Documents Reveal Waihee Hustles Indians for $2M
Are capitalism and spirituality incompatible?
Hawaii just became the first state to elect a 100 percent one-party state Senate since 1979
Zombie States – Hawaii Is No. 6
Lawsuit: Sex, Lies and Videotape at Department of Public Safety
HTH: …“We want her job back,” Hong said Friday. “She was doing a good job there. … She’s done something within six months that has never been done in the history of the department, which is to restart a correctional facility and get it back up, operational to accept inmates. … And doing that with a skeleton crew, by the way. Instead of recognizing her for her achievement, they used these bogus charges to terminate her.”
According to the suit, “disgruntled employees” wrongfully accused Forbes of theft, ethics code violations, sexual harassment and working while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and claimed Castro, Dias and Bechert made video and audio recordings of Forbes “on multiple occasions, seeing to exploit (her) emotional vulnerability of going through a divorce, to have her terminated.”
The suit claims that Castro, a former guard, resigned in December 2014, and in his resignation letter and a subsequent letter accused Forbes “of threatening him, harassing him and creating a hostile work environment.” The suit claims Castro “knew those allegations … were false and used it as a pretext to cover up his incompetence and poor work performance.”
It also claims DPS initiated the investigation based on “Castro’s false charges.”
The suit also claims Dias, a former adult corrections supervisor at Kulani, was allowed to resign “under questionable circumstances” after being caught on video passing a love letter she’d written to an inmate. It further alleges Dias resented Forbes for having that inmate removed from the prison’s administrative office and ordering he not be allowed to return there.
According to the filing, DPS and Espinda “knew of these false allegations” but investigated Forbes anyway, and that Espinda “intentionally and deliberately turned a blind eye towards the manufactured evidence against the plaintiff and used any and all means to terminate her.”
The suit claims Forbes shouldn’t have been put on unpaid leave. It alleges Neil Wagatsuma, warden at Kauai Community Correctional Center, was allowed to continue working during an internal investigation and two federal lawsuits brought by inmates.
Hong called DPS “the most dysfunctional department in the state of Hawaii.” He referred to Wagatsuma and the cases of a former Maui corrections officer charged with sexually assaulting a woman inmate and another guard under investigation after allegedly assaulting three women at the Women’s Community Correctional Center on Oahu….
CB: Former Big Island Prison Warden Sues State Over Firing
read … Fired Kulani warden sues state, others
Telescope hearing called a ‘filibuster’—Will Last to End of 2017
SA: After nine days of exhaustive questioning of a half-dozen witnesses in a contested case hearing for the Thirty Meter Telescope, some TMT supporters are now privately describing the lengthy proceedings as a “filibuster” that will stall the project, and may even effectively block the $1.4 billion telescope from ever being built in Hawaii.
Testimony in the trial-like hearing for the proposed telescope began Oct. 20, and about 80 more witnesses are scheduled to testify. If the proceedings were to continue grinding along at their current pace of about six witnesses per month, the hearing would finally conclude sometime around the end of 2017.
Lawyers for the University of Hawaii complain the hearing so far has been characterized by “repetitive questions, attempts by cross-examiners to present their own testimony, and cross-examiners trying to argue with the witnesses and the hearings officer,” according to a recent UH filing….
Reality: Enviros win 90% in Hawaii Supreme Court
read … Filibuster
Senate to be 25-0
Shapiro: >> Hawaii’s state Senate became the nation’s only one-party state legislative body after Democrat Stanley Chang defeated lone GOP Sen. Sam Slom. Our Legislature has so many little blue look-alikes that it gets mistaken for Smurf Village.
>> Chang had three times more campaign money than Slom, with organized labor alone giving him more than $50,000. What a relief it’ll be for the unions when votes in their favor are 25-0 instead of 24-1.
read … Relief
Farmers need support, not harassment
SA: …when the appeals panel struck down the harsh and unnecessary GMO and pesticide measures passed on Kauai, Maui and the Big Island, we hoped that, finally, our communities could begin to heal from the divisive effects of this polarizing debate. Finally, farmers could get back to the business of farming.
Sadly, the mainland special-interest-backed anti-agriculture forces in our state quickly made it clear that they are gearing up for yet another fight. The taxpayer money wasted on these unreasonable laws and litigation have not deterred them. They are now threatening to monopolize the next session of the Legislature with more unwarranted demands for restrictions and bans, diverting more taxpayer money from real issues….
There is absolutely no justification for imposing additional regulations on farmers, simply to satisfy the clamor of activist groups that are not and will never be satisfied by scientific evidence….
Farmers can’t possibly double production while spending the next six months at the Legislature, fending off unjust attacks, especially while we are facing new droughts, lack of certainty regarding water permits and the continuing onslaught of invasive species, among other challenges….
read … Farmers
Failed GEMS – The Few Loans go to the Rich
SA: The state’s failed $150 million financing program designed to help low-income residents own renewable energy systems has begun lending money instead to private businesses….
The goal was to lend all $150 million by the end of this month. The reality is only about $1.25 million has been lent and many of the beneficiaries are not low-income. GEMS has financed 17 solar systems totaling $577,947. The majority of those who received GEMS loans reported earning $75,000 and above. Four who received loans reported earning $100,000 or more….
This month GEMS made its largest loan, $861,500, to help pay for two solar systems at an apartment complex called 7000 Hawaii Kai Drive….
The apartments at 7000 Hawaii Kai Drive aren’t powered by the new solar system, just the common areas, including stairwells, pools, the lobby and the elevators. Renters still pay Hawaiian Electric Co. for the electricity they use in their home.
The total cost for the 7000 Hawaii Kai Drive solar system was $1.4 million. The Bank of Hawaii and Hawaii National Bank provided part of the funding….
“We’re going to be paying 16 cents per kilowatt-hour, ” Camp said.
PhotonWorks Engineering, a Hawaii-based renewable energy company, installed the 7000 Hawaii Kai Drive systems….
read … Failed
Family Court experiment helps Waianae school fight absenteeism
SA: A pilot program under Oahu’s Family Court is quietly helping address a persistent attendance problem at one Leeward middle school by removing barriers for truant students while emphasizing the importance of a high school education.
Family Court Senior Judge R. Mark Browning last school year launched a specialized court to handle truancy cases out of Waianae Intermediate School, where average daily absences are more than double the state average.
The school, with 913 students in grades 7 and 8, had the highest chronic absenteeism rate last school year among middle schools at 38 percent, reflecting the percentage of students absent 15 days or more. The state average for middle schools was 14 percent that year.
Waianae Intermediate students on average missed 21 school days — amounting to more than four weeks of school — compared with the statewide average of nine absences….
read … Absenteeism
State DoE to release education plan
WHT: The Department of Education plans to release its final strategic plan update for Hawaii public schools on Nov. 30 before bringing it before the Board of Education for approval on Dec. 6….
The plan is also meant to allow for flexibility in how the state’s schools develop their own plans.
“Schools, classrooms, complex areas and communities also have diverse perspectives about how to define and measure success,” said the draft plan.
DOE schools will develop their academic and financial plans “based on the strengths and needs of their students and community,” said the draft. Those plans are then reviewed by the school community council and then approved by the complex area’s superintendent.
Each charter school’s plan must be adopted by its respective governing board within the context of its performance contract, which is approved by the state’s Public Charter School Commission.
read … Plan
Bill 69: Swimming in a Sea of Defibrillators
SA: …A new bill before the Honolulu City Council would require all city-owned buildings and all new Oahu buildings to carry automated external defibrillators, also known as AEDs.
Bill 69, introduced by Councilman Brandon Elefante, gets its first airing at the Council’s December meeting, and its last gathering of the year, on Thursday….
Elefante’s bill inserts into the city’s Building Code a provision requiring that, beginning with those who receive occupancy permits in 2019, all city buildings and all newly constructed buildings (city-owned or not) install AEDs, maintain them and post appropriate signs indicating where the AEDs are located. The rule would not apply to buildings with fewer than 20 people.
The bill calls for at least one AED to be placed on each floor that would be accessible to residents, employees and the public. (That’s a lot of expensive defibrillators! This is how housing becomes less affordable.)
Twenty states, including Hawaii, mandate that all public schools carry and maintain publicly available AEDs (but not one on each floor)
read … Shocking Over Kill
Enviros Aim to force Shutdown of Manele Golf Course
MN: Is Lanai drinking water irrigating the Manele Golf Course in violation of a 1991 state Land Use Commission condition against doing so?
That’s the crux of an ongoing dispute in order-to-show-cause hearings before the commission.
The panel completed hearing evidence this month on Lanai and Maui. And now it has scheduled closing statements for Dec. 8, said Daniel Orodenker, the commission’s executive officer. The meeting’s time and location have yet to be determined.
Documents filed with the commission lay out the positions of Lana’i Resorts Inc., Lanaians for Sensible Growth, the state Office of Planning and the county Department of Planning.
The order-to-show-cause dispute could result in the golf course reverting to its agricultural/rural designation, according to written testimony submitted by Planning Director William Spence.
“The impacts of closing the golf course to a community where tourism is the major economic force would be tremendous and should not be ordered without substantial evidence,” he wrote….
Remember: Enviros win 90% in Hawaii Supreme Court
read … Shutdown
Hawaii Could Legalize Recreational Marijuana Next
MF: ...Hawaii could soon become a legal recreational pot state. Some of the best candidates to legalize recreational weed are those that have had medical marijuana infrastructure in place the longest or legalized medical marijuana many moons ago. Hawaii wound up approving medical cannabis in 2000, meaning there's ample reason to believe its legislature would have a good handle on regulating the recreational marijuana industry.
Also, according to the Hawaii Drug Policy Action Group, Hawaiians strongly approve of the idea of taxing and regulating legal weed. In a Jan. 2014 poll, the survey showed that 66% of 400 surveyed Hawaiian voters favored the idea of legalizing and taxing recreational marijuana. This was up 9 percentage points from 2012, and it was considerably higher than the 37% who favored similar legalization back in 2005.
Like Vermont, Hawaii is part of the two dozen U.S. states where there is no initiative and referendum process. This means all proposals, including recreational legalization, would be voted on by the state's legislature. The good news here is that Hawaii's congressional politics are typically dominated by Democrats, which generally have a favorable view of the responsible expansion of recreational marijuana.
One of the more interesting hurdles Hawaii might have to overcome (should it legalize recreational cannabis) are high energy costs. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Hawaii has some of the highest energy costs in the country, and growing marijuana is highly energy intensive. Since Hawaii also has a very strict greenhouse gas emission policy, the inner workings of a large-scale recreational marijuana industry could be tricky....
AP: 5 challenges facing states that wade into legal marijuana
read … Motley Fool