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Friday, June 30, 2017
June 30, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:33 PM :: 1933 Views

Travel Ban: AG Chin Asks Obama Judge to Redefine Supreme Court Ruling, Let More Muslims In

Video: Roth vs Anderson on GE Tax Hike

APL to inaugurate new foreign flag Asia / Hawaii container service in August

UH Law School Looks at Sharing Economy

Matson Strike ‘Unlikely’

Hawaii Visitor Spending up 8.7% in May 2017

SB410: Public union power grab goes too far

OHA Announces $6M in Grants

Institute for Astronomy celebrates 50 years of discovery

Micronesia: US Officials Lift Suspension on Compact Public Infrastructure Grant Funding

Kim: Trade Telescope Approval for OHA Control of Mauna Kea

HTH: …“I thought what the world needs now is a template, a template of hope,” Kim said. “… Give us a place of hope. I think the people of Hawaii and the mountain of Mauna Kea could be that.”

For all of that to come together, he suggested there needs to be a new governing body for Hawaii’s tallest peak — sacred to Hawaiians and prized by astronomers — with OHA playing a strong role.

Most of the mountain, which is home to 13 telescopes and the site of the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope, is managed by the University of Hawaii through the Office of Mauna Kea Management under a master lease with the state.

“You were wronged,” Kim told the trustees. “The university did a poor job of management. We all need to get better. I felt Mauna Kea could be an international monument for the aboriginal people of Australia, for the indigenous people all over the world.”

Kim, who has said he supports the TMT project, which some Hawaiians strongly oppose, has said he believes astronomy fits in with that vision….

Hawaiians who have protested TMT came out strongly against Kim’s idea at that meeting if it still allows for building of the $1.4 billion project, which they see as desecration of sacred land….

read … Kim shares thoughts on Mauna Kea with OHA

HART Chair: We’re Not Telling Feds Anything

SA: …Lawmakers for now have telegraphed to the Federal Transit Administration, with further construction subsidies in the balance, of their intentions to meet in special session.

“I think the FTA is a little bit relieved — as opposed to, ‘What is happening? Nobody’s saying anything,’” Kim said.

“And we were worried, because we didn’t want FTA to pull the trigger and say, ‘Well, I didn’t hear anything from you, so, sorry, you’re in breach of contract and give us back the money, but no breach yet. We haven’t received a letter yet. Can they? Of course, they could do it at any time.”…

CB: Is Honolulu Rail Too Big To Fail?

read … Damien Kim: HART’s chairman remains bullish on completing rail project

GOP Medicaid Reform Will Give State Choices

CB: …Recent Republican recommendations to change the system have proposed a different type of funding for the federally run Medicaid program.

Each state would receive a set amount of money to cover for the care of their citizens who have Medicaid, based on an analysis of previous years of enrollment and projections for future numbers. Currently the overall amount of care provided is reimbursed in large part by federal funds that match or exceed state funding for Medicaid recipients.

With more limitations on federal funding, the costs of running the program and deciding on essential benefits would be turned over to individual states, providing localized control over the programs and also transitioning financial liability to the state level.

Perhaps the best way to save federal Medicaid funding for the most vulnerable would be to split it up, because currently the recipients are lumped into one group.

After all, no one really wants to strip coverage from children, the elderly and the disabled, do they?

For low-income people, frankly, it may be a different matter because they at least have some control over their circumstances….

read … Medicaid

Caldwell Finds Way to Make Affordable Housing Even More Scarce

SA: …Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s two-bill affordable-housing plan won preliminary approvals Thursday from the City Council Zoning and Planning Committee, but not before the panel heard an earful of concerns from Oahu developers who argued that more incentives and less regulation will create more homes.

Bill 58 overhauls the city’s current affordable-housing policy by requiring developers to make units available to those making less money, and to keep those units affordable for a longer period of time than now required, in exchange for building fewer affordable units than current rules require.

Bill 59 offers a series of breaks for developers, including waivers from various city fees, charges and even park requirements, as well as property tax breaks during construction and, for rental projects, for the duration of the affordable phase.

Daniel Cody, chief investment officer for local developer MW Group, likened the proposed changes to imposing additional regulations and taxes on farmers during a famine. Instead, the farmers should be offered incentives, he said. “That’s the approach that I believe the city should be taking on this issue.”

Cody said density limits should be waived for those developing affordable housing and that the definition of “affordable” continue to include those making up to 140 percent of area media income (AMI), typically schoolteachers and construction workers….

read … Caldwell

Sand Mining Since 1980s, Now OHA wants to Sue

KHON: The Office of Hawaiian Affairs wants faster, stricter protections for central Maui sand dunes after Always Investigating exposed the extent of sand exports and business connections on Oahu.

After our investigation in April, Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa called for a sand export moratorium, and a resolution related to that is moving through the Maui County Council.

But OHA is calling for all grading to stop immediately, and says it will take up whether to sue to stop it if need be.

Millions of tons of sand from central Maui dunes have been dug out and shipped off since the barging practice began in the mid-1980s…. 

read … Since 1980s

Outlook dim for 3 proposed charter schools

SA: Two startup charter schools looking to open on Oahu will have to wait two more weeks to learn their fates; a third appears headed for rejection.

A committee for the state agency that regulates public charter schools voted Thursday in favor of a recommendation to deny one school’s application but could not agree on whether to advance two others. The full Public Charter School Commission, which has a statutory mission “to authorize high-quality public charter schools throughout the state,” is scheduled to make a final decision on the three applications at its meeting next month.

An evaluation panel consisting of commission staff and volunteer experts had deemed all three of this year’s applications insufficient and recommended they be denied….

The committee voted to accept the recommendation to deny North Shore Charter School’s proposal to open a Haleiwa campus to serve students in grades 7 and 8….

The applications committee could not reach consensus on the other two applications: IMAG Academy, which has unsuccessfully applied to the commission three times to open a Waipahu school, and DreamHouse Ewa Beach, which unsuccessfully applied last year….

read … Outlook dim for 3 proposed charter schools

Aloha Stadium offers UH plan to share revenue

SA: …A committee report to the Aloha Stadium Authority on Thursday said “… (the) stadium manager proposed a revenue-sharing opportunity for UH as credit towards out-of-pocket costs if certain attendance benchmarks are met. This was done as a way to help (the) UH athletic department increase revenues.”….

…UH athletic director David Matlin said in an email, “I believe we are having productive conversations to improve the model. I am appreciative of the dialogue and efforts by Scott Chan and stadium officials.”

Chan, the stadium manager, declined to give specifics of the proposal but said the model was attendance driven based on a 10-year turnstile average, which is approximately 21,000.

Chan said, “I think if we can generate more revenue, then we are willing to entertain thoughts of sharing some of that with this particular client.”

The stadium is charged by the state with generating its own operational and salary funding. The state provides resources for capital improvements.

The stadium said it took in in the neighborhood of $1 million per season in years when UH attendance was up, but in more recent seasons, the revenue has fallen to $700,000 or less.

Meanwhile, in response to a question about the impact of Gov. David Ige’s intention to veto House Bill 627, the Stadium Authority was told by a representative of the Department of Accounting and General Services, the veto of the bill would not slow down planning on the future of the current stadium.

The bill would create an Office of Public-Private Partnerships within the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. The OPPP, the Stadium Authority was told, would actually create a bottleneck slowing progress….

read … Aloha Stadium offers UH plan to share revenue

Enviros Still Crying Over Lost Chance to Gut Fishing Industry

CB: …Hawaii will not be voiceless on Wespac: Michael Goto of the United Fishing Agency, Dean Sensui of “Hawaii Goes Fishing” and Suzanne Case, chair of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, are current members.

And some good news came just this week: The governor of the Northern Mariana Islands picked Hawaii lawyer and part-time commercial fisherman Edwin Ebisui to continue in his at-large seat. (The other at-large seat from Hawaii is held by Kona charter fisherman McGrew Rice, whose term ends this summer.)

Had McCartney got his list in on time, however, the U.S. Commerce Department might have picked two people more sensitive to environmental concerns (illusions)…. (So sad.  Cry me an ocean.)

CB: Why The Fishing Industry Wants More Say On Papahanaumokuakea

read … Ige’s Blown Wespac Appointment Costly For Hawaii

Honolulu May Allow Transportation Companies To Regulate Waikiki Streets

CB: …The Honolulu City Council’s Zoning and Housing Committee approved a bill Thursday that would create a privately run special improvement district to regulate traffic on Waikiki streets.

There is a glut of tourists, cars, delivery trucks and tour buses in the area. The Waikiki Transportation Management Association would have the authority to create rules, construct sidewalks and parking lots and increase police presence — although not with taxpayers’ money….

Rick Egged, president of the Waikiki Improvement Association, helped draft the bill. He said the new district would implement fees for loading and unloading in Wakiki, create schedules for loading zones and hire special duty police officers to increase enforcement….

Egged said a “core group” of transportation businesses have agreed to fund the association and take part in creating the policies. That group includes Hawaii Transportation Association, Roberts Hawaii, E Noa Tours, Polynesian Adventure Tours, Polynesian Hospitality, TP Transportation, and Royal Star Hawaii, he said….

read … Privatize

5 Years Late, DoT Finally Completes Backup Power Project at Airport

KHON: …the system remained stuck in a testing loop, unable to automatically kick into gear. 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….

The state-owned Emergency Power Facility (EPF) uses four generators running on biofuels to provide up to 10 megawatts of power. During non-emergencies, the EPF is operated by Hawaiian Electric to provide electricity to the grid. In an emergency, it can be operated in “islanded” mode to provide backup power for the airport….

Hawaiian Electric pays the Airports Division for its use, and also pays for the maintenance of the generators.

“This is a great example of a public-private partnership that provides benefits to our community and to the tourism industry,” said Ron Cox, senior vice president of operations for Hawaiian Electric. “These new, efficient generators are a cost-effective addition to the resources available to meet the island’s energy needs.”  (Translation: You suckers just bought us a free power plant.  What a bunch of saps!)

The project was initially budgeted at $20 million, but wound up costing the state $23 million.  ($23M -- What a nice gift to HECO!)

read … Airport’s emergency power facility in full operation following years-long delay

Homeless Camp: TVs, Laptops, Generators, Dogs and Fighting Chickens

K5: …Equipped with chainsaws and tractors workers cut through the tangled brush exposing part of an elaborate homeless camp behind Keehi Transfer Station.

People have been living on the land for years but the city says this is the first time it's ever been swept.

"There were TV's with generators. Laptop computer. They even have boats and docks on the opposite side," said Harold Han, Hawaiian Humane Society.

The Mapunapuna bike path runs parallel to the encampment and has become notorious for dangerous dogs. Han says over the past year and a half the Humane Society has  responded to 8 attacks. That's not counting the ones HPD's been called to. Two people were mauled in the last couple weeks.

"It's scary," said Mike Spinola, "What usually happens is they roam around together in a pack. All it takes is for one dog to start like a bark and then the rest come rushing in and attack."

This week the Hawaiian Humane Society discovered some folks living at the camp were running a puppy mill - selling the dogs to a local pet store. Of the estimated 80 dogs at there only 32 were surrendered ahead of the sweep. 

"We expected more dogs but they took them with them.  And more puppies as well," said Han, "This is one of the reasons we always stress for people to adopt and to really buy responsibly. Do your homework and know where a dog is coming from."

Han said campers also surrendered 19 chickens he suspected were being used for fighting…..

The city got its first reports of aggressive dogs 13 months ago but didn't move in because of confusion over whether federal permits were needed for work near water.

The Army Corps of Engineers gave the city the go ahead last summer. But then officials say other areas took priority adding it took time to gather the needed equipment.

On the other side of the bike path is the Nimitz viaduct, state property where dogs continue to roam.

"There are probably about 50," said Spinola.

We asked the Department of Transportation if they're planning on doing a sweep but didn't get a response.

The Humane Society says they can't go on the land without permission and haven't been asked to help with the dogs on the state side….

read … City crews sweep remote homeless camp near Keehi Transfer Station

144 Convictions: Lifelong Criminal Gets 5 Years

MN: …Rogo, 70, has a criminal history of convictions for 130 petty misdemeanor and 14 misdemeanor offenses, including 57 convictions for fourth-degree theft and 50 convictions for criminal trespassing, said Deputy Prosecutor Ryan Teshima.

He said the crimes typically involved Rogo going to a convenience store, gas station or restaurant.

“He’ll take a six-pack of beer or food,” Teshima said. “He’ll go outside, eat it or drink it, and wait for the cops to arrive. Then he gets his free room and board at (Maui Community Correctional Center).

“He said so himself. He likes jail. He never thought of escaping from prison or jail.”

In a report prepared for his sentencing, Rogo said: “In some regard, I like it here. Bottom bunk, free food, no rent. . . . Who could ask for anything more?”

Teshima said Rogo “was using the jail as a hotel.”

read … Lifelong Criminal

Law requires officials be alerted when gun permits are denied

SA: …Hawaii prohibits convicted felons, convicted domestic abusers and severely mentally ill people from owning guns, but dozens and sometimes hundreds of ineligible people in Hawaii still apply for permission to own one each year.

House Bill 459, which Ige signed into law Thursday at the state Capitol, requires that police notify the state attorney general, the county prosecutor, the U.S. attorney and the director of the state Department of Public Safety when an application for a firearm is rejected….

There were 19,752 firearm permit applications filed with Hawaii police departments in 2015, and 212 were denied, according to a report by the state Attorney General’s Office.

More than a third of those applications were denied because the applicants had criminal histories, including people who had convictions or cases pending for robbery, murder and sexual assault. Another 21 were involved in domestic violence cases, and 29 others were involved in assault cases, according to the report.

Another 45 people were denied permits because they had mental health issues, according to the attorney general’s report….

It is a felony in Hawaii for anyone to provide false information about criminal or mental health histories on a firearm application, but Cale said those so-called “lie-and-try” offenses are rarely prosecuted. A total of 143 applicants who were denied permits in 2015 falsified information on their firearm applications, according to the attorney general’s report….

read … Law requires officials be alerted when gun permits are denied

HB1488: Wanna Feel Medicated? Now More Excuses are Available

DC: …House Bill 1488 expands the list of conditions eligible for medical marijuana to include epilepsy, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis…

read … The Daily Chronic

Matson Unions Threaten Strike If There Is No Contract Deal By Tonight

CB: Sailors and firefighters unions are still negotiating with the Honolulu-based company, which ships an estimated 70 to 80 percent of the goods imported into Hawaii….

Related: Matson Strike ‘Unlikely’

read … Unions

HMSA Experiments With Hawaii Children

SA: …The July 1 implementation of Hawaii Medical Service Association’s payment transformation for pediatricians will limit reimbursement to doctors who provide health care services to children (“HMSA tweaks the way it pays to treat keiki,” Star-Advertiser, June 26).

This payment model is an experiment with Hawaii’s children. Furthermore, limiting payments during a time when the cost of everything is increasing will result in a reduction of the doctors’ ability to provide 2017-level health care.

read … Experiment

For Profit Biki Designed to Reward the 1%

SA: …South King Street’s 2-mile protected bike lane was installed two years ago amid much resistance from motorists unhappy about losing a traffic lane and worried about colliding with cyclists zipping in and out of intersections. Since then, the busy street’s regular travelers have adjusted to the green-painted cycling strip, and grousing about making room for bicycles is fading.

Earlier this year, work crews striped new two-way bike lanes on McCully Street, which link to the King Street lane and create a bike route from Waikiki to the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

And last month a protected bike lane opened along the Ewa side of South Street, from King to Pohukaina streets, situated near new residential high-rises and the site of the proposed Civic Center Rail Station. From Pohukaina Street seaward, 5-foot-wide, less-protected bike lanes are now in place to connect to Ala Moana Boulevard and the Kakaako makai area.

This trio of connected and protected bike lanes — all within easy reach of Biki’s current network of 87 rental stations — represents laudable progress toward a Honolulu Hale goal of establishing the island as the bicycle-friendly place it could be. In addition, Oahu has 59 miles of less-protected bike lanes and 46 miles of bike paths.

Cycling in the urban core is becoming more common and safe. But a bike-friendly reputation calls for many more miles of protected lanes. And now, with Biki folding into our multimodal mix, we need to further hone a heightened sense of what it means to share the streets. In addition to maintaining a working knowledge of the rules of the road, cyclists, motorists and pedestrians must look out for one another by prioritizing safety over swift travel time.

Five years ago, when the City Council adopted its Complete Streets philosophy, it joined a nationwide movement that stresses designing streets to be comfortable for users of all ages and abilities, whether traveling by foot, bus, car, bicycle or any other mode. How to do that in car-centric Honolulu?

Mike Packard, the city’s Complete Streets administrator, says it starts with reworking public right-of-ways to “accommodate people rather than prioritizing vehicular movement.” That sort of emphasis evokes bygone days when community hubs were compact walkable areas. While there’s no chance we’ll do away with our large, high-volume roadways, Complete Streets admirably aims to tweak existing design as a means to ease neighborhood navigation and enhance a sense of place.

Cyclists represent roughly 1 percent of all commuters on Oahu. Mayor Kirk Caldwell has said a bump to 5 percent would represent a victory

Big Q: What do you think of Honolulu’s new “Biki” bike-sharing program?

read … Reward the 1% Screw the 99%

Bikeshare Part of Kakaako Condo Sales Pitch

Cataluna: …“Whether you’re a resident, a visitor, a business person or a teacher, there is a trip in your day that bikeshare can help you with. It is affordable, convenient and easy to use, and will be everywhere you live, work and play in Urban Honolulu.”

Hmm, that “live, work and play” line. That’s the phrase used to sell the upscale Kakaako condo lifestyle.

Oh. OK….

read … Bikeshare peddling comes with familiar ring

City Council looks to ban plastic bags

SA: A Honolulu City Council committee is advancing a plan to put in place a deadline through which checkout counter plastic bags will be banned, effective Jan. 1, 2020. A loophole in the current law allows businesses to offer “reusable” plastic bags that are slightly thicker than the banned filmy sacks.

read … Bag Ban

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