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Tuesday, June 9, 2015
June 9, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:55 PM :: 4974 Views

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted June 8, 2015

Ige Signs Bill Setting 100% Renewable Energy Goal

New McCarthyism:  Civil Beat Randomly Targets Mitch D'Olier for Opposing Gay Marriage

CB: PBS recently aired a 30-minute interview with Mitch D’Olier, retired President and CEO of Kaneohe Ranch Co., and before that President and CEO of Victoria Ward, Ltd. He continues to dedicate time to countless charitable organizations.

The interview brought out D’Olier’s best, but his admirable and tireless contributions to our business and nonprofit communities should not exempt him from questions on his controversial stance against gay rights. On that, he got a free pass. 

(The rest of the column consists of a bunch of McCarthyite "are you or have you ever been" questions from Dave Pellegrin, publisher of Honolulu Magazine. For example ... )

This year GOP state representatives Gene Ward and Bob McDermott led a push for anti-gay “religious freedom” legislation of the same kind passed in Indiana. Ironically it was the business community that pushed back in Indiana, forcing the governor to retreat.

If a “religious freedom” bill had managed to pass in Hawaii, how much of an adverse impact might it now be having on our tourist industry?

D’Olier and Hawaii Family Forum presumably supported that legislation. Do they still, after seeing how it imploded in Indiana?

Meanwhile, McDermott is making increasingly desperate attempts to challenge Hawaii’s new marriage equality law in the courts.

Do D’Olier and Hawaii Family Forum support these attempts?

In the interview, D’Olier said he places his family second to his faith. Since his brand of religion apparently teaches that homosexuality is a bad thing, how would he have reacted if, say, one of his sons had come out as gay and said he planned to marry his same-sex partner? Would he have distanced himself from that son in deference to his fundamentalist faith — which he ranks in priority ahead of his family? ....

Best Comment: "For all the preaching about tolerance, isn't this article a show of intolerance? Mitch D'Olier has done a lot for our community and he's entitled to his opinions." ...

SA: Steven 'Broken Trust' Levinson Suggests McDermott's Lawyer Acted in Bad Faith

read ... They want to see if they have the power to take somebody down.  Will you give them this power over you?

SB359: First step toward "carbon tax" in Hawaii

SA: ...Among the measures still pending is SB 359, which expands the so-called "barrel tax" on imported fossil fuels such as oil, propane and liquefied natural gas but carved out a special tax break for coal that was sought by industry lobbyists.

Lawmakers this year had proposed to expand the reach of the barrel tax — $1.05 per barrel on all oil imported into the state — with new language to impose a new levy on synthetic gas, liquefied natural gas, propane and coal based on their capacity to generate energy.

AES Hawaii Inc., which produces about 20 percent of Oahu's power at any given time by burning about 700,000 tons of coal per year at its plant in Campbell Industrial Park, was exempted from the new "BTU tax" until its current power purchase agreement with Hawaiian Electric expires in 2022.

Ige said he continues to study all measures passed by the Legislature ahead of his July 14 deadline to veto or approve all bills passed in the 2015 session. The governor must notify the Legislature by June 29 of any bills he intends to veto....

Jeff Miku­lina said SB 359 is the first step toward establishing a true "carbon tax" in Hawaii, to further spur renewable energy. Barrel tax proceeds are distributed among state environmental protection and cleanup programs as well as state programs to promote clean energy, reduce the use of fossil fuels and promote local agriculture.....

read ... Tax Hike

Maui hospital privatization negotiations to begin with governor's signature

PBN: Gov. David Ige is expected to sign a bill Wednesday authorizing the Maui region state hospitals to begin discussion on implementing a private-public partnership.

House Bill 1075 clears the way for the Hawaii Health Systems Corp. Maui hospitals — Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital and Clinic and Lanai Community Hospital — to enter in negotiations for the ultimate transfer of operations to a nonprofit entity.

Hawaii Pacific Health and Kaiser Permanente Hawaii have both expressed interest in becoming that private management entity.

Any partnership would be subject to approval by the Governor, the Hawaii Health Systems Corp., and the Maui region Board of Directors.

MN: Ige schedules Maui hospitals bill signing for Wednesday

read ... Wednesday

Republicans Right all along About Obamacare 

Borreca: The Republican Governor's Association during last year's campaign season called it "Neil Abercrombie's Unmitigated Obamacare Disaster."

Last week, the Senate's only Republican, Sen. Sam Slom, described the Hawaii Connector as "a failed project. It was a boondoggle from the very beginning." ...

Ige ditched the plan last week. Its main accomplishment had been to suck $130 million out of a $203 million federal grant offered via the Affordable Care Act to set up the health exchange.

Earlier, in one of the most sharply worded reports issued by the legislative auditor, the exchange was called "unsustainable," with its board members unaware or unable to prevent the looming disaster.

"Contracts were awarded without following proper procedures to ensure competitive pricing and procurement documentation was disorganized or missing from most contract files," said Jan Yamane, acting auditor.

The plan proved to be a slow-moving train wreck that officials said was out of compliance with the federal rules and could lose $1 billion in Medicaid funds, if new plans were not accepted by the feds.

As it stands now, the 40,000 enrolled in the Hawaii Connector will have to sign up again and the state will have to spend $30 million on the transition to the federal marketplace, according to reports by Star-Advertiser reporter Kristen Consillio.

The retreat was marked by Ige — with a terse, seven-paragraph news release —who said, "The state remains committed to offering health care coverage through the Prepaid Health Care Act as it has for the past 40 years."

read ... Told you so

No school in Hawaii  evacuated due to pesticide drift from seed companies

KE: ...Without apparent question, and nothing more than a cursory rebuttal from the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association buried at the end of her piece, Wu let Ashley Lukens, a registered lobbyist for Center for Food Safety, make all sorts of unfounded claims about the seed industry's pesticide use in Hawaii.

Because of course Lukens, the former owner of a baby boutique, is qualified to present herself as a bonafide pesticide and GE seed expert. Just ask the Center for Food Safety, which recruited her for the job.

Lukens was in her usual fine form, making claims that Wu, had she conducted even the barest research, would have discovered have been discounted. Like how a Waimea, Kauai school was “evacuated three times due to pesticide drift.”

As I've reported several times now, and as was presented in a state Legislative hearing, no school in Hawaii has been evacuated due to pesticide drift from the seed companies. A state Dept. of Agriculture breakdown of school evacuations over the past nine years shows students were evacuated due to pesticide misuse by nearby residents, a school custodian and a landscaper — none of whom Lukens wishes to regulate.

Though Lukens tells a gullible Wu that her primary interest is in pesticide use, she was unable to tell me why CFS chose to launch its Hawaii campaign with anti-GMO legislation, rather than pesticide regulatory bills.

Nor did Wu apparently ever ask why Lukens is deeply concerned only about pesticides applied by seed companies, and not at with pesticides used by the termite treatment companies, which actually apply more restricted use pesticides than agriculture, and right in residential areas, with zero notification or buffer zones at all.

Lukens also makes the totally unsubstantiated claim that children, pregnant women and farmworkers in Hawaii run a greater risk of pesticide exposure than those in other states....

read ... Musings: Regurgitation

HNN Hypes Waianae as Destination for Homeless

HNN: A community tucked into the brush near the Waianae Boat Harbor has 107 dwellings and 278 people. Residents refer to the themselves as houseless not homeless. Their encampment is spread out over 19 acres. Tents and tarps line dirt paths like cottages line streets in neighborhoods.

"I love this village. It's very good. Comfortable," said Pearl Hassenritter who lived there for nine years.

Singles and families. Infants and senior citizens. They live side-by-side. Newcomers are interviewed before they're allowed in, and everyone is expected to follow the rules. Break them and you're gone.

"Number one rule is no stealing. Number two rule is as long as you have kids they become our first responsibility," Twinkle Borge said.

Borge is the community's leader. The village has its own security team. Solar lights light up dark areas. The main entrance is chained off after hours. Borge said many of the adults have jobs but can't afford a house or apartment.

"I believe most of them do have enough for the rent but not the utilities," she said.

There are 48 children and teenagers in the camp. School attendance is mandatory.

"Education is number one in here for the children. We don't want them to live this lifestyle. We don't want them to think it's okay to live this lifestyle," resident Kaulana Paishon said.

Leaders are appointed to watch over sections. There are regular meetings and memos.

DN: Homelessness Industry Looks picks thru RFP for for ways to kill Sand Island Micro Units

read ... "Houseless" community thrives really far from Waikiki, near Waianae Boat Harbor

HGEA Contract Forces Kona hospital to cut 34 staff, close skilled nursing unit

PBN: The Kona Community Hospital announced Monday it will cut 34 positions at the Big Island hospital beginning Aug. 1, and will close its 18-bed skilled nursing service.

The cuts are part of the hospital’s contingency plan to address a $6 million budget gap.

Growing expenses from collective bargaining and retiree health benefits led to the shortage, Jay Kreuzer, West Hawaii Regional CEO of Hawaii Health Systems Corp., told PBN.

The Kona hospital began to address its shortfall through a year-long cost savings plan that saved $9 million.

KHON: Kona Community Hospital to cut long-term care positions, skilled nursing unit

read ... Thanks to HGEA

Domestic violence efforts blocked

SA:  A task force on domestic violence commissioned by the Hono­lulu City Council has pinpointed major obstacles to improving the response to abuse cases, including a lack of communication between government agencies, poor data collection and insufficient training at responding agencies.

"We need a more spirited investment in an effective response," said Nanci Kreidman of the Hawaii Domestic Violence Action Center, who is on the task force. "We have weak links throughout the system, and that interferes with an overall strong effort."

The Domestic Violence Response Task Force released its first preliminary report last month. It must submit an annual report by the end of December and at the end of every year after that.

The Honolulu City Council passed a resolution creating the task force in February after the Hono­lulu Police Department drew criticism for the way officers handled an incident in September....

read ... Blocked

Hawaii Highest Proportion of Children in Private School

WaPo: The proportion of children who attend public school ranges widely from state to state, from a low of 79 percent in the District of Columbia and Hawaii to 93 percent in Wyoming and Utah, according to the Education Law Center’s annual school funding report, released Monday.

And in every state, private school students on average come from wealthier families than public school students. In some cases, much wealthier: In the District, private school families’ income is more than three times that of public school families’ income, on average....

read ... Lowest in USA

Kauai Mayor 'Fired Up' over Drug Treatment Facility Once Blocked by OHA

KGI: Grove Farm will donate five acres of land so that Kauai County may build an adolescent substance abuse treatment center.

But even with the gift, construction of the proposed facility is far from a sure thing.

The late Mayor Bryan Baptiste first proposed the idea for a youth-oriented, residential drug treatment facility more than eight years ago, so that children diagnosed with severe addiction problems do not need to travel to Oahu for treatment.

Several potential sites were selected over the years since, but the project never moved beyond the planning stage to construction due to strong resistance from nearby communities that did not want the facility in their neighborhoods.

Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. was visibly fired up when speaking about his determination to build the facility following a lengthy County Council meeting that discussed the subject on Wednesday.

“I refuse to ship our children away,” Carvalho said, noting that he included the project as a top priority in his Holo Holo 2020 vision for the county. “It’s our responsibility.”

2007: Office of Hawaiian Affairs Blocks Kauai Drug Treatment Facility

read ... Blocked by OHA, Remember?

Oahu's rooftop solar industry heats up after months of decline

PBN: ...May was the third consecutive month with year-over-year increases in permits, according to data collected by Marco Mangelsdorf, president of Hilo-based ProVision Solar.

He noted that the increase could be due in large part to the clearing of the Hawaiian Electric Co. queue and the success of solar photovoltaic contractors in getting homeowners to believe that if they don’t act now, they will lose out on getting their systems approved by the utility.

“Then there’s the issue of an increasing number of the 400-plus HECO circuits reaching [high levels of penetration],” Mangelsdorf told PBN in an email.

Alternate Energy Inc. topped the list of permits pulled by contractors in May, with 293 permits totaling about $7.2 million in sales.

Hawaii Energy Connection (280 permits, $6.8 million), American Electric Co. LLC (217 permits, $7 million), RevoluSun LLC (192 permits, $4.8 million) and REC Solar Inc. (171 permits, $5.2 million) rounded out the top five....

read ... Dead Cat Bounce? 

Major Oahu solar energy farms on hold are not dead yet, PUC chief says, (Iwase is Dreaming)

PBN: The seven major solar energy projects on Oahu total more than 200-megawatts and which have been put on hold are not dead just yet, the head of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission told PBN Monday.

Randy Iwase, chairman of the PUC, in an exclusive interview with PBN, said that it isn’t satisfied with Hawaiian Electric Co.’s answers to its questions regarding the eight planned solar farms, which total about 240-megawatts....

A crucial federal tax credit deadline in 2016 is adding to the pressure to get these, and other projects that are part of the plan, approved.

“We haven’t made a decision to deny or [approve the solar projects],” he said. “But we are making it clear that when we do make a decision, [Hawaiian Electric] has to provide us with the information so that we can be satisfied that [these] are the right projects, [in that] the cost is right for the ratepayer and over the long haul, this is going to benefit the state.”

(And Iwase still doesn't realize that capital--even tax credit capital--won't wait around for him.  Not surprising for a Hawaii machine politician.)

read ... Iwase Dreaming

Civil Beat Logic: Raise Property Taxes to Cut Cost of Living

CB: "Boost Property Taxes on Out-of-State Owners to Ease Housing Costs. Sharply increasing the property tax that applies to some non-occupant homeowners could help bring down the cost of living, especially on Oahu. Here's why."

Best Comment: "Another theoretical commentary that lacks pragmatic relevancy."

read ... Unconstitutional

Hole in door at Subaru Telescope not from bullet

KITV: The detailed inspection on Sunday found a match between the hole and an intake manifold cover on the wall.

Subaru Telescope Director Nobuo Arimoto says the daytime crew knew about the presence of the hole at the time of the severe winter storm earlier this year.  He says the wraparound effect of the wind could be very severe at times and can swing the heavy door to create this kind of dent in the door.

read ... Astronomers can play hardball, too

Arnold's reply to NCAA notice may raise more issues at UH

SA: Does the University of Hawaii athletic department have more to fear from the NCAA than just the pending judgment against the men's basketball program?

People who say they have either read or been briefed on former coach Gib Arnold's reply to the NCAA's Notice of Allegations say the document has the potential to raise additional issues.

The 51-page reply to the NCAA's Jan. 30 charges is said to point a finger in the direction of at least two UH programs beyond Arnold's (2010-14) Rainbow Warriors, who have been the focus of the 15-month process.

The allegations contained therein are apparently incendiary enough that both UH and Arnold, bitterly divided on most everything else in this case, agree on one point: neither will release a copy yet.

Big Q: UH President David Lassner earns less than his predecessor and half of his counterparts nationwide; how is he doing in the job?

read ... More Issues

Booker T. Washington’s chief mentor was born and raised in Hawaii

H: Washington also worked in a local coalmine, where one day he heard two black workers talking about the Hampton Institute, a newly established school for former slaves in southeastern Virginia. Washington resolved to attend the school, and in 1872 set out on the 500-mile journey for Hampton. The Hampton Institute was established in 1868 by Brigadier General Samuel Chapman Armstrong, who had commanded an African-American unit during the Civil War. Chapman was born on Maui in the Kingdom of Hawaii, the son of New England missionaries, and graduated from the Punahou School (famously attended 120 years later by Barack Obama). Chapman was impressed by Washington’s work as a student at Hampton, and invited him to return as a teacher in 1879. When a group of Alabamans sent him an inquiry asking for “a well qualified white man” to become principal of a new school in Tuskegee, Armstrong replied recommending Washington as “the best man we ever had here,” saying “I know of no white man who could do better.” The 25-year-old Washington got the job and led the Tuskegee Institute from 1881 until his death in 1915.

read ...



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