Honolulu: $100 worth only $80.32
Corporations Becoming New Arbiters Of Public Morality
DBEDT Releases 2016 Hawaii Data Book
Grabauskas Suspected of Withholding Records
HNN: …The move comes as state lawmakers meet to figure out how to pay for a projected $3 billion shortfall.
"Where the heck is the money going? And that's what we want to see and that's what we want to find out. We want to verify where the hard earned tax dollars are going," said Councilman Trevor Ozawa, who introduced the resolution.
A study last year by City Auditor Edwin Young found that the rail authority's financial plans were unreliable and that its cost projections weren't well documented.
"We found that the internal controls were so weak that if fraud, waste and abuse were to occur, HART and many others would not have detected it, could not prevent it and could not have taken corrective action," said Young.
But that audit only looked at HART's operating expenses. The new audit will take a much broader look at the rail system's construction contracts and cost overruns incurred by contractors.
The review will not be a forensic audit. Young said the city charter bars his agency from conducting such an audit, which looks for fraud and other criminal acts. He said that type of investigation is usually handled by the city Prosecutor's office and other law enforcement agencies.
Rail officials and city leader vowed to cooperate with the auditor's office for the new report -- unlike fired CEO Dan Grabauskas, who was combative with auditors and was suspected of withholding records….
SA: Auditor says probe of rail agency raised ‘red flags’
read … Withholding Records
How A Princess’s Embattled Fortune Could Become A Massive Native Hawaiian Charity
CB:Depending how the legal fight over Abigal Kawananakoa’s $215 million fortune turns out, the 91-year-old princess’s foundation could enter the pantheon of Native Hawaiian trusts that today wield tremendous wealth and power on the islands…..
Kawananakoa, who many believe would be queen if Hawaii were still a kingdom, has already set up an independent charitable organization. The Abigail K. K. Kawananakoa Foundation plans to provide scholarships, healthcare and legal advice to Native Hawaiians, as well as preserve Native Hawaiian art, language, music and history….
read … Stakes
Will State Provide Land for Affordable Housing?
KITV: Developers said too much red tape added time to projects and increases costs. They also asked for more financing funds and even affordable land for future housing developments….
Lawmakers listened to suggestions for more affordable land, faster permit processing and increasing tax money that goes into the rental housing revolving fund.
$38 million went in this year but lawmakers could raise the cap so more developers could tap into the money.
"We're in a crisis and we absolutely need every dollar we can get. So please lift that cap. That rental housing trust fund goes a long way," said Avalon Group CEO Christine Camp.
"If regulations were modified or shortened to reduce the development process, the shorter time line would reduce development costs and reduce the overall cost of housing in Hawaii," said Liz Char, a development officer with The Michaels Development Company….
"Individuals talked about the need for affordable land, and the state is in a position to provide affordable land," said Sen. Will Espero.
Housing lawmakers on both the House and Senate sides plan to meet each month to draft legislation for the 2018 session….
read … Reasons for affordable housing shortage
DoE: 33% Absenteeism on South Side of Big Island
HTH: …“Chronic absenteeism has historically been an issue throughout our complex area … our school included,” said Brad Asakura, counselor at Keonepoko Elementary School where the idea to implement Challenge 5 on the Big Island began. “One thing we struggle with is a lot of transiency — kids transfer up to Keaau or to Mountain View before returning (back to Keonepoko). So the attractive thing about having something like this — a positive attendance initiative — is to give our kids common goals, no matter which school they go to.
“We really wanted to get the kids excited about school and also give our community and parents something to latch onto and to really work with us in improving school attendance.”
Big Island schools have a higher rate of chronic absenteeism than their counterparts elsewhere in the state. In the 2015-16 school year, Hilo-Waiakea schools averaged a 13.8 percent chronic truancy rate, followed by West Hawaii schools at 18.9 percent. Ka‘u-Keaau-Pahoa schools’ chronic absenteeism rate averaged 31.33 percent, among the highest in the state. Statewide the average was about 13 percent….
“Yesterday, we had a 97 percent (daily attendance) rate,” Lally-Gealon said. “Normally (daily attendance) is in the 91 percent range. So we’ve never had that.”….
read … Ka‘u-Keaau-Pahoa complex hopes new program prevents absenteeism
Child Deaths: DHS Reverts to Tried and True System for Covering Up
KHON: …Twenty years ago, the state set up a system to review cases involving the deaths of children in Hawaii.
It’s a system that could also shed new light on the death of 3-year-old Fabian Garett-Garcia….
We’ve learned that the state put together a Child Death Review panel in 1997 that was geared to help prevent similar tragedies.
We’re told that the review panel was instrumental in making dramatic changes statewide, but due to lack of funding, the program was put on hold.
The Hawaii Child Death Review System started at the time when “Peter Boy” Kema Jr. disappeared on Hawaii island. The state Legislature put the Department of Health in charge of experts to review all deaths of children.
read … Cover
Greenmail: Panel wants to make watching delicious whales a Hawaiian experience
MN: Hawaiian cultural workshops for tour operators ($$$) would be one of the ways officials would like to incorporate (Inc.) island culture in Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary plans and activities.
It is part of a vision of Sol Kaho’ohalahala, chairman of the sanctuary’s Advisory Council.
He explained that on a whale watching tour in Hawaii, when one sees a whale spouting, people may say “There she blows,” an English expression, not Hawaiian. The line is from the novel “Moby Dick” by American writer, Herman Melville, published in 1851.
“We are in Hawaii, why are we not describing that . . . action in its Hawaiian terms?” Kaho’ohalahala asked….
read … Ono Good for Luau
Body camera video showed MPD officers acted by the book with protesters
MN: A preliminary review of police body camera footage during a protest against a convoy of telescope materials headed to the Haleakala summit shows officers followed procedures and acted properly, Police Chief Tivoli Faaumu said Wednesday….
Faaumu said it was “a very sensitive task” for police officers assigned to the operation because of the people involved in the protest.
“All they want is to exercise their First Amendment right,” Faaumu said. “They are not the criminal elements of the community, just good citizens. They’re involved in sports activities, the same sports activities some of our officers are involved with. It was tough.”….
read … Body Cams
Army searching for 5 aboard downed chopper