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Sunday, January 22, 2017
January 22, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:04 PM :: 2812 Views

Liberal TEA Party: Thousands March Against Trump in Hawaii

Funding Nonexistent People

UH System-Wide Survey to Amp up “Gender Violence” Hysteria

State Environmental Council Releases ‘Sustainability’ Report

Telescope Leaving? “Will Decide This Autumn”

JT: …The Thirty Meter Telescope board recently decided that a site in the Canary Islands off Africa’s northwestern coast will serve as a backup.

The TMT project team, including researchers from Canada, China, India, Japan and the United States, still considers Hawaii the primary site but plans to advance with a dual-track approach.

“We will decide on which site (the telescope) will be constructed around autumn,” said Tomonori Usuda, a professor at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan….

Construction of the telescope began in 2014 but was halted the following year amid intensified opposition from residents concerned by damage to nature and traditional culture.

In December 2015, the Supreme Court of Hawaii revoked the TMT’s construction permit, citing procedural errors by the state government.

State agencies have been working to redo the permit process since 2016, and another court decision is expected around May.

Even if the TMT receives a new permit, the completion of the observatory is likely to be delayed more than five years from the initially target of 2022.

“We remain hopeful that a state permit can be issued this year to allow construction . . . by April 2018,” TMT spokesman Scott Ishikawa said via email….

read … Doomed

Rail: 145,000 Cracked Shims and Pads to be Replaced – 11 Miles of Re-Work

SA: Kiewit Infrastructure West will cover the cost to replace thousands of plastic pads along rail’s first 11 miles of elevated track, project officials say, after crews discovered that many of those pads were already cracking years before the system starts running….

The problem also affects the track’s isolation pads, which help to contain electrical current….

Kraut said she expects Kiewit will replace 110,000 shims and pads along rail’s first seven miles by mid-March. The company should then have an additional 35,000 isolation pads replaced along rail’s next three miles on Kamehameha Highway by May, she added.

The shims on that three-mile stretch don’t need to be replaced, Kraut said.

Kiewit has given HART the certification and tests showing that its new shims and isolation pads comply with what’s required of the firm under contract, Kraut said. Meanwhile, HART is still working to verify that it agrees with Kiewit on the root cause of the cracking of the original shims and pads, she added….

A separate glitch discovered this fall in the manufacture of the rail’s train cars, however, could delay testing and rail’s planned 2020 interim opening if Hitachi Rail Italy doesn’t come up with a swift solution, project officials say.

Kiewit is almost done building the rail project’s first 11 or so miles of guideway to Aloha Stadium. Rail officials and Kiewit originally opted to use the plastic, narrow shims instead of a “plinth” — essentially an elevated concrete platform — because they estimated it would save more than $7.5 million along that 11-mile stretch, according to a HART presentation.

In addition to the snafus with the shims — as well as issues with the steel tendons that help hold the concrete guideway in place — HART and Kiewit have acrimoniously sparred in private over tens of millions of dollars in change orders, according to former project consultants with knowledge of the situation.

Another firm, Shimmick/Traylor/Granite Joint Venture, has been given the notice to proceed on rail’s next five-mile stretch to Middle Street….

read … Costs

Tokuda: Ige Has No Coherent Plan on Rail

Borreca: One year ago, Gov. David Ige walked into the state Capitol to give his second State of the State address with fellow Democrats muttering under their breath, “Governor No Can Do.”

Tomorrow, Ige returns for his third speech and the muttering and murmuring has grown into a distinct and sharp voice of complaint.

Twelve months ago, Ige shocked legislators and education bureaucrats alike with his bold announcement that he would air-condition 1,000 classrooms in one year by using funds from a little-used state energy saving program….

The Department of Education was caught unaware, the money had to be taken from another budget and the whole project, as of year’s end, totaled 42 classrooms, not 1,000.

Also in one year, Ige has watched as the state tax collections were predicted to grow by 5.5 percent, but instead, state officials said tax collections for the five-month period from July to November had increased by only seven-tenths of 1 percent….

“I think he needs a major reboot,” said Sen. Jill Tokuda….

Tokuda said, the county is asking for a permanent tax increase and while Ige says he favors rail, there is no coherent plan or even public thinking on the issue….

Ige, who has about $400,000 in his campaign treasury and is planning a fundraiser at the Hawaii Okinawa Center next week, has such a low-profile political presence that it is almost invisible.

Like nature, politics abhors a vacuum, so if the Ige governorship/campaign doesn’t coherently step up, it could be replaced. 

DN: Failure to execute is baked into our state culture

read … Lack of Leadership

Assisted suicide does not fit Hawaii

SA: …Our kupuna, who are accustomed to being self-sacrificing and built our community, are the most vulnerable if assisted suicide becomes law….

Given the deeply-held cultural beliefs of many Hawaii families, will those diagnosed with a terminal illness feel it is their duty to their families to end their lives? Will our kupuna feel it is their one final obligation? We should be aware that just because a law exists in a handful of other states does not mean it will work the same way in our islands.

There are other reasons assisted suicide creates a hostile environment. Despite being a paradise, Hawaii has great health disparities. We have one of the highest rates of health insurance coverage in the nation, yet there is a divide between those who have access to quality care and those who do not in Hawaii.

Our diverse, multi-ethnic population creates language and cultural barriers that further impact access to care.

Our state’s shortage of primary care physicians and lack of specialists on the neighbor islands exacerbate this problem further.

We feel compelled to speak for those who through no fault of their own are at a disadvantage and may not be able to advocate for themselves. Will assisted suicide be presented to these individuals and families as a “choice” or will they feel it is their only financially viable, easily accessible option?

We are concerned this and other scenarios will emerge when we devalue life and people with the introduction of assisted suicide. Sadly, those who may not be able to afford health care may become the most likely candidates for assisted suicide. This law does not further social justice in our community….

More info: http://hpacc.org/ 

read … Assisted suicide does not fit Hawaii

Trump’s victory creates uncertainty for wind and solar tax-credit scammers

SA: Many of them depend heavily on federal renewable-energy tax credits, grants and research, much of which comes from the Energy Department….

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Trump’s pick to lead the department, presents a contradictory figure: A Texas oil promoter, he also oversaw a huge expansion of wind-energy production while governor. When he ran for president in 2011, he included Energy on a list of departments he thought should be abolished, though he disavowed the idea Thursday at his Senate confirmation hearing.

“We don’t know what version of Perry is going to show up,” said Michael Webber, deputy director of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas, Austin….

The federal wind credit is set to be phased out in 2019, and the solar one, four years after that. Those incentives and other federal spending on renewable energy in fiscal year 2015 totaled about $10 billion, nearly twice as much as similar subsidies for fossil fuels.

In Hawaii, federal tax credits reduced the price for developers and homeowners by about $125 million annually from 2011 to 2014, according to an analysis by Blue Planet Foundation. During that time, the portion of the state’s electricity coming from renewables nearly doubled from 12 to 21 percent….

The price of harnessing the power of the sun and wind has dropped so much that in many areas of the country, experts say it could be competitive with traditional power sources such as coal and natural gas even without federal subsidies. Further, they do not expect a fast repeal of the key federal tax credits that have propelled the industry for years….

read … Scammers sweating

Lost Ag Jobs Excluded from Hawaii Unemployment Numbers

MN: …At first glance, Friday’s story about Maui County’s unemployment rate continuing to drop appeared to be very good news.

But we learned some things from the story that left us a little bit puzzled. For example, the story explained that a random statewide telephone survey by the U.S. Census Bureau is used to determine the unemployment rate. Therefore, some of the unemployed may be missed — including the hundreds laid off when Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. ceased sugar operations.

The next sentence read, “In addition, agricultural jobs are not counted in the survey.”

Wait a minute. The Census Bureau survey that is the main basis for determining the unemployment rate doesn’t count jobs lost in agriculture? ….

KGI: Another Syngenta pesticide incident?

read … Accurate numbers?

Invasive Species a Real Money Spinner

HTH: The Hawaii Ant Lab, albizia control. Rat lungworm disease education. Rapid ohia death research.

They’re all Big Island projects funded in part by grants from the Hawaii Invasive Species Council, the board that supports interagency efforts to combat Hawaii’s invasive species problem.

An HISC report prepared for the 2017 legislative session addresses some of the challenges faced as agencies try to plan for the future of addressing invasive species.

HISC, for example, receives about $10 million in grant requests annually, but the agency’s budget last year was just $4.75 million.

Of that, 84 percent came from legislative appropriations out of the state general fund. Just $750,000 was included in the state budget itself.

“What we’ve really been surviving on for the past three years are special appropriations from legislators,” said HISC program supervisor Joshua Atwood.

read … Make-Work

Corrections officials seek $1M to update fruitless master plan

SA: More than 13 years ago, the state mapped out an ambitious 10-year plan for the Hawaii prison system that included almost $1 billion in construction. That master plan called for new jails on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and in Kona, and a major expansion of the state’s largest prison at Halawa.

None of those major prison or jail projects ever happened. The official “10-Year Corrections Master Plan Update” was never implemented, and this year prison officials are back at the state Legislature asking lawmakers for $1 million to update the 2003 plan.

Despite chronic overcrowding in the correctional system, the state hasn’t built and opened a new prison or jail in Hawaii since 1987, although prison officials have spent tens of millions of dollars trying.

For example, the state has spent nearly $14 million since 2004 on planning efforts for a new Maui jail at a proposed site in Puunene, and has contracted for another $5 million for planning and design of a new Oahu jail that would replace the Oahu Community Correctional Center. Corrections officials are still trying to advance both of those projects….

read … Fruitless

Caldwell’s Water Mains Keep Breaking—H-1 Jammed til Monday?

HNN: All eastbound lanes of the H-1 remain closed as crews work to repair a water main that broke around 4:45 a.m. Saturday.

Eastbound traffic is backed up for miles on the freeway as crews fix a 24-inch main on Kalanianaole Hwy. between Kilauea Ave. and Waikui St….

Meanwhile, crews were also at the scene of a water main break on Queen Street.

The break was reported about 7 p.m. Friday, and forced the closure of Queen Street from Ward Avenue to Kamani Street. About 20 homes and businesses were affected.

BWS officials said the line that broke was originally installed in 1931.

SA: Honolulu police say H-1 closure could extend to Monday

read … Caldwell’s Mess



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