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Global Cooling drives homeless to Hawaii
"We get them from Alaska, Texas, the East Coast," she said. "They're running from the cold. Many will take their welfare check and cash it in and just come to a warmer climate thinking they're going to get a job. It's almost like a byproduct of tourism."
Today the largest chunk of Honolulu's street population — 43 percent — is Caucasian, followed by Hawaiians at 28 percent, according to the most recent data from the UH Center on the Family. That is a reversal from 2005, when the largest percentage was Hawaiian, at 41 percent, and Caucasians at 21 percent.
Inside the homeless shelters, Hawaiians are the largest group, at 30 percent, followed by "other Pacific islanders," mostly Micronesians and Marshallese, at 23 percent.
(The ethnic discrepancy between sheltered and non-sheltered is evidence that hard-core long term homeless are coming from the mainland. Who is buying their tickets?)
Shapiro: Gambling on suspicion (The fix is in?)
A politically akamai acquaintance of more than 30 years was shaking his head and wondering if "the fix is in" after attending a House Judiciary Committee hearing on bills to allow casino gambling in an O'ahu resort area and on Hawaiian Homes land.
I was surprised to hear such sentiments from a businessman and longstanding member of the local establishment who believes in working through the system. He's the kind of solid guy whose counsel politicians have been known to seek.
But he was disgusted after the committee disregarded lopsided testimony in opposition and passed by 10-4 votes HB 2251 to license a single casino on O'ahu and HB 2759 to allow the Hawaiian Homes Commission to authorize casinos….
My friend expressed a fear shared by many others in the community that well-heeled gambling interests hope to use the cover of the economy and worries about tax increases to pull a surprise gambling bill out of some conference committee at the end of the session.
I personally doubt that such a scenario will play out, but lawmakers should be very concerned when the most solid of citizens harbor such suspicions about them.
Rail route, agenda scrutinized (Use OR&L route)
If the rail began at UH-West Oahu, but instead headed makai to the old OR&L line, it could serve H-1 and Kapolei. The OR&L line then runs just below Ewa. A park-and-ride at Fort Weaver Road would give rail service to Ewa and Ewa Beach. Next stop, Depot Road in Waipahu, then up behind Leeward Community College, through Pearl City, to the stadium and Pearl Harbor.
Why was the OR&L route never seriously considered? Because it didn't run through Ho'opili. But Ho'opili has recently had a perhaps lethal setback at the Land Use Commission. And polls show 87 percent of the people want that land kept in agriculture.
Now is the time for change. Write Gov. Linda Lingle at email@example.com and urge her to withhold her signature until these problems are solved.
Union seeks details of DHS overhaul: HGEA officials say plans could result in hundreds of layoffs
DHS has criticized the Hawai'i Government Employees Association for talking about the plan in a legislative briefing, while at the same time saying it wasn't ready to meet in person to discuss the reorganization. HGEA in turn said that DHS should have attended the briefing to clear up community concerns.
The reorganization was the subject of a Jan. 29 letter from DHS Director Lillian Koller to HGEA, in which she laid out a proposal to close DHS eligibility offices statewide and replace them with two processing centers staffed by people who would not meet clients in person, but who would communicate with them by phone, e-mail, fax and mail.
Homicide sentencing delayed 1 week due to furloughs, staff shortages (budget cuts blamed for murderers on loose)
LIHU‘E — Micah Makana Moke, 20, of Koloa, got an unexpected extra week of freedom Thursday when his sentencing was continued to Feb. 18.
After pleading no contest to two charges in a plea agreement he was found guilty of first-degree negligent homicide for allegedly causing a two-car accident in ‘Ele‘ele that killed Roman Cruz Sr. of Kekaha, and was scheduled to be sentenced Thursday.
But because a pre-sentencing diagnostic report was not given to his attorney, state deputy public defender John Calma, in time for Calma and Moke to go over the report before the sentencing, 5th Circuit Judge Randal Valenciano agreed to the continuance requested by Calma.
Valenciano wanted to continue the matter for one day, to Friday, but that was a furlough day for public defenders, so that rescheduling was not possible, he said.
Safety issue raised at Hawaii State Hospital (budget cuts blamed for lunatics on rampage)
Legislators, Kane'ohe residents and the union for Hawai'i State Hospital employees are raising concerns about a cost-cutting decision in December to lay off state security guards at the psychiatric facility, dramatically decreasing the hospital's security force.
Burris: Political signage will likely trump aesthetics
The latest attempt to put controls on the spread of political campaign signs, this promoted by Honolulu Councilman Ikaika Anderson, is likely to fail as have all previous attempts.
That's because the law must be approved by the same politicians who use the signs to advance their candidacy and chances for political success. This is in the face of Hawaii's long-honored ban on excessive outdoor advertising. It is a signature achievement for the state which has far less outdoor visual clutter than most places.