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Thursday, September 19, 2019
September 19, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:49 PM :: 1506 Views

6 Months After Last Raise--DoE Begins Process of Hiking HSTA Pay Again

Hawaiian Mission Houses Commemorates 200th Anniversary Connecting New England to Hawai'i

Uber's Days Are Numbered

More Reasons to End HART Rail at Middle Street

After 40 Years DoE Finally Shuts Down Fake HS Diploma Program

CB: … The”C-Base program,” which was a pathway to a community school diploma for non-traditional students, is being replaced by a program that focuses on work readiness….

The “Competency-Based Community School Diploma Program,” known informally as “C-Base,” was discontinued by the Hawaii Department of Education at the end of June.

Department officials said the program, launched in 1976, didn’t offer a slate of secondary studies equivalent to a high school diploma as defined by the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

As of July 1, only those who complete the General Education Diploma, know as the GED, or High School Equivalency Test can now receive a Hawaii adult community school diploma.

In April 2018, DOE officials determined that C-Base didn’t line up with federal requirements. Notice was given to the two main schools  — Waipahu Community School for Adults and McKinley Community School for Adults — that act as hubs for adult learning programs throughout the state….

Gordon Lum, vice principal of Waipahu Community School for Adults, said the various campuses his school oversees on the Leeward and Windward side would graduate anywhere from 400 to 600 students a year.

The program accounted for 40% or more of all students funded under the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act. It appealed primarily to youth “who struggled in high school and who want a practical education focused on how to balance work and home life,” according to a recent report published by the state’s Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

The C-Base program was unique in another respect. It typically reached participants who didn’t test high enough to begin a GED or HiSET course…

read … DOE Shuts Down Its Long-Running Alternative Diploma Program

Railgate Tapes: New questions raised over dozens of costly change orders for the rail project

HNN: … An audiotaped interview of a top city purchasing official is raising new questions about more than $100 million in change orders paid for by the rail project and city taxpayers.

Last June, investigators with the state Legislative Auditors interviewed Wendy Imamura, administrator for city’s purchasing division, who helped draft the initial request for proposals for the rail project.

She taped the interview and a copy of the audiotape was obtained by Hawaii News Now under a request under the state Open Records Law.

The interview shows that the investigators -- retired Circuit Judge Randal Lee and Daniel Hanagami, the chief investigator for the Attorney General’s office -- questioning several types of rail expenditures, including:

  • More than $13 million in change orders for the rail authority’s casting yard at Campbell Industrial Park;
  • $9 million in change orders for commercial insurance coverage;
  • And, $78 million in delay claims stemming from a lawsuit over the project’s archeological inventory survey.

The lawsuit by cultural practitioner Paulette Kaleikini resulted in an 18-month delay in the project.

But Lee and Hanagami indicated that based the project’s request for proposals and the rail authority’s contract with Kiewit -- the construction company for the rail project’s West Oahu guideway segment -- the contractor should have paid for some of those and other cost increases.

“It says the casting yard site would be the responsibility of the design-builder," Lee said.

“And then, it says, the design-builder shall be responsible for insurance.”….

read … New questions raised over dozens of costly change orders for the rail project

Group sues to halt Ala Wai project

SA:  … The city and state have signed an agreement outlining a funding plan and path forward for working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to establish flood control measures along the Ala Wai Watershed, but the $345 million project now faces a new challenge from a lawsuit filed Wednesday.

Protect Our Ala Wai Watersheds, a recently formed community group of mostly Palolo and Manoa residents, seeks to stop the city and state from initiating the controversial Ala Wai Flood Risk Management Project….

Honolulu Attorney David Frankel, who filed the lawsuit in First Circuit Court, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that “city and state officials have committed funding for this project without the benefit of the information that an environmental impact statement prepared under state law would provide.

“This lawsuit is attempting to stop them from taking certain actions which would further commit state funding for the project until the environmental disclosure processes are properly completed.”…

SA: Name in the News: Jeffrey Herzog

Related: Ala Wai? Corps of Engineers has Long History of Corruption and Cost Overruns

read … Group sues to halt Ala Wai project

Hawai`i Forest Incineration Project -- Regulatory Proceeding Advances

IM: … The fourth Public Utilities Commission regulatory proceeding on the Hu Honua proposal is underway.

Yesterday the parties in the Public Utilities Commission regulatory proceeding was to file a joint draft schedule of proceeding, and if they couldn`t agree, they would each file their own proposal. They didn`t agree.

Hu Honua proposed a rapid proceeding in which the greenhouse gas analysis, discovery, testimony, and the evidentiary hearing would all be completed by December 6. Hu Honua wants to turn on their facility by the end of the year….

“The Consumer Advocate contends that, based on the current facts and circumstances, many of its earlier questions and issues still remain.” …

"Those questions included, but were not limited to, reasonableness of the price, impact on the grid, whether it might displace more cost-effective future renewable energy projects, permitting issues, feedstock supply, mismatch in the permitted size of the generating unit as compared to the assumptions used to calculate savings, and other factors.” …

read … Hawai`i Forest Incineration Project -- Regulatory Proceeding Advances

DPP Bungling: City Slaps UH With $35 Million Sewer Bill After Failing To Charge Them For 7 Years—Many New Construction Sites Don’t Get Sewer Bill

CB: … The Department of Environmental Services never got the word UH West Oahu should be billed, and now is working with the university to come up with an accurate estimate for the retroactive sewer charges….

The snafu resulted from a lack of communication between the city’s Department of Planning and Permitting and Department of Environmental Services….

In the past, the planning department did not always notify environmental services that a house or facility had been occupied and should be billed.

“We sometimes don’t catch the fact that something’s up and running,” said Deputy Director Timothy Houghton. “We didn’t make that connection to start charging them.”

The two departments are now linking databases so that whenever a certificate of occupancy is issued, environmental services starts a sewer account, Houghton said….

UH knew they weren’t getting billed the full sewer charges, Kevin Ishida said during a UH Board of Regents meeting earlier this month, but it’s not clear if they tried to raise the issue earlier. UH was getting the water bill that normally includes sewer charges.

“Until someone sends me a bill, if I’m UH, I didn’t ask the question I probably should have,” Houghton said.

That eye-popping $35 million bill, sent in April, won’t stand. It was calculated based on preliminary plans for the West Oahu campus that projected development of 500 acres and a population of about 20,000 students.

The total campus is about 300 acres with a fall enrollment just under 2,900. A new estimate for UH’s costs is expected in the next week or two, Houghton said.….

read … City Slaps UH With $35 Million Sewer Bill After Failing To Charge Them For 7 Years

New law is aimed at streamlining building permit process

HNN: … A measure signed into law Wednesday is aimed at streamlining permitting for commercial construction projects.

The law establishes a process called Special Assignment Inspections, which will allow some construction activity to begin while the city is reviewing a building permit application.

The landowner and building permit holder assume responsibility in the event the construction doesn’t comply with all building codes.

The measure, signed into law by Mayor Kirk Caldwell, does not apply to residential buildings….

SA: New ‘courtesy’ building inspections could speed up commercial projects

read … New law is aimed at streamlining building permit process

DoT Exploits Sea Level Hysteria to Push Massive Tax Hike and Road building program

CB: … Climate scientists (hucksters) project at least three feet of sea level rise by the year 2100 (and some idiots actually believe them so the DoT senses an opportunity to score megabucks and push tax hikes thru the lege.). Rising levels are already making the flooding on Hawaii’s coastal highways more severe, they say.

“If the road is gone, if the coast is gone,” then it might be more reasonable to provide ferry service or some other means of access to that Windward area, Sniffen added…

Sniffen’s comments follow the release of a new strategic plan, prepared by the University of Hawaii Manoa’s College of Engineering for the DOT, that flags the state roads most urgently in need of protection against erosion and sea level rise.

The State Coastal Highway Program Report uses a new, detailed formula developed at UH to rank those nearshore roads in order of urgency.

It considers beach and coast conditions, tidal changes and wave heights, road conditions, existing buildings and seawalls, among other factors….

read … DoT wants a tax hike

Global Warmers Push Council “Climate Emergency Declaration”

TGI: … A “Global Climate Strike” is set for 1 p.m. Friday at Kauai Community College. It will be one of hundreds of such gatherings around the world that day. The intention is to raise awareness about the need for global and local climate action.

Organizers say their goals include… Asking Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami to sign the climate emergency declaration….

At 11:30 a.m. people will gather in front of KCC for a highway cleanup. At 1 p.m., a rally will be held at the campus entrance. At 3 p.m. there will be a bike convoy to the mayor’s office to present the climate emergency declaration….

BR: Climate emergency declaration rejected … Wessel called the declaration "a mess." He said he had a lot of issues with it including its "vagueness." Wessel said if the town were to declare an emergency, he would want it to be related to opioids "because people are dying every day in front of us."  "We've already discussed the fact that there's a warmongering attitude about this statement," she said. "It's also a vague anti-government screed."  Quipp questioned whether the board would want to run monthly hearings on top of its other business.

read … Emergency, LOL!

Mitsunaga PAC’s Inaccurate Reporting Leads To $15,000 Fine

CB: … The state Campaign Spending Commission slapped a political action committee and the local businesswoman who ran it with more than $15,000 in fines Wednesday for missing deadlines and misreporting information.

“We went though a whole election where the public didn’t see the full flow of money. A whole election, and we didn’t know where the money came from,” Campaign Spending Commission Director Kristin Izumi-Nitao said.

The PAC, run by Sarah Houghtailing, ended up in the hot seat in 2016 after it failed to disclose its primary funder, Dennis Mitsunaga who owns the engineering firm Mitsunaga & Associates, in advertisements attacking Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

Now, the PAC and Houghtailing are the target of a months-long investigation by the commission, which revealed multiple instances of misreported campaign donations that total in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Many of the discrepancies had to do with transactions reflected in the PAC’s bank account but not in its campaign reports or vice versa.

For instance, the PAC reported a $170,000 donation from Mitsunaga, but that donation never showed up on bank records. Neither did a $700 contribution from Houghtailing and a $300 contribution from Stephanie Chong….

The commission found about $163,265 of PAC spending in bank records but not in campaign reports. Conversely, they found more than $200,000 in campaign report spending not listed in the bank records….

read … Anti-Caldwell PAC’s Inaccurate Reporting Leads To $15,000 Fine

Katherine Kealoha gets first jail visit from husband Louis

KHON: … Katherine Kealoha got a visit at the Federal Detention Center Wednesday from her husband Louis Kealoha.

This is the first time he’s been allowed to do so since she was placed in custody in June.

A federal judge allowed the meeting so the couple can discuss a plea deal offer and their upcoming hearings….

Katherine’s court appointed attorney, Gary Singh, and Barbee were also at the meeting….

read … Katherine Kealoha gets first jail visit from husband Louis

Big Island Prosecutor Won’t Handle TMT Arrests Because Of Son’s Job

SA: … Mitch Roth, whose son works at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, has sent the cases to the Hawaii attorney general’s office to avoid a conflict of interest….

read … Big Island Prosecutor Won’t Handle TMT Arrests Because Of Son’s Job

Another go-round on those Royal Patents

ILind: … “That’s so dumb,” someone writing as “Momi” said in a comment received this week. She was taking issue with something I posted here 1-1/2 years ago about apparent misunderstandings or misstatements about Royal Patents or Land Court grants dating back to the Great Mahele (“Be skeptical of those “Royal Patent” land claims“).

Momi went on to argue that these land patents dating back a century or more are still valid, and referred to a 1977 ruling by the Hawaii Supreme Court which, she argued, validates that view.

“It’s clear you have not done your research,” Momi wrote. “It is allodial in perpetuity, it states in all royal patents.”

What’s interesting here is that Momi appears hold the same mistaken interpretation of Hawaii land law that I was trying to address in my earlier post. She seems to be arguing that if you can trace your family lineage back to the holder of one of those original land patents, then you still have a legal claim to some interest in the property because it was granted “in perpetuity.” …

Yes, the land was granted in perpetuity, meaning that the fee simple interest would not expire, unlike a lease, which will eventually expire at the end of its term. But that original owner, or his or her heirs, were free to sell or otherwise transfer that title, thereby extinguishing the original owner’s interest (and the interests of others in the family).

A second factor is that those original land grants were made to an individual, not to a family. No one else in the family would have a claim to the land unless the original owner gave them a part of the property, or they were among the rightful heirs when that original owner died.

So the land remains “in the family’s name” only if the recipient of the original Royal Patent never transferred it to someone else, and the land was then handed down through inheritance within the family without being sold or transferred to others at any point over the past 160 years or so….

ILind: A brief history of land titles in Hawaii

read … Another go-round on those Royal Patents

Litterbugs are the problem, not plastic or foam items

SA: …  Robert Binnie assigns remarkable abilities to plastic and Styrofoam (“Single-use plastics pollute beautiful state,” Star-Advertiser, Letters, Sept. 17).

Apparently they just jump out of cars onto the side of the road on their own. Amazing!

The solution to this problem is not banning things. It is educating people about littering, starting with small children….

read … People are the problem, not plastic or foam items

Hawaii’s ‘Death Care’ Industry Lacks Oversight

CB: … The state has lax regulatory requirements for mortuaries and their employees…..

read … Hawaii’s ‘Death Care’ Industry Lacks Oversight

Milo Yiannopoulos Honolulu Show Cancelled

CB: … Opposition to Yiannopolous may have led Hawaiian Brian’s to cancel the Friday evening event. Yiannopoulos and musician Ricky Rebel were booked at the family friendly pool hall, bar and arcade on Kapiolani Boulevard, according to promotional materials.

But Yiannopolous promoter Nick Ochs said that that gig is now cancelled as he seeks to secure an alternate site, one that would be disclosed only to ticket buyers. Hawaiian Brian’s did not respond to an inquiry. …

read … What’s Right-Wing Provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos Doing In Honolulu?

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