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Thursday, May 14, 2015
May 14, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:49 PM :: 4183 Views

OHA: $2.8M Giveaway to Wife of Kanaiolowalu CEO

Two days left to vote in the 2015 Neighborhood Board elections

Behind Closed Doors: Shining the Light on Government Secrecy in Hawaii

252 Criminals Deported from Hawaii in Last 7 Years

Hawaii Legislature adjourns without passing any anti-gun bills

DBEDT: Hawaii Economic Growth Slows

IRONMAN fined $2.7M for illegal lottery

Wind and Solar Facilities Face No Consequences for Killing Millions of Birds

Tulsi Gabbard takes on Obama

Apo to Protesters: Thanks for Helping OHA Score Rent Money from Telescope 

CB: I write this in a state of anguish for I know not how to reach out to the protectors of Mauna Kea.... (and tell them mahalo, now go away while I negotiate)....

...With the Thirty Meter Telescope as the flashpoint, the protectors have rendered a great service to all Hawaii (OHA) by dramatically heightening the case for re-visiting the (cash) terms and conditions of the entire Mauna Kea Comprehensive Management Plan.

OHA’s recent vote to rescind its 2009 support of the TMT, while stopping short of opposing the TMT, provides a unique opportunity for OHA to remain on the field of play (and score some bucks). The opportunity ($$$) is not only a window toward improving the management of Mauna Kea but to surface issues generic to the entire public land trust responsibility (RENT MONEY) the state has to Native Hawaiians (OHA) as a condition of statehood (as interpreted by our shysters).

A great start would be a commitment that the TMT will be the last telescope, a decommission and deconstruction plan for the older telescopes in shrinking the footprint of the telescope complexes, and direct access to (some really expensive) telescope time (we can resell) for Hawaiians OHA....

Precisely as explained: Telescope: For OHA, it’s all About the Rent Money

read ... OHA Trustee Peter Apo

Attorney General Slams Hawaii County Ethics for Letting Kenoi Off Hook

SA: The state attorney general said it was unusual — and unnecessary — for the three-member Hawaii County Board of Ethics appointed by Mayor Billy Kenoi to postpone hearing a complaint about Kenoi's $129,000 in county purchase-card spending until the AG's office finishes a separate criminal investigation.

"I don't think it's necessary for the county ethics board to wait for a criminal investigation to finish up before they make a decision," Attorney General Doug Chin told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser following Wednesday's unanimous decision by the Board of Ethics.

"Typically, it's the reverse," Chin said. "Normally you do an administrative action first and then you'd refer it out to check something further. It's atypical for an administrative panel to wait until a criminal investigation is finished up."

Chin said he cannot comment on the status of the investigation on Kenoi's "pCard" spending, "but we are continuing to make efforts to investigate this. It's going to take months to finish up our review of the circumstances that occurred."

SA: Ethics committee fails to do its duty

read ... Unusual

Failed Health Connector: Hawaii risks losing $1 billion in matching federal Medicaid funds After Months of Secret Negotiations

KITV: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found the Hawai'i Health Connector to be non-compliant with the Affordable Care Act earlier this year, according to Gov. David Ige....

The non-compliance included unresolved IT issues, a non-integrated eligibility enrollment system and lack of financial sustainability.

CMS contacted the state administration about these issues. Since February 2015, representatives of Gov. David Ige's administration have been meeting with HHC to determine how to address non-compliance.

Concurrently, CMS restricted grant funding to HHC and is providing limited funding pending approval of a draft plan being developed by the state and HHC.

The governor says recent news reports based on confidential working draft documents have misrepresented ongoing discussions between the federal government, the state administration and HHC.

If Hawaii's plan is not acceptable to CMS, the state risks losing $1 billion in matching federal Medicaid funds.

read ... Failed Health Connector

ZipMobile Breaks Down, but with Rail Tax Passed, no need to Create Traffic Jam

HNN: According to DOT spokesperson Tim Sakahara, a small electrical fire sparked in the engine that powers the Zipmobile, temporarily disabling its driving function. At the time, the Zip barrier was still deployed on the H-1 Freeway in the Westbound direction near the Airport offramp to Nimitz Highway.

The engine that powers the vehicle's hydraulic arm to open and close the barrier segments was still operating, and a tow truck was used to pull the Zipmobile to close the remaining barrier segments over roughly one mile, says Sakahara.

The Zipmobile is now in the 'Zipper Hale' maintenance facility on the Airport Viaduct for repairs. The backup Zipmobile is functioning and will be used for normal operations tomorrow.

This is the second time in recent weeks that the Zipmobile has malfunctioned. In March, it stalled in the Waikele area while removing the extra carpool lane used for the morning eastbound rush. A mechanic from the mainland had to fly to Hawaii to repair it, and a massive traffic backlog resulted.

SA: Bicycling is a key ingredient in Honolulu's transportation future

read ... No Need to Create Traffic Jam This Time

Now That Rail Tax Debate is Over, Traffic Signals to be Synchronized

HNN: "I don't know why they don't synchronize it better?" asked one frustrated driver.

City transportation officials say they have already cut down a lot of the backlog. Michael Formby, the city's transportation director, says part of the problem is that the current system relies on traffic studies that were conducted before numerous road construction projects and lane closures even started.

So now, Formby says they are trying to ease some of the congestion by bringing in extra staffing on weekends and during nights.

"We have men up at the Traffic Management Center watching the corridors and when they see excessive queuing then they make adjustments to those preset times," Formby said.

read ... Traffic Jam

State retirement assets hit record

SA: The state Employees' Retirement System fund grew by about $300 million in the January-March period to reach $14.37 billion in assets, according to a report presented to ERS trustees Wednesday by Portland, Ore.-based Pension Consulting Alliance Inc. The new asset total exceeded the previous high of $14.12 billion reached June 30.

While the added $300 million helps, the fund is still immersed in a long-term game of catch-up as it tries to pay down its unfunded liability of $8.58 billion.

The ERS, which provides retirement, disability and survivor benefits to 118,466 active, retired and inactive state and county employees, targets a 7.75 percent long-term return rate to help fulfill its pension obligations. Pension reforms — including cutting benefits for new employees and increasing contributions — were implemented during the past four years to bring down the unfunded liability.

The growth last quarter follows two weak quarters that left the fund up just 3.3 percent through the first nine months of the fiscal year that began July 1....

During the past 12 months, the ERS fund was up 7.5 percent, while its three- and five-year returns were up an average of 10.5 percent and 9.3 percent, respectively.

"We always would like to do better than any number we put up," Chattergy said. The target "is 7 3/4 percent, and that's what you want to hit on average over the long term. We're going to be above it sometimes and sometimes we'll be below it. But we've been above it the last couple of years."

The target rate of return will be slightly easier to hit in future years. The ERS board in September lowered its target to 7.65 percent for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016; 7.55 percent for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017; and 7.5 percent from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2040.

A December report by actuary Gabriel Roeder Smith & Co. showed the ERS fund had only 61.4 percent of what it needed to pay all the pensions promised as of June 30, 2014, and based on current assumptions wouldn't be 100 percent funded until fiscal 2040.

read ... Record

Anti-GMO Activists Suckered by Broken Trust Figure

KE: ...So if what they wanted was for DuPont-Pioneer to change its practices, and pick up the phone when they call, why didn't they seek that specific relief? And if they wanted a definitive answer about health, why did they file a nuisance claim?

Could it be they were suckered by the attorneys — Kyle Smith, fresh from Las Vegas, and Gerard Jervis, not so fresh from the Bishop Estate suicide scandal — who were brought in by the anti-GMO groups looking for a way to ding the seed companies?

A 2013 Salon article riddled with the kind of bullshit — “growing cancer cluster,” “chemical oversprays twice closing Waimea Canyon Middle School” — that the anti-GMO movement feeds to gullible mainland writers includes this reference to the lawsuit:

In 2011 they retained Gerard Jervis, 64, a pioneering mass tort attorney in Honolulu, who recruited Kyle Smith, 37, an up-and-coming litigator from Las Vegas to join him. Before long Smith had moved his family to Honolulu to work on the case full-time.

So Jervis and Smith are going to split the usual 33 percent commission from the $507,000 award, which comes to about $150,000, or $75,000 each, and that's been enough to support Kyle and his family in Kailua for the past few years?

Something's just not adding up. Like who really bankrolled this litigation? ...

There's also some irony in anti-GMO groups, which persistently preach the virtue of small farms, pursuing this sort of litigation. Large companies have the resources to suppress dust. Small farmers don't.

The multinational seed companies aren't going to fall because of dust nuisance suits. But the little guys with intolerant neighbors — or TVRs — in the ag district just might....

read ... Broken Trustee

Why Did a Fatal Car Wreck Cost State Taxpayers $900,000?

CB: Even though a drunken driver veered into oncoming traffic, the AG's Office said the state was likely liable for not placing a barrier between opposing lanes of traffic.

read ... $900,000

Ige Plays Small Ball, Abercrombie Went for Home Runs

CB: Gov. David Ige and former Gov. Neil Abercrombie differ on something more important than style. They approach policymaking in diametrically opposed ways.

Ige is an incrementalist. He prefers to divide big problems into small parts, then work on a few of those at a time: We can’t be so sure, so let’s just try this.

Abercrombie was a comprehensivist. When he saw a big problem, he liked to work on the whole thing at once: Let’s get it done!

The approaches may be fundamentally different, but in fact, given how Hawaii’s government works, both can fail for the same reason. Consider both of their attempts at state information technology reform.

read ... Doomed to Failure

Progressive Whines Because Legislature Did Not Raise Taxes Enough

CB: Progressives have now had a legislative session with David Ige as governor and what seemed to be a progressive leadership in most of the committees in the Legislature. Yet I see little joy among progressives now that the session is over....

...this Legislature let a tax provision on the top rates sunset, effectively lowering our already low top tax rate....

CB: Civil Beat Whines Because Florida Democrats invite 'Republicrat' Gabbard to Speak

read ... A Progressive Legislative Lament

One Day in the DoE: Sex, Assault, and Retaliation

KITV to be Sold to New Owner

SA: Hawaii ABC-network affiliate KITV is being sold by New York-based Hearst Television to California-based SJL Broadcast Management....

SJL is the same company that bought KHON-TV in 2006.

The transition team brought in to run KHON announced multiple job cuts and other changes that resulted in the mass resignations of the station’s management executives, including General Manager Rick Blangiardi, who went on to lead Hawaii News Now’s KGMB-TV and KHNL-TV.

read ... SJL Again



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