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Tuesday, September 27, 2016
September 27, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:18 PM :: 3689 Views

Affordable Housing Funds Wasted; There's a Better Way Forward

Hawaii: Worst State to Start a Business

Survey: Hawaii Worst State for Teachers

HIDOE Students Outpace Nation in AP Exam Gains

Hawaii has the lowest rate of eligible residents registered to vote

Hawaii #1 State for long-term delinquent mortgage squatting

Will Kenoi Take Others Down With Him?

Borreca: …Last week a big chunk of Kenoi’s public-opinion armor that has protected the usually ebullient Democrat fell away in a pair of cellphone videos of Kenoi, who appeared mostly sloshed.

Jonathan Scheuer, a state land use commissioner, posted the videos on his Facebook page and then retracted them, saying “At age 47, I can still make bad decisions.”

(Translation: The ‘good’ decision would be to cover up for Kenoi and the planners.  This is how Hawaii’s political insiders think.)

The videos came from a pau hana meeting after the Hawaii Congress of Planning Officials Conference on Kauai.

Appearing with what looks like an adult beverage in hand, Kenoi is seen and heard praising Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho, in between mostly cursing.

According to the West Hawaii Today account of the tirade, Kenoi bellowed “Hey everybody! Everybody shut the f—- up!” The mayor followed that with a monologue partially lost in the ambient noise but containing the phrase “knock you out in front of everybody,” reported the paper.

Scheuer said on his Facebook page that “the videos may have given some people the wrong right impression that all we do is drink and party at this conference,” adding that it was actually a hard-working, hard-drinking valuable meeting….

Part of the takeaway from last week’s happy hour fest, is that alcohol is already bound to come up during Kenoi’s trial. As the state prosecutors said during pretrial motions, Kenoi used his county credit card to purchase “exorbitant amounts of alcohol” during the time frame of the charges.

That caused Kenoi’s defense team to say essentially there is a little booze in all of government.

“Alcohol consumption among business and government officials indisputably serves the goal of developing closer and more meaningful relationships,” they wrote….

(Translation: Will Kenoi take others down with him?)

Background: Kenoi to Planners: “Shut the F*** Up or I knock you out”

read … Behavior doesn’t suggest Kenoi wants redemption

Caldwell Loots Hanauma Bay Funds

CB: Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and city officials are under fire from a nonprofit organization for “the continuing misuses of admission fees paid by visitors to Hanauma Bay.”

“The simple reality is that the City has intentionally, and persistently, misused these funds in violation of court rulings,” attorneys Paul Alston and Michael Purpura said in a seven-page letter to Mayor Kirk Caldwell that they sent on behalf of Friends of Hanauma Bay.

“The situation is intolerable,” the lawyers said. “lt cannot continue.” …

The mayor’s office has yet to respond to a request for comment.

Republican Charles Djou, Caldwell’s opponent in the Nov. 8 mayoral election, is familiar with the group’s concerns since it was around a decade ago when he was on the Honolulu City Council. Djou said he authored a resolution in 2007 that led to an independent audit of the fund….

In 2002, a judge found the money was being misused and ordered the city to keep any surplus in the fund to offset any future deficits at the bay, and to refund nearly $3.2 million that had been used for other purposes in prior years.

Over the past decade, the Friends of Hanauma Bay organization said the city has used the fund to buy vehicles for lifeguards to use at other parks, skimmed the interest from the fund and put it toward other uses, and paid employees to work at other parks with the fund’s money….

“This is a crown jewel which Kirk Caldwell is mismanaging and neglecting,” Djou said. “The law is black and white.”…

read … Honolulu Misuses Hanauma Bay Funds, Nonprofit Group Claims

Another Pot of Money to Loot: Voters to decide if portion of property tax should fund Honolulu Zoo

HNN: …"Proposal number nine would carve out a half a percent of real property tax revenues and dedicate those to the zoo as a minimum amount that can be budgeted each year," said Roy Amemiya, Honolulu Managing Director.

Right now how much the zoo gets depends on the mayor and city council.  Over the past five years the amount as varied from as low as $5 million to a high of $6.8 million.  If the amendment passes it could cut the zoo budget but the facility would get to keep all the money.

"Currently if money is in the budget and if it's not spent it lapses into the general fund.  This special fund will make sure it stays with the zoo," said Amemiya.

Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi says although she likes the idea of a zoo fund  she has concerns because money for the Affordable Housing Fund and the Clean Water Fund are also taken directly out of property taxes.

"The other funds have this kind of safety valve where if the city really cannot do this at a certain point, if there is an emergency then we do not have to take the money out for that fund during that time. I don't believe that safety valve language is in this charter amendment," said Kobayashi.

Voters will get to decide on the issue when they go to the polls November 8th….

read … Tax

Supreme Court: Can Mayor Fire Police Chief?

KE: Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho is asking the Hawaii Supreme Court to review a lower court ruling that found he did not have the right to discipline the police chief.

In July, the Intermediate Court of Appeals ruled the mayor had no authority to suspend Police Chief Darryl Perry in February 2012. Though the police commission voted to reinstate Perry after the seven-day suspension, the mayor refused to allow him to return to work. The commission sued and lost in Circuit Court, but won on appeal when the ICA found that the police commission's power to discipline the chief is implied in its sole authority to hire and fire him.

The request for the high court review argues that the ICA “failed to properly contextualize the legal issue” when it focused solely on powers set forth in the County Charter and did not acknowledge the administrative limitations of the commission and the mayor's “authority to exercise direct supervision over” the department and chief.

So if the mayor supposedly has authority to directly supervise the department, why would you even need a chief and commission?

CB: Hawaii Should Heed Charlotte’s Police Body Cam Lessons

read … Musings: Calabash

Telescope: The contested case hearing is slated to begin Oct. 11

WHT: Parties in the contested case for the Thirty Meter Telescope toured the summit of Mauna Kea on Monday morning.

The site visit provided a way to “see firsthand the location and observable impact of the…project,” according to documents filed with the state Board of Land and Natural Resources last month.

The contested case hearing is slated to begin at 10 a.m. Oct. 11 at the Hilo Naniloa Hotel.

It is the second contested case relating to the TMT project…

Meanwhile in the Real World: Leaving Hawaii: Decision on New Site for Thirty Meter Telescope set for ‘Early 2017’

read … Waaaay toooo Slooow

Solar and Wind Scammers Fight Plan to Reduce Electric Bills

IM: Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) wants to lower bills on O`ahu by buying more coal-based energy from independent power producer AES.

Blue Planet Foundation intervened in the Public Utilities Commission proceeding.

Blue Planet noted that HECO and the Consumer Advocate signed the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI) Energy Agreement in 2008. That agreement said no to expanding coal use. “Any attempts to add new coal based generation in Hawaii will be opposed by the parties.”

Blue Planet noted that “coal power is `cheap` ….

read … The Hawai`i Climate Change Debate Heats Up

Obama Signs Law Allowing Danner Cronies to Cash in on Tourism

KITV: As the Hawaii Tourism Conference gets underway this week in Honolulu, President Barack Obama has signed a new law that
requires federal agencies to include Native Hawaiians in tourism efforts.

It's known as the "Native Act," and it allows Native Hawaiians, Alaska natives and American Indians to protect and define how their cultures and communities are represented in the tourism industry. The announcement of the new law comes on the heels of last Friday's decision by the U.S. Department of Interior to establish a formal government-to-government relationship with the native Hawaiian community. Local organizations like the Hawaiian Hospitality Association describe the new law as an economic "tool" that will empower Native Hawaiians.

read … Cash In

Group Wants To Suspend Hawaii’s Effort To Build A New Jail

CB: A community group has filed a complaint with the Hawaii Office of Environmental Quality Control seeking to suspend an environmental review process for building a replacement facility for the crumbling Oahu Community Correctional Center.

The office published a preparation notice Friday for a draft environmental impact statement for a new OCCC, setting off a 30-day period in which the Hawaii Department of Accounting and General Services seeks public comments.

According to the preparation notice, DAGS is considering two potential sites: the OCCC’s current 16-acre site in Kalihi or the largely industrial, state-owned land in Halawa Valley, where the state’s biggest prison is located….

Life of the Land, a Honolulu-based nonprofit, is asking the Office of Environmental Quality Control to withdraw the preparation notice based on what it says are two errors.

First, under the Hawaii Revised Statute’s Chapter 343, a commenting period for an environmental review normally lasts 30 days, but the rules are different when it comes to the “development or expansion” of any correctional facilities: The Legislature passed a measure in 2003 amending a state statute to require a 60-day commenting period.

Second, Life of the Land takes issue with the fact that DAGS failed to identify any alternative sites. Instead, DAGS noted only that its consultants are still trying to identify the sites by giving “an equal and unbiased opportunity to all areas of Oahu” to be considered.

According to the preparation notice, the location of any alternative sites won’t be made public until a draft environmental impact statement is completed.

read … Suspend

East Oahu beach trashed by Homeless

HNN: A beautiful beach in windward Oahu has been turned into an unsanitary, dumping ground.

Just around the corner from Makapuu, the turquoise ocean water is inviting and the view offshore stunning.

The sight along one section of beach is also stunning -- but in a completely different way. 

Several areas are strewn with broken bottles, fragments of furniture, and lots of leftover litter.

"People have been living here for 10 years and piled up their trash. They didn't take out any of their trash.  It is just hard keeping up with the people who lived here before," said homeless resident Jeff Anderson….

Wind and waves can toss the trash around the beach and carry it into the ocean. Just a few days ago, needles washed up at the nearby Makai Pier. Which worries Anderson as a parent of a three-year old.

"I don't let her in the water with open cuts. Yesterday, I brought up a bucket of ocean water up for my mom, and it smelled like sewage," said Anderson.

Layers of litter fill some sections of the shore. It is all too much for Anderson and his small family to clean by themselves. So he is asking for a little help….

CB: People who are actually helping Honolulu’s homeless population have a few ideas for Kirk Caldwell or Charles Djou.

read … Makapuu

UH Manoa Students More Doped up

WHT: …  drug violations that resulted in disciplinary action increased from 417 to 509, marking the second consecutive year the number of cases has gone up. All but seven of the drug violations occurred in residence halls.

Liquor law violations declined to 884 in 2015 from 932 in 2014, while vehicle thefts dropped to 32 from 41, according to the report.

read … Doped Up

Pearl Harbor Naval reservist investigated for national anthem protest

SA: Pacific Fleet officials investigated a naval reservist on active duty from San Diego who failed to stand and salute during the playing of the national anthem on Sept. 19 at Pearl Harbor.

It’s unclear what the investigation found or what penalties, if any, that Petty Officer 2nd Class Janaye Ervin, an intelligence specialist, may face for her actions while fulfilling her required two weeks of training, said Pacific Fleet spokesman Senior Chief Petty Officer Joel Cesar.

The Pacific Fleet concluded its investigation of Ervin, but Cesar did not know the results.

“I don’t believe anything was done on our part,” Cesar said. “It was more trying to understand where she’s coming from.”

Cesar did not believe that Ervin was in formation when she chose not to acknowledge the playing of the national anthem.

Her actions follow a growing movement by athletes led by San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who in August began refusing to stand during the playing of the national anthem, citing racial divides that include the police shootings of sometimes unarmed African-Americans.

In a Facebook post, Ervin wrote, “On September 19, 2016, while in uniform, I made the conscious decision to not stand for the Star Spangled Banner because I feel like a hypocrite, singing about ‘land of the free’ when, I know that only applies to some Americans. I will gladly stand again, when ALL AMERICANS are afforded the same freedom. The Navy has decided to punish me for defending the Constitution and has taken away my equipment I need to do my Naval job. It was my pleasure serving my country, I love it dearly, that is why I must do this for you. I will keep you all posted on what happens next!”

read … Protest

Star-Advertiser To Cut 15 Jobs

CB:  Oahu Publications is cutting 15 jobs at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, trimming the newsroom of about 110 editorial employees by more than 10 percent.

The move is part of a cost-cutting initiative by the Honolulu-based publishing company, which also owns a number of other Hawaii publications, including MidWeek.

In early August, the company let go of eight nonunion employees — including Midweek editor Don Chapman — in addition to leaving 20 vacant positions unfilled this year.

In an article published Tuesday in the Star-Advertiser, Dennis Francis, the company’s president and publisher, blamed the job cuts to losses in print-advertising revenue….

SA: Star-Advertiser blames advertising losses for 15 layoffs

read … Cut Jobs

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