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Wednesday, October 26, 2016
October 26, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:04 PM :: 4059 Views

Walk-In Early Voting Open Now

How Much Does OHA Spend on Chair’s Friends?

Hale Mauliola Moves 105 Homeless into Permanent Housing

Homelessness—Family Matters

Fewer DoE Students Require Remedial Instruction in College

DoE to Tax New Housing from Kalihi to Ala Moana?

Brewbaker: The Future of Agriculture on Maui

U.S. Attorney Appoints Election Officer for Hawaii

Star-Adv: Reelect Sam Slom Senate

SA: Slom should be re-elected. A former chief economist for Bank of Hawaii and a champion of small business, Slom is a principled lawmaker who provides a much-needed counterweight to political conformity — necessary for the health of a deliberative body. Some of his Democratic colleagues may hold similar views, but none are as fearless in promoting them as Slom, who is not under the thumb of Senate leadership.

read … Endorsement

Kenoi Trial: Old Boys Yuk it up In Front of Stacked Jury

SA: The architect of Hawaii County’s purchasing card — or pCard — program testified in Mayor Billy Kenoi’s corruption trial Tuesday that Kenoi had broad leeway over his spending, including purchasing alcohol, as long as it was in the best interest of the county.

William Takaba, 69, served under 11 Hawaii island mayors, including four years as Kenoi’s managing director. He answered “yes” or “right” on the witness stand in response to a series of questions by Kenoi attorney Todd Eddins about whether Kenoi could “spend funds as he deems fit … under law,” including purchases for alcohol.

Asked by Eddins what would happen if Kenoi could not provide a receipt for his expenditures, Takaba said, “He would pay far above and beyond what he was required to pay. … He was very generous with his own money in paying county expenses that he didn’t need to pay.”

Takaba created the pCard program in 2003, he testified, and he said that Kenoi had an entertainment budget of $15,000 and another $6,000 budget for legislative entertainment.

Asked by Eddins whether Kenoi ever made personal purchases on his pCard, Ta-kaba said yes and later added, “If it’s personal it probably didn’t have a public purpose. He would call it to my attention whenever he did that.” ….

LOL: Sam Choy Claims Kenoi took him to McDonalds

LOL: Kenoi tears up as he testifies in his corruption trial


“This entire trail is getting silly. Just as one would expect.”

“Wow lau lau! Even for Hawaii, this is nutz.”

“These folks are all so fricken’ dirty it’s incredible. Nobody in local politics wants to be told they can’t dip their beak.”

“What Mr. Takaba said, essentially, is that it is okay to be corrupt…that is business as usual for 11 mayors.”

“This trial has turned into a circus.”

“So the fix is in!”

“What a joke Sam Choy, but this is how they take care of each other.”

read … Putting booze on island’s tab OK, court told

Doomed: TMT hearing may last months with 85 witnesses

SA: The contested case hearing over a key permit for the Thirty Meter Telescope inched forward today as opponents of the project wrapped up their questions for the first witness called by the University of Hawaii, and moved on to the second.

Supporters and opponents of the $1.4 billion project have notified Hearings Officer Riki May Amano that they intend to call about 85 witnesses, which could cause the hearing in Hilo to extend for weeks or even months.

Today marked the third day of the contested case proceeding, and the third day of questioning for Perry J. White, who was called as the first UH witness. White is principal planner of Planning Solutions Inc., and was the primary author of the conservation district use permit application filed in 2010 for the TMT.

Among the telescope opponents who questioned White was C.M. Kahookahi Kanuha, a leader in last year’s protests at the summit of Mauna Kea. Kanuha said he is representing himself in the hearing as a “Hawaiian patriot,” ….

Best Comment: “HRS Section 91-10 requires the ‘agency shall as a matter of policy provide for the exclusion of . . . unduly repetitious evidence.’”

Meanwhile: Leaving Hawaii: Decision on New Site for Thirty Meter Telescope set for ‘Early 2017’

read … Doomed

Obamacare Driving Doctors out of Business—Many Become Hospital Employees

SA: …Queen’s is recruiting full-time “hospitalists,” who work exclusively for one hospital, at a salary of $300,000 a year, double the amount physicians typically earn when starting in private practice.

While some say the hospitalist trend is taking away from primary care in the community, Queen’s says it is doing its part to encourage providers to stay in private practice. It spends about $20 million a year supporting graduate medical education, and serves as a training site for primary care doctors and other specialists. Since 2000, 88 graduates, about a third of the 272 residents at Queen’s, have gone into primary care — as internists, family medicine providers and geriatricians.

“Many physicians are not choosing to go into private practice and are looking at alternatives such as being hospitalists because they don’t want to take the risk of private practice and other issues such as lifestyle,” Ushijima said. “The supply of physicians being produced for primary care relative to the demand is not keeping up.”

Queen’s also is attempting to lessen the administrative burden on doctors, as reporting requirements for health insurers and programs such as Medicare (the government insurance program for seniors) increases. Medicare and the Hawaii Medical Service Association, the state’s largest health insurer, are changing the way doctors are paid, with reimbursements based in part on how well a doctor improves patient care. But the new payment models require additional reporting by physicians to prove they are meeting quality measures.

Dr. Ryan Honda, a Queen’s hospitalist who was previously in private practice on the mainland, said doctors didn’t learn in medical school how to manage an office, or staffing and billing — and now additional payment reporting — which are required in private practice.

“You end up spending 10 to 20 hours on top of your clinical responsibilities trying to manage an office,” he said. “This world of quality and reporting is so complex. It is so nebulous and overwhelming. It is one of biggest dissatisfiers of being private practitioners,” Honda said. “Not only is there prior authorization and regulations; doctors are also having to report the quality of care you deliver. There’s been a sea change in the American medical system over the last five years where we’re focusing away from the quantity of care to the quality. That’s a good thing, but it is, like most journeys, one that is somewhat painful.”

Queen’s has formed the Queen’s Clinically Integrated Physician Network to help 1,100 doctors with the reporting requirements of HMSA and Medicare….

Big Q: Have you, or someone in your household, had a problem finding a primary care doctor in the past year or so?

read … Thanks, Obama

Sand Island homeless complex seen as a success

SA: “This facility really has been a game-changer for us,” said Kimo Carvalho, community relations director for the Institute for Human Services, which partners with the city to run Hale Mauliola.

The facility’s less stringent requirements have contributed to the success so far, Carvalho and others said. Clients don’t have a curfew and can house their pets there, for example. They also have a spectrum of housing options from city, state and federal services, Carvalho added.

The city is looking at other sites for similar “containerized” transitional housing but hasn’t specified anything yet, Mayor Kirk Caldwell said. More sites like Hale Mauliola would certainly be useful, city Housing Office Executive Director Jun Yang said.

“Our homeless clients need more help,” Yang said Tuesday. “Places like this would help them find housing. The demand is there.”

Nonetheless, Oahu still faces greater, long-term challenges of where to eventually house the bulk of its homeless residents. This year’s point-in-time count found the island’s homeless population grew by about 1 percent to 4,940. Statewide, Hawaii has been found to have the largest homeless population per capita in the nation.

Meanwhile, Oahu requires some 20,000 additional affordable rental units to keep up with its overall housing needs, based on official estimates….

read … Success

Caldwell Pays $287K per Unit to Buy Existing ‘Affordable’ Units

SA: The city spent $6.9 million to buy a three-story, 24-unit walk-up apartment building on Beretania Street to be used for low-income and homeless housing.  (CLUE: This dumpy building was already affordable.  The city has done nothing to increase the number of affordable units by purchasing a building which was already affordable.)

The purchase of the building at 1727 Beretania St. — makai of Central Union Church and not far from the high-rise where President Barack Obama was raised — is expected to record today. The seller of the property was not disclosed.

The deal represents the latest project by Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration to add affordable housing and create more so-called Housing First units to ease the nation’s highest per capita rate of homelessness….

Oahu TMK: 1727 S Beretania

read … Unaffordable

Caldwell Lets Oahu Bridges Rot

CB: Kirk Caldwell promised to improve them. But while work has continued, there haven’t been any new repair initiatives.

Old wooden planks form the surface of a 74-year-old Kalihi Street bridge far up in the Kalihi Valley. Inspections determined it to be in poor condition and gave it a rating that indicated “local failures are possible.”

That was four years ago, but it hasn’t been improved.

In fact, a Civil Beat analysis of state and federal bridge inspection data revealed that more than 200 bridges on Oahu are considered deficient or outdated, which means they are in poor condition structurally or not up to current standards.

PDF: Map of Deficient Bridges

read … Are Oahu’s Bridges Better Off Than They Were 4 Years Ago?

Anti-Dairy Activists Come up With New Trick

KE: Why, one might ask, would non-fishers who live in Kekaha and Kapaa begin advocating for a marine stewardship area off the Mahaulepu coast?

Well, when you consider that it's Gordon LaBedz, past president of Surfrider, a group staunchly opposed to the proposed dairy there, and Kalasara Setaysha, vice president of the whale advocacy group Kohola Leo, it's easy to connect the dots….

read … Musings: Call Out

Iao Valley Flood Seen as Opportunity to Attack Water Diversions

MN: Native Hawaiian activists confronted U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials about Wailuku Water Co. permits to repair damage in Iao Valley from the Sept. 13 flood at a forum in Wailuku and in a separate action requested that the agency revoke the water company’s permit for emergency work in the Wailuku River….

read … Residents, activists, engineers clash over work to restore valley after flood

Ancient ways of managing island water not hands-off

Cataluna: So many discussions of water rights and water use in Hawaii are clouded by self-righteous and misplaced indignation. There is an idea that the ancient Hawaiian way was to let the water flow undiverted, undirected, untouched, from the rainfall in the mountains down through tributaries and streams all the way into the ocean. What’s left out of this oversimplified version of history is that ancient Hawaiians built ditches and waterways, dams and diversions as part of their sophisticated system of agriculture. The flow of fresh water is essential to the health of the watershed, yes, but water was also harnessed to cultivate crops and benefit the community….

With the current fervor arising from new ideas of ancient Hawaiian practices, the menehune wouldn’t be able to build their fishpond on Kauai without attracting screaming protesters accusing them of not being Hawaiian enough and of selling out the aina and the wai. But ancient Hawaiians loved science, were amazing engineers and believed in managing natural resources rather than just letting whatever happens magically happen….

read … Ancient ways of managing island water not hands-off

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