DOI Rule? Republicans Prepare to Reverse Obama’s ‘Flurry of Midnight Actions’
Honolulu—23% of Homeowners Saddled with Second Mortgage
Star-Adv: Ige Not Doing Enough to Support Astronomy Against OHA’s Protesters
SA: Where the future of Hawaii astronomy should be bright, it is cloudy. The promising Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea, stymied by protest, is inching its way back through the regulatory challenge of a state Board of Land and Natural Resources hearing.
And on Maui, there is the prospect of another state-of-the-art development: The University of Hawaii has proposed installing the world’s highest-contrast optical telescope in place of equipment it is retiring at Maui’s Haleakala High Altitude Observatory.
Much of the protest lodged in recent years has focused on the Mauna Kea issue. But some representatives of the movement, arising from Native Hawaiian cultural concern and environmental issues, have asserted that Haleakala merits its attention, too.
Even if the footprint of the observatory is not enlarging with the project, “the continued presence is a desecration,” said Kahele Dukelow of Kako’o Haleakala, a group organized to oppose the proposed 140-foot-tall Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope. That Maui scope was cleared to proceed by the Hawaii Supreme Court last month….
Ige has not given sufficiently full-throated support to the TMT specifically, or to the astronomy field and its related industry in general. The industry does deserve a clear commitment from the state that its policies and plans will support its continuation.
Hawaii has sought for decades to diversify its economy, increasingly dominated by and dependent on tourism. Technology development has been seen as a desirable focus for development, but the state has struggled to attract and keep new tech companies in the islands.
Astronomy is one of the few technological fields in which Hawaii has a distinct advantage: a clear view of the cosmos, and one that’s accessible within the U.S.
It also offers Hawaii’s youth educational and career opportunities in a field that advances human knowledge and does so with relatively low impact on the environment.
Reality: Telescope: For OHA, it’s all About the Rent Money
read … Favor
Rail--12 Rats Jump Sinking Ship And More….
SA: When Jesse Souki leaves the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation on Wednesday, he’ll be the latest in a string of about a dozen prominent personnel to leave a rail agency that’s grappling with vacancies and high turnover.
Souki, a Maui-raised attorney with extensive background in land-use issues, has served just more than a year as HART’s director of planning, permitting and right-of-way….
rail leaders have acknowledged in recent weeks that they’ve struggled to hire and retain the expert staff needed to oversee a “gargantuan” transit project, particularly as its construction nears town and grows more complex.
“We really do have to fix the staffing problem,” HART Acting Executive Director Brennon Morioka said at a Nov. 10 rail board of directors meeting….
Part of that problem, Morioka said, is that HART, as a public agency, often can’t offer candidates the same competitive salaries that the private sector does. HART has to get approval from the city’s Human Resources Department first for the salaries it wants to offer — and sometimes HR rejects those proposals, he added.
(Translation: Our incompetence is the new argument for our pay hikes.)
“And every time you lose a person and you have to rehire someone else, you’ve got to retrain them,” Lee continued. “It’s extremely inefficient. You take resources away from upper management that should be focused on more important things, and then it becomes a never-ending cycle.”
Since 2015 HART has also seen turnover in agency directors handling design and construction, operation and maintenance, property acquisitions, contract procurement, finance and public communications. Its embattled former executive director, Dan Grabauskas, resigned in August under an agreement with the HART board.
The agency’s new interim executive director, Krishniah Murthy, is slated to start Dec. 5. Because the board directly hires and handles the executive director’s contract, Murthy’s $400,000 salary — the largest in the city — is not subject to the same HR scrutiny, Morioka said….
HART aims to fill some 13 vacancies and 16 new positions starting next summer to keep up, Morioka said.
HART budgeted some $55,000 for overtime in last year’s budget — but it wound up logging about $300,000 instead…
Board member Terri Fujii expressed concerns that some HART employees could be nearing burnout — and that could prompt more departures and make the staffing challenges even tougher….
“If we don’t provide (Murthy) with a support team that are qualified, have the experience to properly oversee this project and manage it, we can’t succeed,” Lee said.
read … Rail project departures give agency an obstacle
Caldwell Admin Knew Zoo Director Was Quitting – Makes Excuses for Keeping it Secret
SA: …Fleming, at an Oct. 31 meeting he requested, told Caldwell and Amemiya of his intention to take a job with ABQ BioPark in Albuquerque, N.M.
The primary reason Fleming gave for wanting to leave was the high cost of living in Hawaii, Amemiya said. Fleming agreed to their request to give them two weeks to come up with a proposal to try to get him to remain in Honolulu, he said.
“We wanted him to stay, obviously, so we asked what it would take for him to continue and he gave us what he thought was going to be comparable compensation,” Amemiya said. City officials then scrambled to find additional money in city coffers to pay Fleming, he said.
On Nov. 15 city officials presented an offer to Fleming, who asked for time to make a decision, Amemiya said. “So Thursday, two days later, which was Nov. 17, Baird called me and said that he’s going to decline the offer and accept the position in Albuquerque,” he said.
Fleming, whose resignation is effective Dec. 15, has been making $164,000 annually, an amount that city Enterprise Services Director Guy Kaulukukui told reporters last week is about what zoo directors at other AZA-accredited facilities earn.
Fleming, a veterinarian who has spent the past four years in Honolulu, including three years as assistant director, was on vacation this week and could not be reached for comment.
But a press release issued Wednesday by ABQ BioPark said Fleming had accepted a post as its deputy chief executive at $110,000 a year. He is slated to start work in January.
read … An Article Entitled, ‘News of zoo director’s exit not premeditated’, LOL!
Say no to Kahuku wind energy project
SA: Thanks to the Board of Land and Natural Resources for giving us a chance to re-emphasize what’s been said in droves for the past three years — no more turbines in Kahuku….
read … No Wind Farms
Will Trump Be Able To Undo Papahanaumokuakea?
CB: The president lacks the express authority to revoke a national monument designation but Congress can do it….
The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, or Wespac, is waiting on an economic analysis from the National Marine Fisheries Service on the effects that Papahanaumokuakea’s fourfold expansion may have on the commercial fishing industry, particularly the Hawaii longliners who target bigeye tuna for local sashimi markets.
The council has jurisdiction over 1.5 million square miles of ocean and manages domestic fisheries based mostly in the Pacific. The Hawaii commercial fishing industry alone generates roughly a half-billion dollars in sales annually and provides 11,000 jobs.
Wespac spokeswoman Sylvia Spalding said in an email last week that “our letters (to the Trump administration) are in review.” She said the group hopes to have more information soon….
Trump’s communications staff did not return messages seeking comment about whether rescinding national monuments would make the cut.
Trump would be the first to rescind a previous president’s national monument proclamation. The Antiquities Act does not expressly give the president such power, and court challenges have been unsuccessful in undoing a presidential designation….
Congress abolished the Fossil Cycad National Monument in South Dakota in 1956….
Background: Fishing Groups Question Legality of Antiquities Act in Monument Designation
read … Undo?
More Blither from Deluded Kauai Anti-GMOs
KE: The misinformed commentary in today's edition of The Garden Island underscores just how deeply confused and utterly misled the public remains on the pesticide-GMO issue in Hawaii.
That's not surprising. The anti-GMO movement, which has morphed into an anti-pesticide movement, is based on intentionally sowing and fertilizing lies. It's one of the best ways to whip up fear and win converts to a false cause. But it leaves people cynical, disenfranchised and ignorant when things don't go their way.
Which is what we see in today's guest opinion by educator Mark Jeffers and letter to the editor by the perennially deluded Linda Bothe….
But who can fault Linda when people who do know better — people like defeated Kauai Councilman Gary Hooser, Center for Food Safety's Ashley Lukens and Earthjustice attorney Paul Achitoff — continue to make like Hawaii is some wild west where pesticide use is totally unregulated and out of control?
That is a flat out lie uttered for one purpose only: to make people afraid so these groups can hit them hard for donations….
read … Musings: Clear Thinking
“Campaign Hawaii” Flashback—We don’t want non-Locals
Borreca: …The 211-page book is not all political warm feelings. Tsujimura shares the infighting, such as when he was a deputy state attorney general and the state was constantly being sued by the Legal Aid Society. The state responded by going to the Legislature to cut the funding for Legal Aid.
“If someone needs money from the Legislature to attack you, cut the umbilical or at least threaten to do it. That was a lesson in raw politics — not nice, but making sausage never is,” Tsujimura wrote.
Also not always nice is the undercurrent of Hawaii politics that while one’s race or ethnicity should not drive an election, it sometimes comes close.
Tsujimura saw it played out in the campaigns of two mainland white candidates he supported, Jeremy Harris and Neil Abercrombie.
Even before that, it first came up while Tsujimura was discussing Ariyoshi’s hold on the Democratic Party, which in part was because Ariyoshi was Japanese-American. Ariyoshi’s political enemy was Frank Fasi. Tsujimura said their campaigns were almost identical, but “Ariyoshi’s was borne aloft by the memories of the AJA community and the legacy of Jack Burns. As long as those memories lingered, that voting block of AJA’s was immovable. … Ariyoshi was still an AJA and the Mainland-born Fasi was not. Not coming out and saying that it was a good thing but it was what it was,” Tsujimura wrote.
When looking at local politics, what some observers ignore or simplify is that the AJA political power is not just ethnic voting, but voting based on a shared experience of discrimination by a white-dominated plantation society.
When Harris didn’t run for governor in 2002, partly because of rumors of campaign finance investigations, Tsujimura wrote, that decision was “the worst thing that could happen to the local Democratic Party.”
“The efforts of the old guard to get Jeremy out, did far more political damage. In practical parlance it was, in effect, we don’t want non-locals, a theme that would permeate future elections.”….
read … “Campaign Hawaii”
Internet Billionaire’s Minions: “Watch What You Say Or Face The Obvious Consequences”
CB: “We do not tolerate personal attacks against other readers, our staff and even the people we cover.”
…reader “Kenneth Conklin” apparently has made multiple inappropriate and flagged comments, which concerned Civil Beat editors to the point in which all of his comments now have to go through a human review first…..he’s on the proverbial double-secret probation….
Civil Beat, as a private nonprofit organization, can do that sort of thing. It also can shut down its reader comments, whenever editors feel like….
read … Consequences
Supreme Court rejects Hawaii dope church appeal over marijuana laws
AP: …The OklevuehaNative American Church of Hawaii filed a lawsuit in 2009 asking for relief from marijuana laws under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The church’s leader claims his members use marijuana during sweat lodge ceremonies to help regain their relationship with their creator.
A district court ruled that the church didn’t produce enough evidence about its religion other than a strong belief in the benefits of marijuana. A federal appeals court upheld that ruling….
read … Potheads