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Monday, May 22, 2017
May 22, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 10:42 AM :: 799 Views

State Scores ‘F’ -- Balance Sheets Hide Retirement Debt

Skin in the Game?  5% Raise for Caldwell, 48 Other City Officials

CB: The Honolulu Salary Commission is recommending 5 percent raises for the mayor, police chief and other top city officials.

The commission’s recommendation will raise Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s salary to $173,184 and Fire Chief Manuel Neves’ to $185,112.   The new police chief is set to make $191,184.  Council members would have their salaries raised to $64,000.

The highest paid official on the list is the Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Christopher Happy. Under the new salary recommendations, Happy would make $288,000 annually.

In total, the new salaries for the 49 officials whose pay is set by the commission will cost the city about $7 million in the next fiscal year, a $336,000 increase from last year.

Unless the City Council rejects the recommendations, the new salaries will go into effect on July 1….

Usually a three-member panel makes recommendations to the full commission.  In the past year, two of the panel members, Gerald Takeuchi and Guy Tajiri, were appointed to the commission by Caldwell. Sakamoto, the current chair of the commission, was also appointed to the commission by the mayor…..

PDF: Raises

read … No Skin in the Game

SB410: Keith-Agaran Behind Bill Giving All Power to Unions

SA: …By passing Senate Bill 410, the Legislature has staked out a position that tips the balance toward the unions to a degree that works contrary to the public interest. Gov. David Ige should veto this bill and urge the stakeholders to resume work on a more reasonable clarification of language guiding collective bargaining in Hawaii.

SB 410 deals with “the allowable scope of collective bargaining negotiations regarding the rights and obligations of a public employer,” but several groups involved in those negotiations are rightly concerned that it goes too far.

It removes the reference to “a permissive subject of bargaining” in HRS Section 89-9. This, say the bill’s opponents, has the effect of making the full spectrum of topics a matter for negotiations and, thus, grievances by the public employee unions.

For their part, advocates for those unions argue that there’s no reason why any subject shouldn’t be on the table.

But it’s plain to most people who have watched labor relations in this state for any length of time that this would further complicate what’s already a monumental challenge: making government function more efficiently.

State Sen. Gilbert Keith-Agaran, who chairs the Committee on Judiciary and Labor, introduced the bill….

Coming to terms with the unions on this was a knotty process. If everything becomes a subject for a collective bargaining wrestling match, even less ambitious efficiency initiatives could easily founder….

SB410: Text, Status

read … Bill gives too wide leeway to unions

Fukumoto: Democrats are ‘Silly’

SA: …the 34-year-old now finds herself in “partisan purgatory,” as she told Chelsea Handler on her Nextflix talk show, “Chelsea,” which aired Friday….

“They have to make sure I fit and conform entirely with the Democratic platform, as a representative. And for me, I think that’s part of the concern about parties in general, right?” she told Handler. 

(How dare Democrats have a say in their own membership?  I am a member of the Smug Millennial Caucus and I am Entitled!)

“Like, nobody fits 100 percent into one box — as a Republican I was being called 100 percent to fit a box, and now I’m sort of stuck in this space trying to prove that I can fit into another box. But I think that is why millennials stopped wanting to participate in politics. It’s silly.”…

Oahu members of the Democratic Party could vote as early as June 24 on whether to accept Fukumoto, said Rich Halverson, chairman of the Oahu county committee, the county organization of the state’s Democratic Party.

“LGBT and even women’s issues, those are the biggest things,” said Mike Golojuch, Oahu’s District 42 chairman, which includes Kapolei….

(Golojuch’s son, convicted thief Michael ‘Bitchbear’ Golojuch, is also active in the Democratic Party and chairman of the party’s LGBT caucus.)…

Fukumoto’s record on other LGBT issues is also causing concern.

She indicated she would vote in favor of legislation that would allow religious organizations to prohibit the use of their facilities for same-sex marriages in a 2016 survey conducted by the Hawaii Family Forum, which supports conservative policies.

She also would not vote in favor of legislation supporting former President Barack Obama’s order instructing public schools to allow transgender students to use restroom facilities based on their sexual identity, according to the survey. Trump has since rescinded that guidance.

Fukumoto said that she seeks to protect all group’s rights, including those of religious groups, and that she hopes the Democratic Party won’t be too strict in determining her fitness for the party.

“I know for me, I watched a political party that I was a part of become increasingly rigid and narrow, and it hurt the party, and my biggest concern moving forward is that Democrats will go down that same path,” she said….

(Just now noticing this, eh?  She’s a bright one…)

Halverson, the Oahu Democratic Party committee chairman, said that if the vote on Fukumoto was taken a few weeks ago, she probably would not have been accepted into the party. He said a lot of the new party representatives came aboard because of their staunch opposition to Trump, and they are less flexible than the older members when it comes to party platform issues.

“They are not big-tent people,” he said. “In fact, if I say ‘big-tent people,’ that can offend them.”…

Best Comment: “Prima Donna princess. Argh.”

read … Fukumoto in hot seat to secure Democrats’ acceptance

Teacher burnout and low test scores

CB: What do you think about public education?:

“I think the students get what they pay for.” ….

“Is Hawaii the only state worse than___? Nice to have friends at the bottom.” ….

Public education, especially in Hawaii, has been hijacked by a narrative of low test scores, teacher burnout, low teacher pay, an absence of a dedicated revenue stream that leads to lack of funding, overcrowding, and outdated methods….

But public education is truly about triumphant communities rising up.  (IQ Test: Are you laughing?)

read … teacher burnout and low test scores

Elected Morons Talking up Homeless Tent Cities (again)

SA: …some state and city lawmakers on Oahu say the latest homeless census gives them a better idea of how to plan for possibilities that could include hygiene centers and even tent cities….

Councilman Ernie Martin represents the biggest Council district on the island, which runs from the upper Windward side and into Wahiawa, where the largest gains were reported.

He has long advocated for a hygiene center somewhere in his district where homeless people could take a shower and, perhaps more important, get connected to homeless services that could lead to treatment and possibly permanent housing.

“The numbers further support the need for hygiene centers and a diverse set of community-based solutions that address the need in every district,” Martin wrote in an email to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “What works in my Council district may not be applicable in another, which is why it is important to engage the community and ensure they are working with the city and all other stakeholders to address the situation in each district.”

State Rep. Marcus Oshiro (D, Wahiawa-Whitmore- Poamoho) said the 385 homeless people counted from Wahiawa to the North Shore amounted to a 74 percent increase because more volunteers, including half a dozen churches and nonprofit groups, did a much better job of counting the homeless over the five days that they went out morning to night in January….

On Wednesday a special city cleanup crew, backed by Honolulu police, enforced the city’s stored- property ordinance near the Waipahu Cultural Center and Plantation Village.

The crew collected more than 15 tons of trash and 17 cubic yards of metal, according to city spokesman Jesse Broder Van Dyke. A church and U.S. Vets went into the area ahead of the sweep and offered homeless services, Broder Van Dyke said….

“On the North Shore it’s a different story. There are some folks who moved to the islands from different states.”….

Reality: Homeless tent cities: Seattle’s decade-long nightmare coming to Honolulu?

read … Officials plot ways to help homeless

OHA Finds Excuse not to Post Telescope Transcripts – Delaying Tactic Restored

HTH: …Kealoha Pisciotta, a TMT opponent who participated in the hearing, said not providing electronic copies handicapped parties while preparing their proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, which are due May 30.  (And she is very happy to have an excuse for further delays)

To get their own copies, participants need to purchase transcripts from the court reporter at $1 per page.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources purchased five copies at $3,500 to distribute to the libraries for participants to use. The Land Board said that’s more than the agency is required to do.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs offered to provide a digital copy to project opponents but it was unclear Friday if that was made available. The Land Board said it had digital copies of seven of the 51 transcript volumes, which it provided to OHA.

Yuklin Aluli, an attorney representing the environmental group KAHEA, said Friday that OHA couldn’t purchase the transcript in time because of procurement rules, though an agency spokesman was not able to confirm that by deadline….  (And he is very happy that OHA didn’t blow their excuse.)

read … Antis Overjoyed

Papahanaumokuakea: Fishermen Push Back

SA: …The vast majority of public comments so far, including those specifically written in regard to Papa­hanaumokuakea, urge the Trump administration to keep the protections in place. Most of the comments have been submitted anonymously.

The review is reopening a political battle in Hawaii that was believed to be settled after former President Barack Obama made the decision last year to expand the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument by hundreds of thousands of square miles, protecting coral reefs and marine habitats from activities such as commercial fishing and mineral mining.

Prior to the decision, a parade of local political leaders, including former U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka and some members of the state Legislature, staged a rally to question the expanded environmental protections. Hawaii’s longline industry and the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, a quasi-governmental agency charged with helping manage Pacific fisheries, led efforts to prevent the expansion.

Since Trump’s election, Wespac has been pushing in recent months to have commercial fishing restored in the area, and supporters of the environmental protections are gearing up for a renewed fight.

read … Overreach

Elon Musk Needs Hawaii Electricity to Stay Expensive

WSJ: …Much of the nascent demand for batteries in the U.S. comes from energy-conscious homeowners who want to get off the grid and from those who live in states like Hawaii where electricity is expensive and local regulators have set restrictions on the sale of solar power back to the grid. That means homeowners who have solar power have to either consume it or store it.

“Even though you have the added expense of the battery, it is still less expensive to go this direction than stay on the grid and pay regular rates,” says Tim Johnston, owner of Hawaii Energy Smart, which sold 14 batteries in a five-week period earlier this year. Hawaiians pay more than double the average U.S. rate for electricity….

read … Home Batteries Aren’t Economical—Yet

Trial Lawyer Teams up with Anti-Pesticide Hypesters to Attack Pioneer

CB: …According to her (lawyer’s) complaint filed Friday, Shanell Grilho started working full-time for DuPont Pioneer on the North Shore of Oahu in December 2013. That’s when she was asked to start applying herbicides including Roundup, Liberty and Honcho.

“During the applications of herbicides, the PLAINTIFF (and other DUPONT PIONEER employees) was exposed to considerable amounts of air-born herbicide that covered her clothes, skin, eyes, and face, and which she ingested and inhaled because of the method of application,” the complaint says….

read … Trail Lawyers

Bizarre News: Scientist Explains Real Reason for Sea Level Rise

SA: …Meanwhile the Honolulu Harbor tide gauge recorded the highest daily mean water level since such measurements began 112 years ago.

Merrifield, an oceanography professor who is also director of UH’s Center for Coastal and Climate Science and Resilience, said a number of factors are contributing to the extreme tides and coastal flooding threats.

The ocean around the islands has been experiencing higher sea levels over the last couple of years as cyclical global influences have pushed a vast stretch of higher seas across the Pacific, he said.

Over the last 20 years, sea levels were rising faster in the western Pacific under the influence of strong tradewinds and other factors, Merrifield said. Now the trades are in a relaxing mode, and that glob of high water has switched back to the east.

“We’re in the middle of something that is going to take a while to resolve,” Merrifield said. “The sea level will go down eventually, but right now we’re in this high period.”

Merrifield’s Sea Level Center is predicting that elevated water levels are likely to linger at least through the summer.

In addition, large bulging ocean eddies have been slowly swirling in and around the islands, boosting sea levels even more at times, he said.

During these periods of higher-than-average sea levels, the normal high tides influenced by the gravitational pull of the moon become even more elevated.

If those high tides are the king tides — the highest tides that occur around the winter and summer solstices — sea levels that run up on our shores are that much higher.

“It’s a stacking problem,” he said. “When you’ve got high sea level and you add the eddy and then add the king tide, that’s when you start to get to a super elevation, a flooding elevation.”

But that’s not all. Summer is the season for sizable southern swells, and if one of those hit the islands at the same time as a super-size king tide, there could be extra flooding, damage and other hazards…..

Meanwhile: UH Announces Plan to Use Upcoming King Tides for Global Warming Propaganda

read … The Truth, Bizarrely Enough

Elections panel to mull 2014 complaint, case returns from Hawaii Supreme Court

HTH: In a case of justice grinding slowly but exceedingly fine, the Hawaii Island Board of Registration on Tuesday is scheduled to pick up a 2014 election dispute that first took a trip to the Hawaii Supreme Court.

The case, involving a candidate who ran unsuccessfully against then-Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille, is long past moot. Wille won the 2014 election, but then lost the 2016 election by 77 votes to current Kohala Councilman Tim Richards.

It’s nonetheless important because it sets the framework for future disputes about candidates and the election process, said Kapaau resident Lanric Hyland, who filed the complaint.

The Board of Registration, composed of residents Philip G. Matlage, David A. Yonan and Andrew A.T. Chun, is scheduled to meet at 1:45 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers in Hilo….

read … Moot?

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