Announcement: When Thirty Meter Telescope Gives up on Hawaii, it will go to Canary Islands
Worst Zombie States Deteriorate Faster, Further (Hawaii #6)
HPD Shares Payoff from $670M Gambling Bust
Precisely as Predicted: Stacked Jury Acquits Kenoi on All Counts
KHON: The decision, read in a Hilo courtroom at 1:15 p.m. Tuesday, declared Kenoi not guilty on all counts…..
read … Precisely as Predicted
Kenoi Lawyer: How Dare The State Tell My Client He Can’t Party at Hostess Bars on the Taxpayers Dime?
SA: A deputy state attorney general Monday told jurors deciding Mayor Billy Kenoi’s future that Kenoi “lived above the law” when he charged personal and alcohol purchases to his county-issued purchasing card.
Following six days of testimony that spanned two weeks, Deputy Attorney General Kevin Takata told jurors in his closing arguments, “Apathy is the accomplice to political corruption. The verdict is yours. Do justice. Do equal justice.” ….
Eddins told jurors that “the pattern and practice of county government here on this island is the mayor has broad discretion. … For the state to barge into town and tell the mayor how he can spend his County Council-approved entertainment budget and twist things, it’s just not right.” ….
read … Jury deliberates mayor’s culpability
Rail: Business as Usual Will Cost $10B
SA: …“business as usual” will leave us with a price tag of $10 billion to reach Ala Moana. Terminating the project, absorbing losses, and tearing down already built guideway elements, however, would be disastrous. Neither road enhancements nor a bus rapid transit system depending on dedicated traffic lanes will provide the relief needed for long-suffering commuters from West Oahu.
Rail remains the best alternative, but the project’s history has been appalling: promises made for an open competition on the rail technology — and then broken; manipulation of voters while using taxpayer funds; campaign contributions and “cushy” jobs for politicians aimed at keeping the money flowing into developer and union pockets; and, finally, mismanagement by incompetent city administrations and HART boards resulting in shoddy workmanship requiring fixes, continuous delays, and escalating — ever escalating — costs.
Region IX of the Federal Transit Administration is not without blame. It never should have accepted an environmental impact statement that did not adequately address all types of rail technologies — as specified in its own notice of intent. It stayed silent while claims were made in the City Council more than a year before the signing of the Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) in late 2012 that the city could not change steel wheels on steel rails (SWSR) technology. The due diligence for making best use of federal taxpayers’ funds has not been followed in this “cozy” relationship….
read … Rail needs a review and a new direction
Nobody Wants to Partner with Wahiawa Hospital
SA: …Don Olden, who has been at the forefront of a search for a larger hospital to take over the ailing facility, told employees in a letter Friday of his retirement and the new management firm contracted to run the hospital.
Wahiawa General’s board of directors entered a three-year management contract with Community Hospital Corp., based in Plano, Texas, near Dallas. The management company has agreed to assess current operations, develop a new business model and bring in new chief executive and chief financial officers.
The hospital is struggling to meet new quality requirements, as well as costs associated with the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and has yet to develop a sustainable business model.
“Wahiawa General Hospital needs the assistance of a larger hospital system to meet the challenges and changes occurring in health care,” Olden said in the letter to employees. “Small, standalone community hospitals cannot survive without becoming part of a larger health care system that has the professional management needed to adapt to constant changes introduced by federal and state governments.”
In recent years Wahiawa General has unsuccessfully attempted to merge or affiliate with larger hospital groups.
“Over the past two years, Wahiawa hospital unsuccessfully attempted to form an affiliation with Queen’s, Hawaii Pacific Health, Castle Medical Center and Sutter Health, which we believed was essential for future development of the hospital and the Koa Ridge project (a 3,500-unit residential development),” he said. “The real plan is to try and stabilize Wahiawa hospital until the Koa Ridge project is developed probably over a five-year time frame.”
Castle & Cooke, developer of the Koa Ridge project, is donating 28 acres to Wahiawa General to build a new hospital.….
read … Nobody
Usual Suspects to Push for all Vote by Mail Elections in 2017 Legislature
SA: …Anderson, the Election Commission chairman, said he plans to lobby state lawmakers to switch to all mail-in voting. Not only will it save $800,000 each year, but it will enhance election security by allowing officials to check signatures to ensure authenticity, he said.
But Rohlfing said he doesn’t believe election security will be served by all mail-in, adding that too many dirty tricks and manipulation can happen when the voting takes place away from the polling place.
“I have more faith in Election Day balloting,” he said….
Remember: Vote by Mail Fraud: Romy Cachola Barged In, Wanted Ballots
read … Fraud
Will Anti-GMO Activists Stop Lying Now?
KE: The recent New York Times article claiming GMOs haven't delivered on the promise of reduced pesticide use and greater yields is notable both for what it asserts, and what it leaves out.
For starters, reporter Danny Hakim unequivocally states:
Fears about the harmful effects of eating G.M. foods have proved to be largely without scientific basis.
So will all the anti-GMO folks who are circulating the article as confirmation of their views also accept this as reality? Can we finally take food safety — the focal point of the anti-GMO messaging — out of this polarized debate?
Unfortunately, the article fails to explore the significant role that these same anti-GMO activists have played in preventing GM crops from reaching their full potential. It's a bit disingenuous to claim the crops have underperformed without also acknowledging that their development has met fierce resistance every step of the way, with many, especially those in the public sector, stymied completely.
read … Musings: The Right to Choose
Hawaii Workers Earn Less, pay More than Mainland
SA: …Hawaii workers’ average wage of $896 in the latest report was $147 less a week than the national average of $1,043 during the 12-month period. That ranked Hawaii 26th overall out of 50 states and Washington, D.C., whose workers topped the list at $1,766 a week. The U.S. average slipped 0.5 percent from $1,048 in the previous 12-month period.
On an annual basis, that works out to an average wage per year for Hawaii workers of $46,592 compared with $54,236 nationally and $91,832 for workers in Washington, D.C.
In another category of the report, Hawaii employment rose 1.4 percent to 645,129 during the same 12-month period.
That trailed the U.S. job growth of 2 percent during the period but was slightly better than the 1.3 percent growth achieved by Honolulu County, the state’s largest county by population with about 1 million people.
Hawaii’s dominant tourism industry is likely one factor why Hawaii trails the nation in average wage, according to David Kong, statistician for the BLS in San Francisco….
read … Affordability gap
Maui: Homeless People Refuse Shelter--Go Around Peeing on Things
MN: …In December, the administration presented to the council bills aimed at helping police enforce laws prohibiting drinking in public areas, urinating or defecating in public, lying down on public sidewalks, stealing shopping carts and aggressive begging. Violations of these proposed bills would carry a maximum penalty of a $500 fine or 30 days in jail….
Two Kihei residents testified Monday about homeless people terrorizing their neighborhood, singling out one man who yells at others and defecates in public. They also spoke of gangs of homeless people congregating, drinking, causing trouble and intimidating people.
“We need the laws,” said Randy Wagner. “We need to disperse these people from the epicenter of the neighborhood.”
She said that homeless people in her neighborhood prevent her from walking to the grocery store….
Assistant Police Chief Victor Ramos said that a sit-and-lie law would “give us more teeth,” while noting that not all cases would lead to arrest. The police could use the power of the law to get people lying down in public places to move along.
“We need something to give us that power” to help with the problems with homeless people, he said adding that some people choose a vagrant lifestyle and refuse help….
read … Sit-Lie
Escaped Lunatic Rampaged Thru Waikiki in Stolen Dump Truck
HNN: Authorities said Pitts broke a window and escaped between 9 and 10 o'clock on Saturday night, but the staff didn't realize he was missing until a bed check at 8 o'clock the next morning.
"We're doing a thorough investigation to see what we can do to get better in this situation and I don't want to disclose anything that may not be appropriate for me to disclose," said William May, administrator of the hospital.
Pitts was first sent to the hospital after his destructive joyride through Waikiki in a stolen dump truck in 2013. A judge found him not guilty by reason of insanity. According to court documents, Pitts was later granted a conditional release, but wound up back in the facility after he violated the terms and allegedly committed new crimes. He was scheduled to be back in court next month to determine whether he was fit to proceed with the new charges against him for harassment and assault on a law enforcement officer….
SA: 11:10 p.m. on Monday, officers arrested Allen Pitts at or near the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort
read … Recidivist Lunacy
Soft on Crime: Out Again -- Kills Professor
MN: …When officers approached the car and woke up Apo, he looked at the officers and reversed his car into a police car parked behind him before speeding away, police said. Two officers standing next to Apo’s vehicle had to jump out of the way to avoid being run over, police said.
The officers had activated their emergency lights and sirens and were following as Apo turned onto Honoapiilani Highway, then turned onto Kuihelani Highway, driving the wrong way in the southbound lanes, police said.
He continued speeding north in the southbound lanes and collided head-on with a black Scion that was traveling south on the highway in Kahului at about 4 p.m., police said. A blue Hyundai that was also traveling south collided into the Scion.
The Scion driver, 33-year-old Melissa Egbert of Lahaina, also died of injuries she suffered in the collision. She was a lecturer in the English Department at the University of Hawaii Maui College.
According to court records, Apo’s criminal history includes convictions for third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, possessing drug paraphernalia, two counts of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, first-degree assault against a police officer, resisting arrest, resisting an order to stop a motor vehicle, three counts of driving without a license, possessing burglar’s tools and two counts of abuse.
Many of the charges stemmed from his arrest in May 2008 when Apo was driving a stolen 1996 Honda Accord and dragged then-DUI Task Force officer Nick Krau as he leaned into the car. At the time, Apo was on probation in a case involving a stolen motorcycle.
When Apo was sentenced in October 2008 for assaulting Krau and driving the stolen car, then-2nd Circuit Judge Joel August told Apo he was “extremely fortunate you didn’t get shot that night.”
August noted that the owner of the stolen car had to use some of her retirement money to buy a car to replace the trashed Honda. “Do you have any understanding at all about how your actions affect people?” the judge asked Apo. “It’s one thing to cause havoc in your own life, but it’s another to cause havoc in other people’s lives.”
In March 2012, after Apo was arrested for drug possession, his probation was revoked in both prior cases and he was sentenced to a five-year prison term for third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia, court records show….
SA: Teaching was passion for Maui crash victim
read … Soft on Crime
Former officer receives 60 days in $75,000 theft
SA: A former police lieutenant who admitted stealing $75,000 from the Kauai Police Department is going to jail for 60 days….
Seabright also fined Kapua $25,000 but did not order her to pay restitution because she had already repaid the money she stole when she pleaded guilty in July….
read … Another One
One of the Ex-DLNR Cops Charged with Child Molestation Allowed to Leave State
KGI: Low, 54, was to go to trial Monday. But his attorney, Michael Soong, asked that he be allowed to travel to Nevada to be with family (insert excuse here)….
“The defendant is charged with multiple accounts of sex assault. And from my understanding, he just wants to take a vacation in Las Vegas,”she said….
Low, who lives in Kapaa, is a former Department of Land and Natural Resources officer. He is said to have allegedly sexually assaulted a female minor from June 29, 2007, through Feb. 14, 2014, according to a 13-page indictment.
He started as a DLNR Enforcement Officer on April 2, 1990. He became the Kauai district manager in November 2001 and retired on June 1, 2009.
Low served with KPD during the 1980s.
Low’s trial is scheduled for April 3….
read … Another One
Smug Punahou Kids Kill Albatrosses, Brag About it
CB: …Soon after the Kaena Point albatross killings, it was learned that all of the suspects had current or past ties to Punahou School. The school says none of them is enrolled there now.
Koga says the public has bombarded the prosecutor’s office with emails and calls demanding action. Many of the callers were concerned the suspects might get away with it because some of them come from socially prominent families (all of whom are oh-so-politically correct and don’t want to blow their image)….
All the details I have about the alleged albatross killers came indirectly from the suspects themselves who, at a party shortly after the Kaena incident, bragged to their peers about what they had done to the birds. (We destroyed the icons of the eco-religion. We are like gods!) Their boasting included showing the metal identification tags obtained by cutting off the albatrosses’ feet.
Some of their peers were stunned and told their parents. The word got out to Punahou School and others.
Oblivious to the reaction of their classmates, the suspects continued to show off the metal tags and even post pictures of the dead birds on their social media sites until eventually taking down the incriminating information….
News Release: 12/30/15 – DLNR INVESTIGATING DEAD AND MISSING ALBATROSS, DESTROYED NESTS AND EGGS IN KAENA POINT NATURAL AREA RESERVE
read … Why Are Kaena Point Albatross Killers Still Free?