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Wednesday, July 15, 2015
July 15, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:17 PM :: 4135 Views

Ige Vetoes Eight Bills

New FEMA Flood Insurance Maps Hit Hard --Kihei, Waikapu, Kaunakakai

Video: Planned Parenthood Selling Dead Baby Organs

Unhealthy Fixation

Telescope Protesters to Take 4-Month Break from Protests

HTH: Protest leaders say they’re having discussions about how to continue guarding the mountain. “My personal goal is that we can still be able to do what we need to do within the confines of the new rules,” Lanakila Mangauil said. Some ideas, he said, include watching from beyond the one-mile restricted zone, or making use of protesters who live near where the construction vehicles are kept. If there is any indication construction vehicles are heading to the mountain, there will be an alert system for protesters to mobilize, he said.

Another idea is to use the four-month period as a break. “Perhaps we could take advantage of this to take a little rest,” Mangauil said. “Let the area take a rest.”

So far, the nonprofit company building the telescope has given advance notice of efforts to restart construction. Mangauil said he’s not worried the company will use the emergency rule to sneak up the mountain at night.

VIDEO: Can you solve this Mauna Kea Riddle?

read ... As Ordered by OHA

Mental evaluation ordered for Libertarian LG Candidate arrested twice on Mauna Kea

WHT: A 47-year-old Pahoa woman (Pahoa?  Shocking, just shocking....) arrested twice in a two-day period on Mauna Kea Access Road was ordered to undergo a mental examination after causing a disturbance in her initial court appearance Tuesday. 

(Remember: Marijuana is medicine.  Live it.  Believe it.) 

(As is typical for Punatics) Cynthia “Lahi” Vershuur Marlin appeared to be in emotional distress while awaiting her turn before Hilo District Judge Harry Freitas. When her case was called, and Deputy Public Defender Isaac Ickes addressed the judge, Marlin exclaimed, “I told you not to speak for me!” Turning to the judge, she said, “Can’t you just ask me?”

Marlin was arrested late Monday night and charged with disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor. According to court documents filed by police, a complainant reported Marlin “was on the Mauna Kea Access Road chanting in an unknown language and yelling at him and other people in the area that she owns the mountain and that she belongs there and demanded that she be allowed to sleep there.” The complainant said Marlin “took off her clothes and ran around for about a minute then put her clothes back on and continued to chant and yell in an unknown language.”

Police say Marlin still was chanting and yelling when they arrived to arrest her.

Prosecutors added a second charge of open lewdness, a petty misdemeanor, during the court hearing....

read ... the rest it only gets better....

Tension breaks out between community residents and Mauna Kea activists

HNN: As news broke that Governor David Ige signed into effect rules restricting road access to the Mauna Kea summit activists took to the internet. They encouraged each other via social media to crash Governor David Ige's town hall meeting Tuesday night.  The Governor along with state and city representatives were at Lanakila Elementary School to hear about community concerns. But what broke out was a shouting match between activists and neighborhood residents.

"Can we keep the questions about Liliha and not the Big Island," shouted members of the crowd.

Neighbors wanted to talk about homelessness, housing and roads. But activists kept asking about the TMT...challenging the Governor on the new rules he just passed to clear out protestors.

read ... Tension

Without Pule: Tongan, Micronesian, Hawaiian Students Most Likely to be Suspended

CB: ...In 2013-14, less than 4 percent of students were punished with out-of-school suspensions — one of the lowest rates in the nation. At the same time, student dropout rates — a key indicator for how safe and engaged students feel on campus — are on the decline.

But there are some big disparities when it comes to which students are getting sent home for on-campus offenses, according to a Civil Beat analysis of data from all public schools in Hawaii.

In 2013-14, Tongan, Micronesian and Native Hawaiian students were suspended at four times the rate of their Japanese peers and were twice as likely to be suspended as white and Filipino students....

Good Advice: "A former teacher at another charter school on Kauai said that when students were acting up in her class, she was told by the school administrator that she was not praying with them enough."

(Summary: The movement to ban all types of prayer-like expressions from schools is a creator of inequality.  It benefits the elites at the expense of others.  The evidence is there in the suspension rates.) 

read ... Without Pule

Ige Allows Rail Tax Hike to become Law--And HART Suddenly Stops Obstructing Traffic

KHON: News that the rail project had reached two more milestones by crossing the H1 and Ft. Weaver Road came on the same day Gov. David Ige allowed a five-year extension of Oahu’s rail tax to become law without his signature. The extension allows the half-percent surcharge to the state’s general excise tax (GET) to remain in place until the end of 2027. The additional tax is enough to cover the project’s $910 million in cost overruns and budget shortfalls, but not enough to fund extensions to the UH Manoa campus or Waikiki.

"As of today, there will be no further westbound closures of the H1," Dan Grabauskas, HART’s executive director and CEO, announced during a news conference. 

(Translation: We no longer need to invent unnecessary traffic jams in order to create demand for the Rail tax hike.)

Further west, the transit authority said balanced cantilever work over Ft. Weaver road has also finished, so there is no longer a need for lane closures at night.

HART had been closing the Ft. Weaver/Kunia Road overpass near Waipahu and Ewa every night from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m.

However, for drivers who use Kamehameha Highway through Aiea and Pearl City, rail construction continues, creating a drag on businesses. HART says lane closures through the area should ease up once utility relocation work is finished by the end of the year....

Local critics like former mayoral candidates Ben Cayetano, Panos Prevedouros and current Honolulu City Councilmember Ann Kobayashi have said rail projects typically experience cost overruns of up to 40 percent. If that holds true for Honolulu's rail line the final price tag could approach $7.5 billion. Although the rail tax extension is now state law, the City Council must still adopt the increase through an additional ordinance.

Councilmember Brandon Elefante, who attended Tuesday’s news conference, is a strong supporter of the tax increase.

"I look forward to that conversation,” said Elefante. “I would like to see the GET extension for that five years get extended and we pass a bill at the council."

Bill 23 is the current vehicle being used by the council to extend the rail surcharge past its current sunset date of Dec 31, 2022. The bill passed first reading on April 1 by a vote of 7-1. Kobayashi was the only council member to vote against it, while Councilmember Kymberly Pine was absent.

read ... Timing is Everything

Packed house as hundreds reject Federal Control of Maunalua Bay

KHON: ...NOAA is proposing additional regulations to protect the marine environment, which will change the management of the bay stretching from Diamond Head to Koko Head.

Rep. Gene Ward, R, Hawaii Kai, Kalama Valley, scheduled the meeting at Hahaione Elementary School after many East Oahu residents and businesses voiced concerns and opposition to the plan.

Opponents say the designation would result in restrictions for bay-users, hurting what is currently a hub of ocean recreation for locals, tourists, businesses and families.

“The way the current regulations are written, there’s an opportunity our commercial operators may not continue operating, which would mean loss of jobs, would mean revenue impact for our shopping centers because tourists come in there,” said Robin Jones with Hawaii Kai Marina Association Board of Directors.

Before the meeting even began, many rallied in front of the school in opposition. They argued that DLNR already oversees activity in the bay and any proposal by NOAA would simply be another layer of similar, if not identical, regulations.

“If the proposal goes through, it would take over state waters. The federal government would have authority over state waters,” said Jones. “We want to keep the bay as it is. It’s already a sanctuary for the humpback whales. Turtles are already protected. Monk seals are already protected. We have all the regulations they are proposing and we don’t need additional bureaucracy and regulations.”....

read ... Packed House

Remembering The Judiciary Scandal of the mid-1980s

ILind: My latest column over at CivilBeat.com is a retrospective on the state judiciary scandal of the mid-1980s (“Ian Lind: Illegal Lobbying Machine Was Hidden in Plain Sight”).

...If you’re interested in this history, check out the report of the special “blue ribbon” panel appointed by then-Chief Justice Herman Lum, and the separate report of the independent consultants they solicited. And if you’re interested in the reporting at the time, check out the news clippings from 1985 and 1986 that I collected while with Common Cause.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep looking for a copy of the original report on the issue that I wrote for Common Cause.

Also see:

read ... A history lesson: The Judiciary Scandal of the mid-1980s

Puerto Rico Gun case may have ripple effect in Guam, Hawaii

PDN: The timing of a recent court ruling from the Commonwealth Court of Puerto Rico could not be better, and may well set in motion a significant ripple effect in other U.S. Island jurisdictions, namely Guam and Hawaii.

The Puerto Rican court recently handed down a ruling on a class action lawsuit that was brought by the Ladies of the Second Amendment, or LSA, with 850 individual plaintiffs. The court ruling, confirmed by the Second Amendment Foundation, or SAF, was a significant victory for gun rights advocates in Puerto Rico.

read ... Gun Case

Soft-on-Crime: Alleged Hit and Run Killer Getting Off Easy--Again?

SA: An Oahu grand jury returned the indictment charging Chantel Andrade with fleeing the scene of a fatal crash and driving without a license. Her bail is $25,000. Initially, Andrade was arrested for investigation of second-degree murder....

According to court rec­ords, she was arrested less than one week before the crash for investigation of driving more than 30 mph over the speed limit and driving without insurance.

She was also cited that day for a delinquent vehicle tax, an expired safety check and driving with an instruction permit without a licensed driver present.

Jantoc's family members wanted Andrade to be charged with an offense that carries a heavier punishment.

"I'm so upset," said Eiichi Juma­wan, Jantoc's uncle. "My sister (Jantoc's mother) is very upset. She called me this morning. She's in tears and could not believe this."

Jumawan said Jantoc's mother, Sharon, was "offended" by the charges brought against Andrade.

Fleeing the scene of a fatal crash is a Class B felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Juma­wan wanted the driver to at least be charged with manslaughter, which carries a punishment of up to 20 years in prison....

read ... Soft on Crime

Kanuha accepts Tobacco Coalition gifts while sponsoring E-Cig Ban

WHT: County Council Chairman Dru Kanuha accepted $536 worth of airfare from unregistered lobbyists while sponsoring a bill benefiting them, according to gift disclosures filed with the county Board of Ethics.

Kanuha was one of four council members filing gift disclosures by the June 30 deadline for the previous 12 months ending June 1.

The flights, for Kanuha and a staff member, were accepted from the Honolulu-based Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii on Sept. 11 and Nov. 10. One was for a “policy stakeholder meeting,” and the other for a three-day leadership training session for a legislative aide, according to Kanuha’s gift disclosure.

His bill, banning e-cigarettes anywhere conventional tobacco cigarettes are banned, was introduced Oct. 14 and passed Dec. 17. It was the second bill in as many years that Kanuha sponsored on behalf of the coalition. The other one, in 2013, raised the tobacco purchasing age from 18 to 21.

The coalition’s three members lobbying the County Council didn’t register as lobbyists until Dec. 3, 10 and 11....

read ... Illegal Lobbying

Total Failure: Battery Disaster Strands Solar Plane in Hawaii Til 2016

KHON: It was only once the plane touched down in Hawaii that engineers saw just how bad the damage was.  "We made a mistake with our batteries,” Piccard says....

read ... Batteries Don't Work

Enviros Now Push for Ban on Compostable Bags

HNN: ...Compostable bags are roughly a nickel cheaper than the paper bags with recycled content that many merchants are using after the new plastic bag restrictions went into effect on Oahu July 1.

Last year, the nonprofit environmental group Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and other environmentalists asked the Honolulu City Council not to allow retailers to use compostable bags.

"I've voiced my concern about the compostable bag loud and clear from the beginning and they pose just as much danger in the ocean.  They look just like a regular plastic bag.  The only difference is instead of being made out of oil, they're made out of GMO corn," said Kahi Pacarro, executive director of Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii.

But the Council passed the so-called plastic bag ban last September, Allowing retailers to use compostable bags, even though there is no large-scale composting facility in the state. That means any compostable grocery bags will just be burned at the city's garbage-to-energy H-Power plant, just like other trash.

"Please understand, of course, that we do not compost the bags.  They still would be bags that would be out there potentially as litter," said Tim Houghton, the city’s deputy environmental services director, when he testified before the Council’s public works committee last August.

(What they are refusing to tell you: A compostable bag will break down in the environment whereas a plastic bag will not.) 

"Our preference would be to continue a total ban on plastic bags, whether it's compostable or non-compostable," Houghton told members of the City Council.

read ... Eco-Logic

Ige Promotes Homeless Villages With Real Houses--Brower Wants Tent Cities Everywhere

KITV: ...Ige said state and city agencies met last week to discuss safety and sanitation in areas like this and how to move them from other neighborhoods where the shanty towns are growing.

“We are looking at state lands and will be talking to the mayor about county parcels and then talking to the military, if they have parcels as well," said Ige.

Just two weeks ago city crews swept the area clearing out several dump loads of debris from the park and other say they have noticed more police presence.

Some say neighbors need to play a role too.

“If every community actually identified where they could help their own community members, that would be the best thing," said Sen. Suzie Chun-Oakland.

It's an idea shared by the governor.

"The more we can identify shelters and shelter opportunities in each and every community, the more sustainable the plan is," said Ige....

Waimanalo still has the homeless village established 20 years ago.

It is the last of several emergency shelters that the state thought would be the answer the homeless crisis back then.

But the push-back from other neighborhoods back then stopped the village concept from expanding.

This site is currently a transitional center—but some say many homeless need to be stabilized and moved from life on the streets to emergency shelters, then to transitional shelters and finally to permanent housing.

"You can't get enough Weinberg villages built. I like that part...."

read ... Coming to a neighborhood near you

Enviros Oppose Affordable Housing Plan

CB: Just four months after Honolulu City Councilman Ikaika Anderson said he wouldn’t agree to allowing a new residential community at Malaekahana, City Council Chair Ernie Martin has introduced a planning document that would permit 875 homes in the area despite opposition from community groups like the Defend Oahu Coalition.

The proposal appeared to be dead in March when Anderson, who chairs the City Council Zoning and Planning Committee, amended Bill 47, the Koolauloa Sustainable Communities Plan, to remove all references to more housing at Malaekahana.

But Martin introduced Bill 53 on Thursday bearing the title, “To Adopt the Revised Koolau Loa Sustainable Communities Plan.” The bill includes a new 875-home residential community at Malaekahana “to meet existing pent-up demand and provide land for affordable work force housing.”

read ... Councilman Martin Resurrects Proposal to Allow 875 Homes in Malaekahana

City approves dune buggy business after significant delays

SA: City officials have approved the registration of gas-powered, low-speed vehicles on Oahu after initially denying a startup dune buggy rental business on the North Shore the license to begin operations.

Matt Brown and his wife, Heather, invested nearly $1.4 million to open a dune buggy rental shop in Haleiwa when the city notified them that Hawaii law won't allow him to rent his gas-powered vehicles.

The Texas native, who moved to the islands in January to open Aloha Buggies, had been told by a city official before he bought his fleet of dune buggies that he should have no trouble registering them on Oahu.

After shipping a half-dozen buggies to Honolulu, the Browns the city Division of Motor Vehicles told them that they wouldn't be able to register the buggies because state law doesn't allow gas-powered low-speed vehicles on public streets, though low-speed electric vehicles are acceptable.

The city announced Wednesday it approved the company's registration on July 10....

City: News Release

read ... City approves dune buggy business after significant delays

Kapolei canal contamination

HNN: Environmentalists are calling it one of the worst cases of stream pollution they've seen in years.

A new report says that a 1,000-foot long drainage canal that runs from Barbers Point Beach Park to Island Recycling's Kapolei facility is heavily contaminated with lead, arsenic and petroleum products.

"This is a more of an egregious, more toxic thing where someone or a business that's been creating some nasty byproducts is letting it go into the water," said Marvin Heskett, a water quality expert with the Surfrider Foundation....

Meanwhile, Island Recycling said the report is biased and that the company's own experts have found no contamination.

"We feel very strongly that we don't have any environmental problems," said company president James Nutter.

read ... Contamination

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