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Tuesday, January 29, 2019
January 29, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:54 PM :: 3171 Views

Auditor Slams DoT--$112M Illegally Hidden from Legislature

Who Should Regulate Drones in Hawaii?

Shark Bites: Hawaii Still #2 in USA

Bullying, Safe Places: 2019 Keiki Caucus Package

Economic Impact of Immigration by State

Former Cocaine Dealer: We Forced Judiciary to Reverse Decisions by Threatening Budget

CB: … “What the Legislature has done over the past few years and appears to still be doing is to exert inordinate and unprecedented pressure over the Judiciary to rule on cases in a certain way,” said David Kimo Frankel, a lawyer who frequently represents Native Hawaiian plaintiffs in cases against the government.

Frankel was the attorney in a pair of decisions known as Nelson I and Nelson II, which are frequently cited as the prime examples of the turf war.

In the first case, Native Hawaiian beneficiaries sued the state for failing to provide money to cover administrative expenses of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, as required by the Hawaii Constitution. Although DHHL was the defendant, the Legislature would be affected because it could have to provide money to the department depending on the outcome.

The government argued that funding for DHHL was a political question that the Legislature was in charge of sorting out, not the courts. But the Supreme Court disagreed. It ruled for the plaintiffs and sent the matter back to the lower court to decide how much money was needed to fund DHHL. The lower court came up with a sum of about $28 million. The government appealed that decision too….

While the appeal was pending, in 2017, the Legislature proposed some measures that would have a direct effect on state judges.

One proposed to reduce pension benefits for judges, another to require Senate confirmation to renew terms of judges and justices.

Neither passed, but it was viewed as a signal: It wasn’t beyond the Legislature to use its power over money to try to influence the courts….

In February 2018, the Supreme Court backed away from its decision in Nelson I and said the court had gone too far in saying DHHL should get $28 million. The most DHHL should get was $1.3 million in 1978 dollars, adjusted for inflation, a sum more like $5 million to $6 million.

Speaking at a Civil Beat forum after the 2018 legislative session, (former cocaine dealer) Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani ‘Powdernose’ English described tit-for-tat spatting between the branches.

“We also had some tension with the Judiciary,” he said. “That was very healthy as well. They did some rulings that we thought was stepping into the legislative arena. They were trying to legislate from the bench. We control the purse strings. We said ‘no’ to a lot of their money. They reversed some of their decisions. We gave them some money. So the tension worked.”

In an interview, Saiki denied that lawmakers proposed bills to retaliate for Nelson. The Legislature let its position be known in briefs filed with the court, he said….

read … House Speaker: Really, Judges Are My BFFs

Senate president’s son is new lobbyist for Chamber of Commerce

SA: … The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii has hired the son of Senate President Ron Kouchi as its new assistant vice president for government affairs and alliances, which some at the state Capitol fear could mean trouble this year for proposals to increase Hawaii’s minimum wage.

The chamber is the state’s leading business advocacy group and has been an outspoken opponent of minimum wage increases such as one proposed in Senate Bill 2291 last year. That measure died early in the last session, but this year Gov. David Ige has introduced a new bill to incrementally increase the state minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Kouchi, who is one of the most powerful figures in the state Legislature, said he expects his 28-year-old son, Dan, will be lobbying at the state Legislature and elsewhere, and said he sees no problem with that….

When asked if his son might use the family ties to exercise influence over state issues, Kouchi replied that “the last time I checked, I paid his tuition and paid for his braces, so I don’t see how he has something over me.”

(Translation: It’s the other way around.)

The provision of state law that governs conflicts of interest prohibits state employees from taking official action that affects their own financial interest or those of their spouses or dependent children, but state lawmakers are exempt from that law.

(IQ Test: Are you laughing?)

Ron Kouchi said, “I hope he would conduct himself as a professional, but he has a job to do…..”

read … Senate president’s son is new lobbyist for Chamber of Commerce

Pushing $350M Redevelopment Scam: Aloha Stadium Deploys Fake Rust Report

SA: …The nine-member appointed board received a preliminary briefing from consultants and members of the Department of Accounting and General Services in closed-door executive session Nov. 29 during which it was shown images of the corrosion that has taken place since the previous 2016 report…

(Clue: If you want a new stadium, pour salt on the rust and take pictures of it.).

Corrosion of weathering steel members was described as having increased substantially over the past two years, according to the preliminary report. In addition, according to the report, numerous decking panels were classified as “severely corroded.”…

(See how that works?)

It has been estimated that it will cost $20 million-$30 million a year in health and safety repairs to keep the 50,000-seat facility operational….

(IQ Test: Do you believe this number?)

Twin bills — House Bill 1497 and Senate Bill 1530 — call for $350 million to finance a new stadium next to the current stadium on the 98-acre footprint in Halawa, which is to include ancillary development to help underwrite some of the bonds.

Another measure, House Bill 695, authored by Reps. John Mizuno (D, Kalihi Valley-Kamehameha Heights) and Tom Brower (D,Waikiki-Ala Moana), would authorize an as yet-undesignated amount of general obligation bonds for a stadium at an undisclosed site. It would require matching funds of one-third from the private sector…

read … Deferred Maintenance is a CIP Strategy

House Adopts New Sex Harassment Rules

BIN: … The House of Representatives adopted by resolution the House Administrative and Financial Manual for the Thirtieth Legislature 2019-2020 on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. Chapter 27 of the manual contains the House’s new Workplace Harassment Policy.

“Changes were made to the House Workplace Harassment Policy to provide better direction, increase accountability, and facilitate appropriate follow-up of any complaints,” said House Speaker Scott K. Saiki (McCully, Kāheka, Kakaʻako, Downtown). “This policy will help ensure that all members, staff, and the public are protected.”

A sign detailing where to read the new policy will be posted in all members’ offices, agency offices, conference rooms and on bulletin boards….

Jan 7, 2019: Sex Harassment: New House Rules "add another layer of silence"

read …  Harassment 

HB1529: Reduce Censorship of HS Journalists

CB: … As the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper at Waipahu High School, Chavonnie Ramos felt strongly that several pertinent topics should be covered by the student publication.

The sorry state of bathrooms inside the school. The teasing and taunting of the school’s cheerleaders, whom she felt deserved equal respect as other athletes. The frequent fights on campus.

But she chose not to pursue any of these subjects because of messages she received from the school’s administrators to focus on “mostly positive stuff.”

“We were all nervous that if we wrote it, we would get in trouble with the vice principal,” Ramos said, of any story on ramshackle bathrooms. “We kind of played it safe there.”  (Well trained for the world of Hawaii ‘journalism’!)

… when student editors at McKinley High School’s The Pinion learned that a substitute teacher was video-blogging and live-streaming his class for his personal YouTube channel — he was fired several months later — they chose not to cover the story for fear of what the principal might think.

House Bill 1529, modeled after similar bills enacted into law in 14 states through the “New Voices” movement, aims to protect student journalists from censorship by prohibiting prior restraint of material for school-sponsored media by school administrators. Exceptions include if the content is libelous, slanderous, obscene, amounts to an “unwarranted invasion of privacy” or incites students to violence or otherwise disrupts school operations. School officials must justify reasons for limiting student expression in media “without undue delay.”

The proposed legislation also prohibits the dismissal, discipline or other forms of retaliation against a student media advisor who’s protecting a student journalist engaged in protected conduct.

The bill, known as the “Hawaii Student Free Expression Act,”  was introduced by Rep. Takashi Ohno, and backed by more than two dozen House members….

read … Why Hawaii Student Journalists Feel The Need To Censor Themselves

SB1421/HB1289: New Plan to Let Lots of Criminals Run Free Again and Again

HFP: … A number of bills involving bail have been introduced this session including companion measures Senate Bill 1421 and House Bill 1289 which would, “with certain exceptions, eliminate the use of monetary bail and require defendants to be released on their own recognizance for traffic offenses, violations, nonviolent petty misdemeanor and nonviolent misdemeanor offenses.”

Either bill, if passed in its current form, would also give police officers the discretion to cite rather than arrest individuals for a nonviolent Class C felony or any misdemeanor or petty misdemeanor (even if this worthless punk has 20 priors) provided the officer reasonably believes (yeah whatever) the individual will appear in court as directed, the suspect has no outstanding arrest warrants (nothing about priors) and the offense doesn’t include domestic violence, sexual assault or robbery (Drug dealers party time) ….

read … Major bail tweaks ahead?

Legislators: Third Gender Coming to Hawaii Drivers Licenses

SA: … Sex markers on driver’s licenses increase the likelihood of harm toward transgender and gender nonconforming members of our community. By removing sex markers from limited-purpose driver’s licenses, transgender and gender non-conforming people will be secure anytime they have to present their ID. This is important because Hawaii has the highest percentage of transgender people of any U.S. state.

(Reality: There are only two genders and you don’t get a choice.) 

Hawaii’s Legislature is taking an essential step in expanding the rights of transgender and gender non-conforming people in Hawaii by putting forth Senate Bill 568 and House Bill 1245, the “No License to Discriminate Bill,” which are sponsored, respectively, by Sen. Karl Rhoads and House Speaker Rep. Scott Saiki….

(Reality: They are using their power to spread the lie that gender is a choice to further the process of undermining the nuclear family.)

To be sure, there are some challenges to eradicating sex markers, the biggest obstacle being the Real ID Act because gender markers are required on IDs used to travel on airplanes. The No License to Discriminate Bill modifies licenses that do not need to meet the requirements of the Real ID Act but are still valid for driving in the state.

Importantly, Sen. Rhoads and Rep. Nadine Nakamura have introduced companion measures that amend Hawaii’s regular, REAL ID-compliant licenses. SB 429 and HB 1165 add a third, gender-neutral category that would be helpful in educating the public about the existence of transgender people and gender non-conforming people in Hawaii — as well as the concrete benefit of being able to use a Real ID-compliant driver’s license when traveling or when otherwise needed….

Dec 1, 2018: Police Report ‘Threat’ Against State Women’s Commission Director was Fake—Timed to Coincide with Renewal of Employment Contract:

read … More Purposeful Chaos from Mrs Kaniela Ing and Obama’s Sister

UH Tuition Hikes Behind Flagging Enrollment

HNN:  … UH President David Lassner wants to do away with a planned tuition increase for the 2019-20 academic year and then freeze tuition at current levels through 2023.

Under a previously-approved plan, resident tuition was set to go up 2 percent at UH-Manoa in 2019-20, while other campuses were set to see a 1 percent increase….

The proposal comes as the University of Hawaii struggles to boost enrollment, and is increasingly competing for students who are also considering other Hawaii and mainland institutions….

In a memo to the Board of Regents on the plan, Lassner said that tuition at UH’s four-year institutions has risen above many of its peers.

This academic year, undergraduate resident tuition at UH-Manoa is $11,088, while undergraduate non-resident tuition is $33,120.

Tuition at UH-Manoa has risen 46 percent for in-state undergraduates since 2010, when the group paid $7,584 a year. That year, out-of-state undergraduates paid $21,024 to attend UH-Manoa….

read … To reverse flagging enrollment, UH is doing something ‘unprecedented' — cutting tuition 

Honolulu City Council now required to temporarily fill City Council District 4 seat

KITV: … According to Council Chair Ann Kobayashi, the Council will re-establish its Legislative Matters Committee, which is made up of all sitting councilmembers and meet on Monday February 4th to select a temporary Council representative for District 4….

All Councilmembers are being asked to submit names for consideration as the temporary replacement.

Members of the public who wish to have a person from that District considered are advised to contact their respective Councilmember and request that name submitted….

SA Editorial: Respect ruling, fill Council seat

read … Honolulu City Council now required to temporarily fill City Council District 4 seat

City clerk has no details yet on special Council election rematch

SA: … Takahashi said his office, whose Elections Division is tasked with conducting absentee votes and special elections dealing with Oahu offices, should have a full explanation “within the next day or two.”

“We are presently working with the City Council and the governor to recommend a timetable for their consideration,” Takahashi said. “There are various federal, state and city election laws and processes that govern how we move forward. There are issues including, but not limited to procurement, compliance with military and overseas voter laws, as well as general production logistics that need to be considered to successfully carry out the special election in most efficient manner possible.” ….

HPR: Honolulu City Council District 4 Race

read … City clerk has no details yet on special Council election rematch

No Right on Red—Another Piece of Caldwell’s Anti-Car Agenda

CB: … Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is pushing for a state law to ban right-hand turns at red lights in an effort to increase pedestrian safety and slow down traffic.

Two bills before the Legislature would amend the state traffic code, but only for Oahu. Neither has been scheduled for a hearing so far….

The effort is part of Caldwell’s Complete Streets initiative that seeks to make streets safer and more accessible for all modes of transportation.

The two measures, House Bill 185 and Senate Bill 167, have been referred to their respective chamber’s transportation committee….

read … If Mayor Caldwell Has His Way You Couldn’t Turn Right On A Red Light Anymore

Trendy Nonsense: Straw Ban Bill Introduced

SA: … HB762 RELATING TO SINGLE-USE PLASTIC STRAWS

Prohibits a full-service restaurant from providing a single-use plastic straw to a consumer unless requested by the consumer….

(Wisdom: H-Power IS recycling.  This is about making people perform the rituals of the eco-religion and is therefore unconstitutional establishment of a state religion.  What we need is a court to rule thusly.)

read … Rep. Takumi introduces bills on consumer protection issues

Hawaiian Humane Society Director a Trophy Hunter?

KITV: … The group Poi Dogs & Popoki posted a picture -- they claim was anonymously sent to them -- asking if Harold Han, Director of Operations at the Hawaiian Human Society, engages in sport and trophy hunting of exotic animals….

read … Nonprofit organization posts photo of former Hawaiian Humane Society employee next to potential trophy kill

For Homeless, Dog are an All-Purpose Excuse

CB: … Dornfried says he has been homeless off and on since 2014. He says his seven dogs are part of the reason he remains on the streets. After his last landlord became sick and decided he no longer wanted to rent out his property, Dornfried was unable to find a place he could afford that would take in all his dogs….

Dornfried has worked in the past as a carpenter and a house cleaner, but says it is impossible for him to work now because he has nobody to watch over the dogs while he is on a job and he can’t afford to board them in a kennel during work hours.

When I mention Hale Mauliola, the shelter at Sand Island that permits homeless people to become residents with their vehicles and their pets, he says he fears his dogs would fight with the other animals….

read … Homeless On Wheels In Honolulu

DLNR sued over officer’s aggressive handling of 2017 ‘flotilla’ boat seizure

HNN: … A Hawaii Kai man sued the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Monday along with several other DLNR law enforcement officers over an aggressive boat seizure in 2017.

Hawaii News Now reported last year that DLNR officers boarded Wyatt Kam’s catamaran during the Fourth of July flotilla event in Waikiki.

Kam alleged that a supervising officer, Carlton Helm, ordered him face down, placing his boot on his back for 45 minutes and threatened to kick him.

“An absolutely outrageous course of conduct by government agents who are supposed to act very differently," said attorney Eric Seitz, who represents Kam.

“In addition to that, there seems to be a cover-up and a total denial that anything done here was wrong," he added….

read … DLNR sued over officer’s aggressive handling of 2017 ‘flotilla’ boat seizure

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