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Tuesday, July 23, 2013
July 23, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:22 PM :: 4845 Views

Life of the Land? OHA Trustee Seeks to Change State Motto

Survey: Hawaii Most Honest State, DC Least Honest

KOS: Hanabusa ‘Sockpuppet’ Hits Schatz for ‘Homophobic Hubris’

Hawaii Congressional Delegation to Discuss Akaka Tribe with Obama

HNN: Hawaii's congressional delegation met with President Obama today at the White House. They're representing the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Some of the issues they'll be discussing reportedly include federal recognition for Native Hawaiians and immigration.

Hanabusa: Obama Considers Creating Akaka Tribe Without Congressional Approval

read ... Akaka Tribe

Abercrombie: For Non-Activist Seniors, Why Prolong Life?

MN: "The number of folks who will be living longer past 65 years old is growing . . . (and) that has ramifications for us financially, socially, emotionally across the state in the immediate future; not 20 or 30 years from now, I'm talking about right now," Abercrombie said at the luncheon.

Policy related to assisted living and long-term care are all-encompassing statewide issues that legislators need to address "not just politically but morally" as they contemplate whether programs extend life or merely prolong death, Abercrombie said....

"The factor of aging - and aging in place, not shoved on the side but fully committed and engaged in family and community life - is something I think there is tremendous opportunity for, and that's why the folks being honored today are role models," he said....

There are about 32,000 older Americans, those over the age of 60, living in Maui County, officials said. By 2020, that number is expected to grow to an estimated 54,000, not counting seniors who move to the county from elsewhere.

"People talk about the silver tsunami coming, and when we think about 'tsunami' we usually think dread," Deborah Arendale, Maui County Executive on Aging, said in an interview after the luncheon Monday. "But just like how when a tsunami is coming, there's those crazy folks who go out there and ride the waves. Well, we have a whole group of seniors that for years have been riding the waves . . . helping us get ready for that future, cruise it in and bring help."...

"The senior wave that's coming could be devastating without the group of seniors we have that volunteer every day and every year," Arendale said. "In Maui, we have a very strong history of ongoing engagement where seniors really are focused on giving back, and that's a message we want folks to see."

read ... 'Taking care of' seniors a top priority — governor

Legislature, DoE getting nervous about plans for Kakaako

Borreca: Critical mass has not yet been reached, but more leaders in the state Legislature are raising doubts about the planning for Kakaako.

Next Tuesday, legislators and Honolulu City Council members from the midtown area will hold a community meeting from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the state Capitol auditorium to review plans with the Hawaii Community Development Authority....

"We exempted them (HCDA) from county land use ordinances, we gave them special funds, we gave them bonding authority," says Rep. Scott Saiki.  He now says, "At some point the Legislature is just going to have to ask if this model is working."

The person now saying build more, denser and higher is Gov. Neil Abercrombie, whose still-evolving plan to create a "third city" in Kakaako is what is fueling developers to keep the concrete coming.

...developers are planning "affordable" units of 350 square feet.

Makiki Democrat Rep. Della Au Belatti says she is "increasingly frustrated" because the Kakaako plans are almost completely lacking in a realistic approach to public schools...

Saiki, House Democratic leader, says the state Department of Education is also concerned.  "I called DOE. They said they have been writing letters to HCDA since back in November. There are residents outside of Kakaako concerned about this. This is growing," Saiki said.

Senate: HCDA Hearing Fri July 26 3:30 pm

read ... Legislature getting nervous about plans for Kakaako

Teacher Pleased by House Republican Vote

CB: The recent vote by Republicans in the House to repeal and replace the “No Child Left Behind” law has made for some strange bedfellows of late. Republicans joined teachers unions to support a repeal of the law, while Democrats stood in unanimous opposition. (The Senate hasn't voted on this legislation.)

I support the GOP’s efforts because, as Congressman Tip O’Neill used to say: “All politics is local.” Education should be, too....

Eliminating ham-fisted federal polices like No Child Left Behind will help to create an atmosphere that allows schools to be more responsive locally. But local municipalities also have to find their pioneers and support them in leading us to the education system of tomorrow.

read ... All Education is Local

Civil Beat: Schatz is Taking High Road by Forcing Boylan out of Job, Denying It

CB: Unfortunately for the Hanabusa campaign, the news that Peter Boylan, a former top staffer for Daniel K. Inouye, was named communications director was marred by Boylan's first action in his new gig: he accused Schatz's allies of trying to get him in trouble with Time Warner — Boylan's Washington, D.C., employer — about Boylan volunteering for Hanabusa's campaign pro bono.

Boylan seemed to be suggesting that Schatz's people somehow cost him his Time Warner gig. (Schatz chief of staff Andy Winer called the accusation false.) But if so, why not be more clear about it, and why not name names?

Unlike the Gore endorsement, the Boylan appointment did not make huge headlines. But it did show Schatz at least appearing to take a higher road.

Reality: Schatz Operatives Force Inouye's Boylan out of Job

read ... Some truly bizarre spin

Auditor Soaked: 1200 Water Bill Complaints Per Day

KITV:  "I paid them anyway and then I sent them an email saying I am paying this under protest," Higa said.

Higa's  bill showed she  went from using one gallon a day-- to 83 gallons -- overnight.

She believes even if she was being initially undercharged, the city should not have billed her at the highest rate.

"They are applying it as I had consumed it in one month, and that’s not the case," said Higa.

read ... Call volume over water bills hits 1,200 a day

SB1197: DoTax 'Special Enforcement Section' to Harass Farmers Markets

BIN: Despite its staff getting harassed and cajoled at island farmers markets, the controversial new “Special Enforcement Section” of the Department of Taxation is officially here to stay.

Tasked with squeezing the proper tax dollars out of cash-based businesses, the “SES” will apparently continue to roam the islands in search of operators who would dare not to furnish a receipt for $1 papayas (and other cash transactions).

Assuming they get enough funding to venture out of their offices on weekends, that is.

But don’t worry, even if they’re not around, you can always tattle anonymously on neighborhood entrepreneurs via the agency’s 24-hour telephone hotline.

read ... Hawaii’s Little-Known New Laws

Latest Green energy Scam Bankruptcy Locks Electric Car Users out of Charging Stations

CB: But for drivers of electric vehicles, accessing a place to charge up can make the difference between powering through their day and losing power on the drive home.

So it would be disconcerting if some electric vehicle owners discovered that they couldn't use a sizable percentage of the state's charging stations – a little like if gas-powered vehicle drivers discovered that they couldn't use a large chain of gas stations.

And that turns out to be the case. More than 70 cost-free charging stations for electric and hybrid vehicles with plug-in technology – that were installed with the help of about $580,000 in federal stimulus funds – cannot be accessed by hundreds of early adopters of emissions-free vehicles.1

read ... Smug Walkers

City pays $1.3 million annual mortgage for nearly-empty garage

KHON: The fees from the small number of city employees who park in the city's nearly-empty new parking garage fail to bring in enough revenue to pay for the building's annual upkeep, never mind its expensive mortgage, Hawaii News Now has learned.

The new parking structure opened in November, on the makai side of the police headquarters along King Street.

It has five levels with 410 parking stalls and only a small percentage of them are occupied.

Hawaii News Now found just seven cars parked there July 15 and Monday there were only eight cars in the structure

read ... No Problem, Just Shake down the farmers

Despite Honolulu's Own Investigation, Questions Remain About ORI

CB: An $80,000 private investigator and hundreds of hours of scrutiny by attorneys have left key questions unanswered in the ongoing scandal involving the City and County of Honolulu and a Central Oahu nonprofit that received nearly $8 million in federal grants to serve the elderly and the developmentally disabled.

The city and ORI Anuenue Hale have long been at odds with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Two points of contention have been ORI's use of federal Community Development Block Grant money and whether the nonprofit had undue influence inside city hall, where oversight was lax and questionable decisions were made involving millions of dollars in government funds.

In a June 3 letter, HUD suggested that it was fed up and demanded that the city pay back nearly $7.9 million in funds from the community block grants.

That came after the agency found that the grant funds had been mismanaged on the city's watch and that the nonprofit wasn't fulfilling its promises about who it would serve and how many people it would help. There were also concerns that ORI had solicited kickbacks and used political campaign contributions to get preferential treatment from city officials when securing a $1.2 million loan-forgiveness deal.

On Friday, the city responded to HUD’s letter with a 148-page report that detailed its own internal investigation into the matter. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell recused himself from the investigation because he was former mayor Mufi Hannemann’s managing director around the time ORI’s loan debt was forgiven.

SA: Military agreements earn $9.5 million a year for ORI

read ... Where the Tax Money Collected from Farmers Markets Goes

Homeless in Hawaii? State Will Fly You Back to Family on Mainland

CB: Hawaii lawmakers hope to save taxpayers millions of dollars in welfare costs by shipping some of the state’s estimated 17,000 homeless back to their families on the mainland.

It’s a controversial idea. Critics point to potential abuse of the program and view it as a Band-Aid approach to a deeply rooted problem.

But supporters see it as a win-win; the homeless get a fresh start in a supportive environment and the state can focus its limited funding on local residents.

After years of trying to institute a return-to-home program, legislators were finally able to squeak a bill through this past session to do a three-year trial run. Although the legal language is now in place to set it up, there's not much money to maintain it and the Department of Human Services, which would run the program, has serious concerns.

HNN: "Return to Home" program has supporters, doubters

SA: Help for homeless just a spool of red tape away

read ... Ticket to Ride

State Takes More As Recycling Tax Rises

HTH: Hawaii County residents are paying an extra half-cent fee every time they buy a drink in a HI-5 bottle or can, but the county is seeing less of its money coming back from the state to operate its redemption centers.

The HI-5 fee was raised from 6 cents to 6.5 cents in September, with 5 cents per container returned to whoever redeems the bottle or can at recycling centers. The other 1.5 cents goes to state administrative costs.

Statewide, more than 77 percent of the 900 million HI-5 containers purchased annually get turned back in, saving space in landfills.

While the state promotes recycling, the increased popularity of the program has also raised administrative costs. In 2011, before the increase was implemented, the state took in about $55 million while spending about $59 million.

Despite bringing in an extra $4.5 million annually from the increase, the state Department of Health has cut Hawaii County’s share of the proceeds from $765,000 to $483,933 for the year. The County Council on Wednesday will adjust the county budget to reflect that amount through Bill 95.

read ... Big Island recycling proceeds trimmed

Health Information Exchange to Connect EHR Systems Statewide

PBN: In fact, though providers aren’t required to use electronic health records, now is the time to make the switch.

“The cost of implementing EHR is around $45,000; but it varies widely,” she said. “There is a sense of urgency because now we have high incentives and low penalties. There is no question everyone will eventually have to adopt the technology.”

Between 2011 and 2016, providers can receive as much as $44,000 through a Medicare incentive plan, and between 2011 and 2016, eligible Medicaid providers can receive as much as $63,750.

The second program is the Health eNet, a secure network that allows Hawaii’s health-care providers to exchange patients’ medical information. It is similar to electronic health records in the sense that it boosts efficiency and collaboration in the industry, but it doesn’t replace the need for EHR within individual doctor’s offices.

Health eNet rolled out last year, and about 500 providers are on board. The Hawaii Health Information Exchange plans to upgrade the exchange into a “query” that will be more elaborate and provide more ways of connecting, but it needs to have more providers join for it to be truly effective.

read ... Privacy?

Gabbard: Congress Idiotic

CBS: The first Hindu (but not from India) elected to Congress, the first American Samoa (but not a Samoan) in Congress, and the first of two female combat veterans to serve on Capitol Hill, Gabbard publicly admitted last week that she finds it, "very, very frustrating serving in a Congress that's completely unpopular," she told the audience at the Make Progress Summit.

"I can have a 16-hour day and at the end of the day, feel like I've accomplished nothing because we're talking about issues that seem to be idiotic," she added at the event.

Monday on "CBS This Morning," Gabbard explained, "I think the frustration that I have felt, even being six months as a member of Congress, that other colleagues of mine feel is reflective of the frustration that we hear every single time we go back home to our district, from people who are saying, 'Look, we just want you to get something done for us."

Something Gabbard failed to Obstruct: Rewrite of No Child Left Behind Passes House

read ... Idiotic

Entire Hawaii Congressional Delegation Voted for Sequestration

CB: ... did Hanabusa oppose the sequester?

It's true that she did vote against a continuing budget resolution on March 6 that provided funding to prevent a government shutdown but left the budget cuts in place. She explained in a press release then: “it does nothing to remove sequestration.”

What Hanabusa didn't mention in the campaign emails, though, is that two years ago, she voted for the bill that led to sequestration.

Rewind to Aug. 1, 2011. Congress was locked in the debt-ceiling crisis. Republicans were refusing to raise the amount of money the federal government could borrow, unless there was a deal on reducing the national debt. The nation was in danger of defaulting on its debt. Experts were predicting all sorts of doom to the economy.

At the brink, Congress came up with an imperfect compromise. Called the Budget Control Act, it made $1 trillion in cuts by 2021. More relevant to Hanabusa’s emails, it also created a budget "super committee" to come up with a plan to cut another $1.2 trillion.

If there was no deal, automatic across-the-board budget cuts — sequestration — would go into effect.

Hanabusa, as well as Hawaii’s entire Congressional delegation, voted for it. House Democrats nationally were split on the issue, with 95 voting for it and 95 voting against.

read ... Who the Idiots Are

NYT: Dope Minister Christie Challenges Definition of Religion

NYT: On July 29, Mr. Christie’s lawyer will argue in Hawaii federal court that his client should be allowed to present a religious-freedom defense at the eventual criminal trial. He will base his argument on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, passed by Congress in 1993, which requires the government to show a “compelling interest” whenever it “substantially burdens” a religious practice. In 2006, the Supreme Court relied on the act to permit a New Mexico church to use the hallucinogen hoasca, or ayahuasca, for sacramental purposes.

But so far such exceptions have been granted to small religious communities and relatively obscure drugs: for American Indians’ use of peyote, for example, or the New Mexico church with its ayahuasca. But marijuana? That would be problematic.

“The difference is that peyote and hoasca have little or no recreational market, and that is not likely to change because they make you sick before they make you high,” Douglas Laycock, who teaches constitutional law at the University of Virginia, wrote in an e-mail in explaining why a court would be unlikely to approve of the church’s practice. “Marijuana has a huge recreational market. Diversion from religious to recreational uses, and false claims of religious use, would be major problems.”

The courts will probably be loath to allow Mr. Christie his humorous, personal, idiosyncratic religion. If we could all have our own religions, the courts would have a lot more defendants claiming their religions require drug use. Besides, he may not be the ideal crusader for religious marijuana. According to the government, the THC Ministry offered a “sanctuary kit” that included a cognac-and-cannabis “tincture” — the recommended donation was $1,000.

And in its brief, the government quotes transcriptions of wiretapped conversations in which Mr. Christie sounds like a drug dealer haggling over prices, not a man of God serving his people’s spiritual needs....

read ... What's Being Debated Outside of Congress, LOL!

Hawaii Law Obligates Crime Victims to Run

KITV: If you're out on the street, you have to turn around and run if you can do so in complete safety,” explains Honolulu defense attorney Don Wilkerson.

read ... Soft on Crime

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