Lessons from the Farm
OHA Candidate Forum Kapolei Middle School Monday
The Health Financing Crown Wears Heavy on the Insurers’ Heads
Auditor: HART, Sludge, Grants, and P-Card Investigations Sidelined
DBEDT Launches Small Business Regulatory Review
DBEDT: Real Estate Investment Trusts in Hawaii--Analysis and Survey Results
No On 15--City Charter change would lock grip of political elites
Shapiro: Oahu voters next month may be deciding not only who will lead the city for the next four years, but also for the following four years through 2024.
That’s because of controversial proposed City Charter amendment No. 15, which would perpetuate our political elite by extending term limits for City Council members and mayor from two consecutive four-year terms to three.
It’s a bad idea that was resoundingly rejected by voters when term limit changes were last put on the ballot in 2006.
Looser term limits lock in the game of musical chairs in which entrenched politicians sitting on fat special-interest bankrolls shuttle back and forth between the City Council and state Legislature, with little opportunity for newcomers.
Five of nine current Council members are former state legislators, and a like number of legislators are former Council members….
It greatly benefits Council Chairman Ernie Martin, who ducked running for mayor this year and hinted at a 2020 run instead.
If the Charter amendment passes, he’d be spared unemployment for two years with his 2018 term limit gone “poof.”
Mayor Kirk Caldwell can’t be blamed for Charter amendment No. 15, as three of his Charter Commission appointees voted against it, but he could benefit politically the same as Martin.
Caldwell once had ideas of running for governor in 2018 when Gov. Neil Abercrombie would have hit his term limit, but after Gov. David Ige upset Abercrombie, he wouldn’t see an open seat until 2022….
read … Lock in
OHA Chair Supported Geothermal Scheme he now Campaigns Against
WHT: …The facts will show, Mr. Lindsey is very supportive of geothermal development. He was a member of the Geothermal Working Group, and was a member of a series of forums IDG/Huena Power hosted throughout various communities statewide, in preparation for the 50MW Geothermal RFP HELCO issued. He was the trustee who brought the Huena Power investment to the Board of Trustees. After extensive due diligence by OHA, the proposed partnership resulted in a majority vote of 6-3, in favor of the investment.
We were so pleased in our ohana, as the Kealoha lands in Pohoiki were proposed to be the source for Huena Power/OHA’s development, should HELCO award the RFP to Huena Power. This was a sound investment, as the Huena Power proposal included direct community benefits (in addition to the required “royalties”) in their proposal to HELCO. Further, the management of our own geothermal resource was the goal: Hawaiian land, Hawaiian developer, Hawaiian money. OHA represents all of us beneficiaries, and the investment into our own resource management was achievable….
2013: After Receiving Campaign Cash, OHA Trustees Give $1.25M to Insolvent Geothermal Company
read … Scheme
Will Low Turnout Save Sam Slom?
Borreca: …Saying that Clinton “will easily win,” Moore explained that the two — Clinton and Trump — have the highest unfavorable ratings of any recent presidential candidates.
“I think it is going to be a historically low turnout across the nation,” Moore said.
Low turnout almost always favors the incumbent as opposed to the challenger. Incumbents like Mayor Kirk Caldwell come to the election with a built-in base of supporters, the voters who elected them the last time and also have the ability to garner more media attention because they hold office.
Challengers, such as Caldwell’s opponent Charles Djou, have to raise both money and supporters while out of office.
Hawaii already set a record low primary voter turnout and Moore expects the general election numbers to also be low — so the question is how many local races will change the political landscape.
With Caldwell looking strong, perhaps the only close race could be the Hawaii Kai state Senate race featuring Democratic challenger Stanley Chang against incumbent Republican Sam Slom.
read … Low Turnout
HGEA: Gimme Gimme Gimme
SA: …Randy Perreira, who heads the Hawaii Government Employees Association (HGEA), the state’s largest union, rightly noted that the Ige administration “has got to find a balance between trying to be what they view as fiscally responsible, versus prudent use of resources to help people today who are in need.” In the same breath, however, Perreira said that some of HGEA’s members wages are not increasing fast enough — so clearly he would be pushing for pay raises.
But public worker raises, even as the state is enjoying a budget surplus, cannot be handed out like Halloween candy. Those raises will have to be paid out in bad economic times as well as good, so they should be linked to improving longtime inefficiencies or outdated work categories or rules.
Meanwhile, Ige is proposing changes in the Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund and the Employees Retirement System (ERS) pension fund as part of a larger effort to reduce unfunded liabilities. The unfunded liability for the health fund is more than $9 billion; the pension fund, $6.2 billion.
There is merit in Ige’s push to accelerate payments into the pension fund, thereby strengthening its future viability.
Further, with more privatization efforts on the horizon — like the transition occurring at Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital &Clinic and Lanai Community Hospital — it makes sense to establish sound procedures for future “disassociation.”
While the state has yet to provide details, planning now for what’s ahead is encouraging. Under the Maui hospital system’s privatization effort, many of those vested public workers will stop contributions into the ERS as soon as the hospitals transfer to Kaiser Permanente July 1.
The result: $200 million in lost employee contributions to the pension system over the next 25 years. To offset that loss to the pension fund, state Budget Director Wes Machida said, the state could possibly make a lump sum payment or make larger annual payments — money that could have gone to other state services….
Related: Hospital Reform? Randy Perreira Says "F*** You"
read … And Offering Nothing in Return
Decades of waiting end for 44 families awarded Hawaiian homestead lots
SA: …After dozens of families celebrated choosing their Hawaiian homestead lots at a Saturday ceremony in Waimanalo, a father-son duo holding No. 44, the last number, were called to the front of the room to pick the site of their future home.
Derek Salis had waited since the 1960s for a chance to build a house on homestead land. He and his son, Jordan Salis, said they both felt grateful for the opportunity and did not mind that they were called last. The pair said they were excited to work with Habitat for Humanity to build their four-bedroom, two-bathroom house, which is much bigger than their Kalihi home….
At Saturday’s ceremony, Leini DeLima, who was third to choose, said her mother had been waiting since 1963 to pick a homestead lot. The lease was transferred to her after her mother, Lynette DeLima, died in 2003.….
read … Patient
Expensive: Homeless Person Refuses Shelter but Calls Ambulance Again and Again for Ride to Queens Emergency Room to Have His Diaper Changed
SA: “It turns out that treating people as human garbage is a really expensive way to deal with the problem,” said Anthony Aalto, who co-produced the documentary, “No Room in Paradise,” with his filmmaking partner, Mike Hinchey, and production manager Hope Duran. “It’s just not smart.”
(Reality: The ACLU treats the homeless as garbage by preventing the police from forcing them into homeless shelters.)
“No Room in Paradise” (Title implies that there is no shelter space available for the homeless. This is false.) takes an intimate look inside the lives of several homeless people, including a one-legged man who costs taxpayers thousands of dollars when he regularly calls for an ambulance to take him to the Queen’s Medical Center to get cleaned up because he’s unable to change his feces-filled diaper by himself.
The images of frightened and confused children caught up in city sweeps can be uncomfortable to watch, along with the stories of homeless women who talk of being raped and physically and emotionally abused (by other homeless people?). After filming ended, Aalto said that the two women who provide the main story line in the documentary had their children taken away by Child Welfare Services (good!).
Justin Phillips, homeless outreach field manager for the Institute of Human Services, serves as the documentary’s narrator and protagonist, who encourages a wide range of homeless people to get the help they need at homeless shelters, only to see them turn around and return to the street…. (Ooops. Reality just slipped into the narrative.)
read … Refuse to Accept Shelter
Ethics panel seeks public input on how best to achieve goals
SA: …The State Ethics Commission is asking the public to share ideas on how it can best promote integrity in government, inviting written comments and active participation at its meeting Thursday.
The commission, made up of five volunteers and a professional staff, has faced some rough going over the past year, as two of its decisions sparked strong opposition and were set aside….
“I would love for people to submit written testimony in advance,” he said. “Whatever input we get from the public would be of great interest to the commissioners.”
The agenda for the meeting includes an item, “Strategic Planning,” which is billed as a public discussion of how the commission should foster integrity in government.
That could include whether to seek changes in state laws, pass administrative rules to interpret the ethics laws, or focus enforcement in a particular area.
The commission is seeking input from the public as well as state officials, lawmakers, lobbyists and nonprofit organizations.
Also on the agenda for the meeting are updates on the two controversial cases that triggered lawsuits, one by the Hawaii State Teachers Association and the other by a charter school administrator….
read … Ethics?
How Hawaii Was Used to Bring Lots of Abortions to America
SA: …Hawaii is now one of two states in the country to require all insurance providers to cover 12 months of birth control at a time, and the only state to require coverage without restriction….
This is no surprise, as Hawaii has a history of leading the way when it comes to women’s health. In 1966, Hawaii’s Planned Parenthood opened its doors providing education services on birth control and family planning, fertility counseling and research and training. By 1973, the affiliate had added 12 health centers throughout the islands.
In 1970, Hawaii became the first state in the nation to legalize abortion — three years before the historic U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade.
Fast forward to 2006, when Hawaii’s Legislature expanded and codified in state law women’s right to an abortion. In 2009, they passed legislation requiring that sex education, when taught in public schools, be age-appropriate, medically accurate and comprehensive. In 2015, the Hawaii Board of Education took a step further and voted to require all public schools to offer sex education to students.
read … Abortion
More Attacks on Trump Supporters in Hawaii
HNN: …A Maui woman has been paying a price for supporting Donald Trump. She’s had Trump campaign signs ripped up from her lawn in the past. But sometime late Thursday night, vandals took a step further by throwing eggs at her home.
Leslie Kalama posted a Facebook video, showing what she found.
“So this morning we’re leaving the house, and this is what we find – eggshells all over the place,” she can be heard saying in the video, showing cracked eggs all over her property. “In our yard, on our car, in our driveway, on the house,” she says.
Meanwhile, on Oahu, a small but determined group of Trump supporters has been sign-waving in Ewa every Friday.
“The response has been very good, very great,” said Trump supporter Evelyn Arakaki. She said their group has encountered very little of the hostility seen in other parts of the country….
“I’m very disappointed in the tone and tenor by both sides. I’m disappointed that this was the best America could cough up as two candidates,” said Republican state Rep. Bob McDermott of Ewa….
Kalama has filed a police report for the egging. In the Facebook video, Kalama had a message for whomever threw the eggs.
“Over here at this house, we practice our Second Amendment rights,” she says. “So take that as a warning.” ….
read … Maui Trump supporter’s home egged by vandals
Clinton: I’m Keeping Hawaii—Will Give China a Red State
NYT: …While the emails released last week showed Mrs. Clinton’s cadre of campaign aides agonizing over jokes she should tell in public and calculating political implications, the transcripts revealed Mrs. Clinton freely dispensing her own quick wit before a closed-door audience.
In one question-and-answer session with Mr. Blankfein, Mrs. Clinton relayed an argument she had had as secretary of state, when she tried to persuade a Chinese diplomat that his country had no more right to claim the South China Sea than the United States had to the Pacific Ocean.
“He says to me, ‘We’ll, you know, we’ll claim Hawaii,’” Mrs. Clinton told Mr. Blankfein. “And I said: ‘Yeah, but we have proof we bought it. Do you have proof you bought any of these places you’re claiming?’”
Mr. Blankfein interjected: “But they have to take New Jersey.”
“No, no, no,” Mrs. Clinton said. “We’re going to give them a red state.”
At these events, which took place in June and October of 2013, Mrs. Clinton repeatedly demurred when asked about her future plans, but it was also clear she was contemplating the political landscape if she were to run again….
read … Squaring the Circle