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Wednesday, June 17, 2015
June 17, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:13 PM :: 4439 Views

Hirono, Schatz Nominate Three for Federal Judge

DUI Enforcement? Hawaii Ranks 27th

Meet the Gay Activist in Charge of Federal 'Safe Schools' Policy

Hawaii is home to the nation’s largest share of multiracial Americans

Excuse for Tax Hike Evaporates as New bids for rail stations come in $9M below estimates

SA:  The latest bids opened to build stations along Oahu’s rail line have come in more favorably than the previous group of bids that were opened about three months ago.

On Tuesday, rail officials opened bids from four companies vying to build the three western-most stations along the line, at East Kapolei, UH West Oahu and Hoopili.

They had estimated that the work would cost between $65 and $80 million.

The lowest bid, from Nan, Inc., came in at $56.1 million.

The highest, from Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co., came in at $73.4 million.

Firms Hensel Phelps and Watts Constructors also submitted bids, at $67.2 million and $66.5 million, respectively.

Best Comment: "So grabby has cut the corruption almost in half in response to the billion dollar shortfall. This just proves that the people running this project and those building it are ripping off the taxpayers to the extent they think they can get away with."

read ... The whole pitch for a Rail Tax Hike Was a Scam

Hawaii's Phony Renewable Energy Standards: How 35% Renewable = 115% Renewable

IM: Life of the Land asked Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) a question in the HECO-NextEra merger proceedings (Information Request # 234) regarding the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS).

“Does HECO believe that an RPS of 100 percent is the same thing as requiring all grid-based electricity to come from renewable energy resources?”

HECO Replied,

A Renewable Portfolio Standard (“RPS”) of 100 percent is not the same as all grid-based electricity coming from renewable energy resources.  As defined by statute:

RPS percent = Total Renewable Electrical Energy / Total Sales

Suppose that sales are 100 GWh and that 35 GWh of those sales come from renewable energy and 65 GWH come from fossil fuels.  Suppose further that behind the meter generation provides 80 GWh of energy directly to customers behind the meter and therefore is not recorded as sales.  In this case

Total Renewable Electrical Energy = 35 GWh + 80 GWh = 115 GWh

Total Sales = 100 GWh

RPS percent = (115/100) X 100 = 115%

PBN: Bill to boost Hawaii hydroelectric projects awaits governor's signature

read ... HECO asserts Hawaii's renewable energy requirement can exceed 100%

The Solar farms we sabotaged would have saved $800M, but its all the PUC's Fault, HECO says

SA: Hawaiian Electric Co. said seven planned large-scale solar projects could save customers more than $800 million and would allow the expansion of customer-sited rooftop solar.

HECO argued for approval of the projects in response to a state Public Utilities Commission decision earlier this month to defer the projects.

PUC Chairman Randy Iwase said he delayed approvals of the solar projects, totaling 220 megawatts, because HECO did not provide enough information to prove the projects were beneficial to ratepayers. (Bla bla bla)

Reality: PUC Rejects Independent Solar projects, Sets Stage for NextEra to Build its Own

read ... Blame Game

Honolulu on track to end veteran homelessness by year's end

HNN: After nearly 2 decades of bouncing between his friends couches and living on the street, Navy veteran Robert Henry has a home.

"I just recently this last Friday got my own place to live at under the HUD/VASH program," said Henry.

The Kailua High School grad said his problems began when he moved to the mainland to take care of his mother.  He says he struggled with alcoholism. After his mother died, Henry moved back to Hawaii but never could get reestablished becoming one of an estimated 700 homeless vets on Oahu.

Since the start of the year, that number's dropped dramatically.

"We know that we have close to 105 unsheltered veteran homeless right now that we have on a list that we really want to get into housing right away," said Mayor's Office of Housing Executive Director Jun Yang....

"The biggest challenge right now to date is really finding housing units," said Yang....

In an effort to speed up the process, the city recently created the program called "Heroes Housing Heroes."  Yang is looking for property owners who have studio or one bedroom apartments to lease.  In all, the city needs a total of about 150 units to meet the goal by years end....

read ... End Homelessness

Hawaii #1 in Homelessness

KITV: 49.3 per 10,000 are homeless in Hawaii.  In Kansas, the least homeless of all the states, it is 3.3 per 10,000.  #2 New York is 41.0 per 10,000....

read ... We're Number 1

Hawaii #1 in Welfare, So Lets Give the Homeless Even More money as a 'Solution'

SA: More than a third of homeless adults surveyed for a new study reported working to earn income, a finding that bolsters social advocates' calls to subsidize monthly rent for employed homeless people who don't earn enough to cover rent in Honolulu's stratospheric market.

There should be a public policy preference for work over welfare, as a 2013 report by the Cato Institute emphasized. That report, "The Work Versus Welfare Tradeoff 2013: An Analysis of the Total Level Benefits by State," found that Hawaii offered the most generous annual welfare package of any state, when assistance from seven major federal anti-poverty programs was counted.

Although the libertarian think tank acknowledged that the figure of $49,175 may have been distorted by Hawaii's high cost of living, it still put the state atop the list of 13 states where welfare paid more than $15 an hour — financially superior to holding a minimum-wage job. A person in Hawaii would have to earn $29.13 an hour to clear the same amount in potential welfare benefits, it said, claiming a clear disincentive to work.

The report warned of risks for long-term welfare recipients as dire as for the larger community shouldering the economic burden. Regular, steady employment, beginning in entry-level jobs, builds the skills, expectations and ethos that American life depends on for a civil society. The prospect of an unemployed class of people who through lack of education, training, opportunity and practice end up virtually unemployable is a discouraging one.

NOW, a new survey, (by UH grad students desperately seeking their preconceived opinion) conducted among Oahu's homeless population, offers an important counterpoint to the CATO report, which has lodged in the public consciousness and contributes to an unfortunate resistance to funding assistance that in the long run could save more money than it costs.

A project conducted by two University of Hawaii graduate students in urban and regional planning surveyed 70 homeless heads of households (LOL!) living in tents in Kakaako, along the Kapalama Canal and in Aala Park, a small segment of the estimated 1,939 unsheltered homeless in Honolulu County, but a meaningful sample nonetheless.

Best Comment: "You can never satisfy a person by handing out free money. The more you give, the insatiable that person will become."

Reality: It pays not to work: Hawaii highest welfare benefits in US

read ... More Money to buy More Meth

How Military Policies Drive Up Rents on Oahu

CB: Service members who live off the base enjoy housing allowances that surpass fair market rental prices. That, real estate analysts say, helps drive up rents....

read ... Drive Up Rents

Hawaii Public Schools Must Offer Gay Sex Education, Board Decides

CB: Starting next year, public schools in Hawaii will be required to offer sex education to students — a big shift from the current policy that allows individual schools to decide whether to teach the subject.

The state Board of Education voted 5-1 in favor of the policy changes Tuesday afternoon after listening to lengthy and contentious public testimony from more than a dozen community members, parents and activists.

The shift was heralded by advocates of comprehensive sex education as a “big step” for Hawaii, while opponents like conservative state Rep. Bob McDermott called the decision a “travesty.”

Until Tuesday, Hawaii was one of 10 states that did not mandate that students be offered sex education or taught about HIV and AIDS (and the joy of anal sex).

Board Chair Don Horner cast the sole “no” vote.

read ... Increasing the available pool

Case Against GMOs Evaporates in Federal Courtroom

KE: ...the anti-GMO initiative on Maui appears doomed, with U.S. District Court Judge Susan Mollway sharply questioning SHAKA attorney Michael Carroll, whose specialty is real estate and construction law, in a hearing this week on the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment.

Yet he, like the Earthjustice and Center for Food Safety attorneys who saw their anti-GMO legislation overturned on Kauai and Hawaii Island, is confident he can win on appeal, even if he loses the first round. Translate that to: keep sending money, while I milk this for all it's worth.

Civil Beat helpfully posted a link to the legal arguments that almost, but not quite, made up for Anita Hofschneider's piss poor reporting on the issue, which included an “it sucks” crybaby quote from SKAKA founder Mark Sheehan, who also happens to be a high-end Maui Realtor.

The plaintiffs argued the initiative is invalid because it's pre-empted by state and federal law, and violates multiple provisions of the Maui County Charter, thus rendering it unenforceable. The Kauai and Hawaii county laws were already overturned by a federal judge who found they were pre-empted by state law, a legal tenet that presumably will also apply in this case.

SHAKA claimed the moratorium is needed because seed companies “use the land in a more destructive way than commercial agriculture, which results in higher risks for pollution and health problems” and no laws protect Maui County from the harms. Except, of course, all those state and federal laws regulating pesticide use and other environmental issues.

The brief does acknowledge that none of its claims of harmful health effects on residents or farm workers have been “scientifically evaluated” before citing Hector Valenzuela, who is a UH crop specialist, not a physician, as saying there's “urgent need” to study these “potentially harmful” impacts.

Carroll, in arguing for Maui County's right to regulate GMOs, cites its regulation of “smoke, soot, poisonous gases, dirt, dust and debris into the open air.” Gosh, that's the very same ordinance upon which Gary modeled his own unsuccessful nuisance bill, under the guise of controlling fireplace smoke.

In the end, SHAKA's brief contended that even if the moratorium part of the measure is found to be invalid, it could be severed from the ordinance and all the rest would remain valid. Uh, sorry, but it doesn't work quite that way.

Mollway promised a decision in a week or two, at which time it will likely be made clear that all the anti-GMO legislation in Hawaii was a giant flop, save for clarifying that the state does, indeed, have pre-emptive powers, and all the associated angst and drama was for naught, save for lining the pockets of a few activists and attorneys.

Is anybody feeling a bit used?

read ... Musings: Naughty and Naught

After 9 Months Serving Billy Kenoi, Social Climber Peter Boylan Returns to Oahu Tail Between legs

HTH: ...Peter Boylan was the chief spokesman for Kenoi after he announced he would no longer be answering reporters’ questions about the pCard case.

A former Honolulu Advertiser newspaper reporter and public relations representative for U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa’s Democratic U.S. Senate campaign, Boylan joined Kenoi’s staff Sept. 16.

At that time, Kenoi said Boylan’s years of legislative experience as deputy chief of staff for the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, would serve the county well.

While some speculated Boylan was brought in to prepare Kenoi for a run for higher office, (lol!  These clowns actually thought Kenoi had a future.  What a bunch of morons.) Kenoi said the addition of high-profile names to his administration, including Boylan and comedian Augie T, were not a sign of future political aspirations.... (Know them by what they deny.)

I’ve made it clear. I won’t be running for office in two years,” Kenoi told West Hawaii Today in November. “I’m not leaving Hawaii County. This is my home … There’s no other (higher) political office on Hawaii Island. So, I’m done.” (Dishonest statements crossed out.)

(So Sad.  If only poor Peter had read Hawai'i Free Press he would have known Billy was not the ticket to the 5th floor.  Instead he spent 9 mos in Hilo answering questions about hostess bars and p cards.  Ignorance has a price.)

We Told You So: Billy Kenoi helped Pali Shooter

read ... I'm Done

Circus: UH, Arnold file second replies to NCAA infractions panel

SA: ...In Arnold’s case, the latest reply, said to number 40 pages, comes two days after what is described as a nearly four-hour interview of UH Compliance Director Amanda Paterson. Arnold’s Honolulu attorney, James Bickerton, confirmed that Paterson, whom he has called the “star witness” in the case, was made available by the NCAA and UH and interviewed Sunday.

She was said to have been accompanied by her attorney, former Hawaii Attorney General Mark Bennett. UH confirmed that it is paying for Bennett’s services in the case.

Neither Bennett nor Bickerton would comment on the substance of the session. Bickerton has previously said Arnold and Paterson were at odds over her handling of several compliance issues.

Bickerton said he also interviewed Arnold’s replacement, former interim head coach Benji Taylor, on Monday. Taylor, who took over in the aftermath of Arnold’s Oct. 28 firing and remained until the hiring of Eran Ganot on April 9, was an assistant at UH for four seasons. Bickerton said the NCAA and UH only “narrowly” interviewed Taylor, “who has been there throughout the (time) period that is in question. Coach Taylor has a lot to say about these matters. Fortunately, our team interviewed him, so his statement will be in the NCAA record.”

Meanwhile, the Southeastern Conference announced Tuesday that UH’s lead attorney in the NCAA case, William H. King III of the Alabama-based Lightfoot, Franklin & White law firm, will join the SEC as Associate Commissioner for Legal Affairs and Compliance on Sept. 1.

King told the Star-Advertiser in an email he “will continue to represent the University” through the NCAA hearing.

King’s boss at the conference will be SEC commissioner Greg Sankey. Sankey chairs the NCAA Committee on Infractions, but will reportedly not sit on the UH case.

“That’s certainly interesting news,” Bickerton said. “I would certainly want to know if he (King) had made these plans at the time he essentially pleaded UH guilty to the (NCAA) charges.”....

read ... Clown Show

Souki’s reported investment in Hawaiian Electric a “mental error”

ILind: My column over at Civil Beat today describes House Speaker Joe Souki’s reaction to my earlier report, based on his official financial disclosures filed with the State Ethics Commission (“Ian Lind: House Speaker Joe Souki’s Financial Reports Are Full of Errors“).

Here’s an excerpt from the CB column:

But when asked this week about the boost in Hawaiian Electric shares, Souki said the official disclosures he filed were wrong, and the number of shares he owns has not changed since 2012.

“I didn’t buy a single share,” the 82-year old Souki said, noting that he inherited the stock from his parents back in the late 1980s. “I still have just 729 shares.”

“It was a mental error on my part,” he said.

It wasn’t the only “mental error” he made when filing the financial disclosures over the past couple of years.

ILind: Speaker says reports of HEI stock purchases were simply wrong

read ... Mental

Sources accuse women's prison managers of covering up guard assault

HNN: Hawaii News Now has uncovered troubling allegations that there's a cover-up underway by supervisors and managers at the Women's Community Correctional Center of an alleged assault by a guard on a woman prison inmate.

Sources told Hawaii News Now the sergeant accused in the case has a record of physically mistreating women inmates and getting away with it. And three sources with knowledge of the case have come forward to say at nearly every step, managers and supervisors at the facility have failed to follow basic procedures and have not conducted a proper investigation.

A 24-year-old female inmate claimed a sergeant at the Women's Community Correctional Center in Kailua assaulted her in the cafeteria of the Olomana unit June 2....  She is serving time for felony auto theft....

Co-workers said he previously punched one inmate in the face using a towel to disguise the injuries but that woman was too scared to come forward and complain.

He was also accused of beating up a third inmate who complained but no discipline resulted....

Sources familiar with the June 2 assault allegation said the accused officer was not placed on 30 days of leave pending investigation, which is routine for allegations of excessive force. He remains on the job, supervising about 80 inmates and several guards on the overnight shift at the Olomana unit where the alleged assault happened.....

Sources said the sergeant's wife, who's also a sergeant at the women's prison and the chief union steward there, was allowed to fill out her husband's “use of force” report after the June 2 incident and she did so in the office of Acting Chief of Security Calvin Pagharion, while he was in the office, even though she was not present at the incident. The sergeant later signed the report that his wife had prepared for him, sources said....

read ... Sources

After Burning Thru Trust Fund, Kahoolawe commission raises only $38,000 online

MN: In one month, the cash-strapped Kaho'olawe Island Reserve Commission raised about $38,000 to assist with operations through the summer, but the group still is short of its $100,000 goal and may have to reduce volunteer trips to the one-time practice range for the military....

The state Legislature decided to give the commission only $1 million of the $3 million requested for the next fiscal year that begins July 1. The commission has been trying to find ways to sustain its operations and staff.

Background: Audit: Kahoolawe Money Gone After 18 years Without a Plan

read ... Kahoolawe commission raises $38,000 online

Hawaii Lowest Rate of 'Self-Insurance' Plans

PS: EBRI found there is no evidence that smaller firms were increasingly self-insuring their health plans. The percentage of workers in self-insured plans in firms with fewer than 50 employees has been close to 12% in most years examined in the analysis going back to 1996.

The percentage of American workers in self-insured plans in 2013 ranged by state/federal district from a low of 35.5% to a high of 73.5%. Hawaii (at 35.5%) was the only state with fewer than 40% of workers with health insurance in self-insured plans. In four states and the District of Columbia (California, New York, Rhode Island, D.C., and Massachusetts), between 40% and 50% of workers with health insurance were in self-insured plans. Only two states (Indiana and Nebraska) had more than 70% of workers with health insurance in self-insured plans.

Some employers think that components of the ACA, such as the strict grandfathering requirements; the minimum-creditable-coverage requirement; the breadth of essential-health benefits; the taxes on insurers, medical-device manufacturers, and pharmaceutical companies; the affordability requirements; and the reinsurance fees will all drive up the cost of health coverage. To the degree small employers are concerned about the rising cost of providing health coverage, self-insurance may become a more attractive means to mitigate any expected regulatory cost increases. 

The full report, “Self-Insured Health Plans: State Variation and Recent Trends by Firm Size, 1996‒2013,” is published in the June 2015 EBRI Notes, online at www.ebri.org.

read ... Self-Insurance

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