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Friday, December 16, 2016
December 16, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:12 PM :: 6421 Views

WESPAC to Obama: Tuna Monuments Destroy Jobs

UHERO Panic Attack: Trump More Dangerous than China

State Policy Options to Sustain Military Installations

They Want $200B: Caldwell Signs Mayors Letter to Trump

Interest in building ohana units rising on Maui

States with the Best Elder-Abuse Protections—Hawaii Ranks 10th

Structural Failure—27 Honolulu Rail Cars heading for Junkyard?

KHON: …The issue lies within aluminum beams that make up the structure of the rail cars. We’re told the manufacturer has stopped production and 27 rail cars could be affected.

So what’s being done to address the problem? HART says it first learned of the defect last month (Before the election?) and was “officially” notified on Dec. 1. HART also says it will not accept any cars from Hitachi until it is certain there are no defects.

We’re told the issue lies within an (four) aluminum beams found in the floor of the rail car frame….  (Holding the whole car together)

“What we’re finding are defects where parts of the seam didn’t fuse.” ….  (Ooops!)

What could have happened had the problem gone unnoticed?

“You’re talking about some sort of structural failure,” Garrod said….

Good News: Scrap aluminum is getting $0.50/lb these days

Star-Adv: Hitachi officials are now running inspections to grasp the extent of the problem, how many beams they would have to replace — and whether there’s even a “repair procedure that can be performed” to remove them….the company plans next month to start building new car shells for Honolulu with a defect-free replacement mold while it deals with the shells it’s already built, Garrod said.  However, it’s not known yet whether the defect-free train cars will get to Honolulu in time for extensive testing ahead of rail’s planned interim service opening, scheduled for 2020.

CB: Caldwell’s surprise appearance at at HART board meeting

read … Defect

Costly OHA infighting adds to concerns over trust spending

KHON:  … Akana’s lawsuit over OHA’s process leading up to its Nimitz office and retail building purchase, and Akina’s role in legal challenges over Hawaiian governance and election issues, stand to rack up more legal fees.

“The $531,000 spent on it (Akana’s lawsuit so far) was spent by this board trying to keep me from going to court over the sunshine law,” Akana pointed out in response to Apo, “so I didn’t incur those costs. You did. You know, when you let the cat out of the bag, you’ve got to finish it.”

“Other plaintiffs, the majority of which are Native Hawaiian beneficiaries of OHA, felt that OHA had done some things that were unconstitutional,” Akina said of his organization, Grassroot Institute, taking part in lawsuits against Hawaiian election processes. “You blamed me for the expenditure, but in reality, it was not my suit that caused the spending of that money. It was the need for OHA to defend itself.”

Now former trustees such as Haunani Apoliona and Oz Stender are speaking out, and Kauai’s trustee, Dan Ahuna, says the board should do no more business under Akana until all legal matters are resolved.

“There’s a lot of terrible things that have been done with OHA and OHA money,” testified Healani Sonoda-Pale of the group Protest Nai Aupuni. “We want to know where that leftover money from Nai Aupuni went. Did it come back to OHA? OHA wasted approximately $33 million. Can you imagine what you could do with $33 million in failed campaigns to create a federally recognized Hawaiian nation? We would like something very specific, line item, and whose friends got paid in this whole scam.”

New trustee Akina campaigned on transparency and redirecting spending toward core benefits for the community.

“The vast majority of Hawaiian beneficiaries want that money spent on bread and butter issues, housing, jobs, education, and health care, and not on governance,” Akina said.

The meeting started with Akina being considered and then losing the vote for a finance committee vice chairmanship. He was voted down (when John Waihee IV flipped against his own coalition, thus showing he is working for his father to retaliate against Robert Lindsey and Kamano Crabbe but not to help expose the millions wasted on Waihee IIIs fake Indian tribe) ….

read … Costly OHA infighting adds to concerns over trust spending

Officer Pleads Guilty: Prepared to Testify Police chief's wife was part of effort to frame uncle

HNN UPDATE: …in a statement from HPD on Friday that was not attributed to the chief read: "We are very disappointed to learn of the allegations. We hold our officers to a higher standard and expect them to be truthful at all times. If and when it is confirmed that other officers were involved, the appropriate actions will be taken."

HNN: …In new court records obtained by Hawaii News Now, a federal prosecutor indicates the police chief's wife, Katherine Kealoha, was deeply involved in an effort to frame her uncle by faking the theft of her mailbox.

The bombshell in the public corruption case against the police chief and his wife, a deputy city prosecutor comes as a former Honolulu police officer prepares to enter into a plea agreement and admit to lying in court to help his former boss, Hawaii News Now has learned.

It's a sign that indictments in the case could be coming down soon.

Sources say that retired Officer Niall Silva has accepted the plea deal from the federal prosecutor and will testify against the power couple and several other officers tied to the Kealohas.

"These dominoes are going to start to fall," said attorney Victor Bakke, who is not involved in the case, "Once they start falling, I think they're going to fall hard."

Silva was the first officer to testify at the theft trial of a Kealoha relative, Gerard Puana….

sources say that Silva is now prepared to tell the court that he lied. He never went to the Kealohas' home, never retrieved the video. He will say it was in fact Nguyen who did that.

This is significant because Puana has always insisted that the mailbox was never really stolen. 

In the newly-obtained court documents, federal investigators say the "manner and means of the conspiracy" was that in order to frame and discredit Puana, "co-conspirator no. 1" would claim that the mailbox had been stolen.

The documents later say that co-conspirator no. 1 later called police from the Kealoha residents. In other court documents, Katherine Kealoha is identified as the person who made that call.

Separately, a civil lawsuit Puana filed this week accuses the Kealohas and five others -- including Nguyen and Silva -- of conspiring against him. Puana alleges the group made up the mailbox theft to get him arrested and prosecuted for a crime….

read … Conspiracy

PUC dismisses Huena geothermal against HELCO

PBN:  Hawaii regulators have dismissed a complaint filed by a Big Island geothermal energy developer regarding planned geothermal expansion on that island, Pacific Business News has learned.

In February, Huena Power inc., formed by Innovations Development Group — a Native Hawaiian renewable energy firm founded in 1998 by Roberta Cabral — filed a complaint with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission asking it to find that Hawaii Electric Light Co.’s request for proposals process for a 50-megawatt geothermal project on the Big Island was unfair.

Nevada’s Ormat Technologies, which owns and operates the Puna Geothermal Venture plant on the Big Island, was chosen over Huena Power and others, to develop the project, which was downsized to 25 megawatts. But Ormat decided to drop out of negotiations with HELCO, leaving the project in limbo.

In a June filing with the PUC, the state Division of Consumer Advocacy said that HELCO “should not be required to take geothermal energy at any cost and developers seeking to supply geothermal energy to HELCO should bear the risk of costs related to bidding processes.”

This week, the PUC said in its ruling that if it granted Huena Power’s request, it would’ve forced consumers to accept and pay for through rates, a bid that is not only not the lowest bid, but a bid that is significantly above the price threshold, which was set at 12 cents per kilowatt-hour. Huena Power’s bid included a price of 21.5 cents per kilowatt-hour….

read … PUC dismisses Big Island geothermal developer's complaint against HELCO RFP process

Political Insiders Developing Secret Plan for Aloha Stadium

SA: The Aloha Stadium Authority said it plans to make a public recommendation next month on what it sees as the best course for the future of the well-worn 42-year-old facility.

The nine-member board emerged from a nearly three-hour executive session Thursday and said it will discuss the options in open session during a Jan. 12 meeting before issuing a recommendation.

The recommendation will come nearly three and a half years into a process to decide the fate of the state’s biggest entertainment venue.

Outgoing chairman Charles Toguchi said the authority is awaiting a report from its consultants on the state of the stadium before voting. Engineers and architects hired by the state to study the 50,000-seat facility briefed the authority on preliminary findings in the closed-door session. Committees from both houses of the State Legislature have also been briefed and, this week, toured the stadium.

read … Peasants will be informed Jan 12

Audit: ‘Ahahui Koa Anuenue hurting UH athletics

SA: The lack of production by the University of Hawaii’s athletic fundraising arm, ‘Ahahui Koa Anuenue, is adversely impacting the athletic department’s struggling bottom line, a critical audit read.

The report by Accuity LLP, an external auditor, prompted concern when delivered to the Board of Regents Committee on Independent Audit on Thursday.

The auditor’s report noted, “… that AKA has not conducted any substantial fundraising activities or events on behalf of the athletics department as originally intended by the amended and restated memorandum of understanding between AKA, Manoa athletics and the University of Hawaii Foundation … ”

UH President David Lassner, who oversees athletics in his dual role as Manoa Chancellor, concurred with the auditors saying “(AKA’s) revenues have not grown commensurate with (expenses) so that becomes a matter of operational and management concern in terms of how we finance the athletic department.”

The department’s “fiscal 2016 net loss approximated $3.8 million,” according to the audit report, which read, “the financial condition of the athletic department continues to be fragile due to the ongoing struggle to generate operating and fundraising revenues, compounded by increasing operating expenses.”

Until 2014 when AKA moved into the athletic department, it had operated out of the UH Foundation. But with the change, athletics became responsible for the staffing and operational costs of an expanded six-member AKA staff…. 

SA: Auditors recommended “AKA personnel develop an annual fundraising plan...."

read … Hurting

Doubly Jeopardy for Deedy?

CB: The Hawaii Supreme Court is getting closer to deciding if Special Agent Christopher Deedy can be tried a third time for the death of Kollin Elderts.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments Feb. 2 about whether a third trial would constitute double jeopardy.

Deedy, an agent with the U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, shot and killed Kollin Elderts in a Waikiki McDonald’s in 2011….

The case is important because it allow PC types to fee self-righteous….

read … Triple Jeopardy

Ige Budget to be Released Monday

CB: “So, it is about food production, it is about managing the natural resources of our community, and in both instances it really is about collaboration with the community,” he said in an interview Thursday in his office.

Yup.  He’s still talking about doubling food production, LOL!

Flashback: Joker Ige commits Hawaii to doubling food production by 2020—While Attacking Fishermen and Overseeing Two Major Ag Closures

read … Monday

Motor Voter Coming to Hawaii Legislature?

CB: …The concept of automatic voter registration has been debated in Hawaii, most recently with two bills in the 2016 legislative session: HB 1652 and HB 401.

HB 1652 made it through several committee hearings with support from the Office of Elections and the League of Women Voters. Common Cause Hawaii supported the bill, and has called automatic voter registration an important part of “a system that will make it significantly easier to register to vote.”

HB 1652 was stalled in the Senate. HB 401 failed to survive conference committee after making it past the House and Senate.

The concerns of those opposed to the bills seem to mainly lie in the cost and in the security of our elections….

read … Security

Maui Public Hearing on 32% Pay Hike for Officials

MN: The Maui County Salary Commission will meet Dec. 23 for a special meeting to once again take up pay raises for Mayor Alan Arakawa and top appointees in his administration.

The panel’s meeting is set for 8:30 a.m. in the Mayor’s Conference Room on the ninth floor of the Kalana O Maui building in Wailuku.

The agenda calls for action on compensation for the mayor, managing director and deputy managing director, the county auditor and directors and deputy directors of county departments.

“Basically, it’s a redo,” said commission Vice Chairman James Likes on Thursday. “Let’s do it and do it right.”

The newly posted agenda gives members of the public a chance to give input, he said….

Background: 32% Pay Hike for Maui County Officials

read … Redo

Honolulu ranks among least affordable cities for renters

HNN: Nearly 6 in 10 urban Honolulu renters were "cost burdened" in 2015, making it one of the least affordable cities to rent in the United States, a new report finds….

the situation is especially acute in Honolulu, where rents have skyrocketed by 33 percent over the last decade while renter incomes have only increased 13 percent.

Also unique in Honolulu: Cost-burdened renters were found across the economic spectrum, and weren't just the poorest residents.

Still, the report found, 88 percent of households earning under $20,000 in Honolulu were cost-burdened.

Among those earning $35,000 to $49,999, the figure was 86 percent. And 58 percent of those bringing in $50,000 to $74,999 a year were paying more than 30 percent of income on rent.

Nationally, metros in the Midwest and Texas had lower shares of cost-burdened renters….

WS247: Hawaii 5th Highest Personal Income

read … Least

DoE: Portables Sit for 2 Years Awaiting Paperwork

SA: Shafter Elementary School’s cafeteria and library are serving as makeshift classrooms as the school awaits renovation and relocation of three portable classrooms. Since last year, students have been eating lunch outdoors, and the school’s librarian pushes book carts to classrooms for students to borrow materials.

A Department of Education spokeswoman lauded the school’s efforts, noting: “Not only have the Shafter Elementary students adapted to the temporary setup but they’re also being exposed to problem-solving challenges.” Too bad the DOE could not tackle its own challenges as quickly. The three portables — one delivered to the campus in December 2014 and the other two in July 2015 — may not be class-ready until the next school year.

read … Shafter students adapt while waiting on DOE

Water cut to Waianae homeless shelter thanks to records snafu

HNN: After spending 16 years on the beach, Joyce Kauhane accepted shelter 11 months ago.

In exchange for working a few hours a week on Cedar Farm in Waianae, Hawaii Cedar Church allows her and her dog to stay while getting back on her feet.

"Here I'm safe. I don't have to worry about my things. I can go and come back and it'll all be here," Kauhane said.

But two days ago, things got a lot harder for Kauhane and the 28 other residents of the shelter when the Board of Water Supply shut off their water….

The same day the water was shut off, Pastor Duk Whan Kim got a bill for nearly $7,000….

To help the church cover the cost of water, you can make a donation directly to their Board of Water Supply account (no. 9323141205). The donation should be made on behalf of Cedar Church Homeless Self-Farm Shelter.

read … SNAFU

Hawaii Lowest Rate of Babies Born Drug Addicted

LS: …Researchers have recently seen a sharp increase in babies–particularly babies born in rural areas–with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). This means that the babies are essentially born addicted to the drugs that their mothers used when pregnant. This phenomenon is just yet another depressing side effect of the sharp increase in the number of people addicted to opioids in the United States.

According to the study, which was published online earlier this week in JAMA Pediatrics, the increase of babies born with NAS in rural areas rose dramatically between 2004 and 2013. During that time period in rural areas, the incidences of NAS increased from 1.2 cases per 1,000 hospital births to 7.5 cases per 1,000 hospital births. It’s important to note that cases in cities rose as well, just not as sharply. In cities, there were 1.4 cases per 1,000 hospital births in 2004, and 4.8 cases per 1,000 hospital births in 2013. There was also some variability from state to state. Hawaii saw the lowest rate, at .7 cases per 1,000 births. West Virginia saw the highest, with 33.4 cases per 1,000 births….

read … Addicted

Ohio doctor ran 'pill mill' before fleeing to Hawaii, prosecutors say

PD: …A former Cleveland Heights doctor faces dozens of drug trafficking charges that accuse him of running a pill mill from his office in a Noble Road strip mall.

Thomas L. Craig III, 57, peddled prescription drugs including Adderall and OxyContin from from April 2010 to March 2012, according to a 53-count indictment made public Thursday. Seventeen of those charges are first-degree felonies and each could carry up to an 11-year prison sentence if he's convicted.

The indictment was handed up Wednesday afternoon, more than five years after agents with the Ohio Board of Pharmacy and Cleveland police officers began investigating complaints about Craig's office, prosecutors say.

Undercover investigators spent 18 months probing his office and conducted the first raid in April 2012, prosecutors said.

Shortly after the raid, Craig moved his business to Honolulu, prosecutors say. He is licensed to practice internal medicine in Hawaii…

MT: Maui Grown Therapies medical cannabis dispensary opening soon

read … Pill Mill



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