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Thursday, September 07, 2017
September 7, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:56 PM :: 1536 Views

2017 Hawaii ACT Scores 4th Worst in USA

Dropping college enrollment shows Americans are no longer buying the college lie

AG Chin to Run for Congress?  Wes Machida for LG?

CB: …On the same day that Hanabusa announced, two state senators — Green of Hawaii Island and Will Espero of Oahu — said they are running for lieutenant governor.

They join state Sen. Jill Tokuda of Oahu and Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa in the race for the No. 2 spot in state government, even though the current lieutenant governor, Shan Tsutsui, hasn’t officially launched his planned campaign to replace the term-limited Arakawa….

The Ige-Hanabusa showdown appears assured — unless Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho plays spoiler. Or, maybe Carvalho, who is term-limited, decides to run for LG or hope for a Cabinet position.

With Hanabusa’s entrance, though, it’s unlikely other gubernatorial wannabes will emerge on the Democratic side. State Rep. Andria Tupola is a possible Republican candidate, now that her GOP colleague Bob McDermott has decided to stay in the House of Representatives….

Her campaign field coordinator, Reena Rabago, said Hanabusa will not resign to run for governor, as U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie did in 2010….

Among those considering jumping into the 1st Congressional District race is state Sen. Donna Mercado Kim of Oahu, who finished second to Takai in the 2014 primary….

Also weighing a run is state Rep. Kaniela Ing of Maui. Even though the Valley Isle is part of the 2nd Congressional District, candidates do not actually have to live in their districts….

Other names mentioned include state Sens. Karl Rhoads and Stanley Chang, who finished a distant third behind Kim and Takai in the 2016 congressional race.

But the name that garners the most excitement in some Democratic circles is Chin, the hotshot AG who seems to sue the Trump administration every other month or so.

Chin did not return a call seeking comment. (On Wednesday, he joined yet another lawsuit against Trump, this one over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals decision.)

Supporters say he has terrific name recognition and is a relatively fresh face. He is also precisely the kind of candidate sought by many Democrats to confront Trump in D.C.

Chin isn’t thought to be interested in the job of lieutenant governor.

If Tsutsui resigns to run for Maui mayor, the succession falls first to the Senate president and then to the House speaker. Ron Kouchi and Scott Saiki are said to not be interested.

The AG is next in line, followed by the Budget and Finance director. Hello, Lt. Gov. Wes Machida?

Other politicians whose names are being discussed for other offices are Speaker Emeritus Joe Souki (for LG), state Rep. John Mizuno (LG or CD1), Honolulu City Council member Ernie Martin (state Senate, maybe) and former state senators Clayton Hee and Gary Hooser.

There is also speculation that former Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi may be eyeing a return to politics, now that his legal and ethical challenges appear behind him.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s name surfaces for higher office, too,…

Shirlene Dela Cruz Ostrov, chairwoman of the Republican Party of Hawaii, said the proliferation of open seats is an opportunity for the minority party to offer a different brand.

“We feel like people are feeling weary, perhaps, about a dominant party that isn’t exactly working out great all the time,” she said. “So we are going to put out the message that not only are we an alternative to voters but also for candidates who want to be serious and to help us create some change.”

Ostrov said it was too early to announce possible contenders. But she did say the local GOP is being advised by the Republican National Committee….

read … Chin up?

8-0 Honolulu Council approves Rail GET surcharge extension

HNN: The move comes a day after Gov. David Ige signed a bailout bill into law.

Before passing Bill 45, council members questioned the interim chief of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation. Krishniah Murthy said nearly 60 percent of the project has been constructed or awarded. Rail officials are sticking with their cost estimate of $8.165 billion, excluding financing costs.

"From everything I've seen up until this point, I believe it's a good number and we should be able to deliver the project at or below that number," said Andrew Robbins, HART's new CEO….

8 AYES: ANDERSON, ELEFANTE, FUKUNAGA, KOBAYASHI, MANAHAN, MARTIN, MENOR, PINE.

1 ABSENT: OZAWA.

Bill 45: Text, Status

read … Tax Hike

HART Cancelled Rail Contract to Ala Moana in August—Didn’t Tell Legislators – Already Planning to Fail on Latest Deadline

SA: Honolulu officials recently canceled their long-stalled effort to award the construction contract for rail’s final 4.3 miles and eight stations into town, opting to start over instead.

Andrew Robbins, who started as the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s new executive director this week, said that the agency’s decision last month to cancel procurement eventually could save on cost and time.

It also opens opportunities for the city to finally enter into public-private partnerships for rail, which could help take some of the burden off taxpayers, Robbins added.

However, it remains to be seen whether HART can still deliver the full 20-mile, 21-station line by December 2025 now that it has restarted the selection process to build rail’s most challenging stretch through Honolulu’s crowded urban core.

Chicago-based investment management firm Jones Lang LaSalle has estimated that under a new procurement it could take up to 18 months to award the contract….

Terrence Lee, the HART board’s vice chairman, said Monday that the procurement reset leaves the rail agency “less wiggle room” in its master schedule. Meanwhile, rail’s independent federal oversight contractor already had expressed doubts in its recent monthly reports whether the December 2025 date is realistic.

HART initially froze its selection of a builder for the City Center guideway and stations back in December 2015 amid uncertainty that the city would even have the money to pay for that work.

The agency then canceled the procurement altogether on Aug. 24, according to HART officials — four days before the Legislature met in special session to consider a new, $2.4 billion bailout package for the over-budget transit project…..

Robbins said he’s considering whether the same public-private partnership approach that JLL recommended earlier this year would make sense to build the City Center section, which runs from Middle Street to Ala Moana Center.

Jamieson has said that taxpayers would benefit if the city used private third parties to pay for the project’s final 4 miles into town plus a major transit hub at Pearl Highlands as that work occurs.

Under that model, known as “design-build-finance,” the private investors wouldn’t be paid back until the project is finished, according to a March JLL report that was funded by the Honolulu-based social investment fund Ulupono Initiative.

As Explained: Public-Private Partnerships: Study Examines New Options for Rail

read …. Rail officials start over on selecting builder for last stretch

AG Chin Refuses to Prosecute: Slap on Wrist for PRP over campaign against Cayetano case

SA: …The commission voted in late 2014 to refer the case to the attorney general for criminal investigation and possible prosecution. Commissioners at the time reserved jurisdiction over the matter if the Attorney General’s Office declined to press charges.

More than two years later, at the commission’s July meeting, the Attorney General’s Office informed the panel that it declined to pursue criminal charges due to a “procedural defect.” The office also said there was insufficient evidence to prove a criminal violation in a separate complaint against PRP and White for failing to report $86,183 that PRP spent on mailers in support of City Councilwoman Carol Fuku­naga in 2012.

Campaign spending commissioners assessed the $1,250 fine in the Cayetano case, as well as a $1,000 fine in the Fukunaga case….

Commissioner Gregory Shoda said it was unfortunate the AG declined to pursue the cases. “There’s so much money moving around (and) the public doesn’t have input,” he said. “But we are left where we are because they declined prosecution.”

Read: Hawaii CSC Minutes of July 12, 2017

read … PRP Fined

State Supreme Court Finds Excuse to Shut Down Aquarium Fisheries Statewide

CB: The state Supreme Court has ordered a stop to the commercial collection of aquarium fish in Hawaii pending an environmental review.

In a unanimous 73-page decision Wednesday, the justices ruled against the Department of Land and Natural Resources, vacating prior court rulings and directing the Circuit Court to issue a prohibitory injunction.

The court found that the commercial collection of fish for the aquarium trade is an “action” that is subject to the state environmental review process as laid out under the Hawaii Environmental Policy Act….

(Your Lords) Rene Umberger, Mike Nakachi, Ka’imi and Willie Kaupiko, the Conservation Council for Hawaii, the Humane Society of the United States and the Center for Biological Diversity (superior beings, all) initially filed the complaint in October 2012. They appealed an unfavorable Circuit Court order in 2013 and later an Appeals Court ruling before reaching the state’s highest court…..

(The purpose of the Supreme Court is to give the enviros whatever they ask for.  Why?  Because the enviros are agents of the State’s #1 industry—tourism.) 

read … Commercial Catching Of Aquarium Fish Halted By Hawaii Supreme Court

Honolulu police body cam pilot on hold

HNN: …A pilot program was supposed to let several dozen officers test the devices starting on Sept. 18.  Hawaii News Now has learned that is on hold.

A department spokesperson says technical issues with the two vendors are the reasons for the delay. 

Police sources say it has to do with the storage and transfer of the videos that become evidence in cases being prosecuted.

Those are issues other departments, Maui and Kauai Police, have already worked out.

Both departments have equipped their officers with body cameras in the past two years and say complaints against officers have decreased significantly.

Kauai Police Chief Darryl Perry also says officers have been cleared in complaint cases within minutes because of the devices….

read … Body Cam

Hirono Spews Anti-Catholic Bigotry in Senate Hearing

DC: …Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the ranking Democrat on the panel, signaled sympathy with those concerns, and referenced a law review article that Barrett wrote in 1998 entitled “Catholic Judges in Capital Cases,” which appeared in the Marquette Law Review. Barrett concluded that a Catholic trial judge who is a conscientious objector to the death penalty should recuse himself if asked to enter an order of execution against a convict.

….“When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you,” Feinstein said of Barrett’s writings regarding the professional obligations of Catholic practitioners. “And that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this country.”

“It is never appropriate for a judge to apply their personal convictions, whether it derives from faith or personal conviction,” Barrett said in response to those objections.

She added that she wrote the article 20 years ago as a third year law student in conjunction with a professor, and that she was the junior partner in the project.

Other Democrats were equally forthright in their questioning.

“Ms. Barrett, I think your article is very plain in your perspective about the role of religion for judges, and particularly with regard to Catholic judges,” said Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, who shared Feinstein’s concerns.

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois took issue with Barrett’s use of the term “orthodox Catholics” as it appears in her article, to the extent that it brands Catholics who do not hold certain positions on capital punishment or abortion as heretical.

“Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?” Durbin asked…. 

(Remember religious discrimination is not OK if Trump tries to keep foreign Muslims out of the country.  It is OK if Democrats want to deny public office to Catholic US citizens.)

read … Hirono Spews Anti-Catholic Bigotry in Senate Hearing

SHOPO Sues to Block Release of Police Officer Names For Salary Database

CB: Hawaii’s statewide police union has filed a lawsuit against the city of Honolulu to block the release of officers’ names to Honolulu Civil Beat.

The news site requested salary information for the Honolulu Police Department under the state’s public records law to include in the database of public employee salaries that it publishes every two years.

City attorneys determined that police officers’ names — except for those in “deep” undercover capacities — should be released along with their salary information, as is the case under state law for all public employees.

The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, commonly known as SHOPO, believes the names of any officer who is or has ever been in any undercover assignment should be protected from disclosure, not just those currently in deep undercover roles…..

PDF: Lawsuit Text

read … Deep

Soft on Crime: 10 Convictions Gets 18 Months, Will be out in Two

MN: Zachary Granados, 32, who has already spent more than a year in jail, could seek early release to enter a residential drug treatment program.

Defense attorney Gina Gormley said Granados’ parents were drug addicts, and he was raised by his grandmother whose husband was an alcoholic.

She said Granados had secured a space to enter drug treatment Oct. 11.

Granados had pleaded no contest to five counts of third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, four counts of possessing drug paraphernalia, four counts of third-degree promotion of a detrimental drug, two counts of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, abuse, second-degree resisting an order to stop a motor vehicle, reckless driving, third-degree assault, fourth-degree criminal property damage, fourth-degree promotion of a harmful drug, two counts of second-degree theft, three counts of unauthorized possession of confidential personal information, eight counts of theft of a credit card, first-degree burglary and four counts of fraudulent use of a credit card. The crimes occurred in 2015 and 2016.

In one case last year, police said Granados nearly hit cars and pedestrians while speeding through a Kihei neighborhood to flee from police.

In court Tuesday, Granados apologized “to all the victims affected by my drug use.”  (I’ll see you soon!)

WHT: Illegal Alien Busted with 2lbs Meth

read … Soft on Crime

Hawaii County Spending $833 per Month per Bum for Homeless Tent City

HPR: …Several people who had called Old Airport Park home moved into County emergency housing. Thirty more are living at what’s called Camp Kikaha - tarps and cots next to the County’s emergency shelter. Linda Vanderwoort is the Camp Kikaha coordinator.

“It’s not any kind of cookie cutter population different types of people, different age groups, different stories. The average age is 50. Most of these people have been unsheltered for quite some time. The youngest would be 21, our oldest is 69. I have about 3 or 4 people working.  I’m trying to get people to the point where they can work (besides scrounging copper). When people are living unsheltered, not getting enough rest, using your energy to survive (tweek) it makes it very difficult.“

Vanderwoort says a few Camp Kikaha residents were asked to leave because they could not follow rules or they had severe addictions….

Lance Niimi, on Mayor Kim’s staff, says Camp Kikaha is costing the county around $25,000 per month, mostly for security.

($25K/30 = $833.33 per month to house homeless in tents)

read … Same Problem, Different Location

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