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Wednesday, October 02, 2019
October 2, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:08 PM :: 1047 Views

Poll: Gabbard Crushes Kahele 48% to 26%

Nowhere to Hide: Hawaii County Forced to Stop Pretending to 'Recycle' Paper, Plastic

Imua TMT: Panel Discussion at Capitol

My Concern Over Transparency at OHA

Lawsuit: Hawaii has no Plan for Exporting Air Pollution

Vaccinations? Hawaii Ranks 34th

Proficiency?  DoE Makes Zero Progress, as Usual

HNN: … The percentage of Hawaii public school students proficient in core subjects ― language arts, math and science ― remained relatively flat in the 2018-19 school year.

New figures, which will be discussed at a Board of Education meeting this week, show that 54% of Hawaii public school students showed proficiency in language arts. That’s down slightly from the year before. Meanwhile, just 43% were proficient in math ― the same as the year before ― and 44% tested at grade level for science (down two percentage points from the previous school year).

The state Department of Education hasn’t yet released grade-by-grade or school-level testing performance data. That will happen after the board meeting Thursday, the Education Department said….

Notably, more public high school students are earning college credit before they graduate. And the high school graduation rate also ticked up by 1 percentage point in the 2018-19 school year ― to 84%.

The DOE has also significantly increased the percentage of high schoolers who complete a career and technical education program by 12th grade.

In the 2018-19 school year, 56% of 12th graders had met that indicator, up from 48% the year before.

UPDATE: Several schools see proficiency rates in math fall to single digits

SA: Test scores stall for Hawaii students

read … Despite efforts to improve schools, proficiency rates remain stubbornly flat

OHA’s support of TMT protesters shocking

SA: … It was shocking to hear that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs provided taxpayer funds of more than $39,000 to the Thirty Meter Telescope protesters (“OHA reveals protest support, subpoena response,” Star-Advertiser, Sept. 27).

Using state funds for people to protest a state-approved project is insane and perhaps illegal. That would be like a bank paying someone to rob them….

read … OHA’s support of TMT protesters shocking

No Surprise: Protesters Reject Kim Proposal

HTH: … Protest leader Andre Perez said late Monday that the plan is not a meaningful compromise, but simply an excuse to continue with the TMT project under the guise of engagement with some community leaders.

“We have made it clear many times over that we will not support any plan that includes construction of the TMT,” Perez said. “Mayor Kim cannot claim meaningful engagement with the pool of Hawaiian leaders that he has selected. There are many more stakeholders involved.”

Perez also said the protesters were only made aware of Kim’s proposal from media reports, which demonstrates how little communication the mayor’s office has had with the protest movement.

“We will continue to protect Maunakea even if it means protecting the mauna from Mayor Harry Kim’s plan,” Perez concluded….

(Notice this statement does not come from OHA or KSBE?)

read … Protesters: Kim’s proposal is dead on arrival

Hawaii County’s response to Thirty Meter Telescope protest has cost over $4 million

SA: … Hawaii County police have spent nearly $4.2 million on overtime and fringe benefits so far in connection with 11 weeks of protests against the Thirty Meter Telescope, a sum that works out to more than $50,000 a day, according to briefing materials provided to members of the County Council today.

Overall, the county police, Fire Department, Civil Defense and other agencies have spent more than $4.4 million coping with the protests, a sum that does not include overtime or other costs incurred by other agencies including the state’s Department of Public Safety, Attorney General’s office, or Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Hawaii island Police Chief Paul Ferreira has said the county scaled back considerably on the number of officers it keeps on hand near the protest site at the base of the Mauna Kea Access Road since opponents of the telescope project began camping on the access road in mid-July.

Still, there is a considerable police presence on the mountain. Police announced on Sept. 26 they had issued 3,501 citations to motorists on the Daniel K. Inouye Highway since Aug. 15 as part of a stepped up enforcement effort in the areas around the protests. Police on the mountain have also arrested 37 people….

read … Hawaii County’s response to Thirty Meter Telescope protest has cost over $4 million

Protesters sign-wave outside of Mayor Kirk Caldwell's gubernatorial fundraiser

HNN: … Protesters of the Waimanalo Park redevelopment project were seen sign-waving outside Mayor Kirk Caldwell's gubernatorial fundraiser….

SA: Caldwell halts work at Sherwood

read … Protesters sign-wave outside of Mayor Kirk Caldwell's gubernatorial fundraiser

Attorneys Who Requested Honolulu Rail Subpoenas No Longer At DOJ

CB: … The two assistant U.S. attorneys who had requested the subpoenas of Honolulu’s rail project in February no longer work for the U.S. Department of Justice, leaving it unclear who now oversees that federal investigation.

Lawrence Tong was an assistant U.S. attorney for nearly 30 years, but online records show he left the Hawaii District office in April. He now works as a deputy state attorney general.

Amalia Fenton, meanwhile, left the District office about a month prior to Tong, according to her professional LinkedIn profile. In July, she joined the private firm Davis Levin Livingston.

Tong and Fenton were the two primary attorneys listed on three federal Grand Jury subpoenas requesting thousands of pages of documents from the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation and the local rail agency’s board of directors….

U.S. Attorney spokeswoman Ashley Edwards declined last week to confirm the existence of an investigation when asked whether it’s is being run out of the Hawaii office or elsewhere — such as the Justice Department’s Washington, D.C., headquarters….

read … Attorneys Who Requested Honolulu Rail Subpoenas No Longer At DOJ

More Housing for Homeless?

HNN: … Green announced a new partnership with a local non-profit that’s volunteered to create master-planned communities for the homeless.

The concept is modeled after Community First! Village in Austin, Texas. A neighborhood built especially for addicts and people suffering from mental illness — all of whom spent years living on the street.

More than just tiny houses, it’s a place where residents can find help getting off drugs.

Everyone pays rent, between about $200 to $400 a month. And many have jobs right on site. The community has its own market, an outdoor cinema, even a car care center….

Just back from the Lone Star state, Green wants to build smaller versions of these master-planned neighborhoods in Hawaii.

“What we saw at Community First, by putting together small houses in a community, people felt a sense of belonging,” he said. “People are actually paying their own way. That’s important. These have to be sustainable.”

To make the idea a reality Green has forged a partnership with HomeAid Hawaii.

The local non-profit specializes in creating housing for the homeless. This marks the first time the agency’s ever teamed up with the government on a project.

“HomeAid stands ready to mobilize the building industry and our private sector partners to bring in what we do either pro bono or very deeply discounted,” said executive director Nani Medeiros.

The lieutenant governor says possible locations are being looked at in Waianae, Waimanalo (across from the beach park) and in the urban core (off Middle Street).

Pre-development work is underway in town and at the Waimanalo location….

Green says he estimates 100 tiny homes can be built for $2.5 million…

If the project gets the go ahead Green says the hope is to break ground on the first Kauhale village sometime next year.

He foresees 12 villages statewide….

read … Lt. Gov. Green criticizes homeless sweeps, proposes new plan to create more housing

Soft on Crime: Sand Island Shooter is 25-Time Loser

HNN: … The woman escaped unharmed but sources confirm two vehicles were hit by gunfire….

The suspect is currently on probation.

His criminal record dates back nearly four decades and includes 25 convictions ranging from drug charges to theft and assault.

Since 2007, Kim’s been found guilty of eight felonies, including three convictions for abuse of a family member.

Witnesses to the shooting say Kim was seen leaving in a gray 1998 Ford Ranger pickup truck, with a gray camper and license plate GTU-725.

If you have information on Kim’s whereabouts. You’re asked to call CrimeStoppers at 955-8300…

read … Suspect accused of opening fire on ex-girlfriend in Kalihi has long criminal past

Victim shares personal images of a Maui officer at center of federal investigation

HNN: … a fourth woman has provided details about a similar encounter with the four year veteran of the force.

This woman shared pictures that he sent her. Some show him in his patrol car, another shows him working out. And one shows him shirtless, lying down.

The latest woman to come forward, who did not want her name used, says Saffeels approached her in January 2018 while she was working on a car in the neighborhood. He asked if she had heard gunshots in the area then took her drivers license and personal information. Within minutes, she says he started sending her inappropriate messages.

Another women had an audio recording where Saffeels offers to throw his testimony at her DUI trial if she went over to his house.

Several women had text messages propositioning them ….

read … Victim shares personal images of a Maui officer at center of federal investigation

Religion News: Hawaii County Council Reso Demands ‘Climate Action Plan’ 

HTH: … At the urging of some 50 testifiers, a County Council panel Tuesday advanced a resolution committing to implement a “just, equitable, countywide emergency climate mobilization effort.”…

(Translation: Housing prices, taxes and utility bills will be going up.)

read …  Panel advances resolution promoting creation of a county climate action plan

Is Hu Honua’s Energy Plan Truly Sustainable?

CB: … Burning eucalyptus will release CO2 into the air and cut a significant stock of oxygen production…..

read … Is Hu Honua’s Energy Plan Truly Sustainable?

Texas buyer sues seller of illegal vacation rental

SA: … A Texas man who bought a home in Portlock earlier this year for $2.3 million as an investment is suing the seller and broker for not disclosing that he cannot legally rent out the property for periods shorter than 30 days.

Carsten Mikkelsen filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Tuesday against the seller, Hank C.K. Wuh, and Locations Hawaii….

Three days after the sale closed, Honolulu City Council members approved tougher regulations of transient vacation units and stiffer fines for illegal short-term rentals….

read ... Texas buyer sues seller of illegal vacation rental

Kauai County Attorney Fired After Losing TVR Case

KGI: … Sasaki’s employment officially ended Sept. 13, according to a county spokesperson, who declined to provide further information on the matter.

In the memo, Bracken spelled out his justification for firing Sasaki, saying she failed to adequately represent the county in its legal battle against the owners of six transient vacation rentals that county planning department officials accused of operating in violation of county zoning ordinances.

Bracken’s letter came roughly a month after a court hearing in August, when Fifth Circuit Judge Kathleen Watanabe questioned Sasaki about “confusion within the planning department and the county attorney’s office” and repeatedly returned to the subject of a mistake made by planning officials, which Watanabe described as “pretty amazing” and “really embarrassing.”

Watanabe later ruled in favor of the homeowners on procedural due process grounds, according to court documents in a related lawsuit the county brought against the vacation rental operations in federal court.

According to Bracken’s memo, Sasaki was dismissed due to what he described as “legal malpractice,” but Sasaki insists that she is still technically a county employee, despite the fact that she left the county attorney’s office weeks ago and is no longer on the island.

“I have not been terminated,” Sasaki said via text message Monday.

She also said Bracken’s memo, which she described as “a threat,” was little more than a bargaining tactic in ongoing negotiations over the terms of her severance.

Sasaki said she has retained an attorney and “will go forward with a legal action if we do not settle this amicably,” adding that she is already filing a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal agency that administers and enforces civil rights laws against workplace discrimination.

“This was a retaliatory termination for a discrimination complaint. That is what happened,” Sasaki wrote. “What the county has done is illegal.”…

read … Let the Retaliation Begin!

DOJ sues 5 Hawaii apartment complexes over alleged disability law violations

HNN: … Four of the complexes are on Maui one is in Makakilo.

All were built by Albert Kobayashi construction with various architects.

The lawsuit lists many violations of Fair Housing construction requirements, including narrow doorways, small bathrooms and kitchens, and inaccessible common areas. …

read … DOJ sues 5 Hawaii apartment complexes over alleged disability law violations

DOJ slaps private student housing firm in Hawaii with discrimination suit

HNN: … Hawaii Student Suites Inc. offers dorm-style housing in several buildings in Honolulu.

Investigators with Legal Aid pretended to be students with children or spouses seeking housing.

After representatives of the company said they couldn’t have rooms in the student housing, the federal government sued….

read … DOJ slaps private student housing firm in Hawaii with discrimination suit

Sweep leaves beach clean only a matter of hours

Cataluna: … After days of work by city crews hauling five tons of homeless-­generated garbage up Kuilei Cliffs from the pretty beach just east of the Diamond Head Lighthouse and rousting the hard-core homeless who had created a warren of tents and tarps connected by dirt trails along the cliffside, followed by a weekend of volunteer work, the beach was clear for maybe a matter of hours. Maybe not even that.

The intransigent homeless came right back and resumed their unsanitary, lawless lifestyle choice.

Those homeless beach encampments are chronic. They are an ugly rash that never heals despite all the effort and money and gentle encouragement for them to clean up and move into a shelter….

Meanwhile: Hawaii Couple Designs Mobile Shower For Homeless People so they can stay nice n comfy on the street

read … Sweep leaves beach clean only a matter of hours

Telescope News:

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