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Tuesday, October 18, 2016
October 18, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:57 PM :: 2211 Views

Broken Trust Levinson Set up for Gay Marriage Revenge Round with SHOPO

Analysis: One Party System Leaves Hawaii Voters Among Least Powerful in 2016 Election

Life Changers

Ige Appoints Darrel Galera to BoE

Doomed: Telescope Being Drowned in Delaying Tactics and Gratuitous Charges Designed to Create Excuse for Appeal

SA: Attorneys with the University of Hawaii at Hilo have accused Thirty Meter Telescope foes of waging a campaign to disrupt and delay the contested case hearing with the aim of having the case overturned on appeal.  (No kidding?  Wow that’s a revelation.)

Meanwhile, hearings officer Riki May Amano on Monday delayed today’s scheduled start of the hearing until Thursday to give the parties additional time to prepare.  (See!)

In a filing submitted last week, the university said the Mauna Kea Hui petitioners, through their attorney, Richard Wurdeman, have been trying to “game the system” while “literally drowning the record with gratuitous charges of unfairness.”  (Duh!)

“The obvious goal is to attempt to taint these proceedings, tarnish the reputation of the hearing officer, and prevent the Board of Land and Natural Resources and any higher courts on appeal from actually judging (the project’s) Conservation District Use application on its merits,” the university’s filing said….

Wurdeman said … “The issues will be decided in appellate court one way or another.”

read … Doomed

2,100 Cracked Shims – Full Overhaul of Railbed Ordered—Who Will Pay for HART’s Idiocy? 

KHON: Following Monday’s meeting with the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s board of directors, chairwoman Colleen Hanabusa told KHON2 she wants a complete overhaul to fix a crumbling critical component to the rail.

One-hundred-sixty-five-thousand shims, or isolation pads, are needed for the rail project, and out of the shims that have already been installed, more than 2,100 are cracking.

Hanabusa says she wants every single one replaced.

She tells us the manufacturer has agreed to take them back, but there lies the next question: “What we are concerned about is who pays for the replacement itself, the physical replacement?”

The labor will be intensive. Hanabusa says someone will have to go underneath the rail, lift it, replace the pads, and screw them down.

“Does it come out of HART’s (fund)? Is HART in any way responsible? Which we don’t think we are,” Hanabusa said. “Is it Kiewit, or is it the manufacturer, because the product is defective?”

Hanabusa says she does not know how much it will cost to replace all 165,000 shims, but is waiting for results of an analysis to figure out who is responsible for paying.

In a statement, Kiewit says it is “currently testing all the shim material provided to the project to ensure they meet the requirements of the contract.”

read … HART board chair calls for overhaul after rail component shows extensive cracking

Honolulu Can See Its Rail Line Finished Without Raising Taxes

CB: The city should consider transitioning HART to a private entity that maximizes opportunities to capture value from real estate along the route…..

read … Without Raising Taxes

Jury Stacked: Kenoi Will Escape Justice 

HTH: …The jury selection process, which started Oct. 10, highlighted the difficulty of trying a sitting mayor in his own backyard.

Some potential jurors were excused Monday for showing favoritism toward Kenoi.

“I’d like to see him found innocent,” said a potential juror while being questioned by attorneys. That woman, who was excused, said her daughter coaches one of Kenoi’s kids.

Kevin Takata, supervising deputy attorney general, noted several times to jurors that they should not let any positive views of Kenoi’s tenure affect their judgment.

Attorney Todd Eddins, who is representing Kenoi, sought to remove potential jurors who might show bias in the other direction. He commonly asked if they think politicians are treated differently than others.

Del Rosario typically excused jurors if they showed obvious prejudice.

“I just don’t like thieves,” said one man who asked to step down.  (You have to like thieves to be on this jury.)

Sixteen potential jurors were excused Monday before the jury was seated, including a man who was carrying an infant and a man and woman who are engaged. Both had their names drawn to be interviewed by the attorneys.

Others noted having met Kenoi while surfing or attending a community event. Not all of them were excused….  (ie: The ones who were intelligent enough to hide their bias are the ones who are on the jury.)…

HNN: "I would be shocked if there's not a hung jury." – Lanric Hyland

SA: Prosecutor: Mayor Kenoi used county card for beer, liquor

read … Jury Stacked

Maui Hospital: Ige Signs Secret Agreements with HGEA, UPW

MN: Officials with Maui County’s three public hospitals asked state legislators Monday for $5.65 million to hire additional nurses and doctors as part of a new plan that they hope will improve gaps in staffing and services through July 1, 2017, when operational control of the hospitals will be transferred to health care provider Kaiser Permanente.

“We’re taking the attitude that we want to get back on track,” said Wes Lo, outgoing chief executive officer of the Hawaii Health Systems Corp. Maui Region, which currently runs the hospitals. “It’s time for a virtual transition now as opposed to waiting till July 1.”

Lo and other hospital administrators outlined their plan during an informational meeting with nine Maui and Oahu legislators at the University of Hawaii Maui College. A standing-room-only crowd, eager for an update on the long-awaited transfer, packed the room. Some people hung signs on the back wall pleading with lawmakers to “find a solution now.” …

Late Friday, Gov. David Ige signed a supplemental agreement with the Maui Region’s largest union, the Hawaii Government Employees Association, which he had mentioned as one of the major remaining steps toward the transition. However, hospitals officials said there are still many hurdles and that July 1 will likely remain the transition date….

House Speaker Joe Souki wondered what was delaying the transition now that a supplemental agreement has been signed with HGEA. A agreement was reached in early September with the other union, the United Public Workers.

Mary Ann Barnes, president of Kaiser Permanente Hawaii, explained that some employees will want to stay on the state payroll because it puts them closer to retirement and pension, so Kaiser would have to lease those employees back to the state. Once Kaiser knows how many employees that will be — which Barnes said it should know soon — then Kaiser can begin outlining things, such as work rules and paid time off, with employees….

Rosen added that HHSC had not signed the agreements because neither it nor Kaiser is satisfied with it yet.

While the HHSC and Kaiser have given input, Ige said at a recent meeting that the agreements are between the union and the state, and that he didn’t see a role for Kaiser in negotiations at this time. To Tokuda and other legislators, it seemed odd that Kaiser and HHSC had not been involved….

read … Funds would be used to hire staff, improve services before transfer

After 30 Years Hawaii High Tech Tax Credit Scammers Becoming Weary

SA: Over the years we have gotten used to hearing that another attempt to grow a tech industry in Hawaii has failed. Either the effort to foster new business (we won’t mention tax credits) goes wrong, the specific business being pushed doesn’t work here or it starts here but has to move to the mainland. End of story.

How many times have you read about how hard it is to develop another Silicon Valley in Hawaii? No capital, no workers, no market, no chicken, no egg, rinse and repeat. Tourism, a little agriculture and a lot of military is all we can have. I know because I’ve been involved in the process of growing technology businesses here many times over the last 30 years….

I admit to a certain lack of excitement at yet another state agency working on technology and business economics….

read … Accelerator initiative makes island tech hub a possibility (NOT!)

Dopers Frustration Due to State’s Antique Computers

SA: …The software vendor BioTrackTHC, a Florida company, was tapped to install the tracking system but the contract isn’t yet inked, largely due to complications of integration with an existing department database.  (Translation: Nobody can figure out how to put the program onto a floppy disk.)

The licensees are certainly frustrated, especially given that the department cannot yet give a projected date that the system would be ready or when dispensaries could start cultivating.  (Translation: The few remaining Wang programmers are doing their best.  They want to try to upgrade to DOS, but need an appropriation.)

And the complaints have been coming in from the potential buyers of the drug as well, those who hold the required medical marijuana certificates.

One who wrote to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser pointed out that the tracking systems have been in existence for some time, and that “integrating them into any other existing programs shouldn’t take this long, either.”

It would be nice if that were true. Unfortunately, very few such assumptions can be made where information technology upgrades and compatibility with existing systems are concerned. Hawaii is notoriously behind the eight ball on IT infrastructure.

And the system will be crucial. The tracking system will register and follow plants as they are grown, processed and sold to guard against illegal use of the marijuana.

The new software must interface with an existing patient registry system to prevent dispensaries from exceeding the cap on the amount to be sold to each patients: 8 ounces monthly. Unless the systems are coordinated, patients could shop at multiple dispensaries and get around that restriction.

If that safeguard isn’t in place at the start, it will be all but impossible to provide the assurance of legality to the public.

read … Smoked out

After 10 years New classroom building delayed (again) at crowded Maui school

HNN: …Maui Waena Intermediate students might not be able to move in until after Christmas break.

The delay? School officials are still waiting for furniture and wi-fi needed for the phone system.

Officials at Maui Waena Intermediate School are frustrated by the latest hiccup for the troubled project that started a decade ago….

The state Legislature funded the $5.1 million project back in 2007. The price tag has now jumped to $6.9 million.

"We have ways in which we can cover that (cost). It does come at the expense of probably not doing another project across the DOE," Carlson said.

Several problems led to the delays.

Carlson said crews discovered ancient human remains during excavation. The project's architect, Kober Hanssen Mitchell Architects, also failed to secure the proper permits in a timely manner, according to Carlson. The company did not return a call for comment.

The Maui Waena project is being held up as an example of inefficiencies in how the DOE handles procurement and construction.

"It takes an average of about seven years for the DOE, from the time they start their planning process, to get a building constructed," said Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa. "But by the time they start, they already have to be in a crisis mode so it's a really bad system." ….

read … Another 10 Years in the DoE

While DoE Dawdles, Volunteers install 32 AC Units at Waikiki Elem School

KITV: … School just got cooler for students at Jefferson Elementary in Waikiki.  The Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association donated 32 air conditioners and fans that'll help fend off the campus's blistering heat.  “Classrooms average temperature was between 82 and 87 degrees, so it was pretty hot in the classrooms," Principal Garret Zakahi said.

HLTA said volunteer engineers from the industry spent three weekends putting the new devices in place.

"We really want to make sure they're in a proper learning environment where it's cool, it's conducive for them and getting as much education as possible in an environment where they can study in," said Mufi Hannemann, President & CEO, Hawai'i Lodging & Tourism Association ….

Meanwhile: Cool Schools: How Government Contracting Makes a $2,500 job cost $138,000

read … Limited state funds to cool Hawaii's hot classrooms, outside donors step up to help

Letters from state violate federal law

SA: The procedures the state has used for years to notify thousands of Hawaii families suspected of child abuse or neglect in less serious cases do not meet U.S. regulations and must be changed, according to the preliminary findings of a federal investigation.

read … Letters from state violate federal law

HPD responds to criticism of officers' actions before Kunia shooting

HNN:  … police Maj. Dagen Tsuchida says officers didn't have enough to arrest suspect Scott Vidinha for the first two calls.

Aglipay called police the first time because Vidinha allegedly made inappropriate comments to her teen boys. Later, she told police she thought she saw Vidinha carrying a rifle in a guitar case into his home.

"The officers did everything they could at that time," Tsuchida said.

The third time Aglipay called, she reported hearing one gunshot from Vidinha's home.

Officers did talk to Vidinha after that call. He denied having a weapon, and denied the officers' request to check his home.

HPD says the officers couldn't do anything else.

The fourth call Aglipay made was to report that Vidinha was naked, taunting her family outside their Kunia condo. Cell phone video shows his pants on the stairs right outside and Vidinha dancing naked outsider her home and laughing at her. 

"The police are coming," Aglipay can be heard telling him in the video.

HPD says officers were on the way to that call when the fifth call came in from Aglipay. In that call, Aglipay said her neighbor was firing dozens of shots right outside the family's door ….

read … HPD responds to criticism of officers' actions before Kunia shooting

13 Acre Site Could House 20% of Oahu Homeless

HNN: …A dream to convert a 13-acre site between Sand Island and Keehi Lagoon into a village for the homeless took a big step toward becoming a reality Monday.

At a ceremony, Gov. David Ige signed the state land over to the city.

The city is now leasing the parcel to well-known businessman Duane Kurisu's AIO Foundation, which plans to build some 200 tiny homes in the development called Kahauiki Village.

Officials say the village could house up to 800 homeless people.

"That's about 20 percent of the homeless on this island," Kurisu said. "This is an important project." ….

read … 800 Homeless

Housing Advocates Divided On Proposed Honolulu Charter Change

CB: Honolulu voters will be asked in November to decide whether to change the rules governing the city’s Affordable Housing Fund.

Proposed Charter Amendment No. 5 would loosen restrictions on the fund to make it easier for developers to build low-income rental housing.

The question is whether to allow the money to be used to subsidize rental housing projects that are affordable to people earning 60 percent or less of household median income — equal to $42,240 for an individual or $60,300 for a family of four — and remain so for at least 60 years.

Right now, the city’s Affordable Housing Fund can only be used to subsidize homes that are affordable for people earning no more than 50 percent of area median income, equal to $35,200 for an individual or $50,250 for a family of four….

read … Housing Advocates Divided On Proposed Honolulu Charter Change

Get the Popcorn: Monk Seal Deaths Pit Animal Liberation Nuts Against Cat Obsessives

AP: Two wildlife issues have collided in Hawaii, pitting one group of animal defenders against another in an impassioned debate. The point of contention? Deadly cat poop and the feral felines that produce it.

Federal researchers believe feces from the legions of stray cats roaming Hawaii is spreading a disease that is killing Hawaiian monk seals, some of the world's most endangered marine mammals. Some conservationists advocate euthanizing those cats that no one wants, and that has cat lovers up in arms.

"It's a very difficult, emotional issue," said state Sen. Mike Gabbard, chairman of a committee that earlier this year heard a proposal to ban the feeding of feral cats on state land. The panel abandoned the bill after an outcry.

"It struck a nerve in our community," he said.

The problem stems from a parasite common in cats that can cause toxoplasmosis, a disease that has killed at least five female Hawaiian monk seals and three males since 2001, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"While eight seals may not sound like a lot of animals, it actually has pretty large ramifications for an endangered population where there's only about 1,300 seals in existence at this point in time," said Michelle Barbieri, veterinary medical officer for NOAA's Hawaiian monk seal research program. Scientists believe monk seals become exposed by ingesting contaminated water or prey.

Stray cats, meanwhile, have no predators in Hawaii and have ballooned in numbers across the state. Some 300,000 feral cats roam Oahu alone, according to marketing research commissioned by the Hawaiian Humane Society in 2015….

read … A great Show to Watch

Star-Adv Cuts Borreca Down to One Column a Week

SA: Like other papers, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser is a business and it is changing and evolving. Part of that evolution is that I’m going from writing three columns a week, to writing one every Sunday — call it semi-retired.

read … Borreca

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