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Monday, August 3, 2015
August 3, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:12 PM :: 3974 Views

Hawaiian Homes Commissioners, KSBE Trustees and OHA Trustee not on Kanaiolowalu Roll

2015’s Best & Worst Large Cities to Live in -- Honolulu Ranks 17th

NextEra Kicked out of Hawaii Because they are Republicans

IM: Republican Jeb Bush's presidential campaign is being financed by the Right to Rise USA super-PAC. The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting (FCIR) reported that Nextera Energy has joined the PAC’s seven-figure club by donating a million dollars....

(Now you know the real reason for Hawaii politicos' rejection of the NextEra merger....)

One issue that will be core to the Presidential race is Obama's Clean Power Plan which is scheduled to be released at 2:15 p.m. (8:15 a,m, Hawaii time). The plan is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants....

Three hundred and sixty five businesses, investors, renewable energy companies and churches wrote a letter dated July 31, 2015 to 29 state governors to strongly support the rules, which they asserted would create jobs and benefit the economy.

The entities supporting Obama's plans including Ben & Jerry's, eBay, Gap Inc., General Mills, Inc., Imperium Renewables, Inc, L'Oreal USA, Levi Strauss & Co., Nestle, SunEdison, The Sierra Club Foundation, Unilever, Unitarian Universalist Association, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) ....

Jeb Bush accepts that the climate is changing, but he is less certain about the notion, supported by an overwhelming number of scientists, that human activities have contributed to the problem.

In 2011 Bush told an interviewer that while global warming “may be real ...it is not unanimous among scientists that it is disproportionately man-made.”....

"Bush stated that natural gas is the solution. 'We can continue to reduce carbon emissions by taking advantage of the abundance of natural gas.'”

read ... NextEra is financing Jeb Bush Presidential Campaign

New law pushes treatment for the oft-jailed mentally ill

SA: Act 231 allows for sufferers’ families, friends and others to petition for outpatient care of psychiatric problems....

"In many cases, if they knew the voices in their head were only in their head, it would go a long way towards getting treatment," said Steven P. Katz, a marriage and family therapist in Honolulu and a board member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Hawaii. "Almost all schizophrenics do not realize they are sick at first."

A revised Assisted Community Treatment law, Act 231, was designed to tackle that issue in certain severe cases of mental illness, while protecting patient rights. It allows interested parties to petition Family Court to require outpatient mental health treatment for individuals who are so seriously impaired that they don't recognize they need it.

"It is for people who have been hospitalized and have shown repeatedly they are unable to care for themselves in the community and have been a threat to self or others," Marya Grambs, executive director of Mental Health of America of Hawaii, said in an interview. "It requires that a psychiatrist evaluate and attest that the person meet stringent criteria. Family members or others who care about the individual may start a petition for mental health treatment."

The goal is to provide outpatient treatment to seriously mentally ill patients and substance abusers who bounce back and forth from the streets to hospitals and jail. In some cases, injections of long-acting antipsychotic drugs could stabilize someone enough for them to live in the community.

An earlier version of the law was passed in 2013, but the only test case was dismissed from court, after roadblocks obtaining mental health records and objections on the basis of civil rights. In that case a psychiatrist, an attorney and the Institute for Human Services had teamed up to try to get community-based treatment for a woman with a history of mental illness and substance abuse who lay on a Chinatown sidewalk for months in her own waste, through rainfall and hallucinations.

Legislators went back to the drawing board, and the revised bill introduced by state Sens. Suzanne Chun Oakland and Josh Green was signed into law by Gov. David Ige last month.

2013: Mental Health: Can Reform Solve Hawaii’s Homeless, Prison and Unfunded Liability Problems?

read ... Mentally Ill

Proportion of Mentally Ill HPD Arrestees Doubles Since 2010

SA: Half of all the people arrested in Honolulu suffer from serious mental illness, severe substance abuse or both — a share that has doubled since 2010....

Of the 10,824 people arrested in 2013 in Honolulu, 5,485 suffered from serious mental illness or severe substance intoxication, according to a review of records by the advanced practice registered nurses who work in the cellblock as part of the Honolulu Emergency Psychological Services and Jail Diversion Program. That fraction, 51 percent, has soared from 26 percent in 2010.

The jump in arrests of people with psychiatric and substance abuse problems followed substantial cuts to mental health care in 2009, including community-based services. And it tracks a mushrooming of the homeless population in Honolulu. Four out of 10 detainees at the downtown cellblock have no permanent home....

"As far as my interaction with police, their response is directly proportional to the amount of support they feel they have from community partners whose job it is to help mentally ill and homeless people," Koyanagi said. "I think there are times when patients who are clearly ill, in distress, get brought to the hospital, and officers in their same shift later that day see the same people walking around. That's demoralizing for the police."

read ... Half

Ige: Number of Hawaii Inmates Imprisoned in Arizona Will Go Up

CB: The governor acknowledges that sending prisoners to the mainland is not ideal, but says there is little choice for now because the prison in Halawa needs upgrading and the prison in Kalihi needs to be replaced.

read ... UPW Is Not Cost-Effective

Kauai Dopers Plan for Legal Marijuana Monopoly

KGI: ...A group of Kauai stakeholders plans to apply for a medical marijuana dispensary on the island, and hopes to make it 100 percent locally funded and operated.  Judiah McRoberts is Kauai Dispensary Project lead director....

The Kauai Dispensary Project (KDP) has been approached by three investors and currently has an advisory board of five members, McRoberts said, who wish to remain silent until plans are further developed.

“At this time KDP is creating an advisory board of local professionals including legal advisers, medical professionals, security experts, farmers, engineers and patient advocates whom will be responsible for developing dispensary plans to submit with an application which will be available Jan. 11, 2016,” he said.

The licensees that are selected will be announced by April 15, and dispensaries will be able to dispense product no sooner than July 15, 2016.

According to the bill, the dispensary must be owned by Hawaii residents who have lived in Hawaii five years before Jan. 16, 2016.

“My understanding of the bill is that by October you have to have secured $1.2 million minimum, of which 51 percent has to be from a local individual or comprised of local individuals who have maintained residency for the last five years,” McRoberts said. “The other 49 percent can be out of state.”

If built, McRoberts said, the Kauai dispensary would have two retail locations and two production centers with no more than 3,000 plants for each center....

...opponents say a Kauai facility could be detrimental to the island’s youth.  “I’m just worried that this can get in the hands of our children like how alcohol did and other drugs,” said Theresa Koki, Life’s Choices Kauai coordinator. “I mean, who’s going to be raising these kids if the parents going always be stoned?”

“It’s a double-edged thing because the black market’s going to be stronger now because people are not going to afford the medicine from the dispensary because there will be big fees to pay,” she said. “I would like to have the funding for this dispensary give the county money for enforcement because people are going to be driving under the influence if they smoke.”

Koki would also like to see dispensary funds to go toward marijuana-addiction treatment programs.  “And also money for treatment for kids hooked on marijuana because they’re going to touch their parent’s or uncle’s stash,” she said....

Rep. James Tokioka voted against the measure, citing concerns over the lack of input and oversight from the county.

“Like bars, it has to be of a certain distance from certain things,” he said. “This bill doesn’t address any of the county’s rules and regulations in place as they would in a bar that would be asking for license to operate.”

read ... Dopers Plan for Monopoly

Hawaii lawmakers tour Green Mile marijuana shops

VD: Hawaii — where you can drop seeds on the sidewalk and they’ll grow - legalized medical marijuana dispensaries. Not retail reefer, not yet, anyway.

Rep. Della Au Belatti’s (D-Hawaii) bill passed in waning moments of this year’s Hawaii state Legislature allows eight dispensaries in the entire state.

A dozen or so Hawaiian lawmakers were among 350 state legislators in Vail this week for the Council of State Governments West annual convention.

Along with everything else, they managed to squeeze in a field trip to Eagle County’s Green Mile, touring pot shops in Eagle-Vail....

Bowler said he liked Hawaii’s idea of local growers supplying local shops. Agriculture is a tough industry, and marijuana is another revenue stream.

“Make your farmers and ranchers rich,” Bowler said....

The Hawaii contingent was a little concerned about what next year’s election might mean to their fledgling cannabis industry.

However, Rep. Belatti pointed out that Republican presidential hopeful Rand Paul introduced a bill allowing banking for pot shops. The Tea Party is backing Paul’s bill, saying it should be a states’ rights issue....

read ... Vail, Colo

Recycle program in need of repair

SA: ...The latest revelation was a "glaring example" of lack of oversight when the state Department of Health ultimately paid $543,374 for audits of its beverage container redemption centers that were "of little value," according to a new report released Thursday by acting state Auditor Jan Yamane.

In 2008, the Health Department issued a request for proposals to hire an outside auditor and received one proposal for $76,400, but before the contract was signed the vendor had increased its price to $340,000, according to Yamane.The state Procurement Office suggested the Health Department seek new bids, but the department ignored the recommendation — and the final amount paid out to PKF Pacific Hawaii LLP was 611 percent more than its original proposal.

In 2013, a separate state audit showed the HI-5 redemption program paid out $6.2 million in deposit funds between fiscal 2010 to 2012 for nearly 7.5 million pounds of material that could not be accounted for....

read ... Repair

State Dumps Contractor for restaurant ratings system -- $158K Redo

SA: ...The state is spending $158,000 to redo a website database after wasting thousands of dollars on a project that was supposed to give the public online access to restaurant health inspections in 2013.

The Health Department signed a contract last month with technology firm Digital Health Department Inc. to build an electronic billing, permitting and online database of inspections for more than 10,000 establishments statewide.

The state previously paid $170,000 to Paragon Bermuda Canada Ltd. to do the work, but terminated that contract earlier this year due to "poor performance."

"Part of the contract was to put it up on the website, but what the day-to-day inspections staff were doing in the field was not getting uploaded into the system," said Peter Oshiro, the department's environmental health program manager. "It was unacceptable to continue with them. It got progressively worse over time."

The new contractor is "going to do the exact same thing Paragon was supposed to do," said Oshiro.

Despite the failed project, state taxpayers won't get restitution for the faulty system.

"There is no clause that says if you're not happy, you get your money back," Oshiro said. "It was for work they did perform. They just didn't perform it well."

State Auditor Jan Yamane released a scathing audit last week, criticizing Health Department employees for their lack of oversight to ensure the state actually gets what it pays for with taxpayer dollars when purchasing goods or services.

"The biggest difference between private industry and government is the (government) is locked into a low-bid process," Oshiro said. "When you do that I strongly feel you sacrifice quality for cost. The government can't seem to pull away from that. Until we go to a process where we can procure by quality, then we'll never get a quality product. That's not a Health Department problem; it's a statewide system problem."

Related: Auditor: Lack of Procurement Controls Exposes Health Department to Waste and Abuse

read ... Shaky

Hawaii mortgage closing costs top U.S.

SA: Hawaii's average mortgage closing costs of $2,163 are the highest in the nation, according to a new comparison.

Behind Hawaii in the national ranking, are New Jersey, with average closing costs of  $2,094; Connecticut ($2,033); West Virginia ($1,971), and Arizona ($1,969).

The cheapest mortgage closing costs, according to Bankrate, are in Ohio ($1,613); Idaho ($1,682); Wyoming ($1,689); Utah ($1,697), and Maine ($1,727).

read ... Mortgage

Arizona Memorial Shut Down 3 Days due to Presence of Endangered Turtle

KHON: The National Park Service was forced to shut down the USS Arizona Memorial for 3 days due to an endangered turtle.

A green sea turtle was found eating along the dock of the memorial on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday last week which did not allow tour boats to dock.

Tevita Tufaga, who has worked as a tour guide for a private company for 25 years, says it’s the first closure he’s ever seen.

“I heard some of the guests say they traveled thousands of miles to get there, but they couldn’t get on the Arizona,” Tufaga said. “A lot came, spent thousands of dollars just for that.”

About 3,500 visitors were unable to visit the Arizona on those days....

A spokesperson with The National Park Service says a turtle sighting on the dock of the Arizona is unusual, but it’s found turtles near Gun Turret 3 on the Arizona Memorial and on Battleship Missouri.

read ... Turtle

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