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Friday, August 11, 2017
August 11, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:28 PM :: 1373 Views

Audit the rail: An idea that’s catching on

Rail Fail: Why You Should Speak Out

Which States Benefit Most from the Home Mortgage Interest Deduction?

Governor needs to step up and fix Maui school bus crisis

DLNR Sea Level Rise Adaptation Meeting Set for Hilo

Vulnerable: Ige’s Campaign Cash As Low As His Poll Numbers

CB: With the primary election just one year away, Hawaii Gov. David Ige has just $250,000 in his re-election war chest.

For an incumbent with low poll numbers and lots of talk around the state of potential challengers, Ige’s fundraising haul is paltry in comparison to most sitting governors.

Four years ago at this time, for instance, Gov. Neil Abercrombie had $2.1 million in cash on hand. By the end of July 2013, he had raised a total of $2.3 million toward his 2014 re-election bid and spent more than half of it….

read … $250,000

Elections Commission Retaliation Suit Heading for Supreme Court

WHT: The Hawaii Supreme Court has agreed to hear a 2012 defamation lawsuit by Elections Administrator Pat Nakamoto against former County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi and former Council Chairman Dominic Yagong.

The court, in a tersely worded order filed Wednesday morning, said it will be scheduling oral arguments in the case.

Nakamoto appealed her case to the Supreme Court after losing at the circuit court and appellate court levels. The appeal brings the county back into the case as a defendant after it successfully argued for its removal at lower court levels.

Also named as a petitioner, in addition to Nakamoto, is former elections worker Shyla Ayau. Also named as a defendant is Corporate Specialized Intelligence and Investigations LLC, the private investigator that looked into allegations that alcohol was being consumed and private business (making campaign signs) was conducted on county property against county code.

Nakamoto and Ayau sued after statements by Yagong and Kawauchi were quoted in a Jan. 12, 2012, article in Big Island newspapers naming four employees who had been fired for unspecified violations of county policy. In the article, written by former Tribune-Herald reporter Jason Armstrong, Kawauchi identifies the four who were fired….

Yagong and Kawauchi were investigating reports that county employees were hosting parties with alcohol at the county’s Elections Division warehouse. The county code forbids alcohol use on county property. The two were also looking into reports that the warehouse manager, Glen Shikuma, was running a private (campaign) sign-making business (hello?  hello?) in the county’s leased warehouse building, which would also have been against the county code.

Flashback: Election Sabotage: Is Jamae Kawauchi Kevin Cronin?

read … Retaliation

Mileage Tax: HDOT to Hire Con-Artists to Concoct Sales Pitch for Massive Tax Hike

KHON: …A plan to tax drivers by how much they drive instead of how much gas they use is moving forward.

The state is looking for a consulting firm to set up how it will work.

The Department of Transportation wants to implement what’s known as the road usage charge, because its funding needs to maintain our highways is increasing a tax hike and they are greedy….

The state believes that charging drivers by the mile is the solution.

Drivers still have a lot of questions on how it’s going to work and whether or not it’s good for them. A consulting firm will be hired to find the answers sales pitch….

We reached out to University of Hawaii engineering professor Panos Prevedouros, who questions why the state is moving forward ahead of so many other states.

“I just wish that we waited a little bit more so bigger states, like California, Washington, can work through the details so we can get a more ready-to-use plan, instead of us paying to develop a ready-to-use plan,” he said.

So far, only Oregon has implemented the road usage charge at a rate of three cents per mile….

read … State explores possibility of taxing drivers by the mile versus fuel per gallon

Bureaucratic Empire Builders: HDOT wants to create State Police Force, Patrol Highways, Airports, Ports

HNN: The 59 deputy sheriffs assigned to the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport are now under the control of the Transportation Department, and it could be just the beginning of the DOT's law enforcement plans.

Sources say that the deputy sheriffs and the Harbor Police division, made up of 19 officers, will combine so DOT can create a police force in charge of Honolulu's airport and state ports. 

The force will eventually have a new name, new look and uniforms, and could expand to include the state highways.

Hawaii News Now was there as dozens of deputy sheriffs got the news Thursday morning in a meeting with DOT leaders and the state director of the Department of Public Safety. As part of a 2002 agreement between the two agencies, DPS provided their deputies for the airport, but earlier this year DPS was notified that DOT wanted to end the agreement to instead, start it's own law enforcement unit.

read … State to create new police force for Honolulu's airport, ports

Proposed Wind Farms in Hawaii face challenges

PBN: …In Hawaii, the state’s eight existing and operating wind projects account for a only a little more than 200 megawatts, or 0.24 percent of the total installed capacity in the U.S. The 69-megawatt Kawailoa Wind facility on Oahu’s North Shore was the last wind farm to be built in Hawaii. It has been in operation since November 2012.

The proposed 24-megawatt Na Pua Makani Wind Project, which originally planned to start construction this year, has been delayed after community members voiced concerns. The project is awaiting a final regulatory decision, according to the Hawaii State Energy Office’s directory of renewable energy projects….

read … Challenge

Maui Electric Bills Drop $11 Because of Less Wind Energy

SA: …Electrical utility customers on Maui saw a larger decrease in bills in August.

Maui Electric Co. customers saw bills drop about $11. The average bill for a Maui household using 500 kilowatt-hours was $145.30, or 27.1 cents a kilowatt-hour, down from $156.51, or 29.4 cents a kilowatt-hour, in July.

“Maui customer bills were affected by less purchased power (wind) in the production mix, as well as lower fuel costs,” Tangonan said.

read … Wind is Expensive

Kauai  Maui still short of school bus drivers

KGI: The Department of Education still has a shortage of school bus drivers on Kauai and Maui a week into the school year.

Kauai is short eight drivers and Maui is short 15, according to DOE spokeswoman Lindsay Chambers….

Last week, TGI found that Kauai had a shortage of 20 bus drivers, and the DOE was having trouble finding drivers to fill up the void left by Akita Enterprises and Yamaguchi Services….

Last week, Percy Higashi, president and COO of Roberts Hawaii, told TGI that rosters of drivers from the contractors were supposed to be submitted to the DOE by July 24 to ensure they had enough drivers for the new school year.

KGI: A+ faces staff shortage

read … Kauai still short of bus drivers

Ex-Honolulu Cop Offers $300,000 To Settle Suit With Bartender He Shot

CB: If a judge signs off, Anson Kimura will pay the victim $300,000 and testify on her behalf as she goes after his former employer and colleagues in court….

Kimura accidentally shot a bartender in the stomach while at a King Street bar with colleagues in 2015.

The victim, Hyun Ju Park, who has incurred more than $1 million in medical bills, filed a lawsuit in April saying that the Honolulu Police Department should have done more to prevent the shooting because it knew Kimura had a drinking problem and history of emotional distress.

She said department officials also colluded with the police union to cover up the shooting in an effort to protect Kimura and two of his colleagues, Sterling Naki and Joshua Omoso, who were with him when he accidentally fired his gun.

All three men, Kimura, Naki and Omoso, are named as defendants in Park’s lawsuit, along with the city, which was their employer at the time….

Kimura retired from the HPD before he pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and an internal investigation into his conduct was completed. The department disciplined at least 10 officers in connection with the incident…..

read … Testify

Protective gear from Marco Polo fire fight taken out of service

KHON: …just after the blaze, firefighters and the Honolulu Fire Commission questioned why the protective gear crews wear weren’t required to be bagged at the scene, and instead went back to multiple firehouses in 15 engines and six trucks.

The gear likely went through on-site washers at each station but now, firefighters have been told to bag up their jackets, pants, and hoods, take them out of service, and drop them off at HFD’s main Waipahu storeroom by this Friday….

Now, with the directive to deliver some equipment to a storeroom nearly a month later, Hawaii Fire Fighters Association president Bobby Lee tells Always Investigating: “I think the real question at this point is why the turnout gear wasn’t bagged at the scene? And even with that said, how come it took almost a month to figure out that the gear has to be collected?”….

HNN: Firefighters union raises asbestos concerns from 7-alarm highrise blaze

read … Protective gear from Marco Polo fire fight taken out of service

Enviros Freak out Because Somebody Might Catch a Fish

CB: The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council is crafting new definitions that could allow more fishing in restricted waters around the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and American Samoa.

The Honolulu-based council, known as Wespac, and its scientific advisory committee must decide what “non-commercial fishing” should include in the expanded portion of Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument and what “cultural fishing” should mean in American Samoa.

Environmental groups, the territorial government of American Samoa and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs have raised concerns over any changes that would enable commercial fishing in places that were set up to be off-limits to longline tuna fleets and others…

read … Still Trying to Shut Down Tuna Fleet

‘High’ Tech: Cannabis dispensary Hawaii's largest venture capital deal of 2016

PBN: …Pono Life Sciences Maui LLC, a Maui-based dispensary, and Manoa Botanicals LLC on Oahu received $5.27 million and $3.9 million, respectfully, from angel investors last year.

Pono Life Sciences received the largest investment, with Ola Investments close behind with $5 million, also from an angel investor.  (Translation: if you think Hawaii high tech tax credits are real, you must be high.)

Manoa Botanicals, one of three Oahu-based medical marijuana dispensaries, which has yet to begin sales, came in third.

Hawaii serial entrepreneur Henk Rogers’ Blue Planet Energy Systems received $2.43 million, also from an angel investor, and SportStage, a social network for recruiting college athletes, rounded out the top five with (a pathetic) $100,000 in seed round investment….

Remember This? 2012: Audit: State Gave Away $1B Act 221 Tax Credits Without Verification of Eligibility

Or this? 2015: Auditor: DoTax allows $2B in Tax Credits Without Checking

read … On Drugs

North Korea details plan to fire missile salvo toward Guam

KHON: …The announcement Thursday warned that the North is finalizing a plan to fire four of its Hwasong-12 missiles over Japan and into waters around the tiny island, which hosts 7,000 U.S. military personnel on two main bases and has a population of 160,000.

Japan and South Korea vowed a strong reaction if the North were to go through with the plan.

It said the plan, which involves the missiles hitting waters 30 to 40 kilometers (19 to 25 miles) from the island, could be sent to leader Kim Jong Un for approval within a week or so….

Big Q: On a scale of 1 to 10, how worried are you about the escalating tensions with North Korea?

read … North Korea details plan to fire missile salvo toward Guam

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