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Thursday, June 18, 2015
June 18, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:00 PM :: 4555 Views

Hawaii Lowest Median Income for Families with Father Present

Sex Ed? Board of Ed Says 'Trust Us'

Anti-GMO Activists Attack State’s Last Cane Plantation

Secret text of Trade Agreement ‘forms a new Pacific Union’

Rail Creates Only 870 Local Jobs

Hawaii Government Workforce Seventh Least Productive in USA

Ethics Complaint: Kenoi Hired Campaign Manager for $110K Job

HTH: Mayor Billy Kenoi and his campaign manager, who was hired in April to head the Office of Aging, are the subjects of an ethics complaint alleging political favoritism in county hiring.

The complaint, which also targets unnamed officials in the county Department of Human Resources, maintains that Office of Aging Director Kimo Alameda doesn’t have the two years supervisory experience required in the job description. The $110,000-plus position oversees a department of 12 employees.

Scheduled to be heard by the county Board of Ethics at its July 8 meeting in Hilo, the complaint was filed by Kapaau resident Lanric Hyland. Hyland wants Alameda terminated and officials involved in his hiring disciplined....

AP: Another ethics complaint filed against Big Island mayor

read ... $110,000

FBI Investigating Terrorist Muslims in Hawaii, other States

ABC:  The FBI is in the midst of a broad campaign to disrupt potential terrorists inspired by ISIS, with several arrests expected before July 4th, law enforcement officials told ABC News.

The latest arrest that is part of this campaign came Saturday in New York, where a college student thought al Qaeda was getting soft and "making efforts to prepare an explosive device for detonation,” according to the FBI.

Hundreds of investigations are underway in all 50 states. Many involve suspected ISIS supporters, authorities said....

Saleh allegedly expressed support for the attack on the offices of the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo and the attempted attack on the Draw the Prophet cartoon contest in Garland, Texas.

In roughly a month since two suspected ISIS supporters were killed in that attack, authorities have made at least five arrests of suspected ISIS supporters as part of what law enforcement officials tell ABC News is a broad campaign to disrupt potential terrorists encouraged by ISIS through social media.

Last Two in Hawaii: Honolulu Muslim Eye-Gouge Attacker Tied to Staten Island Jihadi

read ... FBI in Midst of Broad Campaign to Disrupt ISIS

Hawaii Transportation Energy Plan--Mostly Tax Hikes

PBN: The Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative Transportation Energy Analysis draft report, which was unveiled Wednesday and produced by the International Council on Clean Transportation on behalf of the state, included a total of 90 different strategies. Of these, the ICCT recommended 22 that hold higher priority than others....

The strategies include improving vehicle efficiency, promoting increased adoption of electric vehicles, using more alternative fuels, giving financial support to the aviation industry and increasing fuel taxes through the barrel tax to help (Translation of 'Help' -- 'Screw') the marine industry (and electric ratepayers, aviation, and car drivers)....

For electric vehicles, a recommended strategy is adopting a state rebate program, EV rental prioritization for state and county employees and time-of-use and EV charging rates (ie more fees) ....

A pricing program that would replace the way vehicle registration taxes and fees are calculated also was discussed. The state collected $126 million in vehicle registration fees in 2014.

Instead of by weight, it would be by miles traveled, charging 1.1 cents per mile traveled, (ca-ching!) which would amount to a savings of 5.6 million gallons annually.

Drivers would be charged on an annual basis based on odometer readings. 

56% Fooled by Tax Hike Trick: "Do you think Hawaii should calculate vehicle registration fees based on the number of miles you drive?"

read ... More Tax Hikes

Kauai Council Will Have to Cut Positions to Fund Union Contracts

KGI: Council Chair Mel Rapozo said councilmembers were between a rock and a hard place: “We can vote no and stop the funding, but then we’ll get sued.”

“We do a horrible job … negotiating these contracts. Horrible,” Rapozo said. “We let Honolulu negotiate for us. And that’s the problem. Honolulu has their own agenda.”

Although anticipated, the expense was not included in the fiscal year 2016 budget that was recently approved by the County Council and signed by the mayor. As a result, the council will have to approve a separate money bill to cover the cost, which will mean dipping into the unassigned reserve savings fund....

Rapozo said that union agreements would eventually force the county to cut positions because it can’t afford to pay the increase, and urged the unions to start looking ahead.

“You can come up with the huge increases, but we’ll come to a point where we don’t have the money and we’re almost there,” Rapozo said.

Councilmember JoAnn Yukimura said that it is to union members’ benefit to work with the county, reminding them that unions did not fare well in Detroit’s bankruptcy....

“Let’s be real about the level of salaries throughout the county that we allow to just blow up as if this is the city of San Francisco or New York City,” Kuali’i said....

Councilmember Gary Hooser also disagreed with the idea that the council’s hands are tied, saying that councilmembers could choose to cut jobs if it determined that was the correct decision and if it had the political will....

In 2014, the county’s credit rating was downgraded from AA to AA- by Fitch Ratings, and Standard and Poor’s revised the financial outlook from stable to negative. The downgrades were attributed in part to the county’s continued use of the reserve fund to balance the annual budget.

read ... Deficit Spending

Hawaii DoE Evades Feds by Holding Back School Suspension Data

CB: ...Hawaii has faced less scrutiny than other states in recent years about its suspension rates, in part because it is the only state to have incomplete suspension data in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights current data collection. Because of that, Hawaii is often left out of national reports on discipline trends. The state also does not publish school-by-school suspension data broken down by ethnicity....

Who we're evading: Meet the Gay Activist in Charge of Federal 'Safe Schools' Policy

read ... Hawaii School Suspensions: Are They Fair? Can They Be Reduced?

Controversy Grows Over federal takeover of Moanalua Bay

HNN: ...opponents of the proposal fear if the plan goes through, the bay may not be as user-friendly.

"I can't see within the proposal how we'll carry out dredging or how we'll carry out our daily business without disturbing the ocean floor or going near a turtle," said Jeffrey Krants with "Friends of Maunalua Bay."

Krantz is the owner of SeaBreeze/H20 Sports, which specializes in jet skiing, parasailing, Banana Boat activities, and jet packs.

He, along with several other business owners on the marina, say nearly 200 jobs could be lost.

Sam Montgomery uses the bay for both work and pleasure. He says there are flaws in NOAA's proposal.

"Basically stating that our dredging, once they take over, is only good for one year. They're giving us a one year exemption. After that, it's up to the director of NOAA to decide whether or not we get dredge our marina or not," Montgomery said....

The public comment period ends Friday, June 19.

You can submit your opinions by clicking HERE....

read ... Federal Takeover

Up to ten wind turbines could be added to Kahuku wind farm

HNN: They've been given the green light by the state, and if construction goes accordingly, nine to ten new wind turbines will dot the hillsides above Kahuku by the summer of 2016.

The Na Pua Makani Wind Energy Project is a subsidiary of Champlin/GEI Wind Holdings LLC, a southern California based company.

The project will be split into two sites.  One will be adjacent the current wind farm, and the other will be opposite Malaekahana....

The electricity created will be sold to HECO at a low (high) rate, and will then be re-distributed to consumers. Bradshaw said the developer has no control of whether or not HECO will pass along those savings (costs).

The economics of the wind farm are a big topic--it's not where the developer has met the most concern.

"Unfortunately, it's the visual impact.  If we could make them invisible we would, we can't.  We have to focus on the many positive impacts associated with it."

The public will get a chance to weigh in and ask questions at a public forum, next Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Kahuku Community Center.

SA: The planned wind farm will supply energy to Hawaiian Electric Co. at 15 cents per kilowatt-hour over the next 20 years, according to the contract  (A wholesale rate higher than the retail rates in most states.)

read ... Kahuku

Co-op seeking to buy HELCO adds consultant

WHT: The nonprofit Hawaii Island Electric Cooperative has retained an investment banker with years of experience with mergers and acquisitions as it continues to explore the idea of public ownership of the Big Island’s electric utility.

Bill Collet, who was a key figure in Kauai Island Utility Cooperative’s acquisition of Kauai Electric in 2002, will work as an adviser to the fledgling nonprofit.

In documents filed Tuesday with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, Collet writes he is “employed by, retained by or assisting” HIEC and KIUC — both intervenors in the pending $4.3 billion sale of Hawaiian Electric Industries to Florida-based NextEra Energy — and requested access to confidential information covered by the commission’s protective order filed in March.

Sen Lorraine Inouye: Progress on Renewable Energy Goal Requires Diligence

read ... Co-op

Employers, UH System Asked to Rearrange their Schedules Because of Rail Traffic Jams

KITV: The city's rail project won't be running for several years, and that’s causing plenty of pain for residents in Aiea, Pearl City and Waipahu who have been dealing with rush hour gridlock for months now....

Hoping to ease some of the congestion through Farrington Highway and Kamehameha Highway, Elefante has introduced a resolution (15-163) that asks public and private employers to offer their workers flex time.

read ... Council member wants public, private employers to help ease rail traffic

Falling Rail Junk Damages 12 cars on H-1 ... So Far

HNN:  According to HART, there have been 12 claims filed by drivers about possible debris damage from the bridge work. It said safety staff investigates each claim, and so far, one of those claims has been settled.

Meanwhile, work to extend the elevated guideway on either side of the freeway will continue into next year.

read ... So far

Videos Used to Convince People to Die, Save Insurance Company Money

PBSD: Hawaii ranks 49th in the nation for use of home health care services during the last six months of someone's life. Videos from ACP Decisions show patients what their options are at the end of life....

Related: Hilo Hospital Cuts are Bandaids

read ... Videos On End-Of-Life Choices Ease Tough Conversation

Maui Homeless Choose Cave over Shelter

HNN: Patti, who fell into a depression after losing her job and turned to alcohol, which she said caused her to lose everything and wind up on the streets three months ago.

Family Life Center officials say the constant migration makes it challenging for providers to connect them with the services they need.

"I literally have to go hiking into kiawe forests and up into the mountain and down into the bushes and down on the beaches and off the rocks because that's where you'll find the people. I mean, you'll find them in a makeshift cave in some rocks," explained Joey Schumacher, a Family Life Center outreach worker.

While there are a number of reasons why homeless are on the streets, officials say on Maui it's predominantly addiction and a lack of affordable housing -- but even as a choice, it's a difficult life.

"Everywhere we go we get ripped off all our things and then we got to start all over again. It's hard," described Alan Tino, who has been homeless for the last ten years after he was released from prison.

Shelter space at Family Life Center in Kahului is limited, but officials say they try to make it as appealing as possible.

"They get a bed, food, a shower and will be able to sleep without one eye open. That's the main part, the safety I think," said Philip Acang, the men's shelter monitor....

read ... Stay Homeless

Homeless Czar Has Been in Limbo for 6 Months, But the End May Be Near

CB: Still awaiting word from Gov. David Ige about his fate, Colin Kippen continues to coordinate homelessness efforts at state level....

read ... The End is Near

State vector control unit ‘limping along’

KHON: Health officials say they couldn’t investigate an increase in mosquitoes on Maui because of a lack of resources....

Since the state needs to officially create these vector control positions and go through the recruitment and hiring process, the Health Department is not expected to hire more workers until the end of this year or early next year....

read ... Limping

MPD: Arrests Show Integrity of Police

MN: The recent intoxicated driving arrests of two off-duty Maui Police Department officers were "isolated" incidents that show the department's integrity in policing its own, police officials said Wednesday.

"We all know that police officers are held to a higher standard and we have to be held accountable for our actions," Assistant Chief Victor Ramos said at a Maui Police Commission meeting at the University of Hawaii Maui College.

"For the patrol officers, it's never easy to arrest somebody that works next to you," Ramos said. "But we all understand that integrity is very important to protect the integrity of the Police Department.

"Always doing the right thing is not the easiest thing to do, but it's the right thing."

The DUI arrests occurred within a two-week period, starting at 11:12 p.m. May 31 when officer Rachel Garvin was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and refusing to submit to a breath, blood or urine test. The 33-year-old Haiku resident was released after posting $1,100 bail.

At 1:53 p.m. June 11, officer John Salomon was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of an intoxicant, refusing to submit to a breath, blood or urine test, reckless driving and inattention to driving. The 39-year-old Pukalani resident was released after posting $1,350 bail.

read ... Integrity

Suspected in Murder, Assault: Homeless male receives beating in jail

SA: ...A 30-year-old homeless man, suspected in the stabbing death of a newspaper vendor in Kaimuki, was hospitalized Wednesday after getting into a fight with two other inmates at Oahu Community Correction Center, where he is awaiting trial on a robbery charge.

An Oahu grand jury indicted Gary Landis Wednesday for first degree robbery for allegedly beating a 75-year-old woman and trying to take her purse in the parking of Marukai Market in the Ala Moana area on June 11.

Landis has been in OCCC since his arrest last week.

The fight involved  two other pre-trial inmates -- a 26-year-old male and a 32-year-old man, the Department of Public Safety reported.

Only Landis required hospitalization. He was expected to be released from the hospital Thursday and returned to prison.

Landis is a suspect in a Nov. 9 killing of a Hawaii Kai man in Kaimuki.

Police arrested Landis on June 2 in connection with the fatal stabbing of 70-year-old Thaddeus “Ted” Pirga Jr., a retired welder and popular seller of the Sunday Honolulu Star-Advertiser, who was fatally stabbed Nov. 9 at about 3:40 a.m. as he prepared to sell newspapers near Cafe Miro on Waialae Avenue.

read ... Finally in Jail

Hawaii—and all other states—fail to comply with international law on the use of lethal force by police

DN: Amnesty International has determined that no state is in compliance with international law with regard to police use of lethal force. The report, Deadly Force : Police Use of Lethal Force in the United States, was released today and highlighted in an article on The Guardian website....

What did the report say about Hawaii?

  • All 50 states and Washington, D.C. fail to comply with international law and standards on the use of lethal force by law enforcement officers.
  • None of the state statutes require that the use of lethal force may only be used as a last resort with non-violent and less harmful means to be tried first.
  • No state limits the use of lethal force to only those situations where there is an imminent threat to life or serious injury to the officer or to others.
  • Hawaii is cited as among 22 states that allow law enforcement officers to kill someone trying to escape from a prison or jail.
  • Only three states provide that officers should create no “substantial risk” to bystanders when using lethal force: Delaware; Hawaii and New Jersey.

read ... international law on the use of lethal force by police

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