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Tuesday, July 28, 2015
July 28, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:01 PM :: 4849 Views

Honolulu Women Betrayed Demand Investigation of Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood Dead Baby Sales--“We Can See How Much We Can Get Out of It”

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted July 27, 2015

Bottle Tax to be Cut by Half Cent

Ige Appoints Committee to Talk About Homelessness, Calls it Leadership

Honolulu 4th Most Expensive City for Singles

Ward: NOAA should not be given cart blanche over Hawaii Waters

State Sheriff and First Deputy Suspended over DUI Coverup

HNN: The man in charge of the state's sheriff division has been suspended without pay along with his top deputy following an investigation into a DUI case involving another deputy two years ago....

In a statement, the Department of Public Safety says, First Deputy Patrick Lee and Nagamine are on "unspecified leave".

The department will not say anything else about the case including how long the suspensions will last or how many other leaders in the department are being suspended.

The high-level disciplinary action is apparently centers around the arrest of Sheriff Patrick Lewis in 2013.  He was charged with DUI and had his license suspended after an accident involving a state vehicle.    

The criminal charge was later dismissed.

KHON: Deputy Director for Law Enforcement Shawn Tsuha is temporarily filling in as Sheriff and Lt. Albert Cummings is temporarily filling in as First Deputy

read ... Suspended

Presidential Fundrace: Hawaii Republicans Give Nothing to Trump, Bush

Borreca: Welcome to a Donald Trump-free zone. We are taking an early look at local presidential politics, but despite the high-profile campaign of the brash Republican billionaire, he scores zip in Hawaii.

That’s a zero in terms of campaign fundraising, because Trump has not raised a cent in Hawaii, according to the Federal Elections Commission....

... only about $105,000 has been raised here, but of that amount, $57,927 went to GOP candidates and $47,000 went to the two Democrats.

Hillary Clinton is picking up more cash than Vermont’s U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders. Clinton has taken more than $30,000 and Sanders picked up $16,600....

Third in 2016 fundraising is the junior U.S. Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz, with $16,500.

Cruz is followed by the retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul.

The last two Republicans with Hawaii donations are Carly Fiorina, the business executive who unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate from California in 2010, and U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina....

...the neighbor islands are providing more of the candidates’ money, with about $34,000 coming from Oahu and about $70,500 from the outer islands.

The neighbor islands also donated more to all the presidential candidates in 2012 — giving $1.8 million compared to Oahu’s $1.6 million. Back in 2012, almost $4 million in presidential money came from Hawaii....

read ... Fundrace

Mental Hospital Assaults Enough to Get New Building?

KHON: ...“It’s a relative question, relative to our colleagues throughout the western part of the United States we compare favorably,” said Hawaii State Hospital administrator William May. “Out of 21 hospitals, there were only three that had less patient-to-staff assaults or injuries.”

KHON2 asked the same question to state Sen. Josh Green, who is on the Senate committee looking into the issues.

“Oh absolutely,” he said. “Look, we had a whole Senate investigation on the matter. There is no question that it’s an issue and a serious one.”

“There has not been an assault that has resulted in a staff member losing a day of work,” said May.

There have been 37 assaults in the last quarter. Hospital officials said that assaults are defined broadly and considered any act of aggression towards a staff member.

Another issue is overcrowding. The current facility was meant to house 168 patients. That number is now more than 200 patients.

“At the end of the day, it’s more difficult to provide that safe environment given the buildings we have to do so right now,” said May.

There are plans for a new facility, but it could be eight years before anything is done, and even longer, 12 to 13 years, for the other buildings they plan to build.

“Anyone who can do anything to shorten the time frame of the completion of the first of three buildings, please do it,” said May. “This is a state of Hawaii issue. It is beyond our control and we need everyone’s help and eight years is simply not good enough.”

read ... State hospital administration speaks out about its challenges

DOE spends millions to turn elementary school into Admin Offices, AC included

KHON: Most public school students return to class this week, many to rooms that don’t have air conditioning.

Yet the state is transforming a former elementary school into office space, which includes an upgrade to the air conditioning system.

The state closed Queen Liliuokalani Elementary School in Kaimuki four years ago to save money, about half a million dollars a year.

Now, education officials are pumping millions into the school, but they say it’s for the same reason.

Next year, about a hundred Department of Education employees will move in and “that in alone in itself will bring us a lot of efficiencies in the fact that we’re working in the same vicinity of each other. We don’t have to try to coordinate to meet,” said assistant superintendent Dann Carlson.

DOE officials said that will save the state $900,000 a year, since officials won’t have to rent other places where those employees are currently at.

Right now, the state is spending $1.1 million to turn the classrooms into offices, and $2.3 million for a data center that will hold all the servers for all the public schools across the state.

“It does sound like a lot of money, but everything we do now is based around us having access to broadband,” Carlson said....

“It’s interesting in our society that we’re willing to make sure air conditioners are used so our computers don’t go bad, but are we making sure that we use air conditioners to make sure our students are also not in unhealthy environments?” said Corey Rosenlee, president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association.

SA: Union leader turns up the heat over hot classrooms

read ... Air Conditioned Administrators

State Gives $33.7M to Billionaire Movie Moguls

KHON: The state's film tax credits are bringing in big productions like "Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates," (destined to bomb) but not everyone is a fan of the incentives....

In 2013, the state boosted film tax credits to 20% on Oahu and 25% on the neighbor islands. The cap also increased to $15 million per production....

"The closest thing to a trend in state business tax policy right now is states looking skeptically at the film tax credits that they've already enacted and saying, 'You know what? It's not worth the money. It's not effective,'" said Matt Gardner, executive director of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy in Washington, D.C....

"I think we've gotten into a race now with other states and with other cities. They keep upping the ante and the question keeps coming to the legislature, 'Well, then we have to raise our amounts,'" said State Senator Sam Slom (R-Hawaii Kai, Diamond Head)....

32 productions received an estimated total of $33.7 million in rebates last year, according to the Hawaii Film Office. The projects generated $19.2 million in taxes, and (allegedly) about $279 million in additional revenues into the state's economy.

read ... Corporate Welfare

HGEA Funnels Free Golf to State Employees

CB: On the latest round of gift disclosure statements, which were due June 30, more free golf is being reported. But this time, it’s a labor union providing the gifts.

Two DOT employees, Michael Amuro and Karl Kunishige, each reported receiving a $225 entry fee for the Palama Settlement Golf Tournament in April from the Hawaii Government Employees Association, the state’s largest public-worker union with over 42,000 members.

Amura is a right-of-way agent and Kunishige is a high-level engineer.

It’s not the first time Kunishige has accepted free golf. Last year, he reported more than $1,500 in golf gifts that three different firms gave him from 2010 to 2012....

read ... More Free Golf

Jay made more than $13,000 a month in bonuses, UH says

SA: Ben Jay accumulated an average of more than $13,200 per month in bonuses during his tenure as the University of Hawaii’s athletic director and was due a lump sum $370,000 bonus payment upon his departure under terms of his 2012 contract, records show.

The bonuses are in addition to his annual base salary of $293,000, meaning Jay was paid more than $1 million for his 28-month tenure.

The figures sharply contrast with what is now potentially available to Jay’s successor, David Matlin, who has a $25,000 ceiling on bonuses this year, underlining a significant philosophical shift said to be taking place in contracts at UH.

Both contracts were made available to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Monday in response to requests under the state’s open-records law.

read ... $13,000 / mo

Gov terminates his homeless czar

DN: Director of the state Department of Human Services Rachel Wong gave homeless czar Colin Kippen four days notice today—his last day at work will be July 31.

Throughout his tenure Kippen was never given a budget to carry out his responsibilities.

At a press conference called for 2:30 today Governor Ige announced the formation of a Governor’s Leadership Team on Homelessness, composed entirely of politicians rather than housing or social service experts....

The news release does not mention Housing First, the evidence-based program that has worked so successfully elsewhere on the Mainland....

"The reality of this position is that (it gets) no budget, no money — you’re told to just come in and end homelessness. There’s so much more to be done. We’re in the middle of a full-blown crisis, especially on Oahu." —  Colin Kippen, outgoing state homeless coordinator

read ... Gov terminates his homeless czar

Wahiawa Homeless Camps Can Be Seen From Space

HNN:  Wahiawa's New Life Body of Christ foodbank has never been busier.  More and more homeless, like Ray Ray Boyer, are turning to the church for help.

"Just yesterday I went through Wahiawa," said Boyer. "There's a lot of homeless people everywhere.

There are so many homeless in Wahiawa Boyer left the streets for the shores of Lake Wilson. His new camp is accessible only by boat.  Boyer lives there alone with a pack of 8 dogs for protection.  Although he's managed to get "off the grid," Boyer still can't avoid the homeless masses.

"Last night I went out to do a little dumpster diving for my dogs," explained Boyer.  "I was surprised how much homeless people there are. Like every bus stop almost has somebody sleeping there."

At street level Wahiawa's homeless are everywhere. But it's not until you look from above that you can fully appreciate the homeless footprint in the community. Google Earth images actually allow you to see the homeless camps around Lake Wilson and in old agriculture lands outside of town. You can even see the sprawling network of trails connecting the encampments....

read ... Wahiawa

School less a struggle for homeless kids When they Move into Houses

SA: ...the challenges her grandson faced at school were heartbreaking. Soon to be a sophomore at Waianae High, he got into fights at school after his classmates teased and bullied him for being homeless, she said.

Besides the bullying, Gonsalves said many struggling families do not have enough money to buy their children’s school supplies.

“Prior to here (Maili facility), it was really uncomfortable, and he was really embarrassed because the kids, they know,” Gonsalves said. “You can imagine how much money … that would cost to do the school supplies.”

To help the nearly 100 kids who live at Maili Land Transitional Housing, a 44-unit short-term site run by Catholic Charities Hawaii which serves about 300 homeless each year, community members collected dozens of donated backpacks and money to purchase supplies, including folder paper, crayons and shoes, to give to children Monday....

read ... School

Brower Nailed

DN: It’s harder still to discern what could be going through the mind of Brower, who as an elected state official could have used his position and status to show empathy and compassion to the young man rather than further contributing to his misery.

Janet Grace: "Politicians are Supposed to Protect All of Us"

HuffPo: Representative Vigilante

read ... Nailed

DLNR Warns Telescope Protesters Again and Again 

BIVN: ...Sunday and again on Monday, DLNR officers gave protectors written notice for a forth and fifth time. Now they are handing out a different paper that lists the specific violations they say are taking place. The DLNR is tasked with enforcing a new law that prohibits camping within one mile of the Mauna Kea Access Road, and also forbids anyone from being in the restricted area past 10 p.m. The Department of Land and Natural Resources asserts the self-proclaimed protectors have been in violation of those rules...

The University of Hawaii informs us that two portable toilets were installed today (Monday) in the lower Visitor Information Station parking lot....

CB: Hawaii’s Technology Crossroads and the TMT

read ... Protesters

20 Years Later--Murderer Claims to be Innocent, Says evidence is a Big Conspiracy

CB: A convicted killer who says he’s innocent (redundant statement) is hinging his latest shot at redemption on the assertion that Maui police and prosecutors knowingly withheld or destroyed evidence that would have implicated another man.

Taryn Christian is currently serving a life sentence with a minimum 40-year term for the July 14, 1995 stabbing death of Vilmar Cabaccang.  (Yep.  That was 20 years ago.)

But Ezra has little leeway when it comes to freeing Christian or even giving him a new trial. Previous rulings by Ezra and U.S. District Court Judge Leslie Kobayashi that found Christian didn’t receive a fair criminal trial have been overturned by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. (Even the ultra-liberal 9th Circuit thinks Hawaii judges are soft on crime.) The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to weigh in....

read ... Mega Profits for Defense bar from Con's Typical Story 

Will Consumer Advocate Come to NextEra's Rescue?

CB: One party has yet to speak. The Consumer Advocate — who is supposed to represent all consumers — will submit its testimony Aug. 10. Funny thing though, the day after everyone sent in their thoughts on the merger, HECO and NextEra dashed off this information request to the Consumer Advocate: “Do you believe the proposed change of control can or will result in benefits to the Hawaiian Electric Companies’ customers? If so, please identify and describe in detail all such benefits.”

Since the Consumer Advocate is required to respond to this by Aug. 4 — just days before its formal testimony is due — it looks like NextEra is hoping to force the Consumer Advocate to put out something positive to offset the 3,550 pages of largely unfavorable fillings so far. Fortunately, it’s not up to the Consumer Advocate — or the PUC or the parties — to “fix” a deficient merger application.

read ... Advocate?

Hawaii Church-Sponsored Boy Scouts Have Exemption Allowing them to keep Homosexuals Away from Little Boys

MN: The Maui County Boy Scouts executive said Monday that he does not expect too much of an impact locally in the short run with the Boy Scouts of America National Executive Board decision to end its ban on gay adult leaders while allowing an exemption for religious reasons for church-sponsored units.

Robert Nakagawa, Maui County Council Scout executive, said that the key will be the decision by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is the largest charter partner in the county.

Reacting to the decision by the national board, the Mormon church said that it was "deeply troubled" by the decision. "The admission of openly gay leaders is inconsistent with the doctrines of the church and what have traditionally been the values of the Boy Scouts of America," said a statement from Mormon headquarters in Salt Lake City.

That statement is a concern to Nakagawa, but he remained optimistic that the Mormon church will continue its partnership with the Scouts, especially with the religious exemption....

read ... Freedom is an Exemption

Hundreds Testify on Humpback De-Listing

KGI: Federal regulators have collected more than 475 written testimonies about a proposal that would shed Hawaii’s humpback whales of their endangered species status.

In April, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Service announced the multi-faceted proposal, which involves dividing the global humpback population into 14 subgroups based on factors like geography and genetic traits and then removing the endangered species designation from those subgroups that are healthy and growing.

By removing one of the whales’ most powerful layers of protection, authorities say they would be able to focus conservation efforts on local wildlife that more pressingly need it like sharks and coral reef as well as whale populations elsewhere on the planet that haven’t responded so well to attempts at curbing extinction.

Hawaii’s humpbacks are one of 10 subgroups slated for removal from the protections afforded by the federal Endangered Species Act. Humpbacks in the Central American and Western North Pacific regions would be reclassified on the list as “threatened,” while those in the Arabian Sea and Cape Verde Islands and the Northwest African regions would maintain their endangered status, meaning they are in danger of extinction.

Now that the public comment period is closed, NOAA Fisheries staff are reviewing and evaluating the comments so as to address and/or incorporate them into the final determination.

NOAA Fisheries has one year from April 20, the date that it published the proposed rule, to issue a final rule....

read ... Humpback

Oahu: 200MW Pumped Hydro Beats New Batteries

PBN: ...Hawaiian Electric Co. is nearing the selection of battery storage developers to help it absorb more renewable energy.

But an expert PBN spoke to recently said that there could be between 100-megawatts and 200-megawatts of pumped storage hydro potential on Oahu, just looking at existing reservoirs. Those with the most potential for pumped hydro storage include Lake Wilson in Wahiawa and the Upper Nuuanu Reservoir.

At one time, both of these reservoirs were hydropower sources and both of their powerhouses are still standing....

read ... Old Tech Beats Lithium Ion

Local man’s GMO creation saved isles’ papaya industry

SA: ...one of the most successful GMO products on the market was created specifically for Hawaii farmers. I thought it would be useful for readers to revisit the genesis of Hawaii’s GMO papaya and how Dennis Gonsalves, a scientist from Kohala, saved this crop.

Hawaii’s papaya growers produce about 28 million pounds per year with a value of $20 million to $26 million. Over on the Big Island, where most papaya is grown, you can see rows of healthy trees.

This wasn’t always the case. In the 1950s on Oahu, and later in the early 1990s on Hawaii island, the papaya crop was hit with the ringspot virus. In both instances the harvests were decimated.

Fortunately Hawaii had a homegrown silver bullet, developed by Big Island native Gonsalves, a plant pathologist and University of Hawaii-Hilo grad who ended up at Cornell University....

read ... GMO Papayas Save

Organic Slave Driver: Ruderman Paid Some Workers Less than $10/hr

HTH: Island Naturals now employs more than 200 people at its three locations.

Ruderman said he believes treating his employees well is good business. Earlier this month, he announced that Island Naturals established a $10 per hour minimum wage for all employees. While most of his staff already were paid above $10 per hour, some entry-level employees got an unexpected raise in their paycheck this month as the company adopted the higher wage.

“While $10 an hour is not a true living wage in Hawaii, this is a step in the right direction, as raising our minimum also results in higher wages for midlevel staff,” he said....

Best Comment: "Senator Russell Ruderman gives his employees raises and bonuses, while we local farmers who supply him with our produce have to wait two months to get paid."

read ... Hypocrite

Review: Latest Anti-GMO Agit-Prop Flick

KE: ...OK, so I watched “Aina: That Which Feeds,” paying $3.99 to download the 22-minute film, which was less painful than it would've been to spend $10 to sit with the deluded true-believers at the Kauai Performing Arts Center.

The film was part Hawaiian romanticism, part anti-GMO apocalypso, part tourism promo and pretty much all bullshit, starting with how, according to Stacy Sproat-Beck, the Hawaiians “established a relationship with nature and the environment” when they arrived that allowed them to “live sustainably for over a thousand years.”

Yeah, well, except for all the birds they drove to extinction, and the lowland forests they slashed and burned and the streams they diverted to grow vast monocrops of taro.

Kawika Winter, one of those sitting on the supposedly objective Joint Pesticide Fact-Finding Group, waxed nostalgic about the good old days when his ancestors ignored short-term profits to think five to seven generations ahead.

Yeah, well, except for the time that Liholiho ordered the maka'ainana to harvest 1 million pounds of sandalwood so he could buy the luxury yacht that a drunken crew later ran aground at Hanalei Bay....

read ... Musings: Yeah, Well….

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