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Friday, July 3, 2015
July 3, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:21 PM :: 3274 Views

FULL TEXT: Anti-GMO Activists Sue to Shut Down State's Last Cane Plantation

The Ethics Commission Needs Ethics!

Hawaii Appeals: When is Final, Final?

IHS to Operate Sand Island Homeless Transitional Housing

Is Government a Business?

Rail: What Caldwell didn't tell you

SA: Mayor Kirk Caldwell certainly caught a break when the governor decided not to veto the rail tax extension. That shouldn’t mean he gets a pass for what was a disingenuous presentation on the subject to state lawmakers — and the rest of the taxpayers — last session....

Caldwell gave it to them, in the form of a hard sell that was long on doomsday projections and short on facts.

“Let’s say we didn’t get any more money. To raise the money to pay and operate this system, we’re talking … about raising real property taxes in the 30 to 43 percent range,” the mayor told lawmakers soon after the session opened in January.

What he didn’t tell people was that the costs making such a hair-raising tax hike necessary included those the city would incur from expanding the rail system beyond its current, approved 20-mile alignment. But that’s never had the full discussion it warrants, and it wasn’t what was on the table....

On the table was the existing East Kapolei-to-Ala Moana project, the one that’s estimated to be $900 million in the hole upon its completion. According to emails more recently released by HART, estimates for the property tax increase required to cover that shortfall were more in the 5.6 percent range, with an additional 8 percent for operational costs.

An additional property tax boost of 24.8 percent would be needed for envisioned — but not-yet-approved — extensions to West Kapolei and the University of Hawaii’s Manoa campus.

At the time, the administration was not forthcoming with that breakdown, despite repeated requests from the Star-Advertiser....

As Explained: Caldwell Admits He Was Lying About Massive Property Tax Hike used to Justify GE Tax Extension

read ... Caldwell is a Liar

Legislator was victim of ‘gang-style attack’

SA: The 52-year-old Kaneohe resident and his wife did not see what prompted the attack...

...as they were leaving the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center at about 4:30 p.m., they saw a man whom they later learned was Brower running toward the center yelling for help with his hands in the air.

They were about 15 to 20 feet away as Brower reached the front of the Children’s Discovery Center where about 10 people enveloped the state lawmaker, forming a semicircle that prevented him from getting away, the couple said.

“They were blocking him to the point where he had nowhere to escape,” the retired Marine said. “He was completely defenseless. He had his hands up.”

The couple asked not to be identified, saying they now fear for their own safety.

Their version heightens ongoing concerns about lawlessness around the growing encampment that winds around the Children’s Discovery Center, Kakaako Waterfront Park and the University of Hawaii medical school.

Some of the homeless people who live in the expanding makeshift warren of tents and tarpaulins describe thefts and fights that begin when outsiders come into the area to videotape them and narrate negative comments onto their videos.

The boys accused of attacking Brower said he refused to stop taking pictures of them and laughed when they asked him to delete the pictures....

Brower went to the encampment Monday in response to a June 24 email to lawmakers and the Hawaii Community Development Authority that oversees Kakaako. In her email, Loretta Yajima, chairwoman of the Children’s Discovery Center’s board of directors, attached a surveillance video recording in which a man defecates at one of the center’s entrances. He then stands up and urinates on his feces, then squats back down to defecate some more. After he leaves, another man appears in the video and attempts to break into the building. He seems to study the pile of feces before defecating himself.

“These are not the most graphic videos we have, but others would totally gross you out,” Yajima said in the email. “At least they will give you some idea of the problems we are having.”

Christopher Jacopec, 47, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Thursday that he too was assaulted by at least two young men near the Children’s Discovery Center.

In that case the Kalihi resident said the incident occurred at about 6:30 p.m. Feb. 17 while dropping off his daughter’s teenage friend at her tent in the encampment....

Jacopec said he believes the attack was triggered by a Facebook feud — that Jacopec got involved with — between his daughter’s friend and another girl who lives in the encampment....  (Yes.  Its true.  In America the homeless all have Facebook.)

read ... Brower Again

Ige Moving to Set Up Homeless Tent City in Kakaako?

KHON: He added that the state is already looking at parcels of land where they can be relocated. In fact, he’s been meeting with the landowners, Hawaii Community Development Authority, Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Kamehameha Schools to come up with a solution.

“We have been organizing meetings to try and talk with the landowners to make sure that when we take action we are all agreeable on how we should proceed,” Ige said.

The governor says there are parcels of land nearby. It’s just a matter of having enough resources that can accommodate everyone in Kakaako.

“There may be some parcels in the area that might be suitable. You have to have access to water and facilities and those kinds of things,” Ige said.

If the plan moves forward, the next challenge would be getting everyone in Kakaako to relocate.

“If I had to answer, honestly I like it here where I’m at,” said Anthony Nao, a homeless camper in Kakaako. “It’s very convenient.”

read ... Tent City

Ige to Meet Feds on COFA

KITV: ...Hawaii's Human Services Director Rachael Wong said Thursday Gov. David Ige is in the process of getting various stakeholders involved to come up with a comprehensive plan for Kakaako and beyond.

Next week, the governor will meet with U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and Veterans Administration Secretary Robert McDonald. One of the topics scheduled to be discussed is the Compact of Free Association, or COFA, which allows residents of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau to travel freely to the U.S. States. State lawmakers estimate COFA costs Hawaii $100 million to $110 million per year.

"It's departments working together," Wong said of the governor's initiative. "I think that is something that is new, and for the state, it's the whole cabinet working together. And working not just on the state level, but really working with all the counties."....

KITV: Service providers to focus on Chinatown, Iwilei, Kalihi, Kapalama and Palama

read ... Feds

Federal judge’s ruling invalidating GMO vote comes as no surprise

MN: This is not a surprise given federal and state law. Various groups, including the Maui Chamber of Commerce, cited the proposed moratorium's issues with federal and state law and informed the community about it prior to the November ballot question, along with the fact that it would cost us all more to have the county address the legal challenge. So, no one should be shocked by Mollway's ruling, which clearly explains that the ban is pre-empted by federal and state law.

But, the matter still lingers. To this day, the GMO debate remains a very divisive issue that has changed the way some people behave. Suddenly a number of people felt justified in delivering personal attacks, spreading false assumptions, vandalizing property, making prejudicial comments about workers and ethnic groups who have greatly contributed to our state, and so on. While we have had significant debates in our community before, this issue got pretty ugly in a way that is not characteristic of our islands....

As written, the moratorium would have had devastating impacts and, as Associated Press writer Jennifer Sinco Kelleher noted in her report on the ruling, "There has been little scientific evidence to prove that foods grown from engineered seeds are less safe than their conventional counterparts."

MN: Suit filed against state over cane burning

read ... Federal judge’s ruling invalidating GMO vote comes as no surprise

Judges Dial Back Dopey Paranoid Anti-GMO Activists

Borreca: There is a pattern developing. This year, two federal judges and the state Supreme Court have been asked to dial back the neighbor islanders....

This week, U.S. District Chief Judge Susan Oki Mollway squelched a Maui ordinance that would have prevented the growing of genetically engineered crops on Maui, Molokai and Lanai....

Judge Mollway, in a level-headed, clear-eyed explanation of both her mission and reasoning, said a county can’t ban GMOs — it is a job for either the state or federal government.

“Any court is a reactive body that addresses matters before it rather than reaching out to grab hold of whatever matters may catch a judge's fancy because the matters are interesting, important or of great concern to many people,” Mollway said.

Hawaii island and Kauai voters last year also pushed through their own new regulations against GMOs and pesticides. U.S. Magistrate Barry Kurren knocked those down, pointing out that they were superseded by state law.

Although not a legal issue, but worth noting, is the fact that there is little (no) scientific evidence supporting claims that engineered food is dangerous or unsafe.

Another voter-inspired law was doused by the Hawaii Supreme Court last week when it issued the final “no way” ruling on the ordinance telling cops to go easy on pot smokers....

The sentiment is: Those louts down at the Capitol won’t listen to me or my buddies.

The thinking goes: We want GMOs stopped, we want pesticides stopped and we want the cops to stop busting us for smoking pot — so how come you aren’t doing anything about it? If the County Council won’t stop GMOs or the Legislature won’t let us smoke, then we will pass our own laws.

Critics might think the reaction is immature and lacking in political sophistication, but there is more involved.

The question is not about how to write a legal county ordinance; the point is that for many there is a fear that government exists for the sake of government and not its citizens....

Related: How to Use Anti-GMO Ordinances to Seize Marijuana Plants: A Guide for Police Departments

read ... Dial Back the Dopes

Doctor shortage, sickout by psychiatric staff hit state's largest jail

HNN: ...Mental health staffers staged a “sickout” at the state's largest jail Thursday to raise the alarm about their struggle to care for psychiatric patients at Oahu Community Correctional Center.

Prisons officials said the safety of inmates is not at risk. But critics who asked to remain anonymous also said the facility's medical unit is severely understaffed.

Thursday's sickout comes just days after the jail was released from federal oversight of its mental unit.

OCCC in Kalihi has 1,247 inmates, many more than its official capacity of 954. On Thursday, four key mental health staffers called in sick, concerned about a lack of staffing and resources. They're also worried about a lack of qualified, licensed employees in the mental health department that has about a half dozen vacancies, sources said.

A psychologist, nursing supervisor and two psychiatric social workers who staged the sickout are the most experienced at overseeing prisoners on suicide watch, sources said.

Prisons officials claimed all OCCC modules were "adequately covered" by another psychologist and psychiatric social worker and two psychiatric residents, doctors in training who just started at the prison in the last few days.

"We've had long standing problems in terms of providing medical and mental health care for inmates going back at least to my involvement which was in the late 70s and the first class-action which was initiated in 1980," said lawyer Eric Seitz, who has repeatedly sued the prisons for decades, forcing more money to be spent on care.  He said he has two lawsuits pending about the state failing to provide prescription pain medications to inmates.

"The primary problem has been the inability and unwillingness of the state to allocate sufficient funds," Seitz said.

State officials said there were seven inmates on suicide watch at OCCC Thursday....

Mental health treatment services at OCCC have been under oversight of the U.S. Department of Justice since Dec. 28, 2008.  That oversight ended with a joint dismissal filing on June 25, a Department of Public Safety spokeswoman said.

“OCCC remains committed to all the treatment and services standards set during the seven and a half year oversight period under strict internal self-auditing and quality review programs,” prisons officials said in a statement.

"The obligation on the part of the prisons is to provide the same quality of care to people who are prisoners as people on the outside get.  The standards are the same.  And unfortunately, they've never lived up to those standards," said Seitz, who filed a class-action lawsuit against OCCC and the women’s prison in Kailua in 1980 over substandard medical and mental health treatment of prisoners.  The case settled in 1984, and the state was forced to spend more money on inmate care, Seitz said.

Seitz warned the situation could repeat itself.

"Unless the Legislature and the (Ige) administration deals with it very soon, what's likely to happen is there will be another class action, and essentially, a monitor will be appointed to take over and run the health systems in the prisons and that way, basically, the state won't have any say, they'll just have to pay for it," Seitz said.

read ... Sickout

Star-Adv Runs another Fluff Piece on Levinson

SA: ...Lets just skip to the comments....

Laughing at us!

Read Ben Cayetano's autobiography and you will retract your description of this individual as a decent man.

He also wrote the majority opinion in the "Quino decision" which effectively killed the "walk and talk program" at the airport regarding narcotics trafficking using drug couriers carrying drugs onto planes and bringing those drugs to Hawaii. He is a liberal, and not like that is a bad thing, but a lot of drugs made it into Hawaii on the heels of his decisions. If you have been the victim of a car break in, burglary, or robbery, the proceeds of a majority of these cases goes to support drug habits. By the way, the thiefs only generally get a maximum of $1 for every $10 value of property stolen. It's not unusual for crystal meth addicts to smoke up $200 a day. Do the math. Thank you former Judge Levinson for your contribution to make Hawaii the Aloha State.

read ... Fluff Piece

Hawaii's Schofield Barracks extremely unlikely to close

PBN: The possibility of the U.S. Army eliminating nearly 20,000 soldier and civilian jobs from Hawaii's Schofield Barracks and Fort Shafter is extremely unlikely to be fully realized, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz said Thursday.

read ... Schofield

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