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Tuesday, July 29, 2014
July 29, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:53 PM :: 4736 Views

Shocker: Hawaii only 8th Most Socialist State

Honolulu: Good Recession, Bad Recovery

Fundrace: Djou Ahead by 40%

Russ Grunch Council 8 Campaign Gains Momentum with Key Star-Advertiser Endorsement

Commission on Water Resources Seeks Nominees

In Spite of Medicaid Expansion, Hawaii Hospital Performance up 10.7%

Homelessness: Council Ignores Waikiki Residents' Plea for Help

Takai Fined by Campaign Spending Commission

SA: Takai confirmed to the Hono­lulu Star-Advertiser on Monday that he was fined $1,000 by the state Campaign Spending Commission for improper reporting. He said that his state House campaign fund paid $20,000 to a mainland firm to conduct polling to look at his viability compared with other candidates in statewide elections.

At the time, Takai said, he was exploring various options and had not decided to run for Congress. The poll included potential candidates for governor and lieutenant governor.

Takai acknowledged that the poll helped persuade him to run for Congress, but said had he chosen to run for governor, lieutenant governor or some other state race, charging the poll to his state campaign account would not have been a violation. Shortly after he announced he was running for Congress last summer, Takai said he was approached by the state commission, and he agreed to reimburse his state campaign account from his federal campaign fund and to pay a $1,000 penalty. The violation was his first in 20 years of political office, he said.

read ... Buried in Paragraph #15

Aiona Could be Next Governor

CB: GOP strategist and former executive director of the Hawaii Republican Party Dylan Nonaka says, “Duke can win this time and Mufi helps him.  Duke doesn’t necessarily need to get a lot of Democrats to vote for him in the general election, he just needs them to refrain from voting for the Democrat who wins the primary.” ...

In a three-way race, a victor needs far fewer votes to win — only a plurality, not the 50 percent plus one vote necessary to win a two-person race.

GOP analyst Nonaka says the recent private and public poll numbers show Aiona pulling a solid 40 percent to 45 percent of Hawaii voters, which Nonaka says would be enough for Aiona to win.

Analyst Nonaka’s scenario for Aiona to become governor depends on disgruntled Abercrombie supporters after a possible Abercrombie loss in the primary throwing their votes to Independent Party candidate Mufi Hannemann rather than to Ige.

Or if bitter Ige supporters after a possible Ige loss vote in the general election for  Hannemann instead of Abercrombie.

Or if some angry Democrats just throw their hands up in the air and refuse to vote in the general.

In that scenario, Hannemann is a “spoiler” who siphons off votes from the Democrat candidate but not enough votes for Hannemann to win.

read ... Aiona Wins

Oahu: 32% of Absentee Votes Returned So Far

KITV: If history is a good indicator, nearly half of all the ballots cast statewide in the upcoming primary will be done through early voting. Of the 290,695 votes cast in the 2012 primary, 142,414 were either absentee or walk-in votes, or 48.9 percent of total turnout....

As of Monday, 113,000 absentee ballots had been mailed on Oahu, and so far 35,761 ballots (31.7%) have been returned. In Hawaii County, 22,554 absentee ballots have been mailed, and 6,484 were returned (28.8%). Elections officials on Kauai and Maui County did not provide statistics as of news deadline on Monday.

Hawaii residents have until Aug. 2 to register for an absentee mail-in ballot, but Mau wants voters to fill out a registration form as soon as possible.   

"If you mail it on Aug. 2, we may not get it until a couple days later. And then if we mail it out, you probably won't get it until just about Aug. 9 -- election day," said Mau. "If that happens, you can vote and drop your ballot off at any of the precincts."

Voters who receive an absentee ballot can still take part in walk-in voting if they so choose. Volunteers at a walk-in voting site will nullify your absentee ballot before you're allowed to vote.

read ... Early voting now rivals ballots cast on Election Day

Manoa Chancellor: I want to stay

KHON: The head of the faculty union UHPA, J.N. Musto, said Apple was given notice by UH President David Lassner that Apple will be replaced.

Apple told KHON2 on Monday that he wants to keep his job.

Apple said: “We’ve a lot to do here in Manoa.  Thank you.”

KHON2 asked: “You want to stay?”

Apple replied: “Yes.”

KHON2 asked: “Did the president give you a timeline?”

Apple replied: “No.  I got to go.”

Apple referred most questions to his attorney Jerry Hiatt, who told KHON2: “…no decision has been made to remove Tom Apple as Chancellor of UH Manoa,” and that “…any decision to remove Mr. Apple would violate that contract — which has a three year term remaining.”

Musto said he considers Apple a friend, and that the Chancellor broke the news to him last week.

KHON2 asked: “What exactly did Chancellor Apple tell you about his situation?”

Musto replied: “Just simply that he’s been notified that they want to replace him as chancellor, or that the President wants to replace him as chancellor.”

KHON2 asked: “What was your initial reaction when you heard this from Chancellor Apple?”

Musto: “I have tremendous sympathy for the circumstances he has suffered from the time he set foot on the Manoa campus.  I think in some sense he was not doomed to fail, but it would’ve been very hard to succeed with the situation he was put in.”

“I don’t think he was given the resources and the authority to really succeed in this role,” Musto added.  “But I’m severely disappointed.  He is truly a good man.  He’s an academic, he cares about students — graduate students and undergraduate students.”

read ... Supporters come to UH Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple’s defense

Hawaii Health Connector Still Attempting to Take Prepaid Health Care Act Hostage

AP: The problem starts with the Hawaii Health Connector, a federally mandated insurance marketplace that's losing money. A temporary funding plan went into effect this month, but once that money runs out, lawmakers will need to settle on a long-term fix that officials (desperate to save their cush jobs at the useless Hawaii Health Connector) characterize as a choice between propping up a failing system at the expense of taxpayers, or turning control over to federal authorities at the risk of unraveling the state's comprehensive Prepaid Health Care Act....

"Hawaii is in a different position than almost any place else in the country," said Michael Gold, the CEO of Hawaii Medical Services Association, the state's largest health insurer. The exchange "doesn't really fit Hawaii," he said.

Because of its unique position, state officials asked for exemptions under an innovation waiver. Federal officials, however, say such shelter won't be available until 2017.

Critics have argued state officials should have seen foreseen the problems, but the exchange's interim director, Tom Matsuda, said such foresight was impossible because "the federal rules changed frequently as we were building the system." ...

Hawaii hasn't received definitive guidance about what would happen in a federal takeover....

Dianne Winter Brookins, an attorney who specializes in health care law, was more optimistic, saying "employers will have to continue to comply with the Prepaid Health Care Act, even if the feds take over the exchange." (That's right.)

To get by, Hawaii lawmakers approved a $1.5 million funding patch to last through the end of the year, but exchange officials say it could cost from $4.5 to $15 million annually to operate.

Gold said Hawaii should shut the exchange down, but state officials see that as untenable.

"If the Connector is allowed to fail, we think that puts the Prepaid Health Care Act in jeopardy," Matsuda said.  (Translation: It puts Matsuda's job in jeopardy.)

2010: Health Insurance? No need: Abercrombie promises to dump Prepaid Health Care Act

read ... Prepaid?

Why are Hawaii electricity rates still so high even after integration of renewables?

PBN: Real Answer: Because wind and solar are designed to vacuum money out of your pockets by charging laughably exorbitant wholesale electric rates. This is the price you pay for allowing creation of a State religion known as 'Environmentalism.'

Official Answer: Hawaii Energy Office Administrator Mark Glick recently told PBN in an exclusive interview that the fact that the state is hitting targeted goals is reason enough to not worry so much about rates. That’s because he says that the integration of renewables will have a greater impact over time.

(Quick IQ Test: Do you believe the official answer?)

read ... A Bunch of Excuses

VA hands out millions in malpractice cases

KJRH: And 2013 returning veterans waited 545 days to see a doctor in Honolulu ....

PDF: Report

read ... VA hands out millions in malpractice cases

Luxury Resort Not Satisfied with Dairy Compromise

PBN: Kawailoa Development, which earlier this month filed a lawsuit against Hawaii Dairy Farms claiming its business will be adversely affected by the dairy farm's wastewater treatment unit and effluent ponds, said Monday that Hawaii Dairy Farms' recent actions do little to show that it has listened to the community or that it will comply with applicable laws.

“The revised plan makes very clear that Hawaii Dairy Farms still ‘intends to ultimately develop a 2,000-cow dairy in the Mahaulepu Valley,’” Kawailoa Development said in a statement. “Whether or not phased, the proposed operation by [Hawaii Dairy Farms] has therefore not changed. It is essentially unmodified. It is the same project. It is still subject to the Hawaii [Environmental Impact Statement] law.”

There are more than 1,000 employees at the Grand Hyatt Kauai and Poipu Bay Golf Course, and environmental consequences that will result from Hawaii Dairy Farm’s operations are of concern to the hotel and golf course, and are also a public concern for all those who live or work in the area, Kawailoa Development said.

read ... Stinking Hypocrisy

Do Anti-GMO Voters Matter at Ballot Box?

Borreca: Hanabusa can argue that the tradition old-guard Democratic voters, many of whom are Japanese-Americans, will vote for her, while Schatz can see new neighbor island voters, concerned about the environment and genetic engineering in the food supply, voting for him.

"It started out with Schatz ahead, but now Hanabusa has caught up and it is even," said one long-time campaign strategist on Hawaii island.

"The AJA vote is even more reliable than the senior citizen vote, so I think Hanabusa can win, just like Ariyoshi," said the Hawaii islander.

A Hawaii island resident in Waimea noted that when Schatz and Hanabusa held a debate in Hilo recently, "Hanabusa won the ‘T-shirt war' — lots more wearing her shirt … most were well over 70 years old and mostly AJA."

But, she added, that at a gathering for Schatz several months ago, "it was pretty well attended on short notice by quite a diverse group. I think he impressed quite a few that evening."

A longtime observer on Kauai added that there are questions about the actual political strength of the anti-GMO movement.

He said that while those opposed to genetically modified foods are a visible group, their strength in numbers and ability to produce voters on Election Day have not been measured.

"It is just not clear whether anti-GMO folks are voters — a lot of them are new here," he said....

For instance: Video: Anti-GMO Maui Mayoral Candidate Runs from Cop, Gets Tazed

read ... don't vote and don't count

Anti-GMO Rockefellers Kill Children in 3rd World

KE: I followed a link to a Scientific American blog post about a study, published in the journal Environment and Development Economics, that delved into how anti-GMO opposition has impacted the development of “golden rice.” Syngenta, after figuring out how to insert the Vitamin A -producing gene from carrots into rice, had “handed all financial interests over to a non-profit organization, so there would be no resistance,” according to the post.

Twelve years later, however, opponents have prevented the cultivation of that rice. As the post notes:

[The researchers] quantified the price of that opposition, in human health, estimating that the delayed application of Golden Rice in India alone has cost 1,424,000 life years since 2002. That odd sounding metric – not just lives but ‘life years’ – accounts not only for those who died, but also for the blindness and other health disabilities that Vitamin A deficiency causes. The majority of those who went blind or died because they did not have access to Golden Rice were children.

These are real deaths, real disability, real suffering, not the phantom fears about the human health effects of Golden Rice thrown around by opponents, none of which have held up to objective scientific scrutiny.

One of those opponents is the Center for Food Safety (CFS). The nonprofit organization played a big role in drafting Kauai's GMO-pesticide regulatory bill, Ordinance 960, and is currently helping to defend it against a legal challenge mounted by the chem/seed companies.

As I've reported previously, CFS gets the bulk of its funding from the Rockefeller clan via the Cornerstone Campaign....

read ... Murderous Rockefeller Imperialists

Rail Set to Destroy 115 Year old Business

HNN: At 1163 Kona Street there is a century's worth of stitches.

"My father came here in the 1800's with one of the first sewing machines in the islands," said Sonny Nelson, Art Nelson Sailmaker.

The Art Nelson Sailmaker business was sewn together back in 1899.

"There is tons of history here about the family," said Nelson, who is still working at the age of 81.

The sail makers once made the biggest sail ever.

"One sail was 1,680 pounds," said Nelson.

They made the sail for the original Hokuleia. Olympians won medals with their sails.

"This whole thing is more than a business to me," said Nelson.

Now the business may bust at the seam. Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) plans to tear down the building because a corner of the property is in line with the rail route.

read ... Rail Destruction

Unescaped inmates to wear electronic bracelets to Ease Recapture

KHON: “I view it as a calculated risk that we allow these people to go out into the community. The more people you have, the chances are, the escapes will go up,” Otani said.

Officials say despite the recent escapes, the program does work.

Each month, the state approves parole for 26 inmates at the work furlough program and seven fail. That’s a 79 percent success rate.

But how else can the state improve and prevent walkaways and escapes?

Within the next month, a handful of inmates at Laumaka will begin a pilot program that’s been in the works. They will wear an electronic device, so the state will know their whereabouts at all times. If this is successful, more inmates at Laumaka will wear one.

“We want to identify specific populations that would need these added supervision and hook them up, possibly using GPS technology,” Otani said.

It costs $5 a day to put an electronic bracelet on an inmate. The state says that’s more efficient than sending staff out to check on the inmates’ whereabouts.

read ...  Ease Recapture

Kauai County hurts residents with tax hikes, refusal to reduce spending

KGI: I have to pay the county fees for trash collection of $288 annually and county sewage fees have raised private cesspool pumping fees to $350 a load and has caused one increase of rent last year.

Now, it looks like another rent increase is coming up this year. We were just notified by the water department that our rates are going up as of July. Some of my tenants have been on HUD, veterans, some disabled, others just have normal paying jobs and some have been in between jobs or collecting unemployment. They are not highly paid employees. It looks to me like the County of Kauai may be contributing to the homeless problem if this keeps up and tenants cannot afford their rents. I have renters here with me for as long as 15 years. I think that the county needs a financial adviser to stop their overspending foolishly and to tighten their belts like we have to.

There is also an inequitable exemption that no one has mentioned and that I was denied again this year. It is called the homeowner’s low-income exemption that I have filed for every year and have received it each year since it started because my adjusted gross income was low and I met that requirement. Well, some financial wizard figured out that they could lower that AGI and cause some of us to drop out and pay more taxes. When that didn’t work, they took away the adjusted gross income for 2011 and put down only the full gross figure which went down from $60,200 to $56,200. That means that whatever legal deductible expenses that you had for maintenance and repairs were not counted. So thereby, I was over the limit and denied that exemption every year since then. They don’t notify you of the changes on the gross income limits except that they say it is posted in January of each year online and in their office. The IRS and the Hawaii State Tax Collector use the adjusted gross income to figure out our annual personal income taxes that we owe.

These tax collectors say that I have not made enough money to live on and I don’t have to pay personal income taxes and in fact, the Hawaii State Tax Department refunds me $85.

read ... Squeezed to Pay for County Government

Troops Bemoan Missing Cars after Shipping Change

MC: "Apparently IAL also has the ability to see into the future now as my [tracker] page says that my car arrived in Honolulu on 30 July -- even though they told me last week it was already here, in a crate, and ready to be picked up tomorrow," Nicole Hunt, a Navy spouse moving from California to Hawaii wrote July 27 on a new Facebook page dedicated to complaints and support for those dealing with the problems.

The Facebook page, "International Auto Logistics: Reviews, Complaints, and Inconveniences," was started July 22 by Army wife Adrienne Estrada and four friends based at Fort Shafter, Hawaii, after their feeds were filled with complaints about car shipments to the island, she said. While Estrada's vehicle isn't due to arrive at Honolulu from Schweinfurt, Germany, until Aug. 22, her attempts to track its location online have failed.

"My husband has even called the Honolulu vehicle processing center in order to get a pinpoint location of our vehicle," she said. "We were told, 'I can't see it anywhere on our system. It might be in the U.S. somewhere. It's probably in Los Angeles since it's coming to Hawaii.'"

read ... Troops Bemoan Missing Cars after Shipping Change

Hawaii Highway Bond Deal to Benefit from Timing

BB: The Hawaii highway deal set to price Tuesday will benefit from a combination of inflows and a light issuance week on the primary calendar.

read ... Hawaii Highway Deal to Benefit from Timing

HHSC Squeezes Medical Coding for Revenue

HF: Money Atwal, who is both CFO and CIO at Hilo Medical Center in Hilo, Hawaii, is digging deeper into hospital operations to extract more revenue in the face of lower provider reimbursements and declining resources. The rural nature of Hawaii Island adds to the challenge.

One major undertaking has been to continuously improve the medical center’s coding, documentation and charge capture systems to obtain the most efficient and correct patient care delivery information that will result in a net increase in revenue despite lower payments. Technology has been an important tool.

Atwal, who came from The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu, spoke recently with Healthcare Finance News at his office at Hilo Medical Center, which serves largely rural residents of the eastern side of the Big Island. With two remote critical access hospitals associated with Hilo Medical Center, it has a combined 142 beds under its system and expanding outpatient clinics.

read ... Squeezed

Nepotists Demand Funding

KHON: “The funds for all the other charter schools were released on July 18 and that’s by law, and yet Halau Lokahi has not had any funds released to us,” said Laara Allbrett, Halau Lokahi co-founder. “Our objective is to get the monies released so we can take care of our landlord, take care of our obligations, and the students are looking forward to school starting in August.”

The school has been plagued with money problems, racking up a debt of more than $400,000.

Catherine Payne, chair of the State Public Charter School Commission, previously told KHON2 that while charter schools got their initial payment in July, the commission decided not to give any payment to Halau Lokahi until it received a viable financial plan for the entire school year.

“We didn’t want to give them money that would only take them part way through the year as they pay off their old debts and trying to move forward,” she said. “I know that there’s a feeling sometimes that we’re not supporting them, but truly our commissioners want this school to go forward, but we have a great responsibility for these state funds and to the students at the schools.”

read ... Nepotism

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