Danner: Hawaiian Homes Commissioners "Have Rings in Their Noses"
Bribed by Bumpy? Former American Samoa Government Official Sentenced to 22 Months in Prison
Independence Means Freedom from Special Funds
Gay Marriage Decision Requires New Policy Rationale of Legislature?
You Can’t Get on a Canoe Without a Real Plan
Health Dep't Taking Action to Reduce New HIV Cases in Hawaii
Project Imua: Hawaii Student payload tested at NASA Flight Facility
State Attorney General Asks Five Legislators to Take Lie Detector, Four Refuse
KGI: The state attorney general’s office has been asking lawmakers to take a lie detector test in connection with an investigation into campaign finance reporting irregularities during the 2014 election.
At least five lawmakers have been asked to take the test, including state Rep. James Tokioka. Also being investigated is one of the most influential lobbyists in the state.
Tokioka, who represents District 15 (Wailua Homesteads, Hanamaulu, Lihue, Puhi, Old Koloa Town), said that he and his campaign treasurer both voluntarily agreed to take the lie detector test, which they passed. But at least four other lawmakers refused the attorney general’s request.
“I know I’m innocent,” Tokioka said, explaining why he agreed to take the polygraph exam. “I just want to clear myself.”
The investigation stems from a complaint that was filed against Tokioka’s campaign for failing to properly report campaign contributions.
Tokioka acknowledges that his campaign made an error by filing late, and said that a campaign volunteer made an additional clerical error when entering information about a $500 donation from G.A. “Red” Morris, of Capitol Consultants of Hawaii. Tokioka said the reports have since been amended.
Tokioka said that the contribution was inadvertently entered as a personal donation from Morris, when it should have been recorded as a donation from one of Morris’ clients. According to Tokioka, that sparked concern that they were trying to conceal the source of the money....
Officially, neither the Campaign Spending Commission nor the state attorney general’s office have acknowledged that an investigation is ongoing.
Maui Attorney Lance D. Collins specializes in good government issues, and was hired to file the initial complaint against Tokioka on behalf of three Kauai residents. He said the fact that the attorney general’s office is involved is an indication that the Campaign Spending Commission believed there was enough evidence to warrant referring the matter to the prosecutor.
“The Campaign Spending Commission does not overreact. They way, way under- react,” Collins said. “They always err on the side that someone has made an honest mistake.”
But Collins speculated that the attorney general’s office may not be going after Tokioka, but instead gathering information for a larger prosecution involving other lawmakers and campaign contributors....
read ... Criminals
Legislators Will not Overrule Ige Veto of Rail Tax Hike
SA: Ige has until Monday to notify the Legislature of which bills he may veto and a final deadline of July 14 to sign, veto or allow bills to become law without his signature.
"My sense is that we would not be inclined to override any vetoes and instead we would work to address any concerns next session," Saiki (D, Downtown-Kakaako-McCully) said in a recent interview. "We'll be having a caucus when the list comes down to discuss the bills and get input from the committee chairs and the members."
Ige has given little indication on which bills he is contemplating for veto.
After a recent bill signing event this month, Ige said only that he was "working through" all of the bills that had come across his desk since the session ended on May 7.
"I think that there are some that we've identified — that we have concerns (about) and we're trying to reach out to those that were advocating for the measures," Ige said, adding that he hopes to discuss any such bills to "try and understand what they were hoping to accomplish and just express the concern that I would have."
If he is vetoing a bill, he wants advocates to understand the reasoning behind the veto, Ige said.
Among the key measures still awaiting a decision is House Bill 134, which allows the City and County of Honolulu to extend the half-percent excise tax surcharge for five additional years to provide more funding to cover projected cost overruns for the city's $6 billion rail transit project. The surcharge is scheduled to end in 2022, but the extension would continue it through 2027. The measure also allows counties to impose a similar surcharge if they act by July 1, 2016.
Ige said he had not yet made a decision on the proposal.
"I have been meeting with people, proponents and opponents, just trying to get their view of it," the governor said.
Saiki said he did not have a hunch on what Ige might do.
"I'm assuming the one that he is really contemplating is the rail tax, so I have no idea what he's going to do with that one," Saiki said....
Star-Adv: 71% Want Ige to Veto Rail Tax Hike
read ... No Override
Rail: See no evil, hear no evil, say no evil
Shapiro: The City Ethics Commission, encouraged by the Caldwell administration, muzzled Executive Director Chuck Totto for talking to the media about City Council ethics violations that could nullify rail votes. Totto was accused of straying from the city's ethical philosophy of see no evil, hear no evil, say no evil.
The city plans to retrofit five of its retired buses into a fleet of mobile homeless shelters. It's a prototype for the ultimate use of the Oahu rail system.
And the quote of the month … from rail CEO Dan Grabauskas, warning drivers to exercise caution as train guideway construction moves into populated areas: "We have a saying — ‘Look ahead, not overhead.'" The rail project has a long history of not looking at its overhead.
read ... Overhead
Federal highway funding: After years of stalling projects to create demand for rail, it's Use it or lose it time
SA: Bureaucratic gridlock on state highway projects has federal officials warning of consequences for future roadwork unless change comes quickly....
Dubbed the "Pipeline" by state officials, the backlog of federally funded projects peaked in 2010 (height of battles over rail) when $940 million in unspent federal funds for Hawaii roadwork was sitting on the books, according to Federal Highway Administration reports. That was during the recession when the state economy needed the construction jobs that could be created by the stalled highway projects.
In 2011, Hawaii transportation officials told the federal government they would try to reduce the backlog to $450 million by the end of 2014. That didn't happen, (no kidding what a surprise) but Sniffen said the state is making progress and has whittled the backlog down to $661 million as of June.... (in time for more traffic jams to be created by construction during the Legislative debate over the rail tax.)
"Every dollar unspent really hurts commuters...." Yes. That's the point. Hurt em til they cry "Rail!"
read ... Artificially Created Traffic Jams
Greenmail atop Mauna Kea stymies Ige administration, McCartney a Proven Loser
Borreca: How much further do the protests atop Mauna Kea have to go before Hawaii's reputation as a location for serious science has been ruined?
So far the protesters vowing to block construction of the $1.4 billion telescope have twice successfully stopped construction of the planned largest telescope on earth.
On Thursday, the protesters arrested for blocking construction crews the day before had posted bail and returned to the 13,796-foot mountain....
Interestingly, (Ige's Chief of Staff) McCartney has had to face his own Hawaiian protests and he was quick to get out of the line of fire.
In 2013, while heading the Hawaii Tourism Authority, McCartney ordered that a huge mural built into the walls of the Hawaii Convention Center be covered up because a woman who has led several lawsuits over Native Hawaiian bones said she and others were offended at the depiction of bones buried in the sand.
The work of art had been on display for 17 years before McCartney ordered it covered. The artist said the woman misinterpreted the mural and McCartney's action was censorship. McCartney eventually blinked again, (what a loser) took down the black curtain, kept the mural and, according to news reports, personally apologized to the artist, Hans Ladislaus....
As for the battle on Mauna Kea, the biggest and most prestigious astronomical society, the International Astronomical Union, is bringing some 4,000 astronomers and scientists to the convention center Aug. 3-14 for an international convention that has been planned since 2009....
When the scientists come, what will Ige tell the astronomers?
Video: Protesters on Mauna Kea
read ... Greenmail
Sharia Court of the Eco Religion Will Rule on Anything it Wants
SA: Creating environmental courts to achieve law-based protection of the environment is new to the United States. While 41 countries have developed environmental courts, the U.S. has only two — in Vermont and Hawaii — and Hawaii’s jurisdiction is the broadest. Every natural resource can fall within its purview: water; forests; streams; beaches; air; mountains; terrestrial and marine animals and plants; even state parks with their associated issues of litter, graffiti and illegal camping.
To understand the new court’s creation, we must ask the question: “What do we care about?” ... (Answer: Anything you want to get in front of this court.)
The Hawaii Constitution also contains provisions unique among state constitutions, mandating that natural resources, including “natural beauty,” be protected for “future generations.” No other state has elevated protection of “natural beauty” to the level of a mandate. Hawaii’s Constitution also is unique in its guarantee to every citizen “the right to a clean and healthful environment.”
Thus, with the establishment of the environmental court, Hawaii seeks to ensure a fair and effective forum for issues affecting our environment.
A second question also helps define the new court: “What is happening to what we care about most?” ...
The global issue of climate change is a signature environmental issue for Hawaii, and its beaches. Mayor Kirk Caldwell recently proposed a special global warming tax to address effects of sea level rise on Waikiki beach, warning that Hawaii’s iconic beach faces inundation because of climate change.
Reality: Crichton: Environmentalism is a religion
read ... Foothold of New State Religion for America
Farmers question need for eco-court
SA: ...The Hawaii Farm Bureau echoed the doubt that a separate court system was necessary.
"There is no evidence that a new court system would deter environmental law violations or resolve environmental cases more expeditiously than the present circuit court system," it testified. "And, based on the number of cases filed on these matters and the expert opinion of the judiciary itself, it is apparently unnecessary."
It noted that when the Judiciary had provided a preliminary survey of relevant cases filed over the past 13 years, that survey indicated "that there is NO need for an environmental court in Hawaii."
Instead, the farm bureau urged then, as it does now: "Funds could be used proactively to increase awareness of the current environmental regulations and, through educational programs, assist businesses in compliance with them, before any potential detrimental impact to the environment occurs."
read ... Anti-Agriculture
Fight for gay dominance doesn't end with historic ruling
SA: ...we continue to hold publicly elected leaders accountable for their stances on equality and LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) issues. Any elected leader — or voter with perspective — recognizes that as easily as a bill is enacted, a bill can also be changed....
While marriage equality is now legal nationwide, there are forces that will continue to seek exemptions under the guise of "religious freedom." We see this in places like Indiana and Arkansas and, unfortunately, also in our own state....
read ... Their Plan for You
Is county’s structure right?
MN: ...We realize a strong mayor/county council is the form of government throughout Hawaii. Frankly, though, Hawaii is the only place we know of in the United States where a mayor heads up a county government. Generally, mayors oversee municipalities and, even there, the concept of a strong mayor being the chief administrator seems to be waning.
Instead, there is more prevalence today of the council-manager structure where a political body (council, board, etc.) oversees a professional administrator.
The International City/County Management Association is quoted in about jobs.com defining the council/manager structure:
"(It) combines the strong political leadership of elected officials with the strong managerial experience of an appointed manager or administrator. All power and authority to set policy rests with an elected governing body, which includes a mayor or chairperson and members of the council, commission, or board.
"The governing body in turn hires a nonpartisan manager who has very broad authority to run the organization."
As the county grows and its budget approaches two-thirds of a billion dollars, we should consider if hiring a professional manager is in Maui's best interest....
read ... Only Place
Maui police officer arrested again for public drunkenness in California
KHON: John Salomon of Pukalani, a three-year Maui police veteran, was arrested by the Newport Beach Police Department in Orange County, California. His bail was set at $500.
The 39-year-old, at the time of arrest, was on unpaid administrative leave from the Maui Police Department due a previous arrest earlier in June. Salomon was put in Maui police custody on June 11, 2015, on suspicion of driving under the influence of an intoxicant....
read ... Again