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Thursday, October 05, 2017
October 5, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:00 PM :: 1591 Views

Endgame: Telescope Protesters Shift focus to Sublease

Honolulu Neighborhood Boards: 30 Vacant Seats Available

City now accepting Grants in Aid applications

Our Revolution: Bernie Sanders Group Calls on Congress to Extend Jones Act Exemption for Puerto Rico

Cost of Living: Honolulu adjusted salaries lowest in USA

Hirono: Trump Nominees Not Gay Enough

Overtime Costs Jump 12% for Honolulu City Government

CB: Honolulu’s city government is spending more on overtime than it ever has before.

In the last five years, the total cost of city employees’ overtime increased almost 30 percent, from $52 million in fiscal year 2013 to about $67 million in FY 2017, which ended June 30, according to information from the city’s data portal and its Department of Budget and Fiscal Services.

The city has been accommodating the increased costs by adding more money for overtime to its yearly budget. For FY 2016, the City Council approved about $62 million to pay for overtime. When the council passed the budget for FY 2018, which began July 1, it set that figure at $69 million — a 12 percent increase in two years. 

In the last fiscal year, most of the city’s overtime costs were incurred by three departments: Fire, Police and Environmental Services. They used 80 percent of the city’s nearly $67 million overtime expenses in FY 2017.

Another big overtime spender, the Department of Emergency Services, includes paramedics and emergency medical technicians who work in ambulances. Staffing shortages have plagued the department in the past, forcing employees who staff ambulances to work overtime.

Twenty-one of the 229 total funded paramedic and EMT positions are vacant, Shayne Enright, a city spokeswoman, wrote in an email….

Of the $10.5 million Environmental Services spent on overtime in FY 2016, 72 percent was for the Refuse Collection Division, which includes the city’s bulky item pickup program…..

read … Overtime Costs Keep Going Up For Honolulu City Government

Democrats Punish Rep Cindy Evans for Voting Against Rail Tax Hikes

SA: State Rep. Cindy Evans, center, will be replaced by Rep. Della Au Belatti, right, as House majority leader. Rep. Mark Nakashima, left, will take over Belatti’s old job of House vice speaker. Evans will take over Nakashima’s former post as chairman of the House Economic Development & Business Committee….

read … Obey

Attorneys accuse Kawananakoa's ‘wife’ of taking money from $200M fortune

HNN: …A court appointed trustee of Hawaiian royalty descendant Abigail Kawananakoa’s $200 million estate is accusing her wife of diverting money that’s supposed to help Native Hawaiians.

In court papers filed last week, attorney James Wright said Veronica Gail Worth, who married Kawananakoa on Sunday, took $65,000 “without permission” to pay for (Worth’s) legal bills.

Wright alleges that Worth is exerting undue influence over the 91-year-old heiress.

“These funds … had been earmarked to pay for a scholarship for a Native Hawaiian nursing student, the electric bill for Iolani Palace and one half of the materials cost for the replacement of a damaged marble slab at the Kalakaua Crypt at the Royal Mausoleum at Mauna ‘Ala,” Wright’s attorney Margery Bronster wrote.

Worth’s lawyer Michael Rudy did not return calls….

Related: Kawananakoa Estate: Sex, Drugs, and Inequality

read … Lawyers Feasting

Chief? Public Input Favors Retired HPD Major Kendro

CB: …A retired major who spent 30 years at the Honolulu Police Department, Kendro was supported by 59 out of the more than 80 people who wrote to the commission about the selection, as well as six out of the 13 people who testified at Wednesday’s meeting.

Susan Ballard, a current HPD major, was supported by two speakers, as well as four written recommendations. Thomas Aiu, a former special agent for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, and Kevin Lima, a retired HPD assistant chief, were backed by one speaker apiece.

Aiu and Lima also received five and four written recommendations, respectively.

No public testimony was given in support of the other candidates. But Paul Putzulu, a former deputy HPD chief, received three written recommendations, while Mark Lomax, a retired Pennsylvania State Police major, and James Lowery, a deputy police chief in the Arlington, Texas, Police Department, had one each….

Kendro now works for Parsons Corp., which provides freeway service patrol for the Hawaii Department of Transportation….

SA: The only two current HPD officers who appeared before the commission said they support Maj. Susan Ballard

SA: Candidates for HPD chief detail their visions and qualifications

read … Public Input Favors Retired HPD Major

Homeless do $500K Damage to Kakaako Park

SA: The whole rationale for moving homeless encampments out of public spaces is to keep those spaces for public use and enjoyment. And now Kakaako Waterfront Park will be closed — to the public as well.

That has to be the definition of policy failure, and this one lands at the door of an office on the state Capitol’s fifth floor.

Gov. David Ige long ago declared the homelessness crisis to be an emergency. And yet somehow nobody noticed the disruption and damage caused to the park by squatters who had tapped into water and power lines to equip their TVs and other gear running off the public utilities.

Or, more likely, people noticed but did not swiftly act on it. And as a result, there have been dog attacks, fires breaking out and damage from vandalism, culminating in the decision by the Hawaii Community Development Authority to close the urban park — indefinitely — starting 10 p.m. Sunday. The closure, officials said, will enable the state to make repairs estimated at $500,000….

Meanwhile, the governor is touting the state’s Family Assessment Center, emergency shelter and services for homeless families in a repurposed building adjacent to the park. That’s all fine, but the homeless population plainly encompasses a full spectrum of individuals and problems. They are resistant to change….

read … State must control homeless in parks

The Jones Act is crony capitalism at its worst and congress must repeal

AOL: With the massive devastation of Hurricane Maria bringing the often-neglected territory of Puerto Rico into the spotlight, one of the many issues facing its nearly 3.5 million residents has finally been noticed: the Jones Act.

However, the Jones Act has an impact far beyond just those in Puerto Rico; it also affects everyone in the United States, especially those who live in the territories of Puerto Rico and Guam or the states of Alaska and Hawaii….

NR: Waiving the Jones Act for Puerto Rico Is the Right Step

read … Appalachia Online

After Lobbying for Three Years, University of Hawaii actually has to Accomplish Something Now

PBN: After working for three years to get the Hawaii State Legislature to pass the University of Hawaii’s innovation package, which allows the school to collect revenue through engaging in joint ventures and limited liability partnerships, Vassilis Syrmos, vice president for research and innovation at UH, said the school’s next challenge will be dealing with the pressure to produce.

“The state of Hawaii is one of the first states where its Legislature went as far as to give unprecedented powers to the university with respect to tech transfer and commercialization,” Syrmos said during the opening panel discussion of the Future Focus Conference, hosted by the Hawaii Business Roundtable and UH.

In June, Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed House Bills 425 and 827 into law. The two legislative measures facilitate the transformation of discoveries and inventions generated by UH research into commercially viable enterprises….

read … University of Hawaii feels pressure to produce following legislative decision

Some Muslims Consider Leaving Hawaii

SA: …>> An Egyptian graduate student expressed concern about whether he would be allowed to re-enter the country given his Muslim background, although Egypt was not on the list.

>> An Iranian graduate student stopped carrying an umbrella in public for fear people would think it was a weapon. He was considering relocating to another country.

The latest travel proclamation removed Sudan from the restricted list, but that came too late for one UH-Manoa student.

“Our student from Sudan had a wonderful opportunity to go this summer to a doctoral research seminar on cybersecurity in Paris,” Duckworth said. “But he decided not to go because Sudan was on the list.

read … Muslims Leaving?

HSTA Member Indicted for Child Sex Assault

MN: …Casey Brummel, 35, of Lahaina pleaded not guilty to four counts of third-degree sexual assault during his arraignment Wednesday in 2nd Circuit Court.

He was indicted Sept. 1 by a Maui County grand jury on the charges alleging he fondled and had other sexual contact with the girl between Aug. 12, 2014, and Oct. 6, 2014. The girl was at least 14 but less than 16 years old at the time.

Brummel was an English teacher at Baldwin High when he is alleged to have sexually molested the girl while she was taking a benchmark test at the Wailuku school, said Deputy Prosecutor Iwalani Gasmen.

In addition, she said numerous students made complaints about Brummel, saying “that the defendant would contact them and make inappropriate comments, either at school or out of school.”

Brummel allegedly asked one student to take a picture of her breast for him, Gasmen said, and asked if a student was interested in a “threesome.”

She said Brummel asked to go to a student’s house when her parents weren’t home. He “also told a minor he wanted to have sex with her because she was pregnant,” Gasmen said.

“The defendant’s behavior indicates he poses a serious risk or danger to the community,” Gasmen said.

She asked that Brummel be ordered to surrender his passport, saying he had a plane ticket to travel to Osaka, Japan….

read … HSTA

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