North Korea Mulls Nuking Guam
Matson Tightens Grip on South Pacific
Hawaii -- Lowest Percentage of MDs Accepting Medicare
Who Needs Rail? Cost-Effective Lane Projects Save Commuters Time
Want Land? DLNR Will Buy You Some
Politicians Scramble for Dozens of Openings with Primary Day 1 Year Away
KGI: …Kauai Mayor Carvalho is “termed out” and the local speculation is that former representative and now Councilmember Derek Kawakami, county Parks Director Lenny Rapozo and the present Council Chair Mel Rapozo are all eying a run for that seat.
Because council seats on Kauai are limited to four consecutive, two-year terms, both Councilmember Rapozo and JoAnn Yukimura are also “termed out,” and thus with Kawakami running for mayor, there will likely be three open seats on the Kauai County Council in 2018….
The resignation of Lieutenant Governor (LG) Shan Tsutsui to seek election to the office of Maui mayor even further accelerates the creation of more open seats, and thus a catalyst for change in 2018.
Oahu Sen. Jill Tokuda and Big Island Sen. Josh Green have already announced their intent to run for the open LG seat. Sen. Wil Espero has also expressed an interest in running for LG. This will create opportunities for House members to “move up” and new candidates to then seek election to the newly opened House seats. First-time candidates might seek election to the Senate seats or LG position as well.
At least two council seats will be opening up on Maui as Councilmember Elle Cochran and Don Guzman have both announced their desire to seek election to the office of mayor, making that race a hotly contested, three-way contest. Termed out and vacating the Maui mayors’ seat is Alan Arakawa who has announced his candidacy too for what will be a crowded LG race.
The early resignation of the LG even further increases the potential for change, as the state Constitution calls for the position to be awarded to the Senate President, Kauai Sen. Ron Kouchi, or to the Speaker of the House, Rep. Scott Saiki, if declined by Senator Kouchi. If Rep. Saiki declines, then Attorney General Doug Chin will become the new LG. If the attorney general declines, then it falls to another director, etc.
If either Senator Kouchi or Representative Saiki accepted the position, then that would set off a process whereby the governor would appoint their replacement. That process could possibly create even more open seats and/or additional appointments.
The primary election is Aug. 11, 2018, just one year away….
read … Just One Year
Sister Isle Outrage over Tax Hike for Oahu Rail
HTH: …scenarios are floated in a 52-page slideshow created by the Senate Ways and Means Committee, according to an article Monday by Honolulu Civil Beat, and confirmed with the Senate Ways and Means chairman’s staff.
But right now, they’re just that — scenarios, said Sen. Lorraine Inouye, a Democrat whose district stretches from Hilo through Waimea and into Kona. She’s chairwoman of the Senate Transportation and Energy Committee.
“No deals have been made with the House on any options before us,” Inouye said Tuesday. “In our research we have looked at all incomes from previous years what each county has contributed on GET and the TAT and what was distributed to them as well. So we have an idea the impacts it will have to the neighbor islands.”
The Legislature plans an Aug. 28-Sept. 1 special session to try to work out a plan….
A House-Senate informational briefing is slated for Monday, “due to the increasing skepticism over the management of the rail system and the credibility of the information provided to the Legislature,” according to the Senate notice.
The meeting, open to the public, is scheduled for 10 a.m. at the state Capitol in Honolulu. Testimony can be submitted via email (TRETestimony@capitol.hawaii.gov) at least 24 hours before the meeting begins.
“I have very great concerns about any rail plan that would burden our neighbor island people for an Oahu project,” said Sen. Josh Green, D-Kona.
Sen. Kai Kahele, D-Hilo, who serves on the Ways and Means Committee with Inouye, said he’s in favor of the rail project being completed….
“It should not, and my constituents seem to vocally agree,” said Sen. Russell Ruderman, D-Puna, Ka‘u. “In my district, our only highway is the deadliest road in the state. So we have our own urgent needs.”
Rep. Joy San Buenaventura, D-Puna, agrees. She’s on the House Transportation Committee, one of five committees conducting Monday’s hearing.
“Only Honolulu should pay for rail. Puna residents go to Oahu rarely and will not likely benefit from rail,” she said. “They come to Oahu for work or medical reasons. I do not know any who go to Ewa (a planned rail stop) regularly.”
Richard Creagan, D-Ka‘u, thinks supporting rail is just sending good money after bad. But if it’s going to continue, the neighbor islands shouldn’t be pitching in, he said.
“I certainly don’t support unilaterally raising the GET on counties other than Oahu to support rail,” Creagan said.
Rep. Richard Onishi, D-Hilo, said the county twice had the chance to raise its GET surcharge for roads, and didn’t do it. Property taxes are the county’s revenue source, not TAT and GET, Onishi said.
“We’re not looking to increase any county taxes,” Onishi said….
Related: Full Text: Lawmaker Leaks Plan to Make Sister Isles Pay for Rail -- Public Hearing Set
read … About to be railroaded?: Lawmakers wary of options calling for neighbor islands to help fund Oahu transit project
Pro-Rail Democrats Demand Hanabusa Oppose Rail Audit
KITV: …Several community members at Thursday's town hall, asked questions on healthcare, homeless and the Honolulu rail.
"What I wanted you to respond to-- is to ask you not to call for an audit," rail supporter, Carolyn Golojuch asked.
"Are you going to officially request such investigations.. If not, why?" asked another.
Hanabusa, who previously served on the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board (HART), told the crowd she supports an audit of the rail.
Civil Beat: HART nixed a special audit of the rail project's cost overruns…
read … No Audit
Defense Against North Korea Nukes? Hawaii Congressional Delegation Pushes Giant Pork-Barrel Project
TH: …Hawaii’s congressional delegation is unfortunately living in denial, hoping they’ll hook the big fish. They have expressed a belief that diplomatic and economic pressure will contain North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and that current missile defenses are adequate to counter the "Hermit Kingdom’s" arsenal….
Where this leaves the United States' most probable and vulnerable target, with its 11 military bases, including U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM), and the general populace, is dangling on a line. North Korea has now proven their capability of reaching this critical defense enclave with a nuclear package. Furthermore, an attack on Hawaii is an attack on all Americans and could spell the beginning of the next world war.
Experts, such as Admiral Harry Harris, head of PACOM, have argued that Hawaii’s existing ground based missile defenses can be overwhelmed, and additional interceptors are necessary to bolster Hawaii’s defenses. Yet the missile defense upgrade the Hawaii congressional delegation does support, the Homeland Discrimination Radar Hawaii (HDR-HI), is not expected to be operational until 2023.
Thankfully, there are several options that are immediately available to counter North Korean aggression; options like Terminal High Altitude Aerial Defense (THAAD) with its powerful AN/TPY-2 radar. While it’s serving as South Korea’s first line of defense against North Korea, it’s a unique missile defense system with unmatched precision and mobility that could also be rapidly deployed in Hawaii to meet the imminent North Korean threat….
read … Defense
OHA must seek TMT solution
SA: Peter Apo failed to catch the spear in his excellent commentary (“Loss of TMT would do cultural damage,” Star-Advertiser, Island Voices, Aug. 6).
He missed the main issues: The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is responsible for the welfare of the lands at the summit of Mauna Kea and its beneficiaries are all Hawaiians.
The trustees should negotiate a solution to this impasse. Not to do so would be a dereliction of their duties.
It is important to note that the telescope controversy is not a zero-sum game where one side wins enormous benefits at the expense of the other….
If the project dies, nobody gets anything….
read … OHA must seek TMT solution
OHA Pays Waimea Group $172K to Watch Trees Grow
WHT: …The Office of Hawaiian Affairs recently awarded Hawai‘i Forest Institute with $172,262 for two years to tend, honor and grow a place of peace and safety for the native dryland lama forest of Ka‘upulehu.
The land grant funding will assist the institute with its “Aloha ‘Aina. Aloha Ka‘upulehu. Aloha Wao Lama.” program to foster restorative kinship relationships between community and ‘aina, using educational stewardship, traditional ecological knowledge and contemporary and institutional scientific methods.
read … And Hire Cronies
Former Big Island Prosecutor Jay Kimura Missed Chance to Nail Peter Boy Killer
SA: The July 24 sentencing of Peter J. Kema, Sr. is what you’d expect when justice is delayed for two decades. This monster who tortured and in 1997 killed his young son — “Peter Boy” Kema, Jr. — should have faced life imprisonment for murder. Instead, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter and could be released early on parole.
…When I served as state Human Services director and first disclosed the Peter Boy records 12 years ago, there was an opportunity to obtain much better outcomes from the criminal justice system.
In January 2005, Jaylin Kema had a restraining order against her estranged husband and might have testified against him in criminal court if they both were indicted for murder.
Moreover, the surviving three children were eight years older in 2005 (12, 16 and 18) than they were when Peter Boy “disappeared” in 1997. Their eyewitness accounts would have been more credible in 2005 had Peter Boy’s parents been indicted back then.
Even two years later in 2007, the opportunity to indict Peter Boy’s parents was inexplicably passed over. Then-Hawaii County Prosecutor Jay Kimura publicly encouraged “patience.” But, as letters handwritten in January 2007 by each of these siblings demonstrated, their memories and ability to articulate remained crystal clear about what happened to Peter Boy.
Why wait until 2016 to seek grand jury murder indictments? What “new evidence” necessitated the passage of 11 more years, on top of the eight years already passed since Peter Boy vanished, to seek murder indictments against the parents? Why allow these conspiratorial, child-abusing murderers to live their lives free of accountability for 19 years?
One thing is for sure. Penalties against Peter Boy’s parents would have been much harsher if indictments occurred in 2005 before the statutes of limitations on numerous crimes expired….
read … For Peter Boy, justice was denied
Windfarms Kill 100s of Sacred Endangered Animals
SA: …Attorneys representing Keep The North Shore Country at the hearings on Monday and Tuesday said Na Pua Makani Power Partners LLC needs to improve its habitat conservation plan for the bat, arguing the developer did not study impacts from taller turbines, or offer adequate mitigation measures for the number of bats the machines are expected to kill.
Na Pua Makani received approval from state regulators in 2015 to supply energy to Hawaiian Electric Co. at 15 cents per kilowatt-hour for 20 years. The “incidental take” license — a license that allows the project to kill, harm or harass a certain number of endangered species — is one of the final approvals the project needs to begin construction….
This contested case follows a Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife report to the 2017 state Legislature that showed Hawaii’s five major wind farms are killing Hawaiian hoary bats at a much faster pace than expected. The report showed the wind farms have killed 146 Hawaiian hoary bats in 6.4 years out of the 187 they are allowed to kill over 20 years.
Na Pua Makani plans to counter the killing of bats by providing funding for Hawaiian hoary bat research; funding forest restoration and fence maintenance and trapping to protect bats from predators; and reducing the speed of turbines March through November between sunset and sunrise, times when bats are most likely to be in the area.
Still many members of the Kahuku community voiced concerns about the impact the turbines would have on the bats.
Kahuku resident Charlotte Kamauoha said the hoary bat is aumakua, a family god or an ancestral deity, to many in her community….
read … Group pushes for revision of wind farm’s plan to protect endangered bats
Grossly Overpriced Biomass project ‘still on schedule’
HTH: …A Hu Honua Bioenergy official says construction of its biomass power plant near Pepeekeo is moving “full speed ahead” and is on track to be complete in December 2018.
The project recently was brought from the brink after the state Public Utilities Commission approved an amended power purchase agreement with Hawaii Electric Light Co. on July 28.
The utility previously canceled its contract with Hu Honua, which initially planned to be complete in January 2016, due to missed deadlines. The amended PPA is the result of a settlement agreement between the parties.
Harold Robinson, president of Island Energy, Hu Honua’s parent company, said construction resumed July 3 ahead of the ruling and the company is ramping up those efforts.
“We’ve been planning this for a long time,” he said Monday. “… Right now, we’re still on schedule.”
Under the amended PPA, Hu Honua would be contracted to produce up to 21.5 megawatts, but is capable of 30 megawatts. HELCO would buy at least 10 megawatts. The plant is being built at a former Hilo Coast Processing Co. sugar mill.
The “all-in cost,” which includes fixed and variable payments, is 22.1 cents per kilowatt-hour, according to Hu Honua…..
He said there are about 33,770 acres of available commercial forest lands on Hawaii Island. Hu Honua will harvest about 2,000 acres each year, and replant about 2,300 acres. About 283,000 tons of biomass will be consumed a year.
About 190 jobs are estimated to be generated. Robinson said Hu Honua also is interested in starting forestry internships for island students….
read … Biomass project ‘still on schedule’
Anti-GMO Loser Running ‘Academy’ For Democrat Candidates
CB: …“I believe that we can change the world,” said the academy’s president, Gary Hooser….
The engine of change is the Kuleana Academy. It is part of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit formed in 2014. Seed money came from the Hawaii People’s Fund and the Hawaii Community Foundation.
According to its website, “HAPA’s mission is to catalyze community empowerment and systemic change towards valuing aina (environment) and people ahead of corporate profit.”
HAPA’s current campaigns involve transitioning Hawaii away from genetically engineered food and pesticides to a sustainable, secure food system; reclaiming democracy; and “interrupting corporate influence on our government, restoring transparency and citizen-driven democracy.”
HAPA’s board members include a host of familiar local progressive types, including Walter Ritte Jr., Paul Achitoff, Ikaika Hussey, Kim Coco Iwamoto and Cade Watanabe. Hooser’s credentials are similarly ensconced in the lefty camp….
read … Gary Hooser’s Kuleana Academy
Dopers, Chronics Line up on First Day of Weed Sales
MN: …Maui Grown is selling dried medical cannabis flowers. It had planned to open with a selection of derivative products such as oils, lotions, concentrates and tinctures, but the Department of Health has not yet certified a lab to test manufactured cannabis products, the company said.
Now, Maui Grown is only seeing patients who have gone through preopening intake and have appointments. Freitas Gorman said about 400 patients have already gone through the intake process.
Walk-ins will be taken next week Monday when the retail dispensary will have regular hours from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday at 44 Pa’a St….
He takes the marijuana because he does not want to be dependent on opioids…. (Uh-huh.)
KHON: Aloha Green becomes first medical cannabis dispensary to open on Oahu
read …Keep the People Doped Up So They Don’t Notice
UH Athletic Department Finds Way to Claim Profitability
SA: The athletic department brings at least $2.5 million more to the University of Hawaii than it receives from the school, according to a study scheduled to be presented to a Board of Regents committee Thursday.
Athletic director David Matlin is to discuss the “value proposition of UH athletics” and how “athletics provides positive net benefits to UH” at the meeting of the Regents’ Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics.
According to the 14-page study “UH Manoa provides $10.4 million of funding to UH Manoa athletics” while, in return, “UH Manoa athletics provides or produces $12.9 million in revenues to UH Manoa and additional cash and non-cash value above that.”
The study did not place a value on marketing exposure through athletics events and media impressions or put a dollar amount on what the department termed, “(the) value of the athletics program in attracting students and as a ‘front porch’ for fundraising.”
The numbers do not include debt service or capital improvements. (That;s the trick.)
Athletics was projected to run at a $2 million to $2.2 million deficit for the fiscal year that concluded June 30….
read … Fake Numbers
Sharp Drop in Pedestrian Deaths
HNN: There has been just one pedestrian death so far this year in Hawaii.
That's a dramatic plunge from 32 statewide last year….
read … Deaths
Gag order rescinded
WHT: A family court judge has rescinded a gag order in the case involving 3-year-old Fabian Garett-Garcia, who died while in foster care last month.
On Tuesday, Keupo Reelitz, public information officer and communication specialist for the Department of Human Services, confirmed the recall of the gag order. However, the court granted that all parties involved in the case continue to comply with the confidentiality provisions in Chapter 587A-40, which states all information and court records with regard to the Child Protective Act may only be shared by the court.
Fabian was pronounced dead at North Hawaii Community Hospital in Waimea on July 25. According to police, officers responded to the foster home in Waimea where the child was not breathing….
read … Gag order rescinded
Star-Adv: We Need Massive Festering Homeless Tent Cities in EVERY Community
SA: sites are what’s needed in every community because (that will give the tweekers access to more copper), as the operators of the housing and homeless services complex in Kailua-Kona have discovered, maintaining security of small-scale supervised camps makes them more manageable. (Lame excuse. Real reason: With more camps, we can shake down more communities to pay us to move away.)
…officials moved quickly to maximize the available space. Mayor Harry Kim issued an emergency proclamation, allowing county zoning, building and fire codes to be waived.
That enabled the emergency safe zone (Tent City) to be set up quickly on part of The Friendly Place Campus, which is what the (tweekers camp at) county-owned Hale Kikaha property at 74-5593 Pawai Place is being called.
In addition to the makeshift campsite….
“We know that residents welcome this kind of alternative campsite,” she added. “There’s someplace they can stay and not be told to move every few nights.” (Its hard to tweek and move around alot.)
Perhaps it’s time — past time, in fact — for more emergency shelter sites and scaled “safe zone” camps for the homeless to be found in each Oahu district, as the Honolulu City Council once pledged to do….
SA: City sweeps homeless from Blaisdell Park area
read … StarAdv: Small shelters can help needy