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Friday, June 27, 2014
June 27, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:29 PM :: 3955 Views

Two Polls Now Show Aiona In Lead

Abercrombie Rewards UHPA's Campaign Support with 'Unprecedented' Early Contract Agreement

HPD Ordered to Pay $31K over Censored Facebook Comments

Ige, Slom Question Possible 'Financial Disclosure' Veto

Capitol Rally for Religious Freedom June 28

Sledgehammer Tom Brower Loses Key HSTA Endorsement

Anti-GMO Activists Write the Darndest Things

Star-Adv: Abercrombie Puts Influential Individuals First

SA: Abercrombie has signaled that he might veto a bill that would require members of powerful state boards and commissions to file financial statements for public disclosure, which could reveal potential conflicts of interest. By failing to promptly sign this measure, the governor is putting the privacy concerns of a limited number of influential individuals ahead of the public interest.

The public interest must always come first. Like the state Ethics Commission and good-government groups such as Common Cause Hawaii, we urge the governor to overcome his reservations and sign Senate Bill 2682 by the July 8 deadline, or let it become law without his signature. If he goes ahead with the rejection, state lawmakers -- who unanimously approved this bill in the House and Senate -- should override the veto.

read ... Override

Makakilo Tells Feds: "Get up and get out"

SA: Thursday night's session was the last on Oahu. It began with heckling and jeering as Esther Kia'aina, senior adviser to the secretary of the Department of Interior, spoke about the history of the U.S. government's involvement with Hawaii.

And moderator Dawn Chang drew mumbles and jeers when she asked people who have already spoken multiple times at the previous hearings to let others go first at Makakilo Elementary.

"Auntie Lilly" then drew widespread applause when she responded, "I am gracious enough to give up my time to the people of Kapolei."

When the floor was finally thrown open after 40 minutes, the first speaker, Lopaka Asam, started Thursday's session by reflecting the sentiment of dozens of other speakers this week.

"The best thing you can do," Asam told the panel, "is get up and get out."

The session grew heated moments later when Napua Kahunahana of Ewa Beach refused to heed her allotted two minutes to speak.

When Kahunahana ran past her time, a state Department of Land and Natural Resources enforcement officer pulled the plug on the public address system.

Kahunahana continued to speak into a dead microphone before finally leaving -- to both jeers and applause.

read ... Get Out

Abercrombie's Sad Little Effort to Pander to AJAs Falls Flat

Borreca: ... Abercrombie was stressing his own AJA relations going back to his college days in Manoa.

"I think Abercrombie was trying to get AJA voters; he kept saying all these Japanese names. But also voters remember there is this question because of the Hanabusa thing," said the Ige supporter.

The reference is to Abercrombie's rebuffing a deathbed plea from U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye that U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa be appointed to succeed him.

That decision, the Ige supporter said, would be "an albatross around Abercrombie's neck."

read ... Albatross

HSTA Injects Teacher Morale into Governor's Race

CB: With one set of reforms undergoing major changes and another set due to kick in despite widespread opposition, teacher evaluations are becoming an issue in the Hawaii governor’s race.

Civil Beat poll numbers show a surprising shift toward David Ige, the teachers union-backed gubernatorial candidate, in the Democratic primary race against sitting Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who aggressively pushed for the new evaluations as part of a 2013 contract deal that soured many educators on him. Abercrombie now appears to be backing out of the debate over evaluations, recently telling Civil Beat it’s up to the state Department of Education to clear things up.

Ige and Republican candidate Duke Aiona, meanwhile, are openly skeptical of the current system.

Hawaii State Teachers Association President Wil Okabe said the candidates are “very conscious” that the evaluations have become a political leverage point. The HSTA for its part has come under fire for failing to address teachers’ concerns about the evaluations....

“Governor Abercrombie has not been very supportive of teachers or our students and schools through all of the misguided and mismanaged reforms, and I think the public is starting to realize this,” Kline said.

CB: Hawaii Teacher Fellows Selected to Voice Common Core Concerns

read ... HSTA Backs Ige

Fears rise for HHSC hospital staff in face of financial shortfall

KGI:  Kalaheo Clinic pediatrician Dr. Carla Nelson said she and some of her Hawaii Health Systems Corporation colleagues on Kauai are afraid of what lies ahead.

One of her fellow pediatricians and a hospital physician in the public health care system’s Kauai region have resigned. One of the HHSC’s three obstetricians and gynecologists on the island are retiring, too. And several of her colleagues are looking for jobs elsewhere.

What is equally troubling, she said, is the fact that her 2,647-square-foot clinic in Kalaheo, where she and three other doctors see patients regularly, is slated to close by September as regional HHSC officials work to offset a projected $11 million regional budget deficit by cutting costs and streamlining operations....

A public meeting, hosted by the state House Committee on Health, is scheduled at 5 p.m. Monday at the War Memorial Convention Hall in Lihue to address the operational and financial stability of HHSC operations on Kauai.

Written testimony can be sent to ....

read ... Fears rise for hospital staff in face of financial shortfall

Unsterilized dental instruments used on local VA patients

SA: Twenty patients at the Veterans Affairs Pacific Islands Health Care system were potentially exposed to blood-borne pathogens in May after dental instruments that were "clean" but had not completed the sterilization process were used, the VA said on Friday.

"Although the risk is determined to be extremely low, (VA) staff will contact those patients to disclose this incident," the VA said in a notification to congressional members.

For exposed patients who desire testing, blood tests for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV will be administered with a scheduled follow-up at 13 weeks and six months, the VA said.

read ... Unsterilized dental instruments

DHS Sabotages Quest Eligibility Renewal Again 

SA: At least 4,582 Quest families received erroneous notices earlier this month saying their coverage would end Monday. Hundreds of Quest recipients have been flooding the state Medicaid offices for answers....

Last month DHS mistakenly notified 4,500 aged, blind or disabled individuals that their benefits would end. The notices were generated "as a result of adding new long-term care functionality" to DHS' $95 million online eligibility system, known as Kolea, the department said.

A year ago the state sent 250,000 Quest members information about health insurance options in Hawaii but inadvertently left out Kaiser Permanente's information. Correcting that mistake cost taxpayers $176,254.

McManaman said she didn't know how many individuals were affected by the most recent error. The inaccurate letters were sent to families, many of whom have multiple members enrolled in Quest.

On Thursday shortly after noon, about 30 people were waiting in line at DHS' small Dillingham office.

"It's been standing room only for about a week and a half" because of the erroneous letters, said a DHS worker who was helping Medicaid clients....

This year DHS is requiring roughly 200,000 Quest members -- including 110,000 children -- to fill out and return eligibility renewal forms or they will lose health insurance.

The first forms were mailed in March to roughly 33,000 Quest members. About one-third of those did not respond, and their coverage was canceled in April. The state is mailing renewal notices to about 33,000 members each month until all 200,000 have received forms.

The most recent problem occurred when renewal forms that were supposed to be mailed by Cardinal to 4,582 families in May were not sent. Instead, those families received cancellation notices even though they never got a renewal form.

read ... Purposeful Sabotage?

PRP Under Investigation Over Its 2012 Campaign Spending

CB ...several of the consultants involved in PRP’s takedown of Cayetano were not listed in the spending reports of the group’s political action committee.

Those consultants include Texas-based opposition researcher Jason Stanford, local PR experts Jim McCoy and Barbara Tanabe, and Andy Winer, who at the time was working on Mazie Hirono’s U.S. Senate campaign.

PRP’s internal emails show all four had been working with the group many months before it officially launched its super PAC, yet there’s no clear indication in campaign spending records that any of them were paid by PRP.

Winer is a well-known political operative in Hawaii, and is currently the chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz.

Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission attorney Gary Kam said Thursday that his agency will focus on the “potential vendors” PRP used to carry out its campaign against Cayetano.

Kam said PRP could be fined if the Campaign Spending Commission’s investigation finds the group did not file complete reports with his agency.

HR: Union apologizes for attacks on former Hawaii governor in lawsuit settlement

read ... PRP Under Investigation Over Its 2012 Campaign Spending

PUC Dockets to Funnel Money to Green Energy Scammers

IM: Three major regulatory proceedings (dockets) have been recently opened at the Public Utilities Commission.

On-Bill Financing (Docket 2014-0129) will establish a mechanism whereby a ratepayer can lower their bill while splitting their payment between paying the utility for electricity and paying another entity for energy efficiency or renewable energy systems such as rooftop solar.

Modify Rule 14H (Docket 2014-0130) seeks to ease the ability of customers to interconnect to the Distribution Grid.

DBEDT’s Green Infrastructure Loan Program (Docket 2014-0135) would establish a revolving pot of money that could be used to finance renewable energy projects, initially starting with energy efficiency or renewable energy systems for on bill financing.

Later on the pot of money could be used to support liquefied natural gas (LNG), interisland cables, geothermal expansion, utility incentives and utility-scale wind generation facilities.

DBEDT has requested approval to float bonds in the amount of $150 million.

read ... Pot of Money

BLNR weighs TMT sublease today

HTH: The nearly 20-year sublease would set the stage for construction of the $1.3 billion telescope on Mauna Kea.

The board was to consider approval of the agreement June 13, but deferred action to allow the University of Hawaii, which holds the general lease, to address additional questions raised during public testimony at the last meeting.

The questions pertain to how the sublease complies with a “substantial sublease rent” requirement and whether it conflicts with a “prohibition on options to renew leases.”

Additionally, the board asked UH to respond to a letter from the National Council on Historic Preservation questioning whether it complied with consultation requirements of the National Historic Preservation Act.

The sublease would cover about 6 acres and last until Dec. 31, 2033, when UH’s general lease for the Mauna Kea Science Reserve expires.

read ... BLNR weighs TMT sublease today

Council committee clears homeless bills

SA: Approved were:  >> Bill 42, prohibiting sitting and lying on sidewalks in the Waikiki Special District, which is defined as the area bordered by Ala Wai Canal, Kapahulu Avenue and the ocean. The vote was 3-1, with Councilman Breene Harimoto the lone "no" vote. Members Ann Kobayashi and Ron Menor voted "yes" with reservations.

>> Bill 43, prohibiting urinating and defecating in public areas in the Waikiki Special District. The vote was 4-0.

>> Bill 45, prohibiting sitting and lying on sidewalks throughout Oahu. The vote was 3-1, with Harimoto as the one "no" vote and members Kobayashi and Menor voting "yes" with reservations. Menor described the measure as "clearly unconstitutional" and said he will support its final passage only if improvements are made to it.

>> Bill 46, prohibiting urinating and defecating in public areas islandwide. The vote was 4-0, with Harimoto, Kobayashi and Menor voting "yes" with reservations.

The bills are now expected to be heard by the full Council, for the second of three necessary approvals, July 9 at Windward Community College.

A fifth measure, Bill 44, prohibiting sitting and lying on sidewalks from River Street to Ward Avenue, was deferred.

HNN: Colin Kippen on Homelessness

read ... City Council panel OKs 4 measures targeting homeless

With $707K payment from state, Reynolds reopening

HNN: State Health officials said even though the law allows the state to pay their invoices within 30 days, they usually take just ten days or less to pay the recycling companies.

But because the Health Department had to juggle some accounts before the fiscal year ends on Monday, there was a delay.

"Normally they get paid within ten days, they got paid within 16 days.  That's what's at issue," said Gary Gill, deputy director of the State Health Department, which oversees the recycling program.

Gill said the company received a check from the state for $707,000 Thursday afternoon, including $250,000 that Reynolds invoiced June 10 and the remainder that it requested June 17.

"The bottom line is it was a one-week delay for $250,000 but still conforming with the law and still faster than the law demands," Gill said.

Meanwhile, business was brisk at other recyclers that remained open, such as the RRR Recycling location on King Street near Pua Lane in Kalihi.

RRR said it too has dealt with delayed payments from the state.

‘We can understand Reynolds' situation because the companies are fronting the money and we've been in the same predicament ourselves," said Keala Murphy, a spokeswoman for RRR.

KHON: Reynolds Recycling to reopen HI-5 redemption centers, bigger problems loom

read ... With $707K payment from state, Reynolds reopening

BWS Still Can't Get Bills Right

KHON: It all started in 2012. That’s when Stepulis learned there was a water leak at his home in Mariner’s Ridge.

“We were getting water bills of a $1,000, $1,200 for a few months, that was valid,” Stepulis said.

He paid those bills. But then in April 2013, his bill changed, and it’s never been the same.

For more than a year every water bill that Stepulis has received has showed a negative balance with these three words: DO NOT PAY.

“Then I thought, well we’re getting free water, but then I thought oh my goodness, I’m going to get a bill for $2,000 one of these days,” Stepulis said.

read ... The Bill is Coming

State to investigate Kamehameha Schools dump site

HNN: The state has opened an investigating into a potential illegal landfill at Kamehameha Schools Kapalama Heights campus, just as a former staffer is alleging that the dumping has been going on for decades.

Ronnie Kang, a retired Kamehameha Schools carpenter, said the site, located about half a mile uphill from the high school, has been an active dump site for years.

"There's stuff like old freezers, stoves ... appliances," Kang said.

"They were dumped in there and covered up with brush ... Someone should go down there with a metal detector."

read ... State to investigate Kamehameha Schools dump site

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