Ige, Legislators Announce "Joint Economic Package"
DoH Forced Dairy Farmer to Give $87K to Anti-GMO Group
DoH Orders Shutdown of Unlicensed Drug Treatment Centers
Family of Murdered Woman Demands Action Against Homeless Criminal Camp Near Whitmore Village
Powerful Hawaii defensive radar is delayed
SA: … A more than $1 billion missile defense radar for Hawaii has been significantly delayed, with Native Hawaiian cultural concerns emerging at one possible site on Kuaokala Ridge at Kaena Point and community worries about overdevelopment at two other candidate sites at Kahuku Training Area.
The Missile Defense Agency in June 2018 said an environmental impact statement for the Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii would take up to 1-1/2 years, with construction in fiscal 2021 and initial operating capability in 2023.
But the agency now says a draft study isn’t even expected to be ready for public review and comment until the fall of 2021, with the startup date for operations being reexamined.
Congress, in turn, pulled $101 million in research and development funding from MDA’s $275 million 2020 request for the sophisticated missile-tracking radar, according to a National Defense Authorization Act conference report.
The delay raises questions about the viability of the project and the missile defense of Hawaii from North Korean threats…
Some Native Hawaiians are threatening to protest, meanwhile, should the Kuaokala site be selected.
Heather Cavaliere, an MDA spokeswoman, said the agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are “actively engaged in refining schedule estimates (and) collaborating to reduce fielding timelines” by identifying ways to alter construction and work phasing “in order to deliver an operational site as soon as possible.”…
read … Powerful Hawaii defensive radar is delayed
Teacher pay differential plan comes under fire by lawmakers
SA: … House Finance Chairwoman Sylvia Luke lambasted the decision, saying it had worsened relations between the Legislature and the executive branch. She and others legislators also questioned whether “throwing money at the problem” would be effective in combating the teacher shortage.
“Did you do an analysis … that this amount is the right amount … an evidence- based analysis of how more money is going to actually result in more recruitment and retention?” Luke asked education officials at a budget briefing.
“You do understand the concern that this has kind of hurt the relations between the executive and the legislative branch,” Luke added. “It leads to further distrust. Basically, the executive branch made an announcement, and then the Legislature, which is the funding branch, finds out after the fact.”
The proposal, unveiled Dec. 3 at a news conference by Gov. David Ige and education officials, calls for shortage “pay differentials” of $10,000 a year for licensed special-education teachers, $8,000 for Hawaiian immersion teachers and $3,000 to $8,000 for teachers in hard-to-staff areas, depending on the severity of the shortage.
At Tuesday’s budget briefing, schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto and Board of Education Chairwoman Catherine Payne told legislators that they decided to take action right away (because Ige leaves office in 2022)….
The Department of Education is asking the Legislature to appropriate $10.5 million to cover those pay differentials for the rest of this fiscal year and another $26.5 million for the 2020-21 fiscal year that starts July 1….
But legislators were wary.
“Do we really know that this is going to move the needle?” asked Rep. Troy Hashimoto (D, Waihee- Waiehu-Wailuku). “I’m not sure about that. … You’re taking a big risk by rolling it out to a bunch of people and seeing what the impact is. I would feel comfortable if you did it to a small group.”…
Kishimoto said the plan was a targeted first step in hopes of keeping it financially manageable. Roughly 1,600 special-education teachers, 2,100 teachers in hard-to-staff locations and 100 Hawaiian immersion teachers qualify for the new pay differentials.
Cindy Covell, assistant superintendent or the Office of Talent Management, said teacher surveys show that “pay and compensation comes out as their No. 1 issue every single time.”… (And we’re goona shovel as much money to HSTA as we possibly can)
Legislators suggested that if the department could find money to handle the increase for this semester, it could continue to do so in future. But the memo shows that trying to cover next year’s larger cost would have substantial impacts.
Kishimoto said the department will monitor several metrics to assess the impact of the pay differentials on staffing.
“We hope that this is a first step that we can take together to address what is a very difficult, challenging issue,” she told lawmakers.
But Luke shot back, “We are not doing it together. You’re just going to do it. … You have already made a decision that you are going to do this, no matter what the Legislature does.”
December 5, 2019: Yet Another Campaign for HSTA Pay Hikes
December 6, 2019: BoE Skeptical About Latest HSTA Pay Hike Scam (but approve it anyway)
Next Giveaway: HSTA Pushing ANOTHER Massive Pay Hike with No Accountability
read … Teacher pay differential plan comes under fire by lawmakers
HSTA Operative in Three Way Race for Manahan’s Old Council Seat
CB: …teacher Ryan Mandado is running for the Honolulu City Council seat currently held by Joey Manahan, who is term-limited. … Mandado is running against at least two other candidates for the council seat. Manahan’s chief of staff Radiant Cordero and Jacob Aki, chief of staff for state Senate Majority Leader Kalani English, are also running….
(Bottom Line: Resistance from the Counties blocked the HSTA’s effort to grab a property tax slice for itself. Therefore the HSTA is grabbing for control of the Counties. There will be other HSTA-controlled candidates.)
read … HSTA Power Grab
Big Island Doctor Shortage—Some Specialists Do Not Exist on Island
HTH: … The physician shortage is approaching a critical state on the Big Island.
The state’s southernmost island is short 230 doctors — or 44% — of the 528 physicians demanded by the population as of November, a University of Hawaii Physician Workforce Assessment Project report submitted earlier this month to the 2020 Legislature shows.
While Hawaii Island has a shortage of 47 primary care physicians, the report shows 12 specialty positions with a shortage rate of 80% or greater.
Six specialty areas on the island have nearly 100% shortages: colorectal surgery (100%), infectious disease (100%), neonatal-perinatal (100%), pulmonology (99%), neurological surgery (97%) and thoracic surgery (97%). Among selected areas with shortages are OB-GYN (39%), cardiology (54%), hematology and oncology (78%), neurology (84%), and urology (79%)….
Moving forward with a new hospital in Kona and making it a teaching facility will help in recruiting and retaining physicians, he said.
“It is better medicine, and, hopefully, some of those people will stick around,” said Creagan.
But facilities are very expensive, and the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation has not allocated the funds for a new hospital, although a site has been identified adjacent to Hawaii Community College — Palamanui. While the state would have to provide a significant chunk of the funding, Creagan envisions a private-public partnership to build the type of hospital that would attract the physicians needed on the Big Island and across the state.
“The goal is to get a new hospital in Kona,” he said. “If it’s a shiny new hospital and it’s well-equipped, it will draw more physicians to the island.”
Though it’s something that’s been talked about for decades, Creagan sees the 2020 Legislature, which opens today, forming a task force to study the feasibility of such a plan….
read … Doctor levels critically short
How Much Will Legislators Pony Up to hire a UH football coach?
KHON: … Less than a day after Nick Rolovich announced he’s leaving UH to become the next head football coach at Washington State, the search is on for a new head coach.
Rolovich made the announcement Monday night, that he accepted a 5-year deal worth $15 million taking over for Mike Leach, who left for Mississippi State last week….
The last time we paid a coach more than a million dollars was nearly 10 years ago, and a key lawmaker tells me that didn’t end well….
Coach Rolovich earned $600,000 last year after getting a $200,000 raise….
The state legislature approved an extra $3 million to the UH Athletic Department last year which was able to pay the raise for Rolovich and his coaches.
It’s hard to say if lawmakers will do that again this year ….
SA: Signs point to an assistant taking over as University of Hawaii football coach
read … What is the cost to hire a UH football coach?
UH Law Ex-Con Concerned About Number of Criminals Being Killed
HNN: … The UH Law School’s Civil Rights Workshop will study one of the most recent incidents, the shooting death of Dana Brown near Campbell Industrial Park….
“We’ve seen a number of these shootings going around the state of Hawaii in a short period of time. So it makes you wonder if training is an issue,” said Ken Lawson of the law school.
Back in December, Brown was on driving on the wrong side of the road on a stolen moped, carrying a knife, when he got shot and killed by an officer.
Brown failed to heed several commands by the officer to drop the knife and surrender before he was tased and then shot four times.
A preliminary investigation cleared the officer to return to work, but Lawson said the officer should have done a better job to de-escalate the situation.
“The fact that a person does not obey the command of a police officer, death should not be a penalty for that," Lawson said….
But law enforcement expert Tommy Aiu believes that the officer had little choice.
“In (the officer’s) mind, that possession of a knife puts him in a zone of danger. The zone of danger is within 20 to 21 feet," said Aiu. “If the suspect does not comply and the suspect is still in possession of that knife, then he is justified in stopping the threat by using lethal force.”
The Civil Rights Workshop said if its investigation does find that excessive force was used, it could file a lawsuit.
Flashback: UH: Ken Lawson Admits his “Innocence Project” Brought Alleged Pimp to Hawaii
read … Legal group to analyze spike of deadly officer-involved shootings around Hawaii
Soft-on-Crime Activists Complain About Difficulty Using Kids to Smuggle Meth to Inmates
CB: … When families, friends and others visit loved ones at Oahu Community Correctional Center, they’re separated by an inches-thick plexiglass window. Squeezed into a tight cubby, they talk through a phone receiver over other visitors shouting to be heard, said Bree Forbes, whose husband spent a year there.
“It almost feels like he’s behind a screen,” she said. “Like we’re watching him on TV.”
Similar scenes unfold at Maui Community Correctional Center and Halawa Correctional Facility, where the state Department of Public Safety has banned contact visits to prevent contraband from being passed to inmates. All other state correctional facilities allow contact….
Halawa prison, which is for inmates who have been sentenced, has banned contact visits since 2014, OCCC since October, 2016 and MCCC since June, 2019….
In Hawaii, Stephen Morse and his group, Blueprint for Change Hawaii, have been working to create visitation centers for incarcerated parents and their children.
In 2015, his group began collecting data on how many children had incarcerated parents and found it averaged 3,000 to 4,000 each year….
Last year, his group helped pass legislative resolutions to establish a working group that would explore ways to build family-friendly visitation centers at all the state’s correctional facilities.
(By letting their criminal parents stash contraband on them during prison visits) “We can prevent children in the families from exhibiting delinquent behavior themselves and perhaps becoming incarcerated and continuing that cycle of incarceration,” he said….
MN: Victims Family Protests at Drunk Driver Triple Manslaughter Trial
2019: New Ideas For Transforming Hawaii’s Prisons
read … Three Hawaii Correctional Facilities Ban Contact Visits Despite Potential Benefits
Waikiki Health opens a new homeless shelter in Moiliili
SA: … Waikiki Health, which operates Kakaako’s Next Step Shelter, began welcoming formerly homeless tenants this week into a three-story shelter it now operates in Moiliili.
With 76 single adults and couples expected to move into the 64-unit building on Isenberg Street, Waikiki Health now has the capacity to house 211 homeless people fresh off the street between its Kakaako and Moiliili shelters….
unlike the cavernous, open-air Next Step Shelter with its open cubicles, Waikiki Health’s “Keauhou” shelter offers lockable studio apartments — and privacy, with communal bathrooms on every floor.
“I love it,” said Sunim Haimoto, 65, just after she moved in Tuesday from Next Step…
“It’s absolutely nicer,” she said. “They can lock their stuff and never have to worry.”
There are two bathrooms on each floor, rooms for communal spaces, a communal dining and kitchen area, space for soon-to-be- installed coin-operated laundry machines and plans for behavioral health treatment.
Tenants are expected to pay $150 a month in rent. Those who can’t afford the rent can live for free while housing navigators work to secure them government financial assistance, such as welfare or Social Security.
Waikiki Health provides one meal a day….
read … Waikiki Health opens a new homeless shelter in Moiliili
The Misunderstood End of Coal in Hawai`i
IM: … HECO filed an application to modify the AES coal contract, docket no. 2018-0090. HECO wanted to combine the greenhouse gas emissions of several plants so that the combined emissions were below the combined permitted pollution levels. ….
In order for AES to operate past 2022, the Department of Health would have to approve the GHG Partnership Agreement, a lack of responses to the Phase 2 RFP for renewable energy would have to occur, the Public Utilities Commission would have to find the AES greenhouse gas pollution to be reasonable and in the public interest, and the courts would have to uphold all appeals….
read … The Misunderstood End of Coal in Hawai`i
Opening Day--Millions of Dollars Demanded: