Instead of Submitting Plan, HART begs Feds for Another Extension
HR3764 is on the Move—Bill Blocks Recognition of Indian Tribes Without Congressional Vote
Inclusion for the Disabled: Hawaii Ranks 5th
Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted October 3, 2016
Hawaii Department of Transportation to study isle ferry services
Sclerotic State: Elections Will Leave Legislature Virtually Unchanged
Borreca: The House…could have five or fewer new members after the November elections.
…If you look back some years, the period from 1974 to 1982 showed marked change. During that period, there was an average of 17 new members in every election cycle.
The period from 2004 to 2014 shows an average change of just nine new faces in the House….
The big year of change in this decade was 2002, when 14 new House members were elected. Of that group, only two are still in the House. And another three are serving in other elected positions.
When Hawaii was a younger state, there were election years like 1982 and 1970 when 20 new members came into the House.
The banner year was 1974, which added 22 new members, including two former governors, Ben Cayetano and Neil Abercrombie, and former Speaker of the House Henry Peters and former Senate President Norman Mizuguchi….
“It is a combination of several things: the lack of competition in general including the lack of a two-party system,” Kobayashi said in an interview….
read … Without more activism, Legislature won’t change
HART ‘Interim Plan’ Just a Rehash of Caldwell’s Tax Hike Demands
SA: The new “Interim Plan” that Honolulu rail leaders delivered to their federal partners Monday actually offers two paths forward for the island’s beleaguered, cash-strapped transit project.
Under “plan A,” the city can find the money to close what’s now estimated to be at least a $1.8 billion gap and build rail to Ala Moana Center as planned.
Under “plan B,” it can drastically cut rail’s length and its stations to build to the existing $6.8 billion budget — but it has to do it in a way that’s still acceptable to the Federal Transit Administration.
The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation is clear in its interim plan, an 88-page report that the FTA requested to help keep local officials on track as they assemble rail’s larger recovery plan. The local agency wants plan A.
“That’s our preference,” HART acting Executive Director Mike Formby said Monday. “We’re committed to plan A.” (Well they are. I’m getting off this train Nov 8.)
Big Q: Of the rail board’s two “interim plan” options to the feds, which is preferable?
CB: The Feds Should Give Hawaii More Time To Figure Out A Rail Plan
read … Same Caldwell Different Day
Contracts: Homelessness Profitable for Top Caldwell Aide
CB: Glenna Wong has been Caldwell’s most visible public relations consultant since at least his 2012 campaign, when he ran for mayor against then-incumbent Peter Carlisle and former Hawaii Gov. Ben Cayetano….
city purchasing records going back to 2010 and obtained by Civil Beat through a public records request show that Wong’s company received contracts in 2014 and 2015 worth a total of $52,460 to work on two of Caldwell’s initiatives to combat homelessness.
Wong was hired by the city as a consultant to do public relations and community outreach for Caldwell’s Housing First program and the Mayor’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, which is part of a national initiative run through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development….
Honolulu Ethics Commission Associate Legal Counsel Laurie Wong-Nowinski declined to comment on whether the situation violated city rules until she had more information. Civil Beat provided her with copies of the contracts.
Hawaii has banned government contractors from giving money to political candidates. But the law doesn’t prevent individuals from donating their own money so long as it doesn’t come from the business treasury.
Gary Kam, who is general counsel for the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission, said his agency is working on new rules that would make it illegal for the sole proprietor of a business to donate to political candidates while working under government contract. The guidelines have yet to be finalized….
Hawaii has a long history of pay-to-play politics….
read … Caldwell Aide Works Campaign For Free But Gets City Contracts
New rule will help Native Hawaiians achieve political self-determination
Lindsey: Until now, Native Hawaiians were the only major indigenous group in the 50 states who lacked a process for a government-to-government relationship with the United States.
(Clue: Government-to-government relations are for tribes. Hawaiians are also the only US indigenous group which is not a tribe.)
The state of Hawaii, the United States of America, and the United Nations all recognize that indigenous people Indian tribes have certain rights….
These rights, including the right to self-determination, are based on indigenous peoples’ tribes political status — not race….
In the U.S., the main mechanism for respecting these rights is the government-to-government relationship (Tribal recognition). With this, indigenous people (tribes) exercise their right to govern themselves and their resources and the United States engages them as sovereign (domestic dependent) nations.
Today, indigenous people (tribes) use their rights and government status to perpetuate their cultures, create jobs for Natives and non-Natives, and protect what is sacred to them, while improving an imperfect system….
Affirming (Inventing) Native Hawaiians’ indigenous (tribal) status strengthens Hawaiian rights and protects Hawaiian resources (me and my cronies). This is what OHA was created to do.
read … New rule will help Native Hawaiians achieve political self-determination
DHHL seeks to lower blood quantum requirement for homestead successors
HNN: The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is pursuing an amendment that would reduce the federally-required blood quantum for homestead successors. But officials stress the process is long and complicated….
"The 50 percent requirement, unfortunately, is an obligation of the program that came with this program," said Jobie Masagatani, DHHL director and chair of the Hawaiian Homes Commission. "I don't think anyone in our community would have sought it out."
There are a little more than 9,800 Native Hawaiians living on homesteads across the state and over 26,000 on the wait list.
The challenge with moving eligible Hawaiians off the list and into homes is a big one. Many people defer their award because they don't like the location being offered or they're not financially ready for a mortgage….
Acting upon a request from homesteaders, The Hawaiian Homes Commission is pursuing an amendment to reduce the blood quantum for successorship from one quarter to 1/32.
"It has to be approved by the state Legislature, signed by the governor and then it goes to the Department of Interior for review," Masagatani said. "They decide whether or not Congressional consent is required. First off, you have to have an administration that's understanding and supportive of our program and that varies depending on who is president. Then you need to get Congressional approval, which is essentially Congress passing something. It's increasingly more challenging, because the opposition to Hawaiian programs is so high and our delegation is still so junior." ….
Officials say there is widespread support for lowering successor requirements.
However, there is much less consensus about reducing the blood quantum needed to even apply for Hawaiian Home Lands, given the long waiting list….
read … State seeks to lower blood quantum requirement for homestead successors
Waimanalo Homeless Tent City Cleared out after 17 Years
KITV: …"We just need help out here, for the people here, for the family here," said Auntie Vaina, who has lived at the campground for the past 17 years. "You know, they cannot just throw the people on the side. They gotta help, they gotta help the people. We've got some people, some addicts here. We've got some that work, we've got some people that don't have jobs."
Vaina said 10 of the 80 people who live at the campground are children. "The children are set down here," she said. "They go to school right down here. This is their home and now they're gonna remove us. Where the kids going, where are they going? That's going to devastate the children."….
read … 17 Years
Promoter pleads guilty in university concert scam in Hawaii
AP: …A special state Senate committee that investigated the university's handling of the bungled concert said the incident tarnished the university's reputation.
The committee said no one at the university looked into whether the agent was an authorized representative of the singer. They also faulted a lack of oversight and communication in the school's athletics department, general counsel and disbursing office.
"The University of Hawaii thanks the responsible law enforcement officials and prosecutors for their hard work in successfully closing this case," said university spokesman Dan Meisenzahl.
As part of a plea deal, prosecutors will recommend that Hubbard's sentence run concurrently with the sentence he receives for a similar case in Pennsylvania.
He is scheduled to be sentenced in Pennsylvania next week and in Hawaii on Feb. 16.
He could face up to 20 years in prison and must pay $200,000 restitution to the university and $50,000 to a university supporter who provided initial funding.
After the supporter wired the initial $50,000, Hubbard said he couldn't secure Wonder without additional money, which prompted the (imbeciles at the) university to wire $200,000, prosecutors said….
read … Trailer Trash Scams UH Administrators
Another DoE Employee Accused of Child Molestation
KHON: …The state confirms Greg Hirashiki is an educational assistant at Salt Lake Elementary, but currently on a leave of absence. Officials said in a written response that “due to the ongoing investigation, we are unable to provide additional information.”
Hirashiki was arrested last week and charged with three counts of sexual assault in the third degree. A court hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
Court documents state the time frame of the alleged incidents took place sometime between January to September of this year.
It isn’t clear how Hirashiki knows the minor, or where the incidents took place.
Three weeks ago, Jefferson Elementary School teacher Michael Wright was accused of sexually assaulting a child. Wright is charged with five counts of sex assault….
read … Another One
Most Hawaii Organic ‘Farmers’ Don’t Want to Talk About Their Use of Slave Labor
KE: …Mindy Pennybacker had a piece in Sunday's Star-Advertiser romanticizing and glamorizing “woofers” — the unpaid drifters who labor for free on many organic farms in Hawaii. In fact, they pay $30 per year for the opportunity.
But few organic growers — some of them operating as nonprofits — were actually willing to talk to Pennybacker about their use of woofers. Perhaps because that's because the practice raises so many questions about the lack of governmental oversight, illegal and potentially unsafe housing, wastewater disposal issues, exploitation and unfair competition with commercial farms.
WWOOF administrator Jonathan Ziegler, who lives on Kauai, estimated that 20 to 26 farms may be currently using woofers on Oahu, 23 on Kauai, “a little more than 50” on Maui and between 160 and 170 on the Big Island. As he told Pennybacker:
In the last five years, the number of woofers registered in Hawaii has grown from 1,800 to nearly 2,500. They typically work 10 to 35 hours a week and live in tents, cabins or in a room in a house.
[S]ome woofers have expressed frustration that farmers weren’t teaching them anything, just running a bed-and- breakfast, while others have complained they weren’t being fed, Ziegler said….
read … Slaves
The Oahu commuter ferry con is on again
DN: “The intent is to get more cars off the road, to help alleviate the H-1 (and) H-2 merge, and so forth,” [Hawaii Department of Transportation Director Ford] Fuchigami said. “We have to be able to offer different modes of transportation to get people into town, to get cars off the road.”—Star-Advertiser front-page story
“TheBoat, Honolulu's commuter ferry from Kalaeloa to Aloha Tower, gives West O'ahu residents an oceangoing alternative to increasingly clogged highways, for no more than $4 per round- trip ticket. What makes the service so cheap is that Honolulu taxpayers pay an additional $120 per roundtrip rider to cover the actual costs of operating TheBoat, according to a city study.”—Honolulu Advertiser, 2/15/2009…
read … The Oahu commuter ferry con is on again
Taxpayers, Ratepayers Fork out More Money to Political Insiders for Unproven Energy Storage Scheme
SA: Hawaii law requires HECO to get nearly 100 percent of its energy from renewable energy resources by 2045. Shelee Kimura, vice president for corporate planning and business development at HECO, said the flywheel will help the electric utility achieve the goal….
Amber Kinetics will build and install an Amber Gen2 Model 25 steel flywheel system and HECO will evaluate its operation.
HECO said the storage system can help renewable solar energy — which changes its output according to the weather — be more consistent. HECO said the system also will support the reliability of the utility’s operations by shifting peak energy, providing flexible capacity and smoothing voltage.
Peter Rosegg, HECO spokesman, said the typical cost for a flywheel is approximately $200,000 for equipment, engineering, shipping, training and ongoing testing.
The project is funded by HECO and the Energy Excelerator, a program that provides resources to support energy startups. Amber Kinetics is one of the startup companies working with the Energy Excelerator.
(Drumroll please) Former HECO President and CEO Dick Rosenblum is on Amber Kinetic’s board of directors…. (Clash cymbals)
read … Taxpayers, Ratepayers Fork out Another $200K for Unproven Energy Storage Scheme
Suboxone: Pushing the Next Oxycontin on Hawaii
CB: (With a few added ‘quotation’ marks and parenthetical comments so everybody can see exactly what is going on.)
The Hawaii agency that polices controlled substances put a scare into the drug ‘treatment’ community recently when its director said that he planned to start enforcing a state law his agency believed barred the prescribing of Suboxone to treat (feed) opioid addiction.
Within a day or so, faced with a backlash from ‘doctors’ and others, the Narcotics Enforcement Division, part of the Hawaii Department of Public Safety, backed off. The division issued a public statement saying it would ask Attorney General Douglas Chin to review the law to determine whether it allowed the prescribing of Suboxone.
Four days later, Chin said despite ambiguities, the context of the code section made it clear that ‘doctors’ could continue prescribing the drug….
‘Patients’ weren’t thrown into withdrawal, as ‘doctors’ had feared. But the episode worsened a persistent problem, addict(s)ion specialist say: Too few physicians are willing and able to prescribe a drug hailed as a ‘lifesaver’ for (by) many addicts…. (When an addict says ‘lifesaver’ they mean ‘high’.)
Recent national studies have documented a gap between the number of people who ‘need’ drugs such as Suboxone and their availability….
In the meantime, research shows that only one in 10 addicts gets needed ‘treatment’….
Doctors, meanwhile, worry about dealing with a population perceived as difficult, or that the medicine will find its way to street dealers. They may not want to embark on treating (feeding) a ‘patient’s’ opioid dependence in the absence of adequate counseling, or without the advice of doctors with more experience in the field. (just gimme my drugs)
Some patients resist being diagnosed as opioid addicts, often a prerequisite to getting insurance coverage. And state plans being offered under the Affordable Care Act often fail to offer the full spectrum of medications used to treat feed addicts.
These drugs can be ‘lifesavers’ for (by) those who have tried in vain for years to kick (get more) opioids.
“I think every person that has some kind of addiction to pain pills should be given this,” said one Suboxone user…. (LOLROTF!)
She told Civil Beat that she started getting opioid prescriptions in 1997 after (insert excuse here) her neck was injured on the job and required surgery. Over the next 12 years, her addiction turned her into a different person. She would “hibernate” in her bedroom and lash out at her family.
Without Suboxone, she said, “I would be dead by now.” (Translation: Now I use Suboxone. I like it. Gimme more.)
(UH Manoa Prof) Haning warned that the move could thrust people into withdrawal and even cause deaths. Some desperate addicts might break the law and end up in jail, he said. “It is at very least a cruel imposition on a population that can do little to defend itself,” he wrote.… (Exactly the same argument can be made about heroin or Oxycontin which makes perfect sense because Suboxone is just the next Oxy.)
Statistics show that Hawaii (sadly) does not face the same magnitude of opioid abuse as some other states, particularly those in the Appalachians. Still, (there is hope), the state has its hot spots, and is far from immune to the epidemic….
…“There’s a high risk the condition will recur if they don’t stay on it.”….
“They kind of need their ‘medicine’ right away,” said Anna Lembke, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral science….
(Be sure to read the Duterte story below. It offers a fascinating insight into current US foreign policy. Do you get it?)
Reality: Addicted to a Treatment for Addiction
read … Suboxone
Duterte tells Obama ‘you can go to hell,’ warns of breakup
SA: Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte told President Barack Obama “you can go to hell” in a speech Tuesday that was his strongest tirade so far against the U.S. over its criticism of his deadly anti-drug campaign, adding that he may eventually decide to “break up with America.” ….
read … Drugs