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Friday, January 3, 2014
January 3, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:27 PM :: 5562 Views

Flawed Minimum Wage Hike Advocacy Will Cost Hawaii's Poorest Workers $7M this Year

Anti-GMO mob attracts a colorful, motley, mixed bag

UHERO: Hawaii Health Insurance Premiums, Oligopolies, and the Affordable Care Act

Tourism Committees to Look at HTA Audit

DCCA: 300 Mortgage Loan Originators Lose License

Governor Releases $9.3 Million for Various CIPs Statewide

Hooser: It doesn't matter if Kauai GMO Law is never Enforced--All That Mattered was Getting it Passed

KE: Like papers getting sorted off my desk, clothes shifted out of my closet, some mental energy about Bill 2491 needs to be moved out of my head before the New Year begins. As a truth-seeker, I've been dismayed for months by the almost gleeful, and certainly Orwellian, glorification of misinformation – right down to the celebration of a law that ain't all it's cracked up to be.

So I'd like to end the year by debunking seven common myths about the bill and its movement. If the “red shirts” who have responded with bewilderment and fury to my criticisms read this with an open mind, perhaps they'll understand why I haven't been gung-ho, and why I have called out some activists. Their missteps have consequences for all of us who care about “home rule” and protecting people and Mama 'Aina....

#3 “It's about protecting people and the environment.”

If the bill was truly about protecting people and the environment, it wouldn't allow the companies to spray in the buffer zones so long as they erect signs. And it would have curtailed the use of pesticides, particularly in public areas where the county has clear authority. It would have addressed the toxic gas that is released into neighborhoods every time a tent is removed from a termite-treated building, the pesticides applied to golf courses that drain onto reefs. But it didn't, because it wasn't about pesticides or protection.

#4 “The bill's not about GMOs or driving the chemical companies off the island.”

Bill 2491 was all about GMOs and trying to drive the biotech companies off the island. That's why the original bill included a moratorium on new GMO crops. That's why GMO Free Kauai, Center For Food Safety and Earthjustice were so heavily involved. That's why the bill targeted the biotech companies, rather than the county or the pest control companies, both of which use far larger quantities of restricted use chemicals than ag. That's why we got in a pissing match with multinational chem companies instead of passing a bill that actually reduces pesticide use on the island.

#5 “This was a spontaneous, leaderless, grassroots movement of local kids.”

Yes, Kauai youth — and old hippies, too — did march and testify in a sincere expression of social media-fueled community concern. But the movement was orchestrated by mainland groups that funneled in money, expertise, activists and infiltrators, playing Kauai as a pawn in a bigger battle. That's why Gary told me it didn't matter if the bill was never enforced — all that mattered was getting it passed....

CP: Activist believes companies will comply with GMO law

read ... Joan Conrow Debunking Myths

Profitable Nonprofit FACE Desperate to Save $35M Cut of Housing Deal

FACE: Those of us who believed that affordable rental housing was a core city function, including the City Council and other city officials, residents and concerned advocates for the homeless, fought to recreate a city Housing Office.

Many of us then pushed for the creation of a private-public partnership in which the city kept ownership of the land and a private developer would own, manage and operate the housing.

The sales agreement, nearing finalization, would result in 65 more years of affordable rentals, no evictions, $50 million in renovations for the approximately 1,200 units, $70 million in debt reduction for the city, $7 million in operating costs savings annually for the city, and about $35 million in recycled Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding.

Now, a sudden and unexpected dispute between the city administration and the City Council over control of the allocation of these CDBG funds has threatened the financing efforts of the buyers

Background: Tracing the Financial Outlines of Socialism in Hawaii

read ... Profitable NonProfit

Labor Fest Hawaii Slams Omidyar

LFH: Omidyar, and the other billionaire philanthropists who push top down, non-democratic crusades to empower the people, genuinely believe they possess the knowledge that the “best minds” have to offer. One problem is that their money gives them the right to engage in these projects whether or not they have any kind of relevant expertise, or even a grasp on reality. The corporate-philanthropist take on reality amounts to little more than ideology....

David Carr is an organizer with LaborFest Hawaii and a History instructor at Leeward Community College.

November 25, 2013: The Extraordinary Pierre Omidyar

read ... David Carr Debunking Myths

Obama at UH Game: Skinny, Poor, Dull, No Cheers

Boylan: “You wanna get a sense of the political year ahead?” asked one of my 11 regular readers on the eve of the University of Hawaii’s Christmas basketball tournament. “Let’s go see how the crowd reacts to President Obama when he arrives to watch his brother-in-law’s basketball game.... Do they rise to their feet? Sit in protest? Cheer? Boo?”

So we went early to the Stanley, passed through security, got wanded, told where we couldn’t sit and waited for a game that held little interest for us – all just to watch the president arrive.

Eventually, he did – a skinny guy in a dull-looking sports shirt. Without fanfare, he, Michelle, the girls and Grandma Robinson slipped into their seats.

To cheers? To boos? Naaaaah. Neither. The crowd did rise: to take pictures of the poor dull-shirted president with their cellphone cameras. Then applause. But the president soon got lost in the game, and my presidential jock-sniffing buddy left at half-time....

MW: Mufi's Columns

read ... Dan Boylan

Bob Jones: Get More Tough-Minded on Homeless

MW: I wish government would get more tough-minded on the “homeless” who take advantage of our compassion. You’re mentally and physically competent? Get out of our parks!

read ... Bob Jones

Price: Gay Marriage Will Make Politics More Extreme

MW: First, the politics in Hawaii are not going to change. In fact, they are probably going to become a bit more extreme after the governor’s politically masterful handling of our new same-sex marriage law. As I’ve said before, the manner in which the bill was handled has got to arouse the competitive spirit in political action committees all over the state, as well as other states and countries that have their eye on Hawaii’s tourism population.

Second, the long struggle by advocates of the casino gambling industry to get a foot in the front door of Hawaii’s hotel business could have a good year at the Legislature. Under the guise of increasing state revenue and creating more jobs, it will be a lively debate.

The state’s political leadership also will be hotly contested. There are a lot of key offices up for grabs and not many clear front-runners. It doesn’t seem possible for the Republicans to stop fighting with each other long enough to come up with a viable strategy to at least scare the ruling Democrats. Example: As the new year unravels, Republicans still don’t have viable candidates for any of the key races.

read ... Larry Price

First Same-sex couple files for divorce

KHON: Just before the holidays, divorce attorney Gavin Doi said his firm received a surprising call.

"We had someone call us about a divorce. It's a same-sex marriage," Doi said.

The couple got married on the mainland in 2012, but live in Hawaii and are splitting up. They contacted divorce attorneys just two weeks after the state legalized same-sex marriage on Dec. 2.

Background: Gay Divorce: Abercrombie Special Session for Arizona ‘Pregnant Man’?

read ... That didn't take long

Judge finds abuse at Kipapa Elementary

HNN: An administrative law judge has ruled that several autistic children at Kipapa Elementary School were physically and emotionally abused by school staffers.

The 63-page report by Haunani Alm suggests that the state botched its investigation into the abuse.

"This is one of the most egregious cases I've ever seen come out of the DOE," said Susan Dorsey, attorney for one of the students.

Alm's ruling found that one of Dorsey's clients -- a nine-year-old autistic girl -- was forced-fed by an administrative aide and that the student was terrified of going to school as a result.

"The allegations were that the child was force fed to the point of vomiting and then she was told to eat her vomit," Dorsey said.

The judge also found evidence of abuse of other children.

"There were instances where children were slammed down on the table face down by the back of the neck," said Dorsey.

"Children were being inappropriately restrained, children were being tied to chairs." ...

When asked about these allegations in March, this is what DOE Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi told us:

"There was no finding against the employees that the allegations were made against so they were allowed to return to work," Matayoshi said....

The state Attorney General's office assigned an investigator to the case but Alm said his report was one-sided.

"There really was no investigation," said Dorsey.

read ... Judge finds abuse at Kipapa Elementary

Marijuana legalization: Is Hawaii next?

KHON: The sale of recreational marijuana is now legal in Colorado.

"Having somebody else be the guinea pig does make it a lot easier for us," said Rep. Karl Rhoads (D) House Judiciary Chair.

Last year, House Speaker Joe Souki introduced a bill that would allow adults 21 years or older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow a limited number of marijuana plants in a private area. It would also authorize the state to license marijuana retail stores and product manufacturing facilities.

However, smoking marijuana in public and driving under the influence of marijuana would still be illegal.

The bill passed its first reading, but never made it before the Judiciary Committee and faced opposition from the Honolulu Police Department.

"The more examples we have in other states, the easier it will be for us to A) put together a bill that makes sense and also to just see what the pitfalls are of the actual policy," Rep. Rhoads said.

Meanwhile: How to Use Anti-GMO Ordinances to Seize Marijuana Plants: A Guide for Police Departments

read ... Marijuana

After Lunatics Take over Kauai Considers Council Redistricting

KGI: A subcommittee of the Charter Review Commission has scheduled three  meetings to discuss and gather input on a proposed charter amendment that would establish seven geographic districts on Kauai.

The proposed districts would allow voters to elect the members of the County Council based on the district in which they both reside. The goal would be to have representation spread out from each of the newly established districts.

The meetings will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 9 at the Kapaa Neighborhood Center, Jan. 13 at the Church of the Pacific in Princeville and Jan. 16 at the Waimea Neighborhood Center....

read ... Just like the Old BoE

Willie Proposes More Food Labels

HTH: Wille is proposing HIPP (Hawaii Island Produce and Products) and HIPP-O (Hawaii Island Produce and Products — Organically grown) logos to identify Big Island products. She said it’s similar to the marketing slogans “MADE IN MAUI, a Seal of Local Pride” and ” KAUAI GROWN, Hawaii’s Garden Island” used on those islands....

Barry Taniguchi, KTA president and CEO, thinks there are enough logos already.

“It gets confusing,” he said. “There are so many of these different programs out there.”

Wille said the statewide logo requires only 50 percent of the product be produced here, a standard she thinks is too low. Her Resolution 208 asks the county Department of Research and Development to adopt an “all or virtually all” standard for the islandwide logo.

read ... Organic Labeling

Residents receive aid shoring up property as Enviros Demand Seizure of Property

SA: An army of city workers and volunteers swarmed over Sunset Beach on Thursday, hauling away truckloads of debris from a stretch of coast where high surf and tides left at least a half-dozen Rocky Point homes in danger of being washed away.

Aided by a bulldozer and a dump truck, workers with the city departments of Emergency Management, Facility Maintenance and Parks and Recreation removed eight to 10 pickup-truck loads of debris, moved at least two felled palm trees and removed various sections of fallen utility poles.

"Our focus has been on making the beach safe for use," said Peter Hirai, the city's deputy director of emergency management.

CB: Website Owned by Oceanfront Resident Omidyar Pushes to Seize Other Oceanfront Properties

read ... Residents receive aid shoring up property as new swells loom

January Hearings for Undersea High Voltage Transmission Lines

IM: On July 11, 2013 the Public Utilities Commission opened a regulatory proceedings to determine if an undersea high-voltage transmission cable between the islands of Maui and O`ahu is in the public interest.

The Public Utilities Commission will hold public hearings on Tuesday, January 21, 2014, at 6:00 p.m. at Farrington High School Cafeteria (1564 North King Street, Honolulu and on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 6 pm at the Pomaikai Elementary School Cafeteria in Kahului, Maui.

March: Developing the Blueprint for the Utility of the Future

read ... Hearings

Non-Existent Pellets pitched as Cheap, Clean fuel for Oahu

SA: "We have met with representatives of Zilkha Biomass. No commitments have been made at this time. It is a promising (ie non-existent) technology but further study and evaluation are needed to determine whether this option provides a cost benefit to our customers," HECO spokes­man Peter Rosegg said in an email. (Like so many other never-before demonstrated technologies that come to Hawaii looking for $$$.)

Zilkha markets (but does not yet sell) its Black Pellets on the mainland as a replacement for coal in power plants. The pellets (might) burn cleaner than coal or oil, with lower emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide, according to the company's filing (and we always believe filings).

Holmes estimated Black Pellets would be 30 percent less expensive than the low-sulfur fuel oil burned at the Waiau Generating Station. The savings would increase to 36 percent at the Kahe Power Plant because of storage and logistics. (uh-huh.  If this is so great, shy isn't everybody using it?)

HECO could save roughly $40 million a year in fuel costs for each generating unit it converts to Black Pellets, Holmes said. There are eight generating units at HECO's Waiau power plant and six at Kahe.

Holmes said the pellets could eventually be produced in Hawaii from locally grown plant material.

The cost of generating electricity with Zilkha's Black Pellets would even be less than burning liquefied natural gas, another option being considered by HECO, Holmes said. Black Pellets would be an estimated 16 percent cheaper than LNG at Waiau and 20 percent at Kahe, Holmes said.  (All talk, like so many before.)

Except:  These Pellets Don't EXIST YET   ... more  ... and Zilkha debated

read ... Pellets

Hawaii Supreme Court Tells Deedy Judge To Defend Closed Proceedings

CB: Hawaii Circuit Court Judge Karen Ahn must explain why she closed certain proceedings during a high-profile murder trial last year, including on the final day of deliberations when she cleared her courtroom of spectators and the media before announcing a deadlocked jury.

On Thursday, the Hawaii Supreme Court ordered Ahn to provide a legal explanation for her decision to exclude the public from some parts of the trial of Christopher Deedy, the U.S. State Department agent who shot and killed a Kailua man in a Waikiki McDonald's.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Hawaii News Now asked the high court to make Ahn release transcripts of closed proceedings in September, saying she had violated the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment by excluding the public without explanation and without providing an opportunity to object....

FULL TEXT: 1 2-14 order for temp. remand

read ... Deedy?

Surfers File Lawsuit Against State for Blocking Laniakea Beach Parking

CB: the complaint filed Thursday alleges that the barriers are limiting beach access. One of the plaintiffs, Bill Martin, uses a wheelchair and said the barricades make it harder for him to unload his gear and get to the beach to surf.

The lawsuit also argues that the state should have obtained a special management area permit and completed an environmental assessment before installing the barriers....

Along with Martin, the plaintiffs include a group of residents called Save Laniakea Coalition; surfers Reno Abellira, Jock Sutherland, and Keone Downing; and former body boarding champion Mark Cunningham.

LINK: Click here to read the full complaint.

read ... Surfers File Lawsuit Against State for Blocking Laniakea Beach Parking

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