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Wednesday, June 22, 2016
June 22, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 9:13 PM :: 3312 Views

DOCARE Chief Forced Out—Retaliation for Investigating DLNR Corruption, Theft of Guns

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted June 21, 2016

Feral Cats Kill More Seabirds -- No Eradication Planned

DLNR Closing Mauna Kea, Bringing in Helicopters for Sheep Eradication

Judiciary Expands ‘Steps to Avoid Eviction’ Program

Fed Wreck Plan B

Hanabusa Uses Teachers to Open Door to More Lobbyist 'Gifts' to Legislators

Child Well-Being: Hawaii Ranks 23rd

Caldwell Buys Iwilei Building: Hub for Homeless to Rival LA Skid Row

Rusting Wind Junk off Waikiki: Feds Take Another Step

FTA: Thanks to Caldwell, Honolulu Rail is Now One of Ten Most Screwed Up Projects

KHON: For the first time since Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said rail’s initial segment should stop at Middle Street, the Federal Transit Administration is responding.

Honolulu has less than two months to give federal officials the new plan, which is something the feds don’t often require.

The FTA says it’s placed only about 10 major capital projects under Full Funding Grant Agreements (FFGAs) under a recovery plan in the past 25 years.

Honolulu’s rail project is one of them….

Other projects that were under this scrutiny include the metro rail red line in Los Angeles, the MTA Second Avenue Subway in New York, and the BART Rail Extension in San Francisco.

But they were built and completed….

read … Honolulu’s rail among only a handful of projects under heavy federal scrutiny

Unions asking too much of Maui deal

SA: The unions supported and won passage of an ill-advised bill to excessively sweeten the employees’ separation from the unions, and UPW went to federal court to claim that the whole deal was unconstitutional….

It’s not too late to hope that the state ultimately can conclude the transfer successfully, as it should. The court, which on May 17 initially called a halt to all proceedings, evidently is not yet persuaded that the union’s rights will be abridged if transition planning continues.

It is also not too late to hope that Gov. David Ige will veto Senate Bill 2077. Most of the 1,400 employees will retain their jobs under the new management. This measure, though, will allow them to claim severance options that were intended only as compensation for job loss, in the process incurring an expense estimated at $40 million or more that taxpayers can ill afford….

When that privatization agreement was signed only months ago, the governor praised it, citing the $260 million in hospital subsidies the state would save over 10 years.

That’s why it would make no sense for Ige now to allow a sweetheart deal like SB 2077 to become law. Even if it’s spread over five years, it would still register as a hit on the state general fund, and drive the state’s Employees’ Retirement System fund into a deeper hole. This would be a backslide from the state’s commitment to pay down its unfunded liabilities.

While he’s mulling this bill, the governor and UPW officials are progressing with negotiations toward a settlement of the case. That, at least, is a more encouraging sign. Another status report on the talks is due June 30….

read … Unions asking too much of Maui deal

Hanabusa Uses Teachers to Open Door to More Political Corruption

ILind: …So after hearing oral arguments, Nishimura ruled the commission’s travel guidelines affect a broad section of the public and are not limited to a specific case or situation, are forward looking, and therefore must be adopted as agency rules, with opportunities for public input guaranteed by state law.

One key point was buried in the arguments. Hanabusa pointed out that the same issues underlying the disagreement over teacher travel and education trips are also involved in applying the gift provisions of the ethics code to legislators and other public officials.

One part of the what is at issue is the ethics commission’s interpretation of this part of the law, which provides:

Gifts. No legislator or employee shall solicit, accept, or receive, directly or indirectly, any gift, whether in the form of money, service, loan, travel, entertainment, hospitality, thing, or promise, or in any other form, under circumstances in which it can reasonably be inferred that the gift is intended to influence the legislator or employee in the performance of the legislator’s or employee’s official duties or is intended as a reward for any official action on the legislator’s or employee’s part.

HSTA repeatedly questioned how the ethics commission decides what is a “reasonable inference.”

It’s the same provision at issue, whether applied to teachers or to lobbyists and legislators.

This is dangerous territory, because prior ethics opinions about gifts to legislators have been grumbled about at the State Capitol but not directly challenged. It’s a rare elected official who wants to publicly be seen on the wrong side of ethics.

This is clearly tricky territory, especially because the ethics commission is bound by the ethics laws, which are passed by the Legislature and can be amended by them as well.

If the commission holds to its prior position, and the teachers case is ultimately pushed to rulemaking, it will necessarily open the door to challenges to the way gifts to legislators have been treated by the commission. Lobbyists and legislators may be anxious to renew that debate. I’m not sure the public wants to risk loosening of existing restrictions….

Meanwhile: Souki ‘Hosts’ Caldwell Fundraiser

read … Not quite missing in action

‘Progressives’ here far from it

SA: …Many are running under false assumptions to begin with. With the Maui water rights, they don’t even realize that what they want denies fair allocation to the entire Upcountry area.

Many progressives also oppose GMOs and the Hawaiian Electric Co. merger with NextEra. They support expansion of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, without a scientific basis, putting local fishermen out of work. They block the Thirty Meter Telescope that will help build a diversified economy based on technology.

If you want real progress, take a good look at what these progressives stand for.…

Related: Meet the Environmental Protest Industry

read … ‘Progressives’ here far from it

PUC Silent on NextEra as Clock Ticks Down to June 30 Departure of Abercrombie Appointee

SA: All the parties involved in the potential $4.3 billion purchase of Hawaii’s largest electric utility gathered at the Hilton Hawaiian Village on Tuesday and were slinging the “no comment” phrase left and right.

The state Public Utilities Commission is set to to make a decision any day about Florida-based NextEra Energy Inc.’s purchase of Hawaiian Electric Industries, the parent company of Hawaiian Electric Co., Maui Electric Co. and Hawaii Electric Light Co.

read … Running Down the Clock

City to convert Iwilei low-rise into hub to keep the homeless, homeless

SA: The city plans to turn a four-story industrial building in Iwilei into the first all-in-one homeless project of its kind in the islands that will provide showers, laundry machines, two floors of permanent housing, and social services pertaining to mental illness and alcohol and drug abuse.  (So they can stay on the streets and keep on scrounging for copper.)

The announcement this morning by Mayor Kirk Caldwell comes as Iwilei businesses are complaining about a spike in the area’s homeless population, which they maintain is accompanied by an increase in vandalism and daily deposits of human feces on their doorsteps.

The 43,000-square-foot, 40-year-old building — located just around the corner from homeless squatters in Aala Park and near the Institute for Human Services’ shelters — had been used as a factory for Malihini Sportswear….

The so-called “hygiene center” is the result of “the marriage of our resources that we both bring to the table,” Caldwell told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Tuesday.  (Translation: Thanks a lot, Ernie.)

The city spent $6.3 million to buy the property, with the City Council providing $2 million in capital funds and $1 million in operational money to run the hygiene center, Caldwell said….

“We’re going after the hard core,” Caldwell said. “These are people who have been on the street for a long time.”  (And we want to help them stay on the street.) …

The idea was inspired by a trip to Seattle last year by Council Chairman Ernie Martin and Councilmen Joey Manahan and Trevor Ozawa that followed a reporting trip by the Star-Advertiser to review homeless projects in the Emerald City that might work in the islands…. (Thus proving all of these people are idiots.)

This week, Manahan had planned to join Council members Carol Fukunaga, Ann Kobayashi and Ron Menor on a follow-up trip to review Seattle’s homeless projects, including hygiene centers and government-sanctioned tent cities.

But Manahan instead will join Caldwell and state officials this morning for a news conference announcing the new hygiene center in his Iwilei district.

Manahan, who has criticized the city’s Chinatown hygiene center as too small and uninviting, welcomed today’s announcement as well as state and city cooperation galvanizing around homelessness.

Reality for those  who can handle it: Homeless tent cities: Seattle’s decade-long nightmare coming to Honolulu?

read … A Hub

State to help some working homeless with rental subsidy program

HNN: As homeless camps continue to pop up across the state the Governor's office has come up with a way to help those willing to help themselves. 

It's called the Rental Supplement Program.  It was created to help people who are on the street because they can't afford rent.  To qualify you must be homeless and have some income to put towards rent.

"What this program does for them, we will pay for them up to $1000 a month for the first six months and after that $500 a month," ….

After the legislature designated $600,000 for this first of its kind program it was put in motion in just 30 days….

"Some of the families have already been identified. They're already in the system.  The paperwork is ready.  We feel very confident that at least 100 families will  be housed in the next four months." ….

read … State to help some working homeless with rental subsidy program

Hawaii Health Department Watching 50 Cases of Dengue, One Chikungunya 

KHON: …The health department says it knows of five travel-related cases so far this year.

There are 50 cases of dengue fever considered a direct threat to Hawaii along with one case of chikungunya.

Health officials say the summer months are still going to see lots of mosquito activity which means local businesses are stocking up on repellent….

read … 50 Cases

Airhead Hooser too Chicken to Visit Seed Farms

KE: …It's common practice, when public officials are deliberating a complex or contentious issue, to make a site visit to the affected property.

While still a state Senator, Gary Hooser took one such trip to Niihau, as well as a three-day site visit to Maui County. He also made site visits to the proposed Kauai bike path route, the disputed county road at Papaa and the Waipake beach access offered by Larry Bowman. He even asked the state DLNR to make one prior to taking any action on a cattle fence at Lepeuli beach.

But though Hooser has been talking stink about the seed companies for years, and pushing comprehensive bills to regulate their actions, he has never, ever, been to one of the farms. (Aside from sneaking into the fields with a French reporter.)….

So is he embarrassed to actually face the people he's demonized as craven compromisers of children's health, money-mad monsters, pitiless poisoners of people and the aina?

Or is he afraid he might actually see something that would force him to open his eyes, and yes, his teeny-tiny mind?

Shoots, even red shirt cheerleader Felicia Cowden, who has devoted countless hours on her “community radio” show to trashing the seed companies, went out to take a look, bringing the keiki she's inexplicably charged with “educating” along, too. As she wrote to Sarah Thompson on Facebook (emphasis added):

That field trip with my students at Dow was a very quality sharing of the fields by high-level participants. Thank you for being a part of it. We were all honored at the sincere effort to share what is the procedures on the farms. I had earlier had a tour in Waimea with Peter and Kirby. Again, the procedures and precautions exceeded my expectations as well as the frame of heart of these site managers.

Of course, Felicia still believes she knows more than people who have devoted their education and careers to ag, and that “yardening” will cheaply and effectively feed the billions. In other words, she remains inherently deluded. Nonetheless, even she acknowledges that “a tour is worthwhile for reducing a conversation to what is real.”

read … Musings: See for Yourself

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