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Thursday, July 2, 2015
July 2, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:07 PM :: 3692 Views

Telescope Protesters Vacate Camp After Bathrooms Closed

Hawaiian Homes to Feds -- "Stop your power grab!"

Hawaii 100% Renewable Energy Mandate a Blank Check for Rate Hikes

Mauna Kea: “It’s a political road closure, not a safety closure”

WHT: As University of Hawaii officials offer no timeline for reopening the Mauna Kea summit road and visitor center, some tour operators who rely on the mountain for business say that each day brings them closer to layoffs.

“Our business is slowly dying here because of what’s going on,” said Mike Sessions, general manager of Mauna Kea Summit Adventures, one of eight operators licensed to bring visitors to the 13,796-foot peak.

The company takes 28 people to the summit each day, charging $212 a head for an eight to nine-hour tour that includes a dinner served at the visitor center, orientation and cultural instruction, time on the summit at sunset, and stargazing at the 9,200-foot level. MKSA takes about 10,000 clients to the top each year, and the excursions book weeks in advance. The tour company and others that use the summit pay the Office of Mauna Kea Management $6 per client to help cover road maintenance, water supplies and toilets.  (Now OHA wants a slice, too.)

But those tours ended abruptly on Tuesday of last week, when opponents of the Thirty Meter Telescope blocked the summit road with stones, prompting its closure. Since then, university officials have been trying to determine if the road is safe to reopen.

“We’ve already lost $50,000 for this,” Sessions said. “We have people collecting temporary unemployment.”

“It’s a political road closure, not a safety closure,” he said. “We’ve reached our tipping point. We think they’re going to close it off to the public for awhile, see how that sits with people, then say this is the norm.”

read  ...  The Norm

Anti-Science Fear Is Putting Hawaii At Risk of ‘Cultural and Economic Poverty’

CB: Anti-Geothermal, Anti-GMO, Anti-Telescope ... All of these actions share similar characteristics:

  • The arguments used to justify such actions are consistently anti-scientific.
  • “Anti” groups often obscure the lack of scientific evidence to support their position by using emotional pleas intended to incite fear.
  • The only “win” for many of these groups is to completely stop, thereby making them completely unwilling to consider any facts that refute their position or to make any reasonable compromise.
  • Long-term consequences are significant both culturally and economically.

read ... Poverty

Hawaii Ethics Commission decides to release financial disclosure reports

CB: A recent policy decision by the Hawaii State Ethics Commission resulted in the public release of the annual financial statements. Civil Beat had asked for the records after the Legislature passed Act 230, which added 15 of the most powerful boards and commissions to the list of state employees who must disclose their financial interests. The commission at first balked at making the reports public, then changed its mind.

“The Ethics Commission finally implemented the intent of Act 230,” said Brian Black, executive director of the Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest, which represented the news outlet.

“The public now has the ability to review board members’ disclosures for potential financial conflicts of interest.”

Check out database here.

read ... Ethics

Camp Caldwell: No Kakaako Homeless Sweep in Six Months

KHON: The city tells us that the last time a homeless sweep was done was six months ago, and since the sit-lie ban became law, more homeless have moved there....

“The sidewalk is owned by the city, but then the lot right next to the sidewalk might be Office of Hawaiian Affairs or Kamehameha Schools, so people would take their stuff when they saw the city crews coming and move it onto private property,” said city communications director Jesse Broder Van Dyke.

It’s a loophole Honolulu City Council chairman Ernie Martin wants to close. He says the problem in Kakaako has gotten way out of hand and he was not surprised at what happened with Rep. Brower.

“It’s very disappointing and very unfortunate, but everybody knows it’s a time bomb that’s just waiting to explode,” Martin said.

Martin says the crisis should have been addressed months ago, but having three agencies come up with a solution is taking too long. He’s meeting with the governor next week to put his plan into action.

“If they’re not able to move forward with any immediate relief, then I think they need to step out of the way and let the county take the lead,” Martin said.

It would take approval from HCDA, Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Kamehameha Schools to put the plan into action. KHON2 spoke with all three organizations. They said they’re open to the idea but would want more details on where the homeless would be relocated.

Martin says he will meet with the governor to see if there’s any state land available....

Martin says there’s also the possibility of having Kamehameha Schools or OHA donate some land.

read ... Camp Caldwell

Environmental Court: Hopes for Stricter Law Enforcement, Fears of Improper Influence

CB: If there are new challenges to the construction of telescopes on Mauna Kea, the expansion of Turtle Bay Resort or the Honolulu rail system’s impact on historic sites, they could be heard in Hawaii’s Environmental Court, which debuted Wednesday.

Maui’s longstanding debate over sugar cane burning is already headed that direction.

Supporters hope the new court will bring more consistency to environmental rulings. Last year, opponents said judges designated to the Environmental Court would be prone to improper influence.

The court, which has a calendar and designated judges but no new facilities, is the second in the nation. Vermont was first, but while its environmental court deals largely with land use and zoning cases, Hawaii lawmakers excluded chapters of law dealing with the state Land Use Commission and shoreline setbacks from the new court’s jurisdiction after hearing criticism from the development lobby.

That leaves out some high-profile environmental conflicts, such as the ongoing case against D.R. Horton’s 11,750-home Hoopili project....

But advocates are optimistic that the Environmental Court will help provide consistency and predictability to how certain laws are applied.

That’s important to (anti-GMO activist) Jessica Wooley, director of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control. The former state representative points to a raft of litigation over Chapter 343, the law relating to environmental impact statements, which she said is outdated. Recent lawsuits include three complaints challenging the expansion of Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s North Shore.

“We need clarity. Everybody wants clarity,” Wooley said. “In their decision making (the Environmental Court judges) will provide that clarity, if the Legislature cannot.”

PDF: Environmental Court Calendars

read ... Improper Influence

New law removes state ethanol mandate--But Federal mandate Remains

SA: Gov. David Ige without fanfare signed a bill last week officially repealing the state mandate requiring the blending of gasoline with ethanol for transportation fuel, although federal regulations may require that ethanol continue to be part of the energy mix here.

Ige signed Senate Bill 717 on Friday without holding a public ceremony to memorialize or celebrate the event.

The repeal of the mandate takes effect at the end of this year, but a spokesman for Hawaii Independent Energy said blending gasoline with ethanol in Hawaii may continue after that date because of federal renewable-energy mandates. HIE is a subsidiary of Par Petroleum Corp., and operates the state’s largest refinery in Kapolei.

“While the Hawaii mandate will end on Dec. 31, 2015, producers are still required to blend renewable fuel into gasoline and diesel under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard program,” said Lance Tanaka, director of government and public affairs for HIE. “We will continue to comply with the federal requirements by blending ethanol or purchasing renewable credits, whichever makes the most sense based on appropriate business decisions.”

When asked whether the company is more likely to buy credits or continue blending ethanol, Tanaka would say only that both alternatives “present challenges.”

read ... Thanks a lot, Feds

Star-Adv Gets Milk Price Controls Wrong 

SA: "The industry, if it is to survive, will need to educate the consumer about the advantages of the homegrown product and persuade the discerning shopper that it’s worth the premium price."

Wrong: Dairy will reemerge in Hawaii only when dairies are allowed to sell for any price instead of being forced to sell for an uncompetitive high price by the State Bd of Ag.

Best Comment: "If Hawaii's objective is to keep any local agriculture, or any business for that matter, Hawaii must find ways to reduce cost of operations for all businesses. Our fixed costs are higher than any state or even Country around the World."

read ... Wrongness

DOH seeks public input on cane burning as anti-GMO activists Seek to Destroy Last Plantation

MN: The state Department of Health is soliciting public comments regarding cane burning on Maui after residents called in earlier this month with concerns about a May 27 burn that enveloped South Maui, an official said.

The DOH Clean Air Branch will accept comments until Aug. 29....

This is not the first time the branch has collected comments or made adjustments to Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co.'s agricultural burning permit. HC&S, the last surviving sugar plantation in the state, is the only company in Hawaii that burns grows cane.

"I think each year, we do either add conditions, clarify conditions or basically make improvements to the permit from the previous year," Hirai said. Improvements can range from adding restrictions on when HC&S can burn to what constitutes a violation.

"Basically, the permit has become more restrictive over time," he said.

He said so far this burn season, which began March 16, the sugar plantation has not violated conditions of its permit....

(Anti-Superferry protester and anti-GMO activist) Karen Chun is leading the Stop Cane Burning movement on Maui....

read ... About the Maui Democratic Party

Equal Justice? Council to change law to allow judge’s land rezoning

HTH: The County Council will fast-track changes to its concurrency laws to accommodate a Hilo District Court judge’s application to subdivide his property.

Judge Harry Freitas and his wife, Sandra, want to rezone their 50-acre Mountain View property from agriculture 20 acres to agriculture 5 acres. The Windward Planning Commission recommended against the rezoning.

The Planning Department said the application doesn’t meet minimum water concurrency requirements and runs afoul of Puna Community Development Plan policies discouraging further subdivisions of agriculture land. It’s also against county General Plan policies requiring adequate water utilities and it has substandard road conditions, county planners said.

The council Planning Committee on Wednesday split 4-4 along east-west lines, forwarding the Freitas application to the council with a negative recommendation. Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille was absent.

West Hawaii council members Dru Kanuha, Karen Eoff and Maile David voted no, along with Hamakua Councilwoman Valerie Poindexter. Hilo Councilmen Dennis “Fresh” Onishi and Aaron Chung along with Puna Councilmen Greggor Ilagan and Danny Paleka voted yes.

Onishi is in the meantime drafting an amendment to the county’s 2011 concurrency law to change water requirements for areas that meet certain rainfall levels, such as East Hawaii. Planning Committee Chairman Ilagan said he’d waive the bill through his committee to move it along more quickly.

read ... Some Justice more Equal than Others

City tries to crack down on UPW OT abuse scheme

HNN: The city wants to stop the practice of some medics who call in sick during the week and then a day or two later work a Saturday shift and collect time-and-a-half pay on overtime, sources said.

"The whole intent behind the 12-hour system was supposed to be to reduce overtime costs, and in general it has had that effect.  However, we do have this loophole," said City Councilman Ron Menor, chairman of the Council’s public safety committee.

The proposed change: medics would only be able to work Saturday overtime if they had not been out sick in the days before that, sources said.

While many medics support the change limiting overtime for those who call in sick, other medics and their union initially opposed the idea, sources said.

Same Scam: Hospital Crisis: How to Use Union Work Rules for Fun and Profit

read ... Again.  Surprised?

Former HPD corporal pleads guilty, attorney says ‘he would have been alienated’

KHON: ...“Reporting it immediately would have led to possible retaliation against Officer Tamayori by some of his fellow officers and he would have been alienated from many of his fellow officers for the rest of his career, so he was really in a rock and a hard place and unfortunately he made the wrong decision initially,” said Thomas Otake, Tamayori’s attorney.

Otake says Tamayori reported the incident to Internal Affairs three weeks after it happened, before the video was made public. “It was weighing on him. He didn’t like what he saw. It offended him. He wanted to come clean,” he said.

HPD said he was put on desk duty and, as of Tuesday, was no longer with the department.

“Today is a sad day for Mr. Tamayori and his family. He spent 15 years serving this community as a police officer and by all accounts he was a good police officer, but now he’s lost his career over this incident,” Otake said....

SA: Case dropped against officer involved in fatal accident

read ... Alienated

Illegal Alien With Long Rap Sheet Sentenced for Selling Meth

KHON: Florence T. Nakakuni, U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii, said the evidence presented in court showed that Settle recruited other individuals to assist him in distributing methamphetamine on Maui, including approximately 700 grams of “ice” seized from Settle by Maui Police on Dec. 17, 2014.

At the sentencing hearing, the court found that Settle, a citizen of Mexico without legal authority to be in the United States, was a threat to the public safety based on the large amount of methamphetamine involved and Settle’s long criminal history (apparently without being deported after those convictions) including prior drug convictions.

After completing his sentence, Settle will be (allegedly) deported to Mexico for the second time (or not).

read ... Long Criminal Record

Council Has New Priority: Pigeons

KHON: Under Fukunaga's proposal, anyone raising more than 10 pigeons on their property would be required to obtain a permit from the city pigeon police.

The permit would require homeowners to notify every neighbor within 200 feet of their property that a bird facility will be built  (just the ones that want to retaliate on you fro something). They must also receive approval from at least two-thirds of those neighbors.

read ... Homeowners may need permit to raise pigeons

Plastic Bag Ban Means Longer Lines, Dead Trees

PBN: ...In the Safeway store near on South Beretania Street, checkout lines were a little longer on Wednesday as cashiers adjusted to a new bagging routine with either tree-murdering paper bags or reusable bags....

SA: Propaganda Piece

read ... Tree Huggers Become Tree Choppers

Hawaii's Problem is the People in Office

KE: The Kauai County Council is again engaged in time-wasting— namely, its plan to vet the idea of a county manager position.

Long the cherished dream of Ken Taylor, Glenn Mickens and Walter Lewis, the manager concept gained traction when they approached Councilman Mason Chock, who just can't say no. So now an idea previously considered and rejected by the charter commission after it conducted road shows to gauge public interest — there was none — is the focus of a fullblown Council subcommittee....

Folks need to face the facts: The problem isn't the system, but the people in it. And that includes misinformed, woefully ignorant voters.

Like the people who are crying and screaming and wailing because the court struck down Maui's  illegal GMO moratorium. Lacking an education in basic civics, and its three branches of government, they see the ruling as somehow depriving them of their vote and constitutional rights.

So what do they do? They stand out in front of the place they claim is delivering daily doses of toxins, wearing silly masks that would do nothing to hinder the poisons they fear. Because, of course, it's all for show.

After reading comments left on Facebook and Civil Beat, it seems none of the moratorium supporters have actually read Judge Susan Oki Mollway's order, which carefully lays out the legal rationale for her decision. Instead, they claim she doesn't know the law, or must be corrupt, in the pay of the chem companies....

read ... Musings: People Problem

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