Best state in America: Hawaii, for making the ultimate sacrifice
Rusting Windfarm Junk off Waikiki: Europe's Disaster Coming to Hawaiian Waters
Tulsi Gabbard: How She Isn’t Making Hawaii Better
Anti-GMO Activists Cheer Kauai Pioneer Seed Farm Layoffs
Conspiracies and Paranoia: Hector Valenzuela Plays the Victim
UPDATE: HSTA Election Conspiracy? Okabe Complains About Release of Information
Beer Taxes: Hawaii 5th Highest
Auditor: School Bus Reforms Not Rolled Out Statewide
Why Is House Speaker Joe Souki Going After Ethics Director Les Kondo?
CB: House Speaker Joe Souki is calling on the Hawaii State Ethics Commission to reject many of the new policies it has put in place since Les Kondo became its executive director in 2011.
“I believe the Commission should examine its own past opinions from the 1970s through 2010 and disavow any directives subsequent to that time that alter past accepted practices,” Souki wrote in a four-page letter to the commission’s chair, Ed Broglio.
The five-member commission has been reviewing Kondo’s performance over the past four months, his first formal evaluation in three years, and plans to take up the issue at its next meeting Wednesday.
There have been rumblings that Kondo may be out of a job as soon as next week but Broglio said Thursday that he doesn’t think that will be the case.
DN: Speaker Souki wants Ethics Commission ED’s head on a platter for doing his job well
PDF: Souki Letter
read ... Ethics
FAIL: State transferring Obamacare Connector to federal insurance exchange
SA: Hawaii is switching its Obamacare program to the federal exchange, meaning 37,000 residents insured through the Hawaii Health Connector will have to re-enroll via the federal marketplace for coverage in 2016, Gov. David Ige's administration confirmed Thursday.
Ige acknowledged last week that Hawaii is out of compliance with the federal Affordable Care Act and is at risk of losing $1 billion in Medicaid funds if Washington does not accept the state's plan to remedy the ailing Hawaii Health Connector....
Moving to the federal marketplace puts Hawaii residents in a precarious situation.
The U.S. Supreme Court is currently deliberating whether to invalidate insurance subsidies worth billions of dollars for people using healthcare.gov. Without financial assistance with their premiums, officials fear millions of those consumers would drop coverage.
"As long as we have the state-based marketplace, we're in full compliance," Kissel said. "I have no idea what the Supreme Court's going to decide."
read ... Obamacare Fail
HSTA Meltdown: Obviously Trumped up Strategy to Hold on to Power
ILind: The Hawaii State Teachers Association is melting down as it’s board of directors trumps up vague reasons to reject the results of its statewide elections. And there’s a rotten smell emanating from the meltdown.
A slate of activist teachers challenged the union’s current leadership this year, attempting to build on their success in rallying teachers for better wages and working conditions.
They won, by all accounts. But the union’s board has refused to certify the results and is attempting to replay the election.
It seems a pretty desperate strategy to avoid what the current leadership obviously views as a surprising and unwanted result....
SA: Candidates might sue teachers union over election
read ... Teachers union election turmoil bad for HSTA, bad for labor
Final Pieces Fall Into Place for State Senate Reorganization
CB: Hawaii senators Laura Thielen, Russell Ruderman, Les Ihara and Gil Riviere are left out of power positions after in-session coup.
read ... Final Pieces
State finally pays newspaper for nominees battle
SA: Gov. David Ige has approved a final payment to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser to cover lawyers' fees in a lawsuit the newspaper filed to force former Gov. Neil Abercrombie to disclose the names of nominees for appointments as state judges.
That payment of $45,000 will close out a nearly four-year legal battle that cost state taxpayers a total of $115,272 after Abercrombie, a Democrat, refused to release the names of the applicants to become judges.
Abercrombie's decision to withhold those names was at odds with the past practices of both Republican former Gov. Linda Lingle and Democratic former Gov. Ben Cayetano, who both released the names on Judicial Selection Commission candidate lists used to make appointments.
The newspaper sued to obtain the nominees' names, and Circuit Judge Karl Sakamoto ruled on Nov. 14, 2011, that Abercrombie was required to make the names public under Hawaii's open records law.
DN: A stronger statute giving teeth to the Office of Information Practices could have saved taxpayers $115,272
read ... Finally
Doomed: Hawaii Supreme Court takes up Koa Ridge dispute
KHON: On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Hawaii took up Koa Ridge, a Castle and Cooke development that’s been in the works for more than 15 years.
In 2012, the State Land Use Commission reclassified approximately 769 acres of land for residential development.
Opponents appealed it, but the approval was upheld by the lower courts, so now it’s being taken up at the Supreme Court.
“Unless substantial policy changes are made and direction provided by the Hawaii Supreme Court, the decisions of the Land Use Commission, which was explicitly set up to protect (agricultural) lands, but by any reasonable measurement has done just the opposite,” said opponent and former state senator Clayton Hee.
“So the (agriculture) issue is important to us but also housing is too,” said Bruce Barrett, Castle and Cooke executive vice president for residential operations. “We think we’ve done more than balance. We think we’re preserving (agriculture) for the future as well as providing housing for which is much needed.”
Reality: Enviros win 90% in Hawaii Supreme Court
read ... DOOMED
Zero Evidence for Anti-GMO Claims
CB: Anti-GMO activists have a problem, and that problem is a complete and total lack of evidence for their outrageous claims about the inherent dangers of GMOs....
read ... Total Lack
No quick decision on overriding mayor’s sit-lie veto
KITV: Don’t expect a quick decision on whether the City Council will override Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s veto of Bill 6, legislation that would have expanded the city’s sit-lie law beyond business and commercial districts. On Thursday, Council Chairman Ernie Martin said he and his colleagues would review the mayor’s offer to work on a different version of the bill before deciding their next step.
"I remain open to meeting with the mayor personally,” Martin told KITV4. “I have yet to receive any personal phone calls from him or from any other representative from his administration. So, hopefully within the next few days we'll have that opportunity to see whether the version he submitted is acceptable."
Caldwell believes his bill would protect the city from a costly and potentially crippling constitutional challenge. Since Bill 6 expands the sit-lie law to districts not considered business or commercial, the mayor is concerned the American Civil Liberties Union or another group or individual could file a lawsuit.
KHON: City council eyes Hilo Hattie store as site of future homeless shelter
read ... Quick
UH Hikes Tuition, Calls it Cut
KITV: The tuition increases for resident undergraduate students were reduced as follows:
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa – from 7% to 5%
University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo – from 7% to 4%
University of Hawaiʻi – West Oʻahu – from 7% to 4%
University of Hawaiʻi Community Colleges (seven campuses) – from 7% to 5% (4% for upper division)
SA: UH hopes to offer stipends to athletes this fall
read ... Pay for More Administrators
Crackpot Investment Theories Help UH Regents Divest from Energy
KITV: Various reports from analysts like the Aperio Group, MSCI and Impax Asset Management, as well as due diligence by the Guardian Media Group and other companies, show that in light of the impending Carbon Bubble (LOLROTF!) and the likelihood of "stranded assets," (More crackpot stuff.) divestment from fossil fuels protects the interests of investors as much as the health of the planet.
read ... UH system votes to divest from fossil fuel companies
New 'Green' power plant could be headed to Central Oahu, Residents not Fooled
KITV: Although the plan would be part of the Hawaiian Electric Company's move towards generating clean energy, some residents are not sold on the plan.
KHON: Army seeks comments on proposed biofuel-capable power plant
read ... Not Fooled
DOE breaks ground on first 'Ka Hei' Crony Solar projects
HNN: The ceremony marks the first phase of the DOE's "Ka Hei" program, which is aimed at energy generation. Initially McKinley and eight other public schools in the state that will receive photovoltaic panels. Over five years, the goal of Ka Hei is to integrate energy technology with learning while reducing energy costs....
"We get to reduce our energy cost, we get to give our students the opportunity to explore their horizons with energy, and clean the environment."
Explore These Horizons:
read ... Solar Scam
State Hospital plans 150-bed Privately Operated long-term care facility
SA: An updated master plan for the Hawaii State Hospital includes development of a new 150-bed long-term care facility on the site of the Bishop Building located near the front of the Kaneohe campus, a state official said.
Plans are to have a private contractor construct and operate the long-term care facility, but discussions are pending on whether the demolition of the Bishop Building would be covered by the contractor, Janice Okubo, a spokeswomen for the state Department of Health, said Thursday.
read ... State Hospital plans 150-bed long-term care facility
Thanks to HGEA, Kona Hospital to lose 20% of Staff
WHT: ...The pending reduction could hardly come as a surprise in the wake of the announcement this week of 87 layoffs at three East Hawaii hospitals. Those cuts are designed to help plug an estimated $7 million hole in the budget for the East Hawaii Region. Home Care Services and psychiatric care were cut at Hilo Medical Center, and long-term care beds were reduced in Hilo and at Ka‘u Hospital and Hale Hoola Hamakua.
A new requirement to fund retiree health benefits and negotiated salary increases that were unfunded by the Legislature have added to the flow of red ink at KCH, Kreuzer said in late April, although the hospital has identified $11.5 million in cost-saving measures and implemented $9 million of them.
The Hawaii Health Systems Corp. is facing a $50 million shortfall in the coming fiscal year for its hospitals statewide.
Kona’s state Sen. Josh Green, an emergency room doctor at Kohala Hospital in Kapaau, said the cuts are only the tip of the iceberg unless the state’s hospital system is reformed.
“If we don’t act, I believe cuts could be as great as 20 percent of staff in the next five years,” he said.
“In the meantime, we need the governor to consider an emergency appropriation to prevent the loss of essential services,” Green said.
Hawaii Island’s six HHSC facilities took in 84 percent of all emergency room visits and 68 percent of acute care discharges countywide in 2014.
read ... HGEA Destruction
Sex assault charges against HPD officer are dropped
KITV: The state alleged that the eight-year police veteran sexually assaulted a woman in his Pauoa home on August 2, 2014.
The defense argued that mistakes were made by the prosecution when Masagatani was indicted by a Grand Jury.
“What the Grand Jury was worried about and concerned about was the credibility of the complaintant,” said Richard H.S. Sing, Defense Attorney for Masagatani. “Their efforts to explore that were frustrated, and that is a threat to the judicial process. We would ask this court to dismiss this case and dismiss it with prejudice."
The 30-year-old had been stripped of his police powers since being charged.
Pending a re-indictment by the State, the Defense says Masagatani should be fully re-instated to HPD.
read ... Dropped
Staff and program cuts possible for Kahoolawe
MN: Laying off half of its staff and periodically closing the Kahoolawe base camp may be in the future for the Kaho'olawe Island Reserve Commission.
Commission Executive Director Michael Naho'opi'i said he told his staff on May 15 that there could be layoffs well as a reduction in its operations around June 30, the ending of the current fiscal year.
The commission that manages the reserve is poised to receive from the state only about one-third of its annual budget this fiscal year, which begins July 1. Its operating budget is around $2.8 million.
Naho'opi'i said the proposal to reduce staff and operations was suggested shortly after the state Legislature ended its session earlier this month and passed out a bill with the $2 million in funding for the organization in the next two fiscal years, or $1 million per each year. The bill is undergoing legal and policy review before it reaches Gov. David Ige's desk.
2013: Audit: Kahoolawe Money Gone After 18 years Without a Plan
read ... Spent all the Money