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Monday, August 14, 2017
August 14, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:14 PM :: 2286 Views

Kawananakoa Estate: Sex, Drugs, and Inequality

HART Rail Costs Nearly Triple Rail Tunnel  

Grassroot: Investigate Rail Fraud, Waste, Abuse

Oahu GOP: Mo More Bailouts for Rail

Mattis: ‘We’ll Take It Out’ If North Korea Fires A Missile At Guam

Heiress Kawananakoa: Lawyer is trying to take control of $200M estate

HNN: In an explosive letter sent to Hawaii News Now, Abigail Kawananakoa says her longtime attorney is improperly trying to take control of her fortune.

The 92-year-old is heir to the Campbell Estate and after an illness in June, a family court judge appointed her attorney, Jim Wright, trustee over her estate. He said two doctors found she was no longer able to manage her personal life or finances.

In a handwritten letter sent to Hawaii News Now on Saturday, Kawananakoa disputes that.

"I am alive and well after suffering a minor attack," said the descendant of Hawaiian royalty.

She said had decided to fire Wright "because I felt he was not following my personal wishes and he was mismanaging my affairs."

Former Hawaii Attorney General Mike Lilly confirmed that the letter is genuine and that he is now representing Kawananakoa in her effort to reclaim control of her assets, estimated at more than $200 million…..

SA: Fight for $200M fortune heats up as letter from heiress assails lawyer “According to Wright, Worth had previously tried to obtain $26 million in James Campbell Co. stock through an irrevocable agreement, under advisement from her lawyer Michael Rudy. ‘When (Kawananakoa) refused, Worth abandoned her in March 2017 and did not return to the house until the day after the stroke,’ he said.”

PDF: Kawananakoa Letter

read … Letter

Tuition Hikes Explained: UH Manoa Paying 72 Over $200K

CB:…University of Hawaii coach Nick Rolovich is doing OK at $400,008, but he’s still in fourth place.

The top UH wage-earner is Jerris Hedges, dean of the medical school, at $534,840, followed by Aviam Soifer, dean of the law school, at $416,256, and Randall Holcomb, director of the Research Institute, at $410,004.

The top-paid employees at the University of Hawaii all work at the Manoa campus and are paid more than the president of the statewide UH system, David Lassner, who makes $375,000.

UH Manoa has 12 employees earning more than $300,000 and 72 employees making more than $200,000.  (60 x $200K + 12 x $300K = $15.6M/yr) 

(Question: How many of these geniuses signed off on the Wonder Blunder?)

Beyond Manoa, the top-paid university employee was UH Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney at $319,248, but he left that post Aug. 1 to become vice president of academic planning and policy for the statewide system.

His interim replacement at UH Hilo, Marcia Sakai, was being paid $219,984 in her post as a vice chancellor.

Chancellors at the system’s other colleges earn from $160,320 to $235,008, while the systemwide vice president for community colleges, John Morton, makes $251,784.

Potentially the lowest-paid UH full-timer is a general clerical worker for the systemwide organization, with a range of $23,652 to $37,800….

read … Tuition Hikes Explained

New DoE Sup’t Finds Way to Keep Daughter out of Hawaii Public Schools

SA: …“We had no textbooks, we didn’t have the appropriate teachers and the playgrounds in some of our schools were actually taken out,” she recalled in an interview with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “We had teachers who really cared about what was happening in the school system and loved us and cared for us and pushed us, and yet they did the best they could. They didn’t have the content background to prepare us for high school.”

Kishimoto, whose parents immigrated to New York from Puerto Rico, said while she managed to earn good grades, she knew she lagged behind her peers in some subjects and envied the campuses that her cousins attended in wealthier neighborhoods.

“You have to understand the politics of these public education systems,” she said of her critics, adding that her daughter stayed back in Arizona to finish high school. “The fact is, if I wasn’t comfortable with how I left that district, I certainly wouldn’t leave my own child behind to finish up her senior year there.” …

Kishimoto said her leadership style can make some people uncomfortable….

Unlike her past districts that required some schools to be completely overhauled, Kishimoto says Hawaii’s school system is not in crisis mode. (LOLROTF!)

Corey Rosenlee, president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, said he’s hopeful teachers can have a prominent voice in the discussions.

“Under the previous administration there were too many top-down mandates, and the teachers’ voice was lost,” Rosenlee said. “We’re looking for a period where we’re going to value those closest to the children to hear their ideas for how we can improve our school system.”  (Natch!) 

read … For Thee, not for me

Hotels Control Opposition to Kauai dairy plan

SA: …The goal of Omidyar’s farm — which incidentally is on land owned by the family of Steve Case, another tech billionaire — is to decrease the island state’s heavy reliance on imported milk, while using sustainable agriculture practices. (The dairy will nonetheless still have to import feed for its animals.)

Some residents, though, object. They and the owners of the major resorts that line this island’s famous beaches, just a little more than 1 mile down the coastline from the dairy site, have worked to block the project.

“We are concerned with odors and flies from the dairy,” said Lisa Munger, a lawyer who represents the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa, which successfully sued to force the dairy to do an environmental assessment. “Each dairy cow will produce 90.8 pounds of manure per day — whether there are 699 cows or 2,000 cows, that is a lot of manure.”

Munger said biting flies can reach the Grand Hyatt, along with “offensive dairy odors.”

Opponents of the Hawaii Dairy drive around with bumper stickers — “No Moo Poo in Maha‘ulepu,” ….

So far, courts have sided with opponents of the dairy. In a case brought by the Friends group, contending that the dairy would violate the federal Clean Water Act, a judge ruled that it had violated the law by failing to get the permits it needed for the construction it had already done on the site.

Another lawsuit, brought by the owners of the Grand Hyatt, contended the dairy would have a negative effect on businesses and resorts along the coast. This year Judge Randal G.B. Valenciano revoked all permits that had been granted to Hawaii Dairy Farms and ordered it to complete an environmental assessment before going further.  (Thus setting a precedent that ag operations can be required to conduct an EA.)

Amy Hennessey, director of communications at the Ulupono Initiative, Omidyar’s investment office in Hawaii, said those decisions were a setback for Hawaiian agriculture and food security  (Gee.. Thanks for volunteering to conduct an EIS.)

If Hawaii Dairy’s plans included one more cow — bumping the total to 700 — it would meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s definition of a large concentrated animal feeding operation, or CAFO.

That designation initiates the need for a permit under the EPA’s Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. Because the dairy drew the line at 699 cows, avoiding the need for the discharge permit, it originally was able to describe itself as “zero discharge.”….

Hawaii has at least three commercial dairies already — and making money is “an uphill battle,” said Steve Whitesides, the owner of one of them, Big Island Dairy. Permits are hard to get, expenses are high and he has had to import more feed than he expected, he said. Whitesides, an Idaho- based dairy farmer, bought Big Island Dairy in 2012, when it was flirting with bankruptcy.

Recently the state department of health fined Big Island Dairy $25,000 for illegally allowing animal waste to flow into local water supplies…..

read … Tourism and nothing else

Hotels, Chemophobes Team up for Sunscreen Megaprofits

TL: Aqua-Aston Hospitality, Hawaii's largest chain of hotels and resorts, is teaming up with eco-friendly, mineral-based sunscreen Raw Elements to provide visitors with a safe (and free) alternative….

All visitors have to do is swap out any oxybenzone-containing sunscreen they may be carrying with them for a free bottle of Raw Elements at check-in or at towel stations around the various resorts. Aqua-Aston will also provide Raw Elements sunscreen stations throughout the properties, according to the Times. Beyond the hotels, the sunscreen can also be found for free at Honolulu's Waikiki Aquarium.

The sunscreen, which was formulated by Rhode Island lifeguard Brian Guadagno, is made up of 23 percent zinc oxide, along with black and green tea extracts, hemp seed oil, and a few other delicious ingredients including mango and cacao seed butters. It smells nearly good enough to eat and feels just as decadent going on your skin.

Guadagno came up with the brand after discovering "how harmful chemical sunscreens are for our personal health and the health of our environment," he noted on the Raw Elements site. "I was really horrified at this discovery. I went on a quest to find a safe and effective solution, but one just did not exist."

read … Profit in Hysteria

A bad week for sunshine

MN: …It was another bad week for sunshine on Maui.

A judge’s decision on Tuesday that a lawsuit protesting the way the Liquor Control Commission promulgated changes in rules about alcohol sales was “moot” because the changes have since been reversed missed the point of the suit.

Kihei resident Madge Schaefer and her Committee for Responsible Liquor Control Sales alleged in the suit that the commission and the Liquor Control Department violated the Sunshine Law by not giving proper notice for a February meeting where rules were changed.

They maintained that an agenda item dealing with the changes was so vague no reasonable person would have known the commission was going to allow 24-hour liquor sales, permit home delivery of alcohol and remove the cap on the number of hostess bars.

We are glad the commission reversed itself on the rule changes after a strong public protest. But the way they were adopted in the first place is troubling.

The Liquor Control Commission is not the only agency in the county or the state that has grown comfortable making decisions in private. Unfortunately, Hawaii has a very weak Sunshine Law and the agency charged with overseeing it — the Office of Information Practices — is a toothless tiger with no enforcement capabilities. It can issue opinions and that’s about it.

The result is that many councils, commissions and boards have become used to conducting discussions about controversial issues in “executive session” and then simply announcing their decisions in a public setting. That deprives the general public of learning the “why” behind governmental decision-making.

The only true protection for “sunshine” on these matters is if a private individual or group — like Schaefer and the CRLCS — files suit….

read … A bad week for sunshine

Police Called 3x Day to Kona’s New Homeless Tent City

HTH: …The area was initially slated for 20 people, but within a week grew to 32. That is the site’s maximum capacity, Vandervoort said.

“This is proof,” she added, “that if we have a designated spot for our homeless population, they will utilize it.”

Anyone who has ever lived with a roommate knows altercations inevitably arise when even two people are packed in close quarters. Multiply that by a factor of 16, add to it the volatility of a population unaccustomed to living by an imposed set of external guidelines and suffering from a higher than normal incidence of addiction and mental health concerns, and friction is bound to ensue.

Police have been called into the site on a daily basis, Vandervoort said, sometimes as often as three times per day to extinguish exchanges….

Former chronically homeless individuals living in the adjacent micro units constructed last year have clashed with their new neighbors. And some of the new arrivals initially bucked at the rules, which include no unregistered visitors after 5 p.m., no drugs or alcohol on the premises, and designated smoking areas. But no one has left, and the county hasn’t been forced to expel anyone. One woman was suspended from the area for 12 hours following bouts of misbehavior….

There has been some homeless migration back into Old A since camping there overnight was banned….

read … Hale Kikaha takes shape: Residents settling in at the new homeless camp

Ex-Cop Sues Honolulu For Not Paying To Defend Him In Assault Lawsuit

CB: …On Sept. 5, 2014, Tamayori was searching for a fugitive with his partner, Vincent Morre, and reserve officer Joseph Becera inside a game room on Hopaka Street near Ala Moana….

Morre lost his temper and roughed up two men inside the game room as Tamayori and Becera stood by and watched. The entire incident was caught on surveillance video….

The city has approved spending up to $50,000 on Becera’s defense in the lawsuit….

After Tamayori and Becera both asked the Honolulu Police Commission to approve having taxpayers foot their legal bills in the lawsuit, city attorneys recommended that the commission deny both requests. But the commission split its decisions, voting  4-3 to deny Tamayori’s request and 7-0 in favor of Becera.

Why was there disparate treatment?

That’s a question that’s been asked by at least two police commissioners, Loretta Sheehan and Steven Levinson, both of whom have law degrees and significant experience in the legal field.

Sheehan, a former assistant U.S. attorney, and Levinson, a retired Hawaii Supreme Court associate justice, both think the commission has been applying the wrong legal standard when reviewing officers’ requests to have their attorneys fees paid for by taxpayers.

Even more concerning to them has been the fact that city attorneys have been supporting that misinterpretation and misapplication of the law for years, possibly resulting in several officers getting short-changed.

Sheehan and Levinson weren’t on the commission when it denied legal counsel to Tamayori. But they did vote for Becera to have his legal fees covered….

PDF: Lawsuit Text

read … Representation

Star-Adv Nailed for Misleading Styrofoam Ban Rhetoric

SA: …Your editorial supporting a ban on polystyrene containers contained inaccurate and misleading information (“Oahu should ban foam containers,” Star-Advertiser, Our View, Aug. 7). Claiming these materials release toxic ash and smoke is false.

Waste to energy (WTE) is a reliable and safe technology. Polystyrene that goes to HPOWER contains more energy than coal and any emissions must meet the most stringent environmental requirements anywhere in the U.S. The ash that is generated is rendered mostly inert through the combustion process and is tested to meet Environmental Protection Agency safety standards.

A recent study concluded that combustion of polystyrene and other plastics produce little to no ash when done properly as in modern WTE facilities. The ash is generated from other wastes such as wood, textiles and paper.

Public policy decisions should be based on the best available science and information, not misleading rhetoric…..

read … Styrofoam

Association says a sprinkler system bill is not feasible

SA: If a bill requiring older residential towers to install sprinklers becomes law, the city could offer no-interest loans to condominium owners who might need help to pay their share, Mayor Kirk Caldwell said last week.

But Jane Sugimura, president of the Hawaii Council of Associations of Apartment Owners, said that while the offer to help is appreciated, she still doesn’t think forcing condominium owners to install sprinklers is feasible.

On Wednesday the City Council voted 9-0 to give the first of three necessary approvals to Bill 69, which mandates all existing residential high-rise buildings (more than 75 feet in height) to have automatic sprinkler systems installed within five years…. 

Big Q:  Would you support a law for older high-rises to be retrofitted with sprinklers, if the city offers no-interest loans for unit owners?

read … Sprinkler

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