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Sunday, April 21, 2019
April 21, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:59 PM :: 1684 Views

OHA's Crabbe out of the Bucket?

HIDOE Achieves Success with Job Order Contracting

Financial and Compliance Audit of the Department of Education

Organizer asks supporters to re-sign Keith Kaneshiro petition

SA: … The Oahu businessman seeking to impeach Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro wants the 1,021 people who signed his petition to re-sign it using a different electronic platform.

Tracy Yoshimura said the state Office of Elections has indicated that additional information is required from petition signers in order to pass the certification process: namely date of birth and either a driver’s license number, state ID card number or the last four numbers of the individual’s Social Security number.

The original list of signatures was collected at change.org, but that platform could not provide space for the identity-related information, Yoshimura said. The new DocuSign electronic platform does so, he said….

DocuSign is “internationally recognized (and) legally accepted by courts, financial institutions and businesses,” Yoshimura said. As a result, “we are asking everyone who previously signed the petition to go to impeachkaneshiro.com to again sign the petition,” Yoshimura said.

The additional information will be kept confidential, he said.

An impeachment petition against an elected city official requires 500 names be submitted to the Office of the City Clerk. Just over 460 signatures had been gathered under the new petition as of Friday afternoon, Yoshimura said….

Related: New Petition Launched to Impeach Kaneshiro

read … Organizer asks supporters to re-sign Keith Kaneshiro petition

Ozawa Loses: Pro-development forces flex muscle in Hawaii politics

Borreca: …there is another force with much more potency than just a regular, disgruntled rail critic: the organized Hawaii construction industry….

Take a look at the rapidly flowering Pacific Resource Partnership (PRP), representing the Regional Council of Carpenters along with over 240 contractors and other construction-related entities such as the Hawaii Laborers and Employers Co-op and the various building and construction unions….

PRP has polished its act, by running professional seminars and tapping into social media public policy groups.

But what it and the rest of the construction and development industry really do is invest serious money in getting folks elected to local office. Yes, the forces wanting more and more construction are mildly involved in federal offices, but what really sharpens their interest is having a friendly player when it is time to decide zoning, building and land use questions. Keeping rail on track no matter what the cost is the Holy Grail of Hawaii’s construction and development political forces.

The best example of how the forces of construction and development view a candidate is the just-finished special election between former state Rep. Tommy Waters and almost-Council Chairman-elect Trevor Ozawa.

The Hawaii Laborers Political Action Committee, a hardy perennial campaign contributor, gave Ozawa $15,500 between 2014 and 2019, but when Waters made his comeback attempt, the PAC tossed Waters $4,000 in 2018 and another $4,000 in 2019.

After losing twice to Ozawa, Waters came back with a big finish in this month’s special election, beating the councilman by more than 1,000 votes.

Mere months ago, Ozawa looked like he had it made: Not only had he beaten Waters in the November election, but he was slated to become Council chairman until the state Supreme Court overturned that election, forcing a redo. Ozawa lost as Waters outspent him by $40,000, according to Campaign Spending Commission tallies.

That wasn’t the only money, however. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s veteran city hall reporter, Gordon Pang, reported “$163,000 in ad campaigns by two labor-related political action committees that reminded voters of Ozawa’s frequently caustic personality.”…

Flashback: This contradiction is due to the failure of anti-rail politicians to separate themselves from criminals.

read … Pro-development forces flex muscle in Hawaii politics

Bills Down to the Wire: Last Week for the Legislature

SA Editorial: … Advocates for an extension say the East Maui Irrigation (EMI) system is complex and that managing water use in the changing agricultural landscape on Maui should be done carefully.

Without a doubt, the transition requires care, and there could be room for some give in the deadlines. But HB 1326, House Draft 2, proposes a seven-year extension, without sufficient conditions and checkpoints to guide compliance in a timely manner — and that is inordinately lax.

A floor amendment could set such conditions and curtail the extension to a more reasonable terms, at or around two years.

Failing similar changes being made, however, this measure is unacceptable; no reasonable justification has been offered for why such a long extension would be necessary. The goal of properly managing state water resources simply cannot be achieved with such a lack of resolve.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources, and its overseeing board, should be able to craft a short-term fix for smaller-scale users and see that A&B meets its legal commitment.

Other pending proposals should take their final form this week:

>> The House minimum-wage bill (HB 1191) should prevail: $15 hourly or its equivalent ($12.50, if prepaid health coverage is offered by the employer). It falls short of the $17 favored by some, but it represents an incremental raise, completed by 2024, that should be sustainable. And there’s no special deal for full-time state workers, who would get the $17 rate, under the Senate version.

>> HB 1552, headed for conference, wisely would establish the independent Hawaii Correctional System Oversight Commission. Many developments, not the least of which was a recent riot in the Maui correctional center, amply demonstrate the need for such oversight.

>> Among the tax-reform bills, the Legislature should pass Senate Bill 301, which would require real estate investment trusts (REITs) to pay corporate income tax. The state coffers need the revenue and this would be tax fairness, plain and simple.

>> SB 1292 would finally require vacation rental platforms such as Airbnb to collect taxes from transient rental operators on behalf of the state. Enacting this bill would ratchet up the pressure on the Honolulu City Council to push through, at long last, the regulatory framework allowing a careful, limited expansion of short-term rental permits. With any luck, the Council is feeling the burn on this issue and will take action….

Water Commissioner: Water bill would enable smoother ag transition, such as on old A&B lands

Hooser: Get past manufactured crisis, and have state move on water permits

read … SA Editorial: House water bill not strict enough

HB673: Police to be allowed to smoke Marijuana—Potheads to be hired as Ambulance Drivers

SA: … A bill to prohibit employers from discriminating against workers with prescriptions for medical marijuana who test positive for using cannabis has resurfaced in the final weeks of the legislative session, and was unanimously approved by the state Senate.

However, the bill is raising concerns among employers and city officials who worry it could jeopardize workplace safety.

Senators had heard another measure prohibiting discrimination in hiring and employee discipline for workers who use marijuana with a prescription, but that bill stalled in February. State Sen. Rosalyn Baker then inserted similar language into House Bill 673 on March 21 after a public hearing on another issue…

“We’re certainly concerned as it relates to employee safety and the workplace environment, so it’s obviously going to have an impact, and that is why we’re concerned about the unintended consequences of this bill,” said Sherry Menor-McNamara, who is president of the chamber.

Menor-McNamara said the measure is too broad, has technical flaws and imposes an “undue hardship” on employers. Among other problems, she said the bill appears to provide greater protection to disabled employees with cannabis prescriptions than to employees who are prescribed other medications.

“We hope that the committees will take a look at the broader impact it would have on employers,” she said.

City officials also objected when a similar measure — Senate Bill 1524 — had a hearing in February. Carolee Kubo, director of the city Department of Human Resources, urged lawmakers at the time to pay close attention to the importance of drug testing in workplace safety.

“To foster a safe work environment, employers must have a reliable and practical method for identifying employees whose work may be affected by the mind-altering effects of cannabis,” Kubo said in written testimony. “This is particularly critical for those employees whose duties include safety sensitive or first-responder functions, where the effects may not be apparent until an employee is in a life or death, crisis situation.”

The city proposed amendments to the bill that would allow employers to prohibit marijuana use by firefighters, lifeguards, workers who carry firearms, emergency medical services workers, employees who handle or dispense prescription medications, and employees who operate heavy equipment or are required to have a commercial driver’s license.

(Its OK, if this becomes law we are going to need more ambulance drivers. With unemployment so low, it makes sense to hire potheads.)

SB 1524 stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee, but Baker revived the bill by inserting similar language into HB 673…..

Bonus: Transsexual Potheads!

read … Employers wary of bill protecting medical pot cardholders

Political Correctness: Kahana homeowners defaulting on state loans

SA: ... Some families who have gone years without performing cultural activities in lieu of monthly rent at a state-owned Kahana Valley “living park” also are way behind on loan payments to the state.

Eight of 26 families who each received $50,000 low-interest loans — mostly in the 1990s — to build homes in Ahupua‘a ‘O Kahana State Park are in arrears and have not made payments for two to six years, according to data from the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp., which oversees the loan program. That’s a 30% delinquency rate.

Despite the severe arrears, the state has not taken action to evict or foreclose on the families, raising additional concerns about lax enforcement in the residential portion of the 5,000-acre Windward Oahu park….

“Everybody is chicken,” said Punaluu resident Cathleen Mattoon, who was an original member of a Kahana advisory board that was formed in the mid-1980s. “They’re afraid of enforcing the law.”…

read … Kahana homeowners defaulting on state loans

Big Island Mass Transit mismanagement could hurt entire state’s federal funding

HTH: … Millions of dollars in federal funding could be in jeopardy because the county Mass Transit Agency didn’t submit its required paperwork for three of the past six years.

That revelation Thursday by Mass Transit Administrator Brenda Carreira, in response to questioning by Puna Councilwoman Ashley Kierkiewicz, has county, state and federal officials scrambling to understand what went wrong and how to fix it….

If the problem isn’t resolved, not only could the county be barred from further federal grants, but it could be forced to pay some back. Furthermore, Hawaii County’s error could have ramifications for other Hawaii counties seeking federal money, Carreira said in response to questioning….

Carreira didn’t bring up the federal grant problem Thursday during a lengthy, routine budget report to the council’s Finance Committee. It was only after Kierkiewicz probed the grant funding issue did Carreira drop her bombshell.

Carreira said she recently received a phone call from the state Department of Transportation asking what’s going on.

“We just had this conversation, but my jaw kinda dropped,” Carreira said, adding, “We’re going to fix this.”

Officials from HDOT will be meeting with county staff Tuesday to try to figure out how to get the county into compliance.

“In advance of an anticipated audit from the Federal Transit Administration, HDOT is visiting the counties to conduct a test audit to ensure that the programs are ready for the FTA,” HDOT spokesman Tim Sakahara said in an email response….

It’s not known how much money could be at stake. Carreira said the county lost out on funding for three years because the reports weren’t submitted. The agency anticipates getting $3.4 million for the budget year that starts July 1….

2018: Hawaii County Audit Finds Bundles of Cash in Breakroom

read … Mass Transit mismanagement could hurt entire state’s federal funding

What makes Tulsi Gabbard run? Maybe it’s about the perks

Shapiro: … With much local speculation about why Hawaii U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard joined the flock of Democratic long shots running for president, a recent New York Times story posed the question another way: Why not?

In an analysis headlined, “The Many Reasons to Run for President When You Probably Don’t Stand a Chance,” the Times listed rewards other than winning.

These can include bountiful publi­city, new donors, Cabinet positions, book deals, talk TV contracts, lucrative speaking fees and offers to join prestigious boards….

“There’s just absolutely no downside and only upside,” GOP strategist Antonia Ferrier told the Times. “It is an industry of self-promotion. What better way to self-promote than run for president?”

“It gives you a certain stature the rest of your life,” added former candidate Newt Gingrich. “They introduce you, and then they say, ‘… and former presidential candidate!’ It’s not bad.”

The Times’ logic makes it easier to connect the dots on Gabbard’s laser focus on self-promotion since she was elected to Congress in 2012.

It’s paid off with some 100 appearances on national TV, and she’s scored her book deal. In the 2016 presidential election, when she was 35, she was already encouraging talk of herself as a vice presidential or cabinet prospect.

Her $1.9 million in campaign donations greatly lags Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ $18.2 million or California Sen. Kamala Harris’ $12 million, but she’s grown her donor base enough to qualify for primary debates.

She hopes to use the debates as her main showcase, ironic given her persistent refusal to debate her congressional opponents.

The Times’ notion that there’s no downside to a presidential run may depend on how much Gabbard values her House seat…

read … What makes Tulsi Gabbard run? Maybe it’s about the perks

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