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Friday, September 02, 2016
September 2, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:51 PM :: 2615 Views

Hospital delay heightens vulnerability to Hurricanes

Visitors At The Volcano: Is The NPS Nuts?

Radar Image: Hurricane Lester Tracks Toward North Shores of Maui, Oahu

Applicants Sought for Board of Bar Examiners

UHWO Chancellor Candidates follow Usual Pattern

Rail: Circumstances Manipulated to Steer Conclusion to GE Tax Hike

Borreca:  The Honolulu transit melodrama moved from reality show to just-hard-cash reality this week as the Federal Transit Administration (of course) said “No” to Honolulu officials’ repeated requests for more money or more time (which Caldwell and Hanabusa knew was inevitable since HART hasn’t even bothered to complete a recovery plan necessary to obtain the money they are already promised)….

The Legislature, however, is not in any sort of tax-raising mode.

When asked about the chance of a rail bailout, House Democratic leader Rep. Scott Saiki called it “very difficult.”

He pointed out that during the last session, Ige wanted to raise the gas tax to pay for a series of major road projects and he was turned down.

“There were not sufficient votes for a tax increase; there was no support,” Saiki said in an interview.

Back in June, Caldwell said he is “not willing to consider raising real property taxes” to pay for rail, but that leaves just hoping the Legislature will raise Oahu taxes for rail.

Either way, at the end of this show, you are going to get a new and bigger bill.

(And the whole point of this Dog-n-Pony show is to make you feel like there was no other solution.)

read … Tax Hike Coming

Ige: Don’t Stop At Papahanaumokuakea

CB: Gov. David Ige welcomed a major environmental conference to Hawaii on Thursday by committing to protect more of his state’s watersheds and nearshore ocean waters.

Ige spoke to several thousand people at the opening of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s World Conservation Congress, which will continue through Sept. 10 at the Hawaii Convention Center.

He announced the state’s commitment to protect 30 percent of its highest priority watersheds by 2030 and to “effectively manage” 30 percent of its nearshore ocean waters in the same time frame….

read … Kill the Fishermen

Joker Ige commits Hawaii to doubling food production by 2020—While Attacking Fishermen and Overseeing Two Major Ag Closures

PBN: Gov. David Ige announced Thursday at the start of an international conservation conference in Honolulu a slew of sustainable pledges for the state, including one that commits Hawaii to double its food production by 2020….

Kamanaopono Crabbe, CEO of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, served as the event’s master of ceremonies, and almost every speaker highlighted President Barack Obama’s proclamation to expand the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. The president made the announcement on Wednesday evening in Honolulu at the East-West Center and then flew to see the monument on Thursday….

HFD: Priorities

read … A Joke

Conservation? Cognitive Dissonance at the Convention Center

KE: …with 40 million facing drought-related hunger in Africa, 8,000 greenies flew to Honolulu to attend the International Union for the Conservation of Nature conference and get serious about sustainability and climate change. Or at least, sigh a lot about it.

All together now. SIGH........

Among the attendees experiencing cognitive dissonance is Hawaii Gov. David Ige, who is seeking to protect Hawaii's coral reefs from global warming-induced bleaching because “they are a driver of our local and tourism economy, generating more than $360 million each year.” 

Yet no mention of the carbon-spewing jets that transport the tourists, nor of their reef-tromping, sunscreen-slathering behavior once they get here.

Ige also proclaimed:

“We need to provide food security through the protection of lands and water and support for our local farmers, and that’s why I’m committed to doubling Hawaii’s food production by 2020.”

Sounds great. But how, exactly? ….

read … Musings: Yakkity-Yak

Maui: Due to Green Energy Profiteering, Alt Energy Now Costs 30% More Than Oil

MN: …The problem, said Doug McLeod, energy consultant for DKK Energy Services and a former Maui County energy commissioner, is that due to falling oil prices, it's now cheaper for MECO to produce with oil than with the least expensive renewable energy sources on Maui. He said that the utility reported paying more than 13 cents per kilowatt-hour from each of the three wind farms on Maui, compared to 10 cents per kilowatt-hour for oil-produced power in July.

Moreover, the Mainland average cost for wind power is much lower than what MECO is paying, dropping below 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, as reported by agencies like the U.S. Department of Energy. Most of the renewable energy that MECO delivered to customers last year came from wind energy.

"Now, a Mainland wind farm is a huge thing, and it operates on a scale that we just don't have, and we'll never get that low," McLeod said. "But . . . people in the energy industry have long felt that we just have not done a good job of buying low-cost renewable energy."

Instead of first deciding on what technology to use, McLeod said, utilities should seek the lowest rates and pursue those renewables.

"We're still at that stage of trying to say what is going to supply the power rather than what is the market looking to provide," McLeod said….

"While oil prices are low at this time, oil prices are volatile and could rise again over the long term," Suzuki said, (hoping desperately that sales pitch would fool the ratepayers once again).

read … ‘Green’ Energy

Proposed rules could limit manta ray tours off Kona Coast

WHT: …The department’s Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation has been looking at ways to control the increasing number of vessels at Makako Bay and Keauhou Bay, the two most popular sites for manta ray viewing.

“We came up with a bunch of things that we thought would really help with human safety and manta-vessel interaction and manta-human interaction,” said Maria Gaydos of the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, adding that the department met with tour operators last October to hash out some potential fixes to the issue.

A report prepared last year by Marine Science Consulting LLC counted between 16 and 19 vessels a night at Makako Bay, also referred to as Garden Eel Cove, with 160 to 190 people in the water. At Keauhou Bay, they counted between seven and 22 vessels a night with 114 to 177 people in the water.

While the risk of a serious incident is low, the report said, the rate of activity in the area gives “ample opportunity” for an accident to happen. Specifically, they raised concerns about the potential for a boat striking a person in the water or an anchor being dropped on a diver below.

One issue is the lack of available moorings in the bays.

Each site has only seven moorings, according to the Marine Science report. As a result, vessels will commonly attach themselves end to end, with two or three vessels sharing a single mooring, a practice referred to as “rafting.” Other vessels which can’t attach to mooring will drop anchor nearby, despite a DLNR rule banning vessels from anchoring within 100 yards of a mooring….

“It’s a very popular activity that’s being really sensationalized in magazines and the media and stuff because it’s so cool,” she said. “So it is coming to a point where we have to think about overcrowding.”

“And ultimately, unfortunately, what that means is we have to limit commercial access to the sites.”

How will DLNR decide who gets access?

“That’s the million-dollar question,” said Gaydos.

The management proposal, she said, will have a few ideas of how the department could choose who gets the moorings. While she was hesitant to go into detail about all the proposals, Gaydos said an auction “is a no-go.”

Gaydos said the division needs legal authority to run an auction, which it doesn’t in this case.

A lottery-style distribution is a possibility. The most extreme option, she said, would be nobody gets a permit.

read … Eco Religion Destroys Environment

Appeals court sides with DLNR in aquarium fish lawsuit, Enviros Plan Appeal

WHT: Aquarium fish collectors won’t have to go through an environmental assessment in order to get state-issued permits, under a ruling upheld Wednesday by a state appeals court panel.

The Intermediate Court of Appeals panel, in its 23-page opinion written by Associate Judge Katherine G. Leonard, said, unlike in land-based construction activities, commercial fish collectors for the aquarium trade don’t have a specific project that an EA could be applied to.

“We conclude that to interpret ‘program or project’ so sweepingly as to require individual aquarium fish permit applicants to undertake the EA process is not a ‘rational, sensible and practicable interpretation’ of (the Hawaii Environmental Protection Act) and would create an unreasonable, impractical and absurd result,” the opinion said.

On the other hand, the court called “without merit,” a Department of Land and Natural Resources argument that it doesn’t have discretionary authority to say yes or no to aquarium permits. There are about 50 permit-holders, all required to submit catch reports to DLNR.

The Attorney General’s Office, representing DLNR in the lawsuit, was pleased with the opinion.

“It’s a good result,” said spokesman James Walther, adding that DLNR was also pleased.

The 2012 lawsuit was filed by Rene Umberger, Mike Nakachi, Kaimi Kaupiko, Willie Kaupiko, the Conservation Council for Hawaii, the Humane Society of the United States and the Center for Biological Diversity. The appeals case was handled by Earthjustice.  (Translation: Dive tour operators vs Aquarium collectors)

It’s very likely the case will be further appealed to the Hawaii Supreme Court, Earthjustice attorney Summer Kupau-Odo said Thursday….

Related: Enviros win 90% in Hawaii Supreme Court

read … Supreme Court Next Stop

Judge Steve Alm Is Taking His Message Of ‘HOPE’ To DC

CB: The innovative program to decrease prison time and improve probation is being adopted across the country. But Judge Alm wants to do even more….

read … HOPE

Honolulu police officer arrested for driving under the influence

KHON: …Vasai Isala Jr. was arrested early Monday morning in Makakilo.

The Honolulu Police Department says Isala has been on the force for 11 years, and because of the arrest, his police powers are restricted.

Isala is currently assigned to District 3, which covers Aiea to Waipahu….

CB: San Jose Police Department sent 11 officers to Oahu in an attempt to find new recruits. The trip was not successful.

read … Another One

Maui: Kicked out of Park, Homeless Still Refuse Shelter as Lester Approaches

MN: …Campers estimated that more than a hundred people - not all of them with permits - lived throughout the park, with the vast majority of them being families with young children. School buses would pick up children from the park.

Smith said that he and friends and family members were raised at the park. He said that his family would pay for permits every week to stay at the campsite because it did not have a home.

"I've been on the beach since I was a kid," he said. "There were times where we actually had a house, but we all grew up on the beach."

Many displaced campers parked on the side of the road declined to be interviewed, but all were aware of the suspension. Smith said that his mother and other family members were staying at Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Center, but he chose to stay with his aunty and others at the park.

"My aunty guys appreciate me staying out here because, out of my siblings, I'm the one who usually helps them out and washes the plates when they're gone" to work, he said.

Smith said that those who live at the park are all family and friends and do not cause any of the issues cited by the department. He said that the issues of drugs and fighting are caused by outsiders.

"It's not us that are causing all this drama. It's the people who don't live here on the beach and have a house," he said. "They come down to the campground and just make trouble. They stay up in the parking lot, 2, 3 o'clock, 4 o'clock, partying, drinking, doing their drugs and making loud noise. Us campers have to take all this sh- from them. They're the ones causing all the drama and we're the ones who have to get kicked out of the campground."

read … They stay up in the parking lot, 2, 3 o'clock, 4 o'clock, partying, drinking, doing their drugs and making loud noise 

Aloha Stadium Still Reeling from Hurricane Abercrombie

SA: Q: What is your annual budget now?

A: Our budget we ask annually is $9.2 million.

Q: That covers everything?

A: No. … We operate without general funds with the exception of CIP monies toward facilities maintenance, so we go in and ask for that at the legislative session.

Q: And how much does that add up to?

A: Well, it depends. I think since 2005 we’ve infused close to … just under $100 million in capital improvements. But in the last biennium, we didn’t get any money.

Q: Why?

A: Well, you can see that there are other priorities in the state, and those decisions are up to the policymakers.

Q: Is this part of the whole thing about how, I think it was Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who he said he didn’t want to put any more money into the stadium?

A: That’s part of it. That’s the reason we’re conducting these studies — to make sure that we do the right thing for the state of Hawaii….

Q: If you have a rail station there, that’s going to take up a lot of parking, and we know that’s an issue already. How many acres have you got there anyway?

A: We have close to a hundred acres.

Q: And the stadium takes up how much?

A: At least 10 acres.

Q: And parking is all the rest?

A: Well, it could be. But we’d like to see if there’s opportunity for mixed development, if we’re able to lift the deed restrictions. There’s a federal deed restriction and a city deed restriction….  As of March 2016, the City Council has approved Resolution 16-69, to lift the deed restriction, so all we’re doing now is making sure the right signatures are on those documents. On the federal side we’ve been working with the National Park Service group within the Department of the Interior to lift the federal restriction, and we’re just completing some of the responses that are going back and forth, with the hope of getting the deed restriction lifted sooner than later as well….

read … Aloha Stadium manager quarterbacking venue at critical juncture

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