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Tuesday, November 12, 2019
November 12, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:16 PM :: 1525 Views

Star-Adv: OHA should scrap ‘one voice’ policy

SA Editorial: … An Office of Hawaiian Affairs committee that investigated complaints that trustee Keli‘i Akina violated the OHA board’s code of conduct policy has issued a one-paragraph report and no disciplinary action, indicating much ado about not much. The complaint stemmed from Akina criticizing the state board for delaying an independent audit of OHA and its subsidiaries.

Action the trustees should take: Scrap the policy that requires board members — elected on statewide ballots — to “speak with one voice,” requiring all to support a decision once it is made by the board. While board members must respect the democratic decision-making process, individual voices must not be muzzled….

Related: OHA Committee Acknowledges It Has No Authority to Discipline Trustee Akina for Speaking Out

read … OHA should scrap ‘one voice’ policy

Council, Caldwell Quietly Approve $214M Property Tax Dollars for Rail

SA: … Without the fanfare of past similar votes, the Honolulu City Council and Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed off on a bill clearing the way for the city to spend up to $214 million in taxpayer dollars for the over-budget $9.2 billion East Kapolei-to-Ala Moana rail project.

Bill 42 allows the city to spend a maximum of $26 million annually — up to $214 million in all — through the sale of bonds that would be repaid from the general fund, which gets most of its dollars from property taxes. The Council on Wednesday passed the bill 5-2 with members Carol Fukunaga and Ann Kobayashi voting “no” and Tommy Waters voting “yes with reservations.” Council Chairman Ikaika Anderson and Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi did not attend the meeting.

Caldwell then signed the bill Thursday, even though he had until Nov. 22 to act on the measure….

The Council, at the end of October 2018, adopted a similar proposal amid uproar from rail opponents who argued that city officials should have stuck to a previous promise to not use taxpayer dollars for rail construction. City officials said they could not risk losing part or all of the $1.55 billion.

Ordinance 18-39, the 2018 proposal, allowed the first $44 million of the $214 million to be transferred to HART. The vote then was 7-2, with Kobayashi joined by former Councilman Trevor Ozawa, Waters’ predecessor, voting “no.”…

SA More rail whistleblowing needed

SA: P3 just defers costs of expensive rail system

read … Council, Caldwell OK rail bond spending

Harry Kim is the Problem: Will he run for reelection in 2020?

HTH: … Will Mayor Harry Kim run for re-election? … On the one hand, at 80 years old and having recovered from several heart attacks, Kim said he’s ready to try yet again to retire. Kim served eight years as mayor before sitting out eight years, and then won a new four-year term in 2016….

Kim wants to see his vision for Maunakea implemented before he goes….  (oh well)

read … Two already kicked off campaigns, others wait to find out if mayor will seek another term

Who stole the mailbox? 6 years later, prosecutors could finally find out

HNN: … Katherine Kealoha’s plea deal requires that she cooperate with federal prosecutors. And there are no limitations or restrictions to that cooperation, which means the special prosecutor could ask her, who stole the mailbox?….

Attorney Alexander Silvert, who represented Gerard Puana, wants the special prosecutor, Michael Wheat, to ask Katherine Kealoha for the name of the mailbox thief.

“What if this was another officer who was involved in the taking of the mailbox? We just don’t know who it is and I think that there’s a high interest both for the public to learn who it is, but particularly for the police department so measures are taken so this doesn’t happen again,” said Silvert.

Others say revealing the identity of the mailbox thief could help her prove that she is really accepting responsibility and could help her at sentencing….

But Earle Partington, one of Kealoha’s attorneys on the mailbox case, says she doesn’t have the answer, “I can tell you right now, that Katherine Kealoha doesn’t know who stole the mailbox.”

Federal prosecutors hinted during the trial that they believed it was co-defendant Bobby Nguyen. They noted the police officers clothing and mannerisms….

If it was Nguyen or Derek Hahn, legal experts say an admission could help them during sentencing.

“If it were one of the defendants who has been found guilty, I would hope that they would come clean and come forward and tell because that would be highly important information and it might help them at sentencing,” said Silvert.

The questions remains, will the federal prosecutor ask Kealoha for the information?…

read … Who stole the mailbox? 6 years later, prosecutors could finally find out

Mauna Kea Protesters Damage Lava Cave

HNN: … About three-quarters of a mile from the encampment at intersection of Daniel K. Inouye Highway and Mauna Kea Access Road, there are many empty tents; a wooden frame of a simple shack; and symbolic mailboxes.

There's also a make-shift home in a lava cave fortified by sticks and a no trespassing sign.

"That's how I discovered this cave. This cave I believe discovered me," said Kewa Hauanio of Hawaii island.

The husband and father of four children says he's protesting the Thirty Meter Telescope, past injustices and is mourning a recent tragedy.

"I recently just lost our baby girl in a freak accident. That's one of the reasons why I pursued myself up to the mauna is a spiritual walk," said Hauanio.

Ryoko Osaka is also on a spiritual trek, but typically without shoes as she walks 30 miles from Hilo to Mauna Kea each Friday. It’s a journey that takes two to three days and she sleeps in the lava field by the highway…. 

HNN: Mauna Kea activists ‘hope for the best and prepare for the worst’

read … From a cave to a calling, many at Mauna Kea are on a spiritual trek

Investors to demand disclosure of climate change risks

ILind: .. Moody’s Investors Service, a bond rating agency, recently became the majority owner of a climate change research company, and the agency now intends to use the research to determine how much different bond issuers are doing to address the impacts of the changing climate. And those findings will start to be considered in Moody’s ratings. See “Moody’s to Weigh City Efforts to Cope with Climate Change in Bond Ratings.”

Similarly, Governing.com reported: “Climate Change Could Make Borrowing Costlier for States and Cities.” …

Totally Related: The Dangerous Side Of Honolulu and Maui Lawsuits Against Fossil Fuel Companies

read … Investors to demand disclosure of climate change risks

Climate Change Suits—Just Another Regressive Tax on the Poor

CB: (skip to the comments)  "Who should pay for these climate-related expenses?"

”Who” would be he people that would be paying for this climate change "sin" tax?

It would be the tax paying working-class. The higher costs on carbon fuels due to the tax, would be passed on to the very same ones struggling with the high cost of living in Hawaii….

Placing the burden of guilt of a socio/economic system that depends on carbon consumption on working-class families is misguided public policy, as well-intentioned as it may seem, it is discrimination on those who are least able to afford it.

read … Here’s Why Fossil Fuel Companies Should Pay For Climate Change Costs

Farmer’s Co-op Abandons E Kauai Water System Thanks to Legislature, OHA

TGI: … In 2001, the East Kauai Water Users Cooperative was formed to take over management of the state-owned irrigation system in our area previously operated by Lihue Plantation. At that time, DLNR indicated that they were not going to operate the system and would shut it down.

For the past 18 years, the coop has successfully operated the system to the benefit of local farmers and ranchers under a revocable permit from the Department of Land and Natural Resources for Wailua, Upper Kapahi and Reservoir 21 and miles of ditch capable of delivering water to about 2,000 acres of farm land and ranches….

 Bills introduced at the Legislature in recent sessions to transfer the system to DOA all failed. During the 2018-2019 state legislative session, the Coop made great effort to pass Senate Bill 223, which would have authorized and funded DOA to take over the system. This bill attracted no opposition and much support but failed in the last days of the session in conference committee.

Over this same time period, from 2001, water rights issues became contentious (Translation: OHA is grabbing for control of water systems) in the state, especially with A&B on Maui which for decades had diverted water to the island’s central plains.

The issues have yet to be settled, but one policy changed: DLNR would no longer indefinitely issue revocable permits for water systems. Instead, users must apply for long-term licenses — a very expensive and time-consuming process with no guaranteed outcome and far beyond the Coop’s means.

Even after explaining at hearing after hearing during the 2018-2019 legislative session that there was no way for the Coop to fulfill the license process and that DOA had to take over the system or it would revert to DLNR, still SB 223 failed — and this in what should have been an ideal legislative climate.

The Coop was left with no choice but to not renew its permit for 2020 and return control of the system to the Department of Land and Natural Resources as of Dec. 31, 2019….

Related: OHA Trustees claim ownership of your drinking water

read … East Kauai Irrigation System to revert to DLNR

Profitable: One Organization has Contract to ‘Serve’ 5,000 of Hawaii’s Homeless

SA: … Since 2013, ‘Ohana Health Plan has served as the sole provider of the state’s Community Care Services (CCS) program, a highly specialized care model that helps Medicaid-eligible adults who have been diagnosed with serious mental illness (SMI). Many of our 5,000 CCS members are either homeless or one small setback away from living on the streets. 

(It’s been 6 years….)

Creating an effective long-term treatment model for people with SMI requires innovation, collaboration, experience in interacting with this highly vulnerable and complex population, and the flexibility to adjust a treatment model if needed. This is a community issue, requiring health care re-imagined beyond traditional hospital care or incarceration….

(NOTE: These ‘services’ are being provided at great cost, yet the homeless remain on the streets.  See how that works?)

The Community Care Services program provides the highest Acuity Level 5 case management services through a vast network, combining our CCS providers who handle case management and inpatient/outpatient behavioral and physical health care, with community resources addressing social determinants of health.

Since September 2018, at least 111 CCS members have gone from homeless to housed, (no mention of how many died on the street) as a result of this specialized case management and intensive community collaboration …

(Translation: The other 4,889 decided not to accept shelter.  And we are touting this number!)

read … Profiting from Homelessness

Queen’s Medical Center – Meth Addicts 40% of Emergency Room Traffic

CB: … Some days, as many 40% of people admitted at the ER in Punchbowl have problems related to meth use, according to hospital officials….

He was only in his 30s and he was having sudden cardiac arrest at a Honolulu bus stop.

That’s what the police told Dr. Daniel Cheng when they arrived with the patient at The Queen’s Medical Center emergency room at Punchbowl.

Cheng, the medical director of Queen’s Care Coalition, recognized him immediately. The patient had long struggled with an addiction to methamphetamine and had become homeless.

“He had multiple hospitalizations once every two weeks,” Cheng said. “He’d come in both psychotic and in respiratory distress because of his ongoing meth use.”…

read … Queen’s Medical Center On ‘Losing End’ Of Battle With Meth

Meth Deaths Quadruple in Hawaii

CB: … Last year, methamphetamine was listed as the main contributing factor in 147 fatal drug poisonings in Hawaii — nearly quadruple the number a decade ago.

While opioid overdoses have claimed the national spotlight, deaths related to the use of psychostimulants in Hawaii — presumed to be methamphetamine — have quietly outpaced other drug overdose fatalities in just five years….

Meth-related deaths have outnumbered opioid-related deaths since 2015, but opioids have gotten much more attention and funding over that same time period.”

Nearly 70% of people who lost their lives because of meth between 2012 and 2016 were men between the ages of 45 and 64.

That has led to a theory offered by various experts in the health field: Hawaii could now be seeing the long-term effects of methamphetamine use among a certain cohort of people who started using meth in the 1980s and 1990s.

Decades later, the use of the drug is taking a toll on their hearts, marking a new, lethal chapter in Hawaii’s long-running methamphetamine crisis….

read … Meth Deaths Soar in Hawaii Even As Opioids Grab Public Attention

Nearly Half Of Hawaii Workers Say They’ve Been Sexually Harassed

CB: … Nearly half of Hawaii workers have been sexually harassed at work though most never reported it, according to a new survey conducted by Safe Spaces and Workplaces, a new local organization.

The survey asked more than 600 Hawaii residents about whether they experienced sexual harassment — ranging from sexual comments to unwanted touching — at work.

Most said the harassment occurred at their worksite and was perpetrated by a coworker. The industries with the highest rates of harassment were the manufacturing, technology, nonprofit and hospitality industries. …

PDF: Hawaii Workplace Survey

read … Nearly Half Of Hawaii Workers Say They’ve Been Sexually Harassed

Tulsi Gabbard Convinces David Duke to Exploit ‘Aloha’

CB: … A radio program promoted by longtime Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke has rebranded itself “The Morning Aloha Report” and credited Tulsi Gabbard for the inspiration.

Formerly called “Stormfront Radio,” listeners of the white nationalist show were informed of the name change on Thursday by program host Patrick Slattery.

Quoting from Wikipedia, Slattery explained that aloha is defined as “love, affection, peace, compassion and mercy” and commonly used as a “simple greeting.”

But aloha, he added, “has a much deeper cultural and spiritual significance to Native Hawaiians.”

He continued: “According to Tulsi Gabbard, who I am not going to talk much about today … it is respect, I come at you with respect.”

read … White Nationalists Try To Claim Aloha Spirit As Their Own

Anti-Plastic Hysteria – Bill 40 Vote Thursday

 

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