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Friday, June 5, 2015
June 5, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:20 PM :: 4073 Views

Raising a family in Hawaii is already difficult, why are you making it harder?

Daily Beast Celebrates 'Triumph' of 'Samoa's Caitlyn'

Adulthood - Interrupted: Hawaii Leads the Way

Study: Hawaii Charitable Giving at all-time high

Big Island Press Club: Keeping Government Transparent

State Technology Transformation 'will not move forward without the right people in place'

As Predicted: Lawyer Plans Quick Lawsuit to Keep the Homeless, Homeless

HNN: "When they pass a law like this they are basically making it illegal all over the island to utilize sidewalks (for the promotion of sloth) and that raises serious concern," said civil rights attorney Eric Seitz.

Along the Kapalama Canal in Kalihi many of the homeless had the same reaction. "I don't have anywhere to go," said Nancy.  (Except for a shelter, but hey....)

"It feels like the whole world is against me out here," said Stefanie Sanchez.  (Out here.  But she still won't go 'in there.')

Seitz says city council's decision was reckless and leaves the door wide open for lawsuits.

"I think it's simply outrageous to pass what they know or should know to be a legally flawed bill.  They're risking public funds.  They are putting the county in a position where it's engaging in potentially unconstitutional behavior," said Seitz.

That's something the city has had issues with in the past. 

Three years ago the police started ticketing homeless people and DeOccupy protesters on the sidewalks at Thomas Square and seized their belongings. After a long court battle a judge ruled in April their civil rights had been violated.  The settlement was only $1,000 but with legal fees the city wound up shelling out more than $70,000.  (But it did not result in the law being overturned.)

"I understand people are complaining. But you don't deal with the problem by basically tampering with the first amendment," said Seitz.

Seitz says those lawsuits could happen right away.

71% Yes -- "Do you support the city’s plan to use Sand Island as a transitional shelter zone for homeless people?"

DN: News of Honolulu’s sit-lie ban spreads with AP and overseas stories

DN: More international coverage of Honolulu sit-lie ban: in Russian (!) and Chinese

DN: Why these stories of Honolulu’s actions against its homeless citizens spread

Borreca: What the homeless need most is affordable homes

read ... Keep the Homeless, Homeless

Council Funds its Own Homelessness Experts, Refuses to Pay for Caldwell's

SA: City Council members voted Wednesday to adopt a $2.3 billion operating budget that did not include funding for seven positions that Mayor Kirk Caldwell insists are crucial to providing housing for the homeless.

The contractual-hire positions, three current and four additional, would make up the administration’s new Office of Strategic Development that has unveiled affordable housing and homeless initiatives in Waianae, Chinatown and on Sand Island. Last month, Council Budget Committee members denied restoring funding for the administration’s housing positions.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Councilman Brandon Elefante urged members to vote for an amendment he introduced that would restore the $616,000 needed for the homeless-housing positions. But the amendment failed to gain Council approval.

Council members, however, approved $130,000 in funding for two positions to hire homeless-housing experts for the Council staff.

Elefante introduced another amendment Wednesday, which also failed to gain approval, that would have eliminated those two Council housing positions.

KHON: Kapalama Canal homeless face new enforcement efforts

read ... Political Games

Lobbyist for Indicted Union Fund Appointed Deputy City Clerk

CB: The Honolulu City Council voted unanimously earlier this week to appoint Glen Takahashi to a six-year term as city clerk. Takahashi has worked in the clerk’s for nearly 16 years, mostly in the elections division, and will be replacing Bernice Mau, who retired in 2014.

The council also appointed Kimberly Ribellia as deputy city clerk, which is a position that hasn’t really existed since the 1980s.

Ribellia is a lobbyist for Hawaii Operating Engineers Industry Stabilization Fund. (ooops!)

She’s also a former staffer for Honolulu City Council Chairman Ernie Martin.

Flashback: Lawsuit: OE Local 3 Hawaiian Stabilization - multimillion-dollar slush fund for union bosses

read ... Honolulu Council at Work 

Ethics: Lobbyists shielded from accountability, illicit behavior by public officials will continue

SA: ...the lobbyists who sought to influence Garcia went unnamed.

“The Commission declines to reveal the identity of the lobbyists in this case because it could cause a chilling effect on witness cooperation for future cases,” the opinion said.

It’s hard to decide which is more disturbing — that the lobbyists were shielded from accountability, or that the commission assumes this sort of illicit behavior by public officials will continue.

Indeed, the commission is looking into allegations by another former Councilman, Romy Cachola, that others accepted free meals and golf games without reporting them, including current Councilmembers Ikaika Anderson and Ann Kobayashi, former Councilman Todd Apo and current state Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz. Cachola himself was fined $50,000 by the commission last year for similar behavior....

read ... Strengthen conflict-of-interest rules

After Wasting $130M, State Gives up on Obamacare Exchange

SA: The state is walking away from a $130 million investment in the Hawaii Health Connector and permanently moving the insurance exchange to the federal Obamacare program.

Gov. David Ige’s administration has decided to abandon the troubled Connector, which has struggled since its launch in October 2013 to meet enrollment targets, provide satisfactory service and raise enough money to be self-sustaining.

The Connector has burned through $130 million of $204 million in federal money granted to the state to build the exchange but not to fund ongoing operations.

Ige originally thought he could temporarily move Hawaii’s online marketplace to the federal exchange for one year while the state worked on getting the Connector into compliance with the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare.

In recent weeks Ige has decided the best path is to permanently move Hawaii to the federal exchange....

Hawaii will join three other failed state-based marketplaces that are using healthcare.gov: Nevada, New Mexico and Oregon.

DN: Shutting down Hawaii’s Health Connector could cost subsidies if the Supreme Court rules against the federal government

read ... Hawaii's health insurance exchange pau

Musical Chairs at Hawaii Senate Now Ended

CB: The chamber, under new leadership, has identified which senators sit on which committees....

PDF: 2015 2016 senate committees

read ... For now

Hospital cuts spark public outcry

WHT: Former Mayor Harry Kim seemed to speak for many in attendance (blamed everybody except HGEA) when he said he felt making any cuts at all would put the health system on a slippery slope, especially for such an underserved community as the Big Island, in comparison with Oahu, where one can drive down the road and pass another hospital “every 20 minutes.”

“I totally disagree with the direction you’re going as a board,” he said. “… If this budget is approved, it’s a downhill slide. … It’s shortsightedness. … We’re at the edge of a cliff. … I really am asking your board, at the very last minute, to put together a (new) budget based for the needs of this island.”  (Just need some magic money.)

In response, board member Joseph Scrutch said that the board had already considered the needs of the island as part of its budget process.

“Mayor Kim, I tend to disagree. I think we already did exactly what you asked, and the state Legislature and the governor have given us $30 million and we’re short $7 million. We put together what we thought we needed at a minimum to go forward, and they said ‘That’s too much,’” he said.

“So, it’s a budget problem at the state level. You can talk to the state representatives and senators that are in this room, but they’ll tell you, we asked for more money, and the governor said very bluntly, ‘There is no more money. That’s it.’”

Tandy Newsome, quality management director at Hilo Medical Center, said she believed that health care should be one of state government’s top priorities.

“I want to say first that this hospital doesn’t provide a lot of luxury services, we provide basic, essential services that are needed by everyone. We’re not like Oahu, we don’t have a hospital on every corner,” she said.

“To me, this is the role of government. To be able to provide essential services to all the community. As soon as we start cutting services for our community, we’re going to have people traveling to Oahu to get care, which means families are divided. People are not gonna be very happy. … This is government’s role, to help us fund the essential services.”

In response to such comments, state Rep. Clift Tsuji, D-Hilo, seemed to be defensive, pointing to examples of support that legislators have given for East Hawaii’s health needs in the past, such as a new, state-of-the-art emergency room for the hospital, which was completed several years ago.

“I’d have to take a back seat and look and say ‘Aah,’ as some of you people start nodding your head and say ‘Where’s the Legislature for what they’re doing?’” he said as he pointed to the HHSC board members. “Yes, there are people (Legislators) in Honolulu, but without their help, we would get no, no money. … This last legislative session, for the hospital system and basically this district over here, the East Hawaii Region, we have about $5 million committed. I think you owe it to yourself, as a responsiblity, (to know) where that money is going. … This facility has NOT been forgotten.”

Ignore the real problem: Hospital Crisis: How to Use Union Work Rules for Fun and Profit

read ... Thank Randy Perriera

Attention Drug Addicts: Hawaii County halts some pre-hire urinalyses

SA: ...the county says it will no longer require a urinalysis for anyone to whom it gives a conditional job offer, except for applicants for safety-sensitive jobs, positions that are governed by federal transportation safety regulations and any other job that potentially affects the health and safety of fellow employees and the public.

The move is in response to a lawsuit filed by Rebekah Taylor-Failor, to whom the county had given a conditional job offer.

U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson issued a temporary restraining order in March preventing the county from requiring Taylor-Failor to submit to a pre-employment urinalysis, clearing the way for her to start her job as a legal clerk in Kailua-Kona....

(Stoners make exceptional court clerks.)

read ... Meet the Newest HGEA Members 

Federal Judge Orders Guam to Redefine Marriage Unless US Supreme Court Allows States Freedom to Choose

GPDN: Their attorneys argued that the case had already been decided by the 9th Circuit in 2014 and, as a result, Guam had no choice but to follow suit.

After the hearing, the couple said their next move would be to apply for a marriage license as soon as they can on Tuesday, the day Tydingco-Gatewood's ruling takes effect.

"It's a battle we shouldn't have had to fight," Aguero said. "I mean, it's love and love must win, so we're just grateful."

They thanked their attorneys, Mitch Thompson, Todd Thompson and Bill Pesch for their work on the case.

"They've burned that midnight oil to help us, so we appreciate it," Aguero said.

Before the hearing, she had no idea which way the judge was going to rule, she said.

At the hearing, even the governor's attorneys acknowledged that the 9th Circuit had already decided the issue.

Mike Phillips, who represented Gov. Eddie Calvo in the case, said the case was "the one with the least dispute, least conflict."

"All that's missing here ... is for this court to strike down Guam's local law," he said.

Phillips, during the hearing, said regardless of the outcome, Calvo would follow the ruling.

He summed up the governor's stance, saying that as long as the law remained in effect, he would enforce it, unless it was changed by the legislature or struck down by the court.

The governor was treating marriage law as any other law, he said.

Phillips added that there is a similar case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, and noted that it's possible for that court to nullify the 9th Court's ruling, re-establishing states' ability to define marriage.

In fact, he said, had the Supreme Court not taken up the issue, it's likely the government would have just followed the 9th Circuit without dispute.

Tydingco-Gatewood, however, noted that she doesn't have any authority to wait on the Supreme Court. Instead, she said, it was the opposite: she's obligated to follow an order as soon as an it comes down from a higher court....

read ... Forcible

Report: So-Called Human Rights Campaign a 'Gay White Men's Club'

GA: A new internal diversity report reveals the Human Rights Campaign has a sexist work environment where only 'gay, white, male' employees advance into leadership positions....

Buzzfeed: Report

read ... The Home of White Supremacy

UH Prof: Idiot Anti-GMO Activist is a Junk Science Embarrassment

HNN: Last October, one of his colleagues in an email called him an "embarrassment" to the department for opposing GMOs. The email, which was later forwarded by another professor to other staffers in his department, include this insult (insight):

"Hec, please stop already. You're simply working so hard to prove what a scientific idiot you are about items like transgenes ..."

UH professor Mark Wright, the faculty chair of Valenzuela's department believes (knows) the anti-GMO crowd rely on junk science and added that genetically engineering helped save Hawaii's papaya industry and added that genetically modified seed crops are the largest ag industry in Hawaii....

read ... Junk Science

CB: E-W Center must get serious

CB: Leadership Transition Finds East-West Center at a Crossroads....

Clown Car: Is Academic Freedom a License to Provoke Without Consequences?

read ...  Get Serious

Sucker Bait: Koa grower poised to sell ‘carbon credits’

SA: Hawaiian Legacy’s 'offsets' may earn the firm more than $5 million -- because a fool and  his money are soon parted.

read ... Fools being parted 

Hanabusa Scores Another Cush Gig Downtown--Gas Co This Time

PBN: Hawaii Gas has named former U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, Colbert Matsumoto of Island Holdings Inc. and A. Catherine Ngo of Central Pacific Bank to the Honolulu-based utility's board of directors, the company said Thursday.

“Having board leadership of the highest caliber that is aligned with our deep commitment to Hawaii and its people is essential as our company moves forward, in collaboration with others, to provide transformational solutions for our state’s clean energy future,” Alicia Moy, Hawaii Gas president and CEO, said in a statement.  (In spite of this, they settled for Hanabusa.) 

read ... Gas Co

Free Floating Anxiety: Hanalei Mob Attacks Tourists 

KGI: Corcoran, 60, had taken a group of 22 California eighth-grade students out for a night in Hanalei as part of their graduation celebration. As the students were about to leave after enjoying a closing ceremony and sunset at Hanalei Pier, they were allegedly attacked by about 20 people.

Corcoran was one of the teachers injured during the incident when he was struck by an unidentified man believed to have started the alleged altercation by striking an eighth-grade boy with the group.

New details about the incident emerged from the reports of teachers Julie Boettler and John Bock, who were with the students during the incident.

According to Boettler, as students walked toward their vans, which were parked at the end of the pier, to leave, the driver of a truck parked behind the vans called one of the students over to him and there was an exchange.

When the boy went into one of the vans, the driver came over to the van and struck the boy as another teacher attempted to intervene, Boettler said.

When Corcoran tried to intervene, he was struck in the face. Boettler then grabbed the male and he spit in her face, she said.

As the situation escalated, more people began to appear. Boettler said a man stuck his head inside one of the vans and screamed at three eighth-grade girls to get out.

“The whole thing was very illogical because they were yelling at us to get out of there but they were blocking us so we couldn’t leave,” Bock said. “I’m a bigger guy, but it was a very scary event.”

Bock said the individuals were encouraging him to fight them and that he was shoved and struck in the chest.

“They were trying to get me to throw a punch,” he said. “They were definitely out looking for a fight, calling me all sorts of obscenities.”

Bock said there were close to 20 individuals presented, mostly men, but some women.

read ... Displaced Anger

Appeals court: No birthright US citizenship for American Samoa

AP: A federal appeals court ruled Friday that people from the South Pacific islands of American Samoa do not have a right to U.S. citizenship simply because they were born in the U.S. territory.

The ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit preserves federal laws that make those born in American Samoa U.S. nationals, but not citizens like people born in Puerto Rico and other territories.

Writing for a three-judge panel, Judge Janice Rogers Brown said the Constitution's 14th Amendment does not automatically extend birthright citizenship to the nation's unincorporated political territories.

read ... US Nationals

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