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Wednesday, July 29, 2015
July 29, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:57 PM :: 4267 Views

Kanaiolowalu Strips 27,470 ‘Unverifiable’ Names, Publishes ‘Certified’ Roll 

McDermott: Investigate Hawaii Planned Parenthood Operations

School Safety: Hawaii Ranks 5th in USA

Diesel Price Gouging-- Collusion?

HART Lets Ansaldo Score $13.2M Windfall for plan projected to lose 14,200 daily riders

SA: ...On Thursday the board overseeing rail will vote whether to accept $6.8 million in credits from train builder Ansaldo for what’s billed as the savings that come from switching from 40 two-car trains to 20 four-car trains.

The two parties have locked horns over the transit system’s train configurations since at least August 2012, documents obtained by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser show. In an effort to move past the conflict, city rail officials called on Ansaldo to switch to four-car trains and claimed that the change could save the project as much as $20 million....

Enrico Fontana, Ansaldo Honolulu’s principal program manager and managing director, said the deal “demonstrates the great working relationship we have developed with HART.”....

Originally, the firm designed a rail system that initially would run only two-car trains, while the city expected a more flexible system that could run a “mixed fleet” of trains of varying lengths. The system Ansaldo had planned to deliver, however, could require weeks of extensive “service interruptions” in order to add any more cars.... (Wow.  Just wow.)

To move past the contract dispute with Ansaldo — which rail officials did not publicize — HART in 2013 instructed the firm to build 20 four-car trains instead of 40 two-car trains....

some official estimates show that the four-car trains would see fewer new riders in the long run. Internal ridership models from former rail consultant Parsons Brinckerhoff showed that the system in 2030 would have 119,600 daily riders with four-car trains compared with 133,800 with two-car trains....

(133,800 - 119,600 = 14,200 more drivers each day)

PDF: HART Train Dispute

read ... No HART

DC Law firm Invents Six Figure Position for Ige's Family

SA: Speaking to an audience at the state Employees’ Retirement System Investment Education Summit at the Kahala Hotel & Resort on Wednesday, Ige said his daughter Lauren recently accepted an internship with a fairly large Washington, D.C., law firm. Lauren is a second-year law student at Georgetown University Law Center.

If you were to annualize Lauren’s monthly pay as an intern, Ige told his audience, she would be earning more per year than the governor of Hawaii. Ige now makes $149,556 a year, after receiving a raise July 1.

SA: Increase pay for Cabinet members

read ... Ige bemoans pay available to members of his Cabinet

Ige's Homeless 'Leadership' Enough to Fool Civil Beat

CB: ...Ige deserves credit for creating a new A-Team to focus on homelessness in Honolulu and around the state.

This is not just any public body — it includes Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, two high-ranking state legislators, staff members from Hawaii’s two U.S. Senate offices, the head of the state Department of Human Services, the chair of the Honolulu City Council and the governor himself.

No collection of mid-level bureaucrats, this is a group of leading governmental decision-makers at the federal, state and local levels that has the authority and status to get things done.... (No.  This is not satire.)

...there are questions around responsibilities, work plans and connections to other groups involved in this issue....

...there is the question of how eight leaders with extraordinarily full plates to begin with will delegate, reassign and reorganize to make time for a complex challenge of immediate and growing importance to our state....

...more people than live on Molokai go to sleep homeless on the streets, sidewalks and beaches of the Aloha State....

...there has been no small number of missteps in responding....

...They’ve mounted no credible response to the growing homeless encampments....

...lawmakers failed to adequately fund public housing repair and maintenance....

...State lawmakers also passed on or lowballed virtually every opportunity to make meaningful investments in public or affordable housing....

But we trust with the leadership around this table, those are matters that can be quickly and positively resolved.  (It sounds like satire, but they really believe this, LOL!)

read ... Fooled

UPW, Caldwell Slow Process of Rehabilitating 400 Vacant Public Housing Units

CB: The Hawaii Public Housing Authority, which oversees 6,195 units statewide, estimates 175 units are temporarily unoccupied due to families moving out or the need for repairs.

Another 239 units, including the Salt Lake Apartments, are receiving major repairs and upgrades. Those units — classified as undergoing modernization — aren’t included in the Housing Authority’s official vacancy rate, but bring the total number of empty state public housing units to over 400....

(400 units would be enough to house every homeless family on the streets now.)

George Atta, who leads the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting, said in a phone interview that low-income housing developments can receive expedited permitting through Hawaii Revised Statutes 201H, which allows for exemptions related to zoning rules, height and density and other factors that could drive up the cost of a development.

But that law only applies to the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation, a separate state agency from the Housing Authority that loans money to developers to build low-income housing projects rather than managing or building its own projects.

It’s not unusual for building permits for large, complex projects to take up to a year to approve, Atta said in a follow-up email.

Atta explained the eight months that it took for Salt Lake Apartments to receive its building permit is comparable to similar private sector projects....

The exempt team, which operated from July 2012 until this year, was made up of 36 workers with varying skill sets ranging from plumbing to carpentry who renovated units together.

Ouansafi said that method proved more efficient than the traditional practice, in which employees with different skill sets work separately and take turns fixing up units.

UPW Director Dayton Nakanelua signed a letter of agreement with Ouansafi to work with him to create the new Special Team made up of 56 multi-skilled workers. The Housing Authority is in the process of hiring for that effort. Nakanelua did not reply to a request for comment....

read ... Special Team?

Dozens rally against Planned Parenthood in Honolulu

KHON: Rallies against Planned Parenthood are taking place across the nation, including here in Hawaii.

The rallies come as a third graphic undercover video was released, showing a tissue procurement buyer talking to a doctor about pricing for parts and organs from a fetus just over 11 weeks into a pregnancy.

In Honolulu, dozens gathered along South King Street with signs.

Protesters say taxpayer money should not fund the organization. Planned Parenthood receives more than $500 million each year.

“Most people in Hawaii are very family-oriented and to know that their taxpayer dollars are going to selling baby parts, I think they deserve the right to know,” said Marion Jones, Whole Life Hawaii....

read ... Rally

Sex Trafficking Debated

Former PUC Chair Speaks Out Against Solar Subsidies

CB: In a blog post last week, Morita called TASC’s “taxing the sun” campaign deceptive, and said taxpayers, and the majority of utility customers who don’t have rooftop solar systems, will end up getting “fleeced” by the deception.

Morita accuses the solar advocates of politicizing energy policy at a very delicate time in which rapid technological change, coupled with dramatic changes in energy pricing, have ratcheted up the risks for Hawaii’s utilities and the public in making decisions that will reverberate for decades.

“These kinds of decisions cannot be political decisions,” Morita said, “because this is a central service that the whole economy depends on, and we can’t afford major failure of this important infrastructure.”

read ... Ian Lind

Guam EPA spending questioned

GPDN: Guam Environmental Protection Agency's tab for hosting a "Zero Waste Pacific" conference is being questioned in an audit report.

Guam EPA spent $86,000 for the May 2014 regional conference by dipping into the Recycling Revolving Fund. The fund receives money from a portion of vehicle registration fees, and fees to dispose of old tires and vehicle batteries....

Recycling fees paid for expenses such as a $38,138 hotel venue, $5,724 for 100 laptop bags, $2,723 for 75 Padfolio folders and $1,800 for turtle-shaped wood carving giveaways, the audit report states.

Guam EPA didn't have regulations for what the recycling revolving fund should be used for, the audit report states, "which leaves too much room for interpretation."

Conference expenses made up 14 percent of the total recycling revolving fund's fiscal 2014 cash....

90 percent of recycling revolving fund expenditures "pertained to contractual services." Since fiscal 2010, these annual expenditures ranged from $275,000 to $630,000, the audit report states.

In June 2013, Matrix Design Group, operating as a consultant for GovGuam, released a blueprint for "Guam Zero Waste Plan." It's unclear if Guam EPA had other consultants paid with recycling fund money.

PDF: Audit Report

read ... Questioned

Judge Rules in Favor of Secret Government Deliberations

CB: Civil Beat challenged an interpretation of the Hawaii public records law that allows agencies to withhold documents considered “pre-decisional or deliberative.”

...The case stemmed from a public records lawsuit filed by Civil Beat on May 8 against the City and County of Honolulu for withholding budget documents that Mayor Kirk Caldwell relied upon to form his spending plan for fiscal year 2016.

Specifically, Civil Beat wanted the city to provide departmental budget memos that laid out what each division was requesting from the mayor. These documents could show, for example, that the Honolulu Police Department wanted more money for service weapons or that the city’s street sweepers were in need of replacement....

CB: The Public Has a Right to Know How Government Decisions Are Made

read ... Secret

HSTA president disputes DOE's AC estimate

HNN: ... The DOE estimates it would cost $765 million to install AC in 53 elementary schools, $330 million for 33 middle schools, and $600 million for 40 high schools. The total is about $1.7 billion.

HSTA president Corey Rosenlee believes it can be done for one-tenth that cost.

"We put photovoltaic cells on the roof. We run it to a battery that goes to the air conditioning," he said. "We think we can do a room for $15,000-$20,000 per classroom.  And that brings it down by 90%." ....

read ... AC Dispute

pCard charges Show Kenoi Trying to Get legislators Drunk; won’t say whether 3 questionable purchases were reimbursed

HTH:  County records show one of Kenoi’s aides purchased 25 bottles of wine April 23, 2014, at Tamura’s Fine Wine store in Honolulu, the same week the mayor was visiting with lawmakers to seek a greater share of the transient accommodation tax for Neighbor Islands.

read ... More Kenoi P Card

Protesters attempting to block delivery of Maui telescope’s parts (again)

SA: A demonstration planned for Thursday aims to again block a convoy of parts and materials headed to a large telescope under construction on the summit of Halea­kala.

Members of Kako‘o Haleakala are hoping for a repeat of the June 25 protest vigil, when an estimated 200 people prevented a group of oversize vehicles from leaving the Central Maui Baseyard in Puunene for a planned journey to the construction site of the $340 million Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope....

According to Furtado, even more people are expected to join Thursday’s gathering, which starts with a 7 p.m. informational meeting and continues at the Central Maui Baseyard until the early morning.

Some of the same individuals who are flying in to join Wednesday’s Trans-Pacific Partnership protest in West Maui are staying for the telescope event, she said.

Reality: Telescope: For OHA, it’s all About the Rent Money

read ... Haleakala

Emergency rule limiting Mauna Kea access yet to be enforced

HNN: Nearly three weeks after the state’s Board of Land and Natural Resources cited "imminent peril to the public health or natural resources" before passing an emergency rule limiting access to Mauna Kea, no enforcement action has taken place on the mountain....

on Thursday, July 23, DLNR Conservation and Resource Enforcement officers started distributing what officials are calling educational handouts.

Cell-phone video taken by protesters, who say they’re standing in protection of the mountain as a sacred Native Hawaiian place, captured the first exchange.

"We're here just to serve you these papers, okay? And basically what you need to do is just to read them and understand that this is the emergency proclamation that went through,” a DOCARE officer explained.

DLNR officers have been back five times since then, but no citations or arrests have been made.

"I'm just here to serve -- give them the same paperwork that was given the day before -- coming from the Department of Land and Natural Resources. That's all I'm doing. That's my purpose here,” the same officer is seen explaining on camera three days later.

"Today was our fourth day getting served with these papers. We're not leaving. Don't worry,” one protester said in a video posted to the Na’au News Now Facebook page....

“I guess I'm kind of dumbfounded by this approach because they passed these emergency rules and there really was no emergency and they've really confirmed that in how they've dealt with this situation,” said Lakea Trask, an Aloha ‘Aina advocate.

State officials say they can't reveal their enforcement strategies and won't disclose when they'll start doing more than serving notices.

read ... Not Enforced

Information regarding Lanai wind farm to remain confidential, state agency says

PBN: A state agency has rejected a request by the Friends of Lanai that would have given the community group access to confidential information on the terms and conditions of an agreement between Oracle Corp. founder Larry Ellison and Castle & Cooke Inc. regarding a planned wind energy farm on the Pineapple Island.

read ... Secrets

The Colossal Hoax Of Organic Agriculture

F: USDA requires that certifying agents test five percent of their certified operations each year. The certifying agents themselves determine which operations will be subjected to testing....

Few organic consumers are aware that organic agriculture is a “trust-based” or “faith-based” system. With every purchase, they are at risk of the moral hazard that an organic farmer will represent cheaper-to-produce non-organic products as the premium-priced organic product. For the vast majority of products, no tests can distinguish organic from non-organic—for example, whether milk labeled “organic” came from a cow within the organic production system or from a cow across the fence from a conventional dairy farm. The higher the organic premium, the stronger the economic incentive to cheat.

Think such nefarious behavior is purely theoretical? Think again. USDA reported in 2012 that 43 percent of the 571 samples of “organic” produce tested violated the government’s organic regulations and that “the findings suggest that some of the samples in violation were mislabeled conventional products, while others were organic products that hadn’t been adequately protected from prohibited pesticides.”

How do organic farmers get away with such chicanery?  A 2014 investigation by the Wall Street Journal of USDA inspection records from 2005 on found that 38 of the 81 certifying agents–entities accredited by USDA to inspect and certify organic farms and suppliers—“failed on at least one occasion to uphold basic Agriculture Department standards.” More specifically, “40% of these 81 certifiers have been flagged by the USDA for conducting incomplete inspections; 16% of certifiers failed to cite organic farms’ potential use of banned pesticides and antibiotics; and 5% failed to prevent potential commingling of organic and non-organic products.”....

Related: USDA: Pesticides, Chemicals, and Synthetic Ingredients Used in 'Organic' Food

read ... Hoax

North Shore residents want parks privatized to maintain filthy beach bathrooms

HNN: ...Some North Shore Oahu residents are fed up with filthy beach park bathrooms.

They say the city isn't doing its job so they want someone else to do it for them.

"I don't think this is what we want here on the north shore to show our tourists and our families who live here," said North Shore resident Jack Reid.

Reid is talking about the Haleiwa Beach Park bathroom where a toilet doesn’t work, some doors won't lock, and the floors are rusted.

"The sinks were kinda dirty and the floor was dirty and it smelled kinda funky," said beachgoer Catherine Bartlett.

The director for the city's Department of Parks and Recreation says the stains have probably been there for more than 30 years....

Reid says North Shore residents are tired of the neglect. So they want the city out and someone else in charge of upkeep.

"One of the solutions we discussed this morning with a group of us it privatization of our parks," he said.

"If we privatize one park and show them what can be done and how clean it can be and how nice it can be…the mowing can be done by a private company, the cleaning can be done by a private company," Reid said....

read ... Privatize

Lawsuit Settled: 8 HPD Officers Beat Two Hikers

SA: ...John W. Helm III, a Waikiki entertainer who goes by Johnny Helm, said he and Jonah Wellins, a friend visiting from the mainland, went hiking on Lanipo Trail, beginning at Wilhelmina Rise, on Feb. 29, 2012. While on the summit, according to the lawsuit, they saw a police helicopter whose pilot was talking to them unintelligibly from a loudspeaker before he gestured for them to go down the trail.

On the way down, the lawsuit said, the two hikers said they were “accosted by approximately eight heavily armed men dressed in combat gear” whom the hikers identified as HPD officers.

At least two of the officers, whom the lawsuit identified as Nalei Sooto and Randall Rivera, “attacked … Helm while he was down on the ground, violently shoving his body into the ground and slamming his face and head onto the ground and/or rocks so viciously that he lost consciousness immediately thereafter.”

Helm, a three-time Na Hoku Hanohano nominee, according to his website, later learned he sustained a concussion and multiple facial fractures that required surgery, as well as stitches to his eye and other cuts to his face, the lawsuit said.

Meanwhile, others officers, including one identified as Patrick Sung, attacked Wellins while he was on the ground, “slamming his body and face onto the ground and causing pain to his chest and head along with bloody facial lacerations,” the lawsuit said.

Helm and Wellins said they were then handcuffed and, while at gunpoint, forced down “a steeper and more difficult trail” into Palolo Valley that required them to use a rope, the lawsuit said. During the incident, the officers threatened the two men and claimed they were armed robbers who had been identified by witnesses.

They were then taken in separate patrol cars and were headed toward the main police station on Alapai and Beretania streets, the lawsuit said. But when they were nearly at the station, police took them back to Palolo “without any explanation.” They were then released because they did not match the description of the armed robbers, the lawsuit said. The two men made their own way to a hospital for treatment, according to the suit.

The Honolulu Police Commission found that all eight police officers were guilty of conduct unbecoming officers, while Sooto and Sung were also found to have used unnecessary and excessive force. But none of the officers were disciplined or retrained, the lawsuit said....

read ... Lawsuit

Hawaii Lowest Cost of Car Ownership

247: 24/7 Wall St. calculated the annual operating expenses of owning a car in each state based on three measures: gas expenditure, repairs and maintenance, and insurance premiums. The cost of purchasing a vehicle was not included in the analysis. Michigan, where the cost of owning a vehicle is an estimated $4,678 per year, leads the nation. Hawaii, on the other hand, is the least expensive state to own a car, with an estimated annual cost of $3,310.

Read ... The Most (And Least) Expensive States to Drive

Impaired driving and how it affects Hawaii

KHON: In 2013, there were 102 people killed on Hawaii’s roadways.  Of the 102, 51 percent were impaired and 34 percent had drugs only in their systems.  Last year, police statewide arrested over 6,700 drivers for Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of Intoxicants or DUI, whether it was alcohol- and/or drug-related....

read ... Impared

KPD Officer Charged with DUI

KGI: ...KPD Sgt. Colin Nesbitt of Lihue, 44, was arrested for OVUII and refusal to undergo a breathalyzer test on May 23, according to a KPD arrest log. He was not charged for the latter offense.

Sarah Blane, KPD spokeswoman, said police responded to a report of a single-vehicle crash involving Nesbitt about 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 23, near Halewili Road in Kalaheo.

Nesbitt, who was recognized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving in 2010, was off-duty at the time....

read ... DUI

Congress Spends Another $13.7M on Papa Ola Lokahi

SA: Native Hawaiians facing critical health issues have been allotted about $13.67 million through several grants by Congress, according to the groups receiving the funds for fiscal 2016.

The funding of several Native Hawaiian health care centers and projects statewide is about the same as the amount that the groups have received for a few years, but less than the $14.4 million received before mandatory across-the-board cuts in 2013 as a result of the Budget Control Act of 2011, observers said.

On Monday, Hawaii’s congressional delegation and Sharlene Chun-Lum, executive director of Papa Ola Lokahi, named the grant recipients for fiscal 2016: Ho‘ola Lahui Hawai‘i, $2,305,752.00; Hui Malama Ola Na O‘iwi, $2,223,083; Ke Ola Mamo Inc., $2,387,221; Papa Ola Lokahi, $1,003,449; Hui No Ke Ola Pono Inc.; $2,669,511; Na Pu‘u Wai, $1,750,000; Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program, $1,327,690.

read ... Congress awards $13.7M to aid Hawaiians’ health

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