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Monday, January 23, 2017
January 23, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:14 PM :: 1506 Views

OHA’s Hidden LLCs: Why Plead Guilty to Stealing $14M?

My Conversation with OHA Sex Harassment Victim

Legislators ‘GEMS Model’ for Future:  Spend $2B on ‘affordable’ Housing

AP: …Lawmakers are introducing dozens of measures that aim to solve Hawaii's homelessness crisis and increase affordable housing, including a proposal to issue $2 billion in state-backed bonds to develop public housing, shelters and apartments.

They are rushing to file hundreds of bills ahead of a legislative deadline as they head into their first full week of the 2017 session.

The week will begin with Gov. David Ige outlining his priorities in his State of the State address Monday. Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald on Wednesday will deliver the State of the Judiciary speech.

Lawmakers also are seeking to address greenhouse emissions, marijuana (smoke more so you won’t notice the $2B fiasco) and the minimum wage. Here's a sampling of measures that have been proposed….

Senators are pushing a bill that would direct the state to issue $2 billion in bonds to build more housing and chip away at a projected statewide shortage of 60,000 housing units. Sen. Will Espero says the goal is to distribute the funding for a variety of housing, including transit-oriented development, shelters, expanded public housing and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands….

Model for $2B Housing Fund:  GEMS, of Course.  Duh!

(Better idea: Spend no money and instead eliminate regulations and streamline the permitting process so that affordable housing can be built without a corrupt, sclerotic state-run fund which we all know is doomed to failure.)

read … Hawaii lawmakers tackle emissions, housing, budget

Legislators Introduce Two Gambling Bills, More to Come

GI: Senator Michelle Kidani introduced Senate Bill 677, which would see the Hawaii Lottery and Gambling Corporation established as a new state-owned entity, and SB204, which aims to legalise daily fantasy sports…. 

PBN: Hawaii lawmakers consider online gambling legislation

CP: Hawaii To Consider Online Poker In 2017

read … Gambling

Meet OHA’s Newest Trustee

CB: Kelii Akina heads the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii and was elected to the OHA board in November….

read … AUDIO

Bill Seeks Privatization of State Small Boat Harbor

WHT:  …Two Kona legislators are pushing for management changes at the Honokohau Small Boat Harbor as its state of disrepair, and the overall quality of other harbors like it, have become a growing source of frustration across Hawaii Island.

Sen. Josh Green, who represents Kona and Ka’u, introduced a bill in 2016 that would have allowed for the privatization of the harbor, moving it out from under the management of the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, an arm of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

It’s a move he still believes would lead to quicker, more comprehensive action to both upgrade and maintain facilities there.

“I can never get enough appropriations to fix things and people are always frustrated that we have a second-tier harbor,” he said. “So if someone wants to take up the challenge in a partnership, I think we should let them.”

Green’s bill died in conference committee for what he believes were concerns from other legislators about potential cost increases or restricted access if a private entity took up a stake in a harbor meant for public use.

He said he doesn’t share those concerns, noting that privatization would require a bid process that would allow for oversight.

“If (a bidder) looked like it wouldn’t be community-minded, that bid wouldn’t win,” Green said. “I would intervene. I wouldn’t let it happen. (The harbor) is going to maintain a West Hawaii flavor, for sure.”

Green believes the most likely outcome of privatization would be that a group of harbor users would band together, perhaps with an investment partner, to operate it.

Still, to satiate concerns and in hopes of generating movement on the problem, Green has introduced Senate Bill 22 this session to revisit the issue….

Related: Hawaii County Prosecutor Investigates DOBOR Corruption, Retaliation

read … Harboring frustration

Kauai Council to vote on anti-GMO repeal

KGI: …on Wednesday, the council is expected to pass Bill No. 2643, which seeks to repeal the GMO regulation bill.

The action comes after the Committee as a Whole recommended approval on its second and final reading on Jan. 19.

The council voted 6-0 to pass Bill No. 2643 in December 2016. Councilman Arthur Brun, an employee of Syngenta, recused himself from the vote.

Bill No. 2491, also known as Ordinance 960, sought to regulate the use of GMOs and pesticides by requiring mandatory disclosure of GMO and pesticide use by large agricultural businesses, and prohibiting open air testing of experimental pesticides and GMOs.

It was introduced in 2013 by former councilmembers Tim Bynum and Gary Hooser. It was passed 6-1 by the council. It was later vetoed by Carvalho, but the council later overrode that veto.

Bill 2491 was overturned in the federal court. And in November 2016, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the court’s ruling that the Hawaii Pesticides Law preempts the county’s laws.

Moving forward, Councilman Mason Chock said GMOs need to be addressed by the entities that have the jurisdiction to to regulate them….

“Even though Ordinance 960 has been repealed, different parts of it — such as the JFF and disclosure and enforcement — are being implemented in alternative ways, thanks to some very dedicated people in government,” she said.

“They should be commended and supported, not maligned. We all need to keep working in our own ways. Hopefully we can do it with respect and aloha for all — with open minds and open hearts.”

The county council meets at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Historic County Building….

Meanwhile: Times They Are A-Changin’ (Maybe)

read … Final Act of long Drama?

Protests a Distraction

CB: (Best Comment) …Protests are attended and/or conducted against the operation of a pipeline in North Dakota, and the inauguration of President Trump. Signs are waved and selfies are posted. They then retire to Zippy's or Starbucks, depending upon their perceived status, to congratulated themselves and search for the next Cause De Jure.

If the same energy was expended in front of the HPD, the OHA and Honolulu Hale, the local elites would no doubt take notice. Why then do local activists ignore the ongoing abuses of power and privilege? It would appear that the elites have adroit at distracting the public form real issues by directing their attention elsewhere….

KGI: This is not hyperbole….

read … Distraction

Assisted treatment law rarely used to help mentally ill in Hawaii

HNN: …"You've got these folks.  They don't understand they need medication," Haar said.

Hawaii is one of 46 states that passed a law allowing the courts to step in and provide treatment for people incapacitated by mental illness. Haar was one of the the first attorneys in the state to use law passed in 2014 that calls on the courts to help the mentally ill.

"Community assisted treatment is getting an order for mental health treatment for someone with a known mental health condition who is so severe that they can't help themselves," Haar said.

It's outpatient treatment.  Many times in the form of a long acting injection.

"You give someone a shot.  It's good for three months. They get their mind back.  They get their life back.  They get their understanding  back why it's important to stay in treatment," Haar said.

But the law is rarely used in Hawaii.  There are only two known cases. 

Volunteer Services of Hawaii is the only agency helping homeless on the street.  They've had a hard time getting attorneys to take cases because it means working for free. Advocates say the state should help pay for it.

"I've heard suggestion beyond the legislature, maybe the medical facilities could help fund it. It would be a cost saving thing for them in the future, but I don't see anything on the horizon right now for the funding," Haar said.

Haar says unless you can afford an attorney this resource isn't available for people on the outer islands….

Related: Mental Health: Can Reform Solve Hawaii’s Homeless, Prison and Unfunded Liability Problems?

read … Rarely

$200K to Redirect Low-Level Offenders?

CB: …Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion started in Seattle in 2011. In that city, police officers who arrest people for low-level drug offenses or sex work give them the option of receiving social services through LEAD rather than getting booked into jail. Officers can also recommend people join the program without arresting them first.

In the five years since it’s been implemented, the collaboration between service providers and law enforcement has gained national recognition for its effectiveness in not only reducing arrests, drug addiction and homelessness, but also improving relationships between police and communities….

read … Pilot Program

High winds rip through Waianae homeless encampment—Tweekers Still Won’t Accept Shelter

HNN: …Wind gusts reached up to 67 MPH in Waianae Valley Saturday night, taking down trees, temporary fencing and several plastic tarp shelters at Puuhonua O Waianae Village.

"Part of my bedroom fell, the donation tent went, and a couple of the residents' tents went down to the ground," said village leader Twinkle Borge.

Borge said in more than 10 years of living at the camp, she has never seen damage this bad. "We can manage with the rain, but never ever went through something like this with the winds."

The encampment sits on 19 acres of preservation-zoned state land between Waianae High School and the boat harbor.

There are roughly 200 kids and adults and about 150 animals living there….

read … Still Won’t Accept Shelter

Trannies a Non-Issue in Kauai School Bathrooms

KGI: At the beginning of the 2016-17 school year, new transgender policies were put into place for Hawaii’s students.

At the halfway point of the school year, Complex-Area Superintendent Bill Arakaki said the guidelines have been implemented smoothly.

The guidelines offer transgender students alternative bathroom, as well as uniform and locker room arrangements, that correspond with their gender identity and expression. School nurses’ bathrooms also became an option for transgender or non-transgender students, whoever feels uncomfortable changing in the locker room.

The guidelines also allow students to wear any style of clothing that he/she feels associates with their gender….

read … Trannies are Boring

Star-Adv: Expand scrutiny of wind turbines

SA: …it’s time to step up monitoring of the impacts turbines have on the state’s landscape and struggling native species….

we’re also an endangered species hot spot. Of 1,276 endangered species of animals and plants listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 500 are from Hawaii. The state’s list includes 77 animals and 423 plants.

Our challenging task of balancing the goal of producing more electricity using renewable resources with ongoing efforts to protect endangered species is underscored by a recent red-flag report that found Hawaii’s five major wind farms are killing endangered Hawaiian hoary bats at a faster pace than expected as allowed through state “incidental take” licenses.

Over a period of 6.4 years, wind turbine operations have killed 146 of these bats out of the 187 allowed over the span of 20 years under incidental take licenses. The bats are killed by colliding with turbine towers and blades. They also fall victim to barotrauma, barometric pressure changes from moving blades that damage lungs and other organs. Besides the bat species, which is Hawaii’s official state land mammal, during the same period the farms killed at least 50 nene — the endangered Hawaiian goose and state bird — and 26 petrels, an endangered seabird.

State lawmakers should support a proposal being drafted by Sen. Gil Riviere (D, Heeia-Laie-Waialua), which is based on state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife recommendations to expand the division’s staff dedicated to monitoring and tracking statewide habitat conservation plans tagged to take licenses. Putting the matter on hold could further imperil endangered species in the islands.

Also, with windmills now anchored to the landscape for at least the next several decades, (They’ll be rusted out in a few years, not decades.  Just wait and see.) the state should spell out how to handle retirement of the structures. Community response to windmills is a mix — support for green-minded energy and lower electric bills, with complaints about operational noise, flashing red lights at night and blocked views — but no one should have to worry about the blight of rusting decommissioned wind farms. In the case of Kamaoa Windfarm in Hawaii island’s remote South Point area, the last of its turbines was toppled in 2012, five years after the site was shuttered….

Flashback: Wind Energy's Ghosts

read … Wind Farms Kill

Caldwell’s Latest Water Main Collapse will Jam H-1 thru Thursday

SA: Kathleen Pahinui, spokeswoman for the city Board of Water Supply, said work on the broken water main at the eastern end of the H-1 freeway will last longer than expected due to interference from an abandoned line.

“Unfortunately, this repair is going to take longer than we anticipated,” she said. “There was an abandoned main on the top of the main that broke. Because of that we had to cut through the abandoned line, and we still have some excavation we have to do, unfortunately. It’s just a big one. … We’re estimating repairs to be done by Thursday.”

The broken 24-inch transmission line, on Kalanianaole Highway between Kilauea Avenue and Waikui Street, caused gridlock Saturday. At some points during the day, eastbound lanes of the H-1 were backed up for miles.

Pahinui said a second lane should be open to motorists before this morning. Repair work originally had two of the three lanes closed, with only one eastbound lane open to traffic.

read … Trapped in Hawaii Kai

Potholes, Lost Inmate Property, Falling Ceiling Cost Taxpayers

CB: Hawaii taxpayers are on the hook for almost $200,000 for lost dentures at a hospital, missing property at a prison, potholes damaging vehicles and a school ceiling falling on a student, among dozens of other small claims over the past year….

read … Its Your Money

Civil Beat: All Arguments against Assisted Suicide are Religious and Therefore Must be Disregarded

CB: “Aside from religious reasons — which should never be imposed by the government — opponents of physician-assisted suicide are running out of objections.”

Question: Are you this easily manipulated?

Reality: Meet the Insurance Executive Behind Assisted Suicide in Hawaii

read … Weasel Words

Assisted Suicide Won’t Necessarily Eliminate Lobbyist

CB: …Compassion & Choices, the nonprofit spearheading this movement in Hawaii, clearly knows the momentum is in its favor. Advocates are starting off 2017 with a full-court press, including lobbying for legislation, polling public opinion (which we of the suicide squad claim is greatly in favor), and suing the state.

But they also know that social issues like this advance when the personal becomes political, which is why they have partnered with longtime Hawaii lobbyist John Radcliffe.

Radcliffe has stepped up to talk about his battle against colon cancer, which has included 42 rounds of chemotherapy. Now that the cancer has spread to his liver and been deemed inoperable, Radcliffe wants his doctor, Charles Miller, to be able to prescribe life-ending medication to him without fear of prosecution.

Radcliffe perfectly illustrates the type of patient who could benefit from medical aid in dying. He is, as the legislation would stipulate, a mentally competent, terminally ill patient. Not knowing exactly what lies ahead of him, he wants to have a medication on hand that he could administer himself if the suffering becomes too unbearable.

Which is not to say he will necessarily take his own life….

read … Weasel Words

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