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Tuesday, August 02, 2016
August 2, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:18 PM :: 1583 Views

Feds Contradict Caldwell: Hawaii Veteran Homelessness Only Down 3%

Hawaii Medicare: 50% of Payments to be on Incentive Plan

Why are more Micronesians coming to Hawaii?

OHA Violates Trust Responsibility to Native Hawaiians

CB: The state Office of Hawaiian Affairs is angling for a “co-trusteeship” of an expanded Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. But a July 22 letter to President Barack Obama from former U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka and former state Govs. Ben Cayetano and George Ariyoshi point out, “The proposed expansion will impact the state’s ability to continue its trust responsibility to native Hawaiians.”

I agree. Papahanaumokuakea expansion would put money in OHA’s pockets at the expense of Hawaii’s local food supplies and native Hawaiian fishermen. Unfortunately, Papahanaumokuakea is not the only place where OHA’s interests are diametrically opposed to those of native Hawaiians. In fact, it’s the latest example of a long-running pattern.

According to Trustee Lei Ahu Isa, OHA wasted $33 million on its failed effort to impose federal tribal recognition on native Hawaiians — $33 million that could have done wonders to ease homelessness and other issues plaguing native Hawaiian communities. But this money was directed instead toward Washington lobbyists and a handful of politically connected OHA insiders pushing an agenda opposed by thousands of Hawaiians at last year’s Interior Department hearings.

To keep its spending secret, OHA has amassed the worst transparency record of any state agency. For years, OHA lawyers argued that OHA was not even subject to state laws.…

Related: Papahanaumokuakea: OHA’s Power Grab will harm State's ability to continue trust responsibility to Native Hawaiians

read … Kelii Akina

If We Can’t Have it Nobody Will: More Delays as UPW, HGEA Work to Destroy Maui Memorial

SA: The historic privatization of three Maui County hospitals is in jeopardy, following another setback Friday when the state was unable to reach a settlement over benefits for unionized workers.

A court had asked Gov. David Ige and the United Public Workers to resolve by Friday disputes over benefits for displaced workers affected by the proposed privatization of Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital &Clinic and Lanai Community Hospital. Instead the two sides asked the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for an extension and were given until Aug. 18….

The delays in executing the transfer of the hospitals to Kaiser will soon put patient care at risk, said Wesley Lo, CEO of the Maui County hospitals.

“There’s a lot of people wondering if there really is going to be a settlement,” he said. “Right now we had been targeting if things got resolved by Aug. 1 that we’d have a closing date of Oct. 1. Now we don’t have a new date.”

The board of the hospitals is meeting this week to discuss contingency plans that include service closures, he said.

“We can’t keep operating in this uncertainty,” Lo said. “Every day there’s people leaving. We’re having to rely on travelers and temporary workers to fill positions now. We can’t recruit physicians, and it’s hard to even recruit employees now because we don’t even know when this is going to be resolved, if at all.”

The hospitals already have more than 300 staff vacancies and employ more than 100 traveling nurses, he added.

“We are very disappointed that the state and union have not yet been able to resolve this issue,” said Kaiser spokeswoman Laura Lott. “We understand and share the frustration felt by the community and regret that these delays have been challenging and stressful for staff and patients. We want to assure the people of Maui and Lanai that we are firmly committed to investing in the people, services, facilities and technology to provide excellent care and keep the hospitals open for all residents and visitors, regardless of insurance. We hope that the state and the union can come together and resolve this case soon, as we have much work to continue and it will take a minimum of eight weeks to complete the transition and assume management of the facilities.”….

read … How to Destroy a Hospital

Kaiser Losing $500K a Week Waiting for UPW, Governor 

MN: …Maui Memorial stopped throwing off cash several years ago. This was the direct effect of the Legislature’s stupid decision in 1996.

Operationally, the effects are now becoming acute. The takeover by Kaiser is going to be at best a kludge, if it happens; and meantime the hospital cannot retain or recruit staff. There is a real possibility that the hospital could close. Parts of it already have, like the Molokini Unit for young mental patients.

Kaiser is losing $500,000 a week and will not wait forever for the governor, the Legislature and the unions to do what is pono. (And where is the lieutenant governor; many thought he had designs on the governorship. He is rapidly disqualifying himself from consideration as a serious person.)

And where is the business community? Do they think TripAdvisor and the other websites will ignore the collapse of health care delivery systems on the Valley Isle?

read … Waiting

Ige Doubles Down on Transportation Tax Blackmail

SA: One specific capacity project Ige discussed was the expansion of Highway 130 from two lanes to four along more than nine miles of road between Keaau and Pahoa on Hawaii island….

Other projects that are being deferred include the eastbound H-1 widening from Waiawa to Halawa, which is in the planning stages; the Kahekili Highway widening project to four lanes from two from Haiku to Ahuimanu for $66 million; and the Maui “Lahaina Bypass 1c” project, which would connect the Lahaina Bypass to Kaanapali Connector for $60 million.

Also being deferred indefinitely is the Paia Bypass project on Maui, which is expected to cost $280 million to $300 million; the Kapaa Bypass Road on Kauai; and the Kawaihae Bypass on Hawaii island.

Ige rejected any suggestion he is deferring popular highway capacity projects to pressure lawmakers into improving increases in the state’s gasoline tax, weight tax and vehicle registration fee. Ige proposed those tax increases this year and waged an all-out lobbying effort to win approval for those proposals, but lawmakers rejected them all.

Ige now says he will ask lawmakers again next year to approve those tax increases, mostly because he sees few funding alternatives it will not be an election year….

“It’s going to come up again next year,” Saiki said. “The Legislature will have to deal with it. We’ll have to decide.”

Ige’s proposal would raise the state’s gasoline tax to 19 cents a gallon from the current rate of 16 cents a gallon. The counties impose their own separate county gasoline taxes on top of the state’s tax, and those county taxes range from 8.8 cents a gallon on Hawaii island to 23 cents a gallon on Maui.

The proposed gasoline tax increase would be the first for the state since 2007, but the American Petroleum Institute calculated that Hawaii’s combined state and county gasoline taxes were already the fourth highest in the nation as of Jan. 1. The state last increased the weight tax and vehicle registration fee in 2011….

The Federal Highways Administration has criticized the state in years past for allowing a large pool of unspent federal dollars to build up.

Known as the “Pipeline” funding, that pool of unspent federal funds reached a high of $940 million six years ago, and federal officials warned the state in 2014 that unless Hawaii spent the money more quickly, it could lose federal highway funds.

The Ige administration says it has made great progress in spending down those funds, and that the highway Pipeline pool was reduced to $524 million by the end of June, according to a transportation spokesman….

KITV: Governor defends decision to delay new highway projects

read … Ige kills highway expansions

Caldwell Boots Ethics Out the Door

SA: Former U.S. Rep. Charles Djou and former Mayor Peter Carlisle ganged up on Mayor Kirk Caldwell at a live mayoral candidate forum Monday night, accusing him of engineering the resignation of longtime Ethics Commission Executive Director Chuck Totto.

Caldwell denied the charge flatly during the live forum on Insights on PBS Hawaii broadcast. The fiery exchange over the city ethics occurred just after the hour-long portion of the forum that was broadcast live over television ended, and during an extra seven minutes available only on pbshawaii.org.

Asked by moderator Daryl Huff about what issue has not received enough attention this election, Djou said “how the city Ethics Commission has been completely railroaded.”

Totto, shortly after Caldwell took office, “started asking the wrong questions” by delving into a luau sponsored by the mayor’s supporters, Djou said. It was “disturbing” that Totto resigned under pressure from Caldwell and his appointees. “I didn’t always agree with (Totto),” he said, recalling his time on the City Council. “But I thought he was good, hard-working, dedicated public servant.”

Totto had no problems during three previous administrations “and when Kirk became mayor, he had all this turbulence,” Djou said, adding that he would work to have Totto reinstated….

Carlisle, who has been Totto’s attorney during his clashes with members of the seven-member commission, said “absolutely and unequivocally there has been a complete evisceration of ethics in the City and County of Honolulu. It’s been booted out the door. There is no Ethics Commission right now that’s having any affect on anything.”

Caldwell’s three commission appointees, all retired judges, have been doing his bidding, Carlisle suggested. “We need somebody like Totto, someone with integrity, to be able to move forward.”

read … Mayoral candidates spar over Ethics Commission

Rail: Caldwell Throws Out Option after Option until only Tax Hikes are Left

SA: …If Caldwell wants to build rail past Middle Street, Djou said, the city needs a new supply of money — and Caldwell has not shown how he is going to get it.

“The plans he’s come up with are pure fantasy. No member of the congressional delegation has committed to get more money; members of the Legislature have told the mayor he has no credibility. The only thing left is city taxes,” Djou said in an interview.

As the challenger, Djou is expected to be on the attack. But Caldwell’s campaign is taking the more unusual position of attacking his underdog opponent.

In their own ways, both candidates have come up against the hard reality of a rail system that needs at least $1.5 billion more to be completed, and they come away wanting.

Caldwell has thrown out option after option, as detailed by Honolulu Star-Advertiser transit reporter Marcel Honore.

They range from calling the project pau at Middle Street and then applying to the feds for money and calling the rest of the project an “extension,” to borrowing the money in special federal transit loans.

read … Tax Hike Coming

Businesses blame Ridiculous, Irresponsible Years–Long Failure for Iwilei flooding

HNN: …four years ago, one of the two pumps broke down and owner Castle & Cooke hasn't made any repairs. Jim Eichler, CEO of Govinda's Fresh Juices, said he asked the city to do something about the broken pump last September after flooding caused $25,000 in damage to his business.

But in a response that came just last month, the city told him that it could not force Castle & Cooke to add new pumps.

"To me it's quite ridiculous that the city doesn't step in because so many people in the area are affected by this," said Eichler.

"To leave it as it is and do nothing is just so irresponsible for our government. We pay a lot of taxes to our government."

Councilman Joey Manahan said he's disappointed that the city isn't doing more to help area businesses -- especially since it's a public safety issue.

He said the council is now looking get the city to acquire the pump station.

"The city should have reached out to the private property owners to try to access the pumps or try to drain some of the flooding in the area," Manahan said.

Castle & Cooke said it's now in the process of replacing the pump….

ILind: Darby’s hidden damage

read … Caldwell Fails Again

Banks Pay Caldwell More Than City Does

CB: …“Kirk Caldwell complains about one phone call left at a phone number provided to us by a Hawaii resident in what appears to be an effort to distract from his own lack of ethics and judgment,” said press secretary Jon Kunimura in a press release.

Kunimura goes on to mention that Caldwell makes $164,928 a year as mayor yet continues to draw a $200,000 salary as a member of Territorial Savings Bank’s board of directors; that Caldwell “pressured” former City Ethics Director Chuck Totto to resign after Totto looked into the mayor’s fundraising activities; and that Caldwell’s press secretary “appears to regularly engage in campaign activity on city time by appearing at Djou campaign events during city work hours.”…

read … Djou, Caldwell Lob Ethics Charges

GEMS: Your Tax Dollars Shift to Corporations

IM: …$150,000,000.00 was borrowed to fund the Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority (HGIA) Green Energy Market Securitization (GEMS).

Governor Ige proposed to the 2016 State Legislature that public schools be included in the underserved category. The Legislature said no, and instead allocated general funds to cool classrooms.

HGIA`s latest quarterly report noted that as of June 30, 2016, the fifteen approved Deployment Partners had funded just 12 projects, for a total allocation of $385,453, that is, just one quarter of one percent of the available borrowed money.

On July 22, 2016 DBEDT filed a proposed program modification with the Public Utilities Commission.

DBEDT included a very brief market analysis to justify lending money, to finance mechanical, chemical, or thermal energy storage, whether centralized or distributed, whether owned by the utility or a customer.

On July 25, 2016 DBEDT filed another proposed program modification with the Public Utilities Commission.

Instead of focusing on the underserved market – renters, non-profits, small businesses – GEMS would expand its definition of eligible customers to include all HECO, MECO and HELCO commercial customers.

read … Funds for the Underserved Shift to Corporations

DoE Far Short of cooling a thousand classrooms

KHON: …The state is still far from its goal of cooling a thousand classrooms by the end of the year, but some improvements have been made.

According to the Department of Education, 109 classrooms have received portable air conditioners, 139 have had ceiling fans installed, and 406 classrooms had their roof painted with cooling reflective paint….

Campbell High School is among other schools that have received some type of immediate response to help keep kids cool. They received 12 portable air conditioners which means, according to the DOE, that 44 of the school’s 149 classrooms now have AC.

Ilima Intermediate received 10 portables, and Kaimiloa Elementary and Pearl Harbor Kai Elementary both received nine each.

All of the schools are on the top 20 list of schools for heat abatement.

Much like Waipahu High School, less than a third of the classrooms in those schools received some cooling remedy, so there’s still a way to go for complete relief.

Big Q: What do you think is the best way to address Hawaii’s shortage of public school teachers?

read … Students encouraged by progress to cool schools though many still sweltering

Soft on Crime: Freeway stabbing suspect has previous felony conviction, pending cases

SA: …A 58-year-old Ewa Beach man, who is already facing charges of an earlier road rage incident and barricading himself against police, was again arrested at his home Monday night after he allegedly stabbed three men following a road rage incident on the the H-1 westbound that closed part of the freeway during rush hour.

The suspect was arrested at his Halolani Street home just before 8 p.m. where he had barricaded himself for more than two hours. He was arrested on suspicion of first-degree attempted murder and taken to the hospital for mental health evaluation….

The resident said that about three years ago the same neighbor was in another police barricade situation….

A Halolani Street resident said Char had a previous run-in with police.

Char was scheduled for two trials, one for a road rage-type incident in June and the other for the barricade situation in May 2013.

He is charged with second-degree assault and fourth-degree criminal property damage in the first case and is scheduled for trial the week of Aug. 8.

He was charged with first-degree terroristic threatening and weapons charges in the 2013 barricade incident and is scheduled for trial the week of Aug. 29….

read … Soft on Crime

Great News: 526 More Convicts may be Liberated from Expensive, Corrupt UPW-Controlled Prisons

CB: The Saguaro Correctional Center currently houses about 1,400 Hawaii inmates, but that could go up to as many as 1,926….

CCA’s revenue will grow under the new contract; its per-diem rate will increase from $70.49 to $71.90 per prisoner, with an automatic escalator clause that guarantees an annual increase of between 2 percent and 3 percent.

In fiscal year 2016, which ended June 30, CCA housed a daily average of 1,388 Hawaii prisoners — about a quarter of the state’s inmate population — at the Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona, about 70 miles southeast of Phoenix.

But the state plans to send an additional 250 prisoners to Saguaro in October, so that a module at the Halawa Correctional Facility can be emptied for about 11 months, while upgrades on electronics and locking mechanisms are made.

read … Hawaii Re-Ups With Arizona Prison For $45 Million Per Year

Death to Tourism: Zika Hits Miami, Visitors Cancel in Droves

KHON: This is the first time the CDC has warned people not to travel to an American neighborhood for fear of catching an infectious disease, according to agency spokesman Tom Skinner.

The warning came after 10 additional people in Florida were found to have been infected with Zika virus after being bitten by local mosquitoes, bringing the total to 14….

read … CDC issues historic travel warning over Miami Zika outbreak

Barrons: Hawaii Only Place Anybody is Talking About Solar Battery Storage

B: …We note that a lack of any quantitative assessment of the storage prospects — outside of (well articulated) prospects in Hawaii – emphasize the lack of clarity in terms of Tesla’s ability to execute. The deal would appear ‘too early’ for its time given the infancy of the resi solar sector (with net metering still largely in place)…

read … Batteries

Hokulea Arrives at Nova Scotia Home Port of Hawaii Superferry

KHON: Hawaii’s voyaging canoe Hokulea arrived in Canada early Sunday morning after her 100-mile journey from Maine.

The crew arrived in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, a seaport of about 7,000. It’s famous for its boat building and fishermen.

Yarmouth: Former Hawaii Superferry en route to Maine

read … Hokulea arrives in Nova Scotia, its northernmost location on worldwide voyage

Ilagan Gets More Contributions from SD2 than Anti-GMO Ruderman

WHT: …Ruderman received $17,214.32 in donations above that mark since being elected in 2012.

Of that, $7,261.45, or 42 percent, were from District 2 residents and $5,677.87, or 33 percent, came off island.

If you add in the $35,000 he loaned his campaign, than the District 2 share jumps to 81 percent.

Ilagan received $35,792.54 in donations above $100 since his last council campaign in 2014.

Of that, $7,842.54, or 22 percent, came from within District 2’s boundaries and $8,500, or about 24 percent, came off island.

Ilagan’s donors with Oahu addresses include some labor groups and former state Rep. Blake Oshiro, who gave $500, among others.

Ilagan also received $500 from Kouchi for Senate. Sen. Ron Kouchi of Kauai, who also is the Senate president, organized a fundraiser in Honolulu.

“When I announced, people said to contact the Senate president,” Ilagan said. “I gave him a call. He said, ‘OK, if you’re serious about this I’m more than happy to help you out.’”

Ruderman voted against Kouchi in a Senate leadership contest. He lost his chairmanship of the Agriculture Committee during the following leadership shuffle.

read … Anti-GMO A Loser? 

The Problem with Hawaii is Obscene Anti-GMO Activists Who Move Here from the Mainland

KGI: …It raises the question of the quality of people sent to the convention. It gives ammunition to those who believe a problem with Hawaii today are the people who move here from the Mainland and don’t know how to show respect for the customs and culture of their new home. Certainly, when someone is upset, for whatever reason, the reaction can’t be an obscene gesture….

We should add that since this incident happened and went national, not everyone has turned against Kent. Her GoFundMe account has received about $250 in the past five days and at $3,764, is almost to its $4,500 goal. Guess that shouldn’t be a surprise. Outrageous sometimes pays….

CB: Anti-GMO Activists Dazed and Confused

read … Obscene

Same-Day Voter Registration Available at Walk-In Voting Locations

HNN: Now through August 11 you can register and cast your ballot at the same time at either Honolulu Hale or Kapolei Hale from 8:00 am-4:00 pm.

"This is a result of the change in law that the legislature put in place approved a couple years ago," said Glen Takahashi, Honolulu city clerk.

Hawaii News Now cameras captured several people taking advantage of late registration. 

"I think it's pretty awesome," said voter, Bricyn Afong.

After filling out an application staff verifies that the information is correct.  Folks then have the option of voting electronically or on a paper ballot.

Last general election more than 14,000  people showed up to vote at Oahu's two early polling sites.  Now with the additional service the city clerk isn't sure what to expect.

"For us a crowd is a good thing when it comes to voting. My advice is to come in early right now during non peak times and it will be a quicker process," said Takahashi

But not all voters agree late registration is a good thing.  Some say it encourages fraud.

"I don't like registering now and voting right away.  We have to ascertain whether they are citizens and whether they are really the same person," said voter, Emmanuel Tipon.

Same day registration is not available on election day.

read … Procrastinators can still sign up and vote in this year's primary

Who Can Fire Police Chief?  Case Heading for Supreme Court

KGI: The Office of the County Attorney is requesting $45,000 to take the mayor and police chief feud to Hawaii’s highest court.

The request comes after an Intermediate Court of Appeals decision in June, which said the mayor could not suspend and or discipline the chief of police and that the authority lies with the police commission.

Two council agenda items for Wednesday from the Office of the County Attorney show the request for authorization to expend funds up to $30,000 and $15,000 for special counsel’s continued representation of Bernard Carvalho, Jr. and the Kauai Police Commission, respectively.

During a council meeting in July, County Attorney Mauna Kea Trask said in an effort for his office to remain partial, he was requesting funds for special counsel to represent the parties. Trask said he worked with both the mayor’s office and the police department on a daily basis…. 

KGI: Taxpayers may pay $15K for police commission attorney’s fees

read … Feud, Kauai?  Redundant

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