Property Tax Hike? You Have Until Sept 30 to Get Out of It
Livable Communities Survey Identifies Needs of Honolulu Residents 45+
'Running Around With Mask and Gun': Romy Cachola Fined Another $50K
HNN: State Rep. Romy Cachola has been fined $50,000 by the city Ethics Commission, Hawaii News Now has learned.
A 22-page commission advisory opinion alleges that Cachola accepted dozens of free meals and golf outings paid for by lobbyists, abused his city vehicle allowance and failed to disclose conflicts of interests on votes involving lobbyists who showered him with gifts.
"For 12 years, Councilmember Cachola sat on the council committees that had jurisdiction over ethics laws and policy," said the opinion, which was signed by Executive Director Chuck Totto....
It comes after Cachola was fined $2,500 by the state Campaign Spending Commission and agreed to repay $32,000 for using campaign funds to buy a car and pay for its upkeep...
Attorney Michael Green said his client is being singled out since other Council members received similar gifts. He said Cachola wanted to fight the charges but settled to avoid a lengthy and costly legal and emotional battle.
"I hate to see this summary which just makes it look like he was walking around with a mask and a gun," said Green.
"They write this junk which makes this guy look like he's been a thief for 30 years instead of doing the people's work."
(LOL! Know them by what they deny.)
PDF: News Release
PDF: Ethics Comm Adv Opinion 2014-6
read ... Cachola fined $50K
Rothberg: CD1 Race 'Potential Democratic headache'
RR: Regardless of whether you want to call it a wave, the fight for the House continues to creep into Democratic territory....And now some hot spots, such as Hawaii’s 1st District, are popping up as potential Democratic headaches and look vulnerable.... We changed the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating in nine House races this week: Hawaii’s 1st District – From Safe Democrat to Democrat Favored....
Background: Hospital Reform? Randy Perriera Says "F*** You"
read ... Potential Democratic Headache
Ige Slammed on HHSC Hospital Crisis
HM: Hannemann wanted Ige to explain why he didn’t push for a bill that would have helped the state hospital system. Aiona then piled on, asking the same question of Ige, who is the chairman of the powerful Ways and Means committee in the state Senate.
“If anyone wants to move a bill, you can. Why did you not see the urgency in regards to this issue?” Aiona asked.
read ... Ige Slammed
Secret Attorney General's Opinion Protects Secrets of Board Members
SA: A commendable new law that requires more transparency from members of 15 powerful state boards and commissions has been weakened, at least temporarily, by the state Ethics Commission and the Attorney General's Office.
Act 230 requires that the public have access to financial disclosures filed by board and commission members -- a requirement long in place for many other public officials -- in order to guard against hidden conflicts of interest....
Unfortunately, the commission, following the advice of the attorney general, has refused to apply the law retroactively to sitting members who filed disclosure statements prior to July 8, the effective date of Act 230. That means of the approximately 140 board members affected by the new law, only 22 have their disclosures posted online.
Full disclosure by all affected board members might not occur until mid-2016, two years after the law was passed by a unanimous Legislature.
It's difficult to understand the rationale for this delay. No provision in Act 230 requires it, and the intent of the Legislature is clear: "Due to limited resources," the bill reads, "the state ethics commission does not have the ability to search these records for potential conflicts of interest. The legislature finds that the public is in the best position to identify conflicts of interest."
Perhaps the answer lies in the attorney general's argument; but, ironically, the Ethics Commission refused requests to make it public, citing attorney-client privilege.
read ... Secrets Protecting Secrets
VA Waitlist: Veterans Not Fooled by Pfeffer
SA: Four months ago new patients were waiting 145 days — the longest period in the nation — to see a primary care physician, but the delay has now been reduced to less than 40 days, said Wayne Pfeffer, director of VA Pacific Islands Health Care System.
"My goal was 30 days and we're almost there," Pfeffer told about 50 veterans at the Oahu Veterans Center Friday....
Pfeffer said the number of Hawaii patients on the wait list, once numbering 1,900, has been all but eliminated.
"We've pretty well solved that," he said.
But Victor Ferrer, a marine veteran of the first Gulf War, said he continues to experience longer waits.
What happens, he said, is that when he calls his doctor and there is no appointment available, he's told to call back in 30 days. When he calls back again, he's told again there's no appointment and to call back in two weeks.
"A wait of 30 days turns into 60 days and sometimes it can turn into 90 days when a doctor is sick or overbooked," Ferrer said. "It's happened to me more than once."
read ... Veterans not Fooled
Caldwell's Homeless Czar Quit a Week Ago
SA: Witty-Oakland, a key point person for Caldwell's sometimes controversial programs on homelessness and affordable housing, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that she wants to spend more time with her aging parents on the mainland. Her last day was Sept. 17.
Gary Nakata, Witty-Oakland's deputy, is serving as acting community services director until a permanent replacement can be found. An advertisement for the position ran this week in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Managing Director Ember Shinn, Nakata and homeless services coordinator Jun Yang now head efforts to combat homelessness, Caldwell spokesman Jesse Broder Van Dyke said.
read ... Beginning of an Abercrombie Pattern?
KIUC Solar Array Sells Electricity at Half Price
KGI: By the end of this year, renewable resources will generate 30 percent of Kauai’s electricity, up from 8 percent in 2010.
- The Koloa array generates electricity at a cost of about 11 cents per kilowatt hour compared to about 23 cents for electricity created by burning oil.
read ... And Still Making money hand over fist
Lawmakers to hear from Honolulu police on domestic violence
HR: State lawmakers in the Senate and the House of Representatives have scheduled an informational briefing to hear from the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) and various social service providers on domestic violence in Hawaii, how HPD responds to domestic violence calls, and any suggestions for improvement. The briefing is an opportunity for lawmakers to gather information following a high-profile domestic violence case involving one of its officers.
The briefing, held by the Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs and the House Committee on Public Safety, will be on Tuesday, September 30 at 10 a.m. at the State Capitol in Room 309.
read ... Domestic Violence
Testimony: Halawa Guard Charged $500 to Smuggle Meth
SA: The only two who have not admitted guilt are Feso Malufau, a former Halawa guard, on trial for racketeering conspiracy, and accused of accepting bribes for smuggling in drugs and cigarettes, and Tineimalo "Ghost" Adkins, on trial for violent crimes aiding racketeering and accused of leading a violent gang attack on a fellow Halawa inmate....
Woods testified Malufau was involved from 2009 to 2011, starting once a week with two balls of ice, then grew to "four balls, 2 ounces of weed and two cartons of cigarettes."
Malufau set the price, charging $500 for a ball, $400 for a carton of cigarettes and $500 for an undisclosed amount of weed.
IRS Special Agent Mark MacPherson testified Malufau and his wife owned three houses, and their expenditures exceeded their income in 2007.
read ... Malufau
Thirty Meter Telescope groundbreaking slated Oct. 7
WHT: A groundbreaking ceremony and blessing for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) will take place on Oct. 7.
Public officials, telescope partners and members of the TMT International Observatory will gather on Mauna Kea to officially kick off construction of the $1.3 billion telescope.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi will attend and deliver remarks, according to a statement released Friday by TMT. TIO board chair Henry Yang also is expected to comment.
The telescope, part of a new generation of advanced optical telescopes, is not expected to be operational until 2022.
read ... October 7
Health Department to Replace DHS Regulating care home programs
KHON: Big changes are coming for those who watch over the elderly in community-based care home facilities....
that program will have a new watchdog: the state Department of Health. The department told KHON2 it will review the way all community-based care home programs are being regulated.
Keith Ridley, chief of the department’s Office of Health Care Assurance, says with all programs, “the primary caregiver would be, in fact, the primary caregiver.”
State Sen. Suzanne Chun-Oakland helped make the transition happen. “I hope that in the transition from DHS to the Department of Health we will have this high level of care, but also accountability,” she said.
When the incident with Mosman occurred, the CCFFH program was under the watch of the Department of Human Services. DHS worked with a private agency, Community Ties of America (CTA). Its Hawaii office is based in Kaneohe.
In a statement provided to KHON2, DHS says it moved Mosman to another facility once there was a finding of negligence and revoked Polintan’s license.
DHS says it believes it provided “appropriate oversight” over its contractor and that Community Ties of America “conducted itself appropriately.”
The health department conducts direct surveys of the 700 adult residential care homes and now it may also do the same with the 1,132 CCFFH operations that have now come under its watch.
“We have a contract with CTA and we’re hoping to continue to fulfill the obligations of that contract, and we’re going to expect CTA to fulfill the expectations of the contract. Anything beyond that, we can discuss,” said Ridley.
The health department also told KHON2 that the transition will allow the agency to take a look at all types of community-based care home facilities and work toward more “uniformity and consistency” in the way they are all regulated.
SA: Caregivers battle stress, fiscal strain, survey finds
read ... Home Health Care