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Wednesday, February 11, 2015
February 11, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:19 PM :: 5218 Views

Geothermal: New Zealand Company Abandons Partnership with OHA

PMA: Unwavering ILWU Demand Threatens to Sink Contract Talks; “Slowdowns as a Way of Life”

HB459 Forces 'Pono Choices' Gay Sex Program on Schools Statewide

Sexual assault and harassment policy updated by UH

At End of Life, State Human Resources Management System moves to 'Private Cloud'

HB1476: Rep Ing Introduces Bill to Hide Identity of all Campaign Donors

Schatz' Boycott of Israeli Leader 'Shortsighted and small minded'

Warning Label Bills Unfairly Single Out One Product

Federal Monitor cites rail for 'Alarming' lack of cost control

SA: Despite holding monthly sessions on the best ways to keep costs from getting out of hand, the third-party contractor monitoring Hono­lulu's public rail transit project says that it's seeing "minimal" cost containment and calls the trend "alarming."

The comments were part of the latest report on rail issued by Jacobs Engineering Group. The firm has been rail's "project management oversight contractor," or PMOC, since 2009, providing independent progress updates to the Federal Transit Administration....

The report raises questions about whether the Hono­lulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, the semiautonomous agency overseeing the largest public works project in Hawaii's history, has taken sufficient steps to keep costs in check even as rail leaders pledge to pursue such measures going forward.

When HART officials first announced in December that the project faced a significant budget deficit, they unveiled an official 10-point "action plan" to address the situation. HART aims to trim costs with measures such as packaging future work contracts differently.

Meanwhile, in their December report, Jacobs officials write that the firm "has reviewed and discussed the project cost on a monthly basis with HART in an effort to ensure that cost issues are proactively addressed, and PMOC has provided numerous cost mitigations that HART should give consideration to implement."

Since last year, "minimal cost containment measures have been accomplished by HART," the report states. "This unfavorable trend … is alarming." ...

HART Executive Director Dan Grabauskas pushed back against Jacobs' take in a phone interview Tuesday, saying that HART is already doing what it can to contain costs....  (Barely trying to counter the Jacobs report because he is happy to use his own incompetence as an excuse for tax hikes.)

Amid the concerns over minimal cost containment, Jacobs' latest report also says to expect future cost increases to activate the system's traction power substations, which will be used to supply power to rail from the grid.

Those costs weren't included in the original estimates to complete rail, the report stated.

Grabauskas, who joined HART as executive director in 2012, said he didn't know why that element wasn't included, because it predated his tenure. The final costs for that activation will depend on what the agency ultimately negotiates with Hawaiian Electric Industries, he added.

The Jacobs report further states that construction on the Kame­ha­meha Highway stretch of the rail guideway is seven months behind schedule, and three months behind schedule for the westernmost West Oahu-Farrington Highway stretch of guideway....

read ... Lack of Cost Control

Takumi Admits HB1240 'Education' GE Tax Hike is Really About Rail

CB: State House Republicans are worried about three capital letters that went missing last week from a bill that could increase taxes for virtually everyone in Hawaii.

The change seemed innocuous enough: House Bill 1240’s committee referral to “EDN” had simply been removed Friday.

But it spoke volumes to the Minority Caucus. The change meant the bill is bypassing the Education Committee and being fast-tracked to the Finance Committee, its only hurdle before a final vote of the full House....

The seven GOP members in the House oppose any broad-based tax increase. So when they noticed this bill switched to a single committee referral, alarms sounded.

“It startled me,” Rep. Cynthia Thielen, the longest-serving Republican in the House, told Civil Beat. “That means they’re serious. They want to push this through.” ...

At the beginning of each session, a handful of legislative leaders in each chamber decide which committees will hear hundreds of bills. The referrals can spell death for one bill and breathe life into another.

“It is an inexact science,” Rep. Roy Takumi said Tuesday. “I have no doubt there are times that the referrals’ implicit intent is to make it so cumbersome that it can’t meet all the deadlines. But it’s difficult to make a broad, sweeping generalization.”

Takumi introduced HB 1240 with Rep. Karl Rhoads. It’s just one of many vehicles this session to extend the GET.

As chair of the Education Committee, Takumi said it was his call to ask leadership to remove the bill’s referral there. He wanted it to go straight to Finance because he figured if he held a hearing on it, 90 percent of the testimony would be about the rail project instead of the education component....

(Translation: HB1240 is a shell bill designed to push a rail GE Tax through.  If it advances, the education components will be gutted in favor of rail.)

House leadership — which includes Souki, Vice Speaker John Mizuno, Majority Leader Scott Saiki and Majority Floor Leader Cindy Evans — has referred roughly 335 bills to three or more committees. That’s 21 percent of all the bills introduced in the House this session....

On the Senate side, a committee comprised of Sens. Les Ihara, J. Kalani English and Josh Green decides where bills go after the Senate Majority Attorneys Office takes a first pass at recommendations on where to send each one.....

Related: $185M GE Tax Hike: HB1240 on a Fast Track

Also on the move: Massive GE Tax Hike to Create New 'Special Fund' -- On the Move in House and Senate

read ... How a Handful of Hawaii Lawmakers Quietly Shape an Entire Session

Living Hawaii: The American Dream Is Broken for the Middle Class

CB: In much of the country, a family of four can still live some version of a middle-class existence on a collective salary of $78,403, after income taxes, which is the median family income in Honolulu. In some of those mainland locations, people with such an income can buy homes at one-fourth of the price of median homes in the islands, and then benefit from the rest of their money going much farther.

The situation, of course, is very different in most desirable coastal cities. The old middle-class equation really breaks down in Hawaii and, particularly, on Oahu. Here, the cost of a mortgage on a median-priced home, child care, food, health care, monthly car-related costs, core utilities and property tax eat up all of the median after-tax family income. Yes, all of it....

And if this is the economic pressure on the median family of four, the situation is tougher on people with more children, and on those who earn less. The 2014 U.S. Metro Economies report found that 52.5 percent of all households — not just families — in Honolulu gross less than $75,000 per year after taxes.

With such numbers in mind it is understandable why so many dilapidated middle-class homes on Oahu are surrounded by picket fences that are splintered and eaten by termites: Their residents likely have no money for upkeep. It is a sign they many people can’t really keep up with the costs of the American dream at all.

read ... Can't Afford all the Taxes

Progressives Spread Measles -- Where are the Anti-Vaxxers?  Kauai, of Course

SA: ...That's the risk of a troubling state trend that is especially obvious on Kauai, where the parents of 8.3 percent of the children entering kindergarten for the 2013-14 school year refused to immunize their children for religious reasons, more than four times the statewide exemption rate of 2.1 percent.

Even more alarming than the raw numbers are the trend lines, and not only on Kauai. The percentage of unvaccinated kindergartners has risen sharply in every Hawaii county over the past decade.

The religious exemption rate has more than quadrupled on Oahu (from 0.2 percent to 0.9 percent), more than doubled on Kauai (from 4.1 percent) and Maui County (from 2 percent to 4.3 percent), and also risen in Hawaii County, from 2.4 percent to 3.7 percent.

Although the exemption rate is lowest on Oahu, that's also where the largest population of vulnerable kindergartners reside, so this issue should not be dismissed as a neighbor island problem....

read ... Got Measles?  Thank an anti-GMO protester

Will Belatti Hear 'Right to Try'? Bill would give terminally ill access to experimental drugs, treatments

WHT: Three Big Island lawmakers have introduced legislation to give terminally ill patients access to drugs and medical treatment that have not received final approval by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

The proposed bills — House Bill 882 and House Bill 92 and Senate Bill 585 — are part of a national movement, dubbed “Right to Try,” that has been gaining momentum. Last year, five states enacted such laws for terminally ill patients with no other medication or treatment options. Hawaii is among the 26 other states that may follow.

Rep. Richard Creagan, D-Naalehu, Ocean View, Captain Cook, Kealakekua, Kailua-Kona, said the effort is being led by the Goldwater Institute, a Phoenix-based think tank with model “Right to Try” bills that lawmakers can use as a starting point and modify, as needed. According to its website, the institute “drives results by working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and strengthen the freedom guaranteed to all Americans in the constitutions of the United States and all 50 states.”

Rep. Cindy Evans, D-North Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala, learned about the “Right to Try” effort while at a national conference put on by The Council of State Governments. Evans, a self-described proponent of medical freedom and choice, said she introduced HB 92 because she thought it was worth more discussion. The proposed measure provides access for terminally ill patients to receive investigational drugs, biological products and devices that have not received final FDA approval.

Sen. Russell Ruderman, D-Puna, introduced SB 585, which allows manufacturers to make available investigational drugs, biological products or devices to terminally ill patients under certain conditions beginning Jan. 1, 2016.

The bills state terminally ill patients have the right to do everything possible to extend and preserve their lives, including making the decision to obtain and use experimental drugs, medical devices and treatments. That decision should be made by the patient in consultation with their health care providers and health care team, as well as with full awareness of potential risks, benefits and consequences to the patient and their family....

All three bills have passed first reading, but there had been no hearing, feedback or testimony, as of press time Tuesday. Creagan said he’s talking with Rep. Della Au Belatti, who chairs the House Health Committee, with of hopes of getting HB 882 a scheduled hearing soon....

read ... What they don't have time to hear

HB451 Reclassifies Sex as Rape--UH Administrators to Supervise 'Ongoing Consent' During Campus Coitus

SA: Hawaii lawmakers are considering redefining what constitutes rape on University of Hawaii campuses (But only on campus.  Its still OK off campus....) by requiring UH to adopt a so-called affirmative consent standard for investigating sexual assault complaints.

The bill would effectively shift the sexual consent standard from "no means no" to "yes means yes" at UH campuses. The House Higher Education Committee on Tuesday unanimously advanced House Bill 451, which defines consent as "affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity." It would cover incidents involving students, faculty or staff....

» Lack of protest, lack of resistance or silence on the part of any party does not constitute consent.

» Consent must be ongoing throughout the sexual activity and can be revoked at any time.

» The existence of a dating relationship or past sexual relations between persons involved in sexual activity shall not by itself be assumed to be an indicator of consent.

» A complainant is unable to consent if he or she is unconscious, asleep, incapacitated due to alcohol or drugs, or unable to communicate due to a mental or physical condition....

A companion bill, Senate Bill 387, has been approved by the Senate Higher Education and Judiciary committees....

(Soon they will try to make this law off campus as well.)

read ... What they do have time to hear

Money Laundering: Tranny Nowhere in Sight as School's ex-officials arrested

SA: Three former staff members of Halau Lokahi Charter School, including co-founder Laara Allbrett, have been arrested on charges of first-degree theft, money laundering and illegal business activity.   (After years of endless hype, suddenly Halau Lokahi's transsexual 'director of culture' is mentioned nowhere in this story.  If you're surprised, please get help.)

They were released pending investigation by the attorney general's office and have not been formally charged....

A search warrant affidavit filed in court for a raid on the school by the attorney general in November listed an array of questionable spending totaling nearly $102,000. It included the purchase of "essential oils" and jewelry, and numerous payments to individuals for unspecified services without contracts or documentation.

"(I)t appeared that Laara Allbrett utilized the Halau Lokahi Charter School as a mechanism to appropriate State of Hawaii monies so that her friends, family members, and herself could benefit from these proceeds, which appears to be theft of public funds," chief special agent Daniel Hana­gami wrote in the affidavit.

Allbrett went to the Sheriff Division Booking Facility on Keawe Street to be booked Jan. 23, listing a Houghtailing Street address. She was forced out as Halau Lokahi's director in July after the school ran out of money and stopped paying its rent and teachers before the end of the academic year....

The trio was booked on the same three charges. First-degree theft involves amounts in excess of $20,000. Money laundering entails concealing the source of money obtained illicitly. The "illegal ownership of a business" charge refers to using income derived through racketeering or collection of an unlawful debt in the ownership or operation of an enterprise.

The $102,000 in questionable spending included $11,747 to Jewal Allbrett, a relative of Laara Allbrett's. A total of $10,316 went to Rainbow Healing Arts....

the search warrant said it appeared that Laara Allbrett concealed four payments totaling $6,760 to Angela Kahea­lani by using U.S. Postal Service money orders. An Internet search shows Angela Kahea­lani listed as a "clairvoyant psychic healer" on Kauai....

As a public charter school, Halau Lokahi is largely funded with taxpayer dollars. In previous years it also received per-pupil funds from Kame­ha­meha Schools, but that money ended in fall 2014 after the school failed to meet the terms of its contract....

read ... Arrested

House Committee Approves Bill to Repeal Undersea Cable Law

CB: Bill 1468 would repeal Act 165, signed into law in 2012, which allows for the creation of a “cable utility,” separate from Hawaiian Electric Co., that would own or control a cable system. The company would be reimbursed for the costs of the cable through a consumer surcharge.

The bill to repeal that act is opposed by Hawaii’s Public Utilities Commission, the Consumer Advocate and Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. The agencies are all parties to an ongoing review of proposals to build renewable energy projects on the neighbor islands and transport energy to Oahu via underwater cables....

Bill 1468 passed out of the House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee on Tuesday and will now go to the Consumer Protection and Commerce Committee and Judiciary Committee for review.

Rep. Chris Lee, who introduced the bill and is chair of the House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee, told Civil Beat after the hearing that he didn’t expect the measure to pass and that he moved it along for discussion purposes only. He noted during the hearing, which included no public testimony because the bill was debated earlier this month, that there were “wide, polarized views” on the measure.

read ... Repeal

HELCO Geothermal Decision Due Feb 17

IM: Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO) opened a Public Utilities Commission docket in 2012 to handle information related to a Geothermal Request For Proposal (RFP).

HELCO requires that any bidder offer a very competitive baseload bid and can provide ancillary services including ramping output up and down to offset wind and solar fluctuations.

So far no bidder has been able to do so.

HELCO will announce on Feb 14 whether anyone has finally achieved this. The announcement will be posted to the Public Utilities Commission Data Management System and released to the public on the close of business on Feb 17.

read ... Geothermal Heats Up

Honolulu City Council will consider rezoning for D.R. Horton's West Oahu Hoopili development

PBN: D.R. Horton - Schuler Division's rezoning request for its 11,750-home Hoopili master-planned community in West Oahu is expected to go before the Honolulu City Council on Feb. 18, a council member's senior adviser confirmed to PBN.

D.R. Horton will ask to have the land rezoned from agricultural to urban. The state Land Use Commission already has approved the zoning change.

Ikaika Anderson, chair of the Council's Zoning and Planning Committee, is expected to ask Council Chairman Ernie Martin to include the Hoopili project on the Feb. 18 agenda, said Gail Myers, senior adviser to Anderson.

read ... Rail Development

The Case of a Wayward Land Use Lobbyist

CB: ...Arakawa told the commission he believed his lobbying was exempt under a provision that applies to experts invited by the Legislature to make occasional appearances due to their specialized knowledge. However, the commission has long said that the exemption is not meant to cover groups who press their own legislative agenda for and against proposed bills. Although the commission’s interpretation has been made quite clear, Arakawa is certainly not the first or the only lobbyist to use the provision to justify noncompliance with the lobbyist law....

LURF describes itself as a lobbying and advocacy organization, “the only Hawaii based organization devoted exclusively to promoting the interests of the development community, particularly in the areas of land use laws, regulations, and public policy.”

The group, first incorporated in 1979, describes itself as a “strong and effective advocate and lobbyist,” which “provides an ‘industry voice’ for landowners and developers.”

The Legislature’s archives show LURF has presented testimony for and against dozens of specific bills in each of the past several years. In addition, the group’s own website lists numerous other activities that appear to fall within the legal definition of lobbying.

The organization’s federal nonprofit tax returns show that it has an annual budget of more than $300,000, virtually all of it in dues and contributions from members.

Its members include “major Hawaii landowners, developers, resort operators and a utility company,” according to one of its self-descriptions.

read ... Lobbying?

Which Lawmakers Are the First to Hold Fundraisers During Session?

CB: Wakai’s fundraiser is set for Wednesday evening at Mandalay Restaurant, a short walk from the Capitol. The asking donation is $150....

Sen. Brickwood Galuteria is also raising money at Mandalay Wednesday night, but at $50 per person....

House Reps. John Mizuno of Oahu, Cindy Evans of the Big Island and Dee Morikawa of Kauai — raised their money together the night before lawmakers kicked off Opening Day festivities....

Sen. Josh Green from the Big Island also sought cash that same night. It was for $500 a pop at Little Village restaurant....

read ... Bought n Paid for

More to say about Say-complaint to be heard Wednesday by the Campaign Spending Commission

DN: Here is the agenda entry for Weds’ hearing, which will take place at 10 a.m. at the Leiopapa A Kamehameha Bldg, Rm 204, 235 So Beretania Street

read ... More to say about Say-complaint to be heard Wednesday by the Campaign Spending Commission

Ethics complaint: Anti E-Cig Legislation ‘unduly influenced’ by unregistered lobbyists for Big Pharma

WHT: A purveyor of electronic cigarette products has filed an ethics complaint against Hawaii County Council Chairman Dru Kanuha, saying Kanuha was unduly influenced by unregistered lobbyists and didn’t listen to constituents in two recent anti-smoking bills.

Mariner Revell, who owns Irie Hawaii Smoke Shops, filed his petition Jan. 27.

Revell says Kanuha violated the “fair treatment” provisions of the county ethics code. In addition, he said, the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii violated county lobbyist registration provisions when it didn’t register with the Clerk’s Office until after the bills were passed.

“Dru Kanuha had all the time in the world to meet with Tobacco Free Hawaii which is a lobbyist organization funded in part by big pharmaceutical companies,” Revell said, “but he did not have time to meet with a small business owner and constituent to discuss our concerns about his legislation that affect our business, employees, customers and families.”

Kanuha last year sponsored two successful anti-smoking bills. One raised the age to purchase cigarettes, tobacco products and e-cigarettes, even those containing no nicotine, from 18 to 21. The other bans e-cigarettes anywhere conventional tobacco cigarettes are banned....

Representatives with the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii testified extensively for both bills, despite the fact they hadn’t registered as lobbyists.

Hawaii County code requires lobbyists to register within five days of becoming a lobbyist, defined as any individual engaged for pay or other consideration who spends more than five hours in any month or $275 in any six-month period for the purpose of “attempting to influence legislative or administrative action by communicating or urging others to communicate with public officials.”

Records at the county Clerk’s Office show that Tami MacAller, a community coalition coordinator in Kona, registered as a lobbyist Dec. 3.

Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii Executive Director Jessica Yamauchi said it’s up to the county chapter officials to register as needed.

“We do register at the state level,” Yamauchi said.

The county Board of Ethics is likely to take the matter up at its March 11 meeting.

read ... Anti-E-Cig Lobbyists

Free Clinics Push for State to Pick up Micronesian Co-Pays

SA: Senate Bill 1327 and companion House Bill 1239 would require the state to pay expenses such as deductibles and copays for low-income residents who fall under the Compact of Free Association, which allows Micronesians to live and work in the United States. The compact was initiated in exchange for U.S. military rights, and to compensate islanders for the negative health and social impacts of nuclear testing after World War II....

The move will save the state an estimated $27 million a year because the federal government would primarily cover the costs of coverage, according to the legislative measures. The state will continue to cover aged, blind and disabled noncitizens as well as Micronesian children and pregnant adults.

Connector plans require enrollees to pay a share of the premiums and other costs, which would impose barriers to care for COFA migrants, many of whom are poor and have multiple chronic conditions, according to community health centers.

"Along with copays for medications, labs, X-rays, hospital visits and even primary care visits, the (Obama­care) plans in Hawaii will create enormous barriers to care for many if not most of the people being moved," David Derauf, executive director of Kokua Kalihi Valley Health Center, said in testimony to lawmakers Tuesday. "Deductibles and copays can create significant and even dangerous barriers to care for poor people."

More Likely Explanation: DHS: Thousands of ghost names on Hawaii Medicare, Medicaid Rolls

read ... Free Money

30mph Wind Blows Roof off, School Still to be Used as 'Hurricane Shelter'

KHON: Classes were canceled Tuesday after strong winds blew the roofing off the cafeteria Monday.

Officials say approximately 50 first- and second-graders were inside at the time. The cafeteria was evacuated and the rest of the students were served lunch in their classrooms.

No one was hurt, but crews needed an extra day to secure the damaged area and clear the debris. Meal service will be handled in another building while repairs are made to the cafeteria.

The school is listed as one of Oahu’s hurricane evacuation shelters. So is the state concerned that Monday’s gusty winds, which were in the 30-mph range, were able to damage the roof?

“We are constantly re-evaluating and there is a team that’s going out and re-evaluating some shelters,” said Shelly Kunishige with the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

DOE officials say the roof of Keolu Elementary’s cafeteria does not have any holes. Only the insulation and top sheeting tore off.

“In light of this event, are the shelters on that list still safe for people to evacuate to?” KHON2 asked.

“They’re safe, as far as we know,” Kunishige said....

read ... No Shelter from the Wind

18 more prison guards punished for contraband, other violations

KHON: Disciplinary records released by the Public Safety Department Tuesday showed that 18 corrections officers were punished for wrongdoing in 2014 for everything from contraband violations to mistakenly releasing an inmate before his sentence was served.

Six corrections officers – the most of any disciplinary category last year -- were punished for breaking contraband rules.

Mark Damas was the only prison guard fired last year, for breaking contraband rules in a big way.

Damas admitted to accepting thousands of dollars in bribes to smuggle crystal meth into Halawa prison and was sentenced to nearly five years in federal prison.

Five other guards, known as adult corrections officers, were suspended for anywhere from three to 15 days without pay for taking their own cell phones into prison facilities.

The second-most-serious suspension last year was 30 days for a corrections officer in a workplace violence case involving a co-worker.

Another guard was suspended for 15 days for posting an unauthorized photo of an inmate on social media.

read ... Prison Guards

Police Reform Measures Gain Steam in Hawaii Legislature

CB: Recent bad acts by Hawaii police are fueling a record number of police accountability bills at the Hawaii Legislature this year.

On Tuesday, eight bills passed through Sen. Will Espero’s Public Safety Committee with little objection from him or his colleagues, some of whom have been calling for more oversight.

A number of bills stem from a high-profile case involving a Honolulu Police Department sergeant who was caught on tape taking repeated swings at his girlfriend.

But others aim to improve transparency around the way police handle misconduct and investigating their own officers. Lawmakers also want to give teeth to the county police commissions that are supposed to oversee police departments and their chiefs....

Senate Bill 497 is one of the more controversial measures passed Tuesday. The bill would eliminate an exemption in the state’s public records law for county police officers. Now, police departments don’t have to release the names of officers who have been suspended for misconduct, only for those those officers who have been fired.

read ... Accountability

IHS: Sit-Lie Ban Forces 70 Homeless to Accept Shelter

HNN: Mitchell credits one program, the Housing First Initiative, which provides the chronically homeless with a place to stay even before offering services. She also credits the controversial Sit-Lie ban, which makes it illegal to do both on public sidewalks.

"It was actually the Waikiki Tourism Industry that brought the idea of doing a sit-lie bill to us, modeling on what other cities have done," says Jesse Broder Van Dyke, Spokesman for the City, "They were really concerned about the Waikiki tourist district in particular."

IHS says almost 70 people have come to them for services since the ban went into effect in September.

"People are coming into the shelter," says Mitchell, "It's working the way it's supposed to."

Since enforcement of the ordinance started, Honolulu Police have issued 489 warnings, 110 citations, and there have been 2 arrests.

In December, the ban was extended to include the Downtown Business District and Chinatown.

Opponents of sit-lie say it simply moves the homeless from one place to the next.... (Yes, from the street to the shelter.)

Meanwhile: Xian goes into Soap business

read ... Working

Loss of accreditation could spell disaster for Honolulu Zoo

KHON: A team of inspectors will scrutinize every inch of the zoo, from the amount of parking stalls to conservation efforts, visitor experience and governing authority.

The zoo has already been “tabled” twice, which means the facility was one step away from losing accreditation.

“We’re on the right track. It is kind of slow, but that’s just how things are. With the way things are going on now, by the time AZA accreditation comes around, we should be in good shape,” said Fleming.

Losing status under the AZA means the zoo could lose 90 animals currently on loan from other mainland zoos.

The zoo does not buy animals, but instead are traded with other AZA institutions.

“It would be sad. It’s part of all of the kids’ childhood. They love seeing the animals,” said Christina Yuen, a Pearl City resident who took her son, Issac, to the zoo for his birthday.

“If we lose accreditation, it could be a disaster for the zoo,” said Honolulu City Council member Kymberly Pine. “We’d lose our animals and possibly close, because why would people visit the zoo if we don’t have animals there? It really is important we make this accreditation and I know administration and staff are dedicated to making this very short deadline they’re on.”

The next accreditation check is in fall 2015

read ... Coming this Fall

HB1076 could waive University of Hawaii tuition for family of some veterans--But UH Admin Says They Can't Afford it

PBN: A House bill circulating the Hawaii Legislature would require the University of Hawaii to waive tuition for spouses and children of disabled veterans or those who were killed in action while engaged in active federal service.

The House Committee on Veterans, Military and International Affairs recommended that House Bill 1076 be passed without amendments.

The bill must pass two more hearings — the House committees on higher education and finance — before it can be considered by the full House or cross over to the Senate.

The University of Hawaii expressed concern about the bill in testimony presented Monday morning....

read ... What they don't have money for

Interim Coach Rejects $185K Offer as UH Begins Yet Another Idiotic "National Search"

KL: Ben Jay, Athletics director for UH Mānoa, said Monday the head coach position will be advertised and a national report will begin.

Interim head coach Benjy Taylor rejected a one-year offer from UH worth. $185,000.

William Phillips, Taylor's agent, said the interim sought a multi-year deal, according to the report....

KITV: New efforts to raise money for UH athletics

read ... What they do have money for

Noisy Politicians Find New Way to Harass Businesses

KHON: There’s a lot of noise over bill being looked over at the state Capitol that wants to tighten noise rules for establishments like restaurants and bars.

The bill sets standards for acceptable noise levels for establishments on Oahu.

If businesses are louder than those standards, they could get their liquor license pulled.

Many in the industry say the standards are unrealistic and not needed.

“I’ve been in the bar business since 1979 here in Hawaii. Had live bars, live music every night I have 365 days a year with music and I have no complaints,” said Hawaii Bar Owners Association spokesperson Bill Comerford.

Some residents in Chinatown where there are many late night bars, welcome the new rules saying the area has become un-livable because of the noise.

A vote on the bill is this Friday, KHON2 will follow up on what happens.

read ... Noisy Politicians

Bill Would Decrease Annual Interest Rate for Payday Loans from 459% to 36%

CB: House Bill 744 would cap the annual interest rate at 36 percent, following 17 other states as well as the federal government’s rules for lending to active military service members....

The current law caps the interest rate at 15 percent per $600 loan, which a 2005 state audit found can add up to 459 percent each year for a 14-day loan.

The audit recommended that the Legislature reduce the maximum fee charged to borrowers.

But many payday lending companies argue that the proposal would drive them out of business....

several social service organizations that support the measure contend that the industry preys on the poor who are already struggling to afford Hawaii’s high cost of living.

The House committee on consumer protection plans to decide on the bill on Wednesday at 2 p.m., along with two other bills that would similarly regulate the industry but to a lesser extent.

read ... Usury Ban

ILWU Lockout/Slowdown Update



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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