If You're Still Paying Use Tax on Amazon Purchases—Stop
Protest OHA Giving CNHA $1.5M Hawaii Charter School Funds
Borreca: Exploit the Homeless to Get Hanabusa Elected
Borreca: …Gov. Waihee’s waterfront accomplishment has now become part of Gov. David Ige’s absolute failure.
As Ige campaigns for reelection, he may praise his administration’s work putting Honolulu’s homeless in housing — but measured against his administration’s decision to indefinitely shut Kakaako Waterfront Park because it is overrun with homeless people and has become a physical danger, it reveals a government collapse….
Starting tonight at 10, the park is to be shut because of the danger of dog bites, fires and vandalism attributed to 180 homeless living in the park’s boundaries.
“It’s reached a point where we just can’t manage it,” said Jesse Souki, the current executive director of the Hawaii Community Development Authority, according to a Honolulu Star-Advertiser report. “Right now, with dog attacks and exposed wires and broken plumbing, it’s just not safe. We need to shut it down and take a pause.”
Repairs to the park are estimated to be at least $500,000. Homeless have disassembled light poles to splice into the power to run televisions and lights. There are broken pipes with leaking water and there are dangerous packs of dogs roaming the park….
Two years ago homeless around the park swarmed the area, creating what officials called “one of the largest homeless encampments in the nation.”
…It is supposed to be an urban rest stop. A safe, pleasant city sanctuary where people can read, watch waves, play with their kids, put something on the hibachi and just enjoy living in a green spot next to the blue Pacific.
In many ways, the administration of David Ige has not been up to that promise or challenge….
read … Promise of Kakaako Waterfront Park as Oahu’s urban oasis turns out to be cruel mirage
Caldwell Screws up Again: Lapsed housing funds fuel despair
SA: Here we go again….
The city’s fumbling of federal funds that could have helped with affordable housing has caused it to lose nearly $2.4 million in federal HOME money, and is putting another $7.5 million at risk. The failure to use these funds in a timely manner is galling enough, given Hawaii’s homeless and housing crisis — but doubly so, coming a mere year after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) warned the city against its dysfunctional handing of federal grants.
In a scathing Aug. 26, 2016, audit, HUD’s Inspector General took the city to task for questionable practices involving the acquisition of apartment complexes intended to boost the city’s inventory of affordable rentals. Those practices put $15.9 million at risk, and after months of back and forth, the city conceded to repay the federal agency $1.45 million….
This time around, millions of federal dollars lapsed, despite allocations being good for five years…..
In explaining the delays in spending the HOME and CDBG funds, city Managing Director Roy Amemiya cited missed deadlines due to working with private-sector partners.
That harkened to a separate, recent flareup between the city and nonprofit agencies, in which delay in receiving federal funds came close to disrupting services for senior citizens and “meals on wheels” recipients….
Our communities are struggling with increasingly visible homeless encampments. Federal money is available to help ease the affordable housing crisis, if only local officials can improve their management of funds. Take a hard look around — inefficiency is helping to enable these growing waves of homeless now washing over our neighborhoods….
Best Comment: “Just place the Budget and Fiscal Services and Community Services departments under the control of HART and the Department of Transportation. They are much better and more experienced at hiding their failures.”….
read … Caldwell
Campaign Spending Commission investigates Maui mayor's spending
HNN: The state Campaign Spending Commission wants to fine Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa $2,000, saying he falsely reported dozens of campaign expenditures….
In its complaint, the commission said the mayor gave more than $40,000 to about 40 Maui nonprofit groups over the past several years but labeled the donations “advertising expenses" in his campaign disclosures.
It’s not illegal to give campaign money to nonprofit organizations but it is illegal to misrepresent the expenditures in campaign reports.
“If you're taking campaign money and funneling it through nonprofits, it’s much harder to figure out what that money's being used for,” said University of Hawaii political science professor Colin Moore.
“There’s just very little transparency.”
But Arakawa said the expenditures are legitimate. He said he bought advertising in publications by nonprofts such as local pageants but did not donate the money to the nonprofits….
The commission's complaint also named Arakawa's wife Ann. Sources said that when commission investigators tried to talk to the nonprofits, some of the nonprofits told the investigators that Mrs. Arakawa told them not to talk to them….
The commission will next take up the matter at a meeting on Wednesday, where its five-member board can vote to approve the fines or refer the complaint to prosecutors for criminal charges….
read … Arakawa
OK Now We Admit Medical Marijuana is Fake, so now lets just go for Full Legalization
Shapiro: …legislators threw it wide open by also allowing prescriptions for general conditions such as pain, nausea and muscle spasms — symptoms anybody can say they have and it’s difficult to prove otherwise.
Many doctors decline to prescribe marijuana because they doubt its medical efficacy, don’t have time for the paperwork or worry that weed remains illegal under federal law.
Legislators circumvented this by allowing pot prescriptions by nurse practitioners, who have advanced training and already were able to prescribe certain drugs including psychoactives such as benzodiazepines.
Some have established practices built around marijuana prescriptions.
My primary care doctor doesn’t prescribe marijuana, so I went to a nurse practitioner to see if it would be advisable for my multiple sclerosis.
It was a 20-minute appointment for $200 with a promise that I wouldn’t pay if I wasn’t deemed qualified.
I took medical records to prove I had MS, but they weren’t necessary. “If you said you had a sore throat, we’d take your word for it,” she said. “Why should this be different?”
She asked about my symptoms and was more thorough than a doctor likely would have been in explaining how they’d be affected by different strains of marijuana. She suggested a strain for stimulation during the day and another for relaxation at night.
Despite coming of age in the ’60s, I’ve had little experience with marijuana and she was helpful in explaining the different means of ingestion — smoking, eating and vaping — and the gadgets required.
I provided a list of my medications, but there was no discussion of possible interactions; I’d probably discuss this with my doctor before actually using pot.
She qualified me on pain and muscle spasms rather than the MS itself, filling out the state’s online form as we spoke.
The professionals I encountered took their roles seriously, but the system doesn’t require the medical scrutiny I’d have gotten for a similarly potent traditional drug prescription.
It left me questioning the energy and resources put into a screening process that’s more bureaucratic than therapeutic.
If legislators intend for marijuana to be available to all, why not drop the medical fig leaf….
read … See how this works?
Squatters Paradise: Review of Sheriffs Favoritism Blocks Big Island Evictions for Two Years
HTH: An internal review of the eviction process for the sheriff’s division on Hawaii Island has led to benching deputies from assisting in evictions….
Process servers and attorneys say it’s been about two years since a Hawaii Island deputy has assisted in executing an eviction….
…Maui deputies have been covering the Big Island’s needs since mid 2016, costing clients such as landlords, attorneys or real estate agents thousands of dollars to obtain their services….
…Attorneys have to tell their landlord clients there is no expeditious way to evict a problematic tenant, said lawyer Robert Triantos….
“I’ve been surprised that the Department of Public Safety has allowed Lt. (Patrick) Kawai not to assist for this long,” she said of the local sheriff’s division.
Since the internal review began more than a year ago, no employees on the Big Island have left their posts or been reassigned since it started. Schwartz added there is no set timeline for when the review process will be completed….
Sakahara added it has become more difficult to remove stubborn tenants because “the majority of tenants that ‘refuse to leave’ are habitual problem tenants and have learned how to ‘milk’ the ‘system.’”….
Triantos said there is a huge problem in Ocean View where there are a lot of squatters. Unfortunately, they can’t get the deputies to help and police don’t assist because it’s considered a civil matter….
Tmakiung has worked with Maui deputies two or three times since the beginning of the year. Between flight expenses, off-duty pay or other expenses relative to evictions, such as movers and locksmiths, she said, the cost for their service runs up to $10,000 to $12,000….
While the policy is being reviewed within the department, legislation was passed during the past legislative session that addresses the department’s development of policies and procedures in regards to special duty.
As a favor to the Department of Public Safety, Rep. Joseph Souki said he presented House Bill 1129, which requires the department to develop policies and procedures to govern the processing of requests for special duty and to establish a compensation schedule for law enforcement services provided by deputy sheriffs performing special duty. It also requires a report to the Legislature….
HB1129: “Requires the Department of Public Safety to develop policies and procedures to govern the processing of requests for special duty and to establish a compensation schedule for law enforcement services provided by deputy sheriffs performing special duty. Requires a report to the legislature.”
read … Squatters Paradise
Structures once intended for tsunami survivors help homeless Hawaii families
HNN: …Structures once intended for survivors of the Japan tsunami are now providing relief for homeless families in Hawaii. …
When the village is completed, it will feature 200 modular homes that will be on a 13-acre site. The homes are expected to provide housing for up to 800 people.
Coordinators and volunteers hope to have the first families moved in by the end of 2017….
read … Structures once intended for tsunami survivors help homeless Hawaii families
No Tents: Is Harry Kim Wising Up?
BIVN: …The County of Hawai‘i recently erected a 20-foot-wide portable shelter on its lawn in an effort to raise community awareness on the homelessness epidemic afflicting Hawai‘i Island.
The fiberglass dome was loaned to the County by the First Assembly of God on O‘ahu after a faith-based summit on Oct. 4 to address family homelessness in Hawai‘i. Led by Pastor Daniel Kaneshiro, the church paid the shipping costs to send the dome to Hilo for one week.
The shelter is one of 10 used by the O‘ahu congregation to shelter homeless families on its Moanalua property. County Public Works crews assembled the dome in Hilo comprised of interlocking panels and windows within an hour and a half. It can sleep a family of four and has 12 feet of ceiling space to accommodate a loft or storage space.
“This is a great concept,” said Mayor Harry Kim, who personally inspected the dome. “The County is developing a master plan to address our homeless crisis, and this concept is one of the options that we are looking at to provide temporary shelters.” ….
CLUE: If the homeless are put in solid-wall structures instead of tents, they would be able to 1) sleep properly, be 2) secure in their person 3) and possessions, and be able to 4) stay clean instead of sleeping in a tent on dirt. These are foundations for mental health recovery. Tent cities are the problem, not the solution.
The price for each dome when used for humanitarian purposes is $9,500. This is cheaper than the bills racked up by homeless frequent flyers in local emergency rooms.
Problem: If the homeless are sheltered, they aren’t useful as a political football.
CCW: Juneau man's business aims to 'shelter the world'
read … Dome May Provide Temporary Shelter for Hawai‘i Homeless
Maui Hospital: Is 100 Days Enough to Overcome Decades of HGEA-UPW Decrepitude?
MN: Island physicians have mixed but hopeful opinions about the changeover’s success so far. The hospital’s electronic patient records system and physician reimbursements are among early problems.….
Others have seen signs of progress; they just think the new management needs more time.
“I think you have to give the folks at Kaiser — and I’m not a Kaiser physician; in fact, they’re our competition — credit for the fact that they had an enormous amount of work to do,” said Dr. William Mitchell, president and chief executive officer of Maui Medical Group. “The Maui community hospital is doing what it needs to do. It’s not perfect, but it’s certainly getting better.”…
“They suffer from not having any competition. I can tell you that if there were another hospital on this island, and there was competition, this would’ve been solved just like that, because if it weren’t solved, doctors would be walking down the way, patients would be going down the way.”
West and South Maui Sen. Roz Baker, who along with other Maui lawmakers advocated heavily for the transition, said she met with Rembis and didn’t see reason for concern just yet.
“I haven’t heard any complaints from individual doctors nor complaints about patient care — quite the opposite,” Baker said via email. “First, the transition is not even six months old. I certainly didn’t expect everything that needed to be done for MMMC would be accomplished immediately, certainly not the IT system. I do know that it is a priority and work is being done.”
Ely pointed to the growing changes.
“We’ve increased full-time employees and reduced temporary traveler staff by half, which stabilizes the workforce, hired close to 50 local graduates and invested significantly in new technology to support employees and physicians in delivering safe, high-quality care,” Ely said. “We have experienced some challenges, and MHS is addressing them as quickly, efficiently and thoughtfully as possible.”…
read … At 100 days: Hospital transition has some hiccups
Declining Men's Salaries Bring Gender Equity Closer
SA: …The AAUW data show that Hawaii’s Congressional District 1 (urban Honolulu and suburbs) had an earnings ratio of 82.5 percent (i.e., women made 82.5 percent of men’s median, annual earnings) and women in Congressional District 2 took home 87.1 percent of men’s earnings.
Initially, it appears that District 2 women are doing better, but a closer examination shows that women in District 2 earned $40,060 per year, while in District 1, they took home $42,558 annually. The District 2 median annual earnings for men were lower than those of District 1 resident men, making the gender wage gap appear better….
read … Equal Poverty