HCDA Solar Project: Fraud, bribery and 23 Hawaiian sites
OHA LLC Rakes in $4.3 to $6.5M a Year
KHON: Waimea Valley … lost money when it closed for clean-up efforts. “We usually get about 800 to a thousand visitors every day and that could be anywhere from $12,000 to $18,000 a day,” Pezzulo said.
($12K x 365 = $4.3M $18K x 365 = $6.5M)
The estimated cost in property damage is anywhere from $15,000 to $100,000 and that doesn’t include the damage made on North Valley Road which is an access point for officials to get to their conservation work behind the waterfall.
Executive director Richard Pezzulo…Josie Hoh, botanical group manager…cultural programs manager Ah Lan Diamond….
He said they have flood insurance to cover some of the damage….
read … $4.3 to $6.5M a year
Conservation event funding is a mystery—Audit Quashed
SA: A state lawmaker says he has been unable get the Department of Land and Natural Resources to explain how $8 million in state funding was spent in support of the World Conservation Congress in Waikiki in September.
House Water and Land Committee Chairman Ryan Yamane said he was told a number of payments were made to local environmental groups that helped with the event, sponsored by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, but he has been unable to obtain any contracts or agreements specifying how the money was supposed to be used, or any reports detailing where the money went….
Even so, lawmakers authorized $8 million in state funds to be provided to a private organization called the World Conservation Congress National Host Committee to run the event, and Yamane said he is unaware of any other instance where the state provided millions of dollars to an outside organization without officially and publicly accounting for the money.
“We’ve heard a number of concerns regarding how there should be follow-up on how the money was spent,” said Yamane (D, Mililani- Waipio-Waikele). “Our position has always been, we’ve been asking for that information, the specifics of how the money was spent, how the contracts were determined, how these agreements were made.” ….
When he didn’t feel he was getting adequate answers, Yamane circulated a letter among key lawmakers in October asking the state auditor to conduct an audit to account for the $8 million.
House Speaker Joe Souki, former Senate Water Land and Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Gabbard and Yamane all signed the letter calling for the audit, but that effort stalled because Senate President Ron Kouchi refused to sign off on the audit request….
About nine foundations and private sources also contributed funding, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs spent another $400,000 on the effort, Case said, for a total of $10.64 million that was raised from all sources, she said….
Minutes from the July 15, 2015, meeting of the board of directors for the Host Committee noted that the organization planned to award 20 contracts for services and activities related to the convention by that fall for everything from interpreter services to a convention website.
Those contracts included one for registration and housing services to J. Spargo & Associates, and also with the Stryker Weiner & Yokota firm to handle public relations and help with the closing report for the convention.
Tanaka said grants funded with private money were also awarded to organizations to help with youth engagement, and also to the Hawaii Conservation Alliance to help encourage people from the neighbor islands to participate in the conference….
read … Conservation event funding is a mystery, official says
Na Hopena A’o program --helping students appreciate the “Hawaiian perspective.”
CB: The Na Hopena A’o program encourages new approaches to helping students appreciate the “Hawaiian perspective.”
…The Board of Education’s E-3 policy, also called Na Hopena A’o, outlines six values that both students and DOE employees should aspire to. The policy links local community organizations with public schools in an effort to infuse Hawaiian education and community service programs into public school curriculum.
“It’s founded on Hawaiian perspective,” says Dawn Kaui Sang, director of the Office of Hawaiian Education. “If everyone had access to that, then we could say that Hawaiian education is having an impact on every student and every staff member of the department.”
When Sang became the office’s first-ever director, she foresaw “revolutionary” change in the state’s public school system, especially in relation to how the system addresses Hawaiian education.
The Na Hopena A’o policy is a step in that direction.
Last year, Sang’s office began implementing a three-year pilot of the policy. Her office received a grant for almost $200,000 from the Center for Innovation in Education and Next Generation Learning Challenges to study its effects.
In February, 20 schools grouped into 16 regional teams made presentations on how they have chosen to implement the policy in public forums throughout the state.
The gatherings, called “HA Community Days,” took place at schools, beach park pavilions and local farms and fishponds.
The Office of Education is scheduled to give an update on Na Hopena A’o and other policies related to Hawaiian education at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the BOE meeting….
read … Brainwash
Kealoha’s Lawyer Whines about the Investigation
CB: “The chief has access to everything,” Breiner said….
Gerard Puana’s defense attorney, Alexander Silvert, warns that Breiner should not be so brazen about the federal investiation…..
“The fact that the investigation is taking so long is not a sign of the weakness of the investigation, but rather the depth and breadth of the corruption that’s being uncovered.”
Michael Wheat declined to be interviewed for this story. But the federal prosecutor, who has worked in the Justice Department for more than 30 years, has a reputation for winning convictions in complex, high-profile cases involving fraud and public corruption….
Although Berg doesn’t know the details of the Kealoha investigation, he said he’s skeptical of the criticisms coming out of Honolulu about Wheat’s approach. He said it’s often a defense attorney’s job to try to sway public perception in their client’s favor, especially in big cases.
Berg also doesn’t buy the suggestion that Wheat is trying to make a name for himself because — as his history of prosecutions shows — he’s already done that.
“I don’t know a prosecutor in that office that is more ethical than he is,” Berg said. “He’s not bringing a case just to take a couple free trips to Hawaii. He’s got plenty of work here. He doesn’t need to make it up. If he’s there working a case there’s a case. Trust me.”
Feb 9, 2017: After Chief’s Lawyer Taken off Her Defense, Accused Suddenly Starts Telling Stories About Crooked Cops and Prosecutors
read … Does The Justice Department Really Have A Case Against The Kealohas?
DoE Recruitment System Designed to Create Massive Turnover Problem
KGI: …Former Kauai teacher Jodi Kunimitsu, now on Maui, spoke candidly about how difficult high teacher-turnover is on students.
“The DOE needs to focus on retention rather than recruitment. I know we have a shortage, but if we focused on the teachers that we have, we wouldn’t have such a high turnover every year. I think a lot of people come to Hawaii not really knowing the realities of living here,” she said.
As head of a math department, Kunimitsu saw a lot of change among her staff.
“I remember about 14 teachers leaving over 10 years, and that was just in the math department alone,” she said. “We had a teacher who left after a month for a better paying job on the Mainland, then we had to find someone else to replace him, and he left after one semester, so he was there for three or four months. Then we had to hire a year-long sub. Those kids had three different teachers in one year.”
Hiring emergency replacements in this instance was difficult, since the teachers who were hired weren’t ready to teach.
“Many of these teachers aren’t certified. You’re constantly training these teachers to be teachers while they teach the children,” Kunimitsu said. “ It’s a mess. It’s a big mess.”
Kunimitsu agreed that the state should follow Arakaki’s line of thinking and encourage internal growth, producing local teachers rather than rely solely on Mainland recruitment.
“If the DOE continue to (recruit on the Mainland), we’re going to continue to have the same problems,” she said. “It’s a totally different culture here in Hawaii. If you don’t invest yourself in the community and learn about traditions and connect with the students, you’re going to have a hard time. Some of them do want to stay here and invest their time in the community, but it’s so much easier where they came from a lot of times, so they go back. And they have nothing to lose since their families are on the Mainland.”
read … HIDOE works to attract more teachers from Mainland, but retention remains a problem
Sunscreen: Hawaii Needs to Erect Buffer Zone Around Chemophobes
HTH: (Let’s just skip to the comments) Not everyone in the state using sunscreen is at the beach! Talk about arbitrary government regulation. This is eco-extremist tail wagging the dog.
Amazing--No junk-science is too crazy, too unproven cost-benefit, too impractical, too disruptive, too deceitful for the progressive-fascists to embrace, as long as
A) they get to force folks to stop doing a part of their daily lives they really feel is common sense & practical.
B) they can feel superior & smug based on their elite "knowledge" the little people don't appreciate.
We need a protective buffer zone around these folks, as we have a right to not let their diseased minds poison our families.
Just say no.
WHT: Several sunscreen bills blocked: 2 measures remain to limit compound linked to demise of reefs
read … Buffer Zone
Legislators: We’re Not Going to Reveal OUR Tax Returns—But We Want Trump’s
SA: Democrats who are unhappy with President Donald Trump’s refusal to publicly release his personal tax returns are advancing bills to force future candidates to release their returns if they hope to win Hawaii’s four electoral votes.
The Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee on Tuesday approved Senate Bill 150, which would legally prohibit Hawaii’s Electoral College electors from voting for any presidential or vice presidential candidates who fail to make their returns public.
House lawmakers gave preliminary approval Thursday to a nearly identical bill in a floor vote that prompted a warning from Republican Rep. Gene Ward about antagonizing the Trump administration.
“I would suggest … that we try to be a little more user-friendly with our administration, because we’re going to have the next four years if not eight years of the administration,” said Ward (R, Kalama Valley-Queen’s Gate-Hawaii Kai). “This is not going to go over very well in Washington, D.C.”
Federal courts have ruled that the qualifications for federal offices are set by the U.S. Constitution, and states may not add their own additional requirements.
SB 150 and House Bill 1581 attempt to skirt that issue, and would dictate that the electors who are responsible for casting Hawaii’s electoral votes are barred from voting for any presidential or vice presidential candidates who have not made their tax returns public. The state has the authority to impose requirements on the electors.
read … Hypocrisy
Civil Beat Finally Releases some Readership Stats
CB: I asked Editor Patti Epler for the statistics she tracks, and she said the Oahu-based site has about 200,000 unique visitors and 500,000 page views a month (or 2.4 million unique visitors and 6 million page views a year).
read … Who Really Knows?
House Bill 793 force parking lots to provide more space for EV charging
Big Q: Would you support a ban on polystyrene foam food containers?
Tourists seeking real Hawaii use ‘illegal’ vacation rentals
GOP’s tax plans could hurt Hawaii’s tourism-based economy (or not)
Supreme Court scraps case on transgender bathroom rights
Pod Squad: Politics And Judges, Hawaiian Style
Work furlough inmate arrested after failing to return to facility
After decades, Kam Swap Meet closes its gates for good
Science Fiction Electricity is Becoming a Reality
New Honolulu Housing Is For Artists Only
Save Our Surf opposes DLNR’s solution to fix Royal Hawaiian Groin
Mercury in Hawaiian bigeye, yellowfin tuna rising thanks to Chinese Coal