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Wednesday, August 02, 2017
August 2, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:02 PM :: 1503 Views

Matson: Construction-Related Shipments Down

Honolulu Among 10 Worst Markets for House Flippers

Compact Impact: Trump Admin Sends Another $3M

Oahu Republicans Go Door-to-Door

Mike Huckabee to Speak at Hawaii Republican Fundraiser

Secret UPW Contract Gives 7.2% Raise, $2000 Bonus 

UPDATE: The Star-Adv is wrong.  Thae actual raise is 10.65%.  See >>> LINK

SA: …According to one union member, the tentative Unit 1 agreement includes a $1,000 bonus for members this November, followed by a 3.2 percent raise, and then another $1,000 bonus next year. Two additional raises of 2 percent each would be provided later in the contract, assuming the state Legislature approves the package.  

James Nishimoto, chief negotiator for the state Office of Collective Bargaining, said he could not provide details about the agreement because the ratification voting is still not finished….

Unit 1 is made up of blue-collar, nonsupervisory workers and includes about 4,800 state employees. Ratification voting for the members of Unit 1 has been completed on Kauai, is now underway on Maui and Oahu, and begins Thursday on Hawaii island, according to the UPW website.

Ratification voting on a separate agreement has been completed by members of Unit 10, which includes institutional, health and correctional workers. That voting by union members began in mid-July and wrapped up July 22, according to notifications on the UPW website. Unit 10 has about 2,700 members….

UPDATE: UPW Contract Summary Being Distributed to Union Members

read … Secret Contract

HMSA Seeks seek 27.1% Obamacare hike

SA: …The Hawaii Medical Service Association is seeking to boost health insurance rates next year by an average 27.1 percent, while Kaiser Permanente is proposing a 19.9 percent rate hike, together affecting nearly 33,000 residents covered by the federal Affordable Care Act.

The state’s largest health insurers filed the proposed rates with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees policies under the ACA, or Obamacare….

“The individual ACA market continues to be very financially unstable because the number of members using (a) significant amount of health benefits continues to greatly outnumber members using a modest amount of benefits. We realize that any rate increase creates hardship for some members. However, the increase is necessary to cover the costs of covering this population and keeping the plan viable in the future.”…

(thanks, Obama)

Big Q: What do you think about a proposed rate increase by HMSA and Kaiser for those covered by the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)?

read … Hawaii insurers seek Obamacare hike

OHA to Sue UH Over Telescope ‘Mismanagement’ (Next Stop Canary Islands)

HNN: …A spokesman read a statement by Trustee Dan Ahuna (owned and operated by Davis Price), but trustees would not answer questions.

In the statement, the trustees said they had "agreed to pursue an aggressive position in service to our lahui and Mauna Kea by authorizing our board counsel to draft a complaint to hold the state and UH responsible for its long mismanagement of M K (Mauna Kea)."

(NOBODY knows more about ‘mismanagement’ than OHA.)

The decision is significant because in 2015, the trustees voted to rescind their 2009 vote supporting the selection of Mauna Kea as the site for the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope.

UH President David Lassner had no comment on the issue. The state attorney general also had no comment….

read … No Comment

Caldwell’s Sec 8 Program Designed to Hide Fraud

SA: …Delinquent accounts in fiscal year 2016 more than doubled to $1.5 million since 2010, but the program has no debt collector, and doesn’t use a collection agency or write off debt. Also, it has no fraud investigator and lacks set practices for fraud prevention, detection and reporting….

Unfortunately, DCS appears ill-equipped to put more Section 8 tenants into rental housing. For one thing, the department is hindered by outdated record-keeping practices. For example, auditors found that scholastic composition books were being used in place of electronic spreadsheets for file management logs. (HGEA at work!) Also, the audit correctly warned that the voucher program’s light staffing for database administration heightens vulnerability to fraud, waste and abuse.

That’s unacceptable in a city in which homelessness is largely driven by the high cost of housing. Hawaii has the highest per capita homeless population in the country, with most of it residing on Oahu. There’s no room for fraud or other abuse; the demand for Section 8 assistance is too great. In 2014, when the city reopened a waiting list it had closed nine years earlier due to excessive demand, it received 14,000 applications in a single week…..

read … Improve handling of Section 8 program

796 AC Units Installed in Schools

HNN: The state said Tuesday it has installed air conditioning units in 796 classrooms in the islands, and hopes to reach 1,000 by the end of the month….

At Ilima Intermediate, the state Education Department has met its pledge to put in solar-powered AC in one-third of the school's hottest classrooms. …

Ewa Beach Elementary is number one on the DOE's list of schools that need cooler classrooms. When humidity's high indoor temperatures can soar into the triple digits. When school starts next week 750 students and their teachers will feel the difference.

"We have photovoltaic and batteries installed for all our classrooms," vice principal Derek Santos said.

Contractors are finishing installing PV AC in the school's 31 classrooms. A test run dropped the temperature in one classroom to 71 degrees.

read … 796 of 1000

More Secrecy: State issues gag order as investigation continues into death of Hawaii island toddler

KHON: …Child Welfare Services does not release any information on its cases. With the gag order, that means the parents, and even their attorney, are not allowed to say anything to the media.

Juben Garcia says officials told him that his son was wearing some type of virtual reality glasses and had fallen about four feet.

Hawaii island police told us that it happened while the child was in foster care. Officers are investigating and it’s not been determined if any criminal charges will be filed, or if the death was accidental.

We’re told that the autopsy report has not been released.

The father reached out to us last week to try and get more information, but the Department of Human Services told us Tuesday that a gag order has been granted by Family Court.

State Sen. Will Espero calls it disturbing and distressing.

“Nobody wants to interfere with investigation, but the public has a right to know what happened, what’s going on, because we’re talking about the death of a child and especially a child who was in the custody of the state,” he said….

read … Self Serving Secrecy

Homeless Tweekers Sink Boat in Ala Wai Canal

HNN: …she proposed a measure that would outlaw anyone from living in a watercraft on city-owned streams.

She said over the past few months her office has been inundated with phone calls about the problem.

"There were also complaints that the streams are being used as toilets," Kobayashi said.

The issue comes as the city and state grapple to clear homeless from ever more hard-to-access spots, from land above the H-1 Freeway to space under the Airport viaduct.

In recent weeks, homeless camps on the water have been popping up in unusual places. One sunken boat was first spotted in the Ala Wai last week.

"I thought it was somebody's boat that got away from them. Then the next day I saw it was a homeless camp because of the blankets and the clothing and it just seems like it's not a seaworthy craft," said Waikiki resident Joe Silveira.

A spokesman with the state's largest homeless service provider says recent enforcement has prompted some people to move. Outreach workers say floating camps have become popular because it's an easy way to avoid sweeps. Homeless campers can simply drift from one jurisdiction to another.

It's not known how many floating camps exist on Oahu, but in the past connecting those on the water with housing and other services has been a challenge….

On Wednesday, the Department of Land and Natural Resources plans to tow the abandoned boat out of the Ala Wai canal and relocate it to the Keehi Small Boat Harbor, where it will be disposed of in accordance state law.

read … Keep on Tweeking

Latest Sweep Makes Bums Interested in Finally Accepting Shelter 

WHT: When Officer William Vickery, Kona Community Policing Division, stepped out of the academy and into the streets on patrol 25 years ago, there were only three homeless people in Kona. He’s sure about that number. A quarter century later he remembers all of them.

He remembers because they were a rarity.

Homeless people in Kona today, however, are as common a site as palm trees and the ocean’s blue. Perhaps the clearest example of how the issue has spiraled out of control on Hawaii Island is the Kona Old Airport Park, where dozens of homeless have been residing for months. Even years.

But that all ends today.

For the last two weeks, members of Mayor Harry Kim’s administration like Kossow, various county departments, police officers, and service providers have been prepping the park’s population to clear out in anticipation of a cleanup project slated for Aug. 9-10.

On Tuesday, a small group of police and county employees convened near the playground at 5:30 a.m., commencing their final rounds before today’s deadline to evacuate the park. Police roused sleeping campers and issued 33 notices to vacate within the next 24 hours….

…Niimi said there were 68 homeless people identified at Old A, adding 62 of them expressed interest in permanent housing solutions. Over the last two weeks, HOPE Services has led the way in placing 17 of those 62 people indoors.

The mayor said the 45 that remained was a number too large to prove palatable. In response, Niimi and his department have set up cots under two canopy tents in the upper right corner of the lot adjacent from HOPE Services’ Friendly Place in the Old Kona Industrial Area — the same lot where 23 micro housing units shelter formerly chronic homeless.

How the business sector, which vociferously objected to the micro units last year, will be impacted by the increased homeless presence bears attention.

The canopies will house 20 of the park’s remaining homeless, providing them with living and social services in an open-air setting until permanent solutions can be found. The canopies bring the total number of housed homeless to 37.

But 31 from Old A still remain on the streets, including 25 that expressed interest in housing. Where they might end up is a question not even they can answer.

read … Apply More Force

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