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Thursday, February 13, 2020
February 13, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:16 PM :: 1283 Views

Senators Vote to Give Maui County One More Chance to Raise GE Tax

No State Gets Less Federal Aid Than Hawaii

Which Hawaiʻi neighborhoods have the highest well-being?

Hawaii Towns Ranked by Ethnic Diversity

HECO Reaches 28.4% Nameplate Capacity of Green Energy Schemes

Gun Control Activists Rate Hawaii Laws 5th-Toughest

No GE Tax on Medical Bills -- help lift MD shortage

Kauai councilman, out on bail, involved in car crash that injured 6-year-old boy

TGI: … Councilman (and former meth addict) Arthur Brun already faces two felony charges after getting arrested in October. The latest incident could lead to more legal trouble.

Brun was not arrested for Friday’s crash. He was cited for driving without insurance and crossing a double solid line.

Kauai Police say it happened around 5 p.m. Friday on Kapaa Bypass Road. Brun’s car, a gray Hyundai Genesis, was traveling northbound when he crossed the center line and collided head on with a white Ford F-150. Brun, as well as a six-year-old boy in the Ford, were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

In October, Brun was pulled over by police. Prosecutors say he took off and hit one of the officers. A grand jury indicted Brun for first degree assault and resisting an order to stop, which are both felonies.

Brun is out on bail from the October incident. The case is now handled by the Big Island prosecutor’s office because the Kauai prosecutor’s office wants to avoid a possible conflict of interest….  

SA: Kauai councilman Arthur Brun injures man, boy after vehicle crosses center line

2002-4: Brun Convicted of meth-related crimes

Nov 2019: Felony Charges for Kauai Councilmember

read … Kauai councilman, out on bail, involved in car crash that injured 6-year-old boy

Florence Puana, key figure in case against Kealohas, dies at 100

HNN: … Puana lived long enough to see her granddaughter go to prison for stealing from her and her son….

Recently, one of the Kealoha’s attorneys finally paid back some of the money Puana lost in a civil trial in which Katherine Kealoha lied to the jury about the stolen money…

read … Florence Puana, key figure in case against Kealohas, dies at 100

SB2076: Counties to Handle Historic Preservation?

HTH: … Delays in getting archaeological plan reviews from the State Historic Preservation Division have added years to the construction of Hawaii County projects, but county planning officials are skeptical a bill currently making its way through the Legislature is the answer.

Senate Bill 2076 would allow the state to delegate to the counties, or subcontract out to third parties, historic preservation project reviews currently under SHPD’s responsibility. Sponsored by Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, an Oahu Democrat, and co-sponsored by Big Island Democratic Sens. Lorraine Inouye and Dru Kanuha, among others, the bill on Monday unanimously passed two Senate committees as amended and now proceeds to the Judiciary Committee, its final stop before the full Senate.

Recent Big Island projects tangled in SHPD paperwork include upgrades to the Kealakehe Wastewater Treatment Plant, the extension of Daniel K. Inouye Highway to Queen Kaahumanu Highway and the public shoreline access component required of the 1,079-acre luxury Kaupulehu project.

The shoreline access was delayed five years before SHPD approval arrived in January, 2019. The Daniel K. Inouye Highway to Queen Kaahumanu Highway road extension remains up in the air, after DLNR reported in December that “discussions are ongoing” more than 32 months after the draft environmental impact statement was released.

The Kealakehe Wastewater Treatment Plant R1 recycled water upgrade was supposed to be finished by the end of 2020, however, the county anticipates it won’t be able to start construction until 2021 due to delays in getting the project’s environmental impact statement finalized because of a backup at SHPD, which is tasked with compliance review.

SB 2076 is supported by the Department of Land and Natural Resources, the agency that oversees SHPD.

“The Department believes that the provisions of Senate Bill 2076 offer the potential to expedite Section 6E-42, HRS, permits reviews while ensuring that significant historic properties receive consideration consistent with existing practice,” Chairwoman Suzanne Case said in testimony.

Maui County Council Chairwoman Alice Lee supported the bill as well.

“Many affordable-housing projects are delayed because of the State Historic Preservation Division’s inability to efficiently and effectively provide necessary reviews to ensure compliance with state historic preservation law,” she said….

2019: Feds: State Historic Preservation Division now only Medium Risk

2011: DLNR outsources Historic Preservation

read … Legislature mulls handing off SHPD responsibilities to counties

Telescope Protesters Sue State (again)

HTH: … A lawsuit was filed today against the state contending that several state departments have violated their duties by using the Maunakea Access Road without the consent of native Hawaiians.

The lawsuit, filed by the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, argues that the Hawaiian Homes Commission and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands did nothing to prevent the unpermitted use of lands at the Maunakea Access Road, which were specifically set aside to benefit native Hawaiians. It also argues that the state departments of Transporation and Land and Natural Resources do not have proper authority to use Hawaiian home lands.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of three Hawaiian community leaders on the Big Island: Pualani Kanaka‘ole Kanahele, Halealoha Ayau and Keli‘i “Skippy” Ioane….

“We firmly believe that only the [Hawaiian Homes] Commission can regulate and manage the [access road], and only if it acts in (what we deem to be ) the exclusive interests of its native Hawaiian beneficiaries,” the statement from the plaintiffs read…. 

HNN: Suit: State owes Homelands beneficiaries decades of back rent for Mauna Kea road

read … State sued for misuse of Maunakea Access Road 

AG Debunks Protesters’ Latest Lawsuit

HTH: … The office of the state attorney general responded late Thursday to a lawsuit by three Native Hawaiians challenging the state’s jurisdiction over the Maunakea Access Road.

A statement by Krishna Jayaram, special assistant to the attorney general, argued that the issues raised by the lawsuit have already been conclusively settled.

“There is no competent claim – legal or otherwise – that Mauna Kea Access Road is under the control and jurisdiction of Department of Hawaiian Home Lands,” the statement read. “The Department of Transportation has control and jurisdiction over all state highways, including Mauna Kea Access Road, which is designated to DOT’s State Highway System as Route 210.

“Moreover, all claims related to the utilization of DHHL property for public roads and highways were resolved by Act 14 (1995). To the extent there remain any outstanding issues regarding compensation pursuant to Act 14, DHHL and the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) are in discussion.”…

read … State AG responds to lawsuit

Will There Be A New Oahu Jail? The Legislature Has Varying Answers

CB: … For years, legislators have failed to come to an agreement on whether to build a new facility somewhere else or buy the Federal Detention Center near the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.  (It isn’t for sale.  This is just mentioned to distract the Lege from building a new jail.)

Now, the governor is requesting $20 million from the Legislature as part of his executive budget package to either help acquire an existing facility or get the process started to build a brand new jail in the Halawa area. The entire relocation project would cost the state about $525 million, which the Legislature has refused to authorize in the past.

The state has applied for a permit from the city, which is scheduled to go before the Honolulu City Council on Feb. 19….

Meanwhile, some legislators this year want to ban the governor from negotiating with private contractors to develop prisons in the state, which would rule out the public-private partnership funding option that Gov. David Ige had been exploring for the Halawa location.

(We could have a jail built for free in exchange for a contract to run it with CCA.  But no, Hawaii politicians are in thrall to the corporate prison operators known as UPW, Inc who have a corporate monopoly on jails and prisons in Hawaii.)

“Because of the cost involved in replacing OCCC, we believe a public-private partnership would be the best way to finance the state’s effort to alleviate overcrowding,” Ige said in a written response to a question about the bill.

At the same time, the public safety department wants lawmakers to approve the purchase of the Federal Detention Center to serve as the new OCCC, although it’s not clear the federal government wants to sell it.

read … Will There Be A New Oahu Jail? The Legislature Has Varying Answers

Missile defense budget leaves out funding for $1.9B Hawaii-based radar

SA: … Funding for the $1.9 billion Homeland Defense Radar- Hawaii and a more than $1 billion Pacific radar that was expected to be located in Japan has been zeroed out in the Missile Defense Agency’s fiscal 2021 budget request — raising the possibility that neither radar will be built.

The emergence of hypersonic weapons that fly at least Mach 5 — five times the speed of sound or 3,800 mph, and which can maneuver around radars — has the Pentagon rethinking its sensor architecture and looking to space to cover radar gaps that exist on the ground….

read … Missile defense budget leaves out funding for $1.9B Hawaii-based radar

Feb 18 Registration Deadline for Hawaii Democrat Primary

HPR: … In Hawaii, Tuesday, Feb. 18 marks the first party registration deadline for those who want to vote in the Democratic presidential preference poll. To vote in Democratic presidential primary, Hawaii residents first need to register to vote with the state, then register with the party….

read … What To Expect From Hawaii's Presidential Primary

Conspiracy Nuts Win Again: Proposal to put fluoride in Hawaii water systems quickly dies

SA: … lawmakers heard testimony that the state has been moving in the opposite direction. A representative of the Health Department reminded lawmakers that until 2009 the department had a dental health division that worked with schools to provide fluoride drops to students, but that division was dismantled in the wake of the Great Recession.

Dr. Malia Shimokawa, a pediatrician who practices in Aiea, supported the fluoridation proposal. She said she is forced to prescribe fluoride supplements for children because the water here does not have it, which adds another cost and another chore to parenting in Hawaii.

“Without regular fluoride supplementation, I have seen my young patients with mouths full of cavities, some so serious and numerous they require sedation to address, which comes with safety risks and at high cost,” she said.

“This is not only a public health issue, it is a social justice issue,” she said, because cavities disproportionately affect disadvantaged families.

“Fluoridation of water in Hawaii is long overdue,” she said. “As a mother and as a pediatrician, I am deeply invested in the health of our keiki in Hawaii, as I know all of you are. Fluoridation is safe, effective, and would be one of the greatest public health achievements of our time.”… 

SA: Fluoride bill fail baffling

Sen. Mike Gabbard (D-Kapolei-Makakilo) introduced a bill this year to ban fluoridation in public water systems.

Big Q: Should fluoride be added to Hawaii’s water to help prevent tooth decay?

SB2997: Text, Status

read … Proposal to put fluoride in Hawaii water systems quickly dies

Straub only Hawaii Hospital Among America’s Best

PBN: … One Honolulu-area hospital received recognition for its clinical excellence and was ranked among the best in the United States, according to a new ranking by health website Healthgrades.

For the ranking, Healthgrades analyzed the performance of almost 4,500 hospitals — across 32 procedures and conditions — throughout the country to determine which medical centers earned the distinction of being one of America's Best Hospitals, according to the health site. Straub Clinic and Hospital was the only Hawaii to make it on the list of America's 250 Best Hospitals Award (2020)….

read … Straub

Hawaiian Electric Puts Activist Fund Manager On Board

CB: … Eva Zlotnicka, a managing director of ValueAct Capital Management’s Spring Fund, joined the board of Hawaiian Electric Co.’s parent company, effective immediately, Hawaiian Electric announced on Wednesday….

Jeff Ubben, ValueAct’s founder and chairman and the Spring Fund’s co-portfolio manager said, “We appreciate HEI’s collaborative approach and look forward to supporting their efforts going forward.”

It was a striking change of tone for Ubben, who just a few months ago wrote a letter to stakeholders highly critical of Hawaiian Electric and its management’s efforts to wean itself from fossil fuels to generate electricity. Management was doing such a bad job, Ubben said in the November letter, that the board needed to hire someone from outside of the company to succeed HEI’s chief executive, Constance Lau, when she stepped down….

read … Hawaiian Electric Puts Activist Fund Manager On Board

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