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Monday, July 6, 2015
July 6, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:33 PM :: 4850 Views

America’s Future: California Or Texas?

Hawaii: Worst State to Make a Living 2015

Honolulu Highest Cost of Living in USA

Caldwell Created Kakaako Tent City to Pressure Ige, OHA, KSBE, UH, HCDA to Fork out Money

CB: ...Caldwell has been deploying a crew from the Honolulu Department of Facility Maintenance five days a week to enforce the city’s sidewalk nuisance and stored property ordinances, but he’s declared a moratorium on their enforcement in Kakaako since January.

Part of the reason for the moratorium is Kakaako’s jurisdictional complexities (opportunities): While the city controls the area’s streets and sidewalks, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Kamehameha Schools both own land there, and its zoning and planning is left up to the Hawaii Community Development Authority. (Thus allowing Caldwell to shake all these money trees.)

Jesse Broder Van Dyke, the mayor’s spokesman, says enforcement actions will eventually resume in Kakaako, but one thing needs to be taken care of first (Who is gonna pay me?): “There’s just a practical matter of … we don’t have somewhere for (homeless people) to go,” he said (grinning broadly). “Our focus has been on the most visible areas in Waikiki and on Ala Moana Boulevard to keep the quality of life of residents as good as possible, but, to address these remaining dug-in encampments, we really need more housing (money baaay beeee).”  ...

The Kakaako conundrum hasn’t escaped the attention of Gov. David Ige, who envisions a comprehensive plan that won’t end up being just a “band-aid approach” to homelessness, according to Rachael Wong, director of the Hawaii Department of Human Services.

“The governor is really committed to addressing homelessness, and this is a priority that we’re discussing across all departments (ca-ching!) — at the cabinet level — and really looking at how do we build an infrastructure to comprehensively address homelessness,” Wong said. “I can’t give specifics because we’re in the midst of it, but … the governor has spoken directly about Kakaako, the number of people who are living there, and that we need to address this.”

Former Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle says (he personally chose to allow) the situation in Kakaako has been allowed to fester for so long that it now necessitates a drastic (expensive) approach....

How This is Done: Homeless tent cities: Seattle’s decade-long nightmare coming to Honolulu?

read ... Drastic Approach

Star-Adv: 'Aha best hope to Sucker Hawaiians into Fake Indian Tribe

SA:  ...Hawaii's congressional delegation sought unsuccessfully for years via the Akaka Bill. That failed measure was supported by some Hawaiians and reviled by others.

Then the Obama administration took up the cause, and Department of Interior officials held hearings in Hawaii last summer to consider whether the DOI should establish administrative rules to facilitate a government-to-government relationship, similar to that held by many Native American tribes.

The scores of Hawaiians who turned out to viscerally oppose that effort were evidence of a sea change in the sovereignty movement, as a younger generation that has grown up speaking Hawaiian and practicing cultural traditions denied to their early forebears refused to accept anything less than the restoration of an independent Hawaii as justice for the 1893 overthrow and 1898 U.S. annexation.

That is not to say that such activists hold the majority view among Native Hawaiians committed to self-governance. Where the majority stands is one of the important things the ‘aha will find out — and why it is so important for all eligible Native Hawaiians to participate, that is to say, Hawaiians 18 and older who register with the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission by mid-October.

Some activists have refused to register, because they don't want to legitimize what they consider a false authority and flawed process (the nonprofit facilitating the ‘aha got its funding from the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs).

They are making a mistake (not!), and risk missing an opportunity to influence (be played for fools) what could be a defining moment for all of Hawaii(is the Akaka Tribe's desperate last chance before Obama leaves) ....

Reality: Can OHA Keep Na'i Aupuni from Stealing $2.6M?

read ... Indian Tribe 

Hanabusa Joins Push for Federal Rules over DHHL

KGI: A pair of proposed federal rules that spell out the process by which the 95-year-old Hawaiian Homes Commission Act should be administered is the topic of a public meeting in Anahola Tuesday night.

The meeting is set to begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Anahola Clubhouse.

The rules in question clarify the roles of the federal and state governments when reviewing exchanges of Hawaiian trust lands and amendments to the law by which the trust exists.

(Akaka Tribe advocate) Colleen Hanabusa, the former U.S. representative and state Senate president, is billed as the guest speaker....

Reality: Draft DoI Rules Create Path for Fake Indian Tribe to Take Over DHHL

read ... Hanabusa & Danner Together

NextEra Hides Subsidiaries from Hawaii PUC

IM: In my blog post yesterday (NextEra is Suing Spain) I wrote that the Hawai`i Consumer Advocate asked for the list in the HECO-NextEra merger proceeding. NextEra provided the list under a confidentiality agreement.

“This information is confidential as disclosure of the names and ownership structure of certain entities could harm the company’s ability to develop or acquire assets, such as assembling land parcels for renewable energy or transmission projects.  Moreover, the information is “Restricted” from disclosure to some of the intervenors due to their dual interests in the renewable energy market.”

An alert reader pointed out that the Hawai`i confidential information is publicly available on the Texas PUC site.

What is perhaps equally interesting is the organizational chart provided in the Texas document, which is far more complex than anything presented in the HECO-NextEra merger proceeding.

read ... NextEra has 500 subsidiaries

Ka Leo: TMT protesters hinder Hawaii and prevent Hawaiian culture from inspiring future discoveries

KL: Construction has legal authority to continue after nearly three months of inactivity. By continuing to obstruct the law, Mauna Kea’s “protectors” create an obstinate image that doesn’t reflect the spirit of Aloha. Even more, blocking the road sends the wrong message to those interested in the future of scientific advancement in Hawai‘i....

If protesters have it their way and the telescope never materializes, Hawai‘i will acquire the unfortunate reputation of a place where it’s hard to do science because of politics. Most people of Hawai‘i wouldn’t want that. Not only will 140 permanent jobs never open, but no similar project is likely to even take off the ground, as investors would think twice....

While UH will get no financial benefit from its operation, the prestige of its Astronomy program and, along with it, all of Hawai‘i will soar because of the discoveries made here.

These discoveries will be Hawaiian. They will also be for all of humankind because traditional stories will continue living through them and inspire new generations around the world. If Mauna Kea’s Keck Observatory didn’t exist in Hawai’i, its astronomers wouldn’t have discovered one of the most fascinating objects in the solar system - Haumea - and named it in honor of the Hawaiian fertility goddess. Mo‘olelo lives in science.

Not even a year ago, UH astronomer R. Brent Tully published a paper defining the borders of our own supercluster of galaxies and called the colossal 500 million light-years wide structure Laniakea - from  lani (heaven) and ākea (immense). KCC’s chair of the language department Nawa‘a Napoleon suggested the name to honor the astronomical knowledge of Polynesian navigators. Their heritage lives on when the world around us is changing. Their heritage can adapt to the change and find new ways of inspiring future generations.

Mauna Kea’s cultural significance makes it a fitting place for humanity’s most powerful tool for exploration. Now is our chance to look ahead. If we want Hawai‘i to move beyond the service economy, we must not hinder the advancement of science and technology. Moreover, we should welcome it as a positive exposure for Hawaiian culture, which is a natural source of inspiration for humanity’s future discoveries.

read ... Ka Leo

Wahiawa General purchase canceled

SA: Over the past year, Wahiawa General was forced to restructure its Family Medicine Residency Program, cancel its Home Health and Physical Therapy outpatient programs and reduce staffing.

An affiliation would have given the hospital a cash infusion, and the hope was it would result in a more efficient operation. A deal also would include 28 acres to expand Wahiawa General at the site of the proposed Koa Ridge residential development project. Castle & Cooke set aside the land years ago for a replacement of the aging Wahiawa General.  (Yes.  Even with 28 ac of Hawaii real estate as a sweetener, this hospital deal didn't happen.  Do the math.)

"For the future development of Wahiawa and Koa Ridge, we've got to find a partner to work with," Olden said. "It's one of those things strategy-wise, for the long term, an affiliation needs to occur."

Olden said that with the advent of Affordable Care Act, or Obama­care, hospitals are looking for different business models. (Translation: ACA is killing us.)

Olden has maintained that small stand-alone facilities are unsustainable in the existing health care environment (under ACA) and that a sale or affiliation is necessary for the Wahiawa facility to survive. He said an alternative (Translation: Final act of desperation.) would be to try to become part of the state-owned Hawaii Health Systems Corp., which is barely staying afloat with millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies.

The news comes as Hawaii Pacific Health is aggressively seeking to expand its presence in the islands. The organization is also in negotiations to rescue three Maui hospitals that are part of the troubled HHSC. Gov. David Ige recently signed a bill that authorizes a private entity to potentially assume control of Maui Memorial Medical Center and Kula and Lanai community hospitals.

read ... Another Hospital Dying

Jones Act Boats Add $1.47 to Price of Milk, but Socialist Hawaii manages to Strangle Local Dairy Production Anyway

CB: One of the last two dairies in Hawaii, Cloverleaf Dairy,will probably close at the end of the year.

It is following the same pattern as the previous 38 dairies. Meadow Gold pressured Cloverleaf Dairy to ask for a “waiver” in their minimum price. (Big Island Dairy, the only other dairy in Hawaii got a waiver in August).

The minimum prices producers receive here has been $2.98 a gallon, it has now been reduced to $2.30 a gallon.

In California the minimum price for whole milk is $1.61 per gallon, which retails at an average price of $3.21 a gallon. Matson’s rate for shipping milk from California is $1.47 per gallon. So the cost of buying milk from dairies in California and shipping it here is $3.08 per gallon. (That’s $3.08 versus $2.98).... Costco in Kapolei sells a gallon for $4.99.

Clue for the Clueless: To bring dairy farming back to Hawaii, eliminate all milk price controls.  Let them sell for less so they can beat the mainland competition.

read ... Price of Transportation

Ige signs law banning noncompete clauses

SA: A bill that supporters believe will help attract high-tech workers to Hawaii and encourage growth in the local technology sector has been signed into law by Gov. David Ige.

Act 158 prohibits technology companies from requiring their workers to enter into "noncompete" agreements as a condition of employment, a change that is supposed to make it easier for technology workers to move from job to job. Ige signed it June 26.

Currently, noncompete clauses are common in Hawaii's technology sector, according to testimony submitted to lawmakers.

The new law was supported by the High Technology Development Corp., which was created by the state to help develop high-technology businesses in Hawaii.

High Technology Development Corp. officials told lawmakers that prohibiting noncompete agreements would provide high-tech workers with more job options in Hawaii, which tends to encourage them to stay here.

(Translation: Get a job, steal the tech and then use it to score Hi Tech Tax Credits and other Simoleons from HTDC.)

Among the supporters of the bill was state Superintendent of Education Kathryn Mata­yo­shi, who said noncompete clauses make it harder for the public school system to recruit experienced technology workers to fill upper-level openings. 

Some highly qualified tech workers employed by private companies have said they want to work for the Department of Education, but Mata­yo­shi said in written testimony those tech workers are sometimes unable to take state jobs because of their noncompete agreements.

(Translation: Get a job, steal the tech and then use it to score personal services contracts from DoE or write yourself a big fat commission check by selling something to DoE.)

Best Comment: "Hawaii was already voted the 50th worst State to do business in. This law didn't help. Looks like they are finding a way to drop to 51st, if that's even possible."

Best Comment: "This law just killed our company's sponsored Employee Continuing Education program."

LINK: JD Supra Analysis

read ... Non-Compete

Mariners rip long waitlist, high vacancies at Ala Wai boat harbor

SA: Despite a multiyear waiting list for slips at the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor, state operators have a vacancy rate above 10 percent, potentially costing the state tens of thousands of dollars annually.

The vacancies at the state's premier recreational harbor are frustrating boaters and depressing sales for local boat sellers and marine service businesses. More important, critics say, mismanagement of the Wai­kiki harbor has hampered the state's attempt to become a world-class mari­time destination, which could bring jobs and spending.

Ilikai resident and boat owner Bruce Lenkeit said he has been waiting 21⁄2 years to store his 38-footer in the marina adjacent to his neighborhood....

Lenkeit said that in May he counted 145 empty slips, representing a 19 percent vacancy rate at the 747-slip harbor.

"A few may be out for repair or belong to users who have their boat out, but not all," he said. "I'm familiar with which spaces go unfilled month after month."

"We currently have an 11 percent vacancy rate, which is pretty good considering that the harbor office has been down two staff members for the last six months," Statts told Lenkeit in a June 3 email....

Assuming an average slip rent of $300 month, he said, the state would miss out on $43,500 a month, or $522,000 annually, if all 145 vacant slips that he counted in May remain unfilled. Statts' count of roughly 82 vacant slips is low in Lenkeit's estimation.

But even at that level, Lenkeit said, the state potentially would lose $24,750 a month, or $297,000 a year.

Lenkeit said his calculations also do not reflect the total spending that additional boaters would pump into Hawaii's economy.

"All the years that I had my boat in the Ala Wai, she ran me between $24,000 and $26,000 a year in rent, maintenence and improvements," White said. "That doesn't even include all of the money that my wife and I spent on day-to-day living like grocery shopping, dining out and movies."

SA: Ala Wai harbor needs fixes, funds

read ... Cost of State Incompetence

Hawaii Needs An Interisland Ferry System

CB: Would an interisland ferry system help bring down Hawaii’s cost of living? University of Hawaii economist Lawrence “Bill” Boyd joins Civil Beat Deputy Editor Eric Pape and Pod Squad host Chad Blair to talk about the pros and cons of making it easier — and cheaper — to travel between islands.

Would housing costs come down if more housing became available because people who work in Honolulu could live on neighbor islands? Would people who live on, say, Maui, be able to find better jobs on Oahu? Would greater interconnectivity among the islands bring down the cost of goods throughout the state?

Best Comment: "Interesting how we once had a great inter island ferry system whose only fault is that it was put into place by a Republican governor creating instant rejection by the democrat legislative body. Their response was to cut their nose off to spite their face."

read ... Superferry

Interior secretary announces grant to aide Compact migration

KUAM: Officials hope that by helping FSM migrants better adjust to Guam, it will also help mitigate the strain on public resources. The one-stop center is just part of the Interior Department's strategy to pull together as many resources as it can, in the face of scarce funding. In 2013 alone, Governor Eddie Calvo estimated the cost to GovGuam of FSM migration was $128 million....

read ... COFA

Governor Signs Bill Requiring State Worker Participation in RTW Programs

WCC: State workers will be required to complete Return to Work (RTW) programs in order to be eligible for vocational rehabilitation benefits....

LINK: HB1268

read ... Required

Hawaii’s sex trafficking laws debated amid governor’s planned veto

WM: Hawaii Gov. David Ige plans to veto a bill that would ban sex trafficking in his state. Anti-trafficking advocates claim the bill would have ended Hawaii’s designation as the only state in the nation without a comprehensive law on the subject.

The bill passed the Hawaii Legislature unanimously. No politician wants to be accused of being soft on sex trafficking. But it faces considerable opposition from state law enforcement agencies.

SA: Bill set for veto despite advocacy

read ... Sex Trafficking

Death of newborn rekindles home-birth debate

HTH: Hilo-area obstetricians are calling for stricter government oversight of home birthing and midwives following the death of a newborn on Wednesday.

Few details about the incident were available, and a Hilo Medical Center spokeswoman said she could neither confirm nor deny reports of a death of a newborn, citing the hospital’s patient privacy policy.

However,two members of HMC’s obstetrics staff, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that a mother and baby were transported to the emergency room around 6 a.m. Wednesday after complications arose during a planned birth in Kapoho. The baby was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

The Tribune-Herald has learned the identity of the midwife who assisted in delivering the baby but has chosen not to name her.

The midwife would not confirm her involvement when reached by phone Wednesday afternoon.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t talk to reporters,” the midwife said.

One obstetrician said that Wednesday’s death had taken a toll on hospital staff, especially because of the fact that it was another in a disturbing trend.

“This is an ongoing problem here. … Within the last five years, I’ve seen at least three dead babies from home births, and just a week ago I took care of a patient who nearly bled to death after a home birth,” the doctor said. “All of the obstetricians here have had similar experiences. And in all of these situations, the standard of care of obstetric practice was not followed by the practitioners. I believe that all of these bad outcomes could have been avoided if good practice patterns were actually followed.”

read ... Death of newborn rekindles home-birth debate

Supreme Court Justices Were More Honest in the 1970s

AP: Baker and Michael McConnell tried and failed to get a license at Hennepin County courthouse in Minneapolis on May 18, 1970. After Minnesota's top court upheld the refusal of county officials to issue a marriage license to two men, Baker and McConnell appealed to the Supreme Court.

The justices' first brush with same-sex marriage was brief and desultory. In October 1972, the court declined to hear arguments in Baker v. Nelson. The justices took just one sentence to turn away the case "for want of a substantial federal question." (Bingo!)

That curt rejection remained on the books for nearly 43 years, until June 26. "Baker v. Nelson must be and now is overruled," Kennedy wrote.

read ... No Federal Question

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