‘Onipa‘a Kākou: OHA Trustee Keli‘i Akina on Native Hawaiian Resilience and Finding Unity in Diversity
How Medicare covers mental health
Video: Live at the Legislature with Rep Andria Tupola
Chin Letter: Weed Plus Banking Equals Campaign Contributions
Another Lawsuit: Chin Jumps on Net Neutrality Bandwagon
State doubles fee for marine licenses
Best States to Retire--Hawaii Ranks 42nd
Hawaii: Smoking Costs $40K Per Year
Final presentation scheduled for Ala Moana Regional Park Master Plan
Hanabusa Supporters Plan to Disrupt Legislative Session
SA: Election-year politics often drive events at the state Capitol, but devotees of U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa could cause the 2018 session of the state Legislature that opens today to devolve into a particularly partisan affair.
When Hanabusa formally launched her campaign to try to unseat Gov. David Ige at a press conference this month, she was joined at the event by a gaggle of the state’s most powerful lawmakers, including House Speaker Scott Saiki, House Finance Chairwoman Sylvia Luke, Senate President Ron Kouchi and Senate Vice President Michelle Kidani.
Those lawmakers have more than enough political juice among them to dictate the fate of almost any proposal at the state Legislature, and Hanabusa supporters seem to have little incentive to support Ige’s plans or ideas this session…..
The House and Senate are scheduled to convene at 10 a.m., followed by singing of the national anthem and “Hawaii Pono’i.”….
read … Politics could jeopardize Ige’s agenda
Ige on 125th Anniversary of Overthrow of Hawaiian Kingdom
NR: “This is a special day in the history of Hawaiʻi. A few months ago, we remembered Queen Liliʻuokalani, who put her people first, before money or power. She chose the common good for a better collective existence. I believe we must follow her example as we move forward together as one people.” –Governor David Ige
read … News Release
Ige won’t sign proposed Airbnb tax agreement
SA: Gov. David Ige has rejected a proposed agreement with Airbnb that would have authorized the company to collect vacation rental taxes on behalf of the state, a decision that effectively punts the issue back to the state Legislature.
Ige said he hopes to work out a new proposal for collecting taxes on transient vacation rentals with lawmakers in time for him to introduce an administration bill dealing with the issue by Monday, but House Finance Chairwoman Sylvia Luke said lawmakers are already crafting their own proposals to address the issue.
Lawmakers have considered bills in each of the past three years to allow Airbnb to collect taxes from vacation rentals on behalf of the state. Ige vetoed a bill to accomplish that in 2016, and last year the state Department of Taxation began negotiating directly with Airbnb to try to resolve the issue….
Big Q: What do you think about Gov. David Ige’s decision not to approve an agreement with Airbnb to collect taxes on short-term visitor rentals?
Related: What's in the Secret Air BnB Agreement?
read … Ige won’t sign proposed Airbnb tax agreement
Biofuel Push is on In Legislature
IM: …The group will work on legislation being introduced this session. The bills will focus on a “specific increase in the biofuels mandate”, and “streamlining of the permitting process for all of the bioeconomy and alternative fuel projects”.
Senator Lorraine Inouye and Representation Calvin Say sponsored the forum….
read … Biofools
The year’s first “dirty trick” targets Ige campaign
ILind: …the first dirty trick of the campaign, comes in the form of an email throwing all kinds of unsubstantiated allegations at Ige’s campaign team, including broad allegations of criminal conduct.
The email subject: “Open Letter to Governor about Corrupted Campaign Team and Clayton Hee Scandal.”
The email purports to be from a supporter, described as an “active” member of HGEA and a Pearl City High School grad.
Of course, a supporter of the governor wouldn’t choose this kind of “open letter” as a forum for raising legitimate concerns. And it’s rather crude style and vague but politically salacious allegations mark it as a classic example of campaign dirty tricks.
The letter alleges Ige campaign insiders solicited former State Senator Clayton Hee to enter the governor’s race in order to “siphon off Hawaiian Votes from Colleen Hanabusa.”
It then goes on to throw allegations of misconduct and criminal acts at several people the letter identifies as key players in Ige’s campaign.
The language and style have all the trappings of an anonymous hit piece of the kind we have seen in a number of past high-level campaigns…..
read … Dirty Trick
Legislators to use False Alarm to Aggrandize Themselves
SA: House Speaker Scott Saiki is tearing up and rewriting portions of his opening-day speech at the state Legislature to urge his colleagues to focus more attention on public safety and disaster preparedness in the wake of Saturday’s missile scare.
Saiki and other lawmakers agreed there has been a surge in interest in emergency management issues after the state Saturday mistakenly issued an alert that a ballistic missile was headed for Hawaii, and Saiki said the false alarm will “make a big impact this session.” This year’s session begins Wednesday.
“The unfortunate part of it is that the Legislature should not have to be involved in administering a program, but it’s almost as if we will have to do that to the extent that we need to know exactly how this program is set up, what the standards are, what the protocols are, whether or not those are being followed, how they can be improved,” said Saiki (D, McCully-Kakaako). “It’s almost like we’ll have to be looking over the shoulders of the administration to ensure that this program is working.”
The House Public Safety Committee and the Senate Government Operations and Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs committees have scheduled a hearing at the state Capitol for 10 a.m. Friday to review the circumstances surrounding the incident and the delay in calling off the false alarm.….
Related: Ward: Step- by-step walkthrough of the software, hardware, and personnel that led to false alarm
read … Legislators aim to avert future false alarms
Call to Fire Office of Disciplinary Counsel After Refuses to Act Against Kealoha Corruption
HNN: Attorney Eric Seitz is calling for the removal of the head of the Office of Disciplinary Counsel after the ODC cleared embattled lawyer and Honolulu Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha of ethical violations.
“It’s just incredible. How can anyone say based on the public record that she didn’t likely commit ethical violations. Maybe you hold proceedings in abeyance but you don’t send out this kind of letter,” said Seitz, the lawyer for Gerard Puana, who filed the ethics complaint against Kealoha.
“This is the watchdog for the lawyers in Hawaii. In my view … the watchdog is incompetent and unethical and ought to be removed.”…
In a Jan. 8, 2018 letter to Puana, the ODC’s head, Chief Disciplinary Counsel Bruce Kim, cleared Katherine Kealoha of any ethical violations, writing:
“Please be advised that your complaint against Katherine Kealoha has been closed and no further action will taken at this time ... Our office is unable to determine by clear and convincing evidence that an ethical violation occurred in this case," Kim said.
When Hawaii News Now questioned the ODC on how it reached its decision, it back-tracked, saying its investigation is now “on hold” and is not complete….
Letter: ODC Closes Complaint vs Kealoha
read … Will This Slip by While Everybody is Focused on Missile Alert?
Purported witness in Kealoha case disputes court documents
SA: …A man whose name appears on a state court document that city Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha is accused of falsifying says he never met Kealoha and has no idea how his signature wound up on the document.
The document purports to verify that Ransen Taito, a ward of Kealoha’s, received all of his share of a medical malpractice settlement when he turned 18….
After Taito turned 18, Kealoha submitted documents telling the state court that Taito received all of his share of the settlement money. One of the documents, on which Taito’s signature appears twice, is a verification by Taito. The document also includes the signatures of two witnesses.
One of the witnesses, Elson Honda, says the signature appears to be his. But he says he had never met Taito or Kealoha.
The document in the official court record is not the original, but a photocopy. The date next to Honda’s signature appears to be Aug. 8, 2011, even though the document has a receive date of Sept. 13, 2010, stamped on it.
Kealoha submitted the same document again on Aug. 12, 2011, in an addendum to her earlier filing. This time the document, again a photocopy, not the original, contains just one Taito signature and does not contain Honda’s….
read … Purported witness in Kealoha case disputes court documents
Staffer still getting thousands monthly from late Hawaii Congressman's campaign coffers
HNN: …Dylan Beesley is under scrutiny for collecting a full-time salary from his old boss, Congressman Mark Takai, for more than a year after Takai died.
On Friday, Chin said he reviewed Beesley’s situation and said he saw no wrongdoing or illegality and would keep him on his campaign.
Councilman Ernie Martin, who is also running for the vacant First District seat, said defending Beesley “is a serious conflict of interest for the state’s top law enforcement officer.” Martin said Chin should resign as attorney general.
When Takai died in July 2016, he had more than $1 million in campaign funds. About half of that was returned to donors before the end of the year….
Beesley continued to collect a salary of $5,759 a month through the end of September 2017.
It is unclear if he collected the salary after that because the final report for 2017 has not yet been filed….
At the end of September, there was about $328,000 left in the account.
Clean campaign advocates and Takai colleagues questioned the posthumous payments.
“Essentially paying themselves a full time salary working on a campaign for somebody who is no longer alive is extremely hard to justify," said Noah Bookbinder, of the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
California Congressman Mark Takano, a friend and colleague of Takai's, said he was surprised to learn his campaign was still spending so much.
“Wow, I think people should, would question those practices," he said, "And I don't know that Mark would want to see that happening with the money he raised for reelection."
The Federal Elections Commission wants inactive campaigns closed within six months.
Hawaii News Now communicated with Dylan Beesley repeatedly last week.
He said Takai's widow, Sami, was “the driver” of the inactive campaign. On Friday, he said the family would issue a statement to confirm that, but no statement has come from the family….
Chin’s campaign is barely a month old and has already confronted two controversies.
He initially said he intended to remain as attorney general during the campaign, a decision that Gov. David Ige supported…..
On Tuesday, Martin attempted to fold the two controversies together.
In a statement, Martin wrote: “The issue of legality aside, it is reprehensible to pay yourself out of your deceased boss’ account. As a law enforcement officer, an attorney and as a decent human being, Doug Chin should know better. He should not wait until March to resign, he must step down immediately."…
read … Will this slip by while everybody is focused on Missile Alert?
Hanabusa Campaign Contributors Test Missile on Kauai While Hanabusa Blocks Aegis Deployment for Hawaii
SA: …Ward sent a letter in July to Defense Secretary James Mattis asking him to consider “operationalizing” the Aegis Ashore facility on Kauai, which is used as a test site, for Hawaii’s defense.
Riki Ellison, chairman of the nonprofit Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, also maintains Hawaii is underdefended and has pushed for using Aegis Ashore in emergencies or giving the Pearl Harbor destroyer USS John Paul Jones, used as a missile defense test bed, added responsibility as a defense ship for Hawaii.
Missile maker Raytheon said the new SM-3 IIA, expected to be used at Aegis Ashore sites in Japan, Romania and Poland, is initially aimed at shooting down short- to intermediate-range ballistic missiles.
Intermediate-range missiles fly up to 3,400 miles, while intercontinental ballistic missiles are defined as having a greater range. Hawaii is 4,660 miles from North Korea.
U.S. Pacific Command and Navy officials recently said the Kauai Aegis Ashore site is not suited for a defense role because of the current SM-3 1B missile’s limited capabilities. Newer SM-3 IIA missiles (made by Hanabusa contributors at Raytheon) have a wider body, fly much faster and have a range of 1,350 miles — more than triple that of the SM-3 1B. (But they won’t be ready for 6 yrs.)
At a June 7 congressional hearing, Vice Adm. James Syring, the now former director of the Missile Defense Agency, was asked about the defense of Hawaii and potential use of the SM-3 IIA — which comes from a line of ship-based missiles — against North Korean threats.
“We’ve done the analysis and looked at that extensively,” Syring said. There is “inherent capability to engage longer-range threats,” and while the missile hasn’t been tested in such a capacity, “analysis indicates that that could add another layer of defense to Hawaii,” he said.
Ellison noted that the National Defense Authorization Act for 2018 requests that the agency test the SM-3 IIA against an ICBM target.
“The United States will very soon test the Aegis Ashore site in PMRF on shooting down missiles that will prove out its deployment to Poland this year,” Ellison said in an email. “It is unbelievable that those limited SM-3 Block IIA interceptors will be going to Poland instead of Hawaii.”…
As Explained: To Help Campaign Contributors, Hanabusa Blocks Missile Defense for Hawaii for 6 Years
read … Hanabusa Betrays Hawaii
State issues different image of screen leading to employee’s false missile alert
SA: …Techies and the general public are already weighing in on the design, logic and layout of the screen that the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency released Monday, illustrating what the state employee saw before clicking on the wrong link, leading to the false missile alert.
Some equated it to community bulletin board Craigslist, while others called it archaic and outdated in online and social media posts.
HI-EMA spokesman Richard Rapoza sent the Star-Advertiser another screen image today, which he said is a “close facsimile” of the menu of options before the state employee, but not the actual screen shot. This one, he said, is closer to the actual menu itself….
(HI EMA is still acting like it can put a genie back into the bottle. The real menu is out on the internet. There is no undoing that.)
Seattle-based writer Devin Coldewey posted a story on Techcrunch today titled “Hawaii’s emergency alert interface looks straight out of the ’90s.”
“Just a jumble of contextless plain links, with drills and tests heedlessly mixed in,” he wrote. “It’s easy to see how this happened. We all click the wrong link now and then, but the consequence isn’t destabilizing an entire state. You can’t hit the back button on a million text messages and broadcast warnings.”
Even U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz weighed in with a tweet today: “This is not the kind of interface you would expect to see for something this important.”…
read … State issues different image of screen leading to employee’s false missile alert
State switched emergency alert software months before missile-alert mistake
KHON: …A longtime provider of software for Hawaii’s emergency alerts says it’s not working with the state anymore, and its system had to have been replaced as recently as last fall.
The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency worked with AtHoc for years, managing emergency alerts in times of crisis like the 2011 tsunami.
But that decade-long partnership ended last year when Hawaii stopped renewing its software and support contracts.
AtHoc says that meant HI-EMA needed a new interface to use the public alert warning system called IPAWS, and its software was not used by HI-EMA when the false alert went out Saturday.
At the time, it didn’t have the “false alarm” option that now exists, so fully undoing the mess took 38 minutes.
“The one thing that took longest, unfortunately, was using the IPAWS system in putting out the broad alert through the phones,” said HI-EMA spokesman Richard Rapoza.
The state had said Saturday it needed Federal Emergency Management Agency approval to issue a correction, but after
Always Investigating (Hawai’i Free Press) checked with FEMA and learned federal approval was not needed, HI-EMA recast it as seeking FEMA advice….
HI-EMA did not yet respond to repeated requests for details about the AtHoc non-renewal, nor to confirm if it’s now using AlertSense, which appears to have hosted its weekend missile and cancel messages and was registered to do business in Hawaii last fall, nor to explain how much has been spent on the systems overall, other than to say the missile alert was added in November….
Reality: FEMA: Ige, Miyagi Wrong About 38 Minute Delay
read … State switched emergency alert software months before missile-alert mistake
Common Misconceptions About Nuclear Attack
SA: …Miyagi on Friday addressed fundamental points about what he referred to as ongoing misconceptions.
One is that an attack is out of the question.
“It could happen,” he said. “We need to plan for it.”
The second misconception is, “We’re all going to die,” Miyagi said. That’s not true, he said. “We’re looking at, now, 10 percent casualties, 20 percent casualties. However, we still have 90 percent, 80 percent survivors, so what are we going to tell them? We stopped preparing because you guys were all supposed to die?”
When people say “you are wasting your time — that’s baloney,” Miyagi said. “We’ve got to take care of the survivors and the casualties.” …
A nuclear strike modeling site put together by Alex Wellerstein, an assistant professor at Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey who studies nuclear weapons, predicts 142,600 fatalities and 167,700 injuries from a 150-kiloton airburst over downtown Honolulu.
In his model the level of radiation within half a mile of the blast would cause a 50 to 90 percent mortality rate from acute effects without medical treatment. An over-pressure air blast in which most residential buildings collapse would extend in a 2.3-mile radius. And third-degree thermal radiation burns would cover a 3.27-mile radius….
SA: Radioactive contamination can spread person to person
read … State has long way to go to reach nuclear missile preparedness
35 more displaced urns found in the bushes of a neglected Pearl City cemetery
HNN: Volunteers made another disturbing discovery at a neglected graveyard in Pearl City.
Over the weekend, the clean-up crew at Sunset Memorial Park found 35 urns — majority sitting in the bushes surrounding homeless campers squatting on the property.
Some urns contained ashes, but most were empty.
"What we did was trim down this whole section. As we were pulling out the rubbish we came across these urn boxes," said volunteer Peter Fernando….
Fernando says over the past month volunteers have found vandalized human remains during multiple cleanups.
On Dec. 17 bones were found scattered throughout the mausoleum. Three weeks later on Jan. 7, an urn was discovered between a couple headstones. Then on Jan. 12, Fernando's disturbing find.
Only five of the 35 newly discovered urns contained ashes. One was on the ground in front of the dumpster….
read … Stolen to buy Meth
False Alarm Coverage