Sunday, October 1, 2023
Hawaii Daily News Read

Current Articles | Archives

Saturday, January 31, 2015
January 31, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:59 PM :: 4266 Views

Forbes: Hawaii Deal Allows NextEra to Build Big Cable Without Federal Regulation

Slom to Feds: Investigate Criminal Hawaii Health Connector

Okino, Djou: End the State Skim on Rail Funds

Hawaiian Electric Launches Online Tracker for Solar, Wind Approvals

Former charity director indicted for theft

340 Candidates file for Neighborhood Board Elections

HSTA Cashes in, Demands Contract Reopener After Electing Ige Governor

SA: The union for Hawaii public school teachers is heading back to the bargaining table with the state to negotiate for increased compensation, exercising a so-called reopener clause in teachers’ 2013-2017 labor contract.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association said in an email to members late Friday afternoon it has confirmed bargaining dates for March “to discuss additional salary and compensation” for the remaining two years of the contract.

“As valuable professionals who provide quality education for our students, teachers deserve proper support and compensation so that we may continue to attract and retain a high quality education workforce for the state,“HSTA President Wil Okabe said in the email.

The four-year contract, which had an initial $330 million price tag,restored a 5 percent pay cut made in 2009, followed by annual salary boosts of at least 3 percent through a combination of across-the-board increases and pay grade step-ups in alternating years....

The study, which is supposed to be submitted to legislators next week, was paid for jointly by the union and the state Department of Education, and conducted by Denver-based APA Consulting....

She said the salary study makes clear what other national studies have shown: Hawaii’s public school teachers are among the lowest-paid teachers in the country — a designation that worsens when the isles’ cost of living is factored in.

A recent report by the National Council on Teacher Quality ranked Hawaii No. 124 out of 125 school districts for earnings over a 30-year teaching career, when adjusted for cost of living. The report said Hawaii’s $43,759 starting salary, when adjusted for the cost of living, amounts to $25,879.

She said the reopener clause allows the union to negotiate for salary and benefits, but wouldn’t disclose what those added benefits might be.

“On behalf of the teachers, we believe it’s very clear adjustments need to be made to our compensation,”?Lewis said. “The data tell us very clearly we’re going to be at risk of not holding on to great teachers if we don’t make strategic changes.”

read ... Reopener

Rape Hype: California-based Shake Down Operation Targets UH-Manoa Admissions

HNN: A new, eye-opening ad campaign is attacking the University of Hawaii on social media and UH officials are concerned this could have a negative impact on applications.

The ads grab attention, saying "Applying to the University of Hawai'i, Manoa? You should know about its rape problem."

The campaign started Monday and focus on social media sites. The ads are paid for by a social justice movement (Sharpton-style shake down operation) called UltraViolet.

There are 10 schools being targeted, all are part of a federal investigation into the handling of sexual assaults on college campuses. There are more 80 schools altogether being investigated so how were these 10 chosen?  (Working hand-in-glove with the Obama administration?)

"We've targeted a number of other schools in previous runs," says Karin Roland of UltraViolet, "We were looking specifically at schools that have application deadlines on or after February 1st in this case." ... 

"This idea that... it's less safe here than other campuses and young women are trying to enroll, it's a little bit troublesome thinking that they might not choose to come here based on something that has nothing to do with the facts," says Jennifer Rose, Gender Equity Expert at UH....

Both sides agree, more needs to be done to protect women, but UH doesn't like the group's tactics....

(Welcome to the brave new world of 'progressive' movements.  All social media with no actual humans involved.  UH must pay up or bow down and they'll go away--or will UHM fight back?  Can one slander an institution?)

read ... Shake-Down

HB576: Hawaii Lawmakers Consider Request for Obamacare Exemption

AP:  Hawaii lawmakers are considering whether it makes sense to get out of some requirements of the federal Affordable Care Act so that they can make substantial changes to the state's troubled health insurance exchange.

States like Hawaii that run their own exchanges can apply for a so-called innovation waiver if they meet certain criteria.

One idea that's been floated is for Hawaii to drop the employer side of its exchange, because thanks to the state's Prepaid Health Care Act, Hawaii already has a strong law requiring employers to subsidize health insurance for many workers.

"We have to determine exactly what we want to do with our state based exchange," said Rep. Della Au Bellati, chairwoman of the House Health Committee, in an interview. "If we want to replace it, what is it going to look like? Those are all still open questions." ...

The Legislature established a task force last year to consider alternatives, such as letting the federal government step in to run the Connector. But many experts say a federal takeover is too risky, because it could jeopardize the Prepaid Health Care Act. On a federally-run exchange, employers could potentially buy health insurance plans that offer fewer benefits than what's required by Hawaii state law, said Rep. Angus McKelvey.

More than a dozen state officials and business executives are on the State Innovation Waiver Task Force which began meeting in September. The federal government has made it clear that it will not grant waivers before 2017, despite the state's requests for an earlier date.

The task force's first report to the Legislature set out broad goals of examining different options, but didn't include details about what would happen under different scenarios. The report recommended that the Legislature provide more than $1 million to the task force for personnel, consultants and neighbor island travel. The group also said that it's possible that it might not finish its work by 2017, because the Legislature and governor need to reach agreement on the proposed direction of the waiver, and there are long periods of time required for steps like public input.

House lawmakers briefly discussed the bill about the task force — HB 576 — Friday, but deferred action to a future meeting of the Health Committee.

KGI: If you think it takes a long time now to see a doctor, just wait.

read ... Exchange

Close Half of Hawaii Health Systems Corp. Hospitals?  Not Enough to Balance Budget

PBN: Hawaii's state-run hospital system faces unprecedented deficits, shortfalls in federal Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements, and a seemingly endless backlog of repairs....

The situation is grave — even if half of the HHSC hospitals were closed, the deficit for the next two years would still not be erased, according to Edward Chu, chief financial officer.

Rosen believes the public hospital system needs to take a different form. The Maui Region could lead the way with its proposed public-private partnership with Hawaii Pacific Health, which would reduce the need for state subsidies. If the model works, she believes it can be applied to the other acute-care public hospitals around the Islands.

"It's likely there will need to be some public investment in services, true safety net services in areas that wouldn't otherwise be able to provide it," Rosen said in an interview. "But I don't believe it needs to be in the order that it is today, as a complete public system with virtually every Neighbor Island hospital being a public hospital."

The system, comprised of 13 hospitals statewide, faces a $24 million shortfall even after an $82 million appropriation granted by the Legislature for the current fiscal year ending June 30.

When Rosen presented the system's $267 million budget request for the next two fiscal years at a recent legislative informational briefing, some lawmakers' jaws dropped.

"I'm a little speechless," said Sen. Jill Tokuda, D-Kaneohe-Kailua, chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. "We'd like to see that itemized."

read ... New Hawaii Health Systems Corp. CEO, Dr. Linda Rosen sees a way forward

Trying to Create Excuses for tax Hike, Council members heading to DC as rail costs escalate

KHON: On Wednesday, Martin drafted a resolution that will allow him and three other council members to travel to Washington, D.C., on a fact-finding mission. Once Resolution 15-19 is approved by the full council, Martin expects to be in our nation’s capital from Feb. 21 through the 25.

"I think we need to meet with the FTA (Federal Transit Administration) to get some definitive idea as to what can be considered if in fact the city is not able to identify additional revenues," Martin told KITV4.

Council members expected to travel with Martin to D.C. include Brandon Elefante, Joey Manahan and Trevor Ozawa. Manahan is chairman of the City Council's transportation committee, while Elefante and Ozawa head committees that deal with economic development and legal affairs.

With the rail project facing a projected cost overrun of more than $900 million, of particular concern is how to replace $210 million in federal bus funds that both the council and Mayor Kirk Caldwell have said cannot be used for rail construction.   

In a meeting with federal transit officials earlier this month, Caldwell explored the idea of using as much as $100 million in federal highway funds to help offset the rail project's anticipated deficit. Council members headed to the beltway hope to explore that idea even further.

read ... Political Theater

Kauai GMO Panel Infested with Anti-GMO Whackjobs

KGI: A joint fact-finding process intended to gather and evaluate data on GMOs and related pesticides on Kauai has officially begun, with yesterday's announcement of the panelists invited to serve.

They are Adam Asquith, Lee Evslin, Gerardo Rojas Garcia, Sarah Styan, Kathleen West-Hurd, Douglas Wilmore, Kawika Winter, Louisa Wooton and Roy Yamakawa.

It's a pretty good mix, though Louisa is the weak link, seeing as how she took such a rabid position in support of Bill 2491 and lacks a scientific background. Still, I suppose she is the counter to Sarah and Gerardo, who work for the seed companies, but actually do have science backgrounds.

I give kudos to facilitator Peter Adler for including seed company representatives on the panel. It would be insane to try and flesh out what's going on without the participation of people who can share information about the seed companies' practices.

It was also curious to see Carl Berg named as an “informational liaison” because he is affiliated with Surfrider, which is one of the parties appealing the judge's ruling overturning Bill 2491/Ordinance 960.

The county-and state-funded joint fact-finding group is set to convene in March for an anticipated eight meetings.

read ... Musings: Facts and Fancy

"The people of Puna wanted Scott Nago fired"

AP: "The people of Puna wanted Scott Nago fired," San Buenaventura said.

That didn't happen, so San Buenaventura introduced a bill that seeks to limit the term of the state's chief election officer to two years and to require performance evaluations after elections. The bill was heard in the House Judiciary Committee on Friday.

Nago was at the hearing to testify on other bills, but he told The Associated Press that he had no comment and isn't taking a position on San Buenaventura's bill.

The proposal to limit the term to two years was unpopular, and Janet Mason of the League of Women Voters told the committee that an elections officer needs more than two years in office to be effective.

"We agree that there definitely should be a periodic review ... and that's not happening right now," Mason said.

Clerks from Hawaii County and Maui County opposed the bill in written testimony, saying the officer's term should remain four years because of the steep learning curve to run statewide elections and the need for stability. Kauai County Clerk Ricky Watanabe agreed and wrote that if anything, the state should extend the term to six years.

Common Cause Hawaii asked the committee to amend the bill to give the Elections Commission explicit authority to remove the chief elections officer based on unsatisfactory performance.

"My goal is to make the chief elections officer accountable to somebody," San Buenaventura said.

SA: Bill Would Reduce Nago's Term

read ... Nago?  Accountable?

Grandmother testifies in trial against prosecutor

SA: Florence Puana started her testimony by telling jurors about her life — remembering the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, working 32 years as a housekeeper for priests after raising her nine children and driving until the age of 90.

She described Kealoha as a smart attorney. "She was very, very bright, and I loved her," Puana said.

Gerard Puana, who sits next to his mother at the plaintiffs' table in the courtroom, sounded as if he was sniffling during some of her testimony. Kealoha, who sits on the opposing defense table, took notes during some of her grandmother's testimony, as she's regularly done during the trial.

Kealoha promised to pay off the reverse mortgage by using the money to consolidate Kealoha's debt, Florence Puana said. She said her granddaughter later assured her the mortgage was paid off, which Kealoha has denied.

"I believed her and we all trusted her," Puana said, adding that she thought Kealoha was a "wonderful person."

She said she was devastated when she learned the mortgage wasn't paid off. "I never ever dreamed that she would do this," Puana said.

She started to cry when she described her decision to sell the house that her late husband built. She said she and her husband always wanted their children to divide proceeds from selling the house. The east Honolulu home sold for $928,000 in 2013.

Allegations of police misconduct surfaced in a separate case that accused Gerard Puana of stealing the Kealohas' mailbox. The case was later dropped after Chief Louis Kealoha testified about Puana's criminal past, sparking a mistrial.

Puana's public defender, Alexander Silvert, has said the Kealohas framed his client in an attempt to discredit him in the civil trial.

read ... Grandmother Testifies

Former officer acquitted of assault charge

MN: "He did nothing but handcuff the guy that night - and the physical evidence proved it."

During the trial that began Monday, Lahaina resident Kevin Kaaihue testified he had been walking with his brother and met his nephew on Front Street at about 8:30 p.m. Nov. 23, 2013. Kaaihue said he had marijuana in his bag and gave some of it to his nephew.

Kaaihue said he left his brother and nephew, walking in the opposite direction and going through Campbell Park to get home, when he was stopped by Gouveia, who shined a spotlight on Kaaihue and asked him to turn over what was in his hand.

"All I did was, I wen hand him my bag and I wen run," Kaaihue said.

Asked by Deputy Prosecutor Ryan Teshima why he ran, Kaaihue said: "Honestly, I nevah like get in trouble for that little amount of weed I had. Honestly, I just wanted to get away." Kaaihue said he tripped on a raised curb in an alleyway and fell, with his right shoulder hitting a wall....

After other police officers and medics arrived, Kaaihue said he told them he had fallen.

Asked why he didn't make a complaint against Gouveia that night, Kaaihue said: "Honestly, I wanted to get arrested, deal with the whole situation and be done with it."

But the next day, family members saw his injuries and persuaded him to make a report to police, he said....

read ... Saw Through the Lies

Level 1--Severe Breach of Contract: NCAA delivers ‘notice of violations’ to University of Hawaii

KHON: ...Any hope of leniency from the National Collegiate Athletic Association was hit by an anvil Friday as multiple sources confirmed to KHON2 that the University of Hawaii was given a “notice of violations.”

The notice charges the men’s basketball program of Level I and Level II violations, which are the most severe on a four-tier scale. Sources say there are more Level II violations than Level I, “but not by much.”

The allegations, which trace to the tenure of former head coach Gib Arnold, stem from the NCAA’s nearly-year-long investigation into former assistant coach Brandyn Akana’s error on a document, excessive practice time and claims that former star forward Isaac Fotu accepted impermissible benefits.

All three were removed from the program as a result.

Tier I violations are regarded as a “severe breach of conduct,” intended to provide a competitive advantage. Tier II violations are considered “significant” in nature.

Back in August, the university hired an Alabama-based law firm....

SA: Alleged "significant" to "severe" breaches of conduct by the men's basketball program include an altered document regarding a player

read ... Level 1 & Level 2

Sun Edison, First Wind close $2.4 billion deal--Plan 100s of Acres of Solar Farms

KITV: Between them, the two companies have plans for five large solar farms here on Oahu totaling 181 megawatts....

"I’ve seen them in larger flatter areas like in the boonies, or deserts. I never seen them close to the freeways before," said Wahiawa resident Nestor Decierdo.

One of the largest solar farms proposed by Sun Edison/First Wind will be in Central Oahu in Waipio just off the H2. It will cover more than 300 acres of land.

The company’s Hawaii development director said some 200,000 solar panels will cover about a third of the land....

The merger will see not just solar projects in Waipio, but Waiawa, Mililiani and Kawailoa on the North Shore....

Several companies are pursuing utility solar farms because federal tax credits expire at the end of 2016.

The developers have been working to obtain the necessary approvals which in some cases include the city planning commission and the state land use commission.

PBN: Hawaiian Electric Holdings to be new name for HECO parent after NextEra acquisition

read ... Sun Edison, First Wind close $2.4 billion deal

Shield law for media should be reinstated

SA: ...Hawaii had one of the most progressive shield laws in the country from 2008 until 2013, when the Legislature failed to lift a sunset provision and allowed the law to expire. The law, known as Act 210, died, predictably, at the hands of self-interested government — the state attorney general's office and then-state Sen. Clayton Hee, whose attempts to rewrite the law at the AG's behest effectively rendered Act 210 useless.

The destruction of Hawaii's shield law was both unfortunate and a waste of time. No one was denied justice because of Act 210. The journalist's privilege was a qualified one, carefully crafted to apply only to those legitimately in the news business — not to random bloggers or fraudsters. In the five years of its existence, the law was invoked only once, by a young documentary filmmaker on Kauai who successfully protected his unpublished materials from subpoena in a civil lawsuit.

Two bills, House Bill 295 and Senate Bill 496, propose to restore Act 210 in its original form. This is the best and only option. It follows the position of the state Judiciary's Standing Committee on the Rules of Evidence, which recommended in a 2011 report that the sunset provision be lifted on Act 210.

Two other bills, House Bill 17 and Senate Bill 570, proposes a weaker version of Act 210 that incorporates some comments in the standing committee's report and recommendations from the attorney general.

HB 17 and SB 570 would restrict the privilege not only for material evidence for felonies, but for "potential felonies, or serious crime involving unlawful injury to persons or animals."

It also would allow subpoenas against journalists in all civil actions, rather than only those involving defamation.

These exemptions are so broad that a journalist could be vulnerable to subpoena in just about any type of judicial proceeding, civil or criminal — a chilling effect that would negate the very purpose of a shield law. Even worse, SB 570 would eliminate protections for non-traditional journalism, such as online media. Such weak protection is worse than no protection at all, because it enshrines in statute a meaningless privilege.

If the Legislature is serious about protecting freedom of the press and public discourse, it should do so with HB 295 or SB 496 — legislation already proven to work.

read ... Shield law for media should be reinstated

Bill Would Force landlords to Accept Section 8 Tenants

KITV: The state legislature is considering a bill that would prohibit discrimination against Section 8 tenants.

It could be discussed as early as Monday and would prohibit denying housing to a tenant based on their source of income. 

read ... State to discuss Section 8 discrimination bill

American Samoa: Food shortages after US port dispute

BBC: A dispute between port workers and their employers is behind the slowdown at ports along the west coast of the US, which has led to chaos in the shipping industry. For residents in American Samoa, about 4,800 miles (7,700km) away, it means supplies of essential foodstuffs are running low, as there hasn't been a delivery for four weeks, Radio New Zealand International reports. Most shops don't have eggs or milk, and prices have been hiked on the food that is available, the radio says, adding that one store is charging more than $2 (£1.32) for a single tomato.

Production at a new tuna cannery expected to employ 2,000 people, has also been delayed by the problems in the US, because essential parts needed to operate the factory haven't arrived....

read ... Jones Act

Senate passes Keystone XL bill without McCain's Jones Act amendment

JOC: Sen. John McCain’s amendment to repeal a key provision of the Jones Act failed to make it into a Senate-passed bill authorizing construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline....

read ... No Jones Act Reform

Gov Tech Sums up Ige Tech Agenda

GT: Gov. David Ige describes being met by a "sobering" budget picture upon assuming office in Hawaii, and he's setting his sights on federal dollars to help get the state into the black. In an interview with Government Technology last year as a gubernatorial candidate, Ige expressed disappointment in the state's handling of technology: "There really needs to be a transformation to embed technology and reorganize government," he said. In his State of the State address, Ige spoke about a Tax System Modernization program due to start this year which will help increase tax revenues within two years. The upgrade will allow taxpayers to file electronically, access their information online and get refunds more quickly. Ige also talked up the state Senate's transition to a paperless operation, saving $1.2 million and 8 million sheets of paper, hoping that model could inspire similar efficiencies throughout the state. Ige briefly acknowledged the collective disappointment with the Hawaii Health Connector, stating his desire for a "sustainable exchange." A critical component of Ige's plan to grow the state's economy is to nurture innovation with modern infrastructure, whether it's broadband or creating "innovation parks." Ige attached $10 million in funding support for the Hawaii Growth initiative in support of innovation.

read ... Gov Tech



TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Back da Blue Hawaii

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Moms for Liberty

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

School Choice in Hawaii

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii