Djou Launches New Ad as Absentee Ballots Arrive in Mailboxes
Professor Used UH Email System to Harass Rival
New Commuting Data: Same Old Trends
Video: The Town That Privatized Everything
Reduce Poverty and Homelessness by Creating Wealth
California Homeless Man Gets Flown to Live With Family in Hawaii
Rail tax Hike Resolutions Set up Legislative Battle
SA: Some key state and city leaders are voicing support for another tax extension to help fix rail’s latest financial problems, even though the project’s board chairwoman said earlier this year that state lawmakers likely would reject such a move.
“It’ll be challenging again, but I’m sure I feel comfortable that it’ll proceed,” state Sen. Lorraine Inouye (D, Kaupulehu- Waimea-North Hilo) said Thursday at a groundbreaking for three more rail stations. “I doubt it if there’s anyone out there in the Capitol that won’t support continuing till the end.”
This past summer, the Legislature’s two money committee chairwomen, Sen. Jill Tokuda (D, Kailua-Kaneohe) and Rep. Sylvia Luke (D, Punchbowl-Pauoa-Nuuanu), both said the city shouldn’t return next year to ask for more money to fix rail’s latest budget gap, estimated at some $1.8 billion.
In May, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board Chairwoman Colleen Hanabusa said her former state Capitol colleagues had already told her HART should not request another tax extension.
Nonetheless, this week Honolulu City Council members considered several measures in favor of building the full rail transit line to Ala Moana Center, which could help spur support at the Capitol for a rail tax extension. It’s a step the Council didn’t take in 2015, when city and rail leaders last went to the state and assured them a five-year general excise tax surcharge extension likely would be enough to finish rail.
“We have to take a position,” Councilwoman Kymberly Pine said at the Council Budget Committee meeting Wednesday, recounting how the Council’s silence in 2015 vexed some state lawmakers. “They just want to know where we’re at.”
The four resolutions that the Budget Committee discussed offer different degrees of support for rail. Resolution 16-238, for example, calls on island leaders to extend Oahu’s general excise tax surcharge in perpetuity to build and operate the project. Resolution 16-248 offers more generic support for completing the 20-mile, 21-station transit line.
The committee opted to wait until December to decide. That’s when rail officials are expected to finally deliver the project’s first new financial plan since 2012….
Big Q: Do you think lawmakers should extend the general excise tax surcharge for rail construction?
read … Tax Hike Coming
Precisely as Planned: Telescope Hearings Slowed by 16 Cross-Examinations Per Witness
HTH: After months of preparation and pre-conference hearings, witness testimony for the Thirty Meter Telescope contested case began Thursday in Hilo.
Perry White, principal planner of Planning Solutions Inc., was the first witness brought forth by attorneys representing the University of Hawaii at Hilo and was cross-examined by nine parties over the course of more than 5 hours.
Seven parties in the contested case have yet to cross-examine White and will continue with those proceedings Monday when the hearing resumes.
The sound of conch shells blown by cultural practitioners marked the official 9 a.m. hearing start Thursday, but testimony was delayed more than an hour as hearings officer Riki May Amano, a retired judge, heard complaints from parties regarding notice of the hearing itself, the hearing location and schedule, and access to documents.
read … Doomed
Brandt: OHA Will be Bankrupt in 10 Years
CB: …based on the 2015 PKF Pacific Hawaii OHA fiscal review, trustees were violating their fiscal policy and would bankrupt the trust in 10 years.
Robert Lindsey Jr. and Oz Stender controlled the powerful OHA Assets Resource Committee for over a decade. During that time they disbanded the Trustee Budget & Finance Committee and did away with the office line item budget making it impossible for beneficiaries and the public to track millions of dollars being spent by OHA, Lindsey and some OHA executive staff for questionable perks.
These expenditures include international travel to attend the Hokulea Welcoming Party in New Zealand, the Pacific Festival in New Zealand and the week-long festivities celebrating Cook Island independence.
More recently, Hawaiians learned that Lindsey had supported a $500,000 “gift” to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s World Conservation Conference held in Hawaii in September.
During the tenure of Lindsey and Stender the OHA budget exploded to over $40 million per year with less than $8 million allocated for beneficiary services.
Trask is asking for a forensic accounting of the millions spent that did not address critical beneficiary needs for housing, homelessness, education, job training and health….
PDF: PKF Pacific OHA Will Run Out of Funds
read … Ask The Tough Questions Of OHA
Kenoi proceedings reveal slippery slope of ‘lomi-ing’
Cataluna: The trial of Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi could be a symbol of many things:
>> The dismantling of good-old-boy-style local politics where the real work of government is done after-hours over pupu and drinks.
>> The inevitable comeuppance of a smart party-boy politician who incorrectly believed that his charm could get him out of any situation.
>> Or perhaps, as some have posited, Kenoi was drawing the envy of certain political peers who saw his potential for higher office and wanted to smack him down before he got too big and too popular.
Or maybe what’s on trial here is … the lomi.
read … Lomi Lomi
Feds: Foreign Fishermen Have No Complaints Working On US Boats
CB: Federal officials said Thursday they have interviewed dozens of foreign crew members who work on U.S. commercial fishing boats since allegations of labor abuses surfaced, but haven’t found much beyond a few cockroaches.
“They had an opportunity to talk to us freely,” said Ferdie Jose, supervisory officer for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “They didn’t voice any complaints.”
Jose made the statement at what has traditionally been a private quarterly meeting among commercial fishing vessel owners, law enforcement officers and state and federal officials.
read … It Was All Hype
Constitutional Amendment—No More Tax Refunds for Taxpayers
HNN: SB2554 is a Constitutional Amendment on the ballot this year. It authorizes the Legislature to take alternative actions when the State has an “excess” general fund balance after two fiscal years. This applies only when the general fund balance at the end of two successive fiscal years exceeds five per cent of general fund revenues for each of the two fiscal years….
read … Vote No
Poll Measures Support for Five Honolulu Charter Amendments
CB: Nearly three-fourths of Oahu voters surveyed for The Civil Beat Poll say the Honolulu Police Commission should be given greater authority to suspend or dismiss the chief of police and to investigate police misconduct.
Only 11 percent disagreed, while another 9 percent had no opinion.
Respondents were asked five questions related to some of the proposed Honolulu charter amendments on the Nov. 8 ballot….
Charter Amendment No. 15 explains that the mayor and nine Council members currently are allowed to serve two consecutive four-year terms, while the prosecutor has no limit. The amendment would set limits of three consecutive terms for all three offices…. Just 34 percent of respondents support the idea of adjusting the term limits, while 50 percent oppose it, 10 percent have no opinion and 7 percent were unsure.
…a clear majority (53 percent) emerged in favor of Charter Amendment No. 4 eventually transferring operations and maintenance of the rail system from the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation to the city’s Department of Transportation Services.
On the climate change office (Amendment No. 7), just 31 percent like the idea of creating it but 44 percent oppose it and 19 percent did not have an opinion.
On the zoo funding (Amendment No. 9), 45 percent do not want to tap property taxes, 38 percent like the idea and 13 percent declined to share their preference….
read … Poll
Nightmare Charter Amendment Would Give Caldwell Another Term
A “yes” vote would mean the mayor and city council can run for three consecutive four-year terms instead of only two. That means these elected officials could be in office for up to 12 years. It would also set limits on the number of times the city prosecutor can hold office to three four-year terms. Right now, there are no limits on how long an elected official can hold that position.
A “no” vote would keep things the same as they are now: two terms for city council and the mayor, and no term-limit restrictions for the prosecuting attorney.
read … Nightmare
Irony: Campaign Spending Commission probes anti-Caldwell PAC
HNN: The PAC -- Save Our City LLC -- lists no contributions from donors and no expenditures even though its already spent thousands on television and radio ads and on political signs…. (LOLROTF!)
read … Irony
Cancer Center Wants $15M
SA: QUESTION: You’ve said the center’s cigarette tax revenue is $14 million a year, about $5 million below where it was originally. Is that why the center has been asking the Legislature for that much?
ANSWER: That’s the reason for the $5 million … I feel that with the additional $5 million of support from the Legislature, we can close any remaining gap in the budget over the next three years, so that we will be functioning on a stable and sustainable fiscal platform moving forward for the long term.
read … Randall Holcombe: Director sees bright future for UH Cancer Center
Brower’s Sledgehammer Pandering Comes Back to Haunt Him Again
HNN: State Rep. Tom Brower, a Democrat who's made headlines for his handling of homelessness in the past, is facing off against Republican Kathryn Henski.
Henski, a political unknown, owned and operated a homeless shelter in Alaska in the 1980s and says she has experience dealing with a wide range of homeless issues. "(I) helped them get back into society and give them a sense of pride and dignity," she said.
Henski says Oahu needs more shelters, including more unconventional ones. And, she argues, homeless sweeps don't help.
"It accomplishes nothing," she said. "It does nothing but remove them from the streets for a small period of time and they return."
She's also critical of Brower's approach to dealing with the homeless. Brower raised eyebrows -- and made national headlines -- in 2013, after he started using a sledgehammer to destroy abandoned shopping carts. Then, in 2015, he was roughed up by homeless teens in Kakaako while taking pictures of a growing encampment.
read … Homelessness a key issue in Waikiki's state House race
Due to Lack of Lunatic Asylums, 100 mentally Ill in OCCC Daily
CB: …It was November, and Merce and a handful of observers were touring the crumbling 100-year-old Honolulu jail to assess its condition when he entered Module 8 — one of three cellblocks reserved for mentally ill inmates.
In one cell, Merce saw a woman wrapped in a blanket, her blank eyes staring into space. In the next cell, he saw a woman singing and screaming as she danced.
Above both cells doors were words handwritten on cardboard: “Jane Doe.”
Merce understood what that meant: The two inmates were “so psychotic” that OCCC officials hadn’t been able to identify them….
On any given day, OCCC houses as many as 100 inmates diagnosed with “acute” mental illness, according to the Hawaii Department of Public Safety. It’s one more reason why the jail is operating at twice its designed capacity, forcing many cells to be triple- or quadruple-booked — with up to two inmates sleeping on mattresses on the floor…. (The rest of the article is dominated by people who want to let the criminals and lunatics back out on the streets.)
More Reality Than Most can Handle: Mental Health: Can Reform Solve Hawaii’s Homeless, Prison and Unfunded Liability Problems?
read … Need to reopen the Lunatic Asylums
Union holds medical marijuana training and certification seminar in Waikiki
KITV: Job seekers and business owners hoping to learn more about the budding medical marijuana industry attended a certification training conference today at the Modern Hotel in Waikiki. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union 480 partnered with a University out of Colorado that conducts training and certification courses across the country….
About 100 people attended the 6 hour certification seminar which covered Hawaii laws, job opportunities and operations in the medical marijuana industry.
TBB: Why major law firms see potential for medicated marijuana
read … Medicated Membership
MPD Explains Why So Many Rape Kits Untested
MN: …The Maui Police Department and Maui County Prosecutor’s Office hope to test roughly 150 rape kits sitting on shelves and any future kits resulting from sexual assaults in an effort to assist criminal justice authorities nationwide through an online database, officials said last week.
The department has been using sexual assault evidence collection kits, or rape kits, as part of investigations since 1999, and it has collected a total of 166, according to the state Department of the Attorney General. As of June 30, only 16 of those had been tested, or about 10 percent.
Andrew Martin, deputy prosecutor and Circuit Court supervisor, said there were many reasons kits go untested and one of the biggest is that the case was solved without the need for it.
“Where people are mistaken is that because there are so many untested kits, they think that is equal to the number of unsolved cases or cases that police are not working on or the prosecution is not working on,” Martin said.“That’s a big misconception.”
Martin said rape kit testing helps identify the perpetrator, but for the “vast majority” of cases police had other irrefutable evidence. He said many other cases involve victims informally withdrawing charges or not maintaining contact with police or prosecutors.
“Even if we collected the kit, we don’t need to test because we know who the perpetrator is,” Martin said. “A lot of the cases are solved through other investigative techniques.”
Lt. Micah Adams of the Criminal Investigation Division refused to use the word “backlog” for the number of untested kits and gave the same reasons kits may go untested. He said police receive about 20 to 25 kits a year, which they must pay to get tested and that can be somewhat costly.
Adams noted that no kit has gone untested due to funding, but to test all of them would take more money than available in the department’s current budget. Testing costs have gone up every year, and the first test only determines if there is male DNA, not including further tests looking for comparisons against national databases, he said….
read … Rape Kit Hype
HPD Officer Finds Way to Beat DUI Rap
KHON: In April, Brent Sylvester was arrested for DUI. Police say he was driving on Mokapu Boulevard in Kailua when he was involved in a two-car crash.
His trial was supposed to start this week, however we were told the state was not ready to go to trial because three civilian witnesses did not show up to testify.
Prosecutors say this is the second time those witnesses — who were in the car Sylvester allegedly hit — avoided service of their subpoenas….
HPD says Sylvester’s police powers remain restricted.
read … Wise Guys
Some residents double-billed for online motor vehicle payments
KHON: …The company has acknowledged a problem regarding a processing error on a variety of payments made on September 22, 2016. Five hundred (500) customers nationwide were double billed on October 17, 2016.
Customers who may have experienced a double charge are asked to call AUTHORIZE.NET at 877-447-3938. The phone line currently has a recording accepting responsibility for the issue.
read … Double Billing
Kauai: Regressive Leftism Storms the Beach
KE: …On the beach, tourists stand and sit, cameras in hand, waiting to record the birth of the sun, but in the meantime, they're watching the sleek black head of a monk seal, bobbing as it traverses the shoreline, in shallow water, looking to come ashore.
When it does, it's rushed by the tourists, intent on recording the event. It takes one look at the throng, turns around and flees toward the sea. You guys, I tell the tourists, it's trying to come ashore so it can rest, and now you've scared it off. It's actually illegal to approach the seals.
They give me the 'fuck you' look and I trudge on, morning walk ruined now by the growling in my head, the seal well ahead of me, attempting once again to land, only to meet the same fate, and then I see it heading out to deeper waters.
The feral cats, meanwhile, are lining up near the oceanfront units, obviously accustomed to hand outs.
So where is the education, the enforcement? Where are the environmental groups?
Oh, they're busy trying to take down fishing and farming, which they have deemed some huge threat. Kauai Sierra Club's Judy Dalton is advocating for trap-neuter-release and feral cat colonies, though certainly she must know they prey on native birds, like the shoreline nesting wedgetails, and the taxoplasmosis in their doo-doo has killed monk seals.
Over on Oahu, Sierra Club director Marti Townsend is protesting against the hiring practices of the longline fishing fleet, taking a slightly different tack than the unceasing lawsuits filed by its lawfirm, Earthjustice, but all working toward a common goal: destroy the fishing industry. She's quoted as saying:
“It’s really about strict regulations and third party oversight. Everything that’s happening on these boats is legal. It’s just immoral.”
If the Hawaii Sierra Club is so worried about morality, why has it aligned with fear-mongers and liars, like the Hawaii Center for Food Safety, Gary Hooser's HAPA (of which Marti's hubby, Ikaika, is a board member) and dishonest people like the University of Hawaii's Hector Valenzuela, who is using his job and public funds to rally against GMOs? ….
read … Musings: Another Day in Paradise