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Friday, February 24, 2017
February 24, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:33 PM :: 1920 Views

532 Candidates for Honolulu Neighborhood Board

SB898: Anti-Gun Legislation Passes Committee

SB1137: Return Control of HMSA to its Members

Honolulu Most Unaffordable State Capital

HB462: Billion Dollar Scheme to Place Prisoners Back under Control of Corrupt, Expensive UPW-Controlled Prisons

HNN: …lawmakers are looking to solve the issue with one big project in Central Oahu.

"What we're proposing in this bill would (be to) build a correctional facility that's large enough to take inmates that we have in Arizona plus the inmates we have at Halawa prison now, combine them in one facility and move OCCC inmates into the vacated Halawa prison," said state Rep. Gregg Takayama, whose district includes Pearl City, Waimalu and Pacific Palisades.

Takayama said the plan would allow the state to stop shelling out $50 million a year to keep prisoners on the mainland.  (Yes, we could shell out $100M a year to keep them here with the UPW.) 

The 3,000 bed maximum-security penitentiary would be built right next to Waiawa Correctional facility.

For the first time Thursday, state prison director Nolan Espinda said he fully supports the plan.

When asked how much it would cost, he replied, "I wouldn't venture a guess."

State Rep. Ryan Yamane said because the site is remote, it would need big utility upgrades. That could bump up the price tag into the billions, he said.

And, he said, that's not the only issue he has with the idea.

"There is a lack of information being shared with the community," he said. "This measure allows the suspension of the environmental impact statement and the current process that public safety has been going through in finding another selection site."

Takayama said there will be an environmental impact statement and public input.

read … Billion Dollars for UPW, Inc

Tuition: Packed with Administrators, UH Now More Expensive than Mainland Schools

KHON: Lawmakers want to block the University of Hawaii from making future tuition hikes, saying rising tuition at the state's only public university system is becoming unbearable for Hawaii's families.

"Higher education is slowly becoming out of their reach. One of the reasons we're seeing the decline in enrollment is the tuition rates," said State Sen. Kai Kahele.

Kahele, the Chair of the Senate Committee on Higher Education, says he's a proud product of the University of Hawaii system, but the rise in tuition has created a huge financial burden on students and their parents. He says he's gotten hundreds of letters from people across the state pleading for help, including one mother on Kauai.

"It was cheaper for her daughter to go to a Western University Exchange (WUE) college on the mainland than stay here home here in Hawaii," Kahele said….

The Board of Regents recently approved tuition increases for the next three years. By academic year 2019-2020, Hawaii students will be paying $11,304 a year to attend UH Manoa, while nonresidents will have to pay $33,336 -- not including housing, meals, books, or other expenses.

Senator Kahele originally wanted to cap tuition for ten years, but to keep discussion going, the proposal now doesn't specify how long the cap would last. UH officials say a moratorium of any kind of tuition hikes would be damaging (to the propagation of their species).

read … Padded Administrative Rolls and Golden Parachutes are Expensive

Taxi companies accuse Uber, Lyft of not paying $20M GE Taxes

HNN: Two measures moving through the state legislature would require both taxi and ridesharing drivers to display general excise tax certificates in their cars, an effort to force drivers on both sides to pay the tax.

"The state is missing out on a lot of income, they may be missing out on ten to twenty million dollars," said Dale Evans, president of Charley's Taxi….

In Hawaii, most companies pay general excise taxes on the revenues they generate. In the case of Uber, the company shifts much of that burden onto its drivers.

The rideshare companies say that policy is in place because drivers are independent contractors, leaving it up to the drivers to pay the tax.

But state records, Evans says, show they rarely pay up. She checked lists of rideshare drivers against state records, finding few that even had excise tax licenses.

"We know from what the drivers are talking about among themselves that they said they're not paying, that they don't have to pay," Evans said.

read … Taxi companies accuse Uber, Lyft of not paying millions in excise taxes

Uneducated Schatz Pushing DHHL to Build Rentals, not Leaseholds

CB: The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands didn’t produce any new (rental) housing units for Native Hawaiians last fiscal year, even though it has $38 million in unspent federal funds….

The governor’s chief of staff, Mike McCartney, replied earlier this month that no new units were completed in fiscal year 2016. But he said the agency made more than 400 lots available for homesteading that year — pieces of land with enough infrastructure for recipients to build a house.

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands also assisted more than 300 families in fiscal year 2016 by providing loans and other homeowner services, which McCartney described as “workshop and case management services to prepare beneficiaries financially for homeownership or to assist existing lessees with preventing cancellation of their leases for mortgage default.” ….

“I was disappointed in the extreme to learn that they built no (rental) homes last year,” U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz said Thursday. “It makes it extremely difficult when I’m fighting for federal funds to know that they haven’t built anything.”….

“We have tried to do everything as expeditiously as possible given the resources that we do have,” she said. “I guess we have to do a better job of educating the senator of what our program does and does well.”

For Schatz, learning more about homestead lots isn’t the answer.

“That’s always been part of their process but when it comes to trying to make a real dent in a massive waiting list of more than 20,000 beneficiaries, and when it comes to making a dent in our affordable housing problem, providing infrastructure for a handful of large homestead lots is maybe part of the strategy but it can’t be all they do,” Schatz said.

read … DHHL

Team Ige Superintendent Questionnaire Designed to support whatever the decision-makers have already decided

Cataluna:  …Lots of words that might be summed up under the old favorite “Works well with others.”

Absent from the list, though, are some of the more common credentials by which the head of Hawaii schools is judged: Did that person graduate from public school? Did that person send their kids to public school? Was that person ever a teacher? Can that person give a speech at a school assembly that won’t bore the snot out of the children or make the teachers roll their eyes? Can that person handle herself during classroom visits with wiggly, excited children? Is that person good with irate parents? Can that person make nice with power brokers in the Legislature without being a total tool? Can that person sit through grueling meetings and still maintain a clear mind and a sense of perspective? Does that person have a past that is free of scandal and a current lifestyle and family structure that is unencumbered by ties to big money, big power or big trouble? Can that person get along with Team Ige and its very specific ideas of how the schools should be run?

The solicitation of public comment by the Board of Education runs the risk of feeling like so many de rigueur “public engagement” exercises of the modern era, where stakeholders are consulted as a courtesy, and responses are interpreted to support whatever the decision-makers have already decided.

It also seems odd that the questions would be about a person’s characteristics and not his or her qualifications or stakeholders’ priorities for the direction of Hawaii’s public schools. Characteristics are hard to quantify.

The last question on the survey is open-ended: If you have any additional characteristics or would like to provide comments, there is a space for you to do that. Taken at face value, it’s an opportunity for the community to have a say, which is nice since the community did not have a say in what happened to the current superintendent, which necessitated this search process in the first place….

read … Cataluna

How the military impacts rent prices in Hawaii

KITV: Based on the state's latest data, Hawaii has about 450,000 homes.

A little more than 194,000 of those are rentals.    

Real estate analyst Rick Cassiday estimates the military occupies between 10,000-to-20,000 of those units.

"In general, the impact of 5-to-10 percent. That's a significant amount of units in the aggregate," Cassiday said.

At Schofield Barracks, the Army keeps most of its soldiers on base.

The Army has 8,000 homes here, 5,000 of those are new.

"In the continental U.S., typically you see about a 30-to-35 percent on post housing community where as in Hawaii, it is understood that the local economy doesn't have the housing market to support the military members. Therefore, it's flip flopped to about 60-to-65 percent on post," Joey Sanchez, U.S. Army Garrison, Hawaii Housing Division Chief said.

The Army says it's tasked with making sure the local housing market isn't burdened.

It analyzes the market every several years to find out how much housing on post it needs to support it's community….

Every year the market is analyzed to determine the government's basic allowance for housing or BAH given to service members to cover their rent and utilities.

Those funds range from about $2000-$4000.

A Kaneohe home going for $3,300, its owner telling KITV he prefers military….

read … Rental Market

Wind Farm Asks permission to Murder More Bats, Nene

IM: The current issue of Environment Hawai`i has a story, “Bats vs. Blades: A Quixotic Struggle”: “Despite the laudable result of boosting renewable energy production, the proliferation of wind farms in Hawai‘i — and the resulting spike in estimated deaths of the Hawaiian hoary bat — is something some are beginning to view with concern, if not outright hostility.”

The Office of Environmental Quality Control (OEQC) published its Environmental Bulletin on February 23, 2017. The document included a description of the Kaheawa Wind Power II Environmental Impact Statement Preparation Notice (KWP II EISPN)

The 21-megawatt Kaheawa Wind Power II generation facility is located on conservation land mauka of Ma'alaea on Maui, Hawai'i. The facility has an existing Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and an existing Incidental Take Permit & Incidental

Take License (ITL) which was issued in 2012.

The applicant consulted the Hawai`i Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR)Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAR) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USF&W)during the preparation of this EISPN.

The proposed amendment would allow for an increase in bat deaths from 11 to 62 and nēnē deaths from 30 to 48 adults during the remaining 20-year permit that was issued in 2012.

Comments are due by March 28, 2017….

SA: State might let wind farm kill more bats

read … Maui Wind Facility Seeks Higher Killing Rates for Bats and Nēnē

Star-Adv: Because Trump is President We Should Screw Agriculture

SA: Several months ago, farmers and others in agricultural circles were (not) bracing for an expected federal ban on use of chlorpyrifos — a widely used insecticide — on all food crops (but the anti-ag hysterics want you to believe this as the starting point for the rest of this bs editorial).

But that was before Donald Trump was ushered into the White House as our 45th president (sure blame Trump already).

His administration has already suspended some 30 (pseudo-)environmental regulations issued under President Barack Obama. More dismantling is expected now that Trump’s pick, Scott Pruitt, a longtime legal opponent of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is leading the agency (thus stifling the voices of hysteria and nonsense).

In Hawaii, where the spraying of restricted-use pesticides, including chlorpyrifos, is a contentious and emotionally charged hysterical issue, state Rep. Richard Creagan has pushed the protection effort further by introducing House Bill 253, which would ban all chlorpyrifos use in the islands. Last week, the measure was referred to the House Consumer Protection and Commerce Committee, where it deserves a hearing (not)….

In written testimony, the state Department of Agriculture said since the EPA, which has regulation expertise, is not poised to make an “across-the-board ban,” then neither should the state.  (In other words, the premise of this editorial is pure bs.) The state licenses 25 pesticide products containing chlorpyrifos, 13 of which have food uses. The remaining dozen are used in tree plantations, nurseries, golf courses, and in ant and roach baits sold in child-resistant packaging.

Some farm-focused groups argue that any state ban in advance of federal action would be costly. Local farmers would be forced to pour time and money into other pest-control options, giving mainland farmers still using chlorpyrifos an economic advantage….  (But if we can  make you believe federal inaction is just Trump then we can talk you into anything.)

read … Blame Trump Already

Agnotology: The Study of Anti-GMO Activism

KE: I learned a new word the other day: agnotology, the study of ignorance. Or more specifically, “willful acts to spread confusion and deceit,” often through false or misleading scientific studies.

It's certainly relevant in these days of “alternative facts,” when beliefs and feelings are given the same credence as facts, and misinformed citizens (and their elected officials) gain equal standing with experts.

But what's really disturbing is seeing 10 politicians — Kauai Councilman Mason Chock, Maui Councilmembers Elle Cochran, Alika Atay, Kelly King and Don Guzman; and Hawaii Councilmembers Jennifer Ruggles, Maile David, Karen Eoff, Valerie Poindexter and Eileen O'Hara — engage in this intentional, willful deceit of the people they are pledged to represent.

These 10 elected officials today used the commentary section of Civil Beat to outright lie, claiming Hawaii's “most vulnerable” citizens are being exposed to agricultural pesticide drift and that the state has ignored Joint Fact Finding recommendations on soil and water sampling. Neither is true. There is no evidence anyone is being exposed to drift, and the state has launched environmental studies to monitor for pesticides.

Then they intentionally sought to confuse by saying that air sampling has consistently detected the pesticide chlorpyrifos at Waimea Middle Canyon School, without mentioning the levels were "well below health concern exposure limits or applicable screening levels" and the chemicals present in stinkweed were found, too. They went on to claim that chlorpyrifos caused the hospitalization of 10 farmworkers last year, without also noting that not one of the workers was actually injured. Instead, they were taken to the hospital solely for observation.

They further sought to deliberately confuse by saying “27 schools in Hawaii are within 1 mile of open agrochemical research fields where large amounts of RUPs are sprayed,” while conveniently failing to note that these fields haven't caused one school evacuation, or a single case of student pesticide exposure.

But these 10 politicians save their biggest lie to bolster their call for statewide buffer zones and mandatory pesticide disclosure:

This can be done without burdening small farmers or food producers, because most food farmers do not use high levels of RUPs.”

Wrong. These demands burden small farmers most of all. Though the seed companies and other large operators may have the land, personnel and revenue to comply with such requirements, small farmers do not. These measures, which are totally unwarranted, will seriously harm Island agriculture, which is already struggling to survive.

read … Agnotology

HB1518: Block ‘Vexatious’ UIPA Requests

AP: …The Office of Information Practices, which handles disputes over records requests, could declare someone "vexatious" if they found that the requester "made requests in bad faith or with the intent to be a nuisance" or "made requests that were duplicative, repetitive, or substantially similar, after the agency responded to the initial request." It would be up to the state agency that seeks to have someone deemed "vexatious" to prove it.

Under the bill, HB1518, once a person is deemed "vexatious," the state could restrict their rights to request records for up to two years. The state has to notify the person before making the designation and the bill also sets up an appeal process for the record requester.

The proposal sailed through the House Committee on Finance Wednesday after a two-minute hearing. Its next stop is the full House for a vote.

The Hawaii Health Services Corporation supported the proposal because it has experience with a few people who used the records law to "abuse and harass" public employees, said Chief Operating Officer Anne Lopez in written testimony.

Several state offices including the University of Hawaii wrote in to support the measure, saying there's a need for balance between the public's rights and the time spent responding to record requests.

Brian Black of the Civil Beat Center for Law in the Public Interest opposed the bill, saying it "strips citizens of the fundamental right to access public records without adequate due process." He said "applying the 'vexatious' label to frequent requesters to those departments would seem politically motivated to silence the news media and community advocates, not protect agency efficiency."

Black said the most frequent record requests to the University of Hawaii came from the news media. "It is abhorrent to the principles of informed citizenry in our democracy that any of these frequent requesters would be stripped of their right to access public records," Black said.

Some departments have had numerous requests from the same individual over and over again, which is different than members of the media requesting records, said Rep. Sylvia Luke, chairwoman of the Finance Committee, after the hearing….

HB1518: Text, Status

read … Vexatious

SB7: Use Medicaid funds to house homeless

HTH: Legislation that would classify chronic homelessness as a medical condition and allow the state to pull from its $2 billion annual Medicaid fund to house those who qualify is on its way to a vote on the floor of the state Senate.

SB 7, introduced by Sen. Josh Green, D-Kona and Ka‘u, navigated its way through Senate committees on Human Services as well as Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health earlier this month. It cleared the Ways and Means Committee Thursday.

Through consideration by three committees, the legislation has yet to receive a “no” vote. Members of the Senate are expected to vote on the bill after its third reading March 2. If it passes, it will move to the House for further consideration.

“This bill is part of the larger effort to dramatically reduce homelessness in Hawaii and better use Medicaid resources,” said Green, who is also a physician.

“When chronically homeless individuals receive housing, their Medicaid health care costs drop 43 percent, which could result in millions of dollars of savings against our current $2 billion annual Medicaid budget. Meanwhile, fewer families will be suffering.”

Green said there are currently 362,000 Medicaid beneficiaries in Hawaii, adding roughly 3.6 percent of them are consuming 60 percent of the Medicaid budget.

In other words, around 15,000 of Hawaii’s most vulnerable citizens — people struggling with chronic disease and drug addiction, many of whom are also homeless — are eating up $1.2 billion of Hawaii’s annual Medicaid fund.

By his projections, Green said he believes the state could save $300 million every year by addressing the root cause of many of the medical problems these people face. That starts, he said, by providing them shelter….

Rep. Bob McDermott — a Republican and member of the House Committee on Housing who represents Ewa, Ewa Beach, Ewa Gentry and Iroquois Point — described Green’s legislation as “twisting words around.”

He added that the universal classification of homelessness as a medical condition is not only inaccurate, but does a disservice to some members of the homeless community.

“You have got to have some integrity in the laws you pass. Words mean things,” McDermott said. “There is a population of homeless (for whom) it is clearly a medical condition — the substance abusers and the mentally ill — but other than that, it seems to be a stretch. To classify everyone else (that way) would seem like just a money grab. It’s very creative, though. I give him credit for creativity.”

read … Senate to vote on bill allowing use of Medicaid funds to house Hawaii’s homeless

Security Guard Loses Finger in Fight with Homeless Drunk

HNN: …Tisha Kahaleauki-Souza said she was at work when she got a phone call saying her mother had been was attacked. Kahaleauki-Souza immediately rushed to the hospital.

"I walked into the room and I saw her finger and it wasn't even there. I didn't even know what to say. Her face, her eyes were closed. She was clenching her teeth so bad…she was in so much pain, extricating pain, and all I saw was blood. I couldn't even see her finger. I just saw blood,” Kahaleauki-Souza said.

It all started around 9:15 p.m. Wednesday when a manager at the Maui Mall Wendy's called security for help with the homeless man. The manager said he was hostile, intoxicated, and refusing to leave.

"He don't wanna go out and he's making a mess and I think he's drinking some bottles…and after that the security guard came in and I think she's trying to push him outside and he don't want to go outside," Catherine Lorenzo said.

A spokesperson for Maui Mall said the man punched the security officer in her head twice before chomping down on her left ring finger. About half an inch of her fingertip was ripped off. Doctors were unable to reattach it. The security officer was Kahaleauki-Souza's mother.

"How can a human do that to another human…I want him in jail,” said Kahaleauki-Souza.

Kahaleauki-Souza said she and her mother spotted Hand walking down East Wakea Avenue and Hukilike Street in Kahului around 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday. Kahaleauki-Souza started video-taping as she called police and kept rolling as they took Hand into custody….

read … Assault

NYT: Hawaii is #2 for Teenage Trannies

NYT: …Proportionally, however, Hawaii and West Virginia took the lead, with about 1 in 100 teenagers from 13 to 17 estimated to be transgender. In Connecticut and Iowa, the transgender share of that age group was projected to be much smaller, about 1 in 250. 

(IQ test Pass or Fail: Do you believe the number is this high?)

The analysis, an extrapolation (uh-huh) based on adult responses to a federal survey, represents an indirect (yep) way of arriving at a figure that many advocates consider to be of crucial importance (ie useful to get more trannies in more bathrooms everywhere).

”It’s not about what your gut tells you, it’s not about what the news last night told you, it’s not about what you think you might have gathered from looking at a couple of internet websites,” said Kellan Baker, a senior fellow at the liberal Center for American Progress who specializes in L.G.B.T. and health issues. “It’s about what do (sic) the (fake) data actually say, so that we can target resources (lobbying) where they will do the most good (trannies).”….

(Question: Who is molesting all these underage trannies?) 

read … Trannies Everywhere

Star-Adv Gives Eric Ryan Space to Rant About Fukumoto

SA:  Skip Ryan and just go to the Best Comment: “Given that Ms Fukumoto voted against Marriage Equality, against helping the victims of rape, and pushed bills asking for religious freedom which are actually a way to exclude gays from the community, it is hard to understand why she is a RINO. What is true is if she becomes a Democrat she will be a DINO.” – former Rep Marliyn B Lee

read … Rambling Nonsense

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