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Monday, November 17, 2014
November 17, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:03 PM :: 3966 Views

Abercrombie's HCDA to Vote on Last Minute Development Deals

Punahou Thanks David Ige for His Financial Contributions

HHSC Not Alone: US Rural Hospitals in Critical Condition

Hospital Crisis: How to Use Union Work Rules for Fun and Profit

DLNR vs Hawaii County: In Whose Interest?

National Report Shows Hawaii 6th Lowest Child Homelessness

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted November 17, 2014

Lingle-Era Reform Leads to 50% Fewer Child Abuse Cases

SA: The number of confirmed child abuse cases in Hawaii has dropped by more than half since 2005.  Mirroring that trend, the number of children needing foster care declined by nearly 50 percent. The steep decreases have been attributed in part to the state's switch in late 2005 to a new but controversial program for determining how child welfare authorities respond to reports of suspected abuse.

The change by the Department of Human Services provided an option of keeping children in the home, rather than removing them, as long as the risk of substantial or imminent harm wasn't considered high and no safety threats were present.

Instead of removing the children, the state arranged to provide the family with support services, such as counseling, to address underlying problems contributing to their domestic troubles.

Under the old system, the children typically would have been removed, triggering their placement into foster care and a full-blown, generally adversarial Child Protective Services investigation.

The policy shift in 2005 initially had many skeptics, including Family Court judges who thought some cases would slip through the cracks.

But today judges laud the system, which can spare a child the trauma of entering foster care. It also allows for a more tailored response to address the family's needs.

read ... Less Child Abuse 

After Putting Ige in Office, HSTA Demands End to Evaluations

CB: If Gov.-elect David Ige is serious about his assertion to halt implementation of poorly designed aspects of the Educator Effectiveness System, he should start with standardized testing and linking scores from it to teacher evaluation....his running mate, Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui, worked shoulder to shoulder with this writer....

Common Core. Who’s it for? The education industry. The companies making obscene profits selling the tests, the textbooks, and the rest of the hoopla they say teachers cannot be without....

Who was appointed our schools’ superintendent? A former teacher? A principal? No, a lawyer, Kathryn Matayoshi. And she obviously has bought into the “business model” concept, because she has become disciple to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who takes great pride in his attempts to convert, or subvert, public education with his unholy alliance with the education industry when it comes to standardized testing and linking teacher evaluations to the scores.

Both Duncan and Matayoshi are backing away some, as voices everywhere are shouting their disdain for their methods. The billionaire think tank that got Common Core off the ground even advises caution....

read ... List of Demands

Uselessness of Hawaii's All-Democrat Congressional Delegation

SA: Takai's optimism may have to give way to reality.  As he attends orientation for new members this month in Washington, Takai prepares to become the junior member of a delegation solidly in the minority, after Republicans solidified their grasp on the U.S. House and took control of the U.S. Senate in this month's midterm elections.

Reality: Saddled With Useless Congressional Delegation, Petition Campaign only hope to Save Oahu Troops

read ... Useless

Rail Taxes are a Gift from Generations

CB: Shortly after winning the 2004 election Mayor Mufi Hannemann prioritized the Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project (HHCTCP) the city’s fourth attempt to build a mass transit system.  The Hawaii Legislature provided legislation to allow counties a .5 percent increase in the Hawaii General Excise Tax (GET) from 4 percent to 4.5 percent to fund transportation projects....

read ... Taxes

Five Issues to Track in State Government

CQ: Job Creation and Economic Development “State legislators around the country are looking to job creation to spur economic growth,” he wrote. “In doing so, legislators will consider policies that encourage job growth and expansion in their states.”

Medicaid Waivers “State legislators are considering a number of items associated with implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” he wrote. “Specifically, where control of the statehouse has changed from one party to another, there may be efforts to reverse the previous’ administration’s decision whether to participate in the federally-funded Medicaid expansion. In either situation, look for a debate in many state capitols around the country.”

Transportation Funding “Whatever happens in Congress regarding the Highway Trust Fund, state legislatures need a long-term funding solution for their transportation infrastructure,” Bullock wrote. “If Congress does not act, states will have to look at other funding solutions.”

The Affordability of Post-Secondary Education “As tuition and other educational expenses increase, state legislators are looking at ways to help offset some of the costs associated with pursuing a higher education,” he wrote.

Corrections Reform “With the cost of corrections increasing, states are looking at cutting expenses while maintaining public safety,” he wrote. “This might include expanding private prisons and a review of the judicial process.”

read ... Five Issues

Kauai Anti-GMO Activists Block Affordable Housing Project

KE: From the posh “Private Prince” project to a proposed resort designation at Mahaulepu, the writing is on the wall: barring an economic downturn or hurricane — the only two forces that have slowed Kauai construction in the past — more resort development is coming.

Curiously, though we've been hearing for the past two years that we must protect the visitor industry at all costs — even if it means destroying the seed companies and rejecting a dairy — once folks actually see the reality of putting all their eggs in the tourism basket, they don't want that, either.

Guess what? You don't get to have it both ways. As I've been saying for a long time now, when you allow the gentrification of ag land, it makes farming economically unfeasible. Once you eliminate agriculture, development is sure follow. And since there's no money in affordable housing, regardless of how much it's needed, it's gonna be upscale stuff in the very best places.

Hence, the “Private Prince” on land that once ran cattle, and a proposal — driven at least in part by the community's rejection of agricultural uses there — to set aside 13 acres at Mahaulepu for a resort.

Simultaneously, Councilmen Gary Hooser and Tim Bynum, along with Adam Asquith, Carl Berg, Don Heacock, Kapua Sproat and others, are trying to stop Grove Farm development in Lihue/Hanamaulu — one area where affordable housing actually is planned — by having the Puna District designated a groundwater management area.

If Grove Farm can't develop in Lihue, it will develop at Mahaulepu, and/or sell off more large tracts of land to the uber-rich, as has already happened with 2,700 acres at Kipu. And if the low-and-middle-class housing for residents is killed in Lihue, where will it be built? It won't.

read ... The Anti-GMO Movement is Flacking for Big Developers

DoAg Pesticide Inspectors Still Backlogged

CB: The Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Branch is in charge of regulating pesticide sales, distributing licenses for restricted-use pesticide applicators, and ensuring that applicators comply with the law.

The agency used to have five pesticide inspectors on Oahu, but now it only has two. On Kauai, there’s been just one pesticide inspector for the past decade. In total, there are just five pesticide inspectors statewide, one fewer than last year.

Last session, officials asked the Legislature for eight more positions and lawmakers agreed to fund four, including three inspectors and one case developer who reviews pesticide inspection reports. But the positions haven’t been filled yet, said Thomas Matsuda, program manager at the Pesticide Branch.

The agency’s pesticide inspectors generate about 70 reports a year, and just one case developer, Avis Onaga, reviews all the pesticide inspection reports.

The backlog of cases means she’s still reviewing some reports from 2012 while also trying to catch up on reports from 2013 and 2014, Matsuda said.

An increase in public information requests has added to her workload and further slowed progress on the backlog, Matsuda said.

read ... Nobody Really Cares

Horizon Lines sale speaks of increased shipping competition, but impact on local businesses still foggy

KGI:  “Shipping is huge with us and we are looking at getting more information,” said Sherry Moniz, Cost-U-Less, Kapaa store manager. Moniz said shipping is of interest all over Hawaii and the South Pacific but the store wasn’t banking on costs changing anytime soon because of the business deal. “At this point, we are not too concerned.”

When the deal was announced last week, Pasha spokeswoman Emily Sinclair said the company will become a significant competitor by providing a viable alternative to consumers who seek convenience and good prices, but what changes could be made won’t be looked at until after the sale is final.

Ali Nikhoo, Horizon senior vice president and Hawaii trade lane manager, said he expects Pasha will be moving the same cargo, using the same ports and with the same people loading and unloading it....

Kauai Coffee President Wayne Katayama said the grower is a “back hauler” which is someone who exports more cargo off-island than they bring back. This “dead hauling,” as it’s called, fills cheaper, otherwise empty containers with coffee on the return leg to the Mainland.  That is good business, Katayama said....

In economics, the term competition is a characteristic of competitive markets, said Paul Brewbaker of TZ Economics in Kailua. The Matson-Pasha duopoly is a strategically competitive rivalry of a two-agent, dynamic game where capacity does not change even if the brands do.

“It’s rivalry, not competition,” he said....

The Jones Act of the federal Merchant Marine Act of 1920, requires a vessel to be U.S. built, flagged, crewed, owned and managed to transport cargo by water between two points within noncontiguous domestic shipping routes to include Alaska, Guam, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

Mike Hansen, president of the Hawaii Shippers Council, said Horizon’s four Hawaii container steamships were built in 1980. The average age of a ship in noncontiguous U.S. trade is 30 years, and 12 years for international carriers.

The ships are due for special surveys, technical inspections and emissions regulations tests that have a lot to do with the sale, he said. Steam ships were exempted until recently and if they don’t pass the review they could not operate.

Ship owners and operators under the Jones Act want to protect their domestic markets with a duopoly arrangements, he said, while competitors want an exemption to allow purchase of cheaper foreign-build merchant ships. Keeping old fleets creates artificial scarcity and controlled freight rates that ultimately impact the cost of living.

Replacing them by allowing less expensive foreign built ships would reduce freight rates through lower capital costs and competition from new companies to have a positive impact on the economy, he said.

“These ships are getting long in the tooth,” Hansen said....

read ... Jones Act

EV Drivers Like Free Electricity, Want Somebody to Buy Them More Charging Stations

SA:  ...Franco, who depends on public charging stations, was finding it hard to find an open slot last week. Unlike most EV owners, Franco doesn't have a charging station at home.

As a 28-year-old renter, she didn't want to charge her car at home and burden her roommates with a higher electric bill. So she's left with looking for public stations (where YOU can pick up her bill) or burning gas in her plug-in hybrid.

"Charge stations now are hard to find," said Franco. "It's hard to actually get a spot."

The spread of charging stations is key to getting more drivers to switch to electric cars that can lower the state's dependence on foreign oil.

In 2012 the Legislature passed a law requiring parking lots that have 100 parking spaces or more to designate at least one space exclusively for EVs and equip it with a charging system.

read ... EV Drivers Want Somebody to Buy Them More Charging Stations

Huff Po: Tranny Annoyed with Petulant 'Husband'

HP: "What most compelled us to grab our cameras and begin to follow Hina as the central character of a new film was her (sic) brief mention of an upcoming trip to Fiji to pick up her (sic) Tongan husband [Haemaccelo Kalu, from Niuafo'ou Island (population 650 people) in the Kingdom of Tonga], a man she (sic) had married a year earlier but had to leave waiting while she (sic) returned to Hawai'i to get his immigration papers in order....

Hina's patience while trying to handle her (sic) responsibilities as a cultural leader is frequently challenged by her (sic) younger husband, who will call her (sic) on the phone when he misses a bus and doesn't know how else to get to his job. Although Haemaccelo has no problems with the fact that Hina is transgender, he is subject to intense moments of jealousy when she (sic) is 'enjoying the companionship' of her (sic) male friends or other transgenders. While Hina works to share native Hawaiian values which stress unconditional love and respect for all, sometimes her (sic) husband's petulance can really get on her (sic) nerves....

AO: A Different Hawaii Tranny Speaking in Florida

read ... Jealousy

High Cost of Living? Duke Aiona Speaks from Experience

CB: The state Ethics Commission financial disclosure form that he filed as part of his candidacy for governor listed $934,000 in personal debts in 2013, including $575,000 for the mortgage on their house.

With the campaign behind him, Aiona was refreshingly honest about something that so many other professionals in the islands hide, perhaps for fear of being stigmatized. He and his wife Vivian will have to hustle, like so many others, to pay off debts they have accrued to house and educate their family.

As Aiona talked about some past professional decisions, it gradually became clear that the cost of living — as well as some optional spending choices that are not exclusive to his family — has affected his professional path and undermined his financial security even as he approaches retirement age.

With a gallows’ chuckle, the 59-year-old said, “We are probably going to end up working the rest of our lives.”

Meanwhile: Punahou Thanks David Ige for His Financial Contributions

read ... Experience

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