How Rail Bonds Can Help Put Local Politicians in Jail
Caldwell Cronies Criticized for Killing Rail Audit
SA: …Ember Shinn, Caldwell’s recent appointee to the voluntary rail board and his former managing director, drew the ire of rail critics when she explained why she opposed the proposed special audit.
“As a new member of the board, it’s not my intent to muck around in the past and try to figure out what we did wrong in the past,” Shinn said at the June 22 meeting….
During last week’s City Council meeting, several speakers concerned about project accountability quoted Shinn in their opposition to floating $350 million in city-backed bonds to keep rail work moving…..
The conservative public-policy think tank Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, which has been critical of the handling of the full 20-mile project, prepared its own timeline of the audit controversy and launched an online petition to revive it at AuditTheRail.com.
“Honolulu residents, previously divided for or against the rail, are now united on one point — the skyrocketing costs and poor financial management of the rail are unacceptable,” Grassroot Institute President and CEO Keli‘i Akina said in a statement…..
In November, as HART board members discussed whether to include the $250,000 for the audit, the agency’s then-deputy director, Brennon Morioka, told them that staff was developing a “historical timeline” addressing the root causes.
The staff could present the timeline to the board in the next month or so, Morioka told them. That presentation never occurred, however, and Morioka left HART last month to work at Hawaiian Electric Co.
“You cannot audit yourself,” Felix said of the timeline in November.
Felix, a former City Councilman, was part of the five-member majority that narrowly defeated a half-percent general excise tax surcharge increase in 1992 that would have funded an elevated rail system similar to the one being built today.
About a week prior to the audit vote, Felix implored his HART board colleagues in a June 16 letter to consider street-level alternatives to rail heading downtown and approve the audit. He did not attend the June 22 meeting.
HART board member and city Transportation Services Department Director Wes Frysztacki agreed with Shinn at the meeting….
Before they discussed the audit, the board considered adding two more positions to HART’S public outreach staff.…
PDF: Felix Letter on HART Audit
read … Rail leaders criticized for delaying audit into rising costs
Ige taking a laid-back approach to re-election
MN: Unlike some politicians who’d grab the center of attention at a public event, shaking every hand within reach, Gov. David Ige was characteristically laid-back recently when he visited Maui for a senior housing groundbreaking ceremony in Pukalani and a visit to Kula Hospital.
…he blended in with the crowd. If he were not accompanied by beefy bodyguards and called forward to make a few remarks, he might have gone unnoticed.
Recent polls have cast doubt on Ige’s chances for re-election, and Ige acknowledged that his administration has not done enough to publicize its successes…..
He noted that he was on Molokai recently….
“…the Neighbor Islands have consumed a lot of time,” he said….
when asked about the perception that Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui,(who?) the former Central Maui Senate representative and Senate president, has been “sidelined”in the Ige administration, the governor indicated that Tsutsui is an important member of his Cabinet, and he’s not certain why some believe otherwise…..
“So, he has been involved, but maybe it’s not as public as it might need to be,”he said.
Although Tsutsui has not talked to Ige directly about considering a run for mayor of Maui County, the governor said: “I certainly would support Shan for whatever office he chooses to run for in the next election.”
“I can see how running for Maui mayor would be attractive (to Tsutsui),” he said. “Obviously, it’s an executive position. (And), it keeps him on Maui…..
When asked about Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa’s plans to run for lieutenant governor, Ige said: “I think you’ll see that there will be a lot of candidates running for lieutenant governor. I look forward to the voters deciding. . . . I think the conventional wisdom is that whoever is elected as lieutenant governor would certainly be in a very advantageous position moving into the next governor’s race four years from now.”
read … Ige taking a laid-back approach to re-election
Hirono emerges from surgery
Borreca: …Days after surgery to remove part of one of her ribs, Sen. Mazie Hirono was home resting, saying she was glad to be off the hospital food regime….
Who knows how you would react to a diagnosis of stage four kidney cancer? For Hirono, 69, it has been a political call to arms.
“It was a shock; totally unexpected. I was dumbfounded,” Hirono said about her diagnosis, in an interview last week. “I thought major illness happened to other people because I have been healthy all my life.”…..
She quickly said health care “has become personal.”
“Believe me, this is not just some intellectual awareness I have, I am living this. The rib surgery was so much more painful than removing a kidney….”
read … More Surgery
Albatross: Animal Liberation Enviros form Online Lynch Mob
Shapiro: Sometimes I worry 21st-century technology is taking us back to the 18th century when it comes to punishing criminals…. (B-b-but they are enlightened, conscious, and progressive. They’re better than we are. How could they do this? The mind wobbles.)
The social media are wild with ideas for frontier justice in the case of three Hawaii students charged with killing and mutilating 15 nesting albatrosses at Kaena Point and destroying their eggs…
Some Facebook vigilantes propose justice from 18th- and 19th-century literature, such as “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and “The Scarlet Letter.”
Those with lesser literary pretensions hope he’ll become “somebody’s girlfriend in jail,” get a Singapore whipping or the “North Korean-style justice” of the captured American student beaten into a fatal coma.
An online petition demanding Gutierrez’s expulsion from New York University got 47,000 signatures in a week.
Family Court cases involving the two younger defendants are confidential by law, but their names got out and were blasted over the internet to make sure they’d be marked for life, no matter what the law says.
The defendants’ Punahou ties brought general attacks on “privileged” Punahou students, notwithstanding that the three were turned in by disgusted classmates.
The internet had every bright idea except the obvious one: Let the court do its job….
read … Online clamor shifts justice system back to mob rule
Gays Excited to Meet Underage Homeless Youth
SA: …At Christmas, charities are usually inundated with donations, but by summer the generous holiday spirit is on the wane. So the LGBT Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii plans to play Santa to homeless youth with a “Christmas in July” party on July 27, says chairman Michael Golojuch.
The afternoon event will be held at Youth Outreach, a drop-in center for homeless teens and runaways, run by the Waikiki Health Center and Hale Kipa. Golojuch said many of them are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth, who account for “40 percent of the homeless unaccompanied minors,” according to Youth Outreach.
“About 125 youth sleep on Honolulu streets every night with no government or family support. We understand that this event is just a Band-Aid, but it’s an important Band-Aid,” Golojuch said. The caucus is donating $1,500 to “service a full-on holiday dinner with goody bags filled with essentials for living on the streets.”….
read … Excited
‘Anything is better than the status quo’: Guam eyes end to American colonial rule
SCMP: …Former senator Eddie Duenas said a self-rule plebiscite was long overdue and should be held during a gubernatorial election expected next year….
Governor Eddie Calvo has long campaigned for a referendum on self-determination that would give voters three options for the future – independence, becoming a US state, or remaining in “free association” with Washington.
All options have their advocates and Calvo says whatever the outcome, at least voters would have had a say in their future.
“Anything is better than the status quo,” he said earlier this month. “I would be happier if we became a state [but] if voters chose independence or free association I would be happier than I am right now.” ….
read … Guam
Big Island ‘Saturated’ with Marijuana
HTH: Hawaii Island historically has contained the lion’s share of medical marijuana patients, but that trend could gradually be changing, data released Friday by the state Department of Health indicates.
As of June 30, 38 percent of the 17,591 patients registered in Hawaii’s medical marijuana program were located on Hawaii Island. That’s down from 40 percent in March and 42 percent in December.
The percentage has fluctuated since 2015, when the DOH began posting data, but has usually remained at least 40 percent.
Meanwhile, the percentage of patients hailing from Oahu has jumped from 25 percent in December to 29 percent last month, a more than 1,300-patient increase. The Big Island’s patient count increased by about 300 people in that same time.
“I think the Big Island is reaching the saturation point,” Andrea Tischler, chairwoman of the Big Island chapter of Americans for Safe Access said Friday. “… And there are many more people (on Oahu), which is why they might be seeing the biggest increase in numbers and I’m happy for that. I’m glad Oahu is catching up, they need to.” ….
More than half of Hawaii’s patients were older than 46, according to the report. Sixty-five percent were male and 66 percent used medical marijuana for …uhh… ‘severe pain’ yeah, doc I got pain and its severe. About 13 percent (had more imaginative responses claiming they) used medical marijuana for muscle spasms, 6.2 percent for PTSD, 5 percent for severe nausea and 7.4 percent for cancer. Collectively, fewer than 6 percent used marijuana for cachexia, glaucoma (back in the day they ALL had glaucoma), seizures and HIV or AIDS.
The state’s patient count overall has increased by more than 2,200 since December. Patients were certified by a total of 108 physicians and 10 advanced practice registered nurses….
read … Oahu Next
Paternalistic Council has a Law for Everything
Cataluna: …Pity Hawaii lawmakers who find themselves having to assume the role of the exasperated parent telling foolish children to not do stupid things that tempt death.
This week, the Honolulu City Council passed a bill that would ban pedestrians from looking at their cellphones while crossing the street.
Seriously, come on. Do people really need the threat of a $15 fine to keep themselves from walking into traffic while they’re watching the day’s viral video or looking for love on Tinder?
This is just the latest in a number of daffy and potentially dangerous things people are doing that are technically not against the law.
Like drinking all day in the sun while floating in a plastic flamingo past the surf break in Waikiki and almost dying of alcohol poisoning.
Or going hiking along remote streams when there’s a flash flood watch in effect.
Then there are the things that ARE against the law that people just do anyway.
Like clambering past “no trespassing” signs on dangerous trails and then getting into trouble falling down a pali.
Like driving while texting or talking on the phone hands-not-free. You know you see that all the time. At night, the phones glow in the cars next to you and you think, “Holy cow, kid, you’re gonna get yourself killed and probably take me and my family out with you!”
Like looking up driving directions while riding helmetless on a moped buzzing down Kalanianaole during rush-hour traffic. Yes! This happens!
We live in a time when information is so readily available and our phones can do all our thinking for us. We understand things today in ways that are more sophisticated and useful than possibly any other time in history.
Yet for all the intelligence our technology gives us, our survival instinct has shriveled, our common sense is on sabbatical. We now need laws and public service campaigns to remind us to wash slug spit off raw vegetables, to keep metal mango pickers off power lines and to look where we’re going when we cross the street.
Big Q: What will you do if stores start charging 15 cents per plastic bag, leading up to a bag ban in 2020?
read … Can’t Legislate Common Sense
Marco Polo Fire