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Saturday, May 30, 2015
May 30, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:31 PM :: 5089 Views

Kouchi, Ige United for ... Azerbaijan?

Horizon Acquisition: Matson Completes Alaska, Pasha Completes Hawaii

After Listening to Hanabusa, Judge denies temporary restraining order to halt HSTA June 2 revote

SA: “What this means is the election goes forward. The court, in my opinion, correctly questioned the fundamental issue of jurisdiction,” attorney Colleen Hanabusa, who is representing HSTA President Wil Okabe and Executive Director Wilbert Holck in the case, said in an interview....

“Since no further court assistance is going to happen before Tuesday’s revote, it is critical that all of HSTA’s members vote this coming Tuesday,” Rosenlee said in a statement Friday. “Teachers need to make their voices heard.”

Hanabusa said her clients have 20 days to respond to the underlying lawsuit, noting that the defendants have an option to request dismissal of the case.

“The judge had grave issues with jurisdiction over this matter,” Hanabusa said. “Because this is a labor organization, I personally believe the allegations made by the plaintiff are more properly before the Hawaii Labor Relations Board, and there’s an internal grievance process that has to be exhausted.” 

(Translation: The courts have no authority.  Us old boys are above the law.  And the judge bought it.)


read ... Vote the Old Boys Out One More Time

Ignoring Della Au Belatti, Supreme Court Says Corrupt Union Boss Gary Rodrigues can't blame UPW for his own Crookedness

ILind: Gary Rodrigues, the former United Public Workers who served over five years in prison for defrauding his union, lost his bid to force UPW to pay an earlier $850,000 judgment again him.

Rodrigues was represented in this case by attorneys Eric Seitz and Della Au Belatti, a state representative who chairs the House Health Committee.

The case began with a series of loans Rodrigues had approved while serving as the administrator of the union’s Mutual Aid Fund, a benefit trust funded entirely by UPW members and their families....

His legal argument took a strange twist when he argued that the union was at fault because “UPW negligently supervised him in his role as an ERISA fiduciary and thus, UPW, not he, should be held liable for his breach of fiduciary duties under ERISA.”  (This is what Belatti thinks.  Are you proud to have her in the Legislature?)

This week, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled against Rodrigues, crushing whatever hope he had of recovering the $850,000 judgment as well as a decade of attorneys fees and court costs.

read ... A Story About What Legislators do in their off-hours

Thrown to the Mob: Perfectly Good telescope to be shut down ahead of schedule

HTH: The Caltech Submillimeter Observatory atop Mauna Kea will fall short of reaching 30 years of exploration.

The California Institute of Technology announced Friday it will end operations of the facility in September. It was initially slated to be decommissioned next year.

Simon Radford, the observatory’s technical operations manager, said the telescope has had a successful life and been a part of numerous scientific discoveries, including many related to stellar formation.

“We are of course sad that it’s coming to an end,” he said....

While this telescope has contributed to ground-breaking scientific research, it has reached the end of its useful life,” Ige said in a statement to the Tribune-Herald. “I appreciate Caltech’s commitment to dismantling this telescope quickly and restoring the site in a culturally and environmentally respectful (politically useful) manner.” ...

CSO founding director Tom Phillips, the John D. MacArthur professor of physics, emeritus, at Caltech, said in a statement that it has been a “most exciting time in which the field of submillimeter astronomy has been developed, leading to an understanding of astrochemistry, star formation, and distant, dust-obscured galaxies.” ...

“We plan to continue observations into sometime in September,” Roberts said. “Beyond that, it was more difficult to do anything.”

Roberts added that the end of the observatory means some of the staff will transfer to other telescopes, while others will find themselves out of work.

“It’s sad to have it come to an end,” he said.

The university said more than 100 students from Caltech and other institutions have used the CSO for their doctoral research.

read ... Thrown to the mob

As Ige Considers Rail Tax Hike, Another Zip Mobile Breakdown, Weekend Traffic Jams Scheduled

KHON: The state’s ZipMobile broke down again Friday for the third time this year, but luckily for Oahu motorists, crews managed to quickly fix it well before the afternoon rush hour traffic.

read ... Tax Hike Coming

University administrators, lawmaker discuss how to give more UH money to Alt Energy Billionaires

SA: University of Hawaii leaders met at the Capitol to discuss the university’s divestment from oil, coal and gas companies and the 100 percent renewable energy goal set by lawmakers.

UH President David Lassner, UH Board of Regents Chairman Randy Moore and professor Joseph Mobley joined Rep. Chris Lee (D, KailuaWaimanalo) Friday at the Capitol.

The regents voted this month to divest its $66 million endowment from so-called 'fossil' fuel producers. Energy companies currently make up 5 percent to 7 percent of UH’s portfolio....

Best Comments:

"OMG all whipped up over political issues. Lassner should focus on cleaning up his Board of Rejects, by getting rid of the rudderless Sullivan and her cronies. Never mind the small stuff, and all the smiles. Get back to work fool."

"UH can't even maintain their own buildings properly. And You expect them to do what? Lol"

"Lassner is nothing more than the democratic party "yes man". Political leaders use UH as their personal slush fund to reward insiders and family members with six figure do nothing jobs. The school is out of control because of political interference and influence peddling. The administration is corrupt, inefficient and lacks any ethics whatsoever. Lassner is a joke but this is Par for the course when it comes to state and city government in Hawaii?"

read ... More Millions

UH prepares to pay athletes while in rough fiscal shape

KITV: Matlin says the total cost for Hawaii's 248 scholarships would range between $1.1 million and $1.2 million. A fully-funded athlete would receive roughly $4,085....

read ... Money

Farewell Horizon Lines, Hello Less Competition in Shipping for Hawaii

CB: Healthy competition is important in an isolated, small-market state like Hawaii. It can bring down prices and drive innovation in a place where 80 percent of all goods, about 90 percent of food and 95 percent of energy resources are transported here.

The majority of those goods arrive on domestic ocean-faring vessels run by just three companies — Matson Inc., Pasha Hawaii and Horizon Lines. As of Friday, we are down to two. Horizon Lines has left the islands....

read ... Farewell Horizon

Free Money, Dumb Money: Movie Mogul on Tax Credits

DH: “Size and certainty, that’s what matters,” said David Glasser today at the Produced By Conference about California’s now $330 million a year film and TV tax incentive program. “As it gets bigger we’ll be more confident we can make something here,” The Weinstein Co COO and President told a packed house at the Sherry Lansing Theatre on the Paramount lot....

Film Commissioners from Illinois, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Florida, New Mexico, and Minnesota, among others were in attendance too. Australian representatives were there also, as were their equivalents from the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec....

“It’s not free money it’s not dumb money,” Glasser asserted.  (And, displaying his ability as an actor, he didn't even crack a grin.)

read ... Know them by what they deny

E-Cigs Behind Sharp Decline in Tobacco Tax Revenues

KGI: A study conducted by the U.S Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration showed that the rate of normal cigarette use among adolescents has decreased, while the rate for e-cigarette use, referred to as “vaping,” is rising.

The study showed that from 2002 to 2003, 8.7 percent of Hawaii children ages 12 to 17 had smoked a cigarette (which causes lung cancer) in a month, but during 2012 to 2013, the number had dropped to 5.4 percent.  (Thus cutting tobacco tax revenues.)

This showed a decreasing pattern of smoking throughout 49 of the 50 states. The national level of smoking dropped from 12.6 percent in 2003 to less than 6.1 percent in 2013.

There is an increasing use of e-cigarettes (which don't cause lung cancer) among youth, according to a study conducted by the U.S Center for Disease Control.  (And even worse, these kiddies aren't paying tobacco taxes.)

The study’s data showed current e-cigarette use among high school students increased from 4.5 percent in 2013 to 13.4 percent in 2014, an increase of 660,000 to 2 million students.

A study conducted by the University of Hawaii Cancer Center in 2013 found that 30 percent of 1,941 Hawaii students surveyed reported using e-cigarettes. The study showed that of the 30 percent, 17 percent were only using e-cigarettes....

read ... Cancerous Taxes

For Supportive Housing, Creativity Required

OM: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has made it clear that Medicaid funds can’t be used to subsidize or fund housing services (Medicaid Financing For Services In Supportive Housing For Chronically Homeless People: Current Practices and Opportunities). This means states have to be creative.

Some states have decided to take advantage of what PSH support services are available through Medicaid. These services are largely implemented through waivers (such 1915(c) home-and community-based service waivers, 1115 demonstration waivers, and 1915(b) waivers). Some examples of states that provide PSH support services in unique ways include: Hawaii’s housing support services are authorized as part of the state’s 1115 waiver, QUEST Expanded. Services include tenancy supports services such as finding and retaining housing, lease compliance, and training to be a good tenant....

read ... For Supportive Housing, Creativity Required

Star-Adv: Plan to privatize, upgrade State Hospital shows promise

SA: After years of chronic problems with overcrowding and staffing issues at the Hawaii State Hospital (HSH), the Kaneohe facility may finally be getting some needed relief — and it’s a development that would benefit the community at large as well.

The updated master plan for the campus calls for a new 150-bed long-term care facility to replace the unusable, 1930s Bishop Building, via a public/private partnership that involves the leasing of some state land to a private contractor to build and then operate the facility.

About 50 beds, or a third, of the skilled-nursing facility would be set aside for patients discharged from HSH who have complex, long-term care needs; that would free up crucial space at the hospital, which is struggling with overcapacity. The 100 remaining long-term care beds would be open to the community for those in need of complex care, possibly 50 for veterans, said Lynn Fallin, the state’s deputy health director of behavioral health.

Remember this? Hospital Crisis: How to Use Union Work Rules for Fun and Profit

read ... Privatization

Homeless Advocates Happy to Discover that Enforcement Snares Tourists

HNN: The city's crackdown on homelessness in Waikiki -- meant to make things nicer for tourists, is causing some visitors big legal problems.

In order to keep the homeless from settling in overnight, the city began closing popular beachfront parks in Waikiki at midnight. A violation brings a criminal citation.

According to the City Prosecutors Office 20 percent of those citations, one in five, is going to visitors, for whom the criminal charge and its mandatory court appearance can be more than just an inconvenience....

Attorney Victor Bakke (is totally thrilled to report he) has had several visitors ask him for help after receiving citations. If they choose to pay the fine, they have a criminal mark on their record, a big problem for non-citizens, when they try to return to the U.S.

"So if customs finds the criminal violation they could actually be refused entry into the country,” Bakke said (smiling broadly).

(Will they get the homeless back into Waikiki?  Stay tuned....)

ILind: Here we go again with the unintended consequences

read ... Finding a Way to Get the Homeless Back to Waikiki 

Council Tries Again with 5 Versions of Sit-Lie Bill

SA: >> Bill 43, introduced by Councilman Ron Menor, would incorporate the language proposed by the administration. It includes some of the sections in the original Bill 6, but would exclude a number of areas that Council members have wanted to impose sit-lie bans, including the nonsidewalk, streamside portions of Kapalama Canal. Menor has voiced the same legal concerns as the administration about making the sit-lie prohibition too broad.

>> Bill 44, introduced by Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga, would include College Walk Mall and Kila Kalikimaka Mall (between College Walk Mall and Aala Street) in the sit-lie ban. Last year, Fukunaga authored Bill 62 (2014) that extended the sitlie ordinance to five downtown-Chinatown malls: College Walk, Sun Yat Sen, Kekaulike, Fort Street and Union. That bill eventually became law in an amended form that excluded College Walk.

>> Bill 46, introduced by Council Chairman Ernie Martin and Manahan, would make it illegal to camp, erect a tent or conduct other activity along city-owned streams and stream banks “that may create a public health and safety hazard” for themselves or others. “Persons lingering or remaining on stream bank areas may be swept away by sudden floodwaters, may accidentally fall into the stream, or may urinate, defecate, bathe or otherwise contaminate the stream waters, resulting in unsanitary and unhealthy conditions,” the bill states. Ostensibly, this would include the streamside areas of Kapalama Canal that are left out in Bill 43.

>> Bill 47, introduced by Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi, would add to the sit-lie ordinance “sidewalks on both sides” of streets or sectioned areas where the sit-lie ban applies, a stipulation in Bill 6 that’s removed from Bill 43, the CaldwellMenor bill. Additionally, Bill 47 adds back portions of McCully Street and Makahiki Way, both in McCully-Moiliili, which were in Bill 6 but not in Bill 43.

>> Bill 48, introduced by Martin and Fukunaga, would include “sidewalks on both sides” of streets or sectioned areas where the sit-lie ban applies, as well sections of downtown, McCully-Moiliili, Aala and Kapalama that were part of Bill 6 but not in the CaldwellMenor bill.

read ... Shadow Boxing with the Homelessness Lobby's ACLU Lawyers

DoE 5 Stolen Laptops, Nobody Notices

KHON: If your $1,200 laptop went missing, how long would it take you to realize it was gone? How about five laptops?

It happened at Nanakuli High School and the school had no idea they were missing for more than two weeks.

On Thursday, Honolulu police arrested several Nanakuli High students for the theft.

KHON2 News learned that the students just walked away with the laptops weeks ago and the teacher failed to report that they were missing. It’s troubling because the school wasn’t aware that the laptops were missing until a parent realized that her son had a stolen one, and reported it to the school. The school then reported the computers stolen on Tuesday.

Police arrested the five 17-year-old students, accused of stealing five Macbook laptops, valued at $1,200 each. The teens were release pending further investigation.

read ... Stolen

Hawaii retailers push back on approved theft bill

PBN: Some Hawaii retailers and industry advocacy groups are pushing back against a proposed law that nearly doubles the monetary value of goods that suspected thieves can steal before they are charged with a felony.

That proposal, outlined in Senate Bill 569 and approved by the state lawmakers, raises the stolen monetary value threshold to $750 from $300 for a second-degree theft charge. It now sits on Gov. David Ige's desk awaiting his signature.

If approved, it would mark the first adjustment in 29 years.

Bill opponents say the change will only encourage thieves to steal more and aggravate the residual effects of theft.

read ... Soft on Crime

Schatz will Interfere with Marines on Okinawa

JT: ... U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz has vowed to support Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga as he tries to stop the planned transfer of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma within the prefecture.

The Democratic senator made the remarks after Onaga, during talks in Honolulu on Thursday, asked for help in blocking the plan to relocate the base from a congested area in the city of Ginowan to the coastal Henoko district in Nago.

After meeting with Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on defense, Onaga told reporters he got “a strong statement” from the senator. Onaga quoted Schatz as saying he would do his utmost to help get the plan rejected....

read ... Support our troops?



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