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Friday, September 30, 2016
September 30, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:40 PM :: 1870 Views

Full Text: School Board Member Resigns--Says Governor Violates Federal Law

Rand Paul: Give Caldwell a Cash Bonus so he Won’t Waste Affordable Housing Money

Sister Isle Police Release Rape Kit Test Info—Still Nothing from HPD

Why It’s So Hard to Stop Bad Cops From Getting New Police Jobs

Maui County Buys Haiku Sugar Lots for Nature Preserve and Organic Ag Park

Maui County in Top 10 Least Affordable

US Senators: Hawaii Office of Elections Violates Federal Law

In Hawaii, spending more does not get you better roads

Borreca: …consider several new reports.

As Honolulu Star-Advertiser transportation reporter Marcel Honoré reported this week, “Hawaii’s state-run highways and roads have held firm as some of the worst in the nation.”

The report was the latest annual report prepared by Reason Foundation, a D.C.-based libertarian think tank.

The latest data is from 2013 so it is not fair to blame just the Ige administration, but, still, motorists are getting a lot more promises than pavement.

The Reason Foundation report rated Hawaii roads 48th out of 50 for the overall cost-effectiveness and performance.

Also INRIX, a global traffic-data company, reported that as of 2015, Honolulu has the 10th-worst traffic in the U.S.

And then consider that, according to USA Today, Hawaii has the third-highest gas taxes in the country.

If you think that spending more gets you better roads, you are going to be disappointed in Hawaii.

The national report says our urban roads are the worst in the country. A full 31 percent are in poor condition.

As the Star-Advertiser report noted: “The state spent nearly $78,000 per mile in administrative costs on its roads, while the national average for those costs was $10,051. Only Connecticut spent more per mile on administration than Hawaii.” ….

Not only do we not build a lot, we don’t even know how to do the job right.

Eight years ago, Hawaii received a federal report prepared by Larry Galehouse, director of the Michigan State University-based National Center for Pavement Preservation, on how to fix our roads.

Instead of action, the report generated cobwebs and was mostly ignored, even though the report “concluded that DOT staff lacked sufficient training, guidelines and tools needed to keep the roads in shape at least on par with roads in other U.S. regions.”

But the state has found a federal program it likes. Hawaii applied for and won a $4 million federal grant to learn how to raise taxes to fix roads.

This comes after Gov. David Ige asked the 2016 Legislature to raise state gas tax from 16 cents to 19 cents per gallon, and to increase the state’s vehicle registration fees and weight taxes, costing vehicle owners an extra $55 a year on average….

read … In Hawaii, spending more does not get you better roads

Cracks and Corrosion: Thousands of Weight-Bearing Rail Guideway Parts Already Failing

HNN: Rail officials said they found more than 2,000 cracked plastic pads along first first 10 miles of the rail line….

"Imagine the stress of a train going over that. You don't think that if there's a problem there's going to be potential crack?"

The pads, or shims, are made of high-density plastic and are used to elevate the rail track. There are about 110,000 of these shims in use now.

According to the rail authority, the cracked pads may not conform to their specifications and don't contain enough protective material for UV damage.

Contractor Kiewit has agreed to replace them at its expense but some worry about potential delay costs….

These and other construction defects were discussed at the HART board meeting today.

Rail staffers also said that several of the metal cables within the rail system's concrete guideway were frayed. The also found some corrosion on the protective grout around some of the tendons.

The cables or tendons join each of the segments of the concrete guideway together. They help bear the weight on the guideway.

Kiewit recently checked to see what would happen if these tendons were ruptured…..

read … Cracked

HART Costs Jump Another $700M—And Another Year Delay

SA: …The latest price tag is $700 million more than the figure the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation issued nearly four months ago, in early June, when it estimated the transit line and its 21 stations would cost $7.9 billion.

The updated figure includes hundreds of millions of dollars more set aside for contingency and to eventually build rail’s final 4 miles or so into Honolulu’s urban core, HART board Chairwoman Colleen Hanabusa said after the group’s meeting Thursday.

It also includes some $200 million to deal with utility clearance issues on the west side; the amount would be sufficient to put the utilities there underground if necessary, rail officials said.

“It is an estimate. We’ve asked staff to be as accurate as they can on this,” Hana­busa said, adding that the figures could change even more than they already have in the past two years….

They’ve also added another year of delay to rail’s schedule, mostly thanks to the ongoing dilemma about how to fund the elevated project’s final leg into town. Rail leaders now estimate that train cars will start running across the full line from East Kapolei to Ala Moana Center starting in December 2025.

read … More Expensive

HART to Report on Possible Tax Hikes Next Week

KHON: …Formby told the board they are wrapping up a midterm report to give the Federal Transit Administration by early next week on how the city plans to finish rail.

Formby said it will cover where they might find more revenue to build rail all the way to Ala Moana, and a backup plan on how far just the current budget will get the train.

HART officials hope a solid interim plan to the FTA might help get the deadline for a final financial plan pushed into 2017, instead of year-end….

read … Tax Hikes

Djou Zings Caldwell on 9-11

CB: Caldwell accused Djou, a former congressman and city councilman, of voting against funding for first responders such as police, fire and emergency personnel at the local level, and also for personnel impacted by the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“The highest priority of a mayor is public safety, bar none,” Caldwell said, insisting that Djou did not even bother to show up for the final vote in the U.S. House in December 2010 on a bill to help 9/11 responders.

Djou, however, used Caldwell’s complaint to illustrate what he believes is a fundamental difference between the two men: that Djou demands fiscal responsibility while Caldwell only seeks to “spend, spend, spend no matter the consequences.”

Djou then segued into reminding the mayor and the Chamber audience that he volunteered for the U.S. Army one month after 2001 terror attacks and was later sent to Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Zing!

The mayor was just as ‘sharp’ in his response to Djou’s complaint that Caldwell receives at least $200,000 a year serving on the board of directors for Territorial Savings Bank. With rail over budget, homelessness on the rise, and both the city Ethics Commission and police department under scrutiny, is it appropriate for the mayor to hold down a second job?

read … $200,000

State Makes Big Claims About Energy Efficiency Projects

SA: The state has invested roughly $325 per capita this year in energy performance contracting projects for state buildings, according to the nonprofit Energy Services Coalition….

(Of course, ESC is a nonprofit tied to the companies which receive these lucrative contracts.  Do the math.)

Energy performance contracting is a financing tool that allows government buildings to get energy efficiency upgrades without having to pay capital expenses up front, instead paying for them annually as the agencies experience energy savings.

The state’s energy efficiency projects include courthouses, community colleges, airports and prisons, the state said in a news release Thursday. Performance contracts signed by state and local government agencies in Hawaii since 1996 include 225 buildings and facilities covering 96 million square feet with savings that add up to powering 368,426 homes for one year….

read … State touts big energy effort and top ranking by nonprofit

Cool Schools: What is State Buying for $50K per Classroom?

SA: …Overall, energy usage was reduced by 25 percent from the previous year through changes including replacing all interior and exterior lighting with LED lights, replacing inefficient motors in the cafeteria’s refrigerator and freezers and adding efficient air ventilation to the cafeteria’s kitchen.

Brandon Hayashi, regional manager for OpTerra, said the LED lighting changes alone reduced the school’s daytime lighting usage by 42 percent, and its nighttime usage by 62 percent.

The DOE invested $1.2 million, an average of $50,000 per classroom, on the Honowai project, which it hopes will serve as a model for other schools.

To further offset the school’s energy use, OpTerra installed 100 kilowatts of photovoltaic panels — the maximum output capacity allowed per meter by Hawaiian Electric Company.

Officials said the campus consumed 463,000 kilowatt-hours last school year. The efficiency measures reduced electrical use by 115,000 kilowatt-hours and the photovoltaic system will generate 200,000 kilowatt-hours annually.

CB: Hawaii Teacher: New Moms In Our Schools Deserve Maternity Leave

read … $50K

How Easy to Rile up the Ignorant

KE: Proving once again how easy it is to rally and rile the ignorant, Don Heacock and Adam Asquith are fomenting fury around a supposed new "Waialeale water diversion."

Uh, except, there isn't one.

Here's the crap that Heacock and Asquith are feeding the mob….

KHON: Anti-Geothermal Activists Thrilled by Latest Opportunity for Mindless Hype

read … Ignorant

42 percent of Hawaii Island’s 1,394 homeless individuals are families

HTH: …According to Hope Services of Hawaii, 42 percent of Hawaii Island’s 1,394 homeless individuals are families — which equates to about 585 people. Of the homeless on the island, 33 percent are children.

“No child deserves to be homeless,” Normann said.

Representatives of faith communities such as Baha’i, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam and Christianity will gather from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5, at Sangha Hall, 398 Kilauea Ave. in Hilo, for the Hawaii Island Interfaith Coalition on Family Homelessness Summit….

“They get robbed consistently,” she said. “I help a lot of clients who come in here all beat up and their belongings get taken.”

When that happens, and identification comes up missing, it can be tough to get a job, an apartment or even basics such as food….

read … Summit to focus on how faith communities can help homeless families

Court: Banning gun purchases to medical marijuana cardholders does not violate Second Amendment

NCR: A court has upheld a federal ban on medical marijuana cardholders in nine Western states, including California, to purchase a firearm.

The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by S. Rowan Wilson, who tried to buy a firearm in 2011 as a medical marijuana card holder. Wilson claimed the federal law violates her Second Amendment right to bear arms and is unconstitutional. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in August that the ban doesn’t violate the Second Amendment and will stand.

“I think it’s unfortunate that the federal government is still denying cannabis patients any of their constitutional rights, including their Second Amendment right,” Michael Liszewski, government affairs director at Americans for Safe Access, told the Northern California Record.

For Wilson, the ruling came after she tried to buy a gun for self-defense. The gun store refused her purchase saying it was a federal law to deny guns to illegal drug users….

read … No Doped up Shooters

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