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Wednesday, August 23, 2017
August 23, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:32 PM :: 1223 Views

Feds Search for Criminals Buying Honolulu Real Estate Thru Shell Companies

Kona DLNR Harassment: Judge Throws Case out on Technicality

Ige Unveils Plan to Bulldoze Kalihi, Build Condos

College Rankings: BYUH, HPU, Chaminade Trounce UH Campuses

Using Freedom of Information Act to target biotech scientists boomerangs against anti-GMO activists

Rail: Hannemann, Hanabusa Pointing Fingers

HNN: In the 1980s, rail got shot down on Oahu. It happened again in 1991.

In a recent interview, Hannemann said Gov. Linda Lingle was on board, along with the City Council. Hawaii-born Barack Obama sat in the Oval Office and Hawaii's powerful senior Sen. Daniel Inouye had pledged his support.

"I guarantee you this, I'm going to do my damnedest to see that money comes in," said Inouye at this first appearance before the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation in 2011.

Hannemann said if they didn't move forward then, there would be no rail today.

"So I said 'Hey, the stars are aligned let's make this happen,' and the economy was also down at the time," he said.

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who chaired the rail project's board before returning to Congress, believes Inouye pressured the Federal Transit Administration to approve an incomplete plan.

"I think that it probably had a lot to do with it," said Hanabusa….

Meanwhile, Hannemann blames the rail project's cost overruns on mismanagement by the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

"This is something that was handed to them from me on a silver platter ready to go, but we have the wrong people on the wrong seats on the bus," said Hannemann.

University of Hawaii political science professor Colin Moore says the public was sold on rail as a traffic solution when much of its value was in spurring new development.

"Folks see this as somewhat a corrupt bargain or bait and switch. It doesn't mean the rail won't be valuable," said Moore.

Hannemann says they chose to go through under-developed areas so it could be built quicker and remake the city.

"As you come into the Waipahu, Pearl City, Aiea, Kalihi areas, those are older communities. This would help transform those neighborhoods into livable communities," said Hannemann….

read … Seeing Stars

Stop Rail At Middle Street, Then Use Express Buses

CB:  …Three words summarize our unfortunate rail situation: corruption, collusion and ignorance.

But first, the good news: A realistic transportation solution that we can afford is still possible. Honolulu should terminate elevated rail at Middle Street at the bus transfer station in Kalihi, where passengers get off the train and board an express bus traveling nonstop on North King Street to downtown.

This 3-mile trip could be done in 10 minutes with synchronized lights, bringing commuters rapidly to the heart of downtown. Compare that with elevated rail plans that require five more station stops after Middle Street to Aloha Tower, then a long walk to work.

An express bus is quicker and can easily be extended to the University of Hawaii Manoa and Waikiki….

Video: N King St Traffic Solution

read … Simple Solution

HELCO rate hike OK’d—Will Pay for Solar

HTH: The state Public Utilities Commission issued an interim order Tuesday granting a 3.4 percent increase to Hawaii Electric Light Co.’s base rate.

HELCO estimates the move will add $4.98 per month to a typical residential bill and generate $9.9 million in additional revenue. The average residential bill was $162.58 in the past 12 months, the utility said in a press release.

The increase applies to all ratepayers.

The utility, which requested a 6.5 percent hike, says the money will help pay for capital improvements, such as (alt-energy-related) grid upgrades ….

Ignacio said the only disagreement that remains is the return on equity for capital improvements. HELCO wants 9.75 percent, while the consumer advocate recommended 9.5 percent…..

SA: Increase in electrical rates for Big Isle gets state’s OK

read … HELCO rate hike OK’d

Bus Driver Shortage? Roberts Hawaii Grabs for Millions from DoE Budget

MW: …A paid ad published by Roberts Hawaii in the Thursday edition of The Maui News suggests that it is suffering discrimination as a result of HIDOE’s handling of the bus driver shortage. This self-serving ad is deliberately misleading and obscures the company’s significant role in creating the problem.

HIDOE launched a major student transportation reform effort in 2013 that aimed to create better competition among school vendors and has saved more than $12 million over the last three years through better management of transportation costs. The previous services on Maui, operated by Roberts Hawaii, were among the most expensive services in the state and it was necessary to introduce a competitive process to reduce the amount of funding that was being diverted from classrooms to non-instructional services. The single Maui contract was split into four, covering different areas, which were awarded in strict accordance with state procurement process.

Roberts won the largest Maui contract, but lost the three others to a lower bidder, current contractor Ground Transport, Inc. Roberts then delayed the award process with protests to the Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs and an appeal to Circuit Court. Both rulings found that HIDOE followed proper procedures and, after months of legal delays, Ground Transport purchased over 70 new buses, established base yards and all of its needed support operations on Maui, after 27 years serving Oahu.

When driver staffing levels showed that there would be a shortage in the Lahaina area that would impact routes, HIDOE, with the consent of Ground Transport, approached Roberts to assist, proposing a two-year contract at a higher pay rate. Roberts countered with demands for a seven-year contract at the higher rate, which would cost nearly five million dollars more than the current contract. HIDOE has a fiscal responsibility to spend taxpayer dollars prudently and meeting Roberts’ demands for that amount would have impacted HIDOE’s budget over many years and required Legislative approval. Roberts’ significant role in hindering the transition to the new contractor has directly contributed to and prolonged this situation….

CB: DOE And Rejected Vendor Clash Over Maui Bus Driver Shortage

read … Ad regarding school bus service was self-serving and misleading

Mandatory Sprinkler Bill Deferred

CB: Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s bill to retrofit sprinkler installations in older residential high rises remains in limbo until a newly formed advisory committee presents its fire safety recommendations.

Bill 69, introduced on behalf of Mayor Kirk Caldwell after the Marco Polo condominium fire that left three dead, was deferred at an Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee hearing Tuesday.

The Residential Fire Safety Advisory Committee will study new fire safety technologies and ways to reduce the cost of installing sprinklers….

(Translation: The politicians wanted to look like they were acting until your attention shifted elsewhere.)

Big Q: What do you think of the City Council deferring a bill requiring sprinklers in older residential buildings?

SA: Council panel defers measure on sprinklers in high-rises

read … All Talk

Will Dopers Have the Right to Stay Doped up at Work?

KHON …The recent Massachusetts Supreme Court case, Barbuto v. Advantage Sales and Marketing, LLC has affirmed an employee’s right to use ‘medical’ marijuana, saying that an employee who was terminated for her use of the drug could file a handicap discrimination lawsuit. Many states are following the Barbuto case very closely including Hawaii.

The 2017 Annual Employment Law Seminar, the largest and most comprehensive employment law seminar in Hawaii, is this Friday, August 25 at the Hawaii Convention Center. Registration is open until Thursday morning and can be made by visiting the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii’s website at http://www.cochawaii.org….

read … Doped Up

Proposed in-car smoking ban advances

SA: No one at the meeting opposed the bill. But in written testimony, a representative for the Hawaii Smokers Alliance said parenting decisions should be left up to parents. “The city government needs to butt out of people’s private lives,” he wrote….

SA: Smoking ban in cars excessive regulation

SA: Don’t overreach with smoking ban

read … Butt Out

Waianae Tweeker Camp Claims Rotting Piles of Garbage are Just a Coincidence

HNN: A sink, a washing machine, a refrigerator and a water heater were just some of the things found at the Waianae Boat Harbor Tuesday morning.

Many are blaming those who live in a nearby homeless encampment for the illegal dumping….

read … Always Trust a Tweeker

Government enables homeless

SA: An enabler is a person or entity who encourages or enables negative or self-destructive behavior in another.

Our government remains an enabler of the homeless, by continuing to help them remain homeless by supporting them.

The government helps a few and makes a big deal of that, saying we’re making progress. Yet, we pay them welfare in many cases; do little to prevent them from camping where they want; let them park their vehicles where they are not supposed to; let them continue to build fires under the H-1; and the list goes on.

What good are the laws if our government does not enforce them and stay on top of them? ….

read … Enabler

Earthjustice files suit over DOT lights, imperiled seabirds

SA: Conservation groups filed a lawsuit against the state today claiming it’s failing to address the harm to imperiled seabirds caused by bright lighting at its facilities in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

Earthjustice said in ia press release that the state Department of Transportation has failed to address injuries and deaths of three species of seabirds — the threatened Newell’s shearwater and the endangered Hawaiian petrels and band-rumped storm petrels — at state-operated airports and harbors on Kauai, Maui and Lanai.

The seabirds are attracted to the bright lights, but become disoriented and circle around them, then fall to the ground from exhaustion or crash into nearby buildings.

read … Lawsuit

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