Hawaii First State to File ‘Complete’ Obamacare Waiver
Akina and Trask: Why Non-Hawaiians Should Vote for OHA Trustees
Lindsey Spent Millions of OHA Dollars on Geothermal Scheme
Rail Rats Flee to DC -- Formby to be Hanabusa’s Chief of Staff In Congress
CB: …Michael Formby, the acting director of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, started his career with the federal government as an attorney overseeing contracts for the military — purchasing aircraft for NATO, for instance.
Three decades later, he’s likely heading back to federal service, this time as chief of staff for Colleen Hanabusa, heavily favored to win the congressional seat that became vacant with the death of U.S. Rep. Mark Takai in July.
In between, Formby worked in private practice in maritime law (Jones Act), then served in state and city government before temporarily taking on the job as HART’s executive director with the resignation of Dan Grabauskas in August.
Formby, who was honored by the Honolulu City Council on Wednesday for his tenure as the city’s transportation director, sees a certain symmetry to returning where he started.
“It’s full circle,” he said. (Translation: Hawaii keeps recycling the same old same old.)
At the same time, he’s been warned to prepare for the treacherous waters of the fiercely partisan U.S. Capitol…. (Translation: Hawaii’s all-Dem delegation will be useless.)
read … Reward for Desertion
DOE proposes $9,000 per Unit Tax along rail line
SA: … The Department of Education wants to start levying what it calls its only taxing power to generate funding for new schools in urban Honolulu, where officials anticipate population spikes will require several new campuses along the city’s rail line.
The department has proposed establishing a so-called school impact fee district along a 4-mile stretch of the rail line, from Kalihi through downtown and Kakaako to Ala Moana. Under the plan, builders or buyers of new homes within the district would be assessed about $9,000 per unit to help offset the cost of (insert excuse here) ….
Related: DoE to Tax New Housing from Kalihi to Ala Moana?
read … DOE proposes fee along rail line
Telescope Hearings Seven Days Three Witnesses (82 more witnesses to go)
WHT: The Thirty-Meter Telescope contested case hearing continued Wednesday at the Grand Naniloa Hotel Crown Room in Hilo with navigator Chad Kalepa Baybayan and astronomer Robert McLaren appearing as witnesses for the University of Hawaii at Hilo.
It was the seventh day of hearings, which began Oct. 20 after several pre-conference hearings. Retired judge Riki May Amano is the hearings officer.
Baybayan was just the third witness for the university who has been called since hearings started.
One witness, James Hayes, was on the stand for three days and will be called back for further cross-examination next week. There are about 85 witnesses in total, according to TMT spokesman Scott Ishikawa.
There are about two dozen parties to the contested case, all of whom are allowed to call their own witnesses and cross-examine.
In light of the slow proceedings, Amano instituted a time limit on cross-examinations after Monday’s hearing, but on Wednesday, some parties still went over the half-hour limit. Some objected to the 30-minute rule because a motion for reconsideration wasn’t filed.
Amano also added 14 more dates to the hearing calendar, for a total of 18.
The dates extend into late December, and Amano said after witness testimony concluded that it was likely there would need to be more dates in January.
“We’ll get a better sense of the timing as we move forward,” she said.
The cross-examination time limit seemed to have an effect, as Wednesday was the first time a full cross-examination — Baybayan’s — concluded in less than a day.
read … Purposefully Running Down the Clock
Kaiser begins staffing at Maui Memorial, Avoids Loss of Trauma Center Designation
MN: Kaiser Permanente Hawaii, which is slated to take over operations of Maui Memorial Medical Center on July 1, has begun helping to fill staff shortages in the transition by appointing an orthopedic surgeon and a new interim director of trauma surgery, Kaiser and hospital officials said.
Kaiser Permanente physician Dr. Andrew Tan has been named Maui Memorial interim director of trauma surgery, said Laura Lott, Kaiser spokeswoman, on Tuesday.
“If he hadn’t filled that role, there is a real chance that MMMC would not have retained their trauma center designation,” said Lott.
Maui Memorial is the island’s only trauma center, which was recently recertified as a Level III Trauma Center by the state Department of Health. The trauma center provides 24-hour coverage by emergency medical physicians….
The other appointment involves orthopedic surgeon Warren “Vic”Ayers. The Navy veteran and board-certified orthopedic surgeon has been contracted by the hospital’s trauma and orthopedic departments….
Mary Ann Barnes, president of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals Hawaii Region, said in the HHSC news release that Kaiser Permanente has increased support in other areas of patient care at Maui Memorial.
“We understand that transfer delays have been frustrating for the Maui community, and our medical group partners are doing everything they can to support the delivery of high-quality health care on island,” said Barnes. “Our commitment to the people of Maui and Lanai remains unwavering.”
Lott explained that Ayers will work for the Pacific Permanente Medical Group, the Maui subsidiary of Kaiser’s Hawaii Permanente Medical Group, the physician group that cares for Kaiser members throughout Hawaii.
Maui Memorial contracted with Pacific Permanente to provide physician services for orthopedic surgery, explained Karey Kapoi, Maui Memorial spokeswoman, on Tuesday. Pacific Permanente actually employs Ayers and pays his salary with Maui Memorial’s contract with Pacific Permanente covering that cost-plus benefits.
When Kaiser takes over in July, Ayers will continue to work at Maui Memorial and remain employed by Pacific Permanente, Kapoi said.
The Ayers hiring could be a template for further staff growth through the transition period, said Kapoi….
read … Staffing
Peter Carlisle discusses Kenoi verdict
HNN: …However, Carlisle said when he was a city official, he doesn't recall himself or his peers purchasing large amounts of alcohol to please a guest.
He also said the prosecution could have looked into whether the card Kenoi was using bearing interest.
As for whether the prosecution made a mistake by taking the case to court in the first place, Carlisle says the prosecution made a right decision doing so, regardless of the outcome.
Carlisle said he doesn't see opposition or dislike for Kenoi playing a role because it went through the Attorney General's office, which has an ethical obligation to bring cases that are supported by probable cause.
Carlisle also said he believes Kenoi's future as a politician could continue, but if so, it would likely be kept within the limits of the Big Island…..
read … Peter Carlisle discusses Kenoi verdict
Just for Kicks-Kenoi Cronies on Ethics commission to hear Kenoi complaint
WHT: The Hawaii County Board of Ethics is scheduled to hear a long-pending complaint against Mayor Billy Kenoi next week following his acquittal on criminal charges for alleged misuse of a county-issued credit card.
Kapaau resident Lanric Hyland filed the ethics complaint last year over Kenoi using the card for personal purchases, which he later reimbursed. He is on the agenda for an informal hearing Wednesday in Hilo.
It’s not clear if Kenoi will participate. The mayor and his attorney, Todd Eddins, didn’t return requests for comment.
The board previously deferred the matter due to concern that any decision could impact the mayor’s theft trial. A 12-person jury acquitted Kenoi on all charges Tuesday in Hilo Circuit Court.
But even if the board finds Kenoi violated the county’s ethics code, it’s unlikely the mayor, who leaves office in December, would face any serious repercussions since the board usually issues advisory opinions in response to informal hearings.
read … Just for a Few Laughs
Rod Tam: Inouye Ordered ‘Death Contract‘ at Zippy’s
SA: …“I want to revitalize democracy,” Tam told the Star-Advertiser. “Democracy means a lot to me and I learned about it when I went to school. People ask me, ‘Why are you so focused on democracy, Rod?’ I said, well, and I started thinking, I said, ‘I learned it in elementary school from Maemae, from Kawananakoa, then from Roosevelt.’”
Tam says he has faced “oppression and repercussions in embracing democracy and opposing community terrorism/crime,” in campaign literature he provided to the Star-Advertiser.
He says he has been defamed by the media, threatened with bankruptcy, falsely accused in the courts and had his life threatened.
He told the Star-Advertiser that the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye had ordered a hit on him in the 1980s over a housing development dispute. He said he couldn’t talk about it until recently given the sensitivity of the issue.
Tam claims a friend overheard Inouye order what he called the “death contract” while at a Zippy’s. “He overheard Dan say, ‘Get rid of Rod Tam,’” he recounted….
Tam spent two days in jail and was ordered by the City Ethics Commission to repay the city $13,700 for using city funds to cover hundreds of meals at places like Zippy’s that were unrelated to his duties as a councilman.
read … Death
Firing the Police Chief? Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Mayor’s Appeal
KE: …the Hawaii Supreme Court declined to hear Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho's appeal of a ruling that determined he has no authority to suspend or otherwise discipline the police chief. Instead, the county charter gives that authority to the police commission.
And so ends four years of bad judgment and impulsive behavior on the part of the mayor, which resulted in a serious stain on the record of Police Chief Darryl Perry. Not to mention all the legal fees, along with the cascading domino effect among KPD personnel that tarnished several careers and most recently manifested in Assistant Chief Mark Begley's discrimination and retaliation suit against KPD and the county.
Meanwhile, Chief Perry is in South Carolina, being interviewed in the department's final phase of accreditation. It's been a long, nine-year process to improve standards at KPD, made all the more challenging by the mayoral drama….
read … Musings: High Drama
After 20 Years of Lies, City Decides to Sell Varona Village Homes
HNN: After two decades of unfulfilled promises from city leaders, there is renewed hope for families of former sugar plantation workers in Ewa.
A major makeover for the aging houses in Varona Village is finally moving forward. The Honolulu City Council approved a resolution on Wednesday to market the property to potential developers for residential use.
"We are hopeful. We are optimistic, but there's a lot of work to be done and the residents know that. This is just the first step," said Agnes Malate, who grew up in Varona Village.
There are 38 homes being rented in the community, which is part of Ewa Villages. Twenty of them are leased to former plantation workers, known as tenants of record, or their spouses.
"We're doing our best to maintain it. At the same time, it's been neglected. The street lights are all out," said resident Michael Esquibil, the son of a former plantation worker.
City officials had promised to rehabilitate the houses and sell them to the plantation families at affordable prices.
"They almost gave up hope or they were disillusioned because many promises were made. It's been 20 years. That's a generation," Malate said….
The recommended minimum sale price for the 26-acre property is $1.6 million. Survivors of tenants of record will have the chance to acquire a home or vacant lot at an affordable rate. City officials are working to issue a request for proposals this week and then select a developer within 30 to 60 days.
read … City advances long-awaited redevelopment of Ewa plantation community
State Finally Gets Around to Fencing off Gigantic Tweeker Camp Under Freeway
KITV: …The fence will go up between the bike path and the viaduct in hopes of creating a safer path for bike riders.
"We have heard from some in the community that they've had some concern about stray dogs coming while they are using the trail. We want to prevent that from happening and we want to help make those users comfortable," said Tim Sakahara of the Hawaii Department of Transportation
Homeless could also find themselves fenced out.
HDOT is working with the State Office of the Homeless Coordinator to provide advance notice of the work, as well as provide outreach and services to the homeless in the area.
"Part of our states frame work to addressing homelessness is really using these opportunities to connect with unsheltered persons, really put them on a path to permanent housing," said State Homeless Coordinator, Scott Morishige.
Homeless resident, Larry, has been on the streets for 6 years. He spent much of Wednesday throwing trash away in one of two large trash bins….
read … DOT building a fence for a safer bike path
VIDEO: Hokulea Captain Supports Telescope
BIVN: …The philosophical differences within the tight knit community of the Ohana Wa’a related to siting the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea was apparent during the ongoing TMT contested case hearing on Wednesday.
On the seventh day of the hearing held at the Crown Room of the Grand Naniloa Hotel in Hilo, master navigator Chad Kalepa Baybayan took the stand as the fourth witness for the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Baybayan supports the UH plan to place the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea.
The pwo navigator – one of only five wayfinders from Hawaii to be so ordained by the late master Mau Piailug – serves as a Captain and Navigator of the Hōkūle’a deep-sea voyaging canoe and is currently working on the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Malama Honua World Wide Voyage.
read … Support
Usual Suspects Sense Opportunity to Extract Money from Media
KITV: This is the conference's second year. A wide range of local industry leaders hosted a series of panels. One of the discussions focused on the need for a Hawaiian handbook filled with cultural do's and don'ts for media professionals both in and out of Hawaii.
"They need to understand that they're coming into an indigenous culture and we as Native Hawaiians are very proud of our culture, very proud of where we are in Hawaii and very protective of those stories," said Kumu Hula Vicky Holt Takamine.
Advocates say work is in motion to create a handbook modeled after one released in New Zealand filled with Maori cultural protocol.
"This is a kakou effort and we all have to help each other and support each other to tell her stories so they can go out globally and with aloha and authenticity," said Heather Giugni, UH West O'ahu Cultural Collections Specialist.
read … Usual Suspects
Touched by a Celebrutard: Hollywood Moneybags Pay Local Activists to Attack Agriculture
KE: …Speaking of manufactured drama, Teri Tico and Keely Brosnan (wife of Pierce) have teamed up to produce more total bullshit on the GMO issue, a film called “Poisoning Paradise and the Revolution to Save Hawaii.”
It manages to trot out every lie about the seed industry, thanks to the use of bogus "news reports" written by paid operatives and interviews with serial liars like Jimmy Trujillo, John Aana, Malia Chun, Fern Rosenstiel, Andrew Kimbrell and Alika Atay.
They even have Gary Hooser and Dustin Barca making like it was a “grassroots movement.”
Well, except for all the money, bad legal advice and paid agitators supplied by Center for Food Safety, Pesticide Action Network, Earthjustice and other mainland groups.
I especially liked the part where Andrea Brower tried to whitewash the mob theatrics and utter failure of the movement:
When you're motivated by love... you're an unstoppable force.
Uh, until you get to court and your stupid bill is found to be illegal, along with all the other anti-GMO legislation in the state.
And then the paid activists went home, and the voters rejected the instigators — candidates Fern, Dustin and Baby Hoos went down in flames, with Daddy Hooser circling the drain — and the supposed “revolution” was revealed as a total sham.
I especially loved seeing how the film now has the antis fighting with one another….
read … Musings: High Drama
Hype: Eco-Phonies Push for Sunscreen Ban in Legislature
WHT: A nonbinding resolution asking the Legislature to ban oxybenzone in sunscreens is heading to the state Capitol, following a unanimous vote Wednesday by the County Council.
The move comes as state Sen. Will Espero, an Ewa Beach Democrat, works on a bill for the 2017 legislative session banning both oxybenzone and octinoxate in sunscreens.
“Banning sales of personal care products and education will be the focus of the legislation,” Espero said by email Wednesday. “Banning the sale of these sunscreens will automatically provide a huge reduction in use in Hawaii. This will help the coral and other marine life.”
Council members acknowledged that county Resolution 672 won’t necessarily have much impact on the Legislature, just as changing the formula for sunscreens won’t be the panacea for all the ills causing coral bleaching and threatening the reef.
Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille, sponsor of the resolution, noted that more than 50 percent of coral off the West Hawaii coastline had bleached and possibly died this summer. While the warming ocean was likely the cause, oxybenzone has been shown to cause coral to bleach at lower temperatures, she said….
read … 100% Phony