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Sunday, January 20, 2019
January 20, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:19 PM :: 1407 Views

Hawaii’s Failed Campaign Finance Law: The Case of the Star-Advertiser’s Missing Front Page Ad Disclaimer

HR25: Prohibit Possession of Firearms and Ammunition in Hotel Rooms

Tulsi wants Money to Fight 'BS' Party Insider Howard Dean

DOE’s Repair Backlog Is How Much Again?

Legislature changing state elections to Solidify Democrat Control

Shapiro: … If top state legislators are good to their word, 2019 could be a year of badly needed election reform (solidifying Democrat control) in Hawaii.

House Finance Chairwoman Sylvia Luke became the first legislative leader to endorse a top-two primary election for Hawaii — the single best answer to our lightly contested races and nationally low voter turnout (opportunity to give Hawaii Democrats even more control than they already have).

With local Republicans and third parties seldom fielding competitive candidates, elections are almost always decided in the Democratic primary, excluding many voters (so this becomes an argument for even greater monopolization by Demo0crats)….

Charles Djou, a concerned former Republican, has also endorsed top-two primaries, noting they’ve worked well in Democratic California and Republican Louisiana (that Dem Primary voters won’t give an ex-Republican like him a chance.  In other words, this scheme will weaken progressive influence over the Dem nomination process)….

read … Legislature puts new focus on changing state elections

Gabbard Implosion a Reminder that Gays Control Democratic Party

Borreca: …Michael Golojuch Jr., chairman of the Hawaii Democratic Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus, said Gabbard’s apology doesn’t cut it.

“An apology is just the start of making amends for the damage she has done and she needed to follow it up with real actions — which we have not seen,” Golojuch said in an interview.

For Gabbard, the early homophobia is just the beginning of questions about her past. She says she is Hindu, but she actually came to her religion from first joining a local Hare Krishna offshoot called the Science of Identity Foundation, headed by self-described guru Chris Butler, who goes by the name Siddhaswarupananda, and then she later found Hinduism. Gabbard took her congressional oath of office on a copy of the Bhagavad Gita and has become a major political celebrity in the Hindu-American community.

Perhaps most telling is the mainland media’s first brush with Tulsi Gabbard as a political animal. Most headlines reflect a great suspiciousness of her. The Washington Monthly asked, “Can Democrats Trust Tulsi Gabbard?” The New Yorker questioned, “What Does Tulsi Gabbard Believe?” And the left-wing Jacobin stated, “Tulsi Gabbard Is Not Your Friend.”

Clearly Gabbard’s apology tour is not over, and her campaign should be haunted by Ronald Reagan’s advice that, “If you’re explaining, you’re losing.”….

Meanwhile:

read … YOU Are Losing

State pension fund shortfall climbs to $13.4B

SA: … The shortfall in Hawaii’s largest public pension fund climbed to an all-time high of $13.41 billion last year and is expected to keep rising until 2024.

It will take 25 years, until June 30, 2043, before the pension is 100 percent funded, according to an actuary report from Gabriel Roeder Smith that was adopted last week by trustees of the Employees’ Retirement System. The ERS provides retirement, disability and survivor benefits to 124,089 active, retired and vested former state, city and county employees….

The ERS shortfall — the difference between ERS funds and the money needed to pay beneficiaries — was $12.93 billion at the end of fiscal year 2017 and is projected to reach $14.19 billion by 2023 before reversing direction.

“An increase in the plan’s unfunded liability was fully expected,” Williams said. “Liabilities will continue to grow over the next several years while contribution increases are phased in and the new tier of employee benefits gradually covers a larger segment of our membership.”

The funded ratio — what is needed to meet future pension obligations — improved slightly in the fiscal year that ended June 30, to 55.2 percent from 54.9 percent a year earlier.

“The plan’s funded ratio improved because the assets available to pay benefits increased at a slightly higher rate than our liabilities,” Williams said. “We anticipate a similar result over the next few years. Thereafter, our funded ratio will begin to increase and our unfunded liability decrease at a more rapid pace.”

The pension fund had a market value of $16.6 billion in assets as of June 30. It has a 7 percent annual investment target and achieved a 7.9 percent return in fiscal 2018….

read … State pension fund shortfall climbs to $13.4B

ACLU: Hawaii is a Launching pad for Our Agenda

ACLU: … Even when we win, we’ve got to stay vigilant against the tendency of unconscious bias and actual animus to take on more subtle forms and settle in the bones of our government institutions ....

read … Column: Win or lose, Hawaii keeps fighting for rights

Opioid prescriptions down in Hawaii

HTH: … A state health official told legislators Thursday prescriptions written for opioid pain relievers in Hawaii have declined over the last four years.

Dr. Daniel Galanis, an epidemiologist for the Department of Health, said the average number of prescriptions written for opioid painkillers monthly decreased from roughly 69,000 in 2015 to 54,500 in 2018. That revelation was made at an joint informational briefing of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health and the House Health Committee at the state capitol in Honolulu….

NCDC: Hawaii 37 opium prescriptions per 100 people

“We’ve seen a 21 percent decrease in the number of opioid prescriptions in the state over this four-year period. And you can see it’s probably going to keep going down over time,” Galanis said, pointing to a projected slide with a graph mapping the decrease.

Galanis credited the decline in opioid prescriptions, in part, to the Hawaii Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, or PMP, a database administered jointly by the Health and Public Safety departments which can be accessed by physicians, pharmacists and other health care providers. He said the database has drastically reduced patients obtaining narcotic prescriptions from multiple sources, a practice known as “doctor shopping.”

“Without the use of PMP, if someone’s seeing multiple providers, a physician might not know that they’re getting substance X over here and substance Y over there,” Galanis said. “There’s certainly room to improve going forward, but these are certainly trends in the right direction.”…

read … Opioid prescriptions down in Hawaii

Hawaii County is Ground Zero for Opium

HTH: … Hawaii County has the highest rate of prescribing opioids of any county in the state, at a rate of 66.4 prescriptions per 100 people, double the prescribing rate for the City and County of Honolulu, according to Resolution 20.

The measure would give Corporation Counsel authority to hire on a contingency basis the New York City-based personal injury law firm Napoli Shkolnik and its local counsel, the Hawaii Accident Law Center from Honolulu.

Details about the potential lawsuit are sketchy, but attorneys would enter Hawaii County in multi-state litigation that’s been ongoing for about a year. The lawsuits center on manufacturers and distributors of opioids in particular….

read … County Council mulls entering no-risk lawsuit over opioids

Political Correctness Erasing Kauai’s Russian History

HNN: … The Russian ambassador and Russian Americans are fighting to preserve the name of Russian Fort Elizabeth in Kauai’s west side town of Waimea.

But cultural experts and state officials say the site is far more Hawaiian than Russian, and both sides are accusing each other of cultural insensitivity.

(‘Cultural Experts’: Lets erase all of history and paint a smiley face on it.)

More than 200 years ago, a Russian trading company affiliated with the Czar helped built three forts on Kauai at the request of Kauai’s King Kaumualii.

The fort site at Waimea’s Paulaula was preserved as a state park in 1972 and called “Russian Fort Elizabeth." Over the years the fort has become barely recognizable.

“We would really like to see this, our presence and the history of our presence here,” Russian-American Hawaii Resident Mihail Gilevich said.

“We managed to get the Russians to put up all the wood that was necessary to send us a shipload of people do the physical work,” Jay Freidheim, Hawaii Attorney said.

“The idea was to rebuild the fort. We did not know at the time its impossible to rebuild the fort,” another supporter said.

That’s because as experts looked closer, they confirmed that the fort was built with native Hawaiian labor with rocks from a heiau. The Russians left after two years and the people of Kauai used the fortress and cannon to defend the island against Kamehameha’s invasion.

“Many people died. Some of them are buried in that fort so not only is it a fort and a chiefly compound, it is a burial ground and it’s a Hawaiian burial ground,” Alan Carpenter of the State Parks Division said.

Carpenter says he’s glad the Russians kick-started discussion on how to preserve the site.

But says at times the Russian insensitivity hurt their cause including in 2017, raising a Russian trade company’s flag above the stones of Paulaula….

Gilevich says the Russians have great respect for the Hawaiian history there and the flag was raised to honor the Russian ancestors.

“It doesn’t mean someone was trying to disrespect local rules or claim anything,” Gilevich said…. 

RB: Hawaii declares war on its Russian heritage

read … A Kauai park with ties to Russia is stirring up an international name dilemma

Space Aliens Defending Jones Act

TH: … Arguing with Jones Act supporters is like talking to someone who believes in alien abductions.

You present facts. You offer alternatives. You build a case based on research which demonstrates the Jones Act isn’t achieving its goals. Then they produce their study and say the Jones Act keeps things from being worse.

This is the equivalent of brandishing a story from the Weekly World News and declaring, “You can’t prove aliens don’t exist.” And it’s just as fallacious.

Recently, Jones Act defenders have tried to spin the decline of American shipping into an argument for the protectionist laws that brought us to this point ….

read … Defending Jones Act is path to disaster

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