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Tuesday, October 31, 2017
October 31, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:51 PM :: 813 Views

Poll: Ige 47% Approval

HR3990: Congress Moves to Limit Presidential Monument Authority

Congress to Investigate Lack of VA Care in Pacific Island Territories

Getting Tired? Only Six States Join Chin Suit vs Trump Travel Ban 3.0

Spam, Mac Nuts, Liquor: Legislatively-Sponsored Crime Wave Hits Stores

KHON: …Tina Yamaki, president of Retail Merchants of Hawaii, tells us Spam and macadamia nuts are easy to resell, because they’re so popular.

The theft of these products has businesses across the island looking for ways to combat the problem.

Yamaki says Spam, liquor, expensive wine, steaks, frozen shrimp bags, and macadamia nuts are popular items to steal.

“It’s something that everybody wants. Macadamia nuts, we have a lot of visitors come and nuts in general are expensive to begin with,” said Yamaki.

Where do these stolen items end up?

“We’ve been told it’s organized retail crime, so people are using it to buy drugs,” said Yamaki. “People use it to barter drugs because it’s something that you can eat. It keeps well.”

A spokeswoman for the Honolulu Police Department tells us some stolen food items are traded for drugs. However, the majority of food and other items that are taken are sold for cash.

Yamaki tells us stolen items are also being sold in other stores.

“To do business in general is expensive, so I think some retailers when they are asked, hey, instead of spending $3 on Spam, you can buy for a dollar, some people have been taking it in unfortunately,” she said.

Nowadays, you’ll find products in locked boxes.

Other security measures include placing items behind the service counters, placing products at the front of the store, and working with other retailers and HPD at Retail Merchants of Hawaii’s monthly meeting.

“We kind of talk about hey, this person stole something here, be on the lookout, and kind of letting other retailers know as well,” Yamaki said.

We reached out to a few retailers about their security measures.

Times Supermarket tells us the most popular items stolen from their stores are Spam and corned beef, hard liquor, expensive red wine, frozen shrimp bags, steaks and roasts, and powdered baby formula.

“We start limiting products on shelves when losses are too great. Some stores keep certain products like corned beef at the service center, and liquor behind lock and key to prevent theft,” said Floyd Mikasa, director of operations…..

Sept 22, 2017: KHON2 spoke with a retail expert who says it’s because of a law passed last year that raised the threshold level for felony theft from $300 to $750.  (Thanks, Legislators.)

read … Drug Addicts and Legislators working together

With Our High Cost Of Living, Plantation Days Don’t Seem So Long Ago

CB: …“Dat’s why hard.”

This was one of my grandpa’s favorite lines when recounting his days growing up on the plantations in Lahaina. It was usually followed by tales of 11-hour workdays while making a little over 15 cents per week.

I have come to realize that in the 90 years since grandpa lived this life, we really haven’t come that far.

Hawaii today still sees the everyday person working extraordinarily hard while making relatively little.

In a recent publication released by the Tax Foundation, a nonprofit organization focusing upon tax policy here in the United States, the relative value of the dollar was assessed for each state.

You may be surprised to learn that Hawaii was No. 1.

Oh, to clarify, we were No. 1 where the dollar holds the least value in the nation…..

Related: Honolulu: $100 worth only $80.32

read … With Our High Cost Of Living, Plantation Days Don’t Seem So Long Ago

PUC: Use GEMS Funds to Pay Down Loan

IM: …Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority (HGIA) Green Energy Market Securitization (GEMS) Program filed their Quarterly Report on October 25, 2017.

A total of 94 entities have benefitted from the program.

There have been 83 residential photovoltaic (PV) loans made for $2.7 million, ten commercial PV loans for $4.0 million, and one commercial energy efficiency loan for $0.2 million.

Most residential PV loan applications were rejected or withdrawn. Of those that were funded, half went to families making more than $100,000 per year. Over 80 percent of the loans went to O`ahu residents….

Sally Kaye stressed that all ratepayers were paying the Public Benefits Fee, as part of their utility bill, while very few were benefitting from loaning part of the fee to the GEMS program.

The Commission issued its latest Order on October 26, 2017.

"The commission orders that GEMS Program loan repayments shall be applied toward the replenishment of the reduced Public Benefits Fee ("PBF") collections before the payment of GEMS Program administrative costs, to ensure that (1) the commission can achieve its mandate to meet the State's Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standards ("EEPS"), and (2) ratepayer funds are put to their highest possible use in realizing benefits to those same ratepayers.”

read … Halloween: Hawaii`s Spooky GEMS Program

Ballard to be sworn in Wednesday as HPD chief

SA: …Ballard, 60, was selected unanimously by four members of the Honolulu Police Commission from among seven finalists Oct. 25.

A 32-year HPD veteran, Ballard has led five divisions since becoming a major in 2001: the Windward and Kalihi patrol divisions, and central receiving, training, and finance.

Upon being selected last week, Ballard made it clear that she was not part of Kealoha’s executive team, telling reporters that she was disappointed and “angry that kind of thing could happen.” Katherine Kea­loha, his wife and a city deputy prosecutor, and four others also were indicted last week.

Ballard is entitled to pick two deputy chiefs to be her top commanders. Okimoto has had two acting deputy chiefs: Assistant Chiefs Alan Bluemke and William Axt. Ballard has not indicated whether they will be retained.

Okimoto is retiring and his last day is today.

Ballard was the only one of the seven finalists who is still with HPD….

read … Sworn In

A Look At The Business Execs Up For Seats On Honolulu Police Commission

CB: …Steven Levinson, a retired justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court who serves on the commission, said the nominees appear capable of fulfilling these duties. Although Levinson has said the commission would benefit from more members with legal backgrounds, he said he had spoken to Chang and was impressed.

“Karen is a financial wizard, basically,” Levinson said of Chang, whose resume includes senior positions with American Express Co. and Charles Schwab & Co.  “I foresee she is going to be a very valuable member, and I’m very hopeful that Jerry is going to be a very important member of the group for many of the same reasons.”

Chang’s position as board chair of Hawaii Pacific Health makes her responsible for overseeing the state’s largest health care provider. The nonprofit operates Kapiolani, Pali Momi, Straub and Wilcox medical centers, plus dozens of smaller facilities.

Chang is the long-time fiancee of Rick Blangiardi, the general manager of Hawaii News Now, a joint operation of Honolulu television channels KHNL and KGMB….

read … Exec

Lawmaker wants audit of airport hangar project

SA: Senate Transportation Chairwoman Lorraine Inouye wants lawmakers to order an audit of the over-budget maintenance and cargo hangar for Hawaiian Airlines at Daniel K. Ino­uye International Airport. But Inouye said the scope of the audit might be limited because contractor DCK Pacific Construction LLC and the state are suing each other in connection with the project….

read … Audit

DoH Red Tape Holds up New Dialysis Clinics for Three Years

SA: A surge of 700 new Hawaii kidney dialysis patients a year is driving an increase in treatment facilities statewide.

The state’s two dialysis operators, Liberty Dialysis and U.S. Renal Care, are planning to open as many as half a dozen new clinics annually over the next five years.

Building the new clinics will help meet the increased demand, but not until the facilities are certified by the state Department of Health and federal authorities, a process that can take up to three years.

Without certification, the dialysis clinics can’t get reimbursed for treating Medicare and Medicaid patients, which comprise as much as 85 percent of the dialysis population….

The projected opening of as many as half a dozen facilities annually over the next five years means there will likely be more backlogs in the system, said Steve Nottingham, general manager of Liberty Dialysis.

“When we have to build it and get it certified, it’s taken three to five years between the time we demonstrate there’s a need and the time we can service the first patient,” Nottingham said. “Hawaii has a growing population that needs access to care. The system creates obstacles that slows down access to care. It drives patients to have dialysis treatments at times that are not ideal for them.”

The situation was so urgent for dialysis centers last year that the DOH spent $140,000 to contract half a dozen Arizona inspectors to complete delayed certifications for 11 dialysis centers….

read … Mindless Bureaucracy

Indian Tribe Operative Esther Kiaaina to Run for OHA

CB: William Aila Jr. and Esther Kiaaina are well-known Native Hawaiians who have spent years working for the state and federal governments, each with an emphasis on conservation and cultural rights. They announced their candidacies in a joint press release Monday….

The press release does not indicate which OHA positions they will seek.

“This is an important time period for our Hawaiian community and safeguarding Hawaii’s land and natural resources, including our ocean, is paramount — this is something I have fought for all of my life,” Aila said in the statement.

Said Kiaaina in the same release: “I believe my experience and knowledge in Washington, D.C., and the Pacific region will enhance my ability to serve as an OHA trustee.”….

“We are only eligible for Oahu, either at-large or the Oahu seat, because we are residents,” said Kiaaina. “We are exploring both, putting a team together and assessing the feasibility. We both want to win.”

Aila said Monday he is “definitely” running for one of the three at-large positions on the ballot next year.

“I think OHA is doing a decent job, but it’s trying to be everything to everyone,” he said. “And I don’t know if it can do that.”

Aila wants the agency to become a stronger advocate for Hawaiian traditional cultural practices, recommit itself to language immersion and charter schools, and to respond to issues involving water use and land allotments.

“”Those are the basics I would hope that OHA would return to in terms of its primary mission,” he said….

Kiaaina was Aila’s first deputy director at DLNR until being appointed assistant secretary for the Insular Areas at the U.S. Department of the Interior under President Barack Obama. She is executive director of the Pacific Basin Development Council….

Apo’s Oahu seat and Akana’s at-large post will be on the ballot next year.

All told, five of OHA’s nine board positions will be up for grabs: In addition to the posts held by Akana and Apo, they include at-large seats held by Lei Ahu Isa and John Waihee IV and the Maui post held by Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey.

Voters statewide can cast ballots in all five of the races….

Ahu Isa said she is running for re-election and is not concerned about the new challengers….

read … Indian Tribe

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