UPW Contract Protects Dangerous City Truck Driver Leading to Fatality, $1M Settlement
Prosecutor Wins Reelection, Gains Budget Autonomy
DLNR Bails out Insolvent Bishop Museum--Kalauao Valley Land Deal
Sewage Digester Opens Floodgates for Developers
Hawaii Supreme Court Orders Retrial in Gay Custody Case
OHA Cronies Despondent – Believe Trump Waylays Drive for Tribe
AP: …Hawaiian leaders OHA Cronies say Trump not only could waylay the ongoing efforts to create a Hawaiian nation tribe but also could work to hinder entitlements (cut off cash flow to political insiders) and help engender an atmosphere of bigotry and racial prejudice (Translation: Leave us cronies out in the cold.).
“The Trump backlash is going to affect all minorities, (political insiders) especially those with federal entitlements (cashflow),” Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee Peter Apo said.
Of particular concern in Hawaii, Apo said, is that Trump could block the pathway to federal recognition tribe as laid out by President Barack Obama through a federal rule proposed by the Department of the Interior.
“It’s not likely that Obama’s executive order will pass muster by a Trump administration,” Apo said. (Hallelujah!)
For years, Republicans blocked the Akaka Bill, the proposed legislation named for former U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka that attempted to establish federal recognition for Native Hawaiians through Congress.
(And now Donald Trump will save Hawaiians from being forced into a fake Indian Tribe. OHA calls this ‘racism’, LOL!)
former OHA Trustee Moanikeala Akaka, a supporter of independence, said she wouldn’t mind if Trump pulled back on the proposed federal rule….
Akaka also said she’s afraid Trump won’t stop at the proposed DOI rule. She said she’s also worried he’ll block Obama’s recent expansion of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, a move she strongly supported….
Not all Hawaiians view Trump’s presidency with dread. OHA Trustee-elect Keli‘i Akina said the majority of Native Hawaiians should welcome a president who would oppose federal efforts to “tribalize” Hawaiians.
“OHA’s own sponsored research shows that Hawaiians don’t want government spending on nationhood, but on the real needs of Hawaiians for housing, jobs, education and health care,” Akina said. “I believe those would be priorities for a Trump administration.”….
Dr. Kalama‘oka‘aina Niheu of the ʻAha Aloha ʻAina coalition agreed there’s a good chance the DOI rule is “dead in the water.”….
Niheu’s organization will hold a community forum on the future of the Hawaiian nation from 7 to 10 tonight in the Farrington High School cafeteria….
Jade Danner, a convention participant, said she was despondent at 2 a.m. while ruminating about what Trump’s ascendancy to power means for federal recognition and the benefits and protections it would provide to Hawaiians….
SA: Upset win will make OHA interesting to watch
read … Savior
Newly-elected OHA trustee wants to cut funding to tribal programs
HNN: He sued the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to stop its funding of Native Hawaiian sovereignty programs and has criticized some of the state agency's spending, which he calls wasteful.
Meet the newest member of OHA's board: Kelii Akina.
"This is a tremendous opportunity to bring real change to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. The most important is to stop spending on wasteful projects, such as race-based federal recognition, which most Hawaiians don't want," Akina said.
Akina defeated former OHA chairwoman Haunani Apoliona, who has served at OHA for about two decades….
Akina said he's not in favor abolishing all of OHA's programs. But he is against taxpayer money being used to lobby for native Hawaiian sovereignty.
He said one trustee has estimated that OHA has spent more than $30 million on that effort over the past several years.
"We need those assets to be spent on housing and jobs and education and healthcare," he said.
OHA will swear in its newest trustee on Dec. 9….
KE: Shredding and Dreading at OHA
read … Cut Funding
Donald Trump Presidency Could be Good News for Hawaii
CB: …“We’re going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals,” he said. “We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of people to work as we rebuild it.”
This could be welcome news for Hawaii, perennially plagued by potholes, crumbling curbs and overwhelmed sewage treatment systems. The state also needs more money to complete the Honolulu rail system under construction, and to continue the system to a sensible terminus at Ala Moana.
Some rural roads along the shore have suffered coastal erosion and need to be reinforced. Dozens of Hawaii’s bridges are in need of repair or replacement and Honolulu residents have long sought a bicycle and pedestrian bridge across the Ala Wai Canal, which would make it easier for tourism industry workers to commute to jobs in Waikiki.
In his published policy statements, Trump has also urged more aggressive reform of the Veterans Administration, an important priority for the 127,000 veterans living in Hawaii and the Pacific Basin. He has called for making it easier for veterans to get mental health care. A recent investigation by the Veterans Administration’s Office of Inspector General found that three Hawaii veterans committed suicide in 2014 and 2015, reflecting a need for improved suicide-prevention efforts.
Trump has repeatedly promised to fire VA officials responsible for providing bad medical care for veterans. Independent investigations in 2014 found that conditions for some of Hawaii’s veterans were among the worst in the nation at that time, with the longest wait times for medical care reported anywhere, although some local veterans say that conditions have improved since then.
“We will also finally take care of our great veterans who have been so loyal,” he said in his speech.
Trump has sworn to seek to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the signature achievement of the administration of President Barack Obama, which Trump said has led to “runaway costs, greater rationing of care, higher premiums, less competition and fewer choices.”
Hawaii struggled to put in place a system that would meet the requirements of the ACA. Still, repeal of the Obama program might cause some people to lose their health insurance, perhaps for the foreseeable future.
Trump hopes to replace Obamacare with a series of health care reforms that he hopes will allow more insurance companies to operate nationally, across state lines. He believes that permitting more providers to operate will create more competition, which he believes will lead to lower prices for consumers.
The president-elect says he wants to make health care insurance more affordable by allowing consumers to deduct the cost of premiums they pay from federal taxes. He also wants to boost what he called “price transparency” by requiring health-care providers to specify the prices they will charge consumers, which would allow patients to shop around for less expensive care.
Trump says he would like to allow people to purchase pharmaceutical products from overseas suppliers who sell the same products abroad for less money than drug companies charge in the United States.
Trump has called for making child-care and dependent-care expenses similarly tax-deductible. That could be particularly helpful in Hawaii for working families who are squeezed between the high cost of housing, the high cost of day care and the state’s relatively low wages….
Trump also wants to increase the size of the Marine Corps and to raise the number of Navy ships to 350, which would enhance American seapower, and could in turn bring new defense spending to the state.
On the other hand, Trump has called for fewer foreign wars and a more isolationist and less interventionist foreign policy. That could result in fewer local soldiers and sailors deployed overseas, and fewer deaths among armed forces personnel stationed in Hawaii….
HPR: DoE Teachers Use Election to Further Brainwash Students
read … Welcome To TrumpWorld
Hawaii Delegation Trump Will be Great for Hawaii Because all of our Spending is on Autopilot Anyway
KHON: According to our delegation, President-Elect Donald Trump and Congressional colleagues realize that Hawaii is an important part of national security, so those federal funds will keep coming to Hawaii.
They say military spending is one of the top priorities, and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa says she’s already working to make sure that the bill to authorize Department of Defense spending moves forward. (LOLROTF!)
Schatz says he’s also encouraged that Trump likes to build and invest on infrastructure, so that could bring more money to Hawaii for roads, harbors, and airports.
As for the Honolulu rail project, the senator says he’s also confident that the Federal Transit Administration will come through with the rest of the funding.
“The FTA money is a contract between HART and the federal government, so although it has to be put into the regular appropriations bill, it is not a controversial item,” Schatz said.
Hanabusa is a little more uncertain. “Remember now, we are already in breach of that agreement, because we can’t build it to Ala Moana with the amounts that we had agreed to do,” she said….
SA: “We don’t know what a Trump presidency will look like simply because we don’t know what Trump stands for,” Hanabusa said.
read … Then Why do we need these idiots?
Can Bungling State Officials Complete Aloha Stadium Land Deal Before Obama Leaves Office?
SA: …There have been plenty of hurry-up offenses at Aloha Stadium in its 42 years and now it is time to run one for the sake of the aging facility.
Proponents of lifting the federal deed restriction on use of the stadium’s acreage face a two-minute drill of sorts in the need to get the paperwork signed, sealed and delivered before the Obama Administration exits the halls of power.
The more than decade-long process was to have been completed this past summer. Then, by early fall. And, then…
Now, with the holidays rapidly approaching and president-elect Donald Trump’s administration soon to take office in Washington D. C., there is heightened urgency.
The idea is to have the entire parcel of nearly 100 acres unencumbered so that when the Hawaii legislative session convenes in just over two months lawmakers will have a clear view of the options surrounding the increasingly expensive-to-maintain facility. Including the prospect of issuing a request for proposal to help underwrite the replacement or renovation of the stadium.….
read … Expensive New Stadium
Delaying Tactic: Telescope foes appeal hearing decisions to Hawaii high court
AP: …Hearings are still underway for a permit to build what would be one of the world's largest telescopes on Mauna Kea, but a group challenging the project is already appealing to the state Supreme Court.
Thirty Meter Telescope opponents are challenging various decisions that have been made regarding contested-case proceedings, including affirming the hearings officer and an order limiting each party's questioning of a witness to 30 minutes….
read … Delaying Tactic
Musical Chairs: New HART Chair Appointed
HNN: The new chairman of the board that oversees Oahu's embattled rail project is Damien Kim, a City Council appointee.
Kim, who was selected to head up by his fellow board members, is business manager and financial secretary of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1186, and has been a licensed journeyman electrician for more than 20 years.
The choice marks the third time in just the past year that a new person has taken over this role for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board.
Meanwhile, mayoral appointee Glenn Nohara, an engineer and licensed general contractor is filling the seat left empty by Colleen Hanabusa, who was recently elected to Congress.
read … Nobody to Hold Responsible
15.8% of Rail ‘Tendons’ Found to be Corroded in Sample—251 to be Replaced?
SA: …Three of the 1,586 tendons in the first segment fractured after the tendons were anchored but before they were grouted. Those were immediately noticed by inspectors from the contractor and HART. They were quickly replaced with brand new, defect-free tendons.
Both the contractor and HART hired independent, nationally-recognized forensic engineering firms specializing in this type of work, who determined that water in the ducts caused the three previously mentioned tendons to corrode and fracture. The contractor immediately took measures to prevent water from reaching the tendons and initiated a course of inspection to prevent corrosion in the tendons that are to be installed in the future.
To address the tendons that had already been grouted, the contractor searched its records to identify tendons with water infiltration. In addition, crews chipped away grout at the anchors of 57 tendons. Nine additional tendons were identified with either corrosion or grout issues and they, too, were also fully replaced. (9/57 = 15.8%)
HART is requiring still more to be done, so plans are underway to inspect 100 percent of the tendons to assure the integrity of each span and the safety of the overall system. (15.8% x 1586 = 251)
read … 251 Corroded Tendons
Ethics board says there is ‘probable cause’ Kenoi violated County Ethics Code
HTH: …Mayor Billy Kenoi’s attorneys reached a stipulated agreement Wednesday with the Hawaii County Board of Ethics for misuse of his county-issued credit card.
The advisory opinion, offered by the lawyers to avoid an investigative hearing in response to a long-delayed complaint, acknowledges there is “probable cause” that Kenoi violated a section of the county’s Ethics Code by using the card for personal expenses, which were later paid back.
The code prohibits use of public property, in this case money, for anything other than a public purpose.
The agreement comes just more than a week after Kenoi was acquitted on criminal charges for purchases prosecutors alleged did not qualify as county business. It also recommends that the mayor stop using the purchasing card, known as a pCard, which he hasn’t had since the state Procurement Office revoked it in April 2015.
That occurred in response to media reports that Kenoi used the card in late 2013 to cover a nearly $900 tab at a Honolulu hostess bar, which he paid back four months later. A separate hostess bar transaction also was reimbursed.
Kenoi did not attend Wednesday’s meeting in the Hilo County Council chambers, in the same building as his office, frustrating board members who were expecting that he’d be there.
“This really warranted his presence,” said Chairwoman Ku Kahakalau, who prepared questions for him….
read … Probable Cause
Oahu voters overwhelmingly approve new powers for police commission
HNN: …Some 225,757 voted "yes" to the question, "Should the police commission have greater authority to suspend or dismiss the chief of police and have additional powers to investigate complaints concerning officer misconduct, and should the chief of police be required to submit a written explanation for his or her disagreement with the commission?" Meanwhile, 49,067 voters opposed the change.
"People want more oversight, they want transparency," said state Sen. Will Espero, a critic of Honolulu Police Department management. "They want to have improvement in the way the police department and the police commission operates."
The adopted measure gives the police commission greater authority to investigate complaints from the public, even allowing commissioners to issue subpoenas.
Tenari Maafala, president of the police union, agrees with that part of the amendment. He said a lot of the complaints by the public are anonymous, so further investigation and forcing witnesses to come forward will help officers defend themselves.
But what Maafala does not like about the amendment is it makes the police chief an at-will employee who can be fired without cause.
"It's political now," said Maafala, pointing out that the commissioners are chosen by the mayor and confirmed by the City Council. "I feel sorry for any candidate that wants to become a chief."
The commission has been criticized for not doing its own digging into the federal case against Chief Louis Kealoha.
A federal grand jury has been hearing testimony against him and his wife, deputy city Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha. Both are facing federal public corruption charges.
Former Mayor Peter Carlisle says the ongoing case definitely influenced voters on the charter amendment proposal.
"They look at it as something that sullies the reputation of the police department and so the commission should now step in and do all these aggressive things," Carlisle said….
Big Q: What did you think of the proposed City Charter amendments?
read … Police Commission
The Toxicity of Pay for Performance
SA: …Hawaii Medical Service Association’s new “payment transformation” program sets up a new system of incentives under which Hawaii’s physicians must earn their pay.
Don Berwick, president of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, wrote in “The Toxicity of Pay for Performance” that such incentive systems are “destructive of what we need most” in health care….
read … Protect work life of Hawaii doctors
Hawaii voter turnout out down to 58%, ballots cast up from 2012
HNN: The voter turnout in Hawaii Tuesday was down from four years ago, from 62 to 58 percent.
But actual ballots cast were up by about 400 to more than 437,000 due to an increase in registered voters.
read … Turnout
Nago’s Incompetence Becomes Argument for100% Vote by Mail System
KHON: …“No, we didn’t know until I want to say 60 days before the general election when the questions were due, so there was no guarantee that there would be two e-scans,” Nago said. “Also, this is a long-term contract, so it’s the contract that we had for years and years, so it’s not as simple as buying machines off of a shelf.”
Nago says two months is not enough time to get more e-scan machines.
“It takes years to procure something as big as a voting system,” he said.
With so many amendment questions, we asked Honolulu Charter Commission chair David Rae if the commission would consider placing a cap on the number of questions that appear on the ballot.
“This is the formation of democracy and the backbone of the city is the charter. It is not, you know, something that is up for, ‘Well, it’s too long or too short’ or it’s whatever. It’s what the right amount of material is to go in front of the voters,” Rae replied.
In terms of finding a solution, the Hawaii Elections Commission says all mail-in voting may be the answer.
“It gets rid of all the machines that have problems,” said chair Scotty Anderson. “It get rids of a lot of problems, but it saves so much money. It’s much more efficient and we wouldn’t be waiting all night for the ballots.”
Anderson says all mail-in ballots would save the state about $800,000 each election cycle.
The Ideal: Vote by Mail Fraud: Romy Cachola Barged In, Wanted Ballots
read … Failure is a Strategy
DoE Spends Millions on New Athletic Facilities
KHON: A large chunk of Hawaii’s tax dollars are going into multimillion-dollar athletics fields for high schools across the state.
For Farrington High School, the dream has been 80 years in the making. Since the campus was founded in 1936, the Governors have never enjoyed a single varsity football game at home….
Over the past four years, similar athletics facilities have been constructed or are in the process of being constructed at seven different schools ranging in price from just under $4 million to as much as $9.4 million.
It’s a wish realized for many, but could that money be used for something else?
KHON2 asked assistant schools superintendent Dann Carlson, “You look at some of the hot-button issues across the state, overcrowding at Campbell, air conditioning has been a very critical issue — and then people say, ‘Why are we spending $3, $5, $6, $8 million on a facility like this?'”
read … Could millions of tax dollars for school athletics fields be put to better use?
More babies Born with THC in System
MN: Just as drinking by pregnant women can lead to disastrous consequences for their babies, there are new concerns that the legalization of recreational marijuana is increasing risks for newborns.
Stories from Colorado have noted a spike in the number of babies with THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) in their bloodstreams, urine and feces since the state legalized recreational use in 2014.
While there is no doubt that THC in the mother passes into the placenta, doctors have also concluded that it can also be passed through breast-feeding after the baby is born.
The Denver Post highlighted the concerns of Dr. Steven Simerville, medical director of the newborn intensive care unit at St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center in Pueblo, Colo.
“What I’m seeing in our nursery is a dramatic increase in babies who test positive for marijuana,” the doctor told the Post. “The interesting thing for me is the number of mothers who use marijuana and want to breast-feed. They don’t believe marijuana is harmful.”
Related: Marijuana for the Children
read … THC and newborns
Pathetic: 6 Remaining Hawaii Republicans Locked in 3-3 Split
SA: Exactly what has gone wrong with the ailing state GOP is a subject of bitter internal party debate. The party has splintered into factions that engage in sometimes savage attacks on one another, and even the surviving six Republican members of the state House are locked in a 3-3 split within the GOP caucus….
House Minority Leader Beth Fukumoto Chang, who will become the highest-ranking elected Republican in the state next year, said one major problem is that party members “keep discrediting each other.”
“I’m sensing that there’s less and less room for diversity, and there’s more of a call for ideological oneness, and that’s not something that’s going to produce a healthy party,” she said. “If we can learn to accept that we don’t all agree, then I actually think that we can make a lot of progress, but I don’t know how to get us there.”
She also said there has been a problem with the Republican message in Hawaii.
“Republicans as a group in Hawaii have failed to recognize what the population wants from us,” she said. “I think we keep trying to sell the population and the residents in Hawaii on something that just isn’t resonating.” She added that “I think we all have different opinions on what would make us more relevant … and I think that’s where all of the division is coming from.”
McDermott has accused Fukumoto Chang of being too “cozy” with the majority Democrats in the House, and contends her political approach “undermines our role as watchdog and loyal opposition” to the Democrats. He also said she failed to recruit Republican candidates and raise money for them.
McDermott predicted Fukumoto Chang will be removed as minority leader before the Legislature reconvenes in January, but Fukumoto Chang said she plans to remain in that job….
read … Pathetic