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Friday, May 12, 2017
May 12, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:46 PM :: 1470 Views

Cost of Living? $75,698 in Honolulu

Attorneys General to Feds: Let us Investigate Home Care Fraud

Trump administration chooses growth over Jones Act protectionism

10 Hawaii Towns Ranked for Socioeconomic Diversity

Hawaii Expats: There's No Place Like Home

Abortion Safety? Hawaii is 10th Worst Abuser

Eco-Cash: Dropout Raises $21M to Deploy Miles-Long Booms in Non-Existent ‘Garbage Patch’

PBS: Insights Grades Hawaii Legislature

Anti-Telescope Protesters Angered After OHA Wipes Out Delaying Tactic 

AP: A leader of a group of opponents trying to stop a giant telescope from being built on a Hawaii mountain said she is concerned they are at a disadvantage because they can't afford to pay for thousands of pages of transcripts.

Kealoha Pisciotta, on behalf of the Mauna Kea Anaina Hou group, filed a petition last week asking the state land board to put online transcripts of testimony spanning 44 days of hearings to determine whether the project should be granted a construction permit.

The petition said opponents need to cite details from the transcripts to meet a May 30 deadline to draft arguments that a hearings officer will consider in making a recommendation.

On Thursday, another group of opponents informed the hearing officer that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is helping get the transcripts and will make them available online to all the parties fighting the telescope, including Pisciotta's group.

"They should have conferred with us," Pisciotta said of the group, KAHEA: The Hawaiian Environmental Alliance. "That's not what we're asking for. We're asking for the transcripts to be free."

Court reporters must be paid for transcripts they produce, said Yuklin Aluli, an attorney representing KAHEA. "It was obvious to me we needed transcripts," she said, declining to disclose how much OHA is paying. "We've been trying to get it subsidized by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs from the outset."

The office, a semi-autonomous state agency tasked with improving the well-being of Native Hawaiians, did not immediately respond Friday to requests for comment about assisting with the transcripts.

"We are totally grateful for any assistance," Pisciotta said, "but it doesn't fix the problem."

If Pisciotta is unhappy, she can opt out of receiving a password to access the 10,000 pages of transcripts, Aluli said.

Quibbling over the transcripts is another tactic to delay a decision on the permit, lawyers representing Thirty Meter Telescope said in a case filing opposing Pisciotta's petition.

Flashback: Pisciotta Demands $50M ‘Rent’ for “Sacred’ Mountain

read … Busted

When It Comes To Native Hawaiian Affairs, Authoritarianism Is In Vogue

CB: …OHA’s crackdown on free speech, a list of rules threatening limits on the content of beneficiary concerns and other restrictions, were pronounced by Machado, just one month after she was voted in as chair, at the beginning of the April 6 meeting of the OHA Board of Trustees.

The public testimony rules at OHA include restricting beneficiaries from questioning board members and reading prepared testimony, and requiring that they fill out a form before providing testimony.

OHA typically streams video of its meetings and then posts the video online. However, OHA’s video of the April 6 meeting is conspicuously incomplete. Missing all of Machado’s announcement, it includes only the final minutes of the 90-minute meeting.

When beneficiaries turned out to protest the crackdown at OHA’s very next trustees meeting April 27, with signs reading “Don’t Silence the Lāhui” they were met with notably toned-down printed copies of the rules.

The new version eliminated the more offensive First Amendment infringement Machado pronounced April 6 that, “Community concerns not related to agenda items is allowable, but subject to the chair’s discretion.” Despite this pronouncement, the chair has no such discretion.

According to the 1983 U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in Perry Educ. Ass’n v. Perry Local Educators Ass’n, restrictions on speech at public meetings must be “content neutral.” In other words, barring a compelling state interest, you can’t place a prior restraint on what someone wants to say in a public meeting.

In explanation of the crackdown, Machado said she was taking action in response to a beneficiary concern raised at the previous month’s board meeting, calling for removal of Trustee Peter Apo; whose January sexual misconduct lawsuit settlement cost OHA (and its beneficiaries) $50,000.

Since the settlement, the case had led to two further lawsuits demanding Apo resign from his seat on the board and repay the $50,000.…

read … When It Comes To Native Hawaiian Affairs, Authoritarianism Is In Vogue

Sup’t: HSTA Whines About ‘Outsiders’ it Does not Own

SA: …As the Board of Education prepared to privately interview its two selected finalists for schools superintendent Thursday, community members and education groups complained to board members that the selection process was not transparent and lacked public input.

Others called on the board to reopen the search to consider local candidates….

Retired public school principal John Sosa, who is executive director of the Education Institute of Hawaii, said teachers and principals have asked his organization for information on the finalists, but “unfortunately, we have been unable to provide meaningful information due to the limited dialogue that has been made public.”

Corey Rosenlee, president of the 13,500-member Hawaii State Teachers Association, said the union couldn’t recommend either candidate. He said the union is disappointed that a local candidate or someone with strong Hawaii ties didn’t make the shortlist of finalists.

“We feel knowledge about our unique cultures and our statewide school system is important for our next superintendent to be effective,” he testified.

He added that the union would have liked to help interview the initial pool of eight semifinalists, whose names the board has not released….

(Advice to Chen and Kishimoto: You are just short-termers here until HSTA can maneuver one of its own into your job.  Negotiate for a Golden Parachute.)

DoE: Sup't Search

HI: Former Sacramento mayor reenters politics in Hawaii after dual scandals

read … Short Term, Golden Parachute

Backup power is latest project plagued by costly delays at Honolulu airport

HNN: …When Oahu went dark after the October 2006 earthquake, a lesson was learned: The airport was going to need a whole lot more backup if it ever happened again. And happen it did — an island-wide outage just two years later during the 2008 Christmas travel hustle when the airport delayed flights, kept incoming passengers on planes, barely humming with fractional power from an old backup generator system.

A multimillion-dollar, 10-megawatt standalone generation project — about eight times the old generator system — went out to bid.

It broke ground in 2011 and was to open by the fall of 2012 at a cost of $20 million, but Always Investigating uncovered it has yet to work just right and remains stuck in a testing loop. One test brought most of the airport to a screeching halt when regular power wouldn’t go back on.

The power plant is supposed to be revolutionary: four large generators in a concrete tower powered by on-site renewable biodiesel, exporting power right into the nearby HECO substation, switching on and off automatically without the airport missing a beat. But the state kept changing its mind about what exactly it needed built, the contractor got paid for wait-around time, tech and specs changed as the years went on.

We asked, who is to blame?

“I think in this particular case, the changes had to do in what we asked for,” Fuchigami said. “We found going through the testing there were some difficulties. We have to make sure this thing is functional, is what it is. We don’t want to put this thing online just for the sake of putting it online because of the fact we made a deadline. This has to work.”

We asked Fuchigami, what’s the glitch that it can’t just turn on automatically?

“It’s our project, but HECO’s (Hawaiian Electric) going to run it for us,” Fuchigami said, “and because of that we have to make sure all the specifications HECO requires are being met, all the testing HECO requires are being met, and I think that’s the biggest thing.”….

read … Backup power is latest project plagued by costly delays at Honolulu airport

State Budget Has Money for Union Contracts, but not Affordable Housing

SA: …the fate of three funding targets for which the governor had requested $50 million each:

>> The Rental Housing Trust Fund emerged from conference committee with $25 million.

>> The Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund, a key source for infrastructure costs, also ended up cut to $25 million.

>> The Hawaii Public Housing Authority fared even worse: down to $20 million.

“There was no other area of the budget that suffered that kind of cut,” Nakata said.

Two individual projects he hated to see zeroed out in the budget were a $35 million senior housing complex adjacent to HPHA headquarters and $15 million for a redevelopment of the Family Court Detention Facility on Alder Street….

Solution: Public-Private Partnerships: Study Examines New Options

read … Not Affordable

Developer of luxury condo threatens boycott over permitting snag

HNN: …In a rambling letter to Councilman Ikaika Anderson, Johnson Fang, developer of the proposed 26-story Hawaii City Plaza high-rise on Sheridan Street, accused the Windward lawmaker of being biased.

"We deem your racial remarks (have) violated federal law…and discriminated against Chinese-Americans," Fang said in the letter. "l will call on Chinese to not visit Hawaii... not to make investment or buy property in Hawaii."

Fang is referring to comments by Anderson last week where he said, "If you're looking to provide 25 rental units and then you're going to take 130 units to market in China, sir, I'm not interested in that quite frankly." ….

The council member also took offense to recent comments by Fang's son, Jay Fang, who said that most of Hawaii City Plaza's buyers won't ride the rail system at all, even though it's a transit-oriented development project.

Jay Fang told the council that the rail system is for "old people, unemployed people or someone who can't afford the expense of a private cars."…. 

read … Boycott

Caldwell Admin Plans to Make Traffic Even Worse

SA: …The manual represents the first significant update to our street design standards since 1976. … The Complete Streets program was established in 2016 to implement the recommendations in the manual and look at opportunities associated with projects that impact how people get around.

Planned repaving projects … present an opportunity to implement near-term multimodal changes throughout Oahu. Many pedestrian and bicycle safety modifications can be done through a change in pavement markings, thereby adding no cost to planned repaving projects.

We are coordinating with all departments to identify upcoming projects that present an opportunity to make incremental improvements to make streets more “complete.”

An example of this is the community-led effort is a recent roadway re-sizing along Kamehameha IV Road in Kalihi. This project resulted in a roadway that better delineated vehicular movements while providing dedicated space for cyclists to ride and a shorter distance for pedestrians to cross.

Several other roadways that have been redesigned with this roadway re-sizing concept include: Ala Napunani Street in Salt Lake, Kaonohi Street in Aiea, Lehua Avenue in Pearl City and Kupuohi Street in Village Park.

Elsewhere, we have been able to mark bike lanes by changing lane widths, for example, along Lusitana Street, Kupuna Loop and Alapai Street. The final pavement marking along these roads will be implemented over the next couple of months as a part of ongoing projects.

In addition, we are identifying roads that might require more substantial modifications, such as curb or sidewalk work, utilities, drainage or landscaping. … The first of the more substantial projects to be implemented through Complete Streets is in the Downtown/Chinatown area….

The goal is to establish a robust bike network in Honolulu. The Bike Network 2020 Map is available on the Complete Streets website….

read … Keep Traffic Jammed

Shelter-Refusing Drug Addicts to Be Cleared out of Kalihi

KITV: …"We had a situation where someone came up to our vehicle and tried to take my daughter out of the car," Tiffany Lizarus, a Kalihi Business Owner said.

That was the breaking point for Tiffany Lizarus.

Based in Kalihi for years, Lizarus is used to seeing homeless scattered around and in front of her business.

"I called the city council and all our resources we could possibly find and try to find a resolution. Something we could do to help our community," Lizarus said.

That resolution came in the form of Bill 13 signed by Mayor Caldwell Thursday morning, making it illegal for anyone to live on a sidewalk in the industrial area of Iwilei and Kalihi.

Spanning anywhere between Dillingham Boulevard to North King Street and Waiakamilo Drive to Kohou Street….

Monday morning alone, there were roughly 40 people lining the sidewalk behind the press conference….

"If they have mental health issues and remain in the hospital, many are stepping down into a different type of shelter. We have 2,000 for medically frail people. So really, there are options for people to get treatment as well," Connie Mitchell, IHS Executive Director said.

Honolulu Police says it will begin enforcement of the sit-lie by warning the homeless of potential violations.

After 30 days, citations might be handed out….

read … Clear Out

By June Marijuana Testing for Mold, Heavy Metals, Pesticides

HNN: Medical marijuana dispensaries have been allowed to grow plants in Hawaii since January, but until the state certifies labs that will be charged with testing it, patients remain clueless as to when they'll actually be able to obtain the drug.

The state health department requires dispensaries that grow marijuana to have labs verify a product's safety before it can be given to a patient. Officials say they expect to have all the marijuana testing labs certified by June.

"These are not like home pregnancy tests. These are multi-million dollar operations," said Chris Whelen, the Department of Health's Administrator for State Labs. "So its sophisticated analytical chemistry."

The labs will test the weed in a variety of areas – for everything from pesticides and mold to levels of heavy metals and overall potency – and each strain must be certified by the state in each area.

read … State hopes to have medical marijuana testing labs certified by June

Interview with Completely Typical and Average Punatic Behind Mauna Kea Vandalism

WHT: A Kalapana woman says she takes “full responsibility” for graffiti on Mauna Kea but denied defacing rocks.

The vandalism involved “stop bombing” and “stop D.U.” being spray-painted on rocks, a portable toilet and a paved parking area in reference to the U.S. Army’s Pohakuloa Training Area near the mountain….

Hope Cermelj, 64, who says she belongs to a sovereignty group known as the Lawful Hawaiian Government, acknowledged she spray-painted those words April 28 to protest the military training after hearing explosions while near the summit. But she only accepted responsibility for tagging asphalt or structures. Still, she said she acted alone.

“It wasn’t my spray paint,” said Cermelj, who is not Native Hawaiian, regarding the vandalized rocks. “I said I did everything except that one.” She didn’t offer another explanation other than “sneaky pilau.”

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources said in a press release that the rocks spray-painted with “stop bombing” were seen April 28 within the Mauna Kea Ice Age Natural Area Reserve, the same day Cermelj said she tagged those exact words on asphalt near one of the telescopes….

A Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officer cited her for prohibited activities within a natural area reserve earlier this week. Penalties include more than $1,000 in fines, up to a year in jail, or both. She said she is scheduled to appear June 22 in Waimea District Court.

Cermelj said she depends on Social Security and doesn’t have money to pay a fine. She said she would do the jail time or help remove the graffiti….

“You take an oath as a kingdom subject to follow the Hawaiian kingdom constitution that Queen Liliuokalani left us to get our country back,” she said. “I am still occupied.”

Cermelj, who moved to Hawaii from Alaska in 2008, said her “noble” placed her under house arrest, meaning she can’t leave the island, because of the vandalism.

She ran unsuccessfully for state House District 4 in 2012…..

read … Completely Typical and Average Punatic

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