Rep. McDermott Files a Class Action Lawsuit on behalf of Campbell HS Children
Djou: My Plan To Create More Affordable Housing
HD34: Jaci Agustin Recognized as a Race To Watch in 2016
HIDOT Touts $548M Unspent Federal Money as 'Significant Accomplishment'
Am Samoa Tuna Canneries Shutting—Again
Caldwell excels in shifting blame for woes of the city
Borreca: …Honolulu city government is absolutely designed around having a back door to every problem.
The person now benefiting the most from that edifice’s back door is the current top occupant, Mayor Kirk Caldwell.
Compared to mayors and city leaders across the country, Caldwell’s job is just barely there. If the mayorship were a brew, it would be light beer with the carbs cut in half.
Big cities are big jobs. Honolulu is neither….
in Honolulu, even what little the mayor has to do is coated with responsibility cut-outs.
For instance, two of Honolulu’s latest city flashpoints are the departments of police and fire. HPD is dealing with a chief of police who is the subject of a major federal investigation, and Caldwell has absolutely reveled in the escape clause of a police commission stuck in the middle, so he is not really able to tell Chief Louis Kealoha he needs to get his house in order right now.
“I’ve actually told the chief, perception becomes reality,” Caldwell told Hawaii News Now last year. “I’ve encouraged him from time to time to step out and say more. That’s about as much as I can do as mayor.”
Then the recent shocking video of a Honolulu firefighter being slammed against a utility pole while dangling from a city rescue helicopter is another case. A mayor unburdened by a filtering fire commission could not only demand action and answers, but stand up and get something changed.
Back door indeed.
The same can be said with Honolulu’s biggest financial disaster: the rail transit system that is both late and over budget.
Caldwell at first said he was trusting the rail’s board to run it. Only after the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation worked to push to make rail’s potential flaws and cost overruns public, did Caldwell get involved.
As it turns out, taking credit and taking blame are two different animals. Right now Caldwell is holding one and running from the other….
read … Skilled Shifty
HART Borrows Another $20M, City May Need to Issue Rail Bonds
KHON: HART interim CEO Mike Formby explained in a letter to the Honolulu City Council that the draws are needed “in order to meet our cash flow and management needs.” ….
After borrowing $50 million in TECP in August to deal with a cash crunch and keep above a required minimum cash balance, HART will borrow the extra $20 million as of Thursday. HART is authorized to draw up to $350 million of the city’s credit line.
“As the TECP outstanding amount increases, it may need to be refunded through a General Obligation bond issue, which requires City Council approval, similar to any other General Obligation bond issue,” Formby wrote to the council.
The federal government is holding off releasing the remaining half of its $1.5 billion pledge until a recovery plan is completed. The Federal Transit Administration wanted that by the end of the year, but HART has asked for a deadline extension until the middle of next year.
As of Wednesday, the FTA had not yet responded to HART’s request for an extension….
read … Tax Hike Coming
Plan to Kill Telescope by Creating Chaos in Hearings
SA: …All parties knew as far back as July that the hearing launch would be set for October — so for Wurdeman to ask for postponement just before it was to begin, citing scheduling conflicts, is confounding.
He failed to submit any formal evidence of the conflicts, as required, to support his delay request, raising further doubts.
His clients, the Mauna Kea Hui petitioners, say they can’t afford a backup attorney, so will represent themselves. That shouldn’t pose undue hardship, as they had done so in the first TMT contested case hearing in 2011. The protesters saw victory last December when the state Supreme Court deemed those proceedings flawed, which invalidated the TMT’s building permit and led to next week’s contested-case redo before the state Board of Land and Natural Resources.
Wurdeman’s latest attempt at delay underscores the importance of time in this TMT situation. TMT officials have said they would need a permit for construction by early next year — or be compelled, reluctantly, to site the telescope elsewhere given the loss of time and money. They are actively scouting potential sites in India, Chile, Mexico and the Canary Islands.
Earlier this year, Wurdeman, on behalf of his hui clients, had unsuccessfully challenged the hearing officer selection process, as well as sought Amano’s removal as hearing officer due to her family’s longtime membership in the Imiloa Astronomy Center on Hawaii island.
The TMT application should be allowed a full, fair, brisk hearing on its merits — not be sent packing due to legal maneuvers that stretch out the timetable. Already, TMT has invested seven years and millions of dollars in its quest to build its 18-story-tall observatory atop Mauna Kea. With about two dozen approved as participants in the upcoming contested case hearing, it behooves the state to move apace sooner rather than later….
read … Delaying Tactic
Thanks to Enviros, Hawaii Small Farmers Will Not Get water permits
HFB: As the state Department of Land and Natural Resources responds to a court order that invalidated the way it handles revocable permits, some see a bleak future for small farmers and ranchers.
Among them are Jerry Ornellas, a lifelong farmer who is currently growing tropical fruit in Kapaa Homesteads.
For the past 16 years, he and others have been working to keep the East Kauai Water Users Cooperative viable, operating under year-to-year revocable permits. Now they are confronted with the daunting task of applying for a water lease.
“The regulatory burden is so heavy right now that there’s no way a small farmer can comply,” Ornellas said.
The cooperative is required to conduct an Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement; coordinate with the Division of Forestry and Wildlife to develop a watershed management plan; work with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to reserve water rights for current and future homestead needs, and possibly secure a Conservation District Use permit.
And that’s just to get to the point where the Board of Land and Natural Resources authorizes a public auction for the water lease.
“That’s the weird part of this,” Ornellas said. “You spend all this money, and others can bid at auction. If you lose the bid, do you get reimbursed? This applies to land leases, as well. There are a lot of people with revocable permits.” ….
In 2000, when Lihue Plantation announced its closure, the 15 to 25 ranchers and farmers who were also using the water sought to keep the system alive. They formed a cooperative, which was given its first one-year revocable permit in 2002. It’s been operating on single-year revocable permits ever since.
But the revocable permit process came under scrutiny after a Circuit Court judge ruled in January 2016 that the Board of Land and Natural Resources had violated state law by extending A&B’s revocable water permits on an annual basis from 2001 to 2014. Though activists clamored for an immediate revocation of all short-term permits, the 2016 Legislature passed a hotly contested bill that specified revocable permits can be held for no more than three consecutive years while the holder pursues a water lease.
“They [litigants] set their net for A&B,” Ornellas said. “But the makapili [small eye] net catches all the fish. So what are we? Collateral damage?”
Meanwhile: Enviros Conspire to Ensure India Doesn’t Get Air Conditioning
read … Small users trapped in water permit net
Maui Wind Turbine Disaster Photos
IM: The Hawai`i Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) will meet Friday morning to consider a Direct Lease for the Na Pua Makani Power Partners Wind Generation Facility in Kahuku. The meeting will start at 9 am at 1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 132.
Meanwhile pictures are available for the collapse of a wind turbine on Maui last week. On October 2, the blades, hub and nacelle of one of eight Auwahi Wind turbines fell off….
CB: Solar Schemers Flail Around Looking for Way to make More Money
read … Maui Wind Turbine Disaster Photos
Hawaii Farmers Daughter Testifies
KE: As anti-GMO activists engage in the theatrical charade of the“Monsanto tribunal” — a kangeroo court intended to try the company for "human rights violations, crimes against humanity, and ecocide" — a voice from Hawaii is among those being raised in opposition.
Joni Kamiya, who writes the Hawaii's Farmer's Daughter blog based on her family's experience growing transgenic papaya, is one of four speakers giving farmers a voice in defense of agricultural technology. The others are Ganesh Nanote, who grows Bt cotton in India, Olly Harrison, a cereals farmer in the United Kingdom, and Dr. Willi Kremer-Schilling, who raises sugar beets and oilseed rape in Germany.
Way to go, Joni! As noted by the Risk-Monger, which organized the farmers' voices event:
The Monsanto Tribunal is a fake trial organized and funded by the Organic Consumers Association (who donated 200,000 USD to pay the speaking fees for organic industry lobbyists like Vandana Shiva). The point of their expensive stunt is to increase the rage against agri-technology and undermine the public trust in conventional farming.
Other funding came from Dr. Bronner's, Mercola and donations from the sheeple….
read … Testify
Media Should Ignore Drunken Parties at Secret Planning Conference
CB: …Which is why the recent Hawaii Congress of Planning Officials is such a hard event for the media to cover. With 20 sessions over three days— with titles like “Multi-sectoral Collaboration and Health” — it’s a policy wonk’s dream. Which makes it a journalist’s nightmare. There is no cohesive narrative to follow, no striking headlines and no blatant conflict.
And so nobody in Hawaii covered the actual conference….
…(until) Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi’s drunken speech and then followed up by Tuesday’s article that painted the event as an extended party for business people to cozy up to public officials….
Out of 344 attendees, at least two-thirds were planners, educators, citizen commissioners and government officials. Many of Hawaii’s major developers and land holders were in attendance, as well as a representatives of a diverse set of local community groups.
All of these stakeholders are integral to the planning process….
read … Drunk with Power
Housing Homeless to Knock Down Medical Costs
SA: …Hawaii has been part of a competitive federal program that has provided technical assistance with a new approach to Medicaid, one that enables better coordination of health services with housing.
Stable housing for the homeless is one piece of the social-service puzzle that includes health, she said….
on the Medicaid side, one of the things we’re really excited about … is taking a look at the larger system that helps people keep healthy, (which) is around housing and housing support.
We are really actively engaged in working with the Department of Health, the Governor’s Office on Homelessness (and) the Hawaii Public Housing Authority (HPHA) on addressing housing as a social determinant of health. We’re partnering together; we have some technical assistance from the federal government….
They put us in contact with consultants and other resources we can use to bring everybody together. Our focus area is on chronic homelessness, and how Medicaid can play a larger rule in that.
That’s recognition that what we might call behavioral health — people with mental illness, behavioral health challenges, substance use, complex health challenges — recognizing that that’s their health side. … But if you don’t address the housing side, then much of the work you’re going to do on the medical side will go away, will be ineffective.
But in order to adjust it, you really have to partner with the people who are in housing….
We also have health care providers who go out to the street, meet people where they are, as we are trying to work on getting them housed….
Background: Mental Health: Can Reform Solve Hawaii’s Homeless, Prison and Unfunded Liability Problems?
read … Housing
After Free Electricity Cut off Three Homeless Accept Shelter
HNN: For the past week outreach workers have gone tent to tent at Kakaako Waterfront Park alerting homeless campers of a coming sweep. Despite being urged to go into shelter the majority of people haven't budged….
Crews can also begin an in-depth inspection. Officials cut power to the park last week after workers discovered dangerous wires sticking out of more than a half dozen light poles.
"There are some tents and structures that are right up against some of the light poles. And on top of that in order to actually get in and inspect things we would need to make the wires live and that's a danger," said Kamemoto.
With no electricity three families along with a handful of other folks made the decision to move into shelter. It's estimated close to 60 people remain in the park.
"Most are actually teen youth and couples. Many are highly addicted to substances," said Kimo Carvalho, Institute for Human Services….
read … Three Accept Shelter
Harry Kim Returns Old boys to Hawaii county government
HTH: Kim said this week that he’s chosen Frank DeMarco to head the Department of Public Works….
Another former Kim appointee is returning to the fold, this one to head Research and Development. Diane Ley…
Departments still remaining to be filled include Planning, Environmental Management, Civil Defense, Parks and Recreation, Aging, Mass Transit and Information Technology.
“I’ve got people I’m looking at, but so far, I haven’t picked anybody,” Kim said. “I’m trying to find people who really fit. … it is so very important that people are proud of their government.”
Neil Gyotoku, a former acting Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator, has been named director of Housing and Community Development.
Kim said he’s received about 200 resumes from people interested in working for county government. He’s forwarding them to the appropriate departments, he said….
Kim previously announced his corporation counsel — the county’s top civil attorney — as well as director of the Finance Department, deputy managing director for the West Hawaii office, executive assistant and his private secretary.
Joe Kamelamela, who retired unexpectedly as deputy corporation counsel under current Corporation Counsel Molly Stebbins, was named to the top legal post. Kamelamela is a litigation attorney whose most significant cases arguably surrounded the Hokulia development and Mamalahoa bypass.
Collins Tomei, branch manager of the Hilo branch of Territorial Savings Bank, has agreed to lead the Department of Finance, Kim said. Tomei has been working as a private-sector banker since 1984.
Roy Takemoto, a former executive assistant for Kim, will return to that position. Since leaving the Kim administration, Takemoto worked as managing partner in Hilo for PBR Hawaii &Associates Inc., an environmental planning and landscape architectural firm. Takemoto also served as the county’s deputy planning director between 2001 and 2004.
Barbara Kossow is returning to her former position as deputy managing director in the West Hawaii office. She held the position during Kim’s last term, and was employed at the office during most of Kenoi’s term as well.
Kim has selected Irma Sumera as his private secretary. Sumera currently serves on the Pension Board….
read … But Not Kenoi
Tampering With Evidence: Ex-Officer Charged in Cyclist’s Death
HNN: A grand jury on the Big Island has indicted a former Hawaii County police officer in connection with a crash that killed a visiting bicyclist near Waikoloa in March 2015.
The indictment charges Jody Buddemeyer with first-degree negligent homicide, false reporting to law enforcement and tampering with evidence.
The indictment claims Buddemeyer struck the cyclist on Waikoloa Road in South Kohala while was he was driving his police car….
Buddemeyer was a Honolulu police officer before joining the Hawaii County police department. He was relieved of his duties in May 2015, two months after the crash.
read … Indicted
Hillary tells Goldman Sachs: ‘Chinese said they would claim Hawaii’
IM: …Hillary Clinton gave a speech to Goldman Sachs bankers in October 2013 where she stated that “48 per cent of the world’s trade, obviously that includes energy but includes everything else, goes through the South China Sea."
Clinton went on to say that the Chinese “have a right to assert themselves” in the region, but the US needed to “push back” to keep China from getting a “chokehold over world trade”.
Clinton called the Pacific Ocean the American Sea.
"Clinton said that as the debate became `more technical`, the Chinese said they would claim Hawaii, and that she had countered by saying the US had proof of purchase." ….
read … Clinton
Hollywood Clinton Moneybags Take Aim at Gabbard
SA: U.S. Rep Tulsi Gabbard received a scathing email from longtime Hillary Clinton supporters, including a former director of the Clinton Foundation, the day after she announced her resignation as a vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee in February to endorse Bernie Sanders’ bid for the presidency.
In an email dated Feb. 29 and published Monday by WikiLeaks as part of a trove of emails that are believed to have been hacked from the account of John Podesta, Clinton’s presidential campaign chairman, Gabbard is told that she has disrespected Clinton and not to expect any help raising campaign funds.
“We were very disappointed to hear that you would resign your position with the DNC so you could endorse Bernie Sanders, a man who has never been a Democrat before,” the email, signed by Darnell Strom and Michael Kives, begins. (Sanders had long been an independent, a status to which he has returned since losing the Democratic Party nomination.) …
Strom worked as the millennium network director for the Clinton Foundation between 2006 and 2009, according to his LinkedIn account. Prior to that he assisted former President Bill Clinton with planning and scheduling business trips.
Kives is identified in media reports as a “bundler” for the Hillary Clinton campaign, a term used for someone who coordinates the solicitation of campaign donations.
Both work as agents for the Creative Artists Agency, a Los Angeles-based entertainment and sports agency.
read … Clinton Future
Republican House Candidate, Green Energy Consultant Charged with Sex Assault
MN: West Maui Republican state House candidate Chayne Marten (HD10) is facing eight sex assault charges and one charge of endangering the welfare of a minor, according to court records.
The Maui Police Department’s booking log shows police arrested Marten, 64, at 4 p.m. Tuesday at a Lower Honoapiilani Highway address in Napili. That address matches the home address the candidate provided to the state Office of Elections.
Marten remained in custody Thursday at Maui Community Correctional Center. Bail was set at $650,000 for five charges of first-degree sexual assault, three charges of third-degree sexual assault and one charge of endangering the welfare of a minor….
In biographical candidate information provided to The Maui News, Marten said that he’s married and has three children. He works as a green energy consultant….
read … Another Useless Republican Candidate Becomes a Liability
UH professor sued for alleged attack on Disabled Veteran
SA: …Asao had been pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biology at UH Manoa in October 2014 when Butler invited him on a research trip to Kauai. Following a disagreement, tensions simmered during the trip before escalating to a physical confrontation.
He said he had a disagreement with Butler over her request that he transport flammable liquids and live insects between Oahu and Kauai. He claims Butler asked him to transport approximately 1 liter of a solution containing mostly ethanol to preserve insect specimens on the trip. He decided not to transport it after consulting federal regulations and being cautioned by an academic adviser.
Asao also told Butler he would not carry live insects found only on Kauai to Oahu because he was told by the state Department of Agriculture that he would need a permit and approval from the agency’s entomologist.
“Conveying this information to (Butler) caused her to become visibly and verbally agitated,” the lawsuit said.
While on Kauai, Asao says, Butler again asked him to transport live insects back to Honolulu. He declined.
“A heated discussion ensued, and (Butler) became agitated again,” the lawsuit said. “Butler angrily complained that if plaintiff was relying on his faculty mentor and the Department of Agriculture instead of her, then that amounted to plaintiff calling her a liar.”
At that point Asao said he decided to part ways with the group and find his own way to the airport. As he was walking away, the lawsuit says, Butler said she wanted to speak with him about carrying the insects on the plane. He repeated his stance and walked away, but she allegedly chased after him.
The lawsuit says she “used great force to physically restrain him by grabbing the handle of his backpack and pulling on it.” She then grabbed his backpack handle with both hands “and leaned backwards at an angle using all of her weight to twist (Asao’s) back in an apparent attempt to throw (him) to the ground. Butler was essentially hanging from (his) back for a few seconds with all of her weight.”
Asao says he experienced “intense shoulder pain and a sharp pain along his entire spine” during the tussle. When he asked her to stop, he alleges she instead “regained her footing and did the same thing again … but only harder and with more force.”
Asao said the encounter aggravated a pre-existing back injury that he had suffered while in the military, according to the lawsuit. He has a military service-related disability rating of 20 percent. (The disability rating, which ranges from 0 to 100 percent, reflects the degree to which a condition impairs a veteran’s ability to work. The higher the percentage, the worse the disability.)
“She was angry on this trip, and more importantly, she knew he had a back problem. She even inquired about it at one point,” Campbell said….
PS: Attorney Pleads Guilty to Concert Scam
read … Another Winner at UH Manoa