Kiplinger: Hawaii Taxes 7th Highest in USA
Failing Upwards: Ige Promotes HDOT Boss Fuchigami
Workers Protest as Star-Adv lays off 25% of Newsroom
When Caldwell sees how the votes fall he will make the necessary appointments to get the Chief he wants.
CB: The Honolulu Police Commission is short of members at the very same time it must select a new chief to run the scandal-plagued police department.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell can’t seem to find candidates to fill the two vacancies on the seven-member board.
(Lets skip several paragraphs of Caldwell’s lame excuses)
Two commissioners — Marc Tilker and Luella Costales — resigned this year, and Caldwell is
scrambling (pretending to scramble) for replacements….
Sheehan and Levinson, the two most outspoken commissioners, shared their thoughts about the search for new colleagues. So did Costales, a commissioner until just last month….
“I have gotten the impression that the mayor is having difficulty getting ‘yeses’ out of some people that he has asked,” Levinson said. “I don’t know who those people are. But I simply don’t believe that he couldn’t fill the vacancies with highly qualified people if he wanted to.”
Levinson said he recommended a particular person to the mayor, but Caldwell rejected the suggestion “out of hand.”
“I continue to be baffled,” Levinson said….
Asked why Caldwell is having such trouble finding commissioners, Sheehan said the mayor has not opened up the process to anyone who wants to apply.
(De-bafflement: When Caldwell sees how the votes fall he will make the necessary appointments to get the Chief he wants. Duh.)
read … Why Is It So Hard To Find Police Commissioners?
Obstruction of Justice? Arakawa Allegedly Asked Nonprofits Not to Cooperate with CSC Investigation
MN: A Campaign Spending Commission complaint against Mayor Alan Arakawa alleges that his wife, Ann Arakawa, contacted nonprofit and community groups to get them not to cooperate with the commission’s two-year investigation into the mayor’s campaign expenditures from Nov. 5, 2014, to Dec. 31, 2016….
As proof of Mrs. Arakawa’s influence among the nonprofits, the commission complaint recounts staff interaction with Anita Drummond, assistant general counsel of the American Cancer Society, who received information about a communication between Ann Arakawa and Joni Celiz, community development officer at cancer society’s Wailuku office.
Drummond told the commission investigators that Ann Arakawa “may be telling the nonprofit organizations that the commission was trying to get information from (them, and) to ignore the commission’s letter of inquiry.”…
Arakawa has announced he intends to run for lieutenant governor next year….
CB: Maui Mayor In Political Hot Water Over Money To Nonprofits
read … Wife implicated in mayor’s spending complaint
Without Felix Consent Decree, DoE Mental Health Care Slips
CB: From 2012 to 2016, 47 Hawaii youths ages 10 to 19 killed themselves.
A shortage of mental health providers is one of the obstacles to providing mental health care to youths, to the point that extreme cases sometimes get sent to the mainland. Currently, 14 Hawaii youths are at specialized treatment facilities thousands of miles from home….
According to a 2015 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, only 30 percent of adolescents ages 12 to 17 were treated for their depression in Hawaii.
The limited access is one result of Hawaii’s overall shortage of health care professionals. According to the University of Hawaii annual systems report to the 2017 Legislature, the state is short about 500 physicians overall, and specifically is in need of 15 more psychiatrists….
According to Troy Loker, president of the Hawaii Association of School Psychologists, school counselors generally provide the first level of support for students, but their involvement is usually limited to dealing with short-term incidents….
there are only 20 certified behavioral analysts on staff and another 20 are contracted to the state, according to the Department of Education….
Currently there are about 2,500 youths enrolled in the state’s mental health services program because of their eligibility for low-income Medquest status….
Last year was also when House Bill 2357 was passed, decreasing the age of consent for adolescent mental health services from 18 to 14. This meant that teens who wanted mental health treatment could get it without notifying their parents…..
In 1994 the Felix Consent decree was approved by a federal court, mandating that mental health and educational services in Hawaii be improved to meet federal standards and giving the state a 2001 deadline to do so. In 2002, the Department of Education was found to be in “substantial compliance,” meaning the requirements for staff and services had been met.
From that point, federal oversight was dropped and the DOE took over the responsibility of monitoring compliance with the standards.
“When we had the Department of Education working with the Department of Health more, it was more efficient with a lot more kids getting help,” Goebert said. “When the federal consent decree ended, there was no incentive to do that anymore.”….
SA: CFS’ new head, Karen Tan, focuses on help, “from twinkle to wrinkle”
read … Shortage Of Mental Health Providers Is Taking A Toll On Hawaii Teens
Their Energy, Your Green: MECO is proposing 9.3 percent rate hike
MN: Maui Electric Co. is proposing a 9.3 percent increase to its base power rates — its first such increase in nearly six years — to help pay for operating costs, including system upgrades to increase reliability, integrate more renewable energy and improve customer service, the utility announced.
The rate increase would generate $30 million more in revenue.
If approved by the Public Utilities Commission, a typical Maui residential bill for 500 kilowatt-hours would increase by $13.46 a month to $161.10. On Lanai, a typical home bill for 400 kilowatt-hours would raise bills by $13.83 a month to $160.55, and on Molokai bills would increase $11.25 a month to $147.60, also for 400 kilowatt-hours….
WSJ: The Truth Is Catching Up With Tesla
read … Green Energy
Damage left by Homeless Meth Addicts at Kakaako park is worse than expected
HNN: The park has been closed to the public since Sunday as crews removed trash by the truckloads. Items like air conditioners, refrigerators, even artwork were found at the illegal campsite.
The Hawaii Community Development Authority said the more their crews looked around the park, the more damage they find.
"When you see the amount of damage that's been done, we know that there's probably more that we haven't discovered yet," said HCDA spokesman Garett Kamemoto.
The agency said at least 38 light poles will need to be repaired after the homeless campers tapped into live wires to access electricity.
Kamemoto said it could cost about $1,200 to fix each pole.
And nearby water pipes and irrigation valves are leaking, creating a major safety hazard for the state.
HCDA said the closure is working to prevent the illegal campers from coming back.
"We're hoping that we'll be able to get more consistent enforcement of park closure hours and that's our goal," said Kamemoto, adding that HCDA may open the park in phases, prioritizing the more popular areas with the least damage.
read … State: Damage left by illegal campers at Kakaako park is worse than expected
Oahu Sites Identified for Massive Festering Homeless Tent Cities
CB: …On Thursday, state homeless coordinator Scott Morishige presented three parcels of state land that could potentially be used for safe zones. However, he said all three sites have issues that could render them unfit.
(Translation: Morashige knows that tent cities are a bad idea.)
For example, biohazard remediation would make a parcel of industrial land near Keehi Lagoon mauka of the H-1 freeway dangerous for habitation.
Other sites included a parcel near Kalihi-Waena Neighborhood Park in Kalihi and an area in Kakaako near Mother Waldron Neighborhood Park.
An aid for Councilman Joey Manahan, who represents Kalihi, said Manahan opposes placing a safe zone in his district.
Marc Paaluhi of Waianae said Oahu in essence already has a safe zone. He and others at the meeting said the state should model safe zones after the Waianae Boat Harbor encampment where about 170 people live.
“What we have now is the perfect template,” he said.
read …. Lots of Copper Nearby
After 250 Visits, Street Psychiatrists Finally Get One Schizoid Homeless Person to Accept Treatment and Shelter
HNN: …Dr. Chad Koyanagi, an IHS psychiatrist, had diagnosed the 62-year-old as schizophrenic and after more than 250 encounters, Taparra finally agreed to take anti-psychotic medication.
Outreach workers reassured him, he wouldn’t have to take a daily pill. Instead, he’d get a monthly shot — Invega Sustenna, a controversial prescription that some argue should be reserved for only violent patients.
Koyanagi, though, believes it should be a first-line drug for chronically homeless people who are severely mentally ill.
"Someone who doesn't believe they are mentally ill is probably not going to take pills," Koyanagi said…..
read … This is Why We Need to Return to Forcible Institutionalization
Huge Packages: 33% Raise Coming for Some Hawaii County Officials?
HTH: …Raises are coming to top county officials, but exactly how much was a topic of some debate during a Salary Commission meeting Wednesday.
Commissioners want to address discrepancies created when union-negotiated raises at the state level put some of the county middle managers at higher pay than their bosses. But several commissioners worried about the impact raises will have on a county budget that already relied this year on tax hikes to balance.
“Everyone in this room wants pay raises for our friends and neighbors who are in these positions,” said Commissioner James Higgins.
Including benefits, “the packages can be huge,” he said….
The charter does not address “salary inversion,” where directors make less than their subordinates. That’s a big issue for the Hawaii Police Department, said Police Commission Vice Chairman Peter Hendricks. The police chief makes $132,000 annually. The deputy police chief makes $126,894. In contrast, raises that took effect this year mean assistant chiefs make $146,116 and majors make $133,647.
The Police Commission wants the chief’s salary set at 20 percent more than the highest paid subordinate, and the deputy chief’s set at 10 percent of the highest paid subordinate….
(Do the Math: $146K x 1.2 = 175K/132K = 33% raise.)
Public employee union raises this year added more than $9 million to the county’s $491 million budget. More raises for rank-and-file workers covered by union negotiations are anticipated next year.
“We’re all pushed by collective bargaining when it comes down to it,” said Commissioner Harold Dow. (Translation: We are negotiating for ourselves.)
Under the Salary Commission, top county officials in 2014 got raises from 5 percent to 21 percent, bringing salaries for County Council members to $52,008; council chairman to $58,008, and most department heads to $99,000.
read … Huge Packages
Illegal Red Placard Vendor Keeps Selling at North Shore Shopping Plaza Tied to Mrs Brian Schatz
HNN: State health officials have levied a $5,000 fine on the operators of a Haleiwa food truck that was ordered to close because of health code violations – but allegedly tore down the department's 'closed' sign and continued to operate anyway.
A Department of Health spokesperson says Aji Limo, LLC – which owns the Aji Limo lunch wagon near Pupukea Beach Park – received written notice to close immediately following an inspection on September 22. The operators of the truck were allegedly selling food without proper permits.
But sales continued anyway, state health officials say, and the truck is accused of having removed the DOH's red placard that notifies members of the public that the establishment has been shut down for health reasons. ….
read … Red Placard
Fire code issues keep school auditorium largely idle despite $15 million upgrade
KHON: …Kawananakoa Middle School held a big concert in February to celebrate its 90th anniversary and the opening of its newly renovated Princess Kawananakoa Auditorium. (But it was just to cover-up the bungled construction job.)
Hundreds checked out the state-of-the-art upgrades.
Eight months later, the doors remain closed….
We checked with the Honolulu Fire Department and learned the auditorium failed a fire alarm system test in April 2017 due to audibility issues and other requirements not being met.
“If it was not in compliance with the fire codes, why were we using it?” asked Tani.
“This project is almost $20 million. There shouldn’t be any mistakes. We lobbied the legislature for money and this is taxpayer money. I speak as a taxpayer as well. Things need to be done correctly,” said orchestra instructor Danny Mew.
read … Another Day in the DoE
Nanny State Regulation