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Sunday, November 20, 2016
November 20, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:13 PM :: 3717 Views

Sinking Ship: HART Director of Planning Quits

DAGS Director Resigns--One Day Notice

Exposed: How Windfarms Hide Millions of Bird Deaths

How Many Nene do Windfarms Really Kill?

UHERO: Desperately Seeking Housing in Honolulu

UHERO: Obama’s Recession Produced Greater Inequality in Health

Borreca: Tulsi Gabbard will be White Supremacist Candidate for Senate in 2018

Borreca: …It was on the last Saturday and Sunday in May, at the Hawaii Democrats’ state convention, that the first fault lines in our congressional delegate first showed up.

The fight was first over who would lead the party. But, it was also about Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s support for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, and Colleen Hanabusa’s reentry into the congressional campaign and her support for Hillary Clinton.

And it was also about Sen. Mazie Hirono’s support for both Clinton and her own 2018 reelection plans. Sen. Brian Schatz was also a Clinton supporter, but he was mostly staying out of the local Democratic leadership fight.

At the convention, Gabbard supported Tim Vandeveer, a Sanders supporter. Hanabusa spoke passionately for Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, and outside the hall, Hirono was stationed to chat up any delegate wandering away from the convention floor….

Now back in Washington, Hirono and Gabbard, Hanabusa and Schatz all are on the losing edge of the shocking presidential election.

UPDATE: Cabinet Position? Donald Trump meets with Rep Tulsi Gabbard

If the four meet for a congressional caucus, it might be wise to suggest they go through a metal detector, because if they aren’t packing heat, they will be carrying a pocketful of grudges….

The second crack in any pretension of a solid delegation is the plotting for the 2018 Senate race, the first time Hirono will have to defend her six years in the U.S. Senate.

Hirono supporters are already signaling that they expect Gabbard to challenge. (Obviously written on instructions from the Hirono camp, just as Borreca once did for Inouye.  Don’t believe me, just wait for it….)

On a local level, Gabbard was not returning phone calls from the Honolulu press after the Donald Trump shocker. She was basically incommunicado until the national press beckoned and Sanders held a news conference in Washington to endorse Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison as the next Democratic National Committee chairman. Gabbard was there to voice her support.

Keeping with the spirit of disunity, Schatz hinted in a tweet last week that he was backing Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander.

Gabbard has been careful in protecting her role as the progressive foreign policy bright newcomer, but she is also showing up in the national news media thanks to frequent coverage by Steve Bannon’s Breitbart News Network, the ultra-conservative outlet favored by Trump. 

(See told you!  Richard Borreca just called Gabbard the favorite of Bannon, who Dems call a White Supremacist.  LOLROTF!  And we’ve got two years of this to look forward to!)

If you are counting, Hirono was one of the first to sign a letter protesting Trump’s naming of Bannon as his chief White House strategist.

(Hirono's letter said Bannon’s “alt-right” was a “smarter version of old-school racist skinheads.”  Now Gabbard is their favorite.  Get your popcorn out this is going to be good.)

(BTW: David Ige is smiling because this means Billy Kenoi will run for Gabbard’s open CD2 seat instead of seeking revenge in the Gubernatorial Primary.)

UPDATE: Cabinet Position? Donald Trump meets with Rep Tulsi Gabbard

Totally Related: WaPo: Schatz Represents Hawaii's new White Ruling Class

read … Hawaii’s congressional delegation: 4 ambitious politicians jockeying for advantage

Isle GOP has only itself to blame for poor showing

Shapiro: With the Republican takeover of Washington, D.C., the local GOP is crying about Hawaii being out of step because of our all-Democratic congressional delegation.

Yes, Hawaii would probably benefit from having a Republican voice on Capitol Hill, as the late U.S. Sen. Hiram Fong and former U.S. Rep. Pat Saiki once provided.

The question is, how often do Republicans put candidates of their caliber on Hawaii congressional ballots?

The answer is not often at all, and it’s disingenuous of Republicans to blame voters and the Democratic Party for their lack of representation in Congress when it’s nobody’s fault but their own for failing to field and support credible candidates….

In the 1st Congressional District, Republicans recruited a potentially appealing candidate in Shirlene Ostrov, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel with experience in many of the issues facing Congress.

But she languished as the best candidate nobody ever heard of, raising only $36,000 to get her name and message out against Democratic opponent Colleen Hanabusa’s $813,000.

The Republican Party gave her a grand total of $879….

The Hawaii Republican Party’s is dead unless it can shut down the vicious infighting and extremist ravings that have made it a toxic brand among the vast majority of local voters, taking down quality candidates like Linda Lingle, Charles Djou, Duke Aiona and Sam Slom along with the fringe players who too often carry the GOP banner.

Democrats fight among themselves too, but they stop long enough to do the hard work of recruiting credible candidates and giving them the support needed to win.

read … Isle GOP has only itself to blame for poor showing

Tax Hike Coming: Trump Latest Bogeyman in Rail Story of Woe and Incompetence

SA: While some Honolulu rail leaders are encouraged by President-elect Donald Trump’s pro-infrastructure rhetoric, others are wary of how the new administration might react to a transit project that’s over budget, behind schedule and technically in breach of its federal funding deal.

Trump touted infrastructure upgrades on the campaign trail, although he hasn’t weighed in on the island’s elevated rail transit project. It’s now expected to cost $8.6 billion, based on the latest estimates.

Meanwhile, city leaders have (NOT) been working for months with the Federal Transit Administration under President Barack Obama to ensure that Honolulu doesn’t lose its $1.55 billion in federal rail funds….  (Instead they have refused for three years to come up with a “Recovery Plan” so the Feds would begin releasing money again.  Now they are sweating because they …ahem… didn’t plan ahead.). 

They hope the FTA will give them until this summer to find a solution, likely involving a rail-tax extension. By then, a Trump presidency will be in full swing.

“I’m concerned,” said U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, (D-Hawaii) who recently reclaimed her former congressional seat after serving as the rail project’s board chairwoman. “If the decision comes out that you’re not living up to your end of the bargain, under the Trump administration they may just decide to cut it because we are technically in breach of the (funding deal) anyway.”

(She should know.  After all it was her decision to refuse to provide the required ‘Recovery Plan.’)

“I have no worries whatsoever. We have a full-funding grant agreement. We have had some challenges recently, but we are preparing our recovery plan,” said Carnaggio, a former FTA engineering director who served during the agency’s transition from Democratic President Bill Clinton to Republican President George W. Bush. “I don’t see where we’re going to be impacted at all. … we expect things are going to continue along the path that’s been laid out.”

(Translation: This fear-mongering is just part of the dog-n-pony show for a GE Tax Hike and Carnaggio didn’t get the memo.)

HART must submit its rail recovery plan to the FTA by Dec. 31. although it’s still waiting to hear from its federal partners whether it can push that deadline to the summer. The extra time would give the city a chance to secure another rail-tax extension from state lawmakers first.  (See.  Told you.)

read … Tax Hike Coming

Don’t rush into raising wharfage fees 47%

SA: On Nov. 25, the state Department of Transportation (DOT) Harbors Division will decide whether to raise fees (tariffs) to redevelop the former Kapalama Military Reservation (KMR) in Honolulu. Wharfage rates would jump 47 percent over three years. This action follows costly site preparation; removal of paying tenants; demolition of historic structures; and construction of a costly, temporary road this year.

However, in the eight years since the idea was floated, much has changed. Shipping lines have consolidated; efficient ships have entered service; automation has gained broader acceptance in the industry; competing priorities have emerged; and the state embarked on other costly projects….

Alternatives. Could an operator develop the site at its own expense in exchange for a long-term contract? What options are there to building a nearly half-billion-dollar yard?

Background: Port Fee Hikes--HIDOT Puts $800M Pinch on Consumers

read … Don’t rush into raising wharfage fees

Growth in Homelessness Shifts to Sister Islands Where Enablers Abound

SA:  The new numbers on homelessness are less than stellar. Homelessness has risen here — discouraging news, viewed in the national context. Hawaii is one of only 14 states and territories, plus the District of Columbia, that saw an increase….

The good news is that the rise is down from 9 percent and 10 percent increases charted in the 2014 and 2015 tallies, respectively.

On Oahu, especially, the increase was less than 1 percent, signaling that neighbor island counties need more aggressive campaigns.

(Enablers are still feeding meth-addicted homeless people who refuse shelter on the sister islands.  Hello?  Is anybody …uh… home?)

clusters of tents that are simply allowed to persist on sidewalks grow into disease- and crime-ridden eyesores, as everyone who saw the Kakaako Makai encampment can attest.

That is unfair to the rest of the community, which shouldn’t have to live in its midst. And it does no favors for the homeless, either. Most of them will have better lives if guided to housing, even if it takes a nudge (kick in the ass) to get them on that path….

read … Ramp up efforts on homelessness

BoE, HSTA Pretend to do something about state’s persistent teacher shortage

SA: …Ninety-three percent of the 12,657 staffed teacher positions at the start of the school year were filled by certified, licensed teachers, meaning those holding a minimum of a bachelor’s degree who have completed a state-approved teacher education program (SATEP) from an accredited college or university.

Emergency hires, those working toward a teaching degree, filled just under 3 percent of positions, or 389 positions, as of Aug. 1. The remaining 4 percent of positions were vacant, most likely to be filled by substitutes. The highest teacher vacancies this year were for middle and high schools, followed by elementary schools and special education.

“When we talk about teachers, we are not only talking about classroom teachers. We are talking about everybody who is represented by the Hawaii State Teachers Association,” Barbara Krieg, the DOE’s assistant superintendent for human resources, said, citing as other examples resource teachers, librarians, counselors and registrars. “When you see these numbers, it doesn’t necessarily mean when we have 500 vacancies that there are 500 classrooms with substitute teachers.”…

>> Of the cohort of new teachers hired in 2012-13, 52.3 percent were still working at the DOE this school year, slightly higher than the national five-year retention rate for new teacher hires.

>> Last school year, 1,206 teachers left the DOE. “Leaving Hawaii” was for the first time the most cited reason in voluntary exit surveys (28 percent), followed by retirement (24.4 percent).

read … BOE calls for action on state’s persistent teacher shortage

DLNR Rents Historic House to Party Animals, then Tries Again

HNN: The state is looking to reinvent an historic estate atop Tantalus that's been vacant for five months.

Last week, the Board of Land and Natural Resources selected Go Holoholo, Inc. dba Millwood Ohana Productions as the new owner.

This, after a failed private/public partnership with the previous tenant, Discovering Hidden Hawaii Tours (DHHT).

For nearly a year and a half, DHHT called the 22 acre property home while hosting its Big Kahuna Luau.

But after several warnings to correct violations, the state decided to revoke its permit in June.

"It was an interesting idea trying to host a luau in a forested environment at Nutridge, but the use was too big and the impacts to the grounds were too heavy," said Curt Cottrell, Division of State Parks administrator. "The impacts to surrounding neighbors due to sound of drums and what not, at night, just got to be too much of a nuisance."

In addition, the state found that DHHT illegally converted an historic shed into a bar. There were unauthorized stones and concrete installed after crowds turned the lawn into a muddy mess There were unauthorized sinks and illegal discharge of grey water, plus, disputes over parking.

"Our previous tenant overused the property and the mix wasn't right," Cottrell said….

(Better Idea: Sell it.)

read … State selects new tenant for historic Nutridge estate

Time to fluoridate isle water—But Kobayashi, Baker Stand with Crackpot Conspiracy Theorists

SA: Hawaii’s children have the most pervasive tooth decay in the nation.

Particularly hard hit are low-income families, whose children need urgent dental care at a rate five times higher than that for higher-income peers, according to a first-of-its-kind survey through which Hawaii’s Department of Health compared data with other states.

Among the fix-it strategies in the “Hawaii Smiles 2015” report: expand community-based prevention programs, step up screening and referral services and, advocate for restorative dental care. Such efforts can make a big difference, no doubt. But compared to improvements that would come with adding fluoride to drinking water, they’re little more than a drop in the bucket….

“If we put the fluoride in the water, we’d see a 50 percent reduction in decay” within about 10 years, said Dr. Steve Wilhite, president of the Hawaii Dental Association. “This is preventable,” he said, referring to the survey’s finding that more than 7 out of 10 third-graders (71 percent) here are affected by tooth decay. The national average is 52 percent.

Hawaii ranks 50th among states for population percentage on fluoridated public water systems (11.7 percent), with the treated water used only on military properties in the state. Nationwide, nearly three-quarters of the overall population gets fluoridated tap water, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So, what’s stopping the Aloha State from funneling the cavity-fighting chemical into its community water systems? Well, it goes beyond just dental health.

“Many people like pure things, without chemicals,” said Honolulu City Councilmember Ann Kobayashi, (HELLO?  WATER IS A CHEMICAL.  SO IS CHLORIDE.  LETS TRY GOING WITHOUT CHLORIDATION FOR A WHILE TO SEE HOW THIS NO CHEMICALS THINGY WORKS OUT.) who voted in favor of a measure that banned fluoridated water from Oahu’s public system. The first paragraph of the ordinance passed in 2004 states: “Drinking water should not be used as a means for delivery of chemicals for medical or dental purposes when other alternatives are available.” …

Sen. Rosalyn Baker, chairwoman of the Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health Committee, who has listened to both supporters and typically more vociferous opponents at the state Capitol, does not expect to see a fluoridation law taking shape any time soon….

Rhoads, who is moving from his seat in the House (D, Chinatown-Iwilei-Kalihi) after winning election to the Senate (D, Downtown-Nuuanu-Liliha) this month, said: “I may be getting off on the wrong foot politically but … the evidence is just so overwhelming.” He added, “For me it’s a social justice issue, too. It’s the poor kids who don’t have the good dental care.”

read … Fluoridation

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