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Tuesday, August 4, 2015
August 4, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:20 PM :: 4397 Views

Krugman: Puerto Rico Crisis 'exacerbated by Jones Act'

Obama Announces Carbon Emission Standards for Power Plants

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted August 3, 2015

Students in Debt: Hawaii 2nd Fewest in USA

Jury Questionnaires to be Mailed Out for 2016

Leadership? Ige's Homeless Committee Says Moving Bums Back to A'ala Park 'has great promise'

KHON: ...Ige said the team has identified a few sites that could be transformed into an emergency homeless shelter and will continue to explore additional sites, though nothing is set in stone yet.

“The Liliha Civic Center holds great promise, we believe,” he said.... 

(Never heard of the 'Liliha Civic Center'?  It's a code phrase which means 'Old OR&L Station Makai of A'ala Park'.)

Ige stresses that any site would be an emergency solution (translation--we are just going to keep moving them around) “so we can get better data on the homeless people that would be at the site and we can work to provide them the services that they need, so we can move them into permanent shelter.”

The task force meets once a week.... 

(Question: What is the definition of insanity?)

read ... Talk

After 3 tries, advocates unable to get judge to force mentally ill woman into treatment

HNN:  Advocates for the homeless mentally ill have been unable to convince three different judges to use a new law to force a woman living on the streets into mental treatment....

Homeless advocates have been unable to get three different judges to force another woman who's lived on the streets for 20 years into mental treatment under a new community treatment law passed in 2013 but tweaked by lawmakers and signed into law this year.  The woman sits in her own urine in Chinatown, occasionally yelling at people who pass by.

"We don't want to force everyone into treatment, just those who really suffer mental illness and absolutely need that. It is our responsibility to care for them as well," said Kimo Carvahlo, a spokesman for the Institute for Human Services, Oahu’s largest homeless shelter.

Their next tactic: appointing a guardian for the woman, hoping a judge will approve requiring mental treatment if she is represented by a third party....

It's a law that could also help someone like the mentally ill woman who owns that house in Kaimuki that neighbors complained was a smelly, unsightly mess for years....

Records show in April of 2014, Matsuzaki showed up at the Ward movie theaters, defecated all over herself and was screaming that she was going to kill everyone.  A police psychologist had her committed for mental evaluation at Queens Medical Center.

In May, Matsuzaki was cited for trespassing at a Manoa restaurant in late May, but court filings by city officials said no one can locate her and she has no known relatives.

"I also found it sort of ironic that the city claims they have no way of locating her and they have no idea where she is.  Where it's pretty clear that on multiple number of times, she's been right there at the psych unit a Queens Hospital," Erteschik said....

read ... Keeping the Homeless, Homeless

Taxpayers provide Harding Avenue Homeless with Trash Removal Service

SA: The state Department of Transportation on Monday cleaned out a small but troublesome homeless encampment across from the Market City Shopping Center — and Gov. David Ige and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell hours later said they’re still working on a plan to clear out the expanding homeless encampment in Kakaako.

Two homeless people who live in two different spots on DOT land on Harding Avenue under an H-1 freeway overpass sat on the sidewalk after the sweep and told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that they planned to sleep there again Monday night.

Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi, who represents the area, said, “People go right back.” ....

Every February and August, DOT highway maintenance crews clear out homeless encampments on DOT land for one to two weeks — at a cost of $250,000 to $300,000 for each series of sweeps....

read ... State clears homeless off Harding Avenue spot

VA Workers Sue Duckworth for Retaliation

AP: ...The complaint alleging workplace retaliation was filed in 2008 by two employees of a southern Illinois veterans' home against Tammy Duckworth, a Chicago area congresswoman who at the time led the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs; and Patricia Simms, the home's acting administrator in 2006 and 2007....

Christine Butler, a 21-year state employee, accuses Duckworth in the lawsuit of firing her for insubordination over complaints about Simms....

Denise Goins, a human resources secretary, alleges that her complaints about Simms were also ignored and led to an unfavorable performance review that prevented her from receiving a raise. Goins says Duckworth urged her to "do your job and keep your mouth shut."

The two state workers are seeking compensatory damages of at least $50,000, as well as other financial penalties....

"Rep. Duckworth has continuously refused to explain her actions," said Kirk campaign manager Kevin Artl. "It is our hope that the legal system will deliver what she has not — the truth about her actions and justice to the whistleblowers."

...in an email ... received under Illinois public records laws ... Duckworth acknowledged that she "screwed up" by not first placing Butler on leave with pay.  Leaders of Duckworth's campaign declined comment....

read ... Retaliation

Downtown Law firm, Mainland Corporation Behind so-called Native Hawaiian Constitutional Convention

ILind: ...Na‘i Aupuni is a Hawaii nonprofit corporation which is registered at the address of the Bickerton Dang law firm in downtown Honolulu. The group reportedly received $2.6 from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to move the nation building process forward....

Interestingly, the election is being run by Election-America, apparently a private election management company with offices in New York, Washington, DC, and California....

read ... Rolling towards the election of delegates to a Native Hawaiian Constitutional Convention

Astronomers, Protesters Descend on Waikiki

SA: The Thirty Meter Telescope was never mentioned by name at the opening ceremony at the Hawai‘i Convention Center, but several speakers made reference to the dispute over the planned $1.4 billion project expected to send ground-based astronomy to new heights.

Among them was Gov. David Ige, who asked the assembly to join him in trying to resolve the conflict.

“As you are seeing before you, resolving conflict is not going to be easy or quick,” he said. “We do not seem to be talking with each other, but at each other. I believe there can be a resolution. We need to begin by listening to each other — truly listening — and trying to understand perspectives entirely different from our own. We need to hear the frustration of those who feel unheard. We need to find ways to honor as many interests as we can. I am committed to that path and ask you to join me on it.”

UH President David Lassner told the astronomers that some consider the mountaintops of Hawaii sacred, a fact that poses significant challenges for island astronomy.

“They’ve been alluded to, and I’m sure you’ve read about them in the media and social media. These are real issues and passions, and beliefs today are intense and we have not come to agreement,” he said.

Lassner added that Hawaii should be known not only as a location with the best astronomical viewing conditions, but also as “a global exemplar for stewardship,” combining modern science with the culture, knowledge and wisdom of the indigenous people.

Meanwhile, TMT telescope foes said they are planning a 10 a.m. news conference Tuesday at the convention center to talk about the Aloha Aina Unity March planned for Waikiki on Sunday. The event, they said, is aimed at putting the spotlight on threatened lands that are sacred to Hawaiians, including Mauna Kea and Haleakala.

read ... Waikiki

Next Era Still Delusional About Chances in Hawaii

SA: NextEra Energy Inc.’s top official isn’t surprised that the state is opposed to the sale of Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. and said the review process will show that the Florida-based company will be positive for Hawaii.

Jim Robo, chief executive officer of NextEra, said during the company’s earnings conference call Monday that the company welcomes a second chance to make its case that the sale is in the best interest of customers.

“It was not necessarily a surprise to me that the state filed the kind of testimony that they did,” Robo said after NextEra reported that second-quarter earnings had jumped 45.5 percent to $716 million....

read ... Its Over

Voting Rights Act: Hawaii Celebrates Lowest Turnout

SA: Amid dismal voter turnout numbers, state leaders will speak in the courtyard of the state Capitol on Thursday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the federal Voting Rights Act and kick off a local effort to encourage more residents to vote.

The 5 p.m. event, organized by the Honolulu chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, will include comments from state Rep. John Mizuno, local NAACP President Alphonso Braggs and possibly others, and will be followed by a silent march around the Capitol.

“So many people lost their lives fighting for the right to vote,” said Mizuno. “Now our state is one of the lowest participating states in elections....

read ... Voting Rights Act

30 Years Ago Molasses Spill Was no Big Deal

SA: In 2013, Matson Navigation Co. spilled about 233,000 gallons of molasses (about 1,400 tons) into Honolulu Harbor, killing more than 26,000 fish and other marine life, and sparking what one state official called the “largest environment response effort ever in the state,” drawing more than 100 responders from federal and state agencies. Last week, Matson agreed to pay the state $5.9 million to atone for its mistake, plus spend $9.5 million to remove its molasses tank farm on Sand Island.

By comparison, a 500-ton molasses spill in Hilo Harbor in August 1983 merited only a small news article in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, on Page A-3, which bore the headline, “Molasses Spill Has Harbor Fish ‘High’” and joked about how “much of the marine life in Hilo Harbor have been on a sugar high” since the spill, which caused “an undetermined number of sea creatures” to die as well. Apparently people back then found it humorous....

Related: Molasses Spill Produces $15M Windfall for State

read ... Hype Now

Honolulu May Spend $75K to Settle Case of Alleged Police Brutality

CB: According to court records, Justin Kaawa claimed the incident occurred after Officer Jeffrey Fleigner pulled him over April 12, 2011, on the H-1 freeway near Ko Olina Marina.

Fleigner and an unidentified second police officer then allegedly punched, kicked and choked Kaawa, in addition to pepper-spraying him three times, Kaawa claimed.

Kaawa told Hawaii News Now in 2011 that he spent two days in the hospital as a result.

Despite the pending settlement, the city contended it was Kaawa who assaulted the police officers after he was pulled over. The city said Kaawa was arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest and drunken driving, among other charges....

The Honolulu City Council will take up the $75,000 settlement for the civil lawsuit during its meeting Wednesday....

Kaawa’s case is part of a string of lawsuits against Honolulu police over the past decade. A 2014 Civil Beat analysis found that from Jan. 1, 2003, and May 1, 2014, the city settled nearly 100 cases involving police officers at a total cost of about $5.7 million.

Hawaii is the only state without a statewide police standards board and officers are rarely fired for misconduct.

read ... $75,000?

Toxic Radford H.S. dirt sent to Kaneohe home

HNN: About 40 tons of contaminated soil from Radford High School wound up in the backyard of a home in the exclusive Haiku Plantations community in Kaneohe.

Hawaii News Now first reported that Department of Education and its contractors are facing a $1.1 million fine for their handling of more than 2,000 tons of this toxic dirt. Kaneohe residents now fault the DOE for failing to provide notices that the contaminated soil was put in their neighborhood.

"I'm just appalled that it was so close to my house. There are children all over the place. It's awful," said Michael Green, a longtime Haiku Plantations resident....

City Councilmember Kymberly Pine said she's worried that toxic soils from other illegal dump sites are being sold homeowners around the islands. She says the DOE should have done a better job of ensuring that its contaminated materials from Radford were properly disposed of at a landfill.

"It's a very serious problem. Every homeowner should be worried right now about where their dirt in their backyard came from," she said.

read ... Toxic

PUC Approves Four Solar Farms

KITV: "How can you build something so huge in an area where there's houses and schools? I don’t get that," said Chantell Sholtes, who lives right across from where the solar farm is about to spring up.

The push-back from the community initially included Kamaile Academy, a K-12 Hawaiian charter school that worried the solar project would kill its plans to expand its campus.

It may not get 5 acres out of the deal since they will be surrounded by thousands of photovoltaic panels, but they may get a bit of a buffer.

"They had talked about 2 acres that Kaimaile and the community could use, so we are talking," said school principal Anna Winslow.

If there's one consolation for the community, the Public Utilities Commission is requiring Euros to put its 46KV lines underground.

That will help keep the row of majestic monkey pod trees fronting the school in place.

Euros says it wants to be a good neighbor and is committed to setting aside a half-mile stretch of the valley for a much-needed emergency bypass road.

The PUC has also said yes to three solar projects being developed by SunEdision, two in central Oahu, and one at Kawailoa on the North Shore.

read ... Solar

Hawaii Need not Cut Emissions under Obama Plan

AP: Obama's announcement sets off a years-long process for states to figure out how to comply.

Sixteen states — including energy-producing states like Kentucky, Wyoming and North Dakota — will face stricter emissions limits than they did under Obama's previous proposal. Montana's requirement more than doubled, from a 21 percent cut in the earlier plan to a 47 percent cut in the final version.

But other states like New Hampshire and Texas face more lenient cuts in the final plan. Three states got a pass from the Environmental Protection Agency and won't have to reduce emissions: Vermont, Alaska and Hawaii.

By the time the plan takes effect, Obama will be long out of office.

read ... Already giving plenty to 'Green' Energy Scammers 

Schatz Dodges Question About Dead Baby Sales

NRO: Senate Democrats blocked a bill on Monday night to defund Planned Parenthood without having watched the undercover videos documenting the organization's involvement in harvesting aborted baby organs and selling them to biotech companies....

"I'm sorry, what's your name?" asked Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii in response to a simple yes-or-no question. "Can you call my comms director?"  ...

The measure to defund Planned Parenthood, which needed 60 votes to advance, received 53 votes on Monday night. But Republicans are really only 5 Senate votes shy of advancing the measure because Mitch McConnell voted against it for procedural reasons (a "no" vote allows him to bring the bill up again), and Republican Lindsey Graham skipped the vote so he could campaign for president in New Hampshire.

The tally was a big improvement from an effort in 2011 to defund Planned Parenthood that received just 42 votes.

read ... Schatz

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