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Saturday, December 13, 2014
December 13, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:00 PM :: 3578 Views

90 Candidates File for Neighborhood Board Elections

FBI Names Paul D. Delacourt Special Agent in Charge of Honolulu Division

UH Hilo Highlighted in New Report: Most U.S. Colleges Violate Students’ Free Speech Rights

The Inside Scoop on HECO’s Four Year Death Cycle

IM: On March 1, 2012 the Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission opened docket 2012-0036 initiating the HECO Companies’ Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) process....

In his 2014 State-of-the-State address, Governor Neil Abercrombie singled out a single company – Nextera....

Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI) Executive Vice President...had a history of being involved in corporate mergers and reorganizations.

The first involved Citizens.

Frontier Communications Corporation was formerly known as Citizens Utilities Company (1935 – 2000) and then Citizens Communications Company (2000 - 2008).

In 2000 Citizens sought to sell their Kauai Electric Division to the newly formed Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC).

In Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission docket 2000-0108 Alan Oshima represented both the buyer and the seller. The deal was overpriced and was rejected by the Commission.

In 2002 the Public Utilities Commission opened docket 2002-0060 to review a second attempt by Citizens to sell their Kauai operations to KIUC. The price was lowered by nearly $100 million. Alan Oshima represented only the seller. The Commission approved the purchase.

In 2005 Oshima served as the lead Hawai`i regulatory counsel to the Carlyle Group in its acquisition of Verizon Hawaii.

Oshima served as Hawaiian Telcom’s General Counsel, Senior Vice President, and Corporate Secretary (2005-08).

In 2008 Oshima joined the HECO Board. During these HECO days, Oshima helped Hawaiian Telcom to emerge from reorganization in 2010. In 2011 Oshima moved to the HEI Board.

During May 2014, the month that Oshima received his new role, HECO CEO Richard M. Rosenblum announced that he would be gone within a year....

In September HEI announced that Oshima was going to step down from his HEI position, and focus his full effort at HECO. Effective October 1, Oshima became HECO’s President and CEO....

The Merger Agreement specifies that the Initial End Date for completing all regulatory reviews will be December 3, 2015 and the final End Date will be June 3, 2016.

read ... HECO’s Four Year Death Cycle

Hawaii Pacific Health exec Virginia Pressler named state health director

PBN: Gov. David Ige on Friday named Dr.Virginia Pressler, a physician and executive with Hawaii Pacific Health, to serve as director of the Hawaii State Department of Health.

Pressler, executive vice president and chief strategic officer at Hawaii Pacific Health, will be returning to to the state Health Department, where she served as deputy director for the health resources administration from 1999 to 2002 under former Gov. Ben Cayetano....

While at the DOH, Pressler secured 60 percent of the $1.3 billion tobacco settlement fund for public health purposes, and began the Tobacco Trust Fund, Healthy Hawaii Initiative, Hawaii Outcomes Institute and Hawaii Uninsured Project....

LINK: News Release from Governor's Office

SA: Pressler picked to lead Department of Health

read ... Hawaii Pacific Health exec Virginia Pressler named state health director

State Supreme Court Rules Counties Do Not Have Duty to Maintain Public Records

ROA: ...On November 13, 2014, the HAWSCT issued its unanimous opinion in Molfino v. Yuen, SCWC-10-0000150, a case we designated as a writ to watch here, refusing to impose a common law duty of reasonable care requiring a county planning department to maintain all relevant correspondence related to properties in its files at all times....

The HAWSCT refused to impose upon the County a legal duty based on the failure to maintain the records.  According to the HAWSCT, there is no such common law duty.  The HAWSCT also held that the Hawaii County rule that requires public records be kept available for inspection did not contain a duty to maintain the records.  Further, the court held that the state’s open records law also did not impose a statutory duty to maintain accurate records.  According to the court, “policy considerations counsel against the judicial creation of a legal duty[.]”  Slip. Op. at 15.

The HAWSCT’s full opinion, authored by Justice McKenna, is available here....

ILind: Hawaii Supreme Court opinion appears to undercut full public access to government records

read ... Public Access

FBI Director Visits Honolulu, Focus on Cybercrime

HNN: "The cyber threat affects all of the FBI's responsibilities. It's where fraud happens, it's where kids get hurt and it's where terrorists increasingly go."

Comey also talked about the use of cyber attacks for spying.

"I see a tremendous amount of cyber espionage going on. The Chinese government being prominent among them looking to steal our intellectual property," he said.

The Hawaii office, which has about 200 agents covering the entire Pacific Rim, already dedicates a lot of its resource to counter-intelligence and national security issues.

In recent years, it has handled a number of high profile cases, such as the investigation into Noshir Gowadia, the engineer who sold B-2 bomber secrets to China and other countries, and Edward Snowden, the former Hawaii resident who leaked thousands of classified documents.

"Look, this is where a huge part of the nation's military, civilian and intelligence infrastructure is. So it's where foreign nation-states are going to come when they want to steal stuff from us," Comey said.

During his visit, Comey met with local agents and the new Special Agent-in-Charge of the Honolulu office, Paul Delacourt. He also held discussions with the local chiefs of police and U.S. Attorney Flo Nakakuni.

read ... Cybercrime

Suspension lifted for HPD officer involved in police brutality case

HNN: The FBI and Internal affairs investigation into a police brutality case continues but sources tell me, Honolulu Police Officer Vince Morre is already back at work.

Morre is seen on video, only obtained by Hawaii News Now, punching, kicking, and then throwing a chair at a man on September 5th at a game room near Ala Moana.

The unprovoked attack left the 25-year old victim with staples in his head and a broken bone in his hand.  It also left Morre on unpaid leave, something the department doesn't do often.

But civil service rules allow an employee to return to work and collect a pay check again after 30 days. There is one exception, if the administration extends that leave.  HPD did do that in this case, extending the status to 60 days, but that is the maximum, so the department had no choice but to allow Morre to return.  He is on desk duty and has had his police powers removed.

There is another option, fire him.  By procedure the department doesn't fire officers before investigations are complete, because they can often get their jobs back with back pay.

Both the FBI and internal investigations could take upwards of six months....

read ... Suspension Lifted

House Bill 83 keeps compact funds intact

GPDN: President Barack Obama's budget proposal for fiscal 2015 recommended decreasing discretionary "compact-impact" funding for Guam by $1.6 million compared to what was approved for fiscal 2014, according to Bordallo. Guam, Hawaii and the Northern Marianas share the bulk of $30 million in annual federal compact-impact funding for services provided to migrants from the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and the Marshall Islands. The island nations' Compact of Free Association agreements with the United States allow their citizens to move to America. Tens of thousands have relocated to Guam.

Bordallo said she worked with House budget-writers to keep Guam's funding for compact impact at the fiscal 2014 level.

Foreign worker visas

The bill also provides for an extension of the exemption from national "H" foreign worker visa caps for Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Guam's construction industry lobbied for the extension, saying the upcoming military buildup would require more skilled construction workers than what the island's local workforce can provide.

The bill also authorizes $128 million for military construction on Guam in fiscal 2015, including two Navy projects that directly support the relocation of Marines from Okinawa to Guam.

read ... House Bill 83 keeps compact funds intact

Energy Security?  Repeal Jones Act

IPD: The path forward on improving energy security in the Caribbean and Puerto Rico in particular involves the following key steps:

1. Wean electric utilities off of costly foreign oil and diesel and look to viable alternatives such as propane as a bridge to natural gas. This bridge is in part driven by the U.S. shale gas bonanza that is slated to make America a net exporter of energy by 2020.

2. De-risk contracts with heavily indebted public utilities like PREPA through global capital markets and insurance solutions that can attract viable commercial partners giving them comfort in light of enfeebled state-owned counterparties.

3. Repeal crippling facets of the Merchant Marine or, as it is more commonly known Jones Act that nearly doubles the cost of ship-borne trade in U.S. islands, such as Hawaii and Puerto Rico, where it is more cost-effective to receive shipments from China, than it is from the U.S. mainland.

The conservative Heritage Foundation has argued vociferously that the Jones Act is an outdated protectionist policy that not only hampers U.S. economic competitiveness, but harms national security. No place feels the crippling effects of the Jones Act and its narrow interests more than Hawaii and Puerto Rico, two island territories that can ill-afford an unfair playing field. The time for political will and action around enhancing Caribbean energy security and increasing the cost-effectiveness of energy supply is now. Failure to take concerted action will only lead to long-term challenges and further backsliding in the region that will be costlier and more complex to solve in the future.

read ... Repeal and Relief

WaPo Laughs at Hawaii Obama Library proposal

WaPo: ...The big underdog in the race is the University of Hawaii — and they have been especially open in explaining their proposal to the public, realizing they have stiff competition in the contiguous United States. They have commissioned three designs for the library to help those looking over the proposals imagine how awesome a presidential library on the beach might be. And they want to make sure you know that they want to build the first ever presidential library on the BEACH....

However, their extensive plan does not include a video of people playing word association and saying "reading presidential papers!" when given the prompt, "beach."

The Obamas are supposed to announce their pick by March 2015, after which they will have to raise hundreds of millions of dollars to build it.

PBN: Washington Post takes snarky shot at Hawaii's bid for Obama library

read ... WaPo

Senate Dems Suffer So Many Losses that they now rely on Hirono for Intelligence, Schatz for Ethics

P: As they head into the minority in January, Senate Democrats are poised to lose one to two seats on each of the chamber’s committees – diminishing their influence as the new GOP majority vows to make the committee process a central part of their governing strategy next year.

Republicans will hold a 54-46 majority in the Senate in the 114th Congress....

The powerful Appropriations panel picks up three new members: Sens. Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Chris Murphy of Connecticut....

Peters, as well as Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, will join the Homeland panel and Hirono will join Intelligence. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia will join Aging, while Peters, Hirono and Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware will become Small Business committee members.

Veterans Affairs’ picks up Manchin, and Peters, the only new member of the Senate Democratic Caucus, also gets a seat on the Joint Economic Committee.

The Senate Ethics Committee, which is divided equally between three Democrats and three Republicans, will have two new Democratic members: Schatz and Coons.

read ... Politico

Damage at Kailua Waste Water Treatment Plant Will Cost taxpayers

KHON: ...The state is investigating its second industrial accident in as many weeks.

This one occurred at a city wastewater treatment plant. No on was injured in the incident but the taxpayers will be hit with an expensive bill to fix the damage.

The Kailua Wastewater Treatment Plant sits not far from homes, and from a recreation center. Pictures provided to KHON2 were taken shortly after the incident last week. The pictures show the top of a digester- a tank that breaks down the solids in wastewater. The concrete cover is partially covered with sewage sludge. That’s because the cover, which actually floats on top of the wastewater, is tipped to one side.

A plant worker described what led to the accident. “The supervisors were transferring sludge in the digester,” said Kenneth Mersburgh, “and the cover tipped and damaged the digester.” ...

A spokesman for the Hawaii State Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health said, “There is an ongoing investigation that was generated by a complaint by a worker at the facility. Today, an investigator was at the site as part of the investigative process.”

Kahikina says a few years ago, the covers of all four digesters were repaired at the plant, but because of last week’s incident, it appears the cover of one of digesters will have to be repaired.

“We spent about a million dollars to fix this tank and the sister tank right next to it,” said Kahikina....

read ... Another Wastewater Mess

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