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Thursday, February 27, 2020
February 27, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:59 PM :: 1221 Views

HB2543: Pre-K Bill Set for House Vote

Hawaii: Senate Judiciary Committee to Vote on Anti-Gun Bills

Supplements to $4.9B CIP Budget Pass House Finance

Rail Operating Costs $918M—and That’s only Half the story for Half the Line

CB: … At a press conference led by Mayor Kirk Caldwell, they announced they’d signed an updated $918 million deal with Hitachi Rail Honolulu JV  to run the rail line and its driverless trains for the first 13 and ¼ years in service….

Once more passengers start riding the the train, transit officials hope fare revenues will help taxpayers recoup at least a quarter of that $69 million per year.

“It’s a nut that we can cover” with the city’s budget, Caldwell said.

It’s hardly the entire rail operations cost, however.

The Hitachi portion excludes electricity, security, administrative oversight and other so-called “O&M” components needed to keep the elevated transit system running.

Under rail’s federal recovery plan, the power costs alone would come about $19 million in the first year operating the full rail line to Ala Moana.

Administration, meanwhile, would cost about $8 million that year. Security would cost nearly $3 million….

All told, it’s expected to cost nearly $127 million to run the full 20-mile, 21-station rail line in its first year, according to the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation recovery plan. That’s nearly twice as much as the $69 million Hitachi figure touted Wednesday.

Wes Frysztacki, Caldwell’s transportation services director, said they would unveil a detailed picture on those additional operations costs next week as part of the annual budget process….

The revised, $918 million deal over 13 years is nearly $100 million more than what the city agreed to in 2011 with Ansaldo Honolulu JV, which later became Hitachi Rail.

The original $830 million O&M deal with Ansaldo included “a lot of different assumptions that had to be updated,” said Mark Garrity, a longtime Honolulu transit official who now works on contract as the city’s operations and maintenance interface manager….

Under the revised deal “we’re actually getting better service, we’re actually having more people show up and work at each of the stations,” Garrity added. “The original contract did not have a station attendant at each station. So we’re having some additional or improved services.”

Furthermore, HART’s decision to run four-car trains instead of two-car trains contributed to the added cost, Garrity said….

Meanwhile, HART and the city expect to lump Hitachi’s new $918 operations million deal into the public-private partnership, or “P3,” that they hope will finally get rail finished.  Wednesday’s announced deal gives the P3 bidders more clarity as they finalize their proposals, Caldwell said…. 

read … City Leaders Unveil Most – But Not All – Of Future Rail Operations Costs

Kauai Councilman, 11 others Arrested as Part of ‘Major Drug Trafficking Organization’

TGI: … Kaua‘i Councilman Arthur Brun has been arrested in connection with a large organization selling methamphetamine on the island.

Brun was one of 12 individuals allegedly associated with a methamphetamine drug trafficking organization arrested Thursday morning by the Kaua‘i Police Department (KPD), in conjunction with federal agencies.

“The suspects under indictment today were identified as part of a major drug trafficking organization that has been supplying a significant amount of methamphetamine throughout the community,” said Chief of Police Todd G. Raybuck. “They now face felony charges under a federal indictment for conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and other crimes.”…

OHA Takes Aim at Council--Esther Kiaaina Eyes Windward City Council Seat

CB: … Esther Kiaaina, executive director of the nonprofit Pacific Basin Development Council, says she is seriously considering the District 3 seat (Ahuimanu, Heeia, Haiku, Kaneohe, Maunawili, Kailua, Olomana, Enchanted Lake, and Waimanalo) being vacated by the term-limited Ikaika Anderson….

Kiaaina, who moved to Kailua last year, said she was approached by local political and community leaders to consider the race “given the importance of issues impacting quality of life issues for the region.”…

(Translation: OHA wants me to vote to upzone their Kakaako Makai holdings.)

Two other candidates have pulled papers or filed to run for the District 3 seat….

read … OHA Kakaako Makai Agenda

Will Farmers Unite to Drive Anti-GMO Whack Job from legislature?

MT: … Mahi Pono director of community relations Tiare Lawrence told a politically active local businessman in January that there would be “a lot of money available” if he ran against South Maui State Representative Tina Wildberger in this year’s election. The businessman recently confirmed the conversation to MauiTime, but asked that his name not be used in print.

… The phone call took place after Wildberger asked the Hawaii Foodbank in mid-January for a sample of potatoes Mahi Pono had recently donated to the organization so they could be sent out for pesticide and heavy metal testing at a California lab.  (Test came back negative.  Ooops!)  Wildberger also was a vocal opponent last year of HB1326, the controversial water lease bill supported by Mahi Pono, which ultimately died in the State Senate. (That water will be needed to create waterfalls for tourists to stand under.) The businessman told Lawrence that he was a friend of Wildberger’s and not at all interested. He also told Wildberger about the Lawrence phone call….

The phone call took place after Wildberger asked the Hawaii Foodbank in mid-January for a sample of potatoes Mahi Pono had recently donated to the organization so they could be sent out for pesticide and heavy metal testing at a California lab. Wildberger also was a vocal opponent last year of HB1326, the controversial water lease bill supported by Mahi Pono, which ultimately died in the State Senate…

Feb 8, 2020: Dueling Labtests as Food Snobs Freak out over Mahi Pono Potatoes—Some Nuts Coopted

read … B-Bye

Despite warning signs, state failed to prevent abuse of 7-day-old girl, guardian says

HNN: … A court-appointed guardian blasted state Child Welfare officials, saying they did little to prevent an Air Force sergeant from severely beating his seven-day-old daughter.

Kapolei resident Caleb Humphrey, 33, was sentenced to three years in prison last week for assaulting and endangering his daughter Avaline Beyer, who suffered broken ribs, a skull fracture and brain damage.

His wife Natasha Beyer, 28, is accused of abusing their son Grayson Beyer, who died in 2016. She goes to trial next month for manslaughter.

“They’re monsters as far as I’m concerned. This is the most horrific case of child abuse I’ve ever seen," said private investigator Steve Lane, who was appointed by a Family Court judge as the girl’s guardian ad litem.

An internal Department of Human Services report obtained by Hawaii News Now shows that shortly after baby Grayson died nearly four years ago, Child Protective Services officials were alerted.

“On May 26, 2016, DHS received a report regarding Avaline’s older sibling, Grayson Beyer, who died on May 20, 2016," the report said.

But Lane said CPS did not investigate until his sister was sent to Tripler Medical Center nearly a year later on July 12, 2017….

read … Another CWS Fail

DUI: New legislation does not address traffic safety in Hawaii

WHT: … How poorly targeted is dropping the arrest level to 0.05 BAC? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals that among drivers involved in a fatal crash who tested between 0.05 and the current 0.08 BAC benchmark, there was one “alcohol involved” accident for every 3.3 billion miles traveled….

Studies find that talking on a hands-free cellphone while driving is more than twice as impairing as someone with a 0.05 BAC….

In truth, this is not a debate about drunk driving and traffic safety. Rather it’s a morality issue focused on beer, wine and spirits….

Hawaii drivers with BACs three-times the newly proposed threshold — are responsible for the vast majority of alcohol-related traffic fatalities. The average BAC of a drunk driver involved in a fatal crash in the state is 0.18. That is nearly four-times the proposed 0.05 arrest level….

read … New legislation does not address traffic safety in Hawaii

‘Lucrative’ Enviros Still Seeking Control of Pacific Fishing Industry

CB: … Hawaii’s $100 million tuna industry was the latest focal point for members of Congress trying to decide how to improve the main federal law governing the management of U.S. coastal waters.

Conservationists and commercial fishing industry leaders came together on the need to restructure the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to adequately consider climate impacts during a panel discussion in Honolulu.

But that was about it for the common ground they found during the last stop on U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman’s nationwide “listening tour” on reforming the MSA.….

read … The Future For Fishing: Managing A Lucrative Resource In The Face Of Climate Change

UPW, Enviros Fight over Unused Plastic Recycling Money

HTH: … Hawaii County’s e-waste program is drastically over budget and may have to be halted if more funding isn’t found soon, local contractor Mr. K’s Recycle and Redemption Center told the Environmental Management Commission on Wednesday.

(Translation: $400K bag of money on the table and we want it.)

The county gets $160,000 annually from the state to recycle computers, printers, monitors, telephones and other electronics. But the program has already cost $210,000 in the first seven months of the fiscal year that began July 1, said Richard Pratt, electronic recycling supervisor for Mr. K’s.

(Yeah.  Sure.  Whatever.)

“Our experience is e-waste will be dumped and end up in the landfill,” said Claire Cea, who’s in charge of e-waste for the recycling contractor….

(In Malaysia?)

Kadota and others, such as Kristine Kubat, president of the nonprofit Recycle Hawaii, suggested the county could use the approximately $400,000 saved when the county rolled back its contract for plastics and paper recycling to ensure the e-waste program is kept up.

(Translation: After China, Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia refused our so-called recycling garbage, the county has extra money.  Enviros want to spend it on their OTHER fake recycling scam.  E-waste.)

But Environmental Management Director Bill Kucharski said part of that money has been spent to hire six new solid waste attendants and drivers to help mitigate against closures of transfer stations because of staff shortages. Closures of transfer stations without notice because someone doesn’t show up for their scheduled shift has been a particular problem in West Hawaii….

(Translation: We gave the money to the UPW.)

read … E-waste recycling program in jeopardy

It Begins: Hawaiian Airlines suspending service to South Korea due to spike in coronavirus cases

CB: … The carrier cites rapid rise in coronavirus cases and declining demand….The suspension will begin March 2 and run through April 30….

read … Hawaiian Airlines suspending service to South Korea due to spike in coronavirus cases

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