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Wednesday, September 06, 2017
September 6, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:43 PM :: 2936 Views

Another OHA Trustee Caught Red-Handed

Ige Signs $2.4B Rail Tax Hike Bill

HDOT Sitting on $505M of Unspent Federal Funds

UH: Only 13 DACA Students in UH System

Hawaii Sues Trump over DACA

Jones Act industry attacks Mercatus paper

Best Place to Raise a Family? Honolulu Ranks 62nd 

93% of Hawaii Dams at 'High Hazard Risk'

Abercrombie: Hanabusa is Toast

AP: “Democrats challenging incumbent Democrats in a gubernatorial primary is nothing new in Hawaii,” Abercrombie said Tuesday. “The only thing that was different is that Gov. Ige succeeded.”

Circumstances in a possible Hanabusa-Ige showdown “are not comparable at all,” Abercrombie said….

Inouye wanted Hanabusa to take his place, but Abercrombie, who as governor had power to appoint a successor after Inouye’s death in 2012, picked Brian Schatz instead. Hanabusa then challenged Schatz in the Democratic primary in 2014 but lost by less than one percentage point.

“That appointment played a significant role in my primary with then-Sen. Ige,” Abercrombie said. “But I don’t think it has anything to do at all with this primary.”….

Reality: www.TheRealHanabusa.com

read … Personality, not policy, set to define Hawaii governor race

Cataluna: Ige is the Mafia Candidate, not Hanabusa (LOL!)

Cataluna: …In not quite three years as governor, Ige has managed to be every bit of the drip everyone thought he’d be. The only surprise has been his avoidance of straight talk, as in his repeated denial that he had anything to do with the firing of the competent-yet-disliked-by-Mrs. Ige school superintendent. His inner circle, the so-called Pearl City Mafia, has proved to be insular, impenetrable and ineffective, a star chamber without actual stars.

(Yes.  Cataluna said “Mafia” in a column about Hanabusa—but we’re supposed to think about Ige’s metaphorical “Mafia” and ignore Hanabusa’s real Mafia.  Hilarious.)

It’s been a long time since the Hawaii Democratic Party fielded a strong candidate for governor. The beginning of the end of the dynasty came with Ben Cayetano’s departure from the fifth floor. Decisive, brash, unapologetic, Cayetano might not have been universally loved, but there was no doubt he was a leader.

Since then the party has fielded an uninspiring tray of leftovers. Mazie Hirono could not overpower the promise of a fresh start that Republican Linda Lingle offered in 2002. Four years later Randy Iwase was pushed in front of the Lingle train….

…And what role does the all-but-announced candidacy of Republican Andria Tupola play? Tupola is a different kind of Hawaii Republican: young, high-energy, deeply connected to her Mormon faith but not preachy or harshly judgmental, detached from Donald Trump and way more hip about social media and messaging than just about anyone else in local politics.

Hanabusa might be coming home solely to neutralize Tupola’s west-side support with her own west-side heritage. Firecracker Tupola would surely out-dazzle wet-blanket Ige. Hanabusa packs her own style of political pyrotechnics….

Find the Mafia: www.TheRealHanabusa.com

read … Cataluna

Legislators Admit They Used Caldwell as ‘Foil’ While Passing $2.4B Tax Hike

CB: …Interviews with the legislative leaders most responsible for the funding package – Senate President Ron Kouchi, House Speaker Scott Saiki, Luke, Senate Ways and Means Committee chair Donovan Dela Cruz and House Transportation Committee chair Henry Aquino – suggest the bill’s success was the result of several factors, including an agreement to use certain numbers in their analysis, a concerted effort to be open with fellow legislators and a timeline that would require the effort to stay on track.

One of the unsung players was the state’s Budget and Finance director, Wes Machida, who lawmakers say worked tirelessly to provide key data.

A perhaps more unlikely key to getting the bill passed was Mayor Kirk Caldwell, who served as a foil that would unite the legislative leaders as he tried to derail their effort.

Indeed, on the House floor Friday, Luke looked up to the gallery seats where the mayor was sitting and thanked him, joking that there was nobody else who could have so effectively brought the lawmakers together.

“That is true,” Saiki said.

He noted that even U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa had joined the fight against Caldwell….

Rep. Gene Ward, an Oahu Republican who opposed the rail bill, called the session “kabuki theater,” suggesting it was simply a choreographed performance. In truth, lawmakers had a chance to kill the bill – a number in both the House and Senate voted against it – and the session allowed significant testimony….

read … Precisely as Explained

Three Hawaii Energy Fallacies

IM: …Fallacy #1: There are many types of renewable energy. No one renewable energy system could meet all of our energy needs. Therefore, we need all types of renewable energy.

The fallacy is often promoted by those who want a particular type of renewable energy, and by asserting that we need all types, are really saying, don`t mess with my type….

Fallacy #2: I like green renewable energy. Greenhouse gas emissions aren`t green. Therefore, renewable energy decreases greenhouse gas emissions.

The definition of renewable energy is many places, including Hawai`i, exclude any reference to how the energy is created. The definition of renewable energy is often broad enough to include environmental and cultural nightmares.

Renewable energy can include building huge dams across salmon spawning rivers, growing corn to make ethanol with runoff creating oceanic dead zones, razing forests to produce biomass energy, burning down tropical rainforests to grow mono-cropped biofuel crops, and electrolyzing glaciers and Antarctica to produce hydrogen.

Some of these “renewable energy systems” would generate large levels of greenhouse gas emissions, others would eliminate carbon storage sinks.

Fallacy #3: I like renewable energy. The utility likes smart grids. Therefore, smart grids will increase the use of renewable energy….

Before or after spending zillions of dollars of ratepayer money, should we think about whether there should be one grid, or layered micro-grids?

read … Three Hawai`i Energy Fallacies

HGEA Member Uses State Funds for Cattle Ranch

SA: With three decades of work experience in correctional facilities, Mark Patterson knows how to talk the talk of effective juvenile justice reform. But after three years heading the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility (HYCF), there’s scant evidence that he’s following through with walking the walk.

To the contrary, the warden appears to be far more wrapped up in growing a cattle ranch on the Kailua facility and maintaining an oversized payroll than seeing to it that incarcerated boys and girls actually get access to valuable programs that can help reduce recidivism….

during his HYCF tenure Patterson has tripled the cattle count on the property to slightly more than 90. And last year he secured the state’s OK to tap nearly $147,000 in unused personnel money for ranch-related gear including a $40,000 tractor, a dump truck, chipper/mulcher, utility vehicle, rider mower as well as a bull and heifers.

But the incarcerated rarely spend time at the ranch due to school priorities. Instead, Patterson has brought in youth on probation to help as ranch hands, more or less. He’s now hoping to win legislative approval to sell beef and produce commercially…..

Patterson was cruel to do away with programs that had been yielding promising results and were relatively inexpensive such as “Seven Challenges,” which is on the federal government’s registry of effective therapies. Through it, correctional officers led group sessions after school, helping kids open up about their often-traumatic pasts and learn how to redirect their lives. Also dropped: “Cage the Rage,” which had encouraged better behavior with incentives such as evening and weekend activities as well as outings to help prepare for transition back to society. No replacement programs are in place, leaving the incarcerated essentially warehoused except during school hours.….

In a recent presentation, Patterson said the facility remains staffed for 80 or more kids while the average daily census has fallen to just 20 to 25 youths…..

SA: At-risk youth need support, not segregation

read … HCYF

Honolulu Prosecutor Bungles Grand Jury Investigation, Case Against Alleged Shooter Tossed

HNN: An Oahu woman is demanding justice for her boyfriend, who was crushed to death under his car while dodging a bullet in Kalihi last summer.

The man accused of firing the shot has been set free because of an evidence dispute at the grand jury. The judge ruled there was insufficient evidence.

"There was no evidence that a gun was actually fired. There was no evidence that the individual who was charged, was the person at the scene in that video, and more importantly, there was no evidence presented to the grand jury that someone had died," said defense attorney Bill Harrison.

Surveillance video from a business on Waterhouse Street shows exactly what happened before Kyen Knowles, 36, was crushed under his own car.

Prosecutors said the man walking up in the white tanktop is Brandon Reis, 33.

Police said he pulled a gun out of his bag, aimed and fired at Knowles. Knowles opened his door and fell under the wheels.

Police found a 22-caliber casing at the scene. …

The video shows the man in white walk around the vehicle, then look at Knowles, then jog off. 

Harrison said the video is not enough to prove attempted murder.

The judge ruled a police detective narrated the video and added details about the suspect and the gun. Charges were dismissed on July 7 and Reis' $1 million bail was reduced to $125,000. Reis was released.

The victim's family members are devastated.

"Angry, really angry. Really hurt because I thought they were gonna keep this guy off of the street. Because if he does this, there's a potential that he could do it again," said the victim's father, Alan Knowles.

"They need to find him. They need to make him pay. We want justice," said the victim's girlfriend, Evette Lopes.

Last Thursday, new attempted murder charges were filed against Reis and a $1 million warrant went out for his arrest, but so far he has not been arrested. His attorney, Kieth Shigetomi, said he does not know where his client is….

read … Judge drops charges in case of man shot at, then run over by own car

Attempt to Prevent Investigation of Kunia plane crash

SA: The wreckage of the Beech 19A aircraft that crashed near Kunia on July 28, killing all four Oahu residents on board, likely will stay in the state-owned Honouliuli Forest Reserve where it went down.

National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Keith Holloway said the decision to recover the wrecked plane falls to its owner, Jahn Mueller.

Mueller, owner of Aircraft Maintenance & Flight School Hawaii, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser last month that he is not required to remove the wreckage from the mountain and has no plans to do so. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources, which has jurisdiction of the reserve, said it has determined that the wreckage is not an environmental hazard and does not plan to retrieve it.

If the wreckage is recovered, then NTSB would send an investigator to examine it, Holloway said. “At the moment, NTSB does have enough data gathered to move forward with an investigation,” he said.

But critics are questioning the decision to leave the wrecked Beech, considering that another of Mueller’s planes, a Piper PA 28-140, crash-landed in a Mapunapuna stream under a Moanalua Freeway bridge June 30, seriously injuring the three people on board.

“I believe the wreckage should be retrieved for the sake of my friends’ lives,” said Devlyn Perugini, who was friends with the Beech passengers. “It should be a priority to explore every possibility. I’m not trying to be spiteful or attack anyone, but there are too many things left unanswered.” ….

“Not making Mr. Mueller recover this plane is like allowing the fox to guard the henhouse,” Katz said. “Two crashes in such a short time is a red flag. There are a lot of loose ends here. Not enough scrutiny.”

State Department of Transportation spokesman Tim Sakahara said Mueller’s permit was for hangar storage of a personal plane, not commercial operations. Mueller had applied for a permit to keep his two planes, which have since crashed, parked outside his hangar. His application was still pending at the time of the crashes because Mueller was not timely in submitting a certificate of commercial general liability insurance, Sakahara said.

“The state is reviewing Mueller’s airport activities,” he said….

Katz, Hutton’s uncle Scott Potwin and Honolulu attorney Rick Fried, who represents a passenger in the downed Piper, have raised mechanical concerns. On the day the bodies were recovered, Potwin told the Star-Advertiser that Hutton had experienced prior mechanical problems in the Beech. Fried has said his clients had rejected that same Beech for mechanical reasons before renting the Piper, which “experienced engine failure in the sky.”…

read … Kunia plane wreckage to remain on mountain

Anti-GMO Whack-Jobs Use Maui Council to Waste Farmers Time

MN: The head of Alexander & Baldwin’s diversified agriculture operations told a Maui County Council committee Tuesday that the company is not farming any genetically modified crops for food or for animal feed.

Rick Volner Jr., general manger for the Diversified Agriculture section, said the only GMO work done has been on research and development for bioenergy crops. And that was because the company wanted to evaluate conventional versus GMO crops in its diversification agriculture plan for former Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar cane lands. HC&S shut down last year, leaving fallow 36,000 acres of former sugar land.

Volner said the company is not working on or working with any tenants growing GMO crops, and the company is not considering growing GMO as a food crop. This includes animal feed.

Volner’s comments came near the end of an all-day and sometimes heated council Policy, Economic Development and Agriculture Committee meeting. At least 65 people, most skeptical of A&B’s diversified agriculture plans, signed up to testify on the matter. A&B was invited to present its plans to the committee, although those plans already have been shared with the public.

Many testifiers were concerned about GMOs being grown on the former plantation land and wanted to see cultivation of food crops, such as lilikoi, mango, breadfruit and coconut.

No action was scheduled, and the matter was deferred.

Most of the information shared by A&B’s Diversified Agriculture Division was not new. The company reiterated that it is focusing on livestock and growing bioenergy feedstocks and animal feed, along with pursuing agricultural leasing….

read … Anti-GMO Fraudsters Waster Time

Foam containers have value; ban wouldn’t curb sea debris

SA: …Plate lunches and other take-out meals in Hawaii tend to be served in polystyrene foam food containers due to their light weight, low cost, and ability to keep hot foods hot and cold food cold. Foam containers are the only type of food container to be manufactured here in Hawaii.

After they’re used, foam food containers still have value as one of the best fuels for Oahu’s HPOWER waste-to-energy facility. This creates a complete solution where foam containers are made locally, used locally and then create electricity locally…..

read … Foam containers have value; ban wouldn’t curb sea debris

Cesspool alternatives expensive

WHT: …Sewer improvement districts are often used as a solution. That’s what’s happening elsewhere on the island, such as the Lono Kona community.

The $6.5 million sewer project will be built mauka of Kuakini Highway in an area residents have dubbed “Hamburger Hill.” The Lono Kona sewer system improvement district includes 145 assessment units on 110 lots.

Lot owners are assessed an estimated $9,090 per single-family equivalent unit. The county then uses bonds to finance the project and allows property owners to make annual payments of about $498 per single-family equivalent.

The problem with Puako is it will cost much more, Kucharski said. He estimates constructing a sewer system for 643 households will come in between $14 million and $15 million.

That works out to $600-$800 monthly per house, Kucharski said….

In 2015, Gov. David Ige signed Act 120, which gives $10,000 income tax credits for homeowners in areas near water sources to upgrade their cesspools to more effective wastewater treatment systems. The credit program runs through Dec. 31, 2020.

read … Cesspool alternatives expensive

Charter School Leader Going The Extra Mile

CB: …Steve Hirakami of the Hawaii Academy of Arts and Sciences shows why these institutions of learning deserve our support and respect….

read … Charter School Leader Going The Extra Mile 

Some Bums Went East—Will Be Swept West

SA: …The August sweep at Blaisdell Park got 43 people off of the street, according to the city. They included six families, four dogs and three cats.

One person went to the Institute for Human Services in Iwilei; 33 checked into the Waianae Civic Center shelter; and nine were taken in by family and friends, the city said.

Joseph Acosta, director of operations for the nonprofit organization ALEA Bridge, which continues to work with homeless people from the area, called the 33 people taken to the Waianae Civic Center “a big number.”

At the same time, Acosta said, “at least 50” people who used to live on the bike path are now scattered in the bushes north and south of Blaisdell Park — either on the Waipahu side closer to Hawaiian Electric Co.’s Waiau power plant or on the town side of the bike path near Best Buy, Acosta said.

“A lot of people who were in the Blaisdell area just moved up to the power plant or down to Best Buy — all the way to Aloha Stadium,” Acosta said.

While the August sweep seems to have kept homeless people from returning directly in front of the park, “the bottom line is we can’t house these guys fast enough,” Acosta said. “There’s no (affordable housing) inventory.”

The group living in and on top of mangroves on the town side of the bike path will be swept next, “possibly within the next couple of weeks,” city spokesman Andrew Pereira said.

A third sweep at the end of the trail near a Navy boathouse might or might not involve the city, Pereira said…..

CB: Convincing Landlords That Housing The Homeless Is Good Business

HNN: How a 'hidden homeless' family got help from an innovative savings program

read … Go West Young Bum!

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