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Saturday, May 27, 2017
May 27, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 10:16 AM :: 520 Views

Maui Hospital: The Little Engine That Could

US-built fish-boat needs congressional Jones Act waiver

Education leaders formalize Maunakea Scholars program

Waimea Valley: OHA’s $20M Secret

HNN: As it deals with infighting in the boardroom and a criminal investigation into its contract awards, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is facing new questions over the secrecy of some of its investments.

Since 2008, OHA has sunk about $20 million into purchasing, renovating and operating Waimea Valley, a poi mill on Kauai and other ventures.

But beneficiaries said they don't know enough about the investments. That's because OHA shields their records from the public by holding them in a separate nonprofit company, also known as a limited liability company or LLC, they said.

"This money could have been better spent" on social and educational programs for Hawaiians, said Germaine Meyers, an OHA beneficiary and Nanakuli homesteader.

OHA has repeated denied access to the Waimea Valley records when requested by local bloggers and beneficiaries, saying those records are not subject to the state's sunshine law nor are they subject to state procurement law because the nonprofits are separate entities….

one prominent legal expert said OHA is breaking the law by keeping the finances secret.

University of Hawaii law professor Randy Roth said OHA continues to own and control the nonprofits, indicating that they are state entities and not private ones.

"I believe very strongly that these LLCs are subject to procurement laws and public information and sunshine laws," said Roth.

Roth is not the only prominent critic. An ethics complaint from Hawaiian royalty descendant Abigail Kawananakoa accuses OHA of diverting and misusing assets meant for Hawaiian programs.

"You simply can't hide things by dropping them into a wholly-owned subsidiary," said Roth….

read …. Secrecy of OHA's $20M investment into Waimea Valley questioned

BoE: We Knew All About Kishimoto, And Picked Her Anyway

HTH: …A total of 92 applicants applied for her job. Several people criticized Kishimoto in written testimony pointing to her previous controversies and critiquing her lack of experience leading a system as large as Hawaii’s, and the lack of local candidates overall.

Hawaii Island BOE member Pat Bergin, part of the superintendent search committee, said Thursday the board is “very much aware of all the concerns raised” about Kishimoto and “we’ve completely vetted her.”

“We’ve researched every single complaint that came through,” Bergin said.

Bergin called Kishimoto an “innovator” who is hoped to take Hawaii’s school system “to another level.”

“I want to be really clear that’s not a criticism of the current superintendent,” Bergin said.  (KNOW THEM BY WHAT THEY DENY!) “I think she’s done an awesome job. But I think it’s time for some new perspectives on how we can do better for our children, and I think (Kishimoto) is … bringing a new perspective to how we might look at educating our children.  (We picked this drama queen to be the ‘new perspective’ because the HSTA wanted Matayoshi out.)

“Everything we’ve been hearing her say is very student-focused and supportive of teachers and she wants to do exactly what the board has been promoting.”

Kishimoto did not respond to a request for an interview….

Related: Sex, Lies, and Repetitious Badgering: Meet Hawaii’s New Superintendent of Schools

read … This is what they got rid of Matayoshi for

Arakawa to Run for LG to Save Rail from Ige

HNN: Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa announced on Friday he will be running for lieutenant governor in the November 2018 election.

He made the official announcement on Hawaii News Now Sunrise, saying that his political experience will bring significant change at the state level that the public hasn’t seen yet.

“I believe that the voters look at every department,” he said. “They’re going to see there’s very little leadership with the state, specifically with the governor’s office.”

He cited the Honolulu rail project as a specific example of Gov. David Ige’s lack of leadership.

“Look at the rail ... they came to an impasse,” Arakawa said, adding that the governor should’ve stepped in to come up with a solution after the Legislature failed to come to an agreement with how to fund the project.

“You have to complete the rail whether you like it or not because you’ve already invested so much of the taxpayers' dollars into it,” he said.

AP: Maui mayor Arakawa to run for lieutenant governor

read … Arakawa

Arkawa Would Have Easier Chance to Win Republican Nomination, Will Run as Democrat

MN: …Arakawa appears to be following the path of former Maui County Mayor Linda Lingle, who became governor on her second try, Mayer said. Lingle was Hawaii’s governor from 2002 to 2010; she served as Maui County mayor from 1991 to 1999.

Whether Arakawa can win the state’s second-highest office remains to be seen, Mayer said. He would have an easier time winning the lieutenant governor primary as a Republican (the primary winners in the lieutenant governor and governor races form the party ticket). His chances on the Democratic side depend on others who decide to run.

Arakawa has not had to declare a party affiliation in his runs for mayor because the race is nonpartisan. Though he ran as a Republican for Maui County Council, Arakawa said he will run as a Democrat in 2018….

read … Mayor announces intent to run for lieutenant governor

Rail Has Blood on its Hands, but the Right hand Doesn’t Know what the Left is Doing

SA: …Rail officials this week struggled to explain why they filed an eminent domain lawsuit against the island’s lone blood supplier but then told city leaders the next day that they didn’t have an update on the matter.

The city and Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation filed their Blood Bank of Hawaii suit in state Circuit Court on May 15 — the latest move in a dicey dispute over land needed to build the rail line outside of the blood bank’s Dillingham Boulevard offices.

The day after that filing, Councilman Ikaika Anderson asked HART for the latest on the blood bank situation during a public budget hearing. HART Interim Executive Director Krishniah Murthy responded that he wasn’t familiar with it, but could have someone follow up.

Hours after Murthy’s testimony, Anderson said, he learned through local media that HART had actually filed suit….

read … Bloody Mess

In Effort to Force New Stadium Deal, Aloha Stadium’s preventive maintenance costs are made to appear to climb

SA: …Five of the sections that make up nearly half of the orange seating area on the makai sideline are undergoing work to repair or mitigate corrosion. Steel from steps and seating areas is being replaced or patched, sandblasted and repainted, officials said.  (Wow.  A paint job!  What a concept!)

It is one of the most visible areas of the latest effort, this one with a $6.7 million price tag, (peanuts compared to price of new stadium) to keep the state’s largest entertainment facility functioning for the immediate future.

Keep in mind, however, these are not enhancements or upgrades to the 50,000-seat stadium. No bells and no whistles.  (Those will cost you $200M, or more.) The work has been classified as necessary “priority health and safety” repairs just to keep the place operating, the doors open and the attorney general from fielding claims.

“These are preventative so we don’t have a serious situation,” said Charles Vitale, stadium engineer.  (Translation: The Stadium is in good shape and we are keeping it that way.)

Last month the “Aloha Stadium Conceptual Redevelopment Report” claimed the stadium, “has served its useful life and is now a liability to fan experiences, a potential danger to public health and safety and a financial burden for maintenance and operations.”  (Translation: This is a sales pitch.)

Stadium manager Scott Chan has assured that, “We know it is an aging facility. It is (soon-to-be-43 years old). It needs a lot of tender loving care … but by no means is it unsafe.” Recurring structural inspections of the stadium have been recommended at two-year intervals, the industry standard for steel bridges and exterior structures, a consultant’s report says.  (You are supposed to be scared by this.)

Opened at a cost of $37 million in 1975, the tab for basic repairs long ago eclipsed the sticker price and will mount until its future is decided and acted upon.  ($37M in 1975 dollars = $168M today – see LINK)

And that could be a while….  (You mean, like…uh…Rail?)

read … Stadium’s preventive maintenance costs climb

Hu Honua: Biomess Energy Will Cause $813.60 HELCO Rate Hike

HTH: If Hu Honua Bioenergy’s long-delayed biomass power plant were to go online by the end of 2018, Hawaii Electric Light Company’s ratepayers would see increases in their electricity bills, according to an analysis HELCO filed Wednesday with the state Public Utilities Commission of a proposed power purchase agreement.

HELCO’s study used as its baseline the most recent power supply improvement plan, or PSIP, filed by HELCO in December, which includes how to gather 100 percent of energy from renewable sources such as solar, wind, water and biomass by 2045, a goal required by state law.

The computer simulation model used by the utility found the benefit-to-cost ratio of Hu Honua’s proposal is 0.9. A ratio of 1.0 or higher indicates the benefits exceed the cost.

The analysis found a consumer using 500 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month would initially experience a $5.31 bill increase in 2019. The increase would gradually decline, and by (if this crony-capitalist mess lasts until) 2037 customers’ bills would be 47 cents higher than in 2018. Starting in 2038, ratepayers would start to see monthly savings, and in 2048, the final year of the 30-year deal, the total monthly savings would be $5.76 a month (except the project will be long-dead and shuttered by then.)

The average ratepayer’s bill would increase an average of $2.26 per month over the 30-year contract period. ($2.26 x 12 x 30 = $813.60 cost per consumer—and that’s assuming this turkey really lasts until 2048.)

read … Rate Hikes Coming

DoH: Weed Sales May not be Profitable Enough to Sustain our Bloated Bureaucracy

PBN: The director of the Hawaii State Department of Health said she has charged her team with the task of determining additional revenue streams for the state’s medical marijuana program.

“We have adequate funding at the moment,” said Hawaii DOH Director Virginia Pressler, adding the program has been running off of the funds it has received from applications, licensing and renewals, it’s only sources of revenue.

The program collected around $330,000 from the approximately 66 applicants it received last year, the department said. Each applicant had to pay $5,000 to apply for a medical marijuana dispensary license.

After the state selected eight applicants, each was given a week to submit a $75,000 license fee in order to complete the licensing process, and just last month, the dispensaries had to renew their licenses for $50,000.

In total, the state has collected around $1.3 million, which it uses to run the program. But Pressler said the department will need to come up with additional revenue sources going forward.

House Bill 1488 delayed the date that the DOH can begin awarding more dispensary licenses from October this year to October 2018. That leaves the department with a significant gap before it can begin collecting additional revenue from application and initial license fees….

read … Hawaii DOH to look at additional revenue sources to sustain medical marijuana dispensary program

DLNR Raids Kalalau Homeless Camp: Marijuana, Crossbow, and a Pizza Oven Confiscated

KGI: A three-day sweep in the Kalalau Valley this week led to 11 arrests — and the discovery that for some there, life included all the comforts of home.

One camp had a pizza oven, an enclosure with a queen-sized bed, what appeared to be an alcohol still, and an extensive system of solar- and battery-powered lights for its marijuana-growing operation.

That camp is where squatters had recently posted a web video depicting a party, said officials with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement.

Squatters also cleared native trees to build shelters and created water diversions to grow cannabis and other plants, according to the state.

The water diversions appear to have been made by using pieces of archaeological sites.

“People are modifying heiau for modern-day purposes,” said Curt Cottrell of the DLNR Division of State Parks. “We need to protect our historic culture in Kalalau Valley.”

A 20-year-old man, who could not produce identification, was handcuffed and flown out of the park and booked on charges at the Kauai Police Department.

That brings the total to 28 people arrested so far in May for failing to have permits required to travel anywhere past the two-mile marker on the Kalalau Trail.

So far this week, officials have disbanded 12 camps in the Kalalau Valley and, as of Friday afternoon, spotted a few more and planned to remove them.

At one camp they confiscated an illegal crossbow.

SA: 40 Wahiawa Homeless Come out for Free Food

read … Drug Addicts Refusing Shelter

Jacobins: ‘Tulsi Gabbard Is Not Your Friend’

JM:Tulsi Gabbard is hailed as a progressive champion. But her views on Islam and support for far-right leaders suggest otherwise…..

BuzzFeed: Portland White Supremacist ‘Was Passionate Bernie Sanders Supporter’

read … No Friend

Global Warmers Disappointed: King Tides ‘Not Dramatic’

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