success.  Just like everything else the State of Hawaii does.)

Senate Ways and Means Vice Chairman Donovan Dela Cruz said the plan is to have the state make the former sugar and pineapple lands available for long-term leasing to farmers for food production. Many of those lands are now fallow, while other parcels are being farmed under month-to-month leases, he said. (In other words, the private owner is already doing this.)

“Unfortunately, many parcels have been sold, and some are even in the process of being subdivided, and that’s my worst fear: the proliferation of gentleman farms,” said Dela Cruz (D, Wahiawa-Whitmore-Mililani Mauka).  (Translation: We want farmers to be dependent on the State.)

The purchase is also backed by Sens. Laura Thielen (D, Hawaii Kai-Waimanalo-Kailua) and Gil Riviere (D, Heeia-Laie-Waialua), and Dela Cruz announced earlier this week that lawmakers were able to get an appropriation to buy the lands included in the Senate’s version of the state budget.

Lawmakers in the House and Senate will be negotiating over the details of that budget in the weeks ahead before deciding on a final version, and the proposed Dole land purchase will likely be a major issue in that bargaining.  (Translation: This will be a decision made secretly.)

read … $107M

With Gay Inc Focused on Marriage and Trannies in the Bathroom, Everybody is Forgetting about AIDS

CB: The percentage of students who learned about HIV and AIDS in school dropped to a two-decade low in Hawaii in 2015, according to a statewide health survey slated for release later this spring.

The Hawaii Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which is filled out anonymously in class every two years by middle and high school students, is one of the few steady indicators that policy-makers can use to monitor health risks and trends in behavior that adolescents might be reluctant to discuss openly.

Roughly 44 percent of middle school students in 2015 said they were taught about the diseases at public school — down from 85.7 percent in 1999. In high school, the percentage dropped from 90.6 in 1999 to 75.6 last year….

REALITY: World AIDS Day: Gay Inc Drops HIV for Marriage, Military & Money

read … Just Ignore the Gay Reality

Drug Addicts’ Camp Harasses Cyclists

HNN: …He says he's gotten used to dodging shopping carts and rubbish that people leave on the path. But lately, it's the people he tries to avoid.

"Usually we just pass them. They're probably not in their right mind at that point so we just ignore them," Lac said.

The village made up of tents and tarps sits on both state and federal land. There are dozens of residents, a mixture of families with kids and the chronically homeless.

"They are doing drugs too. It's something I don't like," biker Jonathan Ching said….

"Pearl City, Windward Oahu has really increased a lot as well as Kapolei," said Kimo Carvalho, IHS spokesman….

SA: City conducts homeless sweeps in Waimanalo, Kakaako

read … Drugs

Kauai Marijuana dispensary applicant partners with UFCW

KGI: As the date for the Department of Health to announce licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries nears, one Kauai applicant has taken strides to set itself apart.

Green Aloha Ltd., a Kauai-based group of business leaders, health care providers and agriculture experts, announced Thursday an agreement with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 480, which will ensure a safe environment for dispensary employees, as well as provide medicine for marijuana patients, according to a press release.

Green Aloha Ltd. was formed with the intent to pursue a medical marijuana dispensary license, said Casey Rothstein, operating manager….

AP: Hawaii officials plan to name dispensary owners next week

read … No Workers Yet, but already ‘organized’

Communist Acquitted Killer to be Honored by UH Manoa Today

SA: Davis will give a speech today at 7 p.m. at UH Manoa’s Kennedy Theatre. The topic is “Freedom Is a Constant Struggle,” which is also the title of her new book.  (Translation: She’s making money by selling books.) ….

…much of Davis’ scholarship and advocacy has been devoted to the dismantling of what she describes as the prison industrial complex.

“When I first got involved, there were a couple of hundred thousand people incarcerated in America. We assumed that was a large number. Today there are more than 2 million in prison.”

Many others fall under the surveillance of the prison system, including being on parole. Adding them together, she said, shows there are more black men under the control of the prison system than were enslaved in America in 1850….

(She has accomplished much, hasn’t she.)

Background: Communist Acquitted Killer Named Inouye Professor at UH Manoa

read … Is it the communism or the killing?

Drivers frustrated with months-long wait at the DMV

KHON: It can be frustrating if you’ve tried to sign up for a road test online lately.

“My student was explaining to me that the earliest appointment she could get in Waianae was June 19th,” said driving instructor, Steven Wong

That means some people have to wait months to book an appointment online….

On Wednesday KHON2 checked the website and found no openings until June 20. On Thursday we checked back and found a few openings this week.

“This morning here alone we released 40 slots or appointments and what happened was they were eaten up in a matter of hours,” said licensing administrator Galen Onouye.

“If you don’t find what you want go back in a couple of days and most likely you will find a time,” said Kajiwara.

You can also try a walk in. That is what Shena Jane Edrade did and was able to take her road test within the hour.

read … Months-long wait

Schatz: I Have No Solution for High Cost of Living in Hawaii

PBN: …homelessness in Hawaii has surged since the recession. A recent report said urban Honolulu is an area of "concentrated poverty." From 2010 to 2014, 28.4 percent of Hawaii residents were living in a neighborhood with a poverty rate of 20 percent or more, the report from the Brookings Institution showed. The number of people categorized as poor during that period was 91,569, the report said.

The senator is concerned with the financial situation of the residents of the Aloha state, as he notes that even those that work hard “have difficulty making ends meet."

However, he said “there is no silver bullet” solution….

read … Schatz Has Nothing to Offer Hawaii

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