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Thursday, July 25, 2019
July 25, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:42 PM :: 1445 Views

Foreclosure Next? Court Finds Criminal Al Hee's Scam Company in Default

HDOT Working with Police to "Address Illegal Actions by Protesters"  

Tulsi Gabbard sues Google, alleging 'election interference' after Dem debate

Dissolve HART On Council Agenda – Vote Could Halt Project at Middle Street

SA Editorial: … There’s rich ground to plow for those preparing a litany of complaints against the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART). Its controversial rail project is now vastly behind time and over budget, with the most expensive, final segment, the City Center phase, yet to be built.

Federal investigators are combing through documents for signs of malfeasance and, with subpoenas flying, HART has resisted turning over requested records from the board’s executive sessions.

You can see where the impulse to dismantle HART through a City Charter amendment comes from: widespread mistrust, not the least of which emanates from the City Council.

That said, such a move would almost certainly cause more problems than it would solve, and would be especially poorly timed at this juncture.

Meanwhile, HART could do itself and everyone else a favor by demonstrating its willingness and ability to improve now, addressing its various problems ranging from staff turnover to the public perception that it is not always forthcoming with the facts.

On Aug. 7, the City Council is due to begin discussing the idea of dissolving HART. Council Chairman Ikaika Anderson wants the issue of HART’s future to be put to the voters in 2020 when a new raft of charter amendments will be considered….

moving rail-construction duties to DTS at this stage could upend the project at a precarious moment. Surely it could delay releasing the rest of rail’s $1.55 billion federal subsidy, and endanger the pending public-private partnership for building the last segment.

Further, even if one sets aside the early stumbles the transportation department made with construction oversight, DTS is an administrative agency that does not have a board or routine public meetings, so it’s not clear how much more transparent things would be….

read … Star-Adv Editorial

Telescope Supporters are 80% Majority and ‘Terrified to Come Out”

SA: …Oahu supporters of the Thirty Meter Telescope will be holding their first major demonstration in favor of the $1.4 billion project today at 4:30 p.m. at the state Capitol.

How many people show up is anyone’s guess.

“Some people are terrified to come out,” conceded Samuel Wilder King II, one of the rally’s organizers from the Facebook page Imua TMT.

… King, a Native Hawaiian attorney practicing in Honolulu, said even though most people in Hawaii, including Native Hawaiians, support the TMT, it’s a huge risk to organize such an event because of how it might play in the media.

“If people don’t show up, it looks like nobody supports the TMT,” he said. “That may be, but I still want my voice to be heard.”

King said anti-TMT forces are “crazy organized” and “on top of their game” after years of cultivating social media networks.

“The reality is the protesters have been going at this a lot longer than any average supporters have been,” he said.

He said he wouldn’t be surprised if TMT foes attempt to overwhelm the rally with big numbers, although to him that would be disrespectful of the kapu aloha concept opponents pride themselves in following.

Malia Martin, another rally organizer, said she doesn’t mind opponents showing up.

“We welcome them with open arms and facts,” she said.

Martin, a Native Hawaiian who works in the Waikiki tourism industry, said Mauna Kea is indeed a sacred place, but there is room for a noble scientific endeavor that fits nicely into her Polynesian heritage of using the stars for navigation, exploration and knowledge.

Martin said backers are part of a silent majority for a reason, and for Native Hawaiians it can be particularly uncomfortable….

According to the latest Hawaii Poll commissioned by the Honolulu Star- Advertiser in 2018, a majority of Native Hawaiians support the project.

While a similar poll three years ago found that 59% of Hawaiians opposed the TMT’s construction, there was a turnaround in opinion in the latest statewide poll with 72% expressing support for the telescope.

Overall, 80% of Oahu residents supported the project, according to the poll conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling &Research Inc. of Washington, D.C.

King said anti-TMT forces have claimed the moral high ground on culture and are using it to peddle a victimhood story that doesn’t represent historical truth. They are also using the project to advance their sovereignty aims….

HNN: Another pro-TMT rally will also be held at the same time in Hilo at the intersection of Hawaii Belt Road and Makaala Street.

read … Pro-TMT rally planned for today at the state Capitol

Harry Kim Compromise? Take down the Camp and We Promise Not to Build Telescope

HNN: … Opponents of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Thursday will decide whether to accept the Hawaii County mayor’s proposal of not starting construction on the telescope if protesters clear their camp.

“And if it takes assuring them there will be no sneaking in of any construction people or equipment (UNTIL WHEN?), I have to assure that that will not happen," Mayor Harry Kim said. “Everything you see has to be based on what we say, and I will work to get their damn trust.”

(Translation: We are either lying or giving the activists an absolute veto.)

Activists, however, have their reservations.

“I want to be able to trust him so we can all leave, but as a group, I wouldn’t be able to trust him, and I’d rather just stay here,” one protester said.

This offer is Kim's first since taking over state and county operations for the mountain and telescope from Gov. David Ige….

(Really Obvious Question: If the Governor agrees to this, when will TMT ever be built?)

HTH: Kanuha had already rejected the supposed deal before that statement was made, having concluded on his own that Kim lacks the authority to make such offers.  “At this point, we’ve had conversations with the mayor,” Kanuha said. “We’ve had conversations with the governor. And it’s been made clear to us that they really have no power over this decision … of the TMT continuing on their project here in Hawaii.”  Kanuha reaffirmed that the protesters will stand firm and not leave the access road unless the authorities confirm that TMT will abandon attempts to build on Maunakea.

read … Hawaii County mayor proposes deal with TMT opponents, seeks their trust

UPDATED: Kim clarifies that he lacks authority to intervene in TMT process

HTH: … A news release this afternoon stated that “[Kim] has no authority to intervene or make any kind of deal regarding TMT; his role is to work with all sides to find a better way forward for everyone concerned.”

The statement contradicts previous reports that Kim had made an offer to TMT opponents to suspend TMT construction in exchange for the removal of the protesters’ blockade of Maunakea Access Road. A spokesperson for the mayor had previously said such reports were inaccurate, while protest leader Kahookahi Kanuha said he had not received such an offer directly from the mayor, but through a third party…. 

SA: Telescope opponents reject reported deal, but Mayor Kim says there was no offer

read … Kim Chaos

“Oh shit” -- Mayor Harry Kim

HTH: … “When Ige told me what he would ask of me, I’m the one who said: ‘What? Now?’” Kim said. “I wish he asked me sooner.”…

“If (TMT) leaves us, there will be a sadness,” Kim said, but he added that if TMT cannot be built on the Big Island, then that will reflect how badly the state has wronged the Hawaiian people.

“We have made the Hawaiians feel like strangers in their own land,” Kim said. “A lot of people are up there now because it makes them feel proud to be Hawaiian.”   ….  (feelings!)

CB: “Oh shit,” Mayor Kim thought.

read … With lines drawn, Kim to begin process of seeking common ground over Maunakea

Ige Sets Kim up to Fail

HNN: … Hawaiian activist and attorney Mililani Trask worries that the talks are set up to fail because Mauna Kea is not under Hawaii County control and the mayor can’t truly speak for the state….

Ken Lawson of the University of Hawaii Law School is a veteran of civil rights protests on the mainland. He agrees that the governor’s strategy is to make protesters look unreasonable.

“In order to save face, Gov. Ige comes in and lets him negotiate, knowing full well that those protectors aren’t going to give up that land ― give up that position ― unless TMT tells them we’re not going to build this telescope,” he said.

“Then Gov. Ige can stand back and say look we tried everything we could and even Mayor Kim ... couldn’t get these people to be reasonable.”

But University of Hawaii Political Science Professor Colin Moore thinks those theories are far-fetched. He believes Ige is making the right move.

Moore said many on the Big Island trust Kim and that Ige squandered a lot of his goodwill there by arresting elders while allowing the protest to swell….

read … Governor’s decision to step back from TMT conflict gets mixed reviews

Telescope – 80% of instrumentation is down

KITV: … Our KITV4 crew spoke with two men who work at telescopes here on Mauna Kea.

One works at the W. M. Keck Observatory, and says the machines are running just fine — but 80 percent of their instrumentations are down. They would need to be on site to fix equipment - because they are limited in what they can do from a remote site.  …

read … Telescope employees hoping to return to normal operations

Celebrutard Reaches Emotional Apex: “Willing to die” on Mauna Kea

HNN: … Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson got a massive welcome Wednesday during a visit to the TMT protest at the base of Mauna Kea, during which he met with Hawaiian elders and called for “leadership with empathy” to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

“I wanted to come here and see our people and stand with them and support them,” Johnson told reporters. “What I realized today, and obviously I’ve been following this for years now, is that it’s bigger than a telescope. It’s humanity. It’s culture. It is the people of Polynesia who are willing to die here to protect this land. It’s not about stopping progress. It’s about respecting a culture.” …

“When things escalate to that emotional apex, that is a sign that something has to be done,” Johnson said. “I’m well aware of how much this has permeated the world. And when the world is watching, it’s important to lead with compassion.”…

VIDEO: “The Rock” Makes Surprise Visit To Mauna Kea

read … At Mauna Kea, ‘The Rock’ calls for ‘leadership with empathy’ to resolve TMT conflict

Collision at the Intersectionality: Defeat of Telescope Would be Hollow Victory

SA: …They picked an easy, weak, fragile target, and are saying it stands for everything. As a part-Native Hawaiian, I see the makings of a huge tactical mistake.

If the protesters “win,” it will be a hollow victory over the already threatened institutions of science and academia. Meanwhile, all the injustices that Native Hawaiians face will remain.

(Massive Collision at the Intersectionality.)

I agree that this is a pivotal moment in Native Hawaiian history. Why not take this incredible leverage and stop the military from conducting live-fire training in Makua or Pohakuloa? Why not demand federally protected Hawaiian waters be reopened to subsistence fishing? Why not ask for more valuable land that can be leveraged to raise kanaka maoli out of poverty? Or demand more programs to support the Hawaiian language renaissance?

(Answer: Because they are in an Identity Trap.)

If this is about more than a telescope and Mauna Kea, have that conversation. Look earnestly at all the effort and money the Thirty Meter Telescope has put into connecting with the community. Choose a meaningful demand, reach a real compromise, start the healing and foster an ongoing conversation….

read … Going against TMT won’t help Hawaiians

A symbolic victory maybe that’s interesting for a few days. But then what?

SA: … “We can continue to do good science at the existing facilities, but it won’t be the center anymore. We won’t be the world-class place in terms of capability,” said Bob McLaren, director of the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy.

McLaren said that in addition to the loss of the TMT, which represents the cutting edge of technology and scientific research, TMT protests could also deter upgrades to existing observatories on Mauna Kea. There are 13 telescopes total, 11 of which are currently operational.

“If there is a knock-on effect so it discourages or impedes essentially any new, significant investment, then you are really into a downward spiral at that point,” he said. “There are other preliminary plans for upgrades of some of the existing facilities that would require permits. And if the prospect is that the community message is we don’t want any new activity on Mauna Kea then that is going to have a huge impact.”…

Ing said by email that the loss of the telescope would “create a black hole and discourage future business and scientific endeavors of a substantial nature in Hawaii.”

TMT supporters also worry that Hawaii could lose an opportunity to diversify its economy with more high-paying and professional jobs, which are particularly lacking on Hawaii island.

The Mauna Kea observatories currently employ about 500 people on Hawaii island including engineers, technicians, scientists, administrative workers and custodial staff. The TMT, if allowed to proceed, is expected to create about 300 construction jobs during its decadelong construction phase and provide jobs for 140 people once completed.

McLaren said that while he understands the concerns of those Native Hawaiians who believe unequivocally that siting the telescope on Mauna Kea is a cultural injury, he worries about the other issues that have been wrapped into the debate including historical wrongs and issues of Hawaiian sovereignty.

“So you get some sort of a symbolic victory maybe that’s interesting for a few days. But then what?” he said. “Then you get the big hangover of having passed up this incredible opportunity.

“To me, the prospect of not having TMT would not be as sad if I could see what the Native Hawaiian community is likely to get out of (stopping) it.”…

read … Loss of telescope would harm state’s investments in science, business, supporters say

Bill Would Block 2/3 of Contractors from Bidding on City Contracts

SA: … Non-unionized building contractors and their employees showed up in force at Wednesday’s City Council Budget Committee meeting to voice objections about a bill that would prevent them from bidding on any city construction contracts valued at $250,000 or more.

Jonathan Young, president of the Associated Builders and Contractors Hawaii chapter, said 4,500 contractors — about two-thirds of the state’ contractors — would be barred from bidding or working on city contracts if the bill becomes law. “Discriminating against the majority of contractors in the state of Hawaii is wrong.” Young also said the state Procurement Code bars the city from enacting laws that regulate the procuring of contractors.

Despite the concerns, the Budget Committee voted to advance the bill for further discussion. It will likely next be heard at the full Council’s next meeting Aug. 7 in Kapolei.

Bill 37 requires the city to negotiate for any contract valued at $250,000 or more with union contractors.

Bill 37 was initiated by several influential construction union groups including the the Hawaii Construction Alliance and the Hawaii Building and Construction Trades Council. Both organizations’ names are listed under the definition of “union” in the bill….

Joe Ferrara, general manager of Consolidated Painting, warned, “If you go ahead with this here bill, what you’re going to do is you’re going to limit the amount of contractors who can bid on it — from 100% of the contractors you’ll go down to 20.” For a specialty contractor such as himself, the pool will drop to less than 1%, he said. “The costs will skyrocket.”….

Flashback: Former Official of Crooked Painters Union Trying to Convince Council to Require Union Contractors on City Projects

read … Bill gets non-union contractors up in arms

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