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Wednesday, March 22, 2017
March 22, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:50 PM :: 1847 Views

Omidyar Wins by Losing: Kauai Court Ruling Forces Farms to File EIS

Trustees Set to Vote on OHA Audit

Hawaii is in North Korea’s Crosshairs with no Real Defense

Supreme Court: IDEA Requires ‘Ambitious’ Education Plan for Disabled Children

Immigration: 9th Circuit Judge Warns Against ‘Judicial Psychoanalysis’

Travel Ban: Hawaii AG Presents Obama Judge With More Paperwork to Rubberstamp

Homeless Tent City: DLNR Removes ‘Tons of Debris’ from Diamond Head

Fukumoto Quits GOP: ‘Seeking Membership in Democratic Party’

SB1183: House Reinstates Massive Rail Tax Hike

KITV: The House Transportation committee has advanced the bill to extend the rail tax past 2022.  Chairman Henry Aquino reinserted inserted language that would extend the tax indefinitely….

Additional amendments allow the counties to enact the tax for their state highway projects.  Senate Bill 1183 now heads to the House Finance Committee for what is expected to be a tougher review….

SB1183: Text, Status 

SB1183: Rail Tax Hike, Skim is Back--for DOTAX and HIDOT

CB: House Restores Honolulu Rail Tax — For Now

read … State lawmakers play the "hokey pokey" with the rail tax

HSTA: No Private Organization (other than us) Should Influence Superintendent Selection Process

CB: …Hawaii State Teachers Association President Corey Rosenlee said at a Tuesday BOE meeting that the union was “deeply troubled” over recent events involving the search.

He pointed out that only one of the 12 members on the BOE’s search advisory group was a teacher — Sung Man Park, a Washington Middle School teacher. Elementary school, high school and special education teachers were not included in the search, Rosenlee said.  (This was not an issue until Galera flamed out.)

Given that Galera withdrew his application after funding was temporarily pulled, Rosenlee said the foundation holds too much power over the search’s outcome. He questioned whether the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation pulled funding because it disagreed with what Galera could have done as superintendent.  (HSTA would pull funding if Galera is not picked.)

The cost for the BOE to pay for the search on its own would be half the cost of what it takes to install a classroom air conditioner, Rosenlee told the board. (Dance with the devil.)

“Despite the foundation’s long record of funding public education initiatives, no private entity (other than HSTA) should be able to decide who the next superintendent will be by controlling the process’s purse strings (or electing a Governor),” Rosenlee said without laughing…. 

SA: New schools chief expected by June as search advances

read … Hypocrisy

Kauai Judge Sets Precedent for Obstruction of Agriculture

KE: Opponents of Hawaii Dairy Farm have succeeded not only in setting back that project, but dealing a serious blow to future livestock projects in the Islands.

In response to a motion for summary judgement filed by Kawailoa (Grand Hyatt) attorneys, a circuit court judge ruled yesterday that the dairy's effluent ponds qualify as wastewater treatment plants under HRS 343, and thus require the completion of an EIS before any permits can be issued.

So now the dairy is back to square one. And though this pilot project, bankrolled by billionaire Pierre Omidyar's Ulupono Initiative, can afford to finish the EIS it already started — when it still thought the process was voluntary — it sets a chilling precedent for future animal agriculture.

But HDF plans to appeal the ruling, according to a statement from spokeswoman Amy Hennessey, “because this dangerous precedent cannot stand if Hawaii hopes to spur new agricultural projects to meet its goal of providing more local food for our island community.”

Come on, Amy. Doncha know people are just saying they want more local food? But when it comes right down to it, not in their back yard. They'll take the stuff brought in by Costco, thank you very much.

Meanwhile, as Hawaii News Now reported recently:

The Department of Health says high levels of a harmful bacteria called Clostridium Perfringens -- an indicator of human and animal wastes -- were found during recent water testing in Waikomo Stream on Kauai's South Shore. The department says there are 1,600 cesspools and 120 injection wells in the Poipu area, and some of them are overflowing and polluting the stream.

But no, human beings and tourism aren't causing any pollution problems on the southside. Just agriculture. Funny how Surfrider and Bridget Hammerquist of Friends of Mahauelpu had nothing to say about this particular stream pollution, since it doesn't grind their anti-dairy ax.

Related: Omidyar Wins by Losing: Kauai Court Ruling Forces Farms to File EIS 

KGI: Learn from dairy on the Big Island

read … Kauai Eclectic

Hundreds Sign Petition Demanding Removal of ‘Criminal Vagrant Squatters’

WHT: (Skip 14 paragraphs of the usual bs stories from homeless drug addicts who refuse to accept shelter…. then…)

Meanwhile, as the outreach occurred Tuesday, residents were signing a petition on change.org created by local musician Bolo Rodrigues to “Save Old Airport, Maka’eo Beach Park before it’s too late” that will be delivered to Kim. It notes the park has been an important part of the community for decades and calls for officials to take action now to rid “criminal vagrant squatters,” which Rodrigues defines as different from “homeless.”

“It’s about bringing the community together. That’s what that the petition is about, bringing a voice for the community so that they know they have one and they can connect with the public officials and the community can become stronger,” Rodrigues said.

As of late Tuesday afternoon, three days since its creation, the petition had garnered 580 of the 1,000 needed signatures.

Sign Petition>>>HERE

read … Criminal Vagrant Squatters

After Years of HIDOT Bungling, Hawaiian Air Takes over Airport Project

SA: Years of delays in construction of a maintenance and cargo hangar for Hawaiian Airlines at Honolulu Airport have effectively stalled hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of other airport improvements, leaving the airline and the state in an expensive holding pattern until the hangar project can be completed.

Hawaiian Airlines CEO Mark Dunkerley said the maintenance and cargo facility is the “linchpin” in a series of Honolulu Airport improvements the state has estimated would cost $739 million, but much of that work cannot proceed until the hangar is finished.

Officials predicted in 2013 that components of the Honolulu Airport modernization would be completed next year, including a new mauka concourse next to the interisland terminal that would increase the number of boarding gates. However, Dunkerley now says he cannot guess when all of that work will be done, and described the delays as “appalling.” ….

The state acknowledges the work on the maintenance and cargo facility for Hawaiian went badly. The state Department of Transportation declared general contractor DCK Pacific Construction LLC in default of the contract to build the facility at the end of 2015 and terminated the company from the Hawaiian hangar job. Construction still has not resumed on the 280,000-square-foot structure.

Hawaiian Airlines has now taken control of the hangar project from the state, and Dunkerley said the airline hopes to complete construction next year. However, his inspectors have identified more than 3,500 “issues” with the structure that need to be resolved, about half of which are flaws in the unfinished building, he said.

“We find the work has been pretty shoddy, and there are deficiencies,” Dunkerley said. He cited one example of cooling equipment for a refrigerated portion of the cargo facility that was mounted on the wrong wall in a deviation from the building design.

Perhaps most alarming are significant cracks in the concrete flooring of the hangar that suggest the foundation of the building may be settling….

When Gov. Neil Abercrombie took office in 2010, he ordered a pause in the airport modernization plan for a review that delayed the initiative by “a couple of years,” Dunkerley said. In the end the Abercrombie administration concluded the modernization plan “is the only program that made sense, and therefore it had to go forward, essentially without change,” Dunkerley said….

The state signed a contract with DCK Pacific in 2010 for $73.43 million to build Hawaiian’s maintenance hangar. Work on the hangar picked up steam in 2013, but by mid-2015 it became clear something was wrong because the subcontractors were not on the job, Hawaiian executives said….

The state Department of Transportation and Hawaiian Airlines both support Senate Bill 658, which would create a new airport authority or airport corporation with a separate governing board to operate the airports…..

read … Incompetent

DOH fines DOA for illegal wastewater discharge in Halawa Stream

HNN: …The Hawaii State Department of Health has cited another state department, the Department of Agriculture, for unlawful discharge of animal and human wastewater from the DOA Halawa facility into Halawa Stream.

DOA is ordered to pay $465,000 and take corrective action to prevent future sewage discharges….  (Fewer ‘vacant positions for DoA—More ‘vacant positions’ for DoH.)

HNN: State to dispute fine for massive Halawa sewage spill that lasted 2 months

read … DOH fines DOA for illegal wastewater discharge in Halawa Stream

Massive 5% Raise for Caldwell and his Cronies

HNN: The city's salary commission is considering a five-percent raise for Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the members of his cabinet, as well as for Honolulu's fire chief, police chief and prosecutor….

"That is malfeasance, and you are giving him a five-percent pay increase," said David Smith, a retired engineer.

Rather than the full 5 percent raise, Caldwell's chief of staff suggested a cost-of-living raise of around 2 percent – though it wasn't because he felt the city's employees were undeserving. 

(Standard two-step: Get a 2% raise by acting like you are generously rejecting the 5%.  Who could possibly be fooled by this trick?)

"There is very little argument that the cabinet is underpaid when compared to their counterparts in the private sector," said Ray Soon. "They work awfully hard (at bs-ing you peasants)."

Caldwell's office also noted that a significant raise for top-level employees would make it difficult to complete contract negotiations for other city employees. 

(Translation: Union members should support these big fat raises so they can get one themselves.)

SA: Mayor’s chief of staff Ray Soon retiring

read … Massive Raise

HMSA payment overhaul could impact care quality

HNN: …Primary care physician Erlinda Cachola begins the new program on April 1 and is already worried her income could go down.

"If my reimbursements get lower, I don't know how to make up for it, because I have a fixed overhead," she said. "I cannot pay my staff less."

HMSA insists the new system, called payment transformation, is "an innovative way to support the relationship between patients and doctors" and "gives primary care doctors the freedom to practice how they want."

Scott McCaffrey, of the Hawaii Medical Association, says the focus on preventive medicine is good but fears some doctors won't accept sicker patients.

"We don't want a system to develop where doctors are penalized in some way by going the distance for the patient, no matter what goes wrong," McCaffrey said….

"There is extra work, printing these lists, calling these patients. There's extra documentation," Dr. Ireland said.

Physicians are also encouraged to handle some routine ailments without seeing the patient face-to-face, a practice Cachola fears could lead to malpractice lawsuits.

"They encourage telephone consultations or emails. I don't feel that is a very effective way of examining the patient and deciding what the patient needs," she said.

Next week, state lawmakers will discuss whether the State Insurance Commissioner should analyze HMSA'S new reimbursement method, now that the health insurer is now rolling out to more physicians….

read … HMSA payment overhaul could impact care quality

Incompetent DoE Meets Only 20% of Cool Schools Goal as Money Runs Out

KHON: The state has a goal to cool 1,000 classrooms by the end of last year.

On Tuesday, the Board of Education received an update on where things stand.

According to the Department of Education, 209 schools have air conditioners in the classroom, 139 had ceiling fans installed, and seven schools received electrical upgrades….

“The problem is once this $100 million is gone, what’s next?” Rosenlee said. “Because in a couple of months, what’s going to happen again is tens of thousands of children are going to classrooms that are in the 90s or 100 degrees….

read … State provides progress report on cooling classrooms

Trump policies could mean big boon for Hawaii fishermen

HNN: The debate over fishing regulations at the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument is heating up again.

The council that helps outline rules for fishing in the federally protected area says it wants to work with the Trump Administration to ease restrictions there, making it easy for Hawaii's fishermen to work in waters around the monument.

Environmental groups are demanding protections remain in place. Some are even calling for an investigation.

The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council – known as Wespac – is meeting at the Ala Moana Hotel through Thursday. One key issue being discussed is the development of new fishing regulations for the waters around the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

Wespac members say Hawaii's longline fishermen have been negatively impacted by the expansion of the national monument, with the fleet being forced to fish in high seas, in competition with other countries.

"We've shut out over half of our exclusive economic zone to our fisherman, and it doesn't make sense in an environment where we're importing fish to feed our own people," said Edwin Ebisui, the council's chair. "The administration has already telegraphed that it wants to streamline regulations and make sure regulations are productive by nature." 

Wespac says it was pleased to hear that the new U.S. Secretary of Commerce wants to balance the nation's seafood trade by increasing domestic production. Members say current fishing regulations for the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are doing more harm than good….

read … Boon

Honolulu judge sides with American Samoa fishermen over feds

SA: A federal judge in Honolulu has ruled that the decision to reduce the area off-limits to large vessels along the coast of American Samoa “is invalid,” clearing the way for exclusive access by local fishermen and small boats.

U.S. District Court Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi also ruled that National Marine Fishery Service’s change of the rule “was arbitrary and capricious.”

Fishing waters had been preserved for the local “alia” — or small boat — fishing fleet from the shoreline out to 50 miles since 2002. Last year, the National Marine Fishery Service reduced the large-vessel-protected area, or LVPA, to 12 miles from the shoreline, allowing vessels 50 feet and longer to net hauls once reserved for local fishermen.

The plaintiffs, through the American Samoa government, filed the lawsuit in March 2016 arguing that American Samoa’s cultural fishing rights are found in the two Deeds of Cession — the 1900 Deed of Cession for Tutuila and Aunu’u islands and the 1904 Deeds of Cession for Manu’a islands — with the U.S….

read … Tearing Down Obama’s Legacy

Financial Times: Will Hawaii ERS Cause Stock Market Crash?

FT: …On Wall Street, bad ideas rarely die. They often go into hibernation until resurrected in a new form. And portfolio insurance — a leading contributor to the 1987 “Black Monday” crash — is, for some, making a return to markets.

Institutional investors are allocating billions of dollars to “risk mitigation” or “crisis risk offset” programmes that are designed to act as a counterweight when markets are in turmoil. They mostly comprise long-maturity government bonds and trend-following hedge funds, which tend to do well when equities plummet.

But some analysts and fund managers worry that if taken to extremes, allocations to trend-following “commodity trading advisors” hedge funds, in particular, could play the same role as an investment concept called portfolio insurance did in 1987, when it was blamed for aggravating the worst US stock market collapse in history….

the technique became too popular, and on Black Monday it proved a diabolical machine, with many funds relentlessly selling index futures and options and perversely worsening the very crash it was supposed to protect against. By the time the closing bell rung out on the New York Stock Exchange, the S&P 500 was down over 20 per cent, the worst one-day drop in US history. “The problem with portfolio insurance was that it was programmatic, and caused a feedback loop,” says Richard Bookstaber, a former top risk officer at Moore Capital and Morgan Stanley, who now advises the University of California’s investment office on financial market dangers….

The Pension Consulting Alliance, a US consultancy, has emerged as a leading proseletyser for the trend, coining the term “crisis risk offset”. So far it has convinced about half a dozen of its 35 US pension fund clients to carve out money for a CRO programme, including the retirement plans in Rhode Island and Hawaii….

read … Rise in new form of ‘portfolio insurance’ sparks fears

Pew: Only Hawaii Has Eradicated Christians from Congressional Delegation 

PR: Only one state has no Christians in its congressional delegation. While 63% of adults in Hawaii are Christian, Hawaii’s delegation is made up of two Buddhists, one Hindu and one Jew.

read … Pew Research

Board and Care: We ‘Vote’ our Patients, so Legislators Better Shut Down our Competitors

CB: …House Bill 833, which never received a hearing, would have required adult family boarding homes and private homes that provide healthcare to the elderly or disabled to be licensed by the Department of Health.

It also would have established fines for operating an adult residential care home, adult family boarding home or private home that provides healthcare to elderly or disabled individuals who are unrelated to the caregiver family by blood, marriage, or adoption or hospice home without a license.

Mizuno also put forward a caregiver omnibus bill, House Bill 1510, that included a section aimed at illegal care facilities. It would have required any community-based care home or day care center providing healthcare to the elderly or disabled who are unrelated to the caregiver family to be “licensed or certified and subject to the purview of the department to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the individuals placed therein.”…

read … Votes

Jeff Stone Proposes 80 McMansions for Hanalei Ridge

SA: …Local resort developer Jeff Stone is proposing to build an 80-unit hotel complex along a ridge overlooking Hanalei Bay on Kauai after the founder of eBay failed to advance a bigger project on much of the same site four years ago.

Despite changes Stone has made, community opposition still exists over impacts to public view planes.

Stone announced Monday night his plans for what he has dubbed Princeville Lodge, and said the proposed $100 million project was designed with relatively low density that attempts to address community concerns raised against a 2012 plan by eBay’s billionaire founder Pierre Omidyar, who wanted to develop 86 bungalow hotel units and 34 residential house lots along with a restaurant, pool, spa and meetings rooms….

read … McMansions

High pesticide level spurs first recreational marijuana recall

AP: The Oregon Liquor Control Commission issued its first recall of recreational marijuana after samples of a type of pot were found to contain a level of pesticide residue above the state limit.

The Blue Magoo marijuana was sold at Buds 4 U in Mapleton, a community 45 miles west of Eugene, The Capital Press reported. The commission, which oversees retail sales of recreational pot, said people who bought the drug should return it to the retailer or throw it out.

The retailer notified the agency immediately after spotting the failed pesticide reading in the state’s cannabis tracking system, commission spokesman Mark Pettinger said. The shop sold the brand to 31 customers March 8-10….

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission said the samples failed a test for pyrethrin levels. They are a mixture of six chemicals that are toxic to insects, according to the National Pesticide Information Center based at Oregon State University.

Pyrethrins are found in some chrysanthemum flowers and can be used on organic products in some cases….

read … Anti-GMO Activists Favorite Weed, LOL!

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