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Saturday, November 12, 2016
November 12, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:15 PM :: 1520 Views

HOPE Probation: Is Swift, Certain, and Fair an Effective Supervision Strategy?

Non-Partisan Election Politicized by Union Mailers: Djou only won Republican-leaning Districts 

SA: …Caldwell grabbed the majority of votes in 30 of 35 of Oahu’s state House of Representatives districts, or a ratio of 6-to-1 over Djou. The final, unofficial, island wide tally showed the incumbent with 147,885 votes (52.1 percent of the votes cast) to Djou’s 135,662 votes (47.8 per-cent), a difference of just more than 12,000 votes.

In the run-off primary election that featured a third major candidate in former Mayor Peter Carlisle and 10 other candidates, Caldwell took the top spot over Djou by 1,530 votes.

Hawaii elections are held within precincts, which then fall into state House districts, thus providing a quick, cursory glance at how candidates fare by region. (The precinct summary report is done before the final, certified count, so it will not provide the same totals.)

The six House districts where Djou captured a majority were nearly all in traditional Republican strongholds including two East Honolulu districts, an Ewa district and a Kailua-Kaneohe district. While all city races are nonpartisan, Djou is a Republican in a largely Democratic state, a fact that Caldwell’s campaign and Djou supporters kept pointing out to voters (in numerous HGEA/Carpenters Union mailers).

House District 47, which runs from Waialua to Waiahole, went to Djou. Several contentious issues in that area have put many residents there at odds with Caldwell.

The breakdown of Tuesday’s mayoral vote is vastly different from the way the House districts split during the primary election, when Caldwell carried more votes in 18 House districts while Djou won 17.

In that count, Djou managed to win significantly more votes along the Waianae Coast (including Districts 43 and 44), and Windward Oahu (Districts 48 and 51).

But perhaps more significantly, Caldwell won major chunks of urban Honolulu — nearly all of the city districts, in fact — including Districts 19, 22, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30. All eight of those districts were won by Djou in August….

To compare the general election map with the primary one (which wasn’t politicized by anti-Republican union PAC messaging), go to the story analyzing the primary data at

read … Politicized

Will Direct Appeal to State Supreme Court Reduce Telescope Delays?

AP: …Honolulu attorney Richard Wurdeman filed the appeal Monday for members of Mauna Kea Anaina Hou and KAHEA: The Hawaiian Environmental Alliance. He’s the same attorney who withdrew from representing the group in the hearings, citing scheduling conflicts.

“We believe that the multiple issues being raised on appeal are very compelling and we are hopeful that the Hawaii Supreme Court will decide these issues at this time,” Wurdeman said in an email Wednesday.

Wurdeman filed the appeal directly to the Supreme Court because of a law that took effect in August that allows certain contested-case hearing decisions to bypass the Intermediate Court of Appeals.

State Rep. Scott Saiki, who introduced the measure, said previously that the telescope project was one of the cases that inspired the bill. The law aims to streamline the appeals process and to allow for decisions to be made more quickly, he said.

“We believe there’s no merit to this appeal,” said Dan Meisenzahl, spokesman for the University of Hawaii, which is applying for the permit….

said Thirty Meter Telescope spokesman Scott Ishikawa. “We remain hopeful that a permit can be issued in a timely manner to allow TMT construction in April 2018.”

Background: Enviros win 90% in Hawaii Supreme Court

read … Delay Cut?

Taxpayers to pay for police chief's private attorneys in 4 civil cases

HNN: …City Council members are expected to be briefed on the situation next week, but are already calling the situation concerning.

City staff attorneys are typically used to defend the Honolulu Police Department and its chief.

But Kealoha and his deputy prosecutor wife, Katherine, asked for the private representation months ago, saying the city attorneys can't defend them while the couple is also suing the city in separate cases. The Kealohas are suing multiple city agencies investigating them for wrongdoing.

The recent decision shows that the city agrees with the couple. Taxpayers will be asked to pay three private law firms to represent the chief in four cases.

One case centers on the death of Sheldon Haleck, who was tased repeatedly outside Iolani Palace last year. Police said he was acting erratically and trying to run from officers. Haleck had meth in his system and the combination of the drug and the taser proved deadly.

The attorney for his family, Eric Seitz, says police used excessive force. 

Seitz says the change from city to private attorneys will prove disruptive.

"He's accepted representation from the corporation counsel for all the time that he's been chief up until now," he said. "All of a sudden he thinks it's in his own self interest to get his own lawyer and that's going to cost hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars for taxpayers, which may not be necessary."

It's unclear how much the private attorneys for the cases will cost, but it's likely to be in the millions.

"When will it end?" said Council Budget Chairwoman Ann Kobayashi, in response to the news.

The Kealohas lawsuits against the city have been criticized widely, and called acts of desperation. The couple are facing an FBI probe for public corruption. …

read … Not Worth It

Employers Push ‘Pay for Performance’ to Drive Medical Insurance Costs Down

HTH: …Business owners, CEOs, insurance companies, hospitals and clinics are stoking the flames of a coalition that wants to cut the cost of East Hawaii health care.

But the effort could spread beyond Hawaii.

“This is actually a unique thing nationally,” said Harold Miller, a recognized expert in health reform.

Most communities haven’t created a broad coalition such as the one in Hilo — called Community First. Miller watched the evolution of Hilo’s grass-roots efforts and suggests they have the potential to impact health care costs nationally.

“I think you could potentially be a laboratory,” Miller told community leaders who assembled Wednesday night at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center. He’s hopeful business owners and managers, in particular, will band together to pressure insurance providers to change how health services are paid for.

“You could potentially get a movement started that other people could then later join,” Miller said.

The current system, he said, rewards doctors for performing more exams, lab tests and surgeries. But it actually penalizes health systems that keep their patients healthy. If the patient stays well — and out of the hospital — the hospital doesn’t get paid, Miller said.

Instead, he said, county planners — particularly in Hilo — want doctors to get paid a set dollar amount to treat their patients who have diabetes, another amount for patients with high blood pressure and a third to care for all their patients with allergies.

That will allow physicians the flexibility to answer emails, for example, without making the patient come into the office. In the past, in order for the doctor to get paid, the patient had to go to the office.

Theoretically, doctors will save an average of nearly 15 minutes for every email, freeing them to spend quality time with patients who actually need it.

Miller suggested Hilo-area businesses should start a coalition of their own to apply pressure to insurers to pay for a higher quality of health care, rather than paying more only to those providers who do more tests, blood samples and X-rays….

2011: Pay-for-Performance in Medicare Could Do More Harm Than Good

read … Pay for Performance

Suicide Squad to Attack Hawaii in 2017 in Desperate Effort to Save Health Insurance Companies from Paying for Expensive Patients

KHN: Broaddus said Compassion & Choices has staff on the ground and networks of volunteers ready to work, in New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Minnesota, Hawaii, New Mexico and Massachusetts. That may be just the beginning: “Close to half” of the states will consider similar legislation in 2017, she predicted….

In addition to its legislative efforts, Compassion & Choices is pushing courts to clarify state law in Massachusetts, New York and Vermont. That approach proved effective in Montana, where the state supreme court ruled in 2009 that state law protects physicians from prosecution if they help terminally ill patients die, effectively legalizing the practice.

These efforts across the country have sent opponents scrambling.

“Those who favor this are targeting every state,” said Rita Marker, executive director of the Patient Rights Council, which opposes such measures.

In Washington, D.C., her group has been working with African-American churches and low-income senior citizens who fear the laws will put disadvantaged patients at risk.

Related: Meet the Insurance Executive Behind Assisted Suicide in Hawaii

read … Save Insurance Companies Money

Obama law will require food safety inspections on farms

KHON: …Hawaii farms can get their produce certified for safety. At this point, it’s voluntary.

But a federal law is scheduled to take effect by the end of the year that would force many farms to get regularly inspected for food safety….

read … Thanks, Obama

Residents: Gridlock is the new normal for Oahu's North Shore

HNN: …the gridlock along Kamehameha Highway isn't just something North Shore residents see on weekends and holidays. It's a problem that persists all year round, especially during the winter months as North Shore communities see an influx of big wave spectators.

"The traffic definitely impacts quality of life on the North Shore," said Carol Philips, chairwoman of the North Shore Neighborhood Board's transportation subcommittee. "It's especially bad for anyone who lives in Pupukea and Sunset Beach."

Philips says residents who live on the North Shore and work in town suffer the most. "It increases your commute time by at least a third," she said.

For years, the state Department of Transportation has been trying to find a solution. One long-term option: Move the highway mauka in an effort relieve congestion, especially around Laniakea.

The agency is working on an environmental impact study to study the proposal. It's not expected to be completed, though, until the end of next year.

In a statement, state Sen. Gil Riviere said the impact study has hit several delays.

"The environmental and traffic alternative study was projected to take 18 months when it kicked off in January 2012," said Riviere, whose district includes communities on Oahu's North Shore. "During the last few years, the estimated completion date has always been several months from when the question was asked." ….

read … Normal

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