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Monday, May 20, 2019
May 20, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:39 PM :: 1480 Views

Best States for Military Retirees? Hawaii 41st

Video: Inside NSA Hawaii, the "front lines" of intelligence gathering

CBS: … in one room, we had to blur the picture because everything in there was classified. It's where specialists listen in on foreign communications.

"Anything that travels over the radio frequency waves or inside the electromagnetic spectrum, it can be collected," Mole said. "We have the ability to pull items that have been collected worldwide… Much of our reporting even ends up on the desk of the president." ….

"So we're looking at ways to where we can utilize A.I. and machine learning to be able to… get the right data to that right analyst," Mole said.

Over the past 18 months, the Trump administration has slapped Chinese hackers with an unprecedented number of criminal indictments after Chinese nationals attempted to compromise key targets in the U.S. Much of the reporting that contributed to U.S. government actions related to that came out of this facility, Mole said.

Chief Master Sgt. Nina Ung controls the NSA teams keeping a close watch on our adversaries across the Pacific. She called their outpost the "front lines."

"If you look at just in our own backyard, right, we have China and North Korea," Ung said. "It's no secret that they're loud, they're noisy, and they are willing to use to use cyber threats and force."

"You have four of the largest world economies, you have seven of the 10 largest militaries. Five nuclear nations," Mole said.

"Tell me more about that as a cyber power grab going on," Carter said.

"It's not just cyber," Mole said. "The United States does not have the superiority in any of those domains that we once had." ....

Deep inside an underground tunnel is where the NSA first established a presence in Hawaii. It's also the location where Edward Snowden worked, before he stole hundreds of thousands of classified documents. Snowden was a contractor working for the NSA Hawaii in 2013 when he leaked documents outlining American government surveillance practices. …

Asked whether the NSA is observing American citizens, Mole responded, "The National Security Agency in conducting its missions is always in accordance with the U.S. law."

The domestic phone surveillance program first exposed by Snowden is now under review and may be discontinued. Still no one at the NSA would go into any detail about changes made because it's classified….

May 9, 2019: Feds Forcing UH to Shutter Chinese Communist Spy Center ‘Confucius Institute’?

read … Exclusive look inside NSA Hawaii, the "front lines" of intelligence gathering

Permitting reform update

WHT: … It’s a widely acknowledged fact that the current state of our local building permit process inhibits economic development. It’s an inefficient, incoherent, costly, and woefully fragmented process….an environment where getting any physical modification done to an existing or new business is achingly slow….

The Permitting Task Force’s objectives are to become a recognized conduit to the county for community input so end-users are heard, to facilitate the sharing of a county “road map” to the permitting process so businesses at least know where to turn and what’s next on their development path, to encourage third-party review of permits to unclog the permit logjam, and to seek clarity on building code interpretation.

Taken individually, these do not seem to be terribly revolutionary objectives, or really all that innovative. Rather, they are common sense and broad issues needing to be tackled first, the “low hanging fruit” that can provide a foundation, and a process, for moving forward….

the county has long been aware of the problems with the current permitting process and has actively sought solutions. One of their major initiatives was the purchase of a new IT system, EnerGov, intended to provide transparency and efficiency to a process that is clearly neither of those things currently. That is commendable and should provide some relief, but the implementation of that system has been pushed back from spring to summer and now to the end of this year or the beginning of next….

this is a multifaceted problem area and a long-haul project, and these are first steps. Permitting involves not only the County Public Works Department but also other county departments: Fire, Environmental Management and Planning. On the state level, it also involves the Departments of Health, and Land and Natural Resources….

read … Permitting reform update

Hawaiʻi Jail Operating With Less Than Half The Normal Staff

AP: … A Hawaiʻi jail where a riot broke out in March is operating with less than half the normal number of corrections officers, officials said.

The Hawaiʻi Department of Public Safety said as few as 83 guards for the facility that would be fully staffed with 170 guards regularly report to work at the Maui Community Correctional Center in Wailuku, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Sunday….

Some guards work 60 to 80 hours per week and morale is low, two corrections officers told the newspaper.

Many corrections officers have been working double shifts for three to five days each week, said Toni Schwartz, state Department of Public Safety spokeswoman.

"There has been a longstanding struggle to attract qualified applicants on Maui, or any island for that matter, who want to work in a jail facility," Schwartz said in an email.

There are 32 vacant positions and 23 corrections officers are out on workers' compensation. An additional 32 guards have been granted leave under the federal Family Medical and Leave Act that allows employees to take 12 weeks of leave within a one-year period, officials said.

When asked if the National Guard may need to be brought in to assist, Schwartz said "all possible options to address staff shortages may be explored."

United Public Workers, which represents corrections officers, said union leaders have met with Maui guards.

The union is trying to assemble a joint labor and management committee to address problems statewide, said Hawaii director Dayton Nakanelua….

read … Hawaiʻi Jail Operating With Less Than Half The Normal Staff

Hospitals move services to outpatient facilities

SA: … “This shift has forced hospitals to build, joint-venture or acquire centers and expand their ambulatory footprint.”

Providers say this lowers medical costs for consumers — in the form of lower copays and potentially even insurance premiums — and makes health care more convenient by bringing it closer to home.

“We used to do an awful lot of stuff (in the hospital) that’s very intense and actually didn’t add value; it added cost,” said Dr. Gerard Livaudais, vice president of Hawaii Health Partners, Hawaii Pacific Health’s accountable care organization, which is made up of 863 doctors, hospitals and other providers coordinating care to improve outcomes.

The move is driven in large part by a change in the way providers are paid — an upfront reimbursement per member per month instead of payments based on volume — so hospitals and physicians profit if they can provide services at lower costs. It is also being driven by patient demand….

Related: Trump Administration Copies Hawaii Pay-for-Outcomes Medical System

read … Hospitals move services to outpatient facilities

HTDC Builds Big Empty Building at Kakaako Makai

CB: …For years the HTDC has struggled to fulfill that seemingly quixotic mission: to develop higher-paying technology jobs in an island economy dominated by tourism and the military.

HTDC has set out to create 80,000 new technology and innovation jobs earning more than $80,000 annually by 2030. Such jobs are essential in a state where nearly half of the households earn less than the $72,000 a family of four needs to eke out a decent life.

But can one building, no matter how cool, really make much difference?

“It’s not all the answer,” says Len Higashi, HTDC’s acting executive director, “but it’s a very important piece of the puzzle.” …..

read … Can These Unlikely Partners Help Diversify Hawaii’s Economy?

Caldwell likely to sign Affordable Rentals Bill

SA: … Bill 7, dubbed the Affordable Rentals Bill, is designed to jump-start development of apartment rental properties, a critical area of need on Oahu during the current housing shortage crisis.  The Honolulu City Council passed the bill 9-0 earlier this month, and Caldwell has until Friday to sign it …

Among the incentives are greater density, taller heights, less setback, no required parking, complete waivers from building permit application and wastewater facilities charges, no park dedication fees and a 10-year tax waiver on property taxes.

The goal is to create projects with units that cost no more than $225 a square foot to develop, proponents said.

In exchange, the property owner would be required to charge rents on at least 80% of the units at prices deemed reasonable for those making up to 100% of median income as determined by federal housing guidelines. The dedication would be for perpetuity….

the proposal applies only to properties of 20,000 square feet or less….

read … Caldwell likely to sign Affordable Rentals Bill

UH Manoa Students Among Most Unhappy

KHON: …Are you happy? It seems that the students at the University of Hawaii at Manoa aren't, according to a ranking by the Princeton Review.

Out of the Review's 62 top 20 lists, UHM ranked 5th in their "Least Happy Students" category.

The Review says the rank is based on how strongly the school's students disagreed with the statement, "I am happy at my school."

The ranking lists are in the 2019 edition of "The Best 384 Colleges," which will be available on Aug. 7.

The ranks are based off of the data from the Princeton Review's survey of 138,000 students at the 384 schools in the book.

read … UH Manoa ranks high in the Princeton Review's Least Happy Students list

Solution to Homeless Criminals and Drug Addicts in Chinatown—More Police

KITV: …Parts of Honolulu's Chinatown have become a hotbed of trouble. "It's a beautiful place that's been really challenged by the homeless and by crime," describes Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

Last June, a high profile death near Maunakea Liquor & Grocery brought long-simmering complaints to a head. "Honolulu sportscaster John Noland was knocked to the ground there, hit his head, and passed away. We've had stabbings there, shootings there," recalls Mayor Caldwell.

The Honolulu Liquor Commission voted last Thursday to revoke the store's liquor permit. It is now in the bureaucratic process of doing that….

He's also talking with Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard about (A REALLY GOOD IDEA) increasing police presence. A challenge, though, is that HPD has 300 funded but vacant positions, so part of their discussion included how to recruit more officers. In a two hour walk around the neighborhood about two weeks ago, he shares that they "talked about how to recruit more people. Maybe creating a cadet service, more low level police force that would be more patrolling?"

Other (GOOD!) ideas include private security. "We have private security in the parks. It's working really well. Now, they're not in the parks but on the sidewalk instead. We thought, 'Do we hire Hawaii Protective Association to patrol in Chinatown? What can they do if they see people lying on the sidewalk?' Maybe police can deputize these folks so they can take legal action," shares Caldwell.

More sit-lie laws could also be on the way. "Are there other ways to prevent people from being on the streets after a certain hour? That would deal with people lying around in doorways, sidewalks, and edges of parks," he says, of the ideas he's considering - careful to mention he knows the American Civil Liberties Union is always watching (for ways to keep the homeless homeless).

read … Good Ideas

Ewa Shooting Case Dismissed After Prosecutors Miss Deadline

CB: … After a night of drinking, Hasselbrink, 41, a chief petty officer at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, had mistaken his neighbor’s door for the door to his own home. The men lived in a row of Ewa Beach townhouses where every building looks alike. His family believes an Uber driver had dropped him off at the wrong door.

While Hasselbrink was bashing his shoulder against the door and clattering the knob, 33-year-old Army veteran Gregory Farr was startled awake on the living room couch, according to court documents. It was 3:50 a.m. Afraid for his family’s safety, Farr fired a single shot that pierced the locked door. Hasselbrink died on his back on Farr’s front porch — two doors down from Hasselbrink’s home.

It was a tragic misunderstanding with dramatic and irrevocable consequences for the men on both sides of the door.

Farr was initially charged with manslaughter and two counts of possession of an unregistered firearm. The indictment claims he acted recklessly when he fired his semi-automatic rifle and killed a man he believed to be an intruder.

But earlier this month a judge dismissed the charges, ruling that Farr’s right to a speedy trial was violated in part because state prosecutors missed a deadline to submit evidence, according to court documents. In Hawaii, a case can be dismissed by the court if a trial is not commenced within six months of the charges being made.

On Tuesday, a judge is expected to decide whether prosecutors can refile the charges. The court has set the week of July 8 for a potential future trial…. 

HNN: Judge: State Can Refile Charges In Fatal Front Porch Shooting

read … A Tragic Misunderstanding That Left A Navy Man Dead On His Neighbor’s Porch

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